It was not long until the legal consequences of stupidly voting for Chavez in February came to surface. Wednesday the rubber stamp national assembly removed a big chunk of competences from mayors and governors, leaving them with very little to do. Why that? Two basic reasons.
In a system where the same guy can run again and again it is ESSENTIAL that all seems to flow from his government. So, in preparation of 2011 election (one is never too ready for those things) Chavez had his assembly vote on removal from local officials of the big bucks thing: public transportation through airports, ports and road building and maintenance. This way it does not matter if a governor is chavista on the rise (Henri Falcon) or opposition, any visible public work project will be seen as a grant of Chavez to the area. Chavez will be able to inaugurate alone any single mile of road he wants to open, without anyone else taking any itsy bit of credit.
Expect more of the sort. Indeed, the cheating for the 2011 election has started by making sure that nobody can have any administrative achievement to show for an electoral platform. As such people such as infamous and famously corrupt Diosdado Cabello are doing their utmost to sabotage even small initiatives such as creative ways to deal with the nightmarish traffic of Caracas, when as a governor of Miranda in 4 years Cabello did nothing. And as a minister before that time he did even less except having him and is family get immensely rich.
Which leads us to the second reason. Killing decentralization simply focuses all corruption to Caracas. Already for many permits I have to go personally to Caracas, EVEN THOUGH our company does have an office in Caracas.
For certain things, it does not matter where in the country you live, you must go to a central office which at best is located in Barquisimeto (not even Valencia where the opposition risks too much to take office at any given time). But going to Barquisimeto is not enough for me becasue Barquisimeto will only approve AFTER Caracas does anyway. Let's say that when you have to go to Barquisimeto you waste one day instead of the two you would waste going to Caracas. I can tell you of an inspection for a certain process that I am waiting for since 2007 has not been approved from Caracas yet even though the personnel that would do that inspection is located close by. I can tell you that the company safety delegates must go personally every month to Barquisimeto to submit their report as even a FedEx posted and signed by them will not do. Each time of course the company has to pay for the day and all the travel expenses. And if these people were to suffer an accident in the road becasue the government forces them to do the trip, the company will have to pay for everything anyway.
What is the consequences of all of this administrative mess? That you will have to resort to some Caracas agents which will charge you fabulous sums for permits that by law would cost nothing or very little. And you will have to accept their business offer becasue otherwise you will waste so much money and time traveling several times to Caracas that, come to think of it, hiring a "gestor" will simply not look that expensive after all. Of course, once you yield to these people they start charging more and more, fees that they split with Caracas bureaucrats.
But in a way I love it: all these asshole chavista who voted SI one month ago and who are protesting already more and more everyday as Chavez is tightening the economic screws now will be told that they need to go to Caracas to be heard. I want to see how they are going to manage it without the free bus rides they used to get to go and support Chavez at Bolivar avenue. Good for them!!! Let them eat red icing cake!