Of course, Chavez got lucky with oil prices going through the roof in the last few years. But it’s certain that previous regimes would not have used the windfall to pay off the nation’s debt – the profits would have distributed among the ruling elite.
That’s what is often missed in Venezuela analysis. Chavez’s predecessors used Venezuela’s oil wealth entirely for their own benefit. That’s why Chavez was elected, and re-elected, to power. And that’s why he’s considered so dangerous by the “international community.” They were quite happy when the Venezuelan elite squandered the country’s wealth on buying new houses for themselves in the south of France, keeping the country weak and therefore controllable from Washington. But paying off debt? Speaking out against the “Washington Consensus”?? Charting your own course??? This man is a dangerous demagogue and must be stopped!