Hugo Chavez’ “I didn’t do it!” ability

March 22, 2009


I can’t help but marvel at Hugo Chavez’s ability never to take responsibility for anything.  It is the same attitude of a little kid, which in Spanish is best represented by saying “Yo no fui” (I didn’t do it!).

He gets away with this time after time. Ten years in Government screwing things up and he still comes out and blames everyone but himself. And unfortunately, a lot of people believe him.

Yesterday was emblematic of this attitude by the Venezuelan President. Take the salaries of high ranking officials. Since the exchange rate crisis of 1982, never did the salaries of high ranking officials rise as fast and in such a grotesque fashion than under Chavez. When Chavez became President, a university Full Professor was making maybe Bs. 3 million or US$ 3,000 at the official rate of exchange, this was the same salary as a Minister or a Deputy of the National Assembly. Today tat same Professor makes maybe Bs. 7,000 (US$ 1,100 at the swap rate, the only one he has access to) while the Deputy makes about Bs. 14,000 plus bonuses, diets, travel and perks. And let’s not talk about Supreme Court Judges, CNE Directors or President’s of the myriad of Central Government institutions Chavze has created.

And who allowed this to happen? Hugo Chavez. But you would have thought it was some othe perverse Government who did it. Becasue in the end Chavez has needed this outrageous salaries to keep the Captains happy. And it was the juicy bonuses and pensions of the Supreme Court and Central bank, that made them so attractive to the Chavistas “light” willing to trade a university pension for a cushy position with would readjust their pension a factor of five at the end of the road. Human rights and justice be damned, go for the money!

And who did this? “Yo no fui!” President Hugo Chavez. He has never tried to stop it (Don’t think he will this time around either)


And all his talk last night about austerity and eliminating superfluous expenses also reminded me that but not devaluating, I will be able to go to fly to Europe at Bs. 2.15 per US$, really no sacrifice for me. (Why go to the Empire, if it’s so cheap to go to Europe or Asia?)Not only that, but I will get a 400 euro cash advance and US$ 2,500 per dollar for my expenses. But Hugo was not about to remove this privilege, fearing the middle class would get mad at him. I wonder why, since he has so little support in that part of the population.

And who set up this system? Ummm…funny if it wasn’t Hugo Chavez himself who created all of these rules and has maintained this subsidy for the rich, which is extremely superfluous.

But Chavez would say: “Yo no fui!”

And as the ports are taken over, look at prior efforts to “take over” things for the national good. The Macuto Sheraton? Empty and abandoned. The Melia Caribe? Abandoned. The Cable Car? It’s deteriorating. Venepal? Dying. Veneiran? You got to be kidding me to ask. PDVSA? A joke, it has twice the number of workers produces less and its debt its huge.

And Chavez would say, “Yo no fui!” We know better, but do others?

And of course, 20,000 traitors were fired from PDVSA in 2003 because we had to preserve national “sovereignty”, but Ramirez is right now going aroudn the world trying to get US$ 4 or 5 billion in exchange for futre oil production, while Chavze got an additional US$ 4 billion advance from the Chinese for his China Fund, which is exactly the same, money received so that Venezuela will later send oil to the Asian country. Pan para hoy, hambre para mañana. (Bread today, hungry tomorrow)

And Chavez is certainly to say: “Yo no fui!”

Because the Showman/Dictator has to be given credit for his ability to lie and deceive. Funny that he remembered the criticism by Nobel Prize winner in Economic Joseph Stiglitz to the policies of Barak Obama, but he failed to recall that Stiglitz also said Venezuela is among the countries that will do worse because of the crisis.

And while Chavez talks about efficiency, savings and not devaluating because we don’t need it, the truth is that every week PDVSA changes foreign currency in a ver non-transparent way, allowing some PDVSA officials and some local brokers to make a mint in the process, arbitraging the Venezuelan currency. Sure, thsi is being done without Chavez knowing…

And Chavez would say: “I didn’t do it”

And in the end he may get away with it. He has for ten years after all. He gives away the money, he gives away the oil, he gets rid of Venezuela’s oil research complex, he destroys private companies, wipes out farms, allows wholesale corruption, denies basic rights, inflation our of control, controls the system of justice.

But he always gets away with “Yo no  fui!”

You’ve got to give him credit!


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