A radical shift to the radical left in Venezuela

June 25, 2010

Believe it or not, within the robolution some people think there is a “right” and a “left”, the “right” belonging to those that want a little more pragmatism and less ideology for the sake of the survival of the robolution (with an “o”), while the left is composed by the more Pol Potian leaders, whose idea of socialism is averaging down everyone, until we are all as poor and as obedient to the “process” as can be.

It is not a very well-defined line. The more radical wing is actually more honest or should I say less corrupt, less touched by scandals, while the “right wingers” are also pragmatic when it comes to their life styles and allowing others to stick their hands in the till. They have discovered the good life and heck, they enjoy it.

The leader of the Pol-Potians is of course, Jorge Giordani, “The Monk”, who has been Planning Minister forever, where he has accomplished failure after failure in his planning and economic policies. But his honesty and chemistry with the All Mighty leader has allowed Giordani’s incompetence to flourish. Giordani took a gigantic leap forward when he was finally upgraded to Ministry of Finance, a position in which his decisions can directly and immediately screw up the Venezuelan economy and lead to the type of destruction on which XXIst. Century Socialism, whatever that may mean, can be built upon.

But a new powerful leader has emerged in the midst of all this, current Vice President Elias Jaua, the Ph.D. in Sociology who has presided over the not so successful land and agricultural policies of the Chavez era. After two million hectares under his control Jaua seems to have realized that he could not get more than 5% of them to produce and the real power is not in the land like Pol Pot and Mao dreamed of, but in the robolution the power is with the imports, that’s where the money is, so let’s go after it.

Some claim it was actually Jaua who started leaking all of the information about the food going bad all around the country as a means to get a strong hold on PDVSA’s subsidiary PDVAL, as well as the companies nationalized by Chavez in the last two years in the food production sector. If true, the plan worked out perfect as PDVAL is now directly under the umbrella of the Vice-Presidency and the food companies are part of the Minister for Feeding, another Jaua subsidiary.

In a perverse sense, this is good news for Venezuela. The food import and distribution is completely removed from PDVSA’s daily activities, which will allow its management to concentrate in the most important business in the land: Oil. PDVSA should have never been involved with PDVAL, but Chavez’ belief that PDVSA’s weakened management and almost infinite resources would solve the problem and Ramirez’ thinking that being in charge of the biggest exporter and the biggest importer in the land would make him untouchable, forced PDVSA into an undesirable and unwanted business.

But this is also bad news, as Jaua and his cohorts are full of ideology and have little managerial expertise to undertake the task that they have brought upon themselves. They may think that by being honest (less corrupt?) they can manage the food import and distribution business more efficiently, but they also belong to the Chavista strain that believes that anyone can do anything, even if eleven years of failures proves otherwise.

And besides the lack of management, there will be the lack of the ample resources (read cash) that PDVSA had and which can move mountains whenever it is necessary. No secret budget can even approach the levels of funds and agility available to PDVSA, something that Ramirez is certainly going to shield now from Jaua’s desires.

And it is a bad moment for this to happen. With the private sector now strangled, if the new PDVAL runs into troubles with the flow of imports, the shortages will be even more dramatic, completing the circle of good news/bad news for our dear country.

In some sense, Ramirez has to go now for Jaua to be successful in his new enterprise, but somehow the Minister of Energy and Oil is a true survivor, a man of many secrets and many suitcases, which so far have averted his demise.

But there is only one survivor, for now, in the robolution, and his name is Hugo Chavez. Ask Diosdado Cabello and his cohorts, six of which were swiftly removed from the Cabinet simultaneously with the PDVAL grab in the name of the Parliamentary elections. Or ask former Vice-President Carrizales who stood up for the military in the face of a Cuban invasion in key military positions and was quickly replaced by the quiet sociologist with the name that always seems short a consonant.

They are all gone for now, but they may return like comets, much like Diosdado has reappeared whenever things were not working well. Ideology imports little food and feeds few mouths and every time Chavez has shifted to the Pol-Potians he has eventually found the need to bring back the “right” to straighten out the mess.

For now, you can assume the worst case scenario, think Banks, think Globo, think Pol Pot, the total destruction of a system in the name of a nebulous idea which is still a work in progress eleven years after Chavez’ ascension to power. Only a quick deterioration could shift the balance of power at this time.

And Chavez needs a magician to stop the unraveling of the Venezuelan economy, which may lead to the resurgence of the radical “right” and the cycle would begin once again.

20 Responses to “A radical shift to the radical left in Venezuela”

  1. m_astera Says:

    I hear what you are saying deananash, let it crash, and I believe it will crash soon.

    One problem is that a collapse with Chavez in power might be exactly what he wants, as long as he (and the Cubans) can retain control. Hungry people will not riot if they are given a little food and promised more; they just have to agree to do what El Lider tells them to do, such as go and plant beans and rice on the new collective farms.

    I’m making myself laugh, writing that, recalling a couple of years ago when El Cod ordered all the students to plant black beans in the spring before classes began. Wonder how that one worked out? A friend who is a consultant in private agriculture in Valencia was telling me a few months ago about talking to some chavista agriculture bureaucrats about a large and very worn-out farm that had been expropriated. The oficialistas were planning to plant the whole finca with black beans. My friend, knowing how poor this soil was, asked them what they were going to use for fertilizer. They replied that the beans could get nitrogen from the air; they didn’t need any fertilizer.

    This is the level of knowledge that those in charge of major agricultural projects have. Even if Thugo has the dream of peasant serfs laboring on the collective farm it isn’t going to work when none of those involved have a clue about how to grow a crop. Unlike people, one can’t point a gun at a plant and order it to produce.

  2. HalfEmpty Says:

    Thanks for the clarification Deanna, makes sense.

  3. deananash Says:

    Bill Simpson and m_astera are both correct.

    There are few viable options left at this point. One – the one that I recommend – is to “help” the revolution move more quickly, so that the end comes faster.

    You’ll do this by withdrawing your intellects from the service of the country. I know that this will be painful, but you are facing a barrel of pain no matter what.

    Violence only begets more violence. And that will NEVER convince the ‘true’ believers (I’m referring here to the poor, not the powerful.) The only way to convince them is to let them experience their ‘vision’, fully realized.

    This is what China went through and why they are so over communism and socialism as economic systems.

  4. m_astera Says:

    Allow me to re-phrase that: I see little evidence of conscience, shame, or remorse.

    Diego Arria tried to shame the government but one can see how much effect that had on those who know no shame.

  5. m_astera Says:

    Is Venezuela a sociopathic society? Looking at the overall picture, I guess I would have to say yes. I see no evidence of conscience, shame, or remorse at at any level, individual, community, state, or national.

    The questions I would have are has it always been this way? If not, when did it start to turn this direction?

  6. moctavio Says:

    This is more than an analogy, Giordani has been an admirer of the Cambodian process and you all read his nice words about the health of the North Korean economy. He really believes you have to destroy what’s there to build his ideal society. Jaua is perfectly aligned with the Cubans. In the end, even if it is not done with violence and forcing people, it will be completed (it is already being done) by the slow destruction of the economy of the country, until nothing is left and they have no lue what to build on top of the ashes.

  7. Martin Says:

    We do not need to go back into history; examples of this kind of mass psychosis exist in the present day. Genocide can come in several forms, other than outright slaughter by the government, eg mass starvation, as in North Korea, or absolute negligence in the face of natural disaster (Burma) or disease (Zimbabwe). The common denominator is that human beings become completely expendable. You are still a little way from this in Venezuela, but Miguel is perfectly right in connecting the dots. It is where the ‘pathocracy’ of the true radicals is leading, and if it could happen in the most advanced and sophisticated civilizations of twentieth century Europe, it could certainly occur in Venezuela. Beware, for the slide can be rapid indeed. Killing fields and gulags can happen almost overnight.

  8. A_Antonio Says:

    m_astera: deep truth, you and Martha can not put more clear.

    But I think most already know that this is not socialism or communism.

    This is a big fraud, with the ideology as smoke screen.

    The sociopathic view is a good approach and contribution of your comments.

    Is Venezuela a sociopathic society?

    At the end, robolucionary autocrats live at the top of luxury in capitalism with others people money, only they have to do is to be with Chavez.

  9. Deanna Says:


    We’re not saying that Venezuela 2010 is exactly like Cambodia 1975. What I am trying to point out is that if these people in the radical left of Chavismo are left to themselves to do whatever they want (imagine the indifference of most Venezuelans), the situation could get just as bad or even worse, since undemocratic or inhumane actions may be overlooked or even ignored by countries who need Venezuelan oil, e.g. United States, which Cambodia did or does not have.

  10. m_astera Says:

    Maybe it’s time to take another look at these quotes:

    “The actions of [pathocracy] affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every town, business, and institution. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country creating a “new class” within that nation. This privileged class [of pathocrats] feels permanently threatened by the “others”, i.e. by the majority of normal people. Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man.” [Andrew M. Lobaczewski Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes]

    “Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.

    And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.

    Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.

    You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.

    In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.

    You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.

    How will you live your life?

    What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)?

    Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all.


    Most of us feel mildly guilty if we eat the last piece of cake in the kitchen, let alone what we would feel if we intentionally and methodically set about to hurt another person.

    Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they be homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless social snipers.

    The presence or absence of conscience is a deep human division, arguably more significant than intelligence, race, or even gender.

    What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron – or what makes the difference betwen an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer – is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity.

    What distinguishes all of these people from the rest of us is an utterly empty hole in the psyche, where there should be the most evolved of all humanizing functions.” [Martha Stout The Sociopath Next Door]

    That’s what we are up against, people. Not ideology.

  11. HalfEmpty Says:

    It’s bad, really bad, but comparing Venezuela 2010 to Cambodia circa 1975 is a stretch at the very least.

  12. Kepler Says:

    I am really shocked that so few have spoken about the communal councils and that legislation.
    They are completely replacing the previous mechanisms for controlling state power.

  13. Deanna Says:

    Re Khmer Rouge leaders, at least 5 of them are awaiting trial right now. I was there when they started the first trial at the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (in charge of trying these people). It was a huge event, and some of the victims relatives were in the court to look at the face of the man who was instrumental in killing some of the 2 million.

  14. Gordo Says:

    The reason is that to maintain power, the leaders must resort to ever increasing brutality and outrageous explanations. As it becomes ever so more clear that the “emperor has no clothes,” it also becomes clearer that to say anything has brutal consequences.

  15. Bill Simpson in Slidell Says:

    Never forget that some people enjoy dominating others and get pleasure from doing so. They like seeing others suffer. It is a condition that is difficult for normal people to understand, or accept as real, because they are, well, normal. We can’t believe it, but it is humanity’s Achilles heel. We need leadership and organization to progress, but our leaders can turn on us.
    I doubt that most of the Khmer Rouge actually believed they were helping humanity as they murdered a couple of million innocent people. They had other motives. Their ideology excuse is a convenient lie, if they ever go on trial. History is replete with examples of what happens when such people get into positions of political power. Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot come to mind. When their power becomes absolute, most tend to start having people killed, for one reason or another.

  16. Susan Says:

    Chavezo must have gotten to the US supreme court:


    BTW guess who has trillions of debt….and an oil leak !

  17. Robert Says:

    “until we are all as poor and as obedient to the “process” as can be.”

    This reminds me of a quote early in the revolution that said “Chavez has 100% of the poor vote but won’t rest until 100% of the vote is poor.”

    Funny how things change yet remain the same after all these years.

  18. Deanna Says:

    I would be afraid of the Pol-Potians. Look where that got Cambodia: over 3 decades of purging the entire country of its intellectual base, making everyone completely poor (except, of course, the elite), invasion by a neighboring country and millions of skeletons in mass graves later!!!! Is this what we want for Venezuela? I hope that Venezuelans would be more intelligent than that. Maybe, the opposition should take information from Pol Pot’s regime and mass advertise it as “lessons learned”, not so much in words, but in pictures, show them in every nook and cranny in the country, especially the barrios and small towns, where Chavez is still popular. Unfortunately, radical ideology and Puritanism are the worst combinations: they produce inhumane treatment of humans!!!!

  19. m_astera Says:

    The collapse is inevitable at this point; it has already begun and will continue until nothing is left standing of this failed experiment. Then, and only then, will we be able to start anew.

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