Archive for September 16th, 2009

When ignorance takes over a country: Minister of Science Chacon and earthquakes

September 16, 2009

Last April, there was an earthquake in the early morning hours with a magnitude of 5.4 in the Richter scale. Jesse Chacon, the current Minister of Science and Technology came out and made this very public statement:

Now, I don’t know who told Chacon then about this non-existent models that predicted that in 1,000 years there would not be another earthquake of this magnitude, because the area where that quake took place has had stronger quakes every sixty years. So Mr. Chacon did not know his science, nor his history when he made that statement, because he was proven wrong ver fast last Saturday, when Caracas was shaken by a quake with magnitude 6.4 in the Richter scale, a full order of magnitude higher than the “impossible” event in 1,000 years predicted by Chacon.

But this is the man that is guiding policy in Venezuelan science these days, despite the fact that he has no knowledge or training whatsoever in science and confuses science, technology and even making modern products when he talks about what science is. This was demonstrated by his letter to Science magazine a couple of months ago, where he noted among the accomplishments of science in the revolution, the access to computers by school kids, a cell phone factory and the fact that Venezuela purchased a turnkey satellite from the Chinese.

But that has been the hallmark of the Chavez administration, he has had a bunch of Nescafe instant Ministers that he has rotated from one position to another, without these Ministers having any knowledge or training in the newly found position. Chacon has been Minister of Justice, Telecommunications, Infrastructure and Science, among others, and he has pontificated with the same style as the video above in each of them.  A year ago his topic was police systems, now its science and technology, next year it will be healthcare or who knows what. This is the hallmark of the Chavez administration: Improvisation by former military with little management experience but who walk through positions acting and talking as if they had intimate and extensive knowledge about their positions.

And in the process they do irreparable harm to whatever they do, from oil, to light and heavy industries, to science, culture, to agriculture, the track record of destruction by the Chavez revolution is truly remarkable. Minister after Minister talks about projects, future, but never about accomplishments, there are so few of them. We always hear about oil projects, never about the completion of one. We always hear about grandiose promises (Remember the Amazon pipeline, the 16 refineries with other countries and the grandiose gas and oil projects?) but we never see Chavez inaugurating any of them, because they never get completed or even started.

It is the revolution of ignorance that has taken over our poor country and Jesse Chacon is simply setting the bases so that Venezuela’ s Science and Technology system is destroyed, such that it will insure that we remain an underdeveloped country for years to come. His ignorance and arrogance is the guarantee of that.