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.
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I live part time in Colombia near Bogota. It is heartbreaking to read about the conditions in Venezuela, It is heartbreaking because of course none of this should be happening. Venezuela has oil in abundance as well as natural resources and a climate that should be able to grow almost anything yet the people have almost nothing. I imagine that Venezuela is not so different from Colombia EXCEPT for a completely corrupt government. Here in Colombia there are no shortages of anything. Every mall and every store inside are full almost to the breaking point with products. Every grocery store in the country is full of anything you want to buy. Colombia has been new building roads all across the country.ReplyDelete
The 4 lane highway system is called the Autopista and is quite similar to the Interstate Highway system in the U S. There is a great amount of construction in Bogota and everywhere else I have traveled. Basically you see progress everywhere.
So here is Colombia right next door to Venezuela sharing a very long border with Venezuela, sharing climate, language, customs, religion and well much more than I can write here. There is food in abundance here and the infrastructure to transport almost anywhere. In a crisis why wouldn't the government of Venezuela carry on trade with Colombia at least to avert a worse crisis than is happening right now? I'm probably being very naive in thinking the government there would do the right thing.
The only way out is for enough of the people to go to the streets and stay there until Mao-Burro either quits, flees to Cuba, or dies.He will never leave because of the MUD, they feed at his elbow. He never will leave because of laws, morals, referenda, the Pope, Obama's prevarications and posturing, Carta Democratica's. This is one that the people must solve. They brought in the regimen, they must vomit it out!ReplyDelete
"I opposed Chavez because I am educated, well read, cosmopolitan, Liberal in the US of A sense, or Social Democrat in Europe"ReplyDelete
The problem with this train of thought is that "liberal, as in the USA" or "Social Democrat" are creatures of the left (look at Bernie Sanders). They are just not YET so far left to be totalitarian or hard fascist like Chavismo. But they would be if they could, and are trying very hard to get there. The author is merely saying he longs for "soft fascism" and "soft totalitarianism". The hard right will take you there as well, but leftist regimes are far more common...
Your blog is an a very enjoyable read. I would question your understanding of US politics if you think that you identify with "liberals" we have no liberals. Our "liberals" belong to the banks, goldman sachs, barclays and the like. We, like Russia, are ruled by oligarchs who are no more "liberal" than are the "conservatives" in my country who also voted to bail out the banks after they, quite literally, stole the money of the American workers. I look forward to reading more of your articles. Thanks for publishing the news.ReplyDelete