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"The beast is wounded"

By Aleksander Boyd

The rather awkward title of today's editorial is a metaphor of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez present state. Foreign secretary Roy Chaderton has not been this busy in his entire existence. He is traveling up and down this earth attempting to maintain his boss' democratic façade with the help of the Venezuelan diplomatic network, arguably the only government personnel capable of maintaining educated enough conversations in languages other than Spanish. They have an image problem therefore they had recourse to international P. R. firms, Irish filmmakers, obscure analysts, leftist news outlets and a whole array of spin doctors to try to prove their legitimacy and democratic behaviour. Quite frankly they are struggling, their main problem seems to be the Venezuelan president himself. True to its form, a couple of weeks ago in his dominical "Hello President", he brash about the weight of the external debt on the national budget, which cause the Venezuelan bonds to plummet in international markets. The price of his verbal diarrhea is the following; no one in the financial world will advice companies of any size or field to invest in the country.

Similarly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its April 2003 forecasts of the World Economic Outlook. The IMF envisages a -17.0% recession in Venezuela, surpassing Zimbabwe's -11% recession, for the worst performance in the world. This follows a -8.9% recession in 2002, for a two year -26% collapse in the economy, which is only seen in economies of war or during the Great Depression of the United States. After Zimbabwe, Cote D'Ivoire, and Ethiopia are the next worst performers, with -2% recessions in 2003. I am dying to see how the spin professionals are going to masquerade that !! Or shall we assume that the (IMF) is just another opposition mouthpiece trying to discredit the creole Robin Hood?

Expatriate opposition organizations are poping up like mushrooms everywhere for Chavez's misfortune and the fundamental problem that he has got in this particular area is that we are too many, too difficult to silence, impossible to control. In the secure and comfortable western societies there is no space for Bolivarian Circles, Freddy Bernal's or Lina Ron's gangs, which takes out of the equation the possibility of attacking or intimidating us. Such thugs can not operate in civilized communities. Another "lethal aspect" of these organizations is the level of education of its members, as they are formed by the increasing numbers of professionals whom have decided to abandon the country due to the chaotic situation. These extraordinary group of people are doing the utmost to show the ugly face of Chavez's revolution and they are succeeding at it. Private conversations held with top government officials, economists, the media, human rights organizations and jurists demonstrate that the credibility of Hugo Chavez is in the substratum. Everyone knows, or at least the policy makers, who the Venezuelan president is. A good adage for it would be "El sol no se puede tapar con un dedo" or "you can't block the sun with a finger". The enormity of the failure can not be obviated with a power point presentation given by the foreign secretary or a bent film by some Irish fellows.

The country's indexes in economy, poverty, crime, terrorism, corruption, unemployment constitute the best arguments that the opposition has. The level of these conditions are consequence of 4 years of absolute mismanagement of Hugo Chavez and his useless government. Thus, Venezuelan monies can buy favors from news agencies, reports from dodgy institutions, prime time programmes, Irish filmmakers, analphabets from the Middle East and so on but most certainly will not buy the lost credibility. The beast is cornered and wounded. We shall see its end.

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