After ignoring the issue of crime for most of his Government, President Hugo Chavez appears to be ready to create a “Mision Crimen Cero” in an attempt to convince us that crime, the number one problem for Venezuelan voters according to pollsters, is not a problem. In fact, with a very straight face, Hugo Chavez told the world that crime in the US is much worse than that in Venezuela, despite the fact that there are more murders in Venezuela every year than in the US. Never mind that the US has a population ten times larger than Venezuela’s, numbers for the Venezuelan President are meant to be ignored. (Chavez even had the nerve to say: “Look at the figures and statistics)
The problem is that it works. Last year the Government claimed to have built close to the 150,000 housing units it promised, while it is known that it built less than half that, but by including homes that were improved, the target was reached and that was that.
And too many voters seem to believe the smoke and mirrors. Witness this chart from the Consultores 21 poll:
The chart says that 52% of the families are registered or will be registered in Mision Vivienda. If each family is assumed to be composed of four members, that is over 3,.5 million families in the country, but the Government is unlikely to complete 100,000 units in 2012, less than 3% of those needed. The second chart says that 80% expect to get a housing unit from the Government. Given that no specific time frame is mentioned, the number is reasonable, it is hope springs eternal at its best. But it is the last chart that makes you wonder: Fully 48% of the same people believe they will receive their housing unit before the October election.
Thus, by election time you you would think the 45% that did not get a housing unit will be mad at the Venezuela President and will not vote for him.
Because by then Chavez or the Chavista candidate will be blaming the US, the opposition, obscure forces, boycotts, rains, the Gods (Catholic or not) and who knows what else, for the failure of the revolution to deliver on the housing units. We will be told not to worry, by next year they will be ready. Everyone will get one, Chavista or not.
And then they will launch “Mision Crimen Cero”, telling us that the 13,080 homicides, 3.429 deaths for resisting the authorities and 4,508 suspicious deaths which took place in 2010, are either not true or have been reduced to zero via the magic of the revolution.
And for the fourteenth year in a row, millions of people will believe it.