Venezuelan Minister for Electricty reveals the Idiocy of the Government

January 10, 2011

If anyone wanted proof of the absolute idiocy of the Venezuelan Government, today’s press conference by once-considered-serious Ali Rodriguez Araque, showed why the country is falling apart under the mismanagement of the Chavez administration.

As the country’s electrical infrastructure falls apart and Chavez bars the national electric company Corpoelec from raising electric rates, after seven years of a tariff freeze, Rodriguez Araque proudly announced that any Government institution that does not pay its electric service will have its electricity shut off. You see, Government entities, from Ministries to institutes owe Corpolec some four billion Bolivars, roughly US$ 930 million at the “new” and “unified” official rate, who knows what at the unspeakable green lettuce rate.

And therein lies the tragedy of this non-Government: Nobody is in charge, despite Chavez controlling all powers, each Minister, Head of Institute, Director or whatever, is his all-powerful Dictator of his own fiefdom, accountable to nobody. So, why pay electric bills? A penny saved is a penny earned…and to hell with the future of the country or it proper functioning.

Rodriguez himself notes than when he sends his employees to cut off power, his own people are jailed by the mini-Chavez’ in charge of the various institutions that fail to pay their electric bills month after month!

He is nobody in a Government of lots of little somebodies…

The mess is so huge that Rodriguez said that the revenues of Corpoelec, the revenues, from all the electricity that it sold in 2010, was only sufficient to cover half of the payroll of Corpoelec. Everything else, like so many other subsidies and distortions, has to be supplied by the central Government.

No wonder the electric network is such a mess, we should blame El Niño, but El Niño Hugo Chavez, the same one that unilaterally overrides studies that electric rates need to be increased or sends the victims of the floods to tents that can barely hold their own in a gust of wind.

But the bigger fool is Rodriguez, considered the most capable Minister in the first few years of the Chavez administration. He began the destruction of PDVSA under Chavez’ orders firing 20,000 workers in 2003, including all of the key technical personnel, allowed himself to be displaced from Finance by the incompetent Giordani and now attempts to do the impossible in trying to prop up the electrical power network, with no money.

Thus, the one time guerrilla fighter has now become a sorry pawn of Chavez’ delirium, quietly following orders and barking his own that nobody will follow.

He will not even have to turn off the lights, they will go off on their own.

44 Responses to “Venezuelan Minister for Electricty reveals the Idiocy of the Government”

  1. moctavio Says:

    Why not just watch Chavez lying every Sunday? At least it is more entertaining that a fake movie paid by the revolution.

  2. Pygmalion Says:

    Nur_Ich (aka Kepler) – As usual you are 100% correct. There was no sabotage during the 2002 – 2003 oil “strike”. I suggest you find the movie “Enter the Oil Workers” and then go into an even blacker hole of denial of the facts. My God, it’s one thing being pathetic, but it’s another living in a world of total mendacity based on “me dijeron” and “I don’t know who they are” or “where the information is”.

  3. island canuck Says:

    Now they are having trouble delivering domestic gas because of low pressure & the rains(?). There have been many comments related to the failure of PDVSA to bring gas on line.

  4. island canuck Says:

    Excellent CarlosElio

    I’ve sent the links to my family members.

    It’s just unbelievable the level of misinformation last year with the government blaming the drought for all the problems.

  5. An Interested Observer Says:

    Wow! If there weren’t a video included, I would NOT believe that narrative was real. (It also raises the question about who was dumb enough to think that was a good idea!)

    But to bring it back to this post, they knew back on May 19, 2005 – and Chavez himself knew – that government agencies were not paying their electric bills, and hadn’t been for some time. And yet it’s not until January 10, 2011 – 2,062 days later – that there is a public call for them to do so.

    CarlosElio, the Inciarte incident is also a fine example of how significant sucking up to Chavez is for government employees. Something tells me that the price increase wasn’t also reinstated, though – obeisance trumps “reasonable analysis.” Some “wisdom” of Chavez: keeping one’s job is far more important than doing a job right, which is why sucking up takes precedence over competency, which is why things are falling apart.

  6. CarlosElio Says:

    Thank you Miguel. My post was long and has more than two links, so it went to the spam bucket.
    Pygmalion challenged you on the basis of what decisions chavez makes, using the chopper pilot decision to take off amidst tents, blowing them all over. The incident with Clark Inciarte demonstrates that chavez comes very close to that level of micromanaging.
    But despite all the data you can lay in front of him or any other ardent supporter of chavez, they will stick to their guns and insist that the poor bastard is doing his best to help the country. In his delightful book, How we decide, Jonah Lehrer narrates a hypothetical discussion between opponents in a moral dilemma (pp 173-174). According to Lehrer the emotional brain has already decided and data is superfluous when trying to change emotional decisions.
    Pygmalion has decided to emotionally support chavez which means that despite the potholes the poor guy has to endure, despite his running around looking for hard-to-find basic commodities, despite being mugged many times by thugs empowered by chavez criminal inifference to crime, despite all the miseries the chavez has bestowed upon him and his family, Pygmalion remains an ardent supporter of the buffoon in power.
    A modest goal of sites like DE, would be to make dialog with the likes of Pygmalion possible, but that goal seems beyond reach.
    If we are going to move as a nation to help Venezuela heal the deep wounds inflicted on society by the travesty of this government, how can we begin to see the problems of Venezuela as our problems and step above the emotional divide that separates us now? I bet on data and logical reasoning, but the emotional brain is blind to those arguments.

  7. moctavio Says:

    Carlos Elio, those three links are so good, I am going to think how to make a short post of all of them, truly amazing!

  8. moctavio Says:

    I am not sure the criteria for not publishing comments, they are set to go directly to publication. Typically, if a comment has more than one link, it sends it for approval by me. If it is long and has more than a couple of links it sends it to the Spam which I don’t check often.


  9. moctavio Says:

    Not at all, let me check the spam file

  10. CarlosElio Says:

    Well, I can see I am not blacklisted. So, it must be another reason. Are all submissions held pending approval?

  11. CarlosElio Says:

    Miguel, I have written two posts in this thread and no one has been posted. Am I blacklisted in DE?

  12. CarlosElio Says:

    The topic of the thread lies at the core of the most pressing problem Venezuela has faced in its entire history: is the government stupid? Assume for a moment that it is. Then the price will be high for all Venezuelans, be they supporters or opponents of the regime. A pot hole will not distinguish between a chavista’s or an opponent’s car, so either of them will–most likely both of them since there are so many pot holes in the country’s roads–end up in the repair shop spending money and time in something there was no need to spend money and time.

    How do we go about proving the stupidity of the government? We can use data and we can use logical reason. Let’s start with the logical underpinnings of government’s stupidity. The quality of a manager’s work depends on the level of attention she pays to the details of her work. The planning horizon of the manager ought to be occupied by events that pertain to her responsibilities: risk assessment, reports on current projects, meeting with direct reports, budgets, etc. The concern with the details of the work will cascade down the reporting structure and the whole organization will function. However, if other concerns occupy the planning horizon, then the manager will fuck up her job. If the manager’s concern is “to look good in the eyes of the big guy,” as Ira says, then the manager will undoubtedly fuck up.

    Now to the data. I invite the reader to look at this witty report filed in 2005, five years before the electricity crisis hit the whole country bringing a new dark age on Venezuela.

    There you have a travesty of a government. High power ministers and governors, each vying to outdo the other in pleasing the boss, with total disregard for their responsibilities. No one has data, no one brings a report, no one can answer truthfully a question even those questions asked by chavez himself, because somehow they know it is just a comedy.

    The “somehow they know” is very real. In May 2010, the president of Pequiven, Clark Inciarte made the decision to increase the price of one of the products in his portfolio. It is an example of a technical decision made on, one would hope, some reasonable analysis of costs and budgets. But he did not “consult with chavez. Upon learning of the price increase, chavez humiliated the guy, ordering his immediate removal in a public speech, for everybody to hear, including poor Clark himself.

    A few days later, chavez reversed his decision and ordered poor Clark back to his job. In his Twitter account, @clarkinciarte went on and on expressing his gratitude to chavez and praising his wisdom. It reminded me of that poor lawyer who Dick Cheney shot in the face, who went public apologizing to Cheney for the unpleasant moments he, Cheney, had to endure as the butt joke of late-night comedians.

    A government where all high ranking officers must devote their energies to pleasing the whims of a troubled man, is a troubled government and is destined to bring calamities after calamities to the population is is supposed to serve.

    My only disagreement with Miguel is the title. This sad spectacle of Ali Rodriguez doesn’t reveal the idiocy; it corroborates the idiocy that has been exposed openly for all of us to see in rotten food, destroyed roads, moribund hospitals, dilapidated schools, and crippled electrical grid

  13. island canuck Says:

    Here we are again with the oppos on the defensive trying to fight against unjust laws instead of contributing to the changes necessary to change the direction of the country.

    It’s so much just spinning wheels. Unfortunately the chances of accomplishing anything in the AN are zero.

  14. An Interested Observer Says:

    Roy and loroferoz, I think that the problematic laws should be utilized as much as necessary to effectively reverse their existence. For one example, use the abusive electoral laws to get a majority in Congress, and use that majority to set Congressional procedures right again, such as requiring 2/3 rather than simple majorities for many things. There are plenty of other examples, in so many fields, that we can’t possibly list them.

    My fear, however, is that the ones seeking revenge – who I expect will be a very vocal minority – sway the debate. That could get really ugly, and ugly enough to perhaps even bring Chavez back (depending on the circumstances under which he leaves) or a new Chavez clone.

  15. Roy Says:


    I agree. The best revenge is to forgive and forget, but set things right, once and for all, IF we are talking about the citizen Chavista. However, for the people involved in the wholesale looting of the country, there can be no respite.

    Note to young Venezuelans: I see a great future career for many of you in forensic accounting. Think about it…

  16. loroferoz Says:

    Roy: Of course, we should insure that the last stage (bad laws coming back at creators and actually being used to bite them) will have a very short (or zero, better) duration.

    There is an urgency to dictatorship and chavista-proof this country. I cannot think of a better way to do it than doing away with bad laws and arbitrary power, and making the rights of private citizens simply unassailable.

    But, also I hope that prosecutions and suits for blatant abuse of power and worse will go on forever against people like Ali Rodriguez and Rafael Ramirez… That will not be forgotten or forgiven. Of course, I hope they run a continuous gauntlet of angry ex-PDVSA employees every single day to court and from.

  17. Roy Says:

    A passing thought regarding Pygmalian’s emphasis on the “legality” of the PDVSA firings: Note carefully how the Chavistas enjoy and savor the idea that the law is what they say it is. They are intoxicated with the notion that they make the rules and others have to obey them. What they have not grasped is that arbitrary and capricious laws can and will bite them in the ass eventually too.

  18. loroferoz Says:

    A good little soldier, comandante Fausto… I suppose that includes shutting up and obeying or at least faking well the above to keep his master happy.

    Congratulations posters, you silenced a troll with no acrimony and with arguments.

  19. Maria Gonzalez Says:


    “Do you really think that people who caused more than US$15 billion in losses to the country should be paid for doing such handiwork?”

    Let’s assume for a moment that you are correct…so:
    1. what about all the damage that Diosdado and company cause to the “GOvernacion de MIranda” when they lost?
    2. Why nobody is guilty of all the millions of kilos of food that where lost in “Pudreval”

    I love to hear your opinnion in both cases.

  20. Gordo Says:

    It’s not only that Chavismo is above the law…. they are above economic logic!

  21. moctavio Says:

    None of the 20,000 were tried, they had no defense, their money was confiscated. I know secretaries that did not go on strike and they were fired. So stop the BS. The law says prestaciones can not be taken away even if you go bankrupt, so please stop talking out of the tapa de la barriga del fanatismo.

  22. megaescualidus Says:

    Going back to the posting’s main topic, the electrical situation shows once again that the Government spending is out of control. As Miguel says, though Chavez pretends to be in control of everything himself – like a true dictator – the system to be controlled is so large and complex (and corrupted) that currently it is, again, out of control. I keep saying (in this post, and to family and friends) this out-of-control situation (spending, lack of investment on all infrastructure and healthcare, inflation, and increase of jobless rate) will be, in my humble opinion, Chavez’s undoing.

    One more thing. Since for the most part Government allegiances are not by conviction but by self interest (this “revolution” is truly doctrine-less, since “el socialismo del siglo XXI” is incoherent babble at best), once the crumbling starts it will happen fast.

    Whether this happens by 2012 is a different thing.

  23. An Interested Observer Says:

    “Do you really think that people who caused more than US$15 billion in losses to the country should be paid for doing such handiwork?”

    Do you think that someone who has caused FAR more than $15 billion in losses to the country should be allowed to continue in office, driving that amount up further and further?

  24. Bruni Says:

    I loved Liz logic about the PDVSA workers. I think she stated in the clearest terms ever.

    There are indeed only two possibilities: the firing were illegal or the firing were legal. If the firing were legal, then everything should have been settled under the labour law, which was not the case.

    Then, since that was not the case, the firings were illegal. It is illegal in Venezuela to remove people without paying their compensation.

    About Pygmalion latest comment. It is a comment that I have heard over and over and over from goverment sympathizers and from people that were against the strike. is something like “PDVSA exworkers should be more than happy that the goverment dod not prosecute them…there were equipment destroyed by the workers…etc etc”

    My answer to that has always been the following:

    There is no law in Venezuela, absolutely none, that punishes a citizen based on revenge, on getting even or on blacklisting. PDVSA workers were fired, blacklisted and denied their workers compensation. If they were guilty of crimes, they should have been tried under the law and the goverment should have had the BURDEN of the proof to prove that each one of those that were fired and denied compensantion committed a crime. That is what happend in a state of law.

    This was not the case. The goverment prefered to put all PDVSA workers in the same bag, blacklist them, deny their compensation, and let them go to exile, allowing Venezuela to lose its most previous resource: highly qualified personnel from the MOST important industry of the country that took YEARS and countless resources to form.

    That, Pygmalion, is the real crime. It is something that is costing the country much, much more than the money that was lost during the strike.

    So let’s get back to the firing. Was it legal or illegal? Once again, if something is not legal in all its facets, it is illegal.

  25. FC Says:

    You know the ILO already declared the firings illegal. And the bulk of the workers were not paid. I can’t speak for all 20.000+ But of those I personally know NOT ONE received a single check from the government. You’re also talking about equipment sabotage, from whom, or what? You announce these as givens, which they are not. No sabotage was done at all to any equipment, certainly there was no organized attempt to do so. The equipment failures seen since 2003 are due completely to the incompetence of those put in charge of running the company at that point.

    Next you talk about how lucky they are, you have no idea what you’re talking about, when families have been uprooted and moved thousands of miles. If the Government wanted to be strictly about the law they have to follow their own rules and PAY severance and all associated packages. This whole: “Do you honestly think they should be paid for such, et al” is bogus. You cannot argue that the government followed the letter of the law and THEN argue that the government under certain circumstances is allowed to NOT follow it.

    Go home Troll.

  26. Nur_Ich Says:

    they haven’t been brought to trial, because then it would have come out, that they didn’t sabotage anything, but the strike breakers damaged the equipment when they tried to turn it on again and didn’t know, how to do it correctly.
    I’ve read somewhere (years ago, so don’t ask for any link) that the equipment was indeed shut down and sealed with attesting notaries there to confirm, that all was in order. I haven’t been there myself, obviously, so I just have to take the word for it… but maybe somebody else here knows more…

    But as I came to know the incompetent Chavez regime, it is quite possible, that they themselves broke the equipment by trying to turn it on without knowledge of the systems in order to get the oil production running again during the strike. And from what I read on various pages about that issue, there were people from the government doing exactly that during the strike.

  27. Bloody Mary Says:


    “Do you really think that people who caused more than US$15 billion in losses to the country should be paid for doing such handiwork?”

    PDVSA’s workers are real heroes….. They had a good position and they sacrificed themselves to avoid that more than 900 billion (and our future) were lost… unfortunately their plan failed…..

    They do not deserve to be in Qatar making tons of money, they (and we) deserve to live in a free and functional Venezuela.

    I suppose that the bizarre reality of the country includes a minority of people how take advantages of the disgrace of the majority. I also suppose you are part of the first group.

  28. Pygmalion Says:

    liz – I understood that prestaciones had been paid to the fired PDVSA workers. However, if you say that nothing has been received, I take your word for it. Do you really think that people who caused more than US$15 billion in losses to the country should be paid for doing such handiwork?. Most people do not and they are lucky since no one who sabotaged equipment has been brought to a trubunal and convicted. They are very, very lucky and can now enjoy a new life in Qatar or Saudi Arabia.

  29. speed Gibson Says:

    your president is just mentally ill…..our ghetto prez is an outright fool…..he actually thinks FRANCE is our country’s best ally…..oh dear god….. no more Ivy League presidents ever again!!!

  30. deananash Says:

    Who is John Galt? The answer – the men of the mind – is what’s missing in Venezuela, as it’s been missing in every fascist country. And yes, they’re missing in China today.

    Don’t be fooled by China’s economic progress, which is wonderful. At some point in time, when the majority has life’s necessities, they’re going to start demanding something more: FREEDOM. For now, there are simply too many poor to take a chance and “change” the government. (Most Chinese rightly feel that the country is on the right path and should maintain its current heading. I mostly concur.)

    Don’t get me wrong, Venezuela still has some producers left, but at the rate the leeches are moving, it won’t be long. I say, SPEED IT UP. I say, THANK GOD that the 20,000+ are no longer producing for Chavez.

    You all can understand my point, right? The sooner the whole thing implodes, the sooner you can begin to restore sanity.

  31. An Interested Observer Says:

    You know what the most amazing thing about this is to me? That they can’t do this quietly, and behind the scenes.

    It’s a full-on admission that they are essentially incompetent, yet they have to do so because they can’t figure out another way to make it actually work.

  32. jeffry house Says:

    Reading Professor Frank Dikotter’s book on the Chinese Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, one also comes across many, many parallels with Venezuela.

    From huge consignments of food rotting on the railroad off-ramps, to agricultural properties being nationalized, and “because it belonged to no one in particular now, it fell into disrepair and no longer produced anything.”

  33. Ira Says:

    The parallels between the Chavez and Hitler regimes continue, albeit in less deathly areas:

    There was incredible infighting too withing the Nazi regime between various segments, for example, the SS and regular army, both vying for the Fuhrer’s favor, and insisting they were more important than the other to the “nation’s cause.” The Luftwaffe received the support it received–or didn’t receive–based solely on Hitler’s relationship with Goering, and not on the actual needs of the war efforts.

    Other agencies–arms production, propaganda, transportation, health–all competed for the love of the Fuhrer, and their basic attitude was, “Me first–let the others be damned.”

    It’s what happens in Fascist governments, because it’s not what the people want and need that matter. It’s what makes you look good in the eyes of the big guy.

    Looking good also gives you a bigger license to steal, as Nazis squirreled away their stolen wealth around the world, as the mega-Chavistas have been doing for the last 12 years.

  34. Kepler Says:


    I thought the same. In Venezuela we have the Mini-Chávez, which are the Latino version of the Mini me:

    I talked about them in a post in Ccs: they even do some sort of Aló Gerente/Jefe in their respective institutions.

  35. bobthebuilder Says:

    You have to despair if even Government ministries don’t pay their bills!

    What is the prognosis for electricity problems this year? There’s been some rain (and some!) but does that mean Guri and the system is able to cope with rising demand?

  36. CarlosElio Says:

    US sailors joke about the fly of the gooney bird, a bird that flies in ever narrower concentric circles until it ends with his head up his ass. Although I’m not Navy, I find he joke an apt metaphor to describe chavez. He’s the main gonney bird and his ministries and high-ranking bureaucrats find it safe to imitate the honcho bird giving us a country managed by people with their heads up their asses through and through.

    But I disagree with the title of the article. Ali Rodriguez’s declarations don’t reveal anything, as the idiocy of the government is long-standing and resilient. If anything, Rodriguez corroborates the idiocy within the government itself. It is not just the government hurting the people, but the government hurting the government. My point is that this is not new, but a steady thread of the fabric of human stupidity.

    Want to see videos of the government disarray dating back to 2005 regarding the very topic of electricity? Take a look at the witty comments made by Ana Black in the series Gabinete Inmovil (in Spanish)

    There you have a flock of gonney birds. If you watch carefully, you will see that indeed they all have their heads up their asses.

  37. m_astera Says:

    This is the best part:

    “Rodriguez himself notes than when he sends his employees to cut off power, his own people are jailed by the mini-Chavez’ in charge of the various institutions that fail to pay their electric bills month after month!”


  38. Gordo Says:

    Lots of petroleum engineers are working in Saudi Arabia, AE, and all over the world! After being fired for not being loyal Chavistas, they’re making more money and enjoying themselves.

  39. Roy Says:


    “the 20,000 PDVSA workers fired in 2003 brought it on themselves for abandoning their posts for more than 3 days and the Minsitry of Labor, then run by Maria Cristina iglesias, confirmed that all the firings were legal and above board. So there!”

    “Legal”, perhaps. But was it wise? The chart in the link below suggests not. Note that this chart shows what everyone knows, which is that oil production has steadily declined from 2002 when those 20,000 employees were let go. Wisdom would have been negotiating and coming to an agreement with those experienced workers. Wisdom would have been not allowing PDVSA to have become politicized. Wisdom would have been not choking the goose that laid the golden eggs.

    Click to access paprpve-1990-2012-0.pdf

    Re: Your “So there!”

    Congratulations! Your debate and social skills have achieved those of the average eight-year-old child.

  40. liz Says:

    Gosh!!!! Sorry Miguel, I don’t wanna feed the troll but this is a very touchy subject to me and makes mad as hell! so here it goes:

    IF the PDVSA firings were legal, where the hell are the severance payments? their retirement funds? their savings? (caja de ahorro). As a matter of fact, many had not one fund but TWO!! paid out their salaries! The same applies to their savings. TWO different accounts with their savings.

    Where on earth is their money? Do tell me about the legality of this robbery!

    Again Miguel, sorry. As you say, his comment is just stupid.

  41. moctavio Says:

    what a stupid comment, yes they are part of Chavez’ chaos, he does not run the Government, he controls it. If he used 10% of his goodwill to work rather than invent how to screw half of Venezuela, we would be better off.

    As to the workers argument, yeah, yeah, those firings were illegal. Period. Cases were never considered by the Ministry of Labor and how people were fired was ilegal in an overprotective labor legislation in Venezuela.

  42. Pygmalion Says:

    I think you may have slipped up here in your psychological mania for calling the government stupid and saying that Chavez controls everything.

    If Ministries do not pay their electricity bills this means that they are doing what the hell they like and not taking orders from Chavez. Or are you going to say now that Chavez told the Ministries not to pay?

    Did Chavez tell the helicopter pilot to take off to blow over the tents in La Carlota as well?

    BTW – the 20,000 PDVSA workers fired in 2003 brought it on themselves for abandoning their posts for more than 3 days and the Minsitry of Labor, then run by Maria Cristina iglesias, confirmed that all the firings were legal and above board. So there!

  43. Gringo Says:

    The OPSIS website has been down for quite a while. It used to say “under construction,” but it doesn’t even say that now. Anyone have any information on this?

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