Given that so little works well in Venezuela these days, the idiotic Dictator is nevertheless looking for new places to use his ignorance for destructive purposes. Two Sunday’s ago he did such a thing, when he ordered his Science and Technology Commissar, Ly. Jesse Chacon, to tighten the screws (The nuts in Spanish, but I did not want to get into the symbolism of that!) on Venezuela’s premiere science institution IVIC (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas).
Chavez asked Chacon to end “oligarchic”, “pitiyanqui” and “squalid” science and force scientists to do “useful” science for the “people” and to have them go to the barrios.
This is so stupid that it is even hard to get a handle on starting a discussion on it. First of all, there is no such thing as “useful” science, there is good and bad science, the rest are the refuge of the mediocre. If something can be deem to be useful science, it is beyond the science stage and into the development and/or technology. You can fund science in areas that are more likely to yield useful results, but you don’t know ahead of time what may or not happen.
But of course you cannot expect Dictator Chavez or Commissar Chacon to know any of this, the same way you know that Chavez has earned little about economics in the last ten years. It is the same idiocy coming into play, but now being used against an Institution whose role in Venezuela is now likely to be diminished into irrelevancy by the revolution.
IVIC is an institution dear to my heart. I owe a lot to it, not only because of what it gave me, but also because of its importance in my life as a person and as a professional. To see it in the hands of a Director who flapped like a seal applauding every word by the ignorant Dictator, as the institution’s final destruction was being ordered tells you a lot about how the low levels IVIC has already reached. Sad, very sad.
But it is even more ironic to hear Chavez attempt to construct a coherence sentence on science and technology, when it was Chavez that destroyed Venezuela’s Oil technological center INTEVEP just because it served his political purposes. In 2003 Chavez simply wiped out the world’s best heavy oil development and technology center located in Venezuela, but even worse, drove over one thousand scientists and engineer into the hands of foreign competitors, as he blacklisted them from working in Venezuela at scientific, technological and educational institutions.
Intevep was truly science and technology at the service of the people, helping the country improved and increase its oil production. It was replaced by a void that the so-called revolution has failed to even attempt to fill in the six years since that scientific genocide was committed.
And I am sure that Chavez is setting himself up for his own Lysenko to dazzle him with his discoveries and some arrogant and daring charlatan from Chavista science will become the new leader of Venezuela’s useful science.
Because ironically, Chavez inner circle has a number of scientists in it, most very mediocre, few in any areas of relevance to the country, but all cowards who are now silent as Chavez tramples what they claim to work for and believe in the years leading up to the Dictators ascension to power.
But now more than ever we are forbidden to forget these collaborators and insiders of the regime, who sold their souls and their pockets for a few coins to the autocrat, helping destroy what was once was a unique domain of excellence and achievement of which Venezuelans could be proud.