Please take into consideration that the following article is from The Wall Street Journal and includes all manner of poisonous opposition rhetoric, but it contains more detail than any other article I could find.
Hooray for Chavez making the first shot off the bow at a “private” university. Paying tuition is the only thing that protects private university students from having to sit in class with poor people of color.
May 18, 2010
By Dan Molinski Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
CARACAS (Dow Jones)–Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has nationalized scores of private companies and entire industries in his push toward socialism, is also training his sights on universities.
Chavez sent a message via his Twitter account to students of privately funded Santa Ines University, letting them know their school was being taken over by the government and tuition will be free.
“Students of Santa Ines University, I just approved a nationalization plan for the good of everyone. Now: FREE!” beamed Chavez last week on the microblogging website, which he uses frequently after having set up an account last month.
University officials weren’t available to comment on the charges, but students said the government’s reasons for taking it over were just an excuse to tighten its grip on the country’s education system.
“This is the worst of many bad moves by Chavez,” Carlos Chavez, a leader of the university’s 3,000-strong student body and who is not related to his president, told Dow Jones Newswires. “He’s going to impose his revolutionary, Marxist, socialist agenda on us students, and he’ll kick out good professors who allow us to study capitalism.”
The nationalization of the school was made official Monday, when the government’s newspaper of record, the Official Gazette, announced the “forced acquisition” of Santa Ines, and said it has been renamed Jose Felix Ribas University, in honor of a Venezuelan independence hero.
Chavez’s government said it expropriated the school because it “wasn’t meeting the ethical and legal requirements for a private institution.” Evidence the university was “falsifying documents” was discovered during an inspection, one government official said.
The university is located in western Barinas state, the same state where president Chavez was born in a mud hut to schoolteacher parents in 1954.
Maria Gabriela Caldera, a spokeswoman at the government’s Ministry of University Education, said this is the first university to be nationalized by Chavez. An official at the Basic Education Ministry said Chavez has “not yet” nationalized any primary schools.
Chavez, an anticapitalist and outspoken critic of the U.S. government during his 11 years in power, has made big government the hallmark of his administration. He continuously seeks to increase state control of the country’s institutions as well as its economy.
Under his watch, the state has taken over much of the country’s dominant oil industry, nationalized the coffee, cement and electricity sectors, and has put much of the banking and telecommunications industries into the hands of the government.
The Chavez government’s takeover of the university isn’t his first foray into the country’s education system. Chavez critics say the government aims to eliminate private education altogether in an effort to indoctrinate socialist thoughts into an entire generation of citizens.
The government has made important changes to history text books to reflect the “evils” of capitalism and the virtues of socialism. It’s also enlisted a small army of agents that sit in on teacher’s classes in both private and public schools, to ensure the government curriculum is being taught.
Inflamed parent have stood firm against many of the government’s efforts to control their kids’ education, while a strong lobby from Catholic and other religious schools have also pushed back against the Chavez government’s advances on education.
When the ruling party-dominated legislature passed an education law last year that labeled Chavez revolution “doctrine” as the foundation of education, thousands of parents flooded into the streets of Caracas in protest.
Many said they were worried about the “Cubanization” of Venezuela’s education system, referring to the strict government control over education in Communist Cuba.
Indeed, when the education law was being debated, ruling party lawmaker Aleydys Manaure said she was proud that a draft of the law was passed on Aug. 13 because it was former Cuba leader Fidel Castro’s birthday.
Mercedes Angarita, who helps run the Rondalera private school for grades pre-school through high school in Caracas, said the government’s supervision of her school has increased each year since Chavez took power.
The most striking change, she said, “is the enormous influence of the Cubans” in Venezuela’s education system.
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing because I believe Cuba has a great education system, in terms of organization,” Angarita said. “But it’s the use of leftist teaching that can be a bit troubling.”
Meanwhile, Carlos Chavez, the university student in Barinas, said his school has continued to operate during the government takeover.
“We’re here, both teachers and students, continuing with our class work,” said the 28-year-old, who studies law at the university.
-By Dan Molinski, Dow Jones Newswires; 58-414-120-5738; firstname.lastname@example.org