Thursday, May 24, 2007

Those exquisite revolutionary moments: populism at its vilest

The other night Chavez was giving us a 20% rebate on our phone bills. That is right, after wasting millions and millions of dollars in the totally unnecessary purchase of a fairly well functioning telecom business, he knows tells us that thanks to this purchase he will drop our phone bills by 20%.

Let’s do the math.

Chavez bought CANTV for 1,600 million USD (I am rounding numbers).

There are now 28 million in Venezuela.

That is, in our name Chavez spent 57 USD per capita.

My phone bill is roughly 75 USD a month (35USD at the street market of the Bolivar).

20% are either 15 or 7 USD depending which Bolivar value you think is the real value (and assuming that I will get 20% across all the services I subscribe, which remains to be seen).

So it will take 4 months or 8 months for me to “recover” the money Chavez took away from me.

You think that it might be a good deal. But, what do I get from that transaction? What if inflation is 20% by the time I recover “my forced investment” in CANTV? How Chavez will maintain the service of a company which obviously now will not make enough money to maintain its functions considering inflation and transition costs as all the non revolutionary employees will be slowly but surely forced out to be replaced with political appointees, secure in their jobs and totally oblivious to the notion of public service?

Now let’s do THE REAL MATH. Let’s calculate these numbers based on the total numbers of subscribers.

If we include ALL services of CANTV we have roughly 12 million subscribers. So, in other words, the 4 to 8 months to “recover” my investment will be, at the very least, doubled and will definitely be eaten whole by the inflation during that period. 28 million people is more than double of 12 million subscribers, no?

But you know what? I do not care because as soon as possible I will have switched all my services to either Movistar or Digitel. I do not care if I pay twice as much as in CANTV, because in a few moths I know I will get twice as much service. Also, chavismo will not be able to eavesdrop as easily in my communications if it ever wants to do so. Or does anyone think for a second that Jacqueline Faria or Soccorro Hernandez will bar the DISIP or other Chavez agencies from putting all the snoop devices that they want to install without any court order? I mean, until when for Faria to deny phone services because your name appears in the Tascon list? After all, she used said list in her previous positions.

No, no, no… Chavez, listen good. If you thought for a second that in your cadena where you “granted” us a phone bill deduction as if CANTV was for you to play with as you wished, that you were going to buy me, you are wrong. Even the lower classes will not be much affected by your pseudo generous gift. Long ago they have moved away from your primitive, retrograde and even reactionary ideas on how telecommunications should work in the XXI century, socialist or not. They do not want a CANTV company to subsidize a land line that they have no use for when for less than 10 USD a months they can have a cell phone that they can carry wherever they want to, a cell phone that could save their life in the barrio someday when they are trapped in some corner by some gang. They know that in the barrio any land line installation will not work because the cables would be regularly stolen, because service will have a hard time to reach them for repairs, where service trucks will have to go under police or army escort if they do not want to get their tools and wallets ripped off as they work.

And you think that by discounting 2 or 3 USD per month on their phone bill you will buy the lower classes? Hear me: what they want is meat on the shelves, is a real job to be able to pay for it and security in the streets and barrios so they can go to buy the food they like. And they want to digest their evening meal in front of their favorite novella, not the one of Venevision because there is no other novela to watch. That is what they want, not a ridiculous discount of a few bucks.

So, your condescending populism of two nights ago, one of the vilest avatar that you have given us so far, is not going to make us forget that we need to go to several stores to find all what we need, is not going to make us forget that our lives are in danger whenever we go shopping or to the bank, is not going to make us forget that 20% official inflation is eating our incomes, is not going to make us forget about the closing of RCTV.

Please, Hugo, stop insulting our intelligence by giving us alms. Such populism is indecent, humiliating, and even more so when accompanied with your grimacing of self satisfaction and the sycophantic chants of your silly paid for supporters. Never as this week have you shown us how much you despise the Venezuelan people. Do you despise them so much because you think they were stupid enough to believe your rhetoric?

-The end-

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