Of Virtual Ice Cream Plants And Ministers In The Chávez Revolution

November 17, 2012

By now everyone knows the story, On October 21st. Hugo Chávez remotely inaugurated an ice cream factory in Falcón State, which was supposed to sell about 600,000 units a month under the name Coppelia. The project is one of those hairbrained hodgepodge projects that Chávez likes to waste money on: It is supposed to be a Cuban brand, but the whole thing was built and put together by an Argentinean company. It was hailed as another triumph of the revolution by the President, will all supplies being Venezuelan, except that three weeks after the opening, Chávez learned that the plant was not operating.

What happened? Chavez’ Government happened. First of all, there was a blackout (the plant is in Falcón, one of the worst states in terms of blackouts) and one of the processing machines was damaged. As usual, the turnkey plant was purchased without parts (or surge protectors!) and they now have to wait for them to come from Argentina (If there is  money!). (I wonder how much they paid for the plant?) But to make matters worse, they also ran out of supplies to make the ice creams.

This is wholly expected. While the manager of the plant was hailed as someone who used to work at Lacteos Los Andes, that company was fully operational when the Chávez Government purchased it from its owner at an outrageous price. Thus, this guy had experience running an existing operation, but had never built one himself. Moreover, this was an order straight from the top, so he probably just figure he would just made do with what he had, so he built something, even if it was somewhat virtual, as an ice cream producing plant.

But to me the most interesting part of the story is that in part it was discovered by Chavez’ Secretary for the Presidency who now also has the pompous and silly  title of “Minister for the follow up of the management of the Government”

Isn’t that what Ministers are supposed to do anyway? But most of Chavez’ Ministers are simply virtual Ministers anyway.

So, after fourteen years of naming incompetent managers and removing all of the checks and balances within the Venezuelan Government, Chávez has just realized that he has to somehow bring them back. But rather than give power to the office of the Comptroller, which remains under a temporary head since the last one died (and Chávez needs opposition input for naming the position) Chávez assigns the job to someone else who already is likely overloaded with work.

Chávez is likely to start a management school if things continue this way, once he realizes that the problem is the people that surround him (If he lives that long), because besides the fact that there are no checks and balances, the management team that surrounds him is simply atrocious, full of other virtual managers and Ministers. Witness the case of Hector Navarro, who has been a Minister of everything for the last fourteen years and whose only known accomplishment was to make the stupid suggestion to move Venezuela half and hour back from its proper time zone. To reward him for his incompetence in all his positions, Chávez named him as Minister of Electricity and President of the electric company Corpoelec, a position he has held for about a year. And Navarro holds a press conference to make the announcement that he has initiated an investigation of the same institution  that he is head of, because…

They shut off his electricity and his bills are “irregular”!

Read this simply: Minister Navarro has no clue what is or not going on within he company he runs. Because he evens suggests that there are mafias that may be over or double billing him within Corpoelec. But apparently this genius of Chavista management would not have learned of the disaster that he presides over, if it were not for the accidental (was it?) shut off of his electricity.

The worst part is that the Minister tries to make a big deal of his outrage which all it does is prove how irresponsible and incompetent he really is. He is simply another virtual Minister and a terrible manager, as virtual as the Coppelia ice cream plant.

Maybe he should switch jobs with the Minister for the follow up of the management of the Government, at least she did her job with Coppelia!

10 Responses to “Of Virtual Ice Cream Plants And Ministers In The Chávez Revolution”

  1. […] Of Virtual Ice Cream Plants And Ministers In The Chávez Revolution […]

  2. Kepler Says:


    They decided to go for Briceno…quite disgusting if you ask me. The guy was an old Adeco who was then a Chavista, lots of people are linking his clan (one of his brothers is alcalde as well) with the killing of several farmers throughout the years.

    And they decided to forget a woman was elected in the primaries.

    This is a shame. The opposition should lose in Monagas, sorry, but yes, they should lose there. This is completely over the top. I dislike Salas, I wish we had a new candidate for Nueva Esparta itself, but if they selected them for representing the MUD in Carabobo and Nueva Esparta, be it.

    But Briceno? Really: in this case the thugs from the PSUV deserve to win over the thug Briceno.

  3. deananash Says:

    Venezuelans will not recover their lost liberties (within 10-15 years) without paying dearly for them.

  4. Dr. Faustus Says:

    Hmmm. After reading the above discussion concerning the Office of the Comptroller, its current temporary head and the absolute need for 100% loyalty, I had forgotten about the general rules governing a dictatorial government. When one person has seized most of the power of government, a dictatorship, people looking in from the outside of said government expect it to have some logical consistencies comparable to their own government. When they don’t, they’re surprised. Logical decision making is the first thing pitched out the windows. They forget that the people in government hovering around a fellow like Hugo Chavez are constantly jockeying for power and must confront an ‘insanity factor’ from time to time. When Chavez does illogical, stupid things, (i.e. : expropriating oil upgraders or building ice cream factories) people around him just shrug their shoulders and move~on. The government circus pulls down the tents and moves to another town next week. Nothing more to see. Let’s all forget about it.

    But here’s a thought. Let’s suppose that the real ‘insanity factor’ within the inner circles of the Venezuelan government is Hugo’s inability to confront his medical condition. He’s dying, yet no one around him has come to propose a logical means of succession. Everyone’s afraid. Perhaps Hugo himself believes that he’s really cured. Who’s gonna tell him otherwise? That’s what happens in a ‘dictatorship.’ His medical condition may in fact be so perilous that he could be in a hospital tomorrow on life support. Cancer can overwhelm a body’s immune system in very short order. Yet, it’s been six weeks since the election and no move has been made to guarantee a PSUV successor to President. It would be the ‘logical’ thing to do. But, surprisingly, no effort has been made to change Article 232 of the Constitution. Why? Perhaps there really is an ‘insanity factor’ playing out here which, in the end, could result in the fact that the PSUV is forced to confront something that they had never expected to, a new election for President. Everyone around Chavez is afraid to tell him the truth. That’s simply what happens in a dictatorship.

  5. Bruni Says:

    That was exactly what I was thinking: at least the follow-up minister is following up on what is going on!

    You know what, my first thought when I heard of an ice-cream factory in Falcon was to ask myself why Falcon. It is a pretty hot/desertic state with no particular industrial infrastructure and no particular supply of milk…unless, of course, they wanted to make goat-milk ice-cream..

    I really wonder who plans for the location of those projects and what criteria they use?

    Interesting Miguel, that the permanent controller has not been named…I wonder what the Constitution says about it….

    • You need 2/3 d majority to name it, Chavismo is not willing to discuss a name the oppo would agree with.

      • Bruni Says:

        Amazing, so they do not want to risk having someone who is not 100% loyal…that’s why it is so important to be in the National Assembly even as a minority.

        But still, I wonder if there is no law that says that you cannot go indefinetely without naming the controller….

  6. Charly Says:

    ” …the management team that surrounds him is simply atrocious…”, Is this article written by a bona fide Chavista? Because, that is what they all say while wearing their little red shirts; . the president means good but he is being let down by his team. Why not say the truth for a change something like he is the MAJOR fuck-up.

    • TV Says:

      I’m quite sure Miguel is as far from Chavista as you can get. However, he recognizes that Chavez is only part of the problem. Granted, he is an important part, and he is what enables the whole Chavista machinery, but only one part nontheless.

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