Hugo Chávez Frías (1954-2013) was the democratically elected president of Venezuela for 14 years, from 1999 to 2013.  He used the country’s oil wealth to help the poor.

By the numbers: The change during his rule (green for very good, red for bad):

  • Life expectancy:  72.66 years to 74.08
  • Infant mortality: 27.52 per 1,000 lives births to 20.18 
  • Literacy: 91.1% to 93.0
  • Electricity: 3,508 kWh per capita to 3,061
  • Inflation: 38.0% to 20.9%
  • Unemployment: 11.5% to 8.0%
  • Income inequality: 48.8 (1996) to 39.02 (2011) – GINI coefficient (USA = 47.7 in 2011)
  • Poverty rate: 50.4% (1998) to 33.2% (2011)
  • Living conditions: 0.656 (2000) to 0.735 (2011) – HDI  (USA = 0.910)
  • Murder rate: 25.0 (1999) per 100,000 to 45.1 (2011) (USA = 5.2)
  • Exports to USA: 40.0% to 28.6%
  • Foreign debt: $26.5 billion to $63.74 billion

The 1970s: Foreign companies like Exxon, Texaco, Shell and Gulf control Venezuela’s oil wealth…

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Dutch doctoral student receives death threats after opposing teenage Hitler admirers

so what else is new.





Mehmet Sahin, a doctoral student at the centre of a controversial video that circulated on the internet last week, has gone into hiding with his family after receiving death threats


Reports from the Netherlands indicate Mehmet Sahin, a doctoral student at the centre of a controversial video that circulated on the internet last week, has gone into hiding with his family after receiving death threats.

The video (see below), originally broadcast by Nederland 2 TV station, features Sahin interviewing a group of teenage boys who explicitly state their hatred of Jews and widely praise the policies of Adolf Hitler.

One of the boys remarks: “I am satisfied with what Hitler did with the Jews. I am being really honest.”

He later adds: “As far as I am concerned, Hitler should have killed all the Jews.”



Sahin, who works to reeducate Turkish-immigrant youths in Arnhem, is visibly exasperated and distressed by the boys’ views in the short interview.

Shockingly, he has reportedly since been victim of a neighbourhood signature campaign to get him to leave the area.

The Mayor of Arnhem, Pauline Krikke, advised Sahin to go into hiding after the alleged death threats were received.

Meanwhile, Labor Party parliamentarian Ahmed Marcouch announced his intention to ask parliamentary questions about the reported threat:. “It is horrible that someone has to be afraid because he has done something that we all should do – teach children not to hate”, he said.

The municipality’s prosecution is currently investigating the matter.






TORONTO — Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi denied Tuesday that he endorsed a controversial book on Islam that says it’s OK for men to physically punish their wives, even though he wrote a letter of support to the author.

The Ottawa member of provincial parliament acknowledged that he wrote the letter, but said he didn’t read the book.

“I strongly condemn violence against women,” Naqvi said in a statement.


“I believe that abuse of any kind is unacceptable and I do not share the views expressed in this book.”

The former president of the Liberal party said he also didn’t authorize the use of his name or comments in the “reviews” section of the book entitled “Islam: Balancing Life and Beyond.”

But a published report said the author, Suhail Kapoor, was granted permission to reprint the letter in the book, which says men can “lightly” strike their wives if she shows “serious moral misconduct.”

Naqvi said he received a letter from Kapoor in 2009 regarding the book.

“I responded, as I do to all letters received at my community office, acknowledging his efforts on this project, which were ostensibly to promote values of tolerance, understanding and respect,” he added.

But Opposition Leader Tim Hudak said Naqvi’s statement isn’t enough.

“I think it’s very disturbing that any member of the assembly, let alone a cabinet minister, would endorse this kind of garbage,” he said.

“I think that Premier (Kathleen) Wynne needs to call her labour minister on to the carpet to rescind his endorsement of the book and to apologize.”

Naqvi said in his statement that he’s worked in the legislature to end violence against women. He twice introduced a private member’s bill aimed at dismantling barriers in residential or lease agreements that prevent victims of domestic abuse from leaving abusive relationships, he said.