It was an incredible week in Venezuela. While we have always expected the revolution to step all over us, perhaps we were expecting Chavez and his comrades to continue a more slow motion take over and destruction of Venezuela, the same way that the Venezuelan President has moved in the last twelve years.
Instead, we got a the opposite, the nervous autocrat/dictator, trying to press on, move the revolution forward before it falls apart. And the speed and surprises were remarkable. The revolution simply never fails to amaze and surprise. From a Science and Technology Bill that basically defines science with the oxymoronic name of “useful science”, to a Social Responsibility Law that aims to shut down the Internet, or at least free speech on it, the Chavez destructive revolution moved at an incredible speed to control and intimidate the opposition and the people.
And perhaps, what was most surprising to even skeptics of Chavez’ democratic credentials like me, was the fact that there was no remorse or qualms about what they were doing. Perhaps the Bill for Political Parties was the most representative of the recent autocratic streak surfacing within Chavismo. Imagine that! a Bill basically saying that if you vote what you feel or think, you can be impeached for treason to the party slate you were elected on!
This Bill, simply questions the democratic mindset of Chavez’ PSUV members. After all, if everyone has to vote in the same way, why have a Parliament at all? Just calculate the percentage of Deputies for each party and for four years, say each Bill sent by Chavez down was approved by 61% to 39% or whatever the outcome of the election was. No discussion, no arguments, just have the party send the Bill, we will process it and we are done.. Why even pay the Deputies! They can build housing for example.
Thus, the “revolution” that rose as a possible alternative to decisions made in smoke filled rooms by the parties of the IVth. Republic, is ready to make an institution out of them except that only Hugo Chavez and some Cubans hacks seem to be the only ones in that room room, and he does not smoke, so the smoke come apparently from the Cuban cigars.
But that’s what we have come to. Chavez’ leading supporters have never understood or bothered to understand democracy. Their game is power for its own sake. Preserve Hugo in his positions no matter what, even if he is doing a terrible job, which he is.
But from Escarra hanging up on CNN’s Patricia Jenot, to a bunch of Chavista Deputies trying to send a message to Hugo that something is not well in the revolution, you know that Chavez and his buddies are running scared. Nobody denies that Chavez is still popular, but even his own supporters can see that the failure of the revolution is hard to hide.
The problem is that besides the lack of funds, the revolution suffers from a lack of brains. Minister’s Giordani’s solution to the shortage of funds are simply measures to raise taxes only as a way of raising more funds for an increasingly incompetent Government. And as oil prices push higher and higher, there are more and more signs that the Chavez administration is incapable of dealing with the President’s ambitions. And more taxes will simply increase inflation and insure that the recession will remain with us another year, as Giordani’s economic ignorance continues to dominate decisions.
Things are likely to continue getting worse. Stagflation can’t be fought with tax increases, the feeble recovery expected for 2011 is now in jeopardy unless a bigger and better social program is implemented. But there is no money and Chavez’ supporters are getting antsy. There are no signs of recovery and the floods did not help.
And nothing can compete with the “bad” private sector which has built 70%-plus of all housing units built in Venezuela over the last four or five years. But under the recent threat of invasion and intervention, private developers are likely to stay away until the threat is clear. But no logic about prosperity or accomplishments works with Hugo and his cohorts. Power and ideology are the goals even if after tons of ideology and money have yielded very little over the last couple of years.
And with Chavez assuming enabling powers to continue in his search for a model that works, he fails to realize that it is not only the model that fails, but also the people that implement it and he is not ready to change that.
Thus, the solution is to press on, increase control, increase the threats, have the weapons ready, limit free speech and wait for things to improve and if they don’t by 2012, then simply gamble with the elections, there are only two outcomes, Chavez wins or Chavez loses, but he stays as President in both.