Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Transparency for Venezuela in pictures

I keep writing about ideas for improving Venezuela even if I know Venezuela is currently under a military autocracy and there is little room for any proposal from pluralistic Venezuela to be implemented. I still think we need to talk about what we can do once the military regime is gone.

A few months ago a German IT magazine, Ct', had an article about sites promoting transparency in different countries. One of those I liked the most was a tiny British site called Where Does My Money Go? If you have a minute, take a look, specially check out the dashboard and the way regions and spending fields can be compared. The site is a taster. I can think of a dozen other items they could add there to go deeper into who is spending what in the government, possibly with links to the public tenders and companies involved in any project with a budget over a certain threshold (say, the equivalent to €5000). The site is maintained by the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Right now the Venezuelan government is one of the least transparent. We just get contradictory pieces of information here and there, we do know the Venezuelan so-called revolution spends in submarines, Kalashnikovs and tanks galore as well as in Chávez's travels and dresses. Although the self-proclaimed "socialist" but actually just military regime says it spends a lot in "education", schools are overcrowded and falling apart and parents still have to pay an average worker's monthly salary to get the books and textbooks for two children..whereas in the EU and USA those things are usually provided by the state.

It is time for the opposition to go out and propose ideas on transparency and spending...but not in Caracas or Northern Valencia, not on just on Internet, but in the streets of Maturín and El Tigre, Southern Valencia and San Carlos, Calabozo Pedernales.

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