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Venezuela’s Governance Deterioration

From | Venezuelan Economic Review

17.10.05 | Venezuela’s governing capability has deteriorated during Hugo Chavez’s administration, just as is highlighted by the Governance Indicators for 2004 published by the World Bank (WB). This report is based on components such as corruption control, state of rights, governmental effectiveness, political stability, accounts rendition and regulatory quality.

The report covered 209 countries and used a rating scale from 0 to 100, where 100 indicates the greatest vigilance of the studied component. When the 1996 results are compared to Venezuela’s for 2004, corruption control decreases from 28 points to 14.3 points, state of rights fell from 28.9 to 12.6 points, governmental effectiveness declined form 20,1 to 15.9 points, political stability fell from 22.6 to 13.6 points and the regulatory quality dropped from 44.8 to 9.9 points. Corruption has not decreased in Venezuela, on the contrary it has skyrocketed during Hugo Chavez’s administration. The WB’s report, the recent accusations made against the directors of the Gov’t-run TV station Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) and against high officials of the National Guard are among the many denunciations that have surfaced in the last six years. Former VTV journalist Walter Martínez, recently denounced on his TV program the corruption that is currently taking place in the administration of the Gov’t-run VTV station by its directors, but he was ignored by the Chavez administration and instead of initiating an investigation to prove the veracity of the claims, the journalist was forced to quit, as he refused to retract his accusation.

Former Conacuid (Anti-Drug Agency) President, Mildred Camero, publicly accused members of the National Guard’s Anti Drug Commando of drug and firearms trafficking, as well as money laundering and extortion, which resulted in her immediate removal from the Conacuid by Chavez instead of awarding her a recognition for having made these brave accusations.

The lack of punishment for acts of corruption will hinder the stability of Chavez’s revolutionary process and will become the trigger that will spark the end of the V Republic (Chavez’s regime), in the same way it triggered the end of the IV Republic. The IV Republic was mostly criticized for the immunity given to corrupt public officials, but in the V Republic, corruption has skyrocketed due to the lack of independence of the public powers, which are all controlled by Hugo Chavez. Personal ambition, the lack of public service vocation and the lack of control, omission and political favoritism dominate the scene, which encourages those public officials responsible for the administration of public funds to commit crimes against the Republic, i.e. mishandling of funds, corruption among many others.

The lack of punishment for those engaging in acts of corruption will eventually lead to the downfall of the regime as both Chavez’s and the MVR’s (Chavez’s political party) credibility will be hurt, just at it happened with the traditional political parties that ruled the IV Republic (Accion Democratica, Copei and Convergencia). This indifference and disinterest towards the lack of governorship that is deteriorating the State is what has lead to the activation of the so-called Reserve Troops, which will be used to repress the people once they decide to rebel against the regime in favor of a better future; or as Chavez always claims, to defend the Nation from internal threats. The inclusion of the reserve as the fifth component of the National Armed Forces shows the need the State has to defend the revolutionary process, since it would be impossible for it to sustain itself through time, because it is incapable of generating welfare for the people and because Chavez does not trust his own party and collaborators. This is in addition to the enormous financial weight that implies maintaining a military reserve, which includes salaries, military training, firearms supply, among others.

Therefore, a sort of cold war has been declared from the State against any agent that dares go defy Hugo Chavez’s revolutionary process, including the Venezuelan people, which goes against the true meaning of a military reserve: the integral defense of the Nation -and not the interests of one person. Unfortunately the lack of independence of the public powers creates an obstacle for an immediate exit to the current government crisis. The pro-Chavez movement has made a mistake in trying to control everything, when the prudent thing would have been to designate an independent group with community participation, which could detect and punish abuses of power, corruption, nepotism and incompetence.

The lack of separation among the public powers has been a constant since Hugo Chavez’s misgovernment began, and will continue as long as he remains in power, which will turn impunity into immunity benefiting any activist or person who proves its loyalty to the revolution. All this has sparked national strikes, violent confrontations between those loyal to the regime and those who oppose it, social unrest, death, financial losses, civilian disobedience, labor union strikes, high ranked military officers speaking against the government, the creation of political and civilian organizations that oppose the regime, discrediting campaigns among political leaders, the worsening of the country risk index, the migration of talented professional Venezuelans and other foreign nationals to other countries, the declining support of public officials towards the presidential figure, among many others. Unfortunately, Venezuela’s governorship deterioration will continue to surface in international reports such as the World Bank’s.

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