Sunday, 20 June 2010

Unsustainable underdevelopment

Venezuela's population according to the wishes of military Chávez
(I assume the 50 million "target" is to be attained in 2031 at the earliest, no matter how madly people get to know each other)

Hugo Chávez has an obsession with demographics: he wants Venezuela to have 50 million inhabitants as soon as possible. He thinks that would make Venezuela a "more" powerful nation. Never mind Venezuela has to import most of its food requirements and almost anything else it needs but oil. Never mind Venezuelan workers theoretically have to spend a month's salary to buy books for their children - unless they send children without books to schools that have no books-. In that respect, like in many others, Chávez is in the same wavelength as Iranian Akhmadinejad. I wonder if his belief is based on sheer ignorance or on a very Machiavellian thought about how to keep control of an underdeveloped nation.

That mindset - sheer population size as power - has been rejected by most countries at least since the end of World War II.

Here you can watch some minutes of Chávez's show. I did not watch the whole thing but started at minute 8. There you can see how Chávez talks to a Venezuelan couple in one of the supermarkets the French were forced to "sell" to the military government. The woman is Evelin. She has 3 children: Kefrins, Katrin and Kevin. The names are typical of those poor parents with little education give to their children. They usually choose English or pseudo-English names or just make up names. The man is Emilio. He comes from Guatire, a poor area of Miranda state in Central Venezuela, not far from the capital. Emilio says he wants to have another child. You can hear the woman protesting. He says - jokingly - the country needs many more people. Chávez says: "of course, we have to reach the goal...we have to reach 50 million inhabitants".

Evelin then says she has learnt many things thanks to the communal councils (let's remember council in Russian is "soviet" or совет). "When the baby was in the belly" she says", I used to tell him: son, you are going to become a revolutionary...and every time he hears the slogan Fatherland, Socialism or Death, he would cry (sic)".


  1. Another ass-backwards statement. While ecologists of all tendencies warn of the grave dangers of over population and alert if we reach 50Bn humans by 2050 we'll be condemned to extinction, Mr. Intuition proposes the opposite...

  2. Exactly. I suppose he won't be saying that in Copenhaguen's follow up.
    If we could interview him - which we can't - I would like to ask him where on Earth he wants the extra 21 million Venezuelans to be living and where the food is coming from.

    Now, this attitude is still part of way many millions of Venezuelans think.

  3. Good posting, but heyyyy I live in Guatire and I don't think we can call it a "poor community" anymore. It's basically a Caracas bedroom community, and the housing market has EXPLODED here in the past few years.

  4. Hi, Marja.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. Yes, that was an oversimplification. Still, the area has been traditionally working class, I am sure the man would not have said "de Baruta, Miranda" if he had been from Baruta. Guatire has expanded enormously because of the people, specially young, well-educated, moving out of the congested Caracas valley. As we know, not even Petare seems to be what it was before :-)

    Now, what is rich and what is poor is always relative for many reasons, specially in Venezuela: it depends on average, it depends on net worth, on stability of job sources and much more.

    I recently took a look for some seconds (more than enough) to Jesse Chacon's Twitter account. He kept insulting those "burgueses, oligarcas". As you probably know, his brother is now in jail (is he?) after becoming a billionaire in a couple of years and showing it off just too much. Jesse claimed not to have known anything about it. I am sure Jesse says he is working class even if he is now much richer than many of those "ricos oligarcas".

    If you ever have a gossip, a comment, a story or a picture that may be of special interest for foreign readers, please, write me at
    desarrollo.sostenible.venezuela AT
    I am specially interested in views from "outside the capital".


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