Does it really matter who is named Minister under Chavez?

July 31, 2011

I have been somewhat surprised by the number of emails and comments talking about the fact that Deputy Iris Varela was named Minister for Prisons or whatever name that new Ministry was given.

But really, does it really matter?

The fact that Ms. Varela has no managing experience is simply a continuation of a long chain of Ministers with similar non-qualifications. About the only requirement to be Minister under Chavez is that you are loyal. I mean, a guy who seeks treatment for a life-threatening disease with the least competent possibility, can not truly believe in expertise.

Take über Minister Jorge Giordani, he has a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering, a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and now he is Minister of Planning and Minister of Finance, is on the Board of the Central Bank and PDVSA. For only a brief time during Chavez’ tenure, Giordani has not been in charge of Economic Planning in the country. During this period, inflation is close to 1000% and except that one is not allowed to quote the parallel rate, devaluation has also been in that same range. Giordani has tried everything an has been unable to reduce inflation, reduce debt, control liquidity. He ha no idea on what needs to be done, but he keeps chugging along.

It seems to be the same everywhere, Setty has told us recently about the wonderful plans to increase oil production under Rafael Ramirez, while Cronicas de Caracas told us about the Minister of Sports that wants to pass a Bill that will likely destroy professional sports in Venezuela and we are not even sure the guy ever graduated from the University. But we are sure Vice-President Jaua did, even if it took him 15 (or was it 20?) years to do it. Oh yeah! Minister Garces has a Ph.D., which he obtained in 2007, he never even proved he could research, let alone manage a group, or a Minsitry and his expertise has little to do with being Minister of Transport and Communications.

So, should I really care about Iris Varela being named Minister for Prisons? Not really. Would she recognize a human right if she saw one? Ask Cesar Perez Vivas. Today she says very nonchalantly that 20,000 of the 45,000 prisoners in the country “have all the legal conditions to be out of jail”. She talks as if she was an extra-terrestrial who just landed in Venezuela to solve the prison problem, not an integral part of the Government which has allowed this “small” illegality to exist. I mean, the same people who have ignored for twelve years the crime problem, all of a sudden realize there are 20,000 people in jail who should legally be free. She proves it today when she says: If a Judge does not obey me, I just ask the Chief Justice to remove him.  This is Varela’s concept of “Justice” tp say nothing of the  absence of room for criticism in the revolution.

And her goal? To shut down jails. Really, and where does she plan to put the 30,000 remaining prisoners who are currently in jails designed for about 15,000 prisoners at most?

In the end, it really does not matter. Know how, knowledge, ability, management are simply non existing concepts in the revolution. Just to prove it, look up PDVSA’s financials in the company’s webpage. Don’t look at revenues, don’t look at earnings, don’t look at production. Simply go to point g) on page 14. There under the heading “Research and Development” you will see the progression of expenses for this very important (to me!) item:

2008 $555 million

2009 $276 million

2010 $188 million

To me that says it all about the role of knowledge and know-how in the Chavez revolution. As a General told me ominously a few years ago: “If Chavez can Be President, why not me?”

18 Responses to “Does it really matter who is named Minister under Chavez?”

  1. Gene Says:

    It really doesn’t matter! Achievement and credentials of achievement be damned, they are an escualido worthless idea. What matters is power and the more power to our leader, the better. No matter that we all know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. He he, the same line of thought about power that most governments have around the world today and what will bring ruin to them eventually, it always has. All empires have gone bust and broke! Today’s will! Surely new ones will arise! Can we ever get to be achieving societies? That might be the closest we can get to heaven on earth.

  2. GeronL Says:

    It’s like Hugo read Ayn Rand and decided he’d rather do everything that didn’t work in the story.

    • Syd Says:

      He’s not ready for another book, still mouthing the words on his copy of Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.

  3. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, en cuál de los informes? Hay varios en esa página. No lo conseguí en el primero (2010)

    El Perezoso

  4. moctavio Says:

    En los Estados Financieros, creo que este link funciona:

    http://www.pdvsa.com/interface.sp/database/fichero/free/6772/1401.PDF

  5. Kepler Says:

    Sí, ahora sí. ¡Veeeerga! Y ni les da vergüenza. Es que ni se dan cuenta, los cabeza de tusa, dromedarios, trogloditas, ¡llaneeeeeros!

  6. firepigette Says:

    Miguel

    Great post Miguel.I am also interested in hearing your thoughts on the new price and rent controls.In what way are they really “new”?

  7. moctavio Says:

    Well, the price controls will allow the Government to control everything, they did not before, but it will also create an incredible buerocarcy. As for the rent controls, it will end te rent market, period. It eliminates a deposit for example, I prefer to have my property empty.

  8. firepigette Says:

    Miguel,Thanks for the answer.Wow!!!!!!!!!

  9. firepigette Says:

    We already have many government inspectors who go around leeching off private enterprise- from the smallest outlet to large companies…so with this new law perhaps many will be looking for these bureaucratic jobs to live off the reduced private sector and we will end up having more leeches than productive people.For how long could this work?


  10. You have just pinned down some Cathedral Size Trues. We have also priorly criticized the designation. But when we read the interview, we saw she is being getting consultation from Elio Gomez Grillo, which is a highly reputated person in this matter. Probably was Gomez Grillo who told her the numbers, and she is only repeating. The good news is she has a plan, apparently a fast track plan, so we may expect to see some results in the short term.

  11. Dr. Faustus Says:

    Question: Were the opposition to miraculously gain control of power in 2012, by the slimmest of majorities, are they prepared to with the likes of people like Ms Varela trying to kick and claw their way back into power? You just know that the reaction from members of the PSUV will be extreme,….vicious. Are they, the opposition, tough enough? Do they ‘really’ understand what they’re dealing with here? I dunno.

  12. bruni Says:

    There is one good news in this nomination, Miguel, and that is that the Ministry of Prisons was created. It made no sense to have what is such a huge issue in Venezuela under the mandate of the Interior Ministry, which already has a lot of things to resolve.

    As for the nomination of Varela in particular, I laughed a lot thinking that she will scare the hell out of malandros and that is why she was nominated.

    Will she do something? I don’t know, but anything is better than what we have now.

  13. moctavio Says:

    I disagree, you dont need a Minister for every problem, there would be one hundred of them. You need competent teams looking at problems. In particular, the crime and prison problems are so interrelated, that I dont think you can or should separate them.

  14. albionoldboy Says:

    Do you really believe that Chavez lets his minsters do anything more than order toilet paper? how could you say there is a minster of petroleum when Chavez decides who gets oil expropriation and production contracts, China, Russia, Iran, all who need western technology to increase their production are his choice, or do you believe Ramirez.has any say in that?

    Chavez has the same aliment as Castro, “micro manager mania”.
    The only ministry that is effective and free to operate is the TAX authority,

    As for the ministry of finance, when you have a spendthrift president no amount of money is enough. Don’t forget when Chavez ran the canteen in the army he promptly bankrupted it. Ministers are for only one thing, to be the fall guys for Chavez’s follies

    So why does anyone want to be a minister? fill your pockets and go quietly into the night, or wait to be recycled. .

    • Ira Says:

      Dictators have ministers to justify what the dictator wants done. This is how it’s always worked, and will always be so:

      Because in contrast to what you’re saying, I say it’s the opposite–Chavez will allow his ministers to be even MORE radical than he is, because he gets the actions he wants done, but he can back away from is when it gets politically too dangerous. He will never, EVER reel in someone who praises the healing powers of Fidel’s beard. Only those who argue for democracy and freedom of speech, wherein he accuses them of crimes and arrests them.

      But like I said elsewhere, happy days are here again. After seeing today’s photos of stupigo and his bald head, he’s a dead man way before January 2012l

  15. GWEH Says:

    Chavez bankrupted the canteen? Where do you get that?

    • albionoldboy Says:

      Chavez was in-charge of of the canteen back in the 80’s at Fuerte Tiuna, he gave out food stuffs without proper control, and the high command had to take back control from him after it went belle-up.

      I read it in a biography on Chavez and family, supposedly in the book he also put a donkey’s head in the room of a girl who rejected him. as in the godfather (she told him “have you looked at yourself in the mirror?)
      I forget the name of the author, I’m sure other readers will recall the book, especially with that little ditty.


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