If there is one thing that astonishes me is the way how history is so present in Venezuela. I mean: history is present everywhere, but in Venezuela old habits die really really hard. We have the iPhones, we have the jeans, we have the music that ever listens to. We deal in a more relaxed way with regards to ethnic issues than other people. Still: socio-politically speaking we are still repeating almost the same patterns we showed in our past.
Three opposition governors - those of Miranda, Lara and Zulia - were meeting to "plan a strategy" to get the resources that by law are due to their administrations. Why do they need to do that?
The current national caudillo, military strongman Chávez, is awashed with petrodollars. That money belongs to the nation, but as a military caudillo, Chávez does not see any difference between the State, the government, the nation and himself. There are very specific laws about how oil revenues must be distributed: some money must go to the national government, some to the regional governments and so on. The budgets are calculated according to expected oil revenues, or so the law says. If oil prices rise, they have to be re-adjusted. This is a matter of law, it should not be subject to the national caudillo's whims. The Chávez government did adjust the budgets when oil prices went down, a couple of years ago, taking away a lot of money from the local governments and thus from some of the opposition forces. Still, oil prices went up and up, they reached the previous levels and kept climbing and now they are over 100% the prices to which the budgets were calculated and yet the national government does not want to give the money to the regions. It wants to use it all to make Chavismo stay in power forever. Venezuela's inflation is still the highest in America. Local administrations from the alternative forces have more and more trouble trying to provide for services when the Chávez government is taking away resources for them.
Fortunately now some of those local forces are trying to work together. Still: how can they do that effectively if they represent local parties?
Take a look at this: Miranda's governor is from Primero Justicia. Lara's governor is from Patria Para Todos. Zulia's governor is from Un Nuevo Tiempo. We are talking about parties that only have the majority in one small region of Venezuela.
Those governors talk about working together but they do not really share much of logistics and they represent very local interests, whether they like it or not.
The only difference with the past is that now the Western Llanos has a much larger influence...what formerly was the Provincia de Barinas is home to Chávez and his power and most of his governors are military men from the Llanos.
Venezuela is a weird country. The military have a much higher rolle than anywhere else in Latin America. They make themselves as the true representatives of some heroic but not very historical past. Their only caudillo is now Chávez.
The opponents are local civilian caudillos who are still struggling to create parties that are more than personal groups and represent concrete ideas and projects.
The saddest part is that most of these people don't even realise how they are repeating the same evils that have plagued Venezuela for centuries.
We have the same caudillo-driven spirit we had in Venezuela since it was called Venezuela.
|Philipp von Hutten, like Georg von Speyer, Nikolaus Federmann and Juan de Carvajal worked above all for himself, not even for a commercial house and much less for any nation|
Or should I have used rather this painting to represent what still haunts Venezuela?
|Lope de Aguirre|