And the Bolivarian one is no exception. In our forced march toward fourth world banalization, and utter bananization, the first new law that the brand new National Assembly decided to tackle was to change the Venezuelan Flag and Coat of Arms.
I will spare the details of the changes. Suffice to say that about three months ago Yo, El Supremo decided that it was time to change the symbols because his daughter thought the horse was looking weird. And voilà, the monochromatic assembly elected in December demonstrated from the start, without giving people the tiniest chance to have a doubt about its total submission, subservience and sycophancy to El Supremo, that it was there only to serve the will of Chavez and nothing else. And when I say the will, I am being generous, I could have written brat demands, because this is what Chavez is with that issue, a spoiled brat.
While the "lambucio" assembly, who got from the start a lap top for free to type this new regulation on how many f****** stars the flag should have, let's look at a few things that in a normal country where legislators feel an obligation to their voters, even those who did not go and vote for them, should be examined as an urgent matter:
-the "alternate" road to the main international airport and the second largest harbor is also collapsing, now that people have returned from New Year's break. I have a relative who lives in Vargas. Now he calls from "the new island" and speaks of taking the ferry to go to Caracas, since going to Caracas from the airport is longer than going from Margarita Island to Mainland. Perhaps the Vargas and Caracas representatives coudl use the e-mail service provided with their lap tops to check on their consitutent problems.
-a case of military corruption is so big, that they could not hide it. It has to do with, of course, the agricultural sector who no one dares to examine since it is El Supremo pet project. Perhaps the National Assembly could have started its term by dusting off an anti corruption law that has been waiting for eons to be voted. Not that it would have been effective, but at least appearances might have been preserved. But I suppose the technicians giving the assembly folks the new computers have not downloaded yet the pending legislative texts.
-organized gang style building seizures keep apace. Due, of course, to the inability of the government to build in 7 years as many public and subsidized housing than Caldera II did in 5 years without the extraordinary windfall of petro dollars that Chavez benefited (see eloquent graph here). Perhaps the national assembly august representatives could use Adobe Illustrator to draw in their brand new lap top economical house designs or draw financial plans with Excel to improve credit access to people by, say, generating confidence in the country and private investment to generate jobs that earn enough money so people could actually afford a house without having to go to the government for help.
-or they could vote emergency funds for restoring the Valencia Caracas highway before yet another neglected viaduct collapses. There is still not only time to build an alternate road to La Cabrera path, but even to speed up railroad construction which is advancing by fits, depending on the electoral calendar. I am sure that the lap tops carry a map of Venezuela where they could draw new roads.
-or they could tackle the new "mision Negra Hipolita" and give it a legal basis, a sustain through time instead of letting it become yet another totally unsupervised mision where money will be sucked in without knowing how effective it is or where the money goes. Imagine that, a mision destined to build refuges for street kids (forgotten by Chavez for 6 years and suddenly, just as the international forum comes to Caracas, a resuscitated convenient interest), what a potential source of graft in construction contracts!!!! Perhaps from their new lap tops, enjoying I hope a high speed wireless connection from their pulpits of the glorious revolutionary assembly, the representatives could consult Internet for successful programs to deal with street kids in other countries.
But no. We are fixed on the role of that new Assembly, an assembly that we need to look back to the XIX century , or Perez Jimenez, to find as servile.
In El Pais Mario Vargas Llosa had a fantastic article on the new LatAm nationalism. And an article he did not know woudl be validated so close form its publication date by El Supremo cheap star flag adding. As a conclusion I will translate the last paragraph.
In addition of racists and militarist, these new barbarian caudillos brag from being nationalistic. It could not be otherwise. Nationalism is the culture of those who lack it, an ideological ersatz built of such an obtuse and primitive manner as racism (and its unavoidable consequences), which makes belonging to a collective abstraction –the nation- the highest value and the privileged badge of the individual. If there is a continent where nationalism has been devastating, it is Latin America. That was the ideology used by all caudillos to disguise their abuses and extortions who bled us in internecine or external wars, the pretext who served to waste funds in weaponry (which allowed for great corruption) and the main obstacle for economical and political integration of Latin America. It seems incredible that after all that we have gone through, there is still a left in Latin America that will resuscitate these monsters –the race, the boot and nationalism. As a panacea to all of our problems. It is true that there is another left, more responsible and more modern –the one represented by a Ricardo Lagos, a Tabare Vasquez or a Lula da Silva-, which clearly distinguish itself form the one incarnated by this alive anachronism that are Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and the Humala clan. But, unhappily, it is much less influential than the one propagated across the continent by the Venezuelan president with his verbiage and his petrodollars.