It is Indeed Bainbridge

Published at 09:33 on 21 March 2013

Unfortunately, the move was complicated (and somewhat compromised) by a curve ball from my present landlord, who is unwilling to let my tenancy go month-to-month after my lease expires.

Faced with the choice of committing to stay in a place I had already decided to leave this year, or conducting a hurried move, I chose the latter. I did manage to negotiate a 1-month extension to my lease, which made the whole move far more possible (and significantly less costly, because I’m not going to be paying for moving things into and out of storage, not paying for significantly more costly short-term housing).

So starting in about a month, I will see how well the island actually suits me. As I’ve written before, it’s hardly a perfect place. It merely appears to be the most practical alternative, given all the constraints which can be expected to be in place for the foreseeable future.

I’m hoping it will work out well enough that stability becomes justifiable and I can start looking to buy a home for myself in six months or so. The whole mess with this most recent lease, and the recurring hassle of moving, has really created a desire for both stability and not having to deal with landlords any more.

Chávez is Dead

Published at 08:30 on 9 March 2013

I guess I’ve become jaded by political hypocrisy, because I find it more amusing than depressing or infuriating that there’s so many double standards in the Establishment media’s summing up of his legacy.

The Guardian had a great editorial the day after he passed away, which unfortunately seems to have been pulled from their web site. The gist of it was that most of the bad stuff being repeated about Chávez is indeed both true and bad stuff, but that his overall legacy must be balanced against the significant gains the least fortunate have made during his regime, and that the economic difficulties Venezuela has been experiencing over the past few years are being greatly exaggerated by one-sided reporting.

Like most resource-rich Third World nations, Venezuela has (still has, despite the progress of the past 15 years or so) an absolutely staggering amount of inequality. This is sadly not unique to Venezuela. Natural resource wealth in the developing world tends to end up concentrated in a few hands, with the vast majority sharing in little or none of it.

None of this justifies Chávez’ authoritarianism, of course, but neither does the authoritarianism invalidate the progress which has been made. And Chávez’ authoritarianism was a far more mild variety than that which existed in Chile under Pinochet or in Argentina during their military dictatorship, to pick just two examples of many one can find in Latin America.

If the coup against him in 2002 — backed by the US — had succeeded, all available past historical evidence indicates that human rights would have been vastly worse under the resulting right-wing dictatorship.