Archive for February 4th, 2013

Nothing To Celebrate In Venezuela, Twenty One and Fourteen Years Later

February 4, 2013

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Chavismo was celebrating today 21 years of the bloody coup in which some irresponsible military officers led innocent soldiers into an adventure which ended up with the killing of innocent soldiers and civilians that day and to fourteen years of backwardness for Venezuela. And to this day, these people without scruples, who are not democrats, continue to defend their one-way vision of the world, like fascist General Alcala Cordones in Sunday´s El Nacional, when he appeals to “ethics” to justify the coup in 1992 and says without any qualms:

“The interest that are behind each action justify them or not..”

There you have it, a complete empty philosophy in one sentence, if I think it ,or do it, it is fine, because I am right and special, if others think it or do it, it is wrong, because they are against me”

And thus, General Alcala Cordones, who I have the honor of having been tear gassed by, by him and his fascist comrades long ago in Mariperez, says with a straight face there is no corruption in Venezuela (please hold the laughter!) and everything about this “revolution” has been positive. That is how much self-criticism  and retrospection there is in this brain-dead revolution. “Everything” has been positive in the most corrupt period in Venezuela’s history, fourteen years in which sovereignty has been sold off to Cuba and other “friendly” countries, fourteen years in which homicides have quintupled out of indifference and incompetence, fourteen years in which Venezuela has been thrown back into the sure road to under-development, in which despite the biggest oil bonanza in the country´s history, poverty has barely budged and mismanagement has distorted the economy, to the point that the road back will be tough, if not impossible.

Not that things were peachy before. By 1992, I had become pessimistic about the ability of our political system to invest in education, science and technology to really push Venezuela into the future, the XXth. century at the time, and we are already into the next one. What I never imagined was that what was in store for us, was orders of magnitude worse, degrading our educational system and destroying what little good science and technology we had. To me, what happened at PDVSA’s science and technology institute INTEVEP, was simply scientific genocide and IVIC, Venezuela’s formerly world renowned science institute has been reduced to almost memories and lots of revolutionary BS.

And then we come to what most PSF’s and religious Chavistas fail to understand. Oil exports in US dollars have gone up by a factor of six per capita in the fourteen years since Chavez took over. Yes, six times bigger. Think about it, for every barrel of oil  per citizen, Venezuela is getting six times more dollars than before. That is a lot of money. Despite that, Chavistas still have a hard time arguing that Chavez has been good for even the most basic measure of the the “people’s” success: Poverty.

I remember how the same Chavistas used to argue that “poverty” was just an index. That the “improvements” in poverty were just cosmetic changes in the numbers. But they arrived and became exquisite numerologists, taking the game to a new level of sophistication and lies. Poverty is indeed more than just numbers. But that is a game where Chavismo loses right off the bat, because, as Luis Pedro España shows in his book, Chavismo has been a failure in terms of infrastructure, nutrition, hygiene and even health, when you take into account that Barrio Adentro paid attention to first contact primary health care, while ignoring the more important secondary aspects which existed in the Venezuelans hospitals.

But Chavismo quickly learned to play with numbers. Poverty is numerically determined by how many people are above the poverty level. This level is determined by comparing the “income” of a typical family with the basic “basket” of goods. Up to the year 2000, this basic “basket” was calculated by the Venezuelan Central Bank. At the time, the National Institute for Statistics (INE) decided to start calculating its own basic basket, basically because the Central Bank was being too independent. (Read Realistic!)

Change the denominator and things will look so much better.

It also decided at the time, to “add” the benefit of Chavez’ “Misiones”. Fair enough, but up to 1998, there were Government benefits called something else, such as the “almuerzo escolar” and the “vaso de leche”, and even the “modulos de los barrios”, which were not given any weight in the “poverty” index.

So, the Government claims that the level of poverty is 32% today, versus 49% when it got to power. But it uses INE’s basic basket of Bs. 1,835 per family of 5.2 people, while CENDAS calculates that same basket for five is currently at over double that at Bs. 3,887. On top io that there is the added “Misiones” value. Try to normalize all that, and you get that today’s poverty level is likely to be above 50%, despite the FACTOR OF SIX INCREASE IN INCOME PER CAPITA IN US DOLLARS from oil that the Government has enjoyed.

It is immaterial whether it is 45% or 55%, the point is that Chavismo had a chance to really change things. Really redistribute the oil windfall. But it did not. It has to fake the numbers.

Which is why Diosdado has to wrap himself around military and patriotic symbols today, because he knows that they have accomplished nothing beyond elevating Hugo Chavez to the category of a new deity, which neither him nor fake VP Maduro can aspire to. Thus, he has to display symbols, including, dressing like a military officer, which he is not, and stealing those from the opposition in the form of Capriles’ hat:

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Trying to recreate or imitate their former boss, which has been missing in action for over 55 days, without a tweet, a beep or a whimper.

Which simply shows that there is nothing to celebrate, nothing to show for all their “work”, except their own attempt to be admired and exalted beyond their worth and abilities. Abilities which they may have had or developed, but their deity forced them to conceal behind his charisma and forbid them to even attempt to rise above him. And thus, today they find themselves sunk in the same mediocrity, with nothing to celebrate twenty years after they first failed and fourteen years of continuous failure, where only the symbols and the symbolism have succeeded and after sinking Venezuela in the most perverse road to failure that anyone could have imagined.

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