The author knew before Chavez won the 1998 election that nothing good could come from a failed, partially educated, uncouth, middle level army officer.
I knew in 1998 that someone who had failed so miserably the 1992 coup, in a country where a coup should have been a piece of cake at the time, where he had the easiest part to do as Caracas has only three exits, easily blockaded in case some one tries to come from Maracay to control the coupsters, I knew that someone who failed that miserably that task could not manage successfully a modern country.
Let's not confuse success and political power. If the success of Chavez at retaining office cannot be disputed, his failure at managing the country cannot be disputed either. In 14 years the currency has gone from around 500 per USD to around 60,000 per USD, and its inflation rate is in the middle double digits, highest than anyone else in Latin America, by far. Today Venezuela is a country where jobs are not being created outside the public sector, where we experience routine electric outages, where our faucets are increasingly dry, where elemental basic grocery shopping requires that you visit at least two stores, where health care is collapsed at the hospital level and deficient at the primary care, where you can get murdered at the cash machine for as little as 100 USD. No other indicators to gauge the failure are needed.
I have opposed Chavez since before his first election because I cannot trust a military who spent his life conspiring to overturn democracy. Also because I am basically allergic to any military participation in government, accepting them as a necessary evil at best, that must be supervised at all times closely by the civilians in charge,. And most of all because Chavez and his immediate colleagues are a sub product of the worst that Venezuelan armies have been able to produce.
I have opposed Chavez from the start because he is not a democrat. Because he changed the Constitution on a whim, selling the need as a snake potion. I have always known that constitutions are only as good as the people that apply them and no constitution could work in the hands of a thug like Chavez. In April 1999 I am proud to say that I was in the few 10% of voters who said NO to constitutional change. And I have been proved right almost every day since that fateful referendum.
I opposed Chavez because I am educated, well read, cosmopolitan, Liberal in the US of A sense, or Social Democrat in Europe, and thus I know full well that Chavez was a reactionary throw back to Venezuela's past of strongmen, set ideas, and the evil caudillos that bled our country since its Independence wars.
But because I am well educated I cannot ignore that Venezuela was a mess with little prospect to improve fast in 1998. People were in a hurry and thus the snake potion seller won. I watched, bemused, people who should have known better go and vote for Chavez, and regretting it today bitterly, and yet without even a word of apology for what they brought upon us. Still, I understood why they did so, as I had no words to stop them, no clue as how to explain that it was our march to political Armageddon. And thus I resent Chavez because he made Venezuela much worse today than what it was in 1998. We are now a deeply divided and intolerant country where what ones associates with abuse of power has become our set of values. With Chavez our vices have often become virtues.
And thus the need for that blog which started in 2003, to document, to narrate, to tell our tale of descent into barbarity and perhaps outright savagery.