Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Venezuela's Evils

We know about Hugo's countless speeches every week, where ministers and everybody looking for favours are forced to listen to his ranting and applaud for hours.

We have seen how the custom of long speeches among his mini-Mes in Venezuela and abroad is expanding.

In Venezuela those mini-Mes are mostly the new regional caudillos and other would-like-to-be caudillos like the infamous police officer who gave the speech you can watch on the link or the bosses of bureacrats as told in Caracas Chronicles.

You wonder: how can people endure all this?

Basically, it goes all over again to a couple of issues:

1) Venezuela is a petrostate, it has been importing almost everything and exporting almost only oil for decades now and the government has control of that oil

2) A large proportion of Venezuelans do believe in some form of cargo cult: they think the problem is about wealth distribution, not production, honesty, real education as opposed to degrees.

3) The leaders of the opposition in general - at the universities, in public offices, in parties - , as opposed to the average non-chavista, are mostly representatives of the former upper-class: the education law sucks? They express the worries of parents with children in private schools (who make up 20% of all pupils), of students and professors fearing a worsening of university conditions...all valid arguments, but they forget to talk about equally valid interests relevant for 80% of pupils, they forget to talk about quality, accountability, about new ideas

The economy will keep deteriorating. What will happen?
Don't think things will be over soon unless the opposition changes its strategy. Even if there are less and less petrodollars pouring in, the regime has other tools.


1) More expropriation of lands owned by opponents to the regime (not of the many lands owned by the new Boliburguesía)
2) More expropriation of houses and other buildings owned by regime opponents, rich and not so rich (not by the rich Boliburgueses)
3) The re-implementation of the already announced taxes on bank transactions
4) The infiltration of more and more companies with chavista union leaders who will lead workers to believe - for a time - they are taking over production means, when in reality they are just making production collapse (Venezuelan workers having no idea about how unproductive they are in comparison to the rest of the world)
5) More deals signed by the regime to pawn Venezuelan resources and future to Chinese, Brazilians or anyone ready to risk lending more money to Venezuela in expectation that oil prices will again raise to 2008 levels (something very probable, either due to Oil Peak, higher demand or about anything)

The last point is particularly worrying for all Venezuelans on a long term basis. Although the government initially was able to reduce foreign debt due to much higher oil prices, the situation is now reverting in a manner that could put us in worse difficulties than our debts in the eighties. Some of the deals the government has been signing are compromising Venezuela's very incomes. Above all: Venezuela's infrastructure is crumbling down.

The government is selling the new education law as a way to improve the chances of poor pupils to go to university. Until now state universities have been free but students coming from private schools have been overrepresented (about 50% when they are less than 20%). This is due to the fact that Venezuela's pre-university studies are too bad and last less than they should.

What nobody is telling, neither the government nor the opposition, is that the key to university success are schools were analytical thought, pluralism, creativity, planning and discipline are taught.

What nobody is telling, neither the government nor the opposition, is that we are running out of time to avoid a societal collapse in a few years due to ever-growing needs and ever-decreasing production and educational capabilities.

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