Things are getting to be quite bizarre in Venezuela these days. The autocrat/dictator is no longer content to threaten and confront everyone in his tropically original interpretation of what a democracy is or should be, but much like his XXIst. Century Socialism, which remains undefined, he threatens those that do not follow his as yet undefined “Bolivarian Educational System”. Much like many of Chavez’ threats, you are warned not do do something which is not defined or he will do what he wants to do anyway: Take your property, kick you out (ask Podemos!) or simply call you a coup monger, the favorite insult of the only man that has actually promoted armed and bloody coups in Venezuela in the last 40-plus years.
But you have to wonder about a man who, after his Sunday variety show yesterday which lasted a few hours, finds the need to come on ranting on nationwide, obligatory broadcast on all TV and radio stations this morning, just because today was supposed to be the first day of the school year for all kids up to high school.
And rant he did in his best style, proving once again what a resentful person Chavez is. Not only did he threaten to take over the private educational system, a system born out of the same inefficiencies that prevail today, but rather than illuminate the real reasons for its existence, Chavez blasted them suggesting theer was some sort of macabre plot to privatize education, rather than a politicized and extremely mediocre educational system which drove people away from it. In fact, to this day, most Chavista leaders, Cabinet members and civil servants send their kids to, you guessed it, the same private schools that the autocrat criticizes. The reason is simple, the public educational system is terribly bad (not that the private one is great, it is simply better and parents always want what is best for their kids, even if it s extremely cynical to talk revolution with one side of your mouth and send your kids to private school with the other).
While Chavez filled his mouth with the “new” 1,000 Bolivarian schools, it was typical and grandiose Chavezspeak, as very few of them were “new”, they were “new Bolivarian”, that is old schools of the public educational system converted to the Bolivarian system. Because while he may boast that he would prefer to build schools over trains, which few of us would disagree with, the fact is that Chavez’ accomplishments in school building are very poor, adding in eight years of his undemocratic rule, less than 10% of the numbers of schools in existence. Not a record to boast about when you realize that 85% of the existing schools were built in the “horrible” 40 years of the IVth. Republic, but he has already been in power for the equivalent of 20% of that period, without similar accomplishments and despite the huge oil windfall in at least half of his Presidential term.
But much like in Hitler’s Germany, Fidel’s Cuba or Franco’s Spain, Venezuela will now have official textbooks for all subjects, guaranteeing no impure ideas get through to the kids and all information gets the imprimatur from Bolivarian officials. I wonder if they will be signed by a Bishop or a General as a sign of approval or by the autocrat himself maybe.
Because according to the autocrat, texts used to preach the theories of the Empire, whether the North-American or Spanish one (Did Chavez look up pre-1724 textbooks?), but then the ranting got better when Chavez truly and really said:
“First, it was an ideologic education, the euro-centric vision, colonial, which taught us to admire the conquerors and then the cult to the animated characters of Superman, Mandrake or the Phantom, denying us the knowledge of Guicapuro, Negra Hipolita or Sucre”
Jeez, I wonder where he heard about these, as I do not recall learning about any of these characters in school, but I do remember learning about Guicaipuro, Negra Hipolita and Sucre, and was always taught a very negative view of the Spanish conquerors which cost me quite a few expulsions from class when I lived in Spain.
But the country is a hostage to the mind of this resentful man, whose view of the world is distorted by his own complexes and misconceptions. He wants a rural country, when 90% of the population lives in cities. He wants a Venezuelan citizen who not only does not exist, but he is barely a representation of. He wants Bolivars’ thoughts to inspire us all, when most are looking for leadership in modern technology and knowledge, which he cares little for. Everything is either “Bolivarian” and/or “popular”, when few of the precepts of Bolivar are ever followed even by the autocrat himself and when power is slowly being removed further away from the people in order to preserve his own autocratic and perennial powers.
But the folly continues in the name of the robolution. Replace what is available independent of whether it is any better, just because Chavez says so. Threaten and scare everyone into following his orders just because he feels like it, even if there is no legal basis or definition for what he wants or desires. It is the same tiring style of confrontation, threats and coercion just so that the Dictator can get his wishes as Venezuela’s democracy withers into oblivion.