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Venezuela: A 1984 society

By Veneconomy

The Chávez administration has taken populism to extremes, mounting its proposal on the failed economic policies of the past marked by interventionism and controls that end up impairing the normal development of the economy. This outdated way of thinking has permeated the foundations of politics and today Venezuela is living in a world where what is irregular and atypical is the norm and the rule of law has become a rarity and out of the ordinary. This is a society in the best Orwellian style, as described in his novel 1984, where “reality” is imposed by the government.

The decision handed down by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice validating the foreign exchange regime in force since February 5, 2003, seems to have been taken straight out of a chapter of 1984. The decision, to be published shortly, argues that this is not an exchange control as such but “a policy for regulating the monetary market” and that, therefore, it does not violate the principle of reserve requirement and the autonomy of the Central Bank of Venezuela provided for in the Constitution.

The Constitutional Chamber of the TSJ approved the opinion delivered by Justice José Delgado Ocando by 3 votes to 2. Justices Antonio García and Pedro Rondón were against the decision as they considered, among other things, that, even when the regime is given another name, its effect on the economy is the same. This Constitutional Chamber is the same one that, a week ago, determined that a basic law could be approved by a simple majority in the National Assembly, i.e. by the same margin as any other lower-ranking law.

In tune with the Supreme Tribunal is Cadivi president Edgar Hernández Behrens, who attributes three blessings to the exchange control, one being the increase in monetary liquidity that is putting pressure on inflation. This, then, is this type of Orwellian logic that is being used to guide the country’s destiny.

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