7 February 2005

Venezuela: A Totalitarian Scheme

Luis Garcia Mora* | El Nacional

07.02.05 | Let's not fool ourselves, dear readers. As a well known friend and medical doctor says, when he refers to the regime and the current moment, anyone that thinks that this is going to stabilize and its going to produce results is wrong.

None of this is permanent.

It has been six years and the country is living a subsistence crisis, where one can feel the continuous collapse of populist management. You can feel it, you can touch it: the waste is beyond belief and each Bolivar is now worth only a cent. And this in the middle of the highest oil windfall ever. You only need to see the streets, the cities, to appreciate the national disaster.

The missions, the Bolivarian units, attempts on the fly and through the grassroots to redefine a new social structure in the popular sectors where the economic asphyxia is explosive. Neither his Government nor his party work for Chavez and the human resources and the technicians of the Armed Forces have reached their limit of utilization for social politics, which implies there is a fight to establish a new relationship between the poor and the Government.

For the Venezuelan without means, there is an abyss between the whirlpool of billions and the galloping corruption that is now manifesting itself without even blushing, in the highest spheres of power. And all of the their myths to get out of their hole have exploded, which is why trapped between the orthodox path, to be honest and work hard, and the path of crime, rip offs, illegalities, jewels, shoes and fancy watches, there is no other option, but to join the Government and the missions to survive. And that is where Chávez is launching his last bet.

The machinery of Government does not work.

And once again, it is facing a phase of accelerated decomposition.

This has been a characteristic of his Government, which every once in while goes into a phase of self-destruction. Because of its waste, because of its ineptitude.

A state that has been going like this for six years.

Spain (to give an example) tripled its GDP in twenty years and is living in a state of bonanza, while here what we have is cities submerged in garbage and crime. In only two months Valencia and Carabobo appear as if the locust had gone by.

As another doctor friend says, in six years what we are going to have is an autolyitic crisis. That is, destruction: "A bunch of guys say that they are rebuilding the country and saving Venezuela and what they are doing is deepening all of its imperfections and destroying it. And not only in the physical sense, also in the moral one. How is it possible, my dear reader, that Anderson (the killed Prosecutor) has gone from having his funeral in the national mausoleum to being a crook? Where are the moral reserves? And none of Chavez' supporters dares to say anything.

They never end up showing the slightest capacity for self-criticism and recomposition in front of a public opinion which just observes it all with perplexity.

Because the conclusion you have to reach is that with this vision of a society, success is simply not possible.

As someone says, Chávez is surrounded by a Cyclopic pressure within the structures of the regime, which he can't get out of, "unless he can correct that, but if he does he will be overthrown. It is (corruption) all over the place. Horizontally and vertically"

"And in a reality where the Bolivar does not yield much, it will explode, because you can't give charity to the whole country"

A collective idea has been created that we are living a folly.

The Chavista folly. Which has lasted six long years. Seemingly infinite ones. Where each new plan is crazier than the next.

An improbable world where Ramon Martinez (Governor of Sucre) created an airline three years ago and nobody knows where it is. The same way nobody knows where the Trans-Antillean airline that Chávez created with his former presidential plane is. Lots of broken projects. Where are the vertical chicken coops? So much inconclusive and unfinished junk. How about those entrepreneurs with the projects to make tiles? And the river boats to connect to the Meta River? A fortune thrown overboard. Where are the much promised harvests? The modernization of the penitentiary system? The humanization of jails? The schools and home for the street kids?

But above all this, the crazy birth of a new state that simultaneously is a single party and a segregationist apartheid of the other half of the country, which does not agree with Chávez and his six years and his totalitarian experimentation.

A sort of fascism (or fascism). Which is escaping through the seams. And that is asking for new political-institutional experiments, to execute in a more effective way the acceleration, conscious and programmed, of a totalitarian process on society and the state.

A totalitarian spirit.

Which has been expressed in all of its nakedness, first, with the defamation case against Tulio Álvarez and Ybeyise Pacheco, which reveals in a very transparent fashion in one single action the criminalization of dissidence and of freedom of expression.

Afterwards, in the announcement by the new President of the Supreme Court, Omar Mora, that he is going to act aggressively and without losing any time to remove from the Judiciary all of those judges "coupsters" that are anti-Chavez. A warning that connects directly with the suspension by Luis Velázquez Alvaray, President of the Judiciary Commission, of the three judges which revoked the prohibition from leaving the country against 27 people charge with civil rebellion for their part in the events of April 11th (2002), backing Carmona.

But, above all considerations, the accusation against Patricia Poleo by the Attorney General/Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez for the supposed crime of obtaining and publishing confidential documents from a judicial file.

For informing.

And that is very grave.

Because Prosecutor Rodriguez has said that " it is not the same to handle the confidentiality of sources of information that handling documents that sustain that information" and that means simply that if this nonsense is successful, investigative reporting is not only finished here but also the exercise of pure reporting.

The right to be informed my friends.

Because the question that arises is why did the Prosecutor give that jump that cuts down a freedom which is considered by contemporary political thinking as one of the fundamental pillars of a pluralistic society?

First, because there's no democracy. Or it will die instantly the moment that this arbitrariness is completed, this abuse, this madness.

And after it, because Rodriguez tries to escape from the truth about Anderson. Of the extortion network that it is said had rotted his institution. Of a dead hero of the revolution, who had amassed a sudden fortune in which he kept, in his home alone, 1.5 billion bolivars and six hundred thousand dollars.

Of a scandal Chavez has been unable to escape from, even threatening to freeze relations with Colombia, nor provoking the first economic and military power of the world.

Of a scandal that on top of that, sinks its deepest roots in the social decomposition of the regime itself.

Because with the accusation against Patricia, Tulio, Ibeyise, Uson and the signators of the decree, and taking into account the control the Government has over the institutions, with the fiscal and judiciary monopoly, what is expressing itself, dear reader, is how far the regime is willing to go. What it is ready to do or transgress, in order to impose its hegemony.

It could be all that is imaginable. With a clear message, to the rest of Venezuelans, that the best thing anyone can do is not to fight with him, not to confront him. Or what is the same, a final and definite turn of the screws (and defining one) in this scheme of tightening and loosening, and in which each time it loosens up, it leaves you tighter than before, thus allowing you to live with the minimum oxygen possible, so that you understand that the cost of fighting with him is jail. Or bringing you to trial.

A totalitarian scheme.

*Translation by Miguel Octavio.

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