One of the world’s richest countries is today one of the poorest.
What is happening in Venezuela is sad, but not surprising.
Many times it has happened in the history of Latin America, and, whereas some countries the new continent will, happen again: disappointed with democracy incapable of meeting their expectations and sometimes worsens their living, large sections of the society are turning to a demagogic “strong man” who fail to take this popularity with all the power and install an authoritarian regime. Thus perished Peruvian democracy in April 1992 with the coup engineered by President Fujimori and the Armed Forces General enfeudadas Bari Hermoza and Captain Montesinos, and it has begun to disappear under the populist Venezuelan autocracy of Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez .
That was malfunctioning democracy in Venezuela, no one would deny it. The best proof of this is that a colonel felon, traitor to the Constitution and his uniform is in the presidency of the country, anointed by a majority vote of his countrymen, instead of following in jail serving a sentence imposed justice for mutiny against the legitimate Government that he had sworn to defend, as did Lt. Col. Chavez in 1992. It was President Rafael Caldera, who released him, just two years in prison, a gesture I wanted to be magnanimous and was indeed irresponsible and suicidal. The parachutist left the dungeon to end through peaceful electoral process and the task of demolishing the rule of law, civil society and freedom that the Venezuelan people had reconquered in heroic forty-one years ago overthrowing the dictatorship of Pérez Jiménez.
Caldera’s action was not only unfair to the voters, yet at that time, mostly supporting the democratic system and had repudiated the coup attempt that tried to imitate the Peruvian example. I also went with the officers and men of the Armed Forces of Venezuela that, faithful to his duties, refused to support the putsch of 92 and-missing some their lives on it, defeated the rebels, giving an example of conduct civic to military institutions in Latin America. What will they think today of what happens around them these constitutionalist military watching former putschist rises and sets in senior management and their accomplices Army of the coup plot? Think, of course they are, that with leaders of that estofa, that democracy did not deserve to be defended.
As Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez won the presidential election, and just won overwhelmingly those called to the Constituent Assembly in which his motley coalition, the Patriotic Pole, won 120 of the 131 seats, it is said that, even at Reluctantly, we must recognize democratic legitimacy. The truth is that the history of Latin America is full of dictators, despots and tyrants that were popular, and won (or been able to win them if summoned) elections that, from time to time, is gratified themselves to placate the international community or to feed his own megalomania. Is not that the case of Fidel Castro, dean of warlords and their forty years in power? Was not it the General Peron? Do you have not been, until recently, Fujimori in Peru, whom the people rewarded in the polls, with a violent rise in popularity when Congress did close the tanks? The emblematic dictator, Generalissimo Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, enjoyed popular aura and probably would have torn the Dominican people to their executioners if they threw a hand on the night of May 30, 1961. Such a large number of Venezuelans support the populist and autocratic delusions that risible character is Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chavez makes this a Democrat, only reveals the extremes of despair, frustration and civic ignorance of Venezuelan society.
That in this situation have much of the blame political leaders of democracy is obvious. One of the richest countries in the world thanks to oil, is today one of the poorest because of the hectic waste of substantial income producing black gold, sport that rivaled all governments without exception. But, above all, that of Carlos Andrés Pérez, who managed in his first term, to volatilize the heady 85 billion dollars that the oil entered the treasury. What these sums were science fiction? A considerable part in the theft, of course, inevitable in a giant interventionist state through nationalization, where the road to economic success did not go through the market-consumers-but the perks, privileges and monopolies granted the main character of economic life: political power. And the rest, in subsidizing everything, even water and air, so that Venezuela was not only the cheapest gas in the world, worth less than what it cost to move it-stalls, also gave the luxury of foreign import eighty percent of the food consumed and becoming a year in the first importer of Scotch whiskey country. That pipe dream living in the Venezuela numb from the subsidy system ceased when oil prices plummeted. The awakening was brutal. The government-the second of Carlos Andrés Pérez for greater paradox was forced to desembalsar prices, which rose to the skies. The people, bewildered, not understanding what was going on took to the streets to loot supermarkets. From the Caracazo everything got worse, until the paratrooper colonel, who assures Venezuelans to the pitiful situation of the country, GDP fell by 9.9% in the last three months, and in that period the recession sprayed half a million jobs-will end when the corrupt political parties disappear and parliamentarians thieves will go home, and a new constitution would guarantee him the power to rule unhindered (and to be reelected). To facilitate their work, Lieutenant Colonel Chavez has given the brand new members of the Constituent Assembly a draft of the new Magna Carta, and the peremptory order to adopt it in three months. One wonders why such a waste of time, why not Lt. Col. enacted ipso facto, without the formality of robots.
What has transpired in this new Constitution is a concoction that reflects the 1st ideological confusion that Lieutenant Colonel Chávez boasts its acclaimed rants: the economy will be “planned” and “market” and considered traitors employers who do not reinvest gains in the homeland. It is “forbidden usury, undue rise in prices” and “all kinds of maneuvers that threaten the neatness of free competition”. Why is not punctilious Constitution also prohibits poverty, disease, masturbation and melancholy?
Lieutenant Colonel Chávez as many characters of the species represented the military leader, has the strange idea that Venezuelan society is wrong because it does not function as a barracks. This seems to be the only clear pattern of social organization that are outlined in the deleterious speeches that foretells the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. So has peppered public bodies of military, militarized public and decided that the Armed Forces are involved from now, organically, in social and economic life education. He is convinced that the energy and discipline of officers bring order where there is disorder and honesty where immorality reigns. His optimism had suffered a tough setback if he had studied examples of Latin American military regimes and warned the consequences brought victims to countries-such convictions. Without going too far, to Peru, where socializing and military dictatorship of General Juan Velasco Alvarado (1968-1980), who did more or less what he intends to do in Venezuela, a country left in ruins, with no institutions, impoverished to the core and with an army that, instead of being regenerated civil society, viscerally had corrupted their way through the power (Bari Hermoza cases and would not be conceivable without Montesinos that disastrous experience). Unlike Peru whose fate does not care much for the international community, which has seen a wry and sometimes curious complacency-implantation picturesque authoritarian and corrupt regime that prevails there, is Venezuela, with its sea of oil, too important to enable it to sit by while this country goes to the abyss that demagoguery and ignorance of Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chavez will lead if you implement the things you intended. It is likely, therefore, that in this case, the international financial institutions and Western countries, starting with the US-imported much of the Venezuelan oil and is aware of the destabilizing the entire region would bring a dictatorship plunged the economic chaos in Venezuela-multiplying efforts to moderate the excesses proactive, top-down and stentorian leader planners and require him, on economic policy, a minimum of sense. So in this case domain not all is lost for the Venezuelan people suffered. But whether or not democracy in Venezuela cares a fig for the international community so that it will not move a finger to stop this systematic dissolution of the civil society and the basic uses of democratic life holding former coup, with the enthusiastic cooperation of many Venezuelans blind unwary. An ominous black cloud has fallen upon the land which produced the boliviarianos the 1st armies to fight for freedom in America, and I fear it will take to dissipate.