Yesterday, I sincerely could not believe the Dictator when he started talking and pontificating about the problem with cheap gasoline in Venezuela. “You are filling your tank with the cheapest gasoline in the world” said the President, speaking with his scolding tone, as if saying “you bad guys have been doing this behind my back”. Then, as if his inauguration was just last week, rather than twelve years ago, Chavez told us in his pedagogical tone, that the Government subsidizes 90% of the price of gasoline, a topic we have covered many times.
Wow! When did he find this out?
Because for twelve years, Hugo Chavez has done very little to change the price of gasoline. In fact, he forced Former President Rafael Caldera in 1997 NOT to increase the price of gasoline to take advantage of that populist stance.
In 2000, his cronies at PDVSA cancelled the natural gas car program for vehicles, which was rapidly expanding and they have now tried to revive without much success (Surprise!)
And it was Chavez himself in Alo presidente the fact that he had not built major roads, because that would only attract more people to cities.
And it was also Chavez who sent oil and gasoline to Iran, London, Petrocaribe, Cuba, Argentina, Central America and Uruguay, the latter a country with a much higher standard of living than Venezuela.
But rather than eliminate these subsidies and/or increase the prce of gasoline, Chavez solution is very simple:
Gasoline rationing. The Government will force us to consume in 2011 100,000 barrels less a day than in 2010.
What’s next? Rationing sand? Because after all, we have had water and electricity rationing, food shortages and now gasoline rationing, all once abundant in Venezuela.
But it is the paradox of Venezuela, Chavez, the revolution and gasoline. After twelve years of inaction, he puts his angelic and pedagogic face and blames us for his incompetence. Even managing to scold us. We should feel guilty. But not him. Like the cartoon above, Chavez is well meaning, generous and smart.
It is the Venezuelan people who are simply very dumb, to continue to put up with Chavez’ charade. The “Yo no fui” parade of his own incompetence.