Summer Sabbatical

This blog has been on hold for several months while I focused on producing more income, and resettling my family geographically after concluding that Venezuela passed the point of no return a while ago.

The ongoing deterioration of Venezuela this year has been a welcome boost for my savings account.

But a while back I tried relocating out of Caracas to the interior of Venezuela.

Relocation to the interior didn’t work for the same reasons that continued residence in Caracas had become untenable – a combination of unacceptably high personal security risks and unacceptably low opportunities, particularly for my young sons, now only five and two years old.

My family now lives in the United States, and I divide my time professionally between two countries. The arrangement is not ideal, but it works for now.

Now the summer is nearly over, the itch to blog has returned, and Venezuela is the same or worse than it was before the World Cup started in South Africa. FUBAR, for sure.

That said, the seemingly infinite capacity of the “pueblo venezolano” to tolerate abuse and hardship never ceases to amaze.

This pueblo put up with the worst excesses and abuses of the AD-Copei for decades, until they finally had taken enough crap from the “Fourth Republic” squalid elites (as Chavez likes to call them) and tried to burn down the house in 1989.

“I’m just getting what I’m due,” a looter explained to me reasonably way back on 28 February 1989 while he happily looted several shops in downtown Caracas with his mates.

The pueblo then elected Hugo Chavez the savior, based on a half-minute broadcast on 4 February 1992 after he surrendered the military coup that he organized and led without ever, personally , placing himself anywhere close to harm.

Amazingly, Chavez was hoisted to power on the shoulders of many elites who profited under the ancien regime, but no sooner was Chavez in power than he hoisted these elites on their own petard. Right, Gustavo?

Almost 12 years later, Venezuela literally lies in ruins.

Pdvsa is an operational wreck that makes Pemex look efficient and well-managed. Even the all-important Chinese allies roll their eyes at the idiocy that Bolivarian Pdvsa has become since 2003.

The power sector is a pile of junk. Chavez boasts that Venezuela has the largest crude oil and gas reserves in the Americas and the third largest oil reserves in the world. But the lights go out everywhere in Venezuela every day.

The basic industries – iron, steel, bauxite, alumina, aluminum – also lie in ruins, thanks to the revolution.

Over 50% of the private manufacturing sector – something like 7,000 or 8,000 companies – have ceased to exist since 1998.

The agricultural sector has been plowed under by the revolution.

Chavez ordered the revolution’s piggy bank –aka Pdvsa – to import food in bulk.

Billions were spent, but some two-thirds of the food purchased abroad – much of it from companies based in trustworthy Bolivarian “allies” like Brazil and Argentina – never arrived in Venezuela.

Of the food that did arrive in containers, over 170,000 metric tons was left to rot under the sun.

Andres Izarra laughed like a hyena eyeing a meal of putrefying flesh as the director of the Venezuelan Violence Observatory described how Venezuela has become a charnel house of homicidal violence during the Chavez era.

Izarra’s inane (and perhaps also insane) laughter still echoed when official data was leaked showing that homicide levels are significantly higher by thousands of homicides than independent estimates assumed up to now.

Pero aqui no pasa nada, mis panas.

We wallow together in a sea of perfect Socialist tranquility and harmony.

Voters will elect a new National Assembly this Sunday, 26 September.

Chavez turned these legislative elections into a Chavez election, flagrantly breaking the law. But he’s the president, so who’s going to challenge him besides the polecat political opposition?

Before pollsters were ordered by law to stop issuing poll results, it looked like the “It’s All About Chavez” PSUV campaign was having some impact.

The final outcome is impossible to predict, not that the outcome really matters. But I’ll leave this discussion for a future post.

About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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10 Responses to Summer Sabbatical

  1. Gringo says:

    Amazingly, Chavez was hoisted to power on the shoulders of many elites who profited under the ancien regime, but no sooner was Chavez in power than he hoisted these elites on their own petard. Right, Gustavo?

    Coronel? Was he one of those heisted?

    CG reply: Cisneros.

    Like

  2. john says:

    100% right in your discussion. Venezuela is trapped. A visible leader is needed in the opposition. Its not true that in the opposition everyone is his on leader. In politics like war a visible leader, with his chain of command and logistic is needed if you want victory.

    Like

    • Luis Peña says:

      I wonder how that would be possible.
      Whenever an opposition character shows a minimum of charisma or at least some possibility to lead it is immediately put under “observation”. Meaning that it is accused of whatever is fit to take him/her out of the public media, being disqualified to run for office or worse, forced to run away of the country.

      Like

  3. concerned says:

    You summed up 12 years in one post…Glad you are back.

    Like

  4. Roberto N says:

    I am not sure that “Welcome back!” is entirely in order, given that what you’ve “come back to” is pretty F’ed up, but it is good to see you writing again.

    I guess el pueblo is still not ready to cast the yoke off just yet, but they’re getting closer.

    Like

  5. island canuck says:

    Welcome back.

    I’m looking forward to your future posts.

    Your summary of current day Venezuela is, of course, accurate as anyone who lives here knows.

    Those of us with any sanity left hope that Sunday’s results will show that the Venezuelan pueblo has woken up.

    If not god help us all.

    Like

  6. Evo Morales says:

    Wow! and we are trying to copy Venezuela’s regime! version mejorada y aumentada! Congratulations panela! me too I fled long ago before the whole thing became a mess. personally I do not believe that this can be easily fixed with an election or a new government, I think the inevitable, a war between the “classes” is still to come. I do not believe that the “ones’s” in the power will easily give up their pegas. And everyone knows the outcome of the next elections, unfortunately: Chavez 3 – El Pueblo 0

    GLAD YOU ARE BACK and more than happy to follow your posts!!

    Like

  7. Lee Kerbel says:

    It is good to see you back in the saddle again. The best two Venezuela bloggers in my estimation are Gustavo Coronel and yourself. Fausta does a hell of a job too. Unless there’s a spontaneous uprising which doubtless would be bloody but likely successful, I believe Venezuela has ceased to exist or will once all the possible loot has been squeezed out.

    Good luck to you and watch your back!

    Lee

    Like

  8. Carl Avtek says:

    You did sum up everything nicely, it´s a shame though that we have to sit back and accept these facts. Being once a prosperous country, we have come to be less than Zimbabwe in all sense. Looting,homicides,political hoodlums (to give them a nice name). A president that has a bean for a brain. As I always have said, if the president had done half of what he is doing wrong, right, everyone would be on his side and we would not be in the state that we are now. POORER THAN EVER WITH EVERY RESOURCE POSSIBLE.

    Like

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