Archive for November 26th, 2011

Hugo Chavez: Still Improvising On His Cabinet After All These Years

November 26, 2011

It would be funny, if it were not so tragic: Thirteen years after taking power, Hugo Chavez keeps improvising in how he manages the Government. The amazing thing is that he announced that he would merge the Ministry of Basic Industries with the Ministry of Intermediate Industries as if it was the result of a study or an amazing inspiration in order to achieve more efficiencies, when the truth is that he was the one that separated the two functions. No only that, but by a mysterious chain of thought, Chavez merged the Ministry of Intermediate Industries with that of Science and Technology in 2009, a whim that has yet to be explained or understood by anyone.

So now, Chavez reverts the whole thing in the name of efficiency, when his whims of creating and destroying Ministries represents one of the biggest inefficiencies of his rule. Every time Chavez improvises “creating” a new Ministry, millions of Bolivars have to be spent in reorganizing and restructuring the new and the old Ministries and its personnel and assets. Imagine now the Minister of Industries arguing with the Ministry of Science and Technology, which office space, which employees and which funding stays with whom. And if they disagree, they will have to wait until none other than Hugo Chavez decides on each issue. Which could take months or may never happen. Some efficiency!

Take the Ministry of Transport and Communications which Chavez received in 1998. He changed it into the Ministry for Infrastructure, then he divided it into two, then it became the Ministry of Transport And Communications again, then he divided it into two again recently. Just the cost in changing the paper and the envelopes is staggering. To say nothing of implementing the changes under Chavista “Managers”, as oxymoronic a concept as there ever was one.

The remarkable thing is that Hugo Chavez dramatically reduced the number of Ministries when he came to power in 1998, but by now, the number has more than doubled, as he thinks that creating new ones is some form of management technique. Chavez received 21 Ministries from Caldera, reduced it to 13 and if I count correctly and the web pages are up to date, there are now 31 of them. I wonder what it does to efficiency to have 31 people plus Chavez, plus the Procurador sitting at the same table discussing things…

For Science and Technology this is good. It now goes back to having its own Ministry, as it should be. The Minister seemed to be distracted with “Intermediate Industries” whatever that may be. Now he will at least focus on science and technology, which now that I think about it, may not be a good thing. After all, the Minister may start improvising himself and creating “efficiencies” and inventing new concepts in science and technology just like his boss. Maybe we were better off when he was distracted…