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If I were president of Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 02.03.05 | I studied two years in the high school of a town lost in Andean mist known as Jaji. We had a very intelligent, yet terrible pedagogue, professor of physics and math whose last name was Martinez. Professor Martinez was an evangelic; he was a disciplined man and loved to impose his ways on us. Curiously since his arrival to the "Ciclo Combinado Jaji" the number of high school graduates shrank dramatically; the majority of the pupils reading his lectures were unable to pass. My character caused me many problems with him, in spite of being a young adolescent I just couldn't stand his self-righteousness, however these were mere issues related to the typical irreverent attitude of a rebel youngster. On the academic front I kept getting very good marks on his subjects, thus my graduation was not in peril. That didn't deter me to mount a protests to have him sacked for, back then, I held the belief that it was extremely unfair on my fellow students that their future was somewhat conditioned by what I considered the antics of a religious fanatic. Thus I once brought a big metal chain and a strong lock from our farm and shut the entrance to our high school. I got suspended for two weeks but said action led to the ultimate goal, which was to have him sacked. He softened the tough assessment criteria and a while after he got transferred.

The story aforementioned is just an example that can hardly be pinned down as those of someone who does not give a toss about the less fortunate. Many people have convinced themselves that my anti-Chavez stance stems from connections or sympathies I may have with right wing hawks. To be frank I never thought of myself as a right-winger, all my life I have defended those I consider to be at a disadvantage. My present take on Venezuela's current politics is but the natural evolution of a person who has lead his life acting by principles, however correct or otherwise these may be. It has got nothing to do with influences from others. For that reason when I think that I am on the right, not in a political but in broad context, I have developed a zero tolerance for other views and actions that demonstrably have caused a hugely negative impact on the lives and futures of the less fortunate.

Chavez apologists keep saying that his dismal failure as president is due to a boycotting and rotten to the core oligarchy that is simply incapable of understanding and empathizing with the plights of the poor. Me, I think that's a very comfortable and extremely irresponsible position; i.e. blame someone [anybody] else for the failures.

I observe my country from afar now and it pains me to be here and not there, not a day goes by without me thinking about Venezuela and since some have commented that I am only capable of criticizing without contributing with new ideas or informing what I would do should I be in a position of power I shall summarize briefly my policies if I were president of Venezuela today.

1) I would call on all Venezuelans for help and support to have the State completely refounded for I think of the State as a house, which in our case is, apart from invaded by unwelcomed elements, in complete disarray. Most of the authorities running the institutions at present would be shadowed by new figures; decisions would only be valid through consensus among politically dissenting parties.

2) I would order the immediate suspension of all agreements with Cuba; I would appoint a special committee to register all the Cuban citizens operating in the country and their precise details and activity, so pena of being deported should failure to collaborate would arise. Those committed to live in democracy and lead productive lives would be permitted to stay in Venezuela permanently should that be their wish. Furthermore, I would set up a well funded committee to offer expedite help to those wanting to bring their relatives from Cuba.

3) Making use of article 25 of the constitution all decisions, laws, accords, appointments, deals, pacts, etc. made to date illegally by Chavez and his administration would be revised and acted upon according to existing legislation.

4) Making use of article 348 of the constitution I would ask the people to vote manually on a National Constituent Assembly which would be in charge, once elected by an apolitical CNE, to amend the constitution. The main points to be amended would be that of the presidential period; presidential re-election; independence of powers; decentralization and the establishment of inalienable human rights and the right to private property.

5) I would lift the forex controls. Another commission would be appointed to assess our current local and foreign investment policies. This with the goal to promote and attract investment from Venezuelan entrepreneurs and foreign firms. This commission would also be in charge of suggesting legislation to facilitate the setting up of small/medium businesses and co-ops.

6) A special task force would be commissioned to root out guerrilla activities. Once caught narcoterrorists would be imprisoned and deported without further ado. For the latter purpose an ADX type of facility would be constructed somewhere in Guarico state.

7) Legal actions to settle the debt that Fidel Castro has with Venezuela would be immediately initiated. Businesses in Venezuela related in any way to the Castro regime would be confiscated.

8) Strong advocacy to upheld and apply the OAS democratic chart would be Venezuela's core foreign policy vis--vis the Americas. Re the rest of the world present alliances would be revised and acted upon according to the country's best interests.

9) Financing of leftist movements, conferences, spin outlets and so on would be immediately stopped. Special legislation to prohibit funneling public funds for political propaganda of any kind would be passed [sorry fellas...]

10) Legislation to make education obligatory to the age of 16 would be passed. Successful and proven educational methods developed by other countries [South East Asia] would be analysed and adapted to the country's system.

11) An investment plan to augment PDVSA's production in order to recuperate lost market share would be rolled out. None of its international assets would be sold, on the contrary an extremely aggressive mid to long term acquisition strategy would be the north of the company. Legal suits for negligence, loss of market value and treason would be presented to some of the members of the actual board [this one for you Mommer...].

12) Hernando de Soto's principles on property rights and land titles would be the guide to distribute State owned land.

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