Venezuela is a healthy democracy with little inequality

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I look forward to Diana Nelson Jones’ columns and was happy to see “Words, Art and Homes Merge in Appealing Display on North Side” July 22 about the “River of Words” project on the North Side. A few days earlier, my word — solidaridad — was installed by the Venezuelan artists, accompanied by an exchange about how the word implied sharing.

I had been concerned that the project might be used as a platform to attack the Venezuelan government, in which case I would have chosen not to participate. However, I was reassured by both City of Asylum and the Pittsburgh Arts Council that it was designed to connect neighbors and create conversations. I was therefore deeply troubled to find precisely that kind of attack in the Post-Gazette article.

I have served as an election observer in Venezuela and can report that it is a vibrant democracy with a fairer, more inclusive electoral system than ours. Over 95 percent are registered and about 80 percent voted in recent presidential elections; elections are held on Sundays to make it easier to participate and every electronic vote can be verified by the elector through a paper receipt issued by the machine.

Moreover, Venezuela is now the country with the least inequality in Latin America. Perhaps that’s why the Venezuelan elite oppose the government while workers overwhelmingly support it. Although it is a politically divided country, it has a vociferous right-wing press and is far from the dictatorship portrayed by our media — and now, disappointingly, by Ms. Nelson Jones.

Robin Alexander
North Side


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