You know you have a centralized Government when the office of the President decides on science and scientific financing

May 16, 2010

(What are you searching for?)

On May 7th. the Director of Venezuela’s formerly premier scientific research Institute in Venezuela IVIC (there are none now) sent the letter below, translated liberally by me to all research personnel:

Good Afternoon, the present letter is to request from all those responsible of research projects with the Institute, your cooperation to fill out a file of project, at the request of the Presidency of the Republic, with urgent and priority character.

In this file, only those projects at IVIC which fulfill the following characteristics should be included:

Useful and or social impact projects that solve people’s problems or have the capacity to solve social problems.

The format can be found at the following link:

which should be sent to IVIC’s Planning Office.

The deadline for handing in the information will be: Monday May 10th.

We should note that the information will be received and reviewed by the Director and later resent to the Office of the President of the republic for his consideration.


Angel Viloria


Thus, “Science” in Venezuela is now reduced to the definition of President Hugo Chavez, beginning with the oxymoronic concept of “useful science” and Chavez will now bypass the peer review process and likely decide himself what should get funding.

I wonder how many Lysenkos this will yield?

14 Responses to “You know you have a centralized Government when the office of the President decides on science and scientific financing”

  1. loroferoz Says:

    I would recommend Samuel Goudsmit’s essay “The Gestapo in Science”. He was one of the originators of the concept of electron spin, a nuclear physicist, and the technical chief of the Alsos project to assess the progress of German nuclear science during World War 2.

    It’s an eye opener: Goudsmit dissects totalitarian control of science. At times you laugh, at times you feel pity, at times you want to kill the SOBS.

  2. tocada Says:

    beginning with the oxymoronic concept of “useful science”

    It’s a tautology, not an oxymoron.

  3. Mamarracho Says:

    Well, it males me wonder what Angel Viloria is going to do with the butterflies he studies or once studied. The guy started out as an entomologist, caver, and hard core hiker and explorer of the Perija mountains. Now reduced to a political bureaucrat in IVIC what will happen to the grandiose plans top study the countries biodiversity? Will he find a way to defend biomapas or the creation of a museum to study the countries biological patrimony?

    I was witness to the creation of Vzla’s 1st biodiversity congress in Maracay and in the Rancho Grande building in Henri Pittier Park by the Oficina Nacional de Diversidad Biologica (part of the Environment Min). What seemed like an excellent initiative turned into a sorry show of laughing stock logistics that left most participants so annoyed, few bothered to show up during the second day of activities. Instead of handing out a booklet on Vzln diodiv or something remotely related to the environment, they threw in some red covered book about Che Guevara.

    What is so frustrating is that the head of this office is an UCV professor, a great herpetologist that knows what such events are about, yet he never formally contacted the local UCV campus for help. In fact his coyness with the UCV was so evident it was pathetic. So no help from people that could have made a difference in organizing, and not a crumb from any other government agency.

    Proper management of biodiv towards the utopian “Suprema Felicidad Social”? The regime doesn’t give a rat’s ass about biological diversity. The Min of the Environ did not mind the destruction of the field stations in Pinero, El Frio and El Cedral, nor the razing of watersheds in s Vzla, as long as there is entertainment for the masses and gold for the generals.

  4. deananash Says:

    island canuck, I can explain Chavez. He doesn’t care about “his” core constituency, and he really doesn’t have to. Remember, they’ve ALWAYS had nothing, so this is simply more of the same.

    In fact, his core are happy to see the middle class destroyed, such is the class warfare mindset of the true-believer socialist. They believe that everything has to go in order for them to ‘start over’.

    Fools that they are, they also believe that Chavez actually cares about their suffering, not realizing that the only thing Chavez cares about is his own power (and well-being).

    As to the elections, as long as he keeps the military content, he can control the opposition, the press, pretty much the whole ball of wax. What’s needed is a true patriot.

  5. Speed Gibson Says:

    i mean honesty….when are you people gonna shoot this moron?

  6. Roger Says:

    Now the Marxist snitch element. and of course those accused are guilty until proven innocent ! I would assume there will be some sort of reward?
    This is not good.

  7. island canuck Says:

    Pedrop said:

    “But thereagain maybe Venezuela needs to go down, much further than it is today.”

    That is exactly what is about to happen. In a way I really don’t understand the logic just before an election unless the results of the AN elections is a mute point & he already has plans to make the AN ineffective.

    I know why he is doing this – to destroy the middle class – his main opposition – but does he not realize that this will also hurt his core constituency? The private business man provides a huge hunk of the countries employment.

    I had a talk this week with another local business man who depends on imports for his business. Without them he has no business. He had already given up on CADIVI & was using the swap market to supply his hundreds of thousands per month that he needed.

    He’s ion a panic right now because, like CADIVI, he has no hope oif getting what he will need from the new system.

    This country is a long way from the bottom & it’s now too late to stop the fall.

  8. captainccs Says:

    Thinking back to a conversation I had around 1995-6 in El Papagayo, a friend was hoping for a coup to replace the democratic debacle of the “chiripero” with Perez Jimenez style military order. I warned him of the dangers of such a regime. Can he now complain about Chavez? He wanted a strongman and got one.

  9. captainccs Says:

    Wanting to control everything is a sure sign of an inferiority complex. But unfortunately we, the controlled, pay the price.

  10. Pedrop Says:

    Sorry, I meant to post that in ‘Exchange Controls………

  11. Pedrop Says:

    The references to Zimbabwe may indeed be correct.
    However many may consider the suggestion that Venezuela is another Zimbabwe as a bit of an insult.

    The big difference is that many Rhodesians had the balls to deal with the situation head on. So they lost, but at least they stood their ground.

    But thereagain maybe Venezuela needs to go down, much further than it is today. I suspect that the disappearance of the parallell exchange mechanism last week has yet to register with many minds. And consequently if inflation takes off, critical items no longer available, maybe then Venezuelans will start taking an interest in the future of their country.

    Very sad I must admit but it may be the only perverse solution to the present situation.

    On another note I have been asked twice today for dollars. Now I have no dollars and being law abiding I terminated the conversation. In another world someone would have asked ‘why do you want dollars ? If the need is great does that mean the exchange rate is higher ?

  12. Robert Says:

    The smart guy will be the one that submits the scientific study for how to “sustain socialism”

  13. Antonio Says:

    Nicolaas, MO:

    “good government, good economic and monetary policies”

    When we have a hardhead totalitarian military, taking all by himself, with his fantasia socialism, the decisions to the investigations to go in IVIC, in a very complicated investigation institution (once ago one of the best in Latin-America), you can not nothing from above coming from a hallucinating mind. Wait for that indicated you are also hallucinating, like more Chaviztas in Venezuela.

    Like you can see, like Zimbabwe, we have a Novel Prize in all knowledge’s areas.

  14. Finally! You are using the Lysenko imagery!!!

    Cassandra Duquenal

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