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When Venezuela's VP Rangel was a 'honourable' man...

By Aleksander Boyd

London 26.05.05 | I have always thought that one of the masterstrokes of Hugo Chavez was to request the two fiercest critics of Venezuelan politicos to join his cabinet as soon as he gained the presidency. Thus Alfredo Peņa and Jose Vicente Rangel were, for the first time ever, given the opportunity to put their money where their mouths were. The blue lagoon period with Peņa came to an abrupt end, however Jose Vicente Rangel (JVR) has quickly moved through the ranks to his present day job as Venezuela's Vice President. Both characters are deeply despised by very many people, however there is an animosity consensus towards Vice President Rangel, without doubts, the least popular person of the Chavez seudo administration. Vice President JVR has no apparent duties other than to threaten politicians with critical information, that he has gathered over the years, which would expose them to public contempt. Gossip has it that former OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria was 'reminded' by JVR of some information pertaining to the former sexual preferences, that would have been made public, had Gaviria spoken about the electoral rigging that took place in the recall referendum.

But the article above gives plenty of ammunition to be used against JVR, so much so that is worth translating in its entirety, to be contrasted with the chronic and unscrupulous lies that have become trademark of the Vice President, that must be emphasized, revels in the present climate of violence, abuse and harassment that Hugo Chavez inflicts on his political opponents.

A Yobbish Government

By Jose Vicente Rangel

Bohemia No 926 19-25 January 1.981 | Should the current government devote the same energy, concern, interest, effort and wit that employs on a daily basis to provoke fights, to make troubles, to attack others in doing something positive, in working for the country we would definitely had a great government. There is no doubt about it.

Sometimes, for few days periods, I have dedicated myself to cut press articles in which the President or any of his Ministers make pejorative remarks about the opposition; attack the financial sector; use belittling phrases and even insult; I think that there is no precedent of such behaviour in the country. Contrasting those attitudes with praise, dialogue and reflection, and considering the announcements regarding current developments the balance in favour of the former is considerable.

Practically no one in the country seems to be exempt from the official agressive rhetoric. On the one hand the institutions as such and on the other individuals, groups, unions, etc. What explanation there is for such conduct? How come a man, whilst in the opposition, stood out for his prudence, breadth and disposition to dialogue has turned into the most sectarian and pugnacious ruler the country has had? Perhaps a physicologist could explain the change.

In any case it is convenient to point out that as the crisis worsens and the official failure augments it also increases the official aggressiveness. From this viewpoint what happens has an explanation. I am referring to a political explanation. The government sinks and as it happens with those who fall in quicksand the effort consists in struggling even more which determines a quicker sinking.

The polemic between finance ministers and the Central Bank has that sign. The sign of failure. For is truly preposterous to pretend that the figures given by the president of the bank may have been manipulated, when all of us Venezuelans know that these are even below reality.

Scuffle pays no dividends. Especially to governments. For citizens choose their government not to promote fighting and to lose time in small matters but to work for all. [End of translation]

The president at the time was Luis Herrera Campins.



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