|Excruciating cattle line for a white plastic rectangle|
I was listening to an interview made to several people in the lines. One thought that it was some kind of census and people were required to sign up regardless. Another one did not know either but had heard that it would bring some material advantages “beneficios” so he had to sign up just in case. There was the one that wondered whether it was a new social program. Not forgetting the naïve one stating that the new card would stop abuse and corruption. Etc… Nobody knew exactly what the thing was about. All had an interpretation according to their need or wishes. And there had to be of course the chavista to the bone that said that this was the very last line that el pueblo had to stand in for, that thanks to the revolution and Maduro this was the final solution to all our woes. Or something of the kind, I am trying very hard to forget that after 17 there are still people like that.
|They have now two ID cards, still skinny|
But that is the point, the populace that Chavez has left us with. Make no mistake, he did not created it, the AD governments of before did not mind a little bit of uncouth masses, easier to manipulate at election time. What Chavez did was to carry this to an art form, certainly guided by the extensive techniques of brainwashing and propaganda imported from Cuba. And thus it grew and grew.
It is inconceivable that after 17 years el pueblo still thinks that all of their salvation shall come from the government. It is difficult to comprehend that among the interviewed there was no sense in any one that this latest craze was doomed as all the others were. Or is it that previsible outcome is now so obvious that repeating it to the journalists was kind of redundant? And yet, even if you are a true believer of chavismo, after the three years of downhill from Maduro, don’t you have a doubt? Can you still believe that the problem is that Misiones are merely ill managed, not ill conceived?
And thus the masses standing in line for hours for a new card with a microchip that will make it easier for the regime to discriminate, to control, to organize more efficiently its political apartheid, that will exclude people like me. But I digress.
The carnet de la patria will be the only way for el pueblo to access to the Misiones, or what is left of it. Since the country is bankrupt, and totally incompetent to direct sophisticated social programs that require planning and logistics, all efforts are directed to some housing and the now infamous CLAP which is nothing else but a rationing that does not dare speak its name. The Carnet de la Patria is the ration card that does not dare to speak its name. Only holders of the little card will be allowed to enter in the new CLAP stores that will regroup Mercal, PDVAL, and Abasto Bicentenario stores. And you will be on a schedule.
A well-managed rationing system needs not be a sign of a failed state, the sign of the failed state is the people accepting with such ease a rationing program that they know in the bottom of their heart is going to fail. Otherwise would have they been happy to stand in line and sign up?
This raises the damming issue of how do we get out of that failed state status, if we get a chance to try. Emigration has taken between 1 and 2 million Venezuelans depending on who you read. But if you are middle class Venezuelan you can speak in percentage: there is no family that has no parents living outside of the country, there is no middle class family that is not expecting more of its members to leave the country. Where are we at in the middle class? 20% 30% gone? Are these people going to come back some day? No, at least not those who have managed to rebuild their shattered lives under other skies. Only a fraction may come back.
So who are we going to rebuild the country with? Those uneducated chavista masses? Those graduated from the “Bolivarian” educational system who can only find a job in the bureaucracy? Make no mistake: the bulk of the emigration is the well trained young professionals, the entrepreneurs. The best and the brightest, maybe. And they are lost.
A society that allows for such a brain and energy drain is indeed a failed society of a failed state. And now the poor are going to start leaving too. It is always the case, the elites, when they exist, are the first ones to leave. When the poor start flooding the border crossings then you have reached the failed state official status.
But the tragedy here is that if it is rather easy to figure out how chavismo has failed the people it was supposed to help, it is almost as clear to see how the elites have failed in their role.
A few days ago I was directed to a Washington Post opinion piece that actually came from Caracas Chronicles. Had I known that beforehand I would not have bothered reading. I have stopped visiting the site since around Maduro election, tired of reading them missing the mark. That is fine; they do not visit me either. We are even.
The piece is not uninteresting in that it tries to give advice to the anti-Trump crowd on how to resist, even though quite out of place considering that the US political system is, well, different that the one in Venezuela that failed to stop Chavez. To begin with, Trump cannot get the 2/3 to change the constitution. And he is too old for that president for life stunt. But he can do lots and lots of damage while his family gets very, very rich. But the problem with Rondon’s piece is that it is discussing last war, not the current one. And that is the problem of the Venezuelan opposition.
Reading the debates around the validity of the dialogue or the advice of pollsters suggesting to politicians to go and visit the masses is witnessing how all of these people do not understand what is really going on in Venezuela. Or like the chavistas interviewed at the Carnet de la Patria lines, they are burying their head in the sand. These advice may all be fine but their alleged non application do not explain all the defeats of the opposition, not its scant victories. E.g., these "weaknesses" did not stop the opposition from winning the 2007 referendum. One year after Chavez was smashingly reelected.
The problem with the Venezuelan opposition is not that they do not speak to el pueblo of what matters to el pueblo (they do). The problem for the Venezuelan opposition is that they refuse to acknowledge what is truly in front of them. And thus they cannot take the actions required to face the challenge. Are they afraid? Are they plainly ignorant? Are they corrupt? Well, some seem to be all of that and willing to wreck the opposition unity. But that is another story.
The fact of the matter is that Venezuelan current regime is a kleptocracy, deeply involved in all sorts of internationally unacceptable crimes, from human rights abuses to washing mega amounts of money obtained through corruption practices and drug trafficking. This is a regime that cannot surrender power under democratic ways because in a democracy where justice exists they will be sent to jail.
Refusing to acknowledge that fact, pretending to play by the democratic book when the other side is a fascist gang, and worse, showing for some the wish to compromise with the regime in exchange of a job is how failed states are made.