Monday, August 22, 2005

The way we are

I have been distracted by many side issues and I have thus missed the “commemoration”, to give it a name, of the Recall Election of one year ago. There is really nothing to commemorate or celebrate. And I do not think that it would be foolish to claim that it is true for at least 90% of Venezuelans: we are not better off than what we were a year ago. Some might not agree but I would like to point out a few things that any serious observers would be hard pressed to deny:

  • the so called Venezuelan pseudo-miracle is due almost uniquely to high oil prices, high enough that they are able to mask an oil production drop while sustaining and expanding our tropical banana version of welfare state
  • importation of goods have risen by half, putting to rest the theory of “desarollo endogeno”; if the malls are again full of goodies it is due to the government allowing and subsidizing imports through considerable increases in the public sector wages, while private sector wages lack behind, a situation at the antipodes of true economic growth
  • a full year of “peace” has only brought us a Mercal network for distribution of subsidized food mostly bought over seas in a totally unaccountable fashion while local production keeps dropping (we have half of the industries as in 1998, we produce less milk and meat today than what we did in 1998)
  • the country is literally falling apart, be it its roads or its hospitals while no major infrastructure project, all launched or projected pre 1998, has been inaugurated or has even shown “normal” progress in its works
  • Vargas refugees are still living as refugees, while Venezuela keeps giving money away and even building houses in Cuba
  • the country is nowhere closer to reconciliation event though polls and electoral results would make the casual observer think
  • crime is as rampant as ever while corruption is vigorously feeding a minority
  • death penalty exists as strong as ever in Venezuelan jails
  • and more, much more
All documented extensively in this blog, El Universal, Miguel’s work and so many other sources, free or not, but of course not in any governmental channels where all is rosy and fine. Indeed, the imposing amount of advertising made by the government on its state media, and the now intolerable amount it forces on the private one, can only speak of a government trying to hide how stalled, or even bad, things are in so many sectors. Even “cadenas” seem to increase in frequency again, in spite of the Gag law.

In other words we are living in a bubble, inflated by high oil prices, where only some sectors of the economy show some haphazard growing strength while the people simply try to regain a semblance of a normal life.

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