Teodoro Petkoff editorializes in today’s Tal Cual that President Hugo Chavez has “copied and considerably worsened” the economic model that caused the Caracazo 21 years ago on 27 February 1989. However, this claim is demonstrably false.
There are absolutely no similarities between the Chavez’s regime’s policies and the policies that former President Carlos Andrez Perez (CAP) tried unsuccessfully to implement with a group of academic economists who had good ideas but zero political experience.
Chavez has been shutting down, centralizing and dismantling the Venezuelan economy for over 11 years and transforming the Republic of Venezuela into an outpost of Cuba – call it Cubazuela – while CAP tried to open up Venezuela’s economy
But CAP screwed the pooch in two critical respects. First, CAP foolishly believed in his own legend. He sincerely believed that the Venezuelan people would follow wherever he led them. And, second, CAP tried to open up Venezuela’s economy, but left the financial system intact at the urging of his longtime corrupt cronies Pedro Tinoco hijo and Gustavo Cisneros. New economic rules + old financial rules = financial collapse in 1994-1996.
A good source of historical perspective on these matters is Moises Naim, who as CAP’s first Development Minister in 1989-1990 had a ringside view of some of the financial shenanigans perpetrated by Tinoco, Cisneros & gang. But Naim wisely left Venezuela to pursue a stellar career in Washington, D.C. Naim is one of the most talented and intelligent Venezuelans this blogger has met during almost four decades in-country. But we digress…
Jose Vicente Rangel (JVR), editorializing under his pseudonym “Marciano” in today’s edition of the communist rag Vea, writes that “something of dark origin…is floating in the environment…the sensation that factors are accumulating which could affect the public piece.”
JVR is a cunning old wolf who has spent his life in dark places. JVR accurately senses the coppery scent of blood in the breeze. JVR knows that a reckoning is coming, but he doesn’t know yet from which direction, so he blames the opposition.
Petkoff and JVR today published two provocative editorials. Both editorials hint at the approach of a lethal popular tsunami. Is this a coincidence? Perhaps yes, but possibly no.
Publicly, Petkoff and JVR pretend not to be longtime friends and radical communist allies. But the reality is that Petkoff and JVR have been joined at the hip for decades.
Teo and JVR are the evil old twins of Venezuela’s failed radical communist revolution of the 1960s. In their dotage – Petkoff is 78 and JVR is 81 – these evil twins have consolidated political careers as professional apologists and disinformation specialists for the Chavez regime’s worst excesses.
Petkoff and JVR launched their political careers as communist radicals inside the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV). Their first undying love always was radical communism.
At least Petkoff had the “cojones” in the 1960s to join Douglas Bravo in the hills as an armed revolutionary guerrilla supported by the Castro regime in Havana. But JVR, who always possessed a strong sense of self-preservation, decided that the life of an armed “Fidelista” guerrilla wasn’t for him.
Petkoff finally came in from the cold as a result of the pacification policies implemented during the first government of the late President Rafael Caldera. After rejoining the democratic fold, Petkoff became one of the founding fathers of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), which was created as a pro-Soviet organization slightly to the right of the PCV.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Petkoff and JVR ran for president of Venezuela five times altogether – Petkoff twice and JVR three times – but Venezuelan voters thrashed them soundly every time.
Petkoff reinvented his political persona in the 1990’s as a European-style “liberal”, served as Planning Minister in the second government of President Rafael Caldera. Subsequently, he resurfaced as editor-in-chief of Tal Cual, a tabloid which always has been mostly bare of advertisements but somehow survives.
Petkoff remains popular among some younger left-of-center Venezuelan intelligentsia, which only proves that you can fool some of the people all of the time.
But Caracas Gringo recalls that it was Petkoff, back in August 2004, who imposed his status as a leader of the democratic opposition to torpedo any possibility of challenging the miraculous outcome of the presidential recall referendum in which exit polls showing that Chavez had lost by a margin of 60-40 were transformed at the 11th hour into a 60-40 victory.
When then-Miranda Governor Enrique Mendoza and AD’s Henry Ramos Allup voiced the word “fraud,” Petkoff’s public put-downs quickly silenced everyone.
Almost six years later, in 2010, Petkoff routinely hammers Chacumbele in his editorials, yet the regime never persecutes him politically like it persecutes every other news media, reporter and columnist who dares to criticize Chavez.
After striking out three times as a presidential candidate for MAS, JVR developed a career as an investigative journalist in the 1990s with a newspaper column and television show in which his alter ego – “Ciceron” – constantly “exposed” alleged corruption inside the armed forces. JVR destroyed many military careers, though none of the officers he accused of corruption ever were found guilty of the accusations he aired on national television.
Of course, muckraking was just a cover for JVR’s other lucrative activities. For example, one of JVR’s real “negocios” was as a silent partner of the late Vinicio “El Principe” De Sola in the sale of military equipment to the armed forces (FAN) of Venezuela.
The pair’s “business model” worked like this: De Sola would offer the product to FAN procurement officers; if the offer was rebuffed, JVR soon would be making corruption allegations against the offending officer. The Defense Ministry immediately would open an administrative investigation, and even if the officer was cleared of any wrongdoing, the fact the officer was investigated at all would effectively end his career by torpedoing chances of promotion.
However, JVR always lusted for power. As a result, in the 1990s JVR hitched his wagon to the Bolivarian movement of Hugo Chavez, and went on to serve the “revolution” variously as Foreign Minister, Defense Minister and, finally, Vice President. But Chavez put out JVR to pasture a couple of years ago, and now he serves as the regime’s foremost “independent” disseminator of propaganda and disinformation.
Back to the present: Teo today publishes factually inaccurate claims about the Chavez regime’s policies resembling the CAP government’s policies which triggered the “Caracazo” in 1989, while JVR editorializes about sensing dark, violent moods floating in the background. Caracas Gringo doesn’t believe in coincidences when it comes to these evil old twins. Teo and JVR are up to no good.