THIS POST IS GOING TO BE A TWO PART POST
The regime must be reaching some sort of paroxysm. This one might be due to a croaking Chavez, to bad polls, or simply Chavez ego unable to stand that headlines are regularly about the Unidad primaries and programs and not his own ego burps. There is really no other explanation to his latest rant at the formation of yet a new Labor Confederation, "central obrera" and the promises that came with it.
First, let me make something clear: from personal experience I have a dismal view of Venezuelan trade unions, even before Chavez. They are particularly corrupt and strictly interested in sucking dry business so the trade union leaders can live well. Why workers vote for such unions has baffled me, unless they put up with their union bosses in the hope that one day they can become union bosses in turn. Though as always there are some reasonably honorable exceptions where union bosses establish a collaboration with direction so that all benefit. At any rate, you can certainly imagine that a new trade union organization dedicated to Chavez, the boss of most of them to begin with, is certainly going to reach heights that the old CTV could not dream of.
That is right, the new union group will support its boss, Hugo Chavez, who attended its birth. I can hardly wait for the first strike....
So today we have in Venezuela at least 4 labor confederations! And yet the manufacturing sector keeps plummeting. There is the old historical CTV which is still alive but quite insignificant. Not because of its active role in 2002-2003 but because once Chavez had secured power in 2004 workers went with those who offered more, Chavez then, flush with dollars. Yes, trade unions in Venezuela are much more about politics and wealth than actual workers right. After all the CTV did survive the 2000 onslaught when Chavez tried to take it over and oil had not reached 30 USD a barrel yet.
So Chavez decided in 2003 to create a "bolivarian" labor confederation, UNETE. It had only a limited success because, well, it was a boss union. Yet, eventually, labor being labor, UNETE showed some signs of its own thinking. It was prodded to it because its complacency with the government was too big and a third labor confederacy directed by a certain Orlando Chirinos has been trying to set roots, somewhere between CTV and UNETE. And I am not getting into some undertow currents.
But it is election time and there is an urgent need to make demagogic promises to the working class which is quite battered by inflation and lots of unfilled promises by the regime, not to mention the financial debt the regime has as for the labor system of Venezuela. But of course such promises cannot be made to the UNETE so a new labor confederation is formed, with the appropriate "socialismo" in its infinite title: Central Socialista de Trabajadores de la Ciudad, del Campo y del Mar. I am not making this up. thouigh apparently the name is not quite fixed yet as I have found also Central Bolivariana Socialista de Trabajadores. They cannot even set their act straight!
But this is not for the joy of all and Aporrea has a critical article on it, though very careful to state that Chavez is misinformed by his corrupt entourage (so, who names that entourage?). If you read a little Spanish try to read the second paragraph and wonder how come that at this point there are people trying to convince themselves that Chavez "does not know", that nothing that happens is this fault, that he is kept in the dark by a corrupt entourage....
As for the delirious promises of Chavez, wait for a coming post.