I was a little surprised when Hugo Chavez began talking about his salary, saying he would b ashamed if it was too high like Bs. 10,000 per month (US$ 1,666 at the swap rate) and that the poor Deputies of the National Assembly made only Bs. 4,300 (US$ 716) per month. Surprised, because I had heard that high Venezuelan Government officials were making around Bs. 30,000 a month (US$ 5,000) at the swap rate, plus juicy bonuses and perks.
Then I thought I was really clever and I would get into the webpage of the Social Security administration and check the payments made into the system by Government officials, which would give me a glimpse into salaries.Essentially, you go to the IVSS webpage, input the ID number and birth date and it gives you all of the details of the account. How would I get the ID and birth date? Well, I could not think of a better way to use the Maisanta/Chavez database than this, using its convenient reverse function look up table, insert a last and first name and it gives you all I need.
Unfortunately, nothing is simple in Venzuela. It turns out that lwayers do not contribute to Social Security and nether do the military. So, forget about the Supreme Court, one of the places I was curious about.
I did find a couple of interesting things. First, I looked up Hugo the Dictator himself. Guess what? The data is fine, he did not contribute (as military) until he got elected President and then in 1999, he did:
Funny thing is he never contributed after that. Weird, no? He is not military, he contributed his first year as President and then, nothing…
In fact, Chavez lied today saying that he did not make enough money to pay taxes. If he makes Bs.10,000, he has to pay taxes and with much less social security taxes. Something smells funny here.
Maybe a reader can enlighten me.
The only other interesting fact I found, was when I checked the new Minister of Commerce, Eduardo Saman, the same one that yesterday was telling people you had to pay taxes and all of those glorious things, like sacrificing profits, that revolutionaries are saying, as if they had discovered warm water.
Well, the curious thing is, that Mr. Saman will turn 45 next week and either he was unemployed until 2001 or did not pay his social securty taxes, because he does not appear in the registry until 2001..
Fortunately others have begun doing the same job but with better access to information. While Chavze talked bout his salary or that of the National Assembly, El Nacional gave us a whole list:
Rafael Ramirez Bs. 60,000 a month
CNE Directors Bs. 25,000 to 35,000 a month
Central Bank President Bs. 42,000 a month
Supreme Court judges 40,000 a month, 5 to 8 months bonuses
Now, I have no objection to people in these positions making good money. What I object to is these lying bleeding hearts saying they care so much for the poor and then increasing their salaries to 50 times the minimum salary.
The Assembly approved now a Bill to put a cap on salaries. That Bill was introduced in 2007 but even though the Assembly did nothing last year as Chavez legislated by decree, the Bill never moved. Now that the Dictator wants it, it is rushed through the Assembly.
To me this Bill violates Venezuelan Labor laws. The Government can put a cap on salsries, but according to Venezuela’s Labor legislation you can not decrease anybody’s salary, the law is even more general than that, you can not “worsen” the working conditions of a salried worker. This applies to all of these positions. But I am sure they will genuflect and give thanks to Chavez for the privilege of working for him.