I recently read an article in the New York Times about President Hugo Chavez closing two of the most beautiful golf courses in Venezuela. The president received immediate attention from the press, when he announced that the closing of the golf courses of Maracay and Carabellada is to alleviate a housing problems in the region. Chavez had said in his TV Show that golf was a “”bourgeois sport” thus creating a polarization of social classes in Venezuela.
I think it is a bourgeois sport and there’s no justification for having a golf course in the middle of a city where there is so much housing need for the people. Even though there are slums, you have 30 hectares so a little group of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois people can go and play golf … They are so lazy, they use carts! [taken from New York Times]
Both golf courses were located in a oil region and initially built for Americans working in the oil industry. It is clear that the closing of the golf course has a political undertone for Chavez. On one hand, he wants to gain support from the working class by closing the golf courses to build a housing complex; while on the other, he desperately needs to improve his rating due to an increase in crime and a very weak economy.
In the last 10 years, Chavez has encouraged resentments in his followers towards the upper and middle class, his derisive rhetoric polarize even more the division between supporters and opponents, leading to a clash among social classes. A “bourgeois” tag is stuck on anyone, President Chavez, considers part of the elite.
Chavez has transformed social equality into a political platform, supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution, are not elite members; they are citizens enjoying a game of golf after a hard day at work. Chavistas driving expensive high profile vehicles, like Mercedes Bends and Ferraris, are business gurus enjoying the fruit of their success. Recently elected politicians moving to exclusive neighborhoods in Caracas are honest individuals making the 21th Socialist Movement become a reality.
The gap between classes has not close, as Chavez constantly broadcast in his weekly address to the nation; instead, he is working hard to embezzle the assets of families that for decades invested their time and money to build the industries energizing Venezuela’s economy. He created a new set of elite members, people who enforces his definition of socialism to embrace his standards and to support his corrupted ideology.
- News Clip: New York Times Online
- Image: Leslie Mazoch/Associated Press
- Video: YouTube