VHeadline editor & publisher Roy S. Carson writes: If there is ONE thing on which VHeadline.com news editor Patrick J. O’Donoghue and I can concur it is that the Venezuelan people … the grassroots citizens of this country … are in charge of their own destiny now after eleven years since President Hugo Chavez Frias took to the helm in February 1999.
From a situation where the poor and uneducated masses were largely excluded from electoral processes and unequivocally downtrodden by the defiantly richer minority — described commonly as ‘escualidos’ by Chavez in his many vitriolic speeches — Venezuela’s poor are considerably less poor than they were, and are getting more and more educated by the day, with analphabetism reduced to almost zero from alarming proportions a decade ago.
Absentee landowners may howl and holler when their extensive vacation ranches in the countryside are ‘expropriated’ to the State … and they may indeed put up serious argument as to why they should NOT be deprived of their (possibly ill-gotten) assets … but the general thesis is to get Venezuela’s agriculture back into production to feed the nation rather than be forced to import much of it from abroad at vastly inflated prices (often laden with corrupt backhanders and political baksheesh).
Venezuela’s central State of Lara, and its more immediate neighbors, have every ambition and potential to become the nation’s breadbasket and the hardworking peasant farmers who till the land with sparse funding from central government, want to continue towards the achievement of that worthy goal, knowing that it will take enormous labor and, essentially, a lot of time to develop and change the culture from government hand-outs to what the Chavez administration fears most … i.e. a peasant revolt which will surely come when the peasantry get clued up on the endemic corruption that has congealed in political efforts to seal their votes.
The malfeasance, crass ineptitude and blatant corruption of the current administration is already the Venezuelan government’s ‘Best Kept Secret’ but the whistles are already blowing…
Chavez’ efforts to emulate Zimbabwe’s one-party state may have had excellent ambitions in the early years, but developments over the past decade describe a stunningly similar political trajectory to Mugabe’s with red-shirted Chavistas and PSUV-istas marching in unison towards a frightening perspective of an update ‘Kristallnacht’ with frighteningly similar fanatics venting their demonic spleens at anyone and everyone who takes a step aside from ‘The Leader’ and his henchmen’s edict.
Like seven and a half decades ago, the rhetoric is pungent, denigrating of those who rightly or wrongly oppose, generally satiating the fervor of the diehard fanatics with a sectarianism that is something out of this world to behold. Haven’t they learned ANY lessons from history?
Those opposing Chavez’ out-of-control regime are equally demonic in their castigations of all and anything that Chavez says or does. We have to recognize that he has actually done quite a few good things with the power given to him by the people … but NOT enough and NOT soon enough!
Perhaps with some justification. they bitterly oppose what they see as Chavez’ pell-mell drift into Cuban-style communism and his altogether heavy reliance on ‘hand-me-down’ opinions and executive directions from the ageing Fidel Castro for all that!
Venezuela’s opposition, appropriately initialled M.U.D. had muddied their own waters a few years back when they called for a wholesale boycott of elections to the National Assembly (AN) innocently (?) — perhaps — hoping that their rejection of the democratic process would lead to condemnation from the United States of America and the rest of the world … and possibly an international negation of the eventual election results … which, surprise surprise, handed almost total control of the National Assembly to a plethora of Chavistas ranging from former (or not so former) urban guerrillas through out-of-work city bus drivers to a string of ‘jobs for the boys’ (or girls as the case may be). No requirement of competence!
Stuck with this anomaly for the past half decade, the various voices of the Venezuelan opposition have presumably learned their lesson and, even if they have received pecuniary and moral support from inside the US State Department, they’re rarin’ to take a new bash at defeating Chavez at the polls … but there’s the rub! Because Chavez isn’t up for election although his fiery electioneering might leave a visiting Martian with a strong impression that his job is indeed at stake.
No! What’s up for grabs two weeks on Sunday (September 26) is a stab at control of the National Assembly … lost last time around by the sheer stupidity of an opposition wearing cement boots from the past when they, and their grandfathers, basically ruled the roost unopposed, or thanks to under-the-table manipulations and/or “connections”!
Will the opposition have learned anything from a lost decade in the political wilderness? The results of the September 26 election will tell the world … depending, of course, on whether Chavez is prepared to accept electoral democracy when it kicks him right in the cajones.
From a distance seen it has all the hallmarks of Chavez and his cohorts running scared of the result in two week’s time…
Meanwhile, in the Guayana industrial heartland of south-eastern Venezuela, central government ministers and their flunkies are running around like headless chickens in a farmyard full of decomposing national industries, making frantic efforts to keep industrial skeletons standing up and knowing that foreign investors from China and Russia (among others) have already given up the ghost on them in readiness for a total collapse of just about everything in sight.
Certainly the mining industry — iron, bauxite etc., etc. — has been a veritable gold mine for corrupt administration officials who demand, and necessarily receive, ‘regalos’ (presents, baksheesh) for every miniscule movement of papyrus across bureaucratic desks.
At every level, pen-pushers … who don’t give a damn for anything or anyone apart from their own back pockets … have dreamt up a mesh of complicity to screw foreign executives out of ready cash, only to renege on any such convenience when another opportunity for a further soaking comes into view.
The few government ministers who are actually in control of their senses and actions, are themselves increasingly frustrated by it all and, sooner or later, they succomb to “health reasons” to resign to pass the buck over to others who make as little headway as their predecessors in the swamp they inevitably inherit.
What to do? Is there any salvation? God alone knows … and it won’t find any resolution this side of the aftermath of the September 26 vote.
Whichever way, there is urgent need of a NEW revolution to purge the administration of its abomination of thieves and robbers and to return to President Hugo Chavez’ original ambition of empowering the people to govern their own destiny…
Will a reinvigorated political opposition be able to put the brakes on Venezuela’s undeniable destruction? … or will they simply return to their gerrymandering ways before Lt. Col. Hugo Chavez Frias emerged on the scene?
Let’s see, after September 26…
Roy S. Carson