Two reasons to recall Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez
By Aleksander Boyd
London 03 July 2004 – Poll result have taken centre stage in Venezuelan politics. Who will win? What will be the turnout for the recall referendum? Who counts with the largest support? These are questions that have been posed to multifarious groups to meet determined targets. As such dwellers of shantytowns are asked “will you vote?” whilst residents of middle class areas are prompted to respond whether they will recall Chavez. From a historical perspective, the greatest abstention in elections is that of the poorest sectors of society; to these groups it matters very little who resides in Miraflores. In times of the bipartisan (AD-COPEI) power sharing system known as “Pacto de Puntofijo” votes were mustered by handing out cement, tin roofs and bottles of rum. Chavismo does not differ very much from the proven in-kind-for-votes system utilised by previous politicos. The only perceivable change is the nature of the goods –in kind- to be handed out. Heavily subsidised chicken, corn flour and grains have supplanted cement and tin roofs; spirits continue to be the single most convincing good to be traded for votes.
A drunken ignorant population is an easily manageable beast. It exists not something more dangerous for a populist Chavez-like figure than a well educated/informed citizenry. Bolivarian universities are a sham, similarly those literacy plans are nothing but indoctrination strategies with an excellent performance record as seen in Cuba. Any person with capacity to discern can realise the immensity of the failure of Hugo Chavez' revolution. Let us remember that he was elected on an anti-corruption/pro-accountability platform, however no Venezuelan, chavista or otherwise, can name 5 official figures from previous or present administrations having been prosecuted on corruption charges by the regime. Equally dramatic, accountability is a concept inexistent in the chavista psyche. Ergo some reasons to recall Hugo Chavez.
According to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index 2003, Venezuela holds the 104th position (out of 133 countries surveyed). The results of the same study in the year 2002, placed Venezuela in the 84th position (out of 102), and in 2001 occupied the 70th place (out of 91 countries). Quite consistent results!! Apologists have said in that respect that corruption is rather difficult to quantify, there exists nonetheless sufficient factual evidence to prove that Chavez’ regime is by far the most corrupt that Venezuela has ever seen. For instance the irresponsible manner in which the country has been indebted. In 1998 the internal outstanding debt was close to $2.000 billion, in contrast to $16.000 billion at present. Venezuela’s banking system holds 64% of the internal debt at times when PDVSA’s output capacity has decreased significantly. This translates into larger chunks of the budget having to be destined to service the debt, both internal and external, placing an extraordinary burden in the country’s finances. The $2.500 billion deposited in the Inversion and Macro Stabilization Fund (FIEM), were pilfered by Chavez. New measures to deviate PDVSA’s funds to social programmes and electoral campaigns that lack auditing and expenditure control mechanisms, bypassing the Central Bank, have been implemented lately by the regime, something unheard of in contemporary Venezuela. Thus future questions concerning usage of oil profits need be addressed to Hugo Chavez and his gang.
Oxford Dictionary defines accountability as: “The quality of being accountable; liability to give account of, and answer for, discharge of duties or conduct; responsibility, amenableness. Accountableness: The quality or fact of being accountable or liable to give account and answer for conduct; responsibility, amenableness (to a person, for a thing). It is impossible to point out one example of Hugo Chavez taking responsibility or answering for his conduct. His own ascent to power was greased with illegal foreign contributions of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, the latter profiting immensely from it afterwards via the local Banco Provincial. Furthermore, I publicly invite supporters of the regime reading this site to forward one instance whereby the presidential behaviour has been held to account and correspondingly castigated. I know it will be difficult, in consequence public officials’ performance can also be considered. Justice can seldom and badly be served in a country where impunity and official disregard for the rule of law are promoted by the very president.
One could recite ad infinitum cases of corruption and lack of accountability in the past 6 years. The embezzlement and deviation of public funds by this administration is so widespread, gross and evident that chavistas have lost all sense of caution when going about their businesses, in the know that there is no law or judicial entity capable of curtailing their actions. We have witnessed how illegal recording of telephone conversations is not only customary nowadays, what’s even more is used to attack political opponents openly in the state controlled TV station. We have also seen the president admitting in front of the Diplomatic Corps and the international press that the strike that cost the nation between $12-16 billion was entirely of his making.
A convicted criminal that for a rather regretful decision was liberated by the founder of the power sharing model, controls at will our nation. Whatever the poll results are though, he will be recalled for the two reasons aforementioned.
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