Archive for April 16th, 2007

Ramblings on an out of control autocracy

April 16, 2007

The last few days have been unbelievable in terms of the
ability of the revolution to simply discard all semblances of appearances and
simply go out of its way to show its true colors in all walks of Venezuelan
life, showing and proving that this is far from being a democracy. Depressingly
so, I just wonder where the so called opposition is, Chavez and his fascist
cohorts keep at it and you barely hear anyone complain.

Perhaps the most depressing part was to have Chavez preside
once again over the celebration of death. We heard about the now heroes of
Puente El Llaguno, we were told the dead were sacrifices for this travesty, we
even heard how Chavez’ personal life was threatened that fateful day, as if US
marines had landed that day in Caracas. But Chavez seem to have forgotten we
saw footage of him waking to the car taking to Fuerte Tiuna that day, nobody
forced him, like a sheep he went, knowing full well the crimes he had
committed. But now, we hear about the millions that nobody saw taking to the
streets to protest in another macabre celebration by the autocrat, as his
stupid supporters nod with their heads, as he tells this new tale of the empty
heroics of the cowardly leader.

And the autocrat seems to have lost track of his own
timetable as if lost in his own time capsule. He tells the military that they
either have to become socialists or leave the military, as if his secret and
absolutely autocratic and dictatorial changes of the Constitution proceed in
absolute secrecy in violation of the same Constitution Chavez had himself
written to measure in 2000. The problem is that more than just his body size
has changed since then. He now has discovered the word “socialism” in the last
two years and as he has, we have yet to find out exactly what he means by it,
adding to it that XXIst. Socialism prefix, which evokes something like a
digital socialism, except that the man at the controls is dressed with your
typical Latin American military uniform, screaming orders and telling people to
put up or shut up, the same type that has always done things in the name of the
people, only to end up screwing them in the name of their own glory and crazy
project, much like the man from Sabaneta.

And that same man now pretends to give classes of democracy
and tolerance to the Chilean Senate, daring to call them fascists, precisely
the word that the Chilean Senators think of whenever they think of our
autocratic leader. Because if there is something that the Chilean Senate knows
how to identify is the ugly head of fascism, which they had to endure for so
many years and they see the clear similarities between their old nemesis that
ruled Chile for a decade and this parody of a statesman that claims to be the
democratic leader of Venezuela. And when the Chilean Senate saw the threat to
shutdown a TV station, they did not need much explanations to understand that
autocrats and dictators are the same across the ages and the countries, that
Pinochet, Fujimory and Chavez are cut from the same pattern despite the
different ideologies, times, colors and countries that allowed the prosperity
of their personal projects to overcome the best ideals of the democracies that
once flourished in their respective countries.

And the shutdown of RCTV is being hailed as yet another step
in this strange democracy that shuts down dissent and threatens all enemies, if
it does not go as far as jailing them. And the chorus of brainless supporters
cheers on when the autocrat says that RCTV participated in the so called coup,
when one does not remember RCTV being even the focus at the time. There were
other enemies then, but they have compromised their values and while not
aligned with the Government, they are no longer a nuisance. So, RCTV is the
nuisance by default and without the chance to defend itself or be declared
guilty by a Court, the autocrat and his chorus have reached a sentence and they
repeat it daily, hoping that in time it will become the truth.

Meanwhile, the basis for any socialist society, the working
class as represented by the unions, find themselves as marginalized by the
socialist revolution as the oligarchy. That same oligarchy that Chavez simply
said he cannot talk to and in which he groups the 30%+ that did not vote for
him or does not like him, which only shows his ignorance about classes and
social status in this society. But maybe we should just cheer because he wants
nothing to do with us, his intolerance just proves, once more, what his
supporters continue to be in denial about: That man ain’t no democrat!

And the union rank and file is getting restless. After three
or four years without a collective contract, after hearing Chávez use them as
an excuse for their fights, only to turn on them when he wins the fights, is
finally concvining them of what they have not wanted to recognize in recent
years, that Chavez just uses them at his convenience but in the end does not
believe in the union movement He only believes in authority, his and that of
the military and that, much like in military forts, he wants to run the country
with an iron hand, no dissent, no discussions, no concessions. What Chavez says
is the law, even if there are Courts that are supposd to decide it. If he used
the unions as his flagship against CANTV, now that he has decided to
nationalize it, he has no use for it, or for EDC, or for Sidor or any other
one. He only likes coops, because there are no unions, no organized force
against him. They don’t want profit, only solidarity, which is why they fail
and fail en masse.

And now even the judges have to wonder about their future,
as the Autocrat Dictator has told them they can’t go against him. It is no
longer a matter of following the Government’s directions whenever necessary,
the message seems to be: Check before you rule just to make sure you don’t do
what we don’t want. Either shape up or else, Chavez dixit. Not even the Supreme
Court can go against him now. Of curse, the Peoples’ Ombudsman and the
Prosecutor have always been on his side and now more than ever, as witnessed by
the extradition request for dummy Carmona: since the charge of rebellion is no
ground for extradition, the silly man is now being accused of attempting to
murder Chavez, as if he autocrat was not under his total control for 48 hours
during which, had they wanted to away with him, any form of funny accident
could have been staged. But it didn’t, because nobody tried.

And then there is corruption. At the rate the bolibourgeois
are stealing and scheming, the new oligarchy will be one hundred times richer
than the old one in only a few years. It took them little time to understand
that financial corruption is quick, simple and very profitable, why bother with
projects, bids and the like.

Thus, the Development Fund Fonden, which is in charge of
funding developing the country uses over US$ 4 billion of its US$ 12 billion budget to

The Ministry of Finance…

in very creative
twist of the concept of development. Meanwhile hundreds of millions of US$,
amounts never before heard of in the context of Venezuelan corruption are
“earned” in bond sales, allocations and distributions with no transparency in
deals that challenge the ability of anyone including Chavistas to explain why
they are structured and executed the way they are other than they are these
fantastic vehicles for enrichment of the new revolutionary class.

Meanwhile, the country is en route to import US$ 40 billion
in goods in 2007, which happens to be twice what PDVSA generated in US
dollars in a full year only three years ago. And inflation is set to hit 30%,
insuring that with foreign exchange fixed under controls, local goods get more
expensive every day, guaranteeing that they can easily be replaced with an
imported item anytime. But hey! The economy is booming say the Chavistas, which
only goes to show that ignorance is simply a commodity.

And while the day of political reckoning may be far off,
that of economic calamity is not. Unless oil doubles over the next three years,
which is not exactly likely, the artificiality of the Venezuelan economy will
blow up before then. As one of our more astute readers said in one comment,
that fate was sealed the day the National Assembly approved the concept of
excess international reserves, while maintaining the growth in Government

In the meantime, those that have no hope that there will be
a political change, like me, watch this much like we watch some exotic
spectator sport, wondering in which quarter, half or episode the final goal
will be scored and if the fireworks afterwards will be as spectacular as we
suspect. And wondering how the Autocrat/Dictator will find someone responsible
to blame for that defeat, no matter how absurd and far-fetched it may be. And
much like the April 2002 murders and repression, we will be told it never
happened and even if it did, it was not his fault. That is not how things work
in autocracies.

A picture is worth 10,000 words #27: Revenues from oil exports and poverty

April 16, 2007

You would think there would be an effect, no?