There is so much truth in this article in El Universal by Francisco Olivares, that it hurts deeply:
Primitive country by Francisco Olivares
The information was published that Navy Captain Luis Rafael Espinoza, General Director of Administration for the Social Security Institute, deposited 60 billion Bolivars (about US$ 12 million) in his own account. Perhaps nobody would have noticed the absence of this enormous sum, if it were not because they were the funds corresponding to the year-end bonuses of the Institute workers, who were demanding their payment without anyone giving them an answer, until someone noticed that the funds had been diverted this way. Agents from the investigative police dressed as civilians raided the facilities without identification, so as not to generate rumors, while the military officer was apparently removed from his position and perhaps returned to his military command.
In today’s Venezuela a story like this has no relevance. Such a bit of news may occupy a modest space in the political or crime sections. It would even be useless to search for an official source about this matter, since official information flows only when it is in the interest of the Government to make it public
There is also nothing particular about it, given that we are dealing with a country where nobody is punished for stealing public funds or using them for something different that what they were meant for. When a public official is punished or measures are taken against him, it is because what he is doing is being done behind the party’s back, without the party or those surrounding the political leaders participating in the proceeds.
This practice has now extended throughout the country, but the clash is not over the criminal or ethical problem that it carries, but from the conflict that follows when it comes time to split the bounty. The revolution has given something to everyone and getting rich overnight has been part of the reward for fidelity to the regimen.
That old phrase that “In Venezuela there is no reason not to steal” has been taken to new levels.
In the last few years the idea that the only path to social ascent is through politics has taken root. The leaders, the public officials and the military sent to work in the public administration have no shame in showing off luxurious vehicles and expensive condominiums, priced in US dollars and bought directly with cash or through third parties.
The institutional development and that of our democracy is today well below the first ten years of the country’s democracy. The political parties self-destructed precisely because they did not stop the path of ethical deterioration, for looking the other way or asking for a commission for the skimming. At the same time a whole generation was stepped on, sidestepping democratic rules.
Not only political parties are responsible for this conspiracy. Society as a whole, the media and the professional associations and unions accompanied the country in its self destruction. The events of February 27th (The Caracazo) and the coup attempts in 1992 were an expression of that deterioration and not glorious dates like some now pretend to glorify them
To rebuild the country we have to understand that we are coming from way down. In this moment, what we have is a very primitive state.