La mesure du bilan de Hugo Chávez

MEXICO CITY – Les partisans du défunt président vénézuélien Hugo Chávez, comme d’ailleurs beaucoup de ses détracteurs, soulignent deux accomplissements majeurs qui semble-t-il marqueront son héritage. Tout d’abord, la part de population vivant sous le seuil de pauvreté a diminué jusqu’aux alentours de 28% en 2012, alors que ce pourcentage avait atteint un pic de 63% en 2003 (chiffre qui s’élevait toutefois à 46% trois ans auparavant, au commencement du premier mandat de Chávez). Deuxièmement, l’homme aurait permis de redonner à une majorité de Vénézuéliens un sentiment d’identité, de fierté et de dignité, longtemps étouffé par une oligarchie blanche corrompue et élitiste.

Ces deux allégations ne se vérifient cependant qu’en partie, et n’expliquent pas à elles seules les victoires électorales répétées de Chávez – 13 votes populaires sur 14 remportés, dont des referendums. En ce qui concerne le premier accomplissement prétendu de Chávez, le journal The Economist et le prix Nobel Mario Vargas Llosa ont tous deux eu raison de le replacer dans une certaine perspective. La quasi-totalité des États d’Amérique latine ont connu une baisse significative de la pauvreté depuis le début de ce siècle, la mesure des progrès accomplis ayant dépendu d’un certain nombre de données de base, telle qu’échéances, bonnes et mauvaises années, fiabilité des informations officielles, et autres facteurs.

Les raisons de ce progrès sont bien connues : à l’exception des années 2001 et 2009, le début du siècle a été marqué par l’essor incroyable de pays exportateurs de matières premières comme le Brésil, l’Argentine, le Pérou, le Chili, et bien évidemment le Venezuela, ainsi que des économies reposant sur la fabrication, telles que le Mexique. Par ailleurs, pendant cette période de presque 15 ans, la plupart des gouvernements ont géré leurs comptes de manière responsable : déficit réduit voire inexistant, inflation faible, programmes de lutte contre la pauvreté bien ciblés, etc.

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