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.