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.

49 Responses to “Nothing To Celebrate In Venezuela, Twenty One and Fourteen Years Later”

  1. David Cheever Says:

    I received a copy of an email between 2 people. One located in Venezuela and the other one located in Cuba. The message is here………

    ► Mi nombre es… (nombre en reserva, trabajo como supervisor de seguridad en el hospital (CIMEQ) Centro de Investigaciones Medico Quirúrgicas de la Habana Cuba,) considerado por el régimen cubano como la joya del sistema de salud, pero de ahora en adelante también será recordado como el hospital del TEATRO del difunto presidente Chavez!

    Púes si leyó bien ya falleció.

    Es triste y lamentable que el pueblo Venezolano tenga que enterarse por esta vía, pero lo cierto es que su Líder Socialista solo pudo resistir dos días de tan difícil intervención quirúrgica ya que el pasado 14 de diciembre no quedo mas nada que hacer, producto de un cuadro grave de infección producido x una septicemia severa!
    ¿Les digo porque sera el hospital del teatro?

    Ustedes ni se imaginan lo que aquí se trata de hacer para mantener el hermetismo sobre la salud del Difunto en cuestión, donde hasta después del primer día de su deceso fue que le hicieron saber a sus familiares mas cercanos sobre su muerte.
    Acaso creían que esta noticia la darían antes de sus elecciones regionales? Imposible. Chavez murió mucho antes de la fecha de posesión. Total … ya no había presidente para ello. Esta bien muerto. Lo demás es pantomima para enredar el asunto y retener el poder.
    Acaso pensaron que verían así sea una mínima foto de su difunto presidente después de su operación de la cual salio prácticamente en estado vegetal? Imposible!
    No se han preguntado porque Nicolás Maduro en sus ultimas apariciones ya sale vestido de luto? Avisando la mala noticia en otro idioma! Noticia que destruiría moralmente al chavismo para estas elecciones del 16D su Gran Líder murió como el peor de los bandidos, escondido de todo el mundo!
    Pertenezco al departamento de seguridad del hospital y tengo, pruebas de que esto es cierto, tengo hasta vídeos de todo lo que desde hace dos días están haciendo con el cuerpo del Difunto presidente, para seguir con su obra de teatro y haciéndole creer al pueblo que todo esta bien,

    DESPIERTA VENEZUELA SACUDANSE…

    PÁSALO,

    La Habana Cuba 30, de Diciembre 2012

    • NorskeDiv Says:

      If this is true, the volume of the rumors about his death will grow and grow until they become a torrent. At some point they will have to be dispelled definitively – habeas corpus, dead or alive.

    • EDS Says:

      Mr. “Pertenezco al departamento de seguridad del hospital”

      Send us a little, tiny proof of this and we all believe you. You say you have them, no?

    • Roy Says:

      While the facts may well be correct (who knows?), if someone in the security department of the hospital had written this, they would be exposing themselves to a brutal interrogation followed by life in prison, at best. The more likely is that their body would simply never be found.

    • syd Says:

      tengo hasta vídeos de todo lo que desde hace dos días están haciendo con el cuerpo del Difunto presidente…La Habana Cuba 30, de Diciembre 2012

      sí, como nié…

    • syd Says:

      marquina en bayly:


  2. Hard to believe, if he dies, the demons are unleashed….

  3. m_astera Says:

    Wow Miguel. Nice writing. Thanks.

  4. Alex Says:

    It’s pathetic, they are pathetic, the most repulsive group of fellow countrymen all aligned together in the single goal of maintaining popular support by any means, including of course the interminable commemoration or celebration of defeats, of non-achievements, of failures, all disguised into successes which they are not.

    Unfortunately we must not forget that there is still a huge base of Venezuelans providing support to these crooks for whatever logic or illogic reasons there might be. Lots of people really believe the success stories.

  5. Morpheous Says:

    Yes, I would call it the Chavez impossible but realized anti-miracle. And what kind of people can still follow such a negative leadership?

  6. Kepler Says:

    Good post but for this:
    “Abilities which they may have had or developed, ”
    The only abilities the vast majority of those guys have are for manipulating people, for stealing, for nothing else.

    Miguel,
    They have always been utterly mediocre.

    Regarding rumours of the Fat Man’s death:
    please, remember Chavismo, like similar movements, is very expert in promoting certain rumours. Then someone important from the oppo says “he is dead” and perhaps he is not, even if he may be dying. That is enough.

    Let’s work on facts.

    Remember Ghadaffi? It was a very stupid error from British minister Gate to say the dictator was on his way to Venezuela when that was not the case. That, I believe, actually made Gaddaffi stronger for a couple of weeks as people in the place were not sure what to believe.

    We can and should challenge Chavismo to show up Chávez or declare his temporal incapacity. Either he is recovering and thus not capable of governing or he is recovered well enough and should pop up. Let’s explain this time after time.


  7. Nothing to celebrate but to mourn, not for Chavez but because of the heaps of young people killed by street crime. Today they have assassinated the son of Claudio Fermin who was a friend and the day before another young girl. Two victims in countless sea of victims. Very sad news.

  8. Antonio Says:

    Your mention of the sorry state of science and technology in Venezuela is really depressing. I, like many other people, worked at IVIC, INTEVEP or both, having spent many years trying to create favorable conditions for the next generation of Venezuelan scientists and engineers. It is hard to see how all the efforts came to nothing thanks to the incompetence of the ruling Chavista class. But perhaps the destruction was deliberate, following the existing power grab model imported from Cuba. You say that “the road back will be tough, if not impossible”. I have to agree.

  9. ode007 Says:

    Compelling synopsis Miguel. Feb 4 is just another populist move among many. Sad for the blind, irritated by the convenient conformers and angry at those who can stop the yearly slaughter but find it profitable not to do so.

    With respect to post by Mr. David Cheever & his email.. I agree with Kepler, dis-information and entrapment are standard issue for the PSu. Although I did hear that the CNE has a tentative program (March 2013) for Pres.Elections. Maybe this is why the Mayors elections have changed to July. Link info:

    http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/CNE-elaboro-cronograma-tentativo-presidenciales_0_130789403.html

    It would appear the clock IS ticking .. they just decided NOT to tell the rest of the Country. This does however explain a lot of the Posturing & threats I see going around directed at the possible decedents in the partido. PSu base party elections I think are to clear the air between Maduro & Cabello. Can they afford to have Pres.Elections without Tibi & others in place? They are due for replacement as of April .. hence March 31 is crucial for them. “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” …. Pres elections and China is not signing anymore checks…oh oh cosas van de mal para peor :)

  10. captainccs Says:

    I was out running errands yesterday, February 4. Nobody gives a damn. Not about the coup, not about the revolution, not about Chavez, not about the opposition. Everyone is busy surviving. The revolutionary speeches blare from radios, I comment out loud that these were assassins. People smile and go about their business. The grocery store owner has time enough to say: “They will do anything to hang on to power” and turns to take care of the next customer.

    Total apathy.

    • firepigette Says:

      Captainccs,

      That is what I sense also, just from talking with friends and seeing their lives on facebook.

      INDIFFERENCE!

      It is hard for me to sympathize too much with indifference and the total lack of feeling personally responsible for anything.

    • Charlie Says:

      I don’t think it’s so much indifference. You said it yourself: :Everyone is busy surviving”. I think people are tired of chasing whatever they need all over town, looking over their shoulders because they’re afraid of becoming the victim of a malandro, having to deal with traffic, trying to adapt to the inefficiencies of public services. I came back to Venezuela a little over 2 years ago, and believe me, at the end of the day I’m exhausted from dealing with all this crap, and I’m not really sure what other regular citizens or myself can do to change things.

      What can you and I specifically do to change things?

      • syd Says:

        I can’t wait for the answer to your valid question, Charlie.

        • Charlie Says:

          A friend was in a car accident just this morning. It was clearly the other guys fault. He got out of his car and started insulting my friend. My friend couldn’t do anything and no one in the vicinity tried to help her, so she just drove away in her banged up car. There’s no law that protects people in this country. One is so powerless. Some talk about how difficult it is for those Venezuelans having to live in North America, but I don’t see it as difficult as it is here where you don’t have any rights and hopes of things being different just keep vanishing.

  11. Roy Says:

    Of all the negatives in Chavez’s legacy, when the history books are written, the worst will be the deliberate political polarization of the Venezuelan public. Chavez has set the stage for a social and political catastrophe in Venezuela: “Apres moi, la deluge.”

    • Andres F Says:

      Very natural to have this polarization, eventually through the years opposition will fade away and become a minority, just like in Cuba.

  12. M Rubio Says:

    I spoke at length last night to a civil engineer (a Chavista) about the local agricultural economy as it was 20 years ago. As a Chavista, he’s certainly got no axe to grind so I’m confident he was speaking honestly. I’ve got only 6 years experience in the area so my perspective is very limited.

    In short, it’s amazing what this zone produced before Chavez. It appears that with his presidency there was utter destruction and/or abandoment of the agricultural production capacity of the region. Today, it appears that the area is slowly but surely climbing out of its hole.

    To see Chavez (and his cronies) claiming that Venezuela is “more independent” today than ever in its history is nothing short of laughable when one considers that the country can’t begin to feed itself.

    If I were Venezuelan, I’d be convinced that I’d lived through a nightmare.

  13. colon Says:

    Great summary Miguel,

    Chavismo has been much worse version of the degraded corrupted populism we had after 1976….

    In creole: un ‘quitate tu pa’ poneme yo a recibir el chorro de petroleo, musicalizada por la trova cubana, interpretada por una banda militar y bailada por los nuevos ricos con muchos resbalones sobre el piso aceitoso…..

    How long are we going to keep watching?

  14. John Barnard Says:

    I prefer the olive drab over the red, it’s a more honest representation of their governing style.

    • Ronaldo Says:

      Diosdado looks more like a Boy Scout leader with that scarf. How old are the kids in the backgound with scarves?

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        Cheap shot->Lucky for him, the boy scouts now accept homosexuals!

        At least I think, Diosdado was the one who made those homophobic attacks on Capriles, can’t remember if he was. Given the general level of homophobia among Chavistas, it’s a good bet a lot of them are closeted gays.

      • CharlesC Says:

        The clothing Cabello wore is utterly rediculous. The clothing is meaningless and insulting to the military. It is truly unbelievable
        that he would go on stage dress that way. If he were a musician or a clown it would be ok- but not a government official.

  15. BB Cuiba Says:

    They reached their Peter principle at the very beginning of this so called revolution. One big tangled mess.

  16. BB Cuiba Says:

    Or probably had reached it long before the infamous 4 de febrero.

  17. syd Says:

    Great post, Miguel. For me, the money quote is this (with two additions):

    …today’s poverty level is likely to be above 50%, despite the FACTOR OF SIX(-fold) INCREASE IN INCOME PER CAPITA IN US DOLLARS from oil that the Government has enjoyed (from 1999 to the present day).

    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….

    Great comments, too. To those who lament the apathy and indifference of the Venezuelan public to the twisted behaviours of the current pandilla in government, evidently, they have not lived through a dictatorship. It’s all very well to be outraged from a comfortable post abroad. But in the day-to-day, in Vzla, where homicidal rates have skyrocketed, while an angry bunch of radicals govern poorly, with the military in their pockets, the common citizen has to tread carefully, particularly if one has a family to feed and protect. This is just common sense and shouldn’t even require my explanation.

  18. Douglas Says:

    Spot on Miguel!. I also think that its going to be avery long climb back from the black hole of mediocrity and apathy of today. But again we are getting old, Venezuela will need youngsters who don’t know the meaning of impossible to get Venezuela out of the mess it is in. I got out midway through the mess, (2006) and I’m not looking back. My son needed another set of values to grow up with….

  19. firepigette Says:

    Making excuses for excessive passivity and apathy does not contribute one iota to the problem – it only adds to it.

    Nor is it possible to compare the hardships faced by those who live outside of Venezuela with the hardships faced inside the country.

    There are plenty of people in Venezuela who can leave anytime they want to, but simply prefer the advantages they have there.

    The people I know who are the angriest about the situation in Venezuela are precisely the ones who have the least, and are the most poor, and who have less to lose.

    The ones I know who are the most passive, are the ones coasting along fairly well economically.

    • syd Says:

      says she who left Venezuela because things were getting a little too rough. Or so she revealed some time ago. Unless that was horse manure.

      If you feel so strongly about the apathy, as you have periodically intoned, I’d suggest you move back and lead the counter-revolution.

  20. bt Says:

    Today Fidel states that Chavez is getting better. Believe it! He would never lie. It is time to start over again.

  21. Phil Says:

    After 14 years you will soon have a young generation that know no better and with less true education to know there is better to be attained. A very sorry state indeed and I expect it will actually get worse as Cuba desperately hang onto their influence.
    Personally, I no longer believe Hugo is in the land of the living or just a shadow maintained on tubes.

    • syd Says:

      The Gómez dictatorship lasted 27 years (1908-1935). In 1928, students (the normal vanguard of counter-dictatorships and the like), who had only known caudillo rule, attempted to overthrow the government, without success. Many went into exile or were jailed, among them Rómulo Betancourt, who was the father of the longest sustained democracy (yes, with some warts) in Venezuela.

      My point is, we will emerge from these dark forces in government when the time is right. Not before, no matter how many laments are voiced by adult Venezuelans and foreign sympathizers, both in the country and abroad.

      • Andres F Says:

        Emerging from a low point is usually better than emerging from a lower point. The further down you go, the longer you will take to recuperate.

        • NorskeDiv Says:

          If Venezuela really is at a global minimum, then it follows it’s likely to get better without any standout policies.

  22. extorres Says:

    Miguel Octavio, I think your emphasis on the factor of six is very, very understated; it’s closer to fifty. Here’s why. If 1unit was enough before to maintain the nation and still have a little left over for development, then the 5units greater that chavismo now has is all for development because the first unit already covered the maintenance costs. If what was left over for development with the first unit was 10%, then the five following units equal that same 10%, fifty times over!

  23. geronl Says:

    “It’s Okay when we do it”

    Leftists are the same everywhere.


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