This one is a really nice thread... so let me write something about one thing wrote a few posts before (with all my respect for sure):
L1011 wrote "... When that happens, the Third World can begin the process of becoming a part of the First World ..."
That's a nice thought... but please, please, please, can we start to understand the meaning of each country' culturgram?.
Sometimes I use to think about the meaning of that sentence, applied to some countries in the world with a big hope from some of us for them to be a 100% democratic, with their people to have a culture of democracy... and that culture working for a better situation helping to improve their quality of life.
Appliying that sentence to the current situation of Venezuela... well, let me explain you something: Venezuela had a history of almost 40 years of democracy... the people in our country (in special way people like me, middle - class & born in democracy) thought that we were living in a good political system, a system who can improve itself with all the experience we (as a society) were getting each year.
... but something was getting wrong... since the economical crisis in 1982, almost half of the society started to ask for order & a big fight against corruption; they even started to ask for a gov. with 'the balls' (sorry, that was the common sentence) to stop the spiral of corruption, even if it wasn't elected on a democratic way!!!!!!!.
When Chavez did the failed coup d'etat in 1992 (the february one), the gov did the biggest mistake: they showed Chavez on the TV
, giving venezuelans a face to put those hopes... and the political system (including the political parties for sure) was so static, doing things as the way as they used to, looking only for power and forgetting their duty.
So Chavez became the guy... he was elected president in 1998 with almost 60% of the votes. A lot of people who woted for Chavez are now protesting against him... but the big deal was that Chavez was the guy supposed to fight against corruption, he always said he was going to do what he's doing now... and the current opposition (they were at the gov in those former times) is crying because of the guy they helped to make!!!!!!!!.
Some people use to ask me (here in Mexico) about why is Chavez so strong, even with that apparent hate against him. I answer that the big deal is about the culturgram of the venezuelan society right now: historically (as almost all latin american countries) Venezuela was made by 'caudillos', guys who were really powerful, with all the system working for them and because of them... & democracy was just an utopia... that's an strong cultural backup, and you can not throw it away from the unconscius of the collective (the society) just with good hopes... look at Chavez!!!! look all the symbols he's using to stay in power!!!!!, those symbols are the base of the venezuelan culturgram.
L1011... I must say that I totally agree with you in that sentence... but perhaps some societies like the venezuelan one won't become a 'first world' one as the way as we understand & hope... maybe the venezuelan society needs a different choice. Chavez won´t be the way to become a better society for sure, but I'm sure he was needed in order to revive our historical problem & work in a collective way to change a paradigm.
Best regards for everyone.