Banco Chavista de Venezuela by Teodoro Petkoff
The way in which Chavez addressed the Board of the Central Bank and in particular his President Diego Luis Castellanos, telling them to resign and making clumsy personal allusions to the last one, define with clarity not only the autocratic nature of his personality, his absolute scorn for democratic values, but also his total lack of consideration, in the pure human plane, with his collaborators. Power has gone to his head.
Chavez can not conceive any relationship with him other than subordination. He does not want collaborators, he wants servants. The slightest whisp of autonomy in his surroundings drives him crazy and he rapidly draws the pistol of his insults. Castellanos as well as the rest of the members of the Board of the Central bank were appointed by Chavez. But it was enough for them to contradict him, for them to fall in disgrace.
Chavez says that the Central Bank is not Castellanos. Of course not. Neither is Chavez.
These gentlemen have a criterion, different from that of the President on the topic of the foreign exchange earnings. Whether they are right or not is not the problem, because that is not the essence of the problem. The essence is that Chavez does not tolerate that anybody differ with him, nor is he capable of debating calmly and persuasively with those that differ with him. He loses his cool and releases things as coarse as the allusion to Castellanos’ age which, according to him, is already a “little old man” who should go home and wear slippers, instead of resisting his requests. Indelicately and threatenly he pointed out that if he had to be jailed, he would have his home as prison, given his age. (By the way, with that type of disqualification, old man Jose Vicente Rangel with his 75 years and the elderly Governor of Barinas (Chavez’ father), to name only two cases, should also be asked to retire). Chavez does not assume himself as a democratic governor-who is always the first among equals-, obligated to respect opinions different than his and, in the case of officials designated for fixed term periods, organizations which are autonomous, with more of a reason, even if they were wrong about their positions. But that intolerance, as an example, is what is behind the brutal grab of the Supreme Court. Chavez does not make the laws, he is the law.
Moreover, much as Bush, he has elevated to the level of policy the fundamentalist slogan that those who are not with him are against him. Moreover, without any scruples, he asks fidelity to his persona, not to a project or some ideas. He is the project and towards him he asks submission.
In all personalistic regimes the collaborators of the caudillos become more and more mediocre and more willing to adulate. And also more fearful. Nobody with a minimum of his own personality resists for very long next to a caudillo that ratifies his power crushing the dignity of those that surround him. For those types of governors the loneliness of power is more accentuated, but the obsequiousness and the servility do not allow them to perceive it.
The foundation of the relationship with them is hypocrisy. When they lose their power they discover how vast and deep the pharisaic ocean that surrounded them was and how lonely they always were.