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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

VenEconomy: Chavez Has Failed and There’s No Turning Back

From the Editors of VenEconomy

The clearest proof that Venezuela is at the most critical point of its decline was provided by President Hugo Chávez himself in the unbearably tedious six-hour nationwide networked broadcast with which he tormented and verbally assaulted the country on Wednesday.

The President outdid himself, abandoning the minimum levels of composure and respect the president of any nation should have for his fellow citizens in an attempt to cover up the critical situation the country is in by resorting to his violent discourse.

He felt no compunction about telling untruths or in declaring “economic war” on the private sector and the bourgeoisie, much less about hurling yet more threats at Lorenzo Mendoza, the owner of Empresas Polar. The leader of the country’s failure cannot forgive the businessman his success.

The President forgets that it is no longer possible to hide his failed administration with nationwide networked broadcasts or repression and that there is no way he can avoid spiraling inflation, the declining economy, rising unemployment, growing hunger and poverty, rampant crime, and corruption. Much less is it within his power to conceal the deterioration in basic services, the bankruptcy of state-owned companies, and the electricity and water crises or prevent people from knowing about the critical situation of the public health system. He cannot even wave a wand and make disappear the thousands of tons of food that his officials allowed to rot as a result of laxness, incompetence or corruption, while domestic production was plummeting.

The negative balance of his term in office is reflected in reports from the country’s business associations and in reports by international agencies, whose indicators have been ranking Venezuela among the countries with the worst performance in different areas for the past eight years. It is even apparent in reports by the Central Bank, PDVSA, and the CVG companies.

Many who endorsed Chávez’s “revolutionary government” are also giving him bad scores. One such is the former director of the UCV’s Institute of Tropical Medicine Oscar Noya, who categorically stated that the low-income sectors are getting tired of “slogans when their basic problems are not being solved.” He also noted that “ignorance and arrogance, plus, in some cases, social resentment” have created a “dangerous cocktail that has permeated some State institutions,” in particular those in the health sector.

Other experts are also critical of Chávez’s performance. Silva Michelena, a member of the National Academy of Economic Sciences stated just recently that what makes Chávez’s socialist project unviable are an administrative apparatus that inhibits “competition among producers, “direct control of companies by the party,” “the radicalization of controls,” and “the lack of political democracy and freedom in every sense.”

The ship is springing leaks and its captain does not want to admit that it was his decisions that caused them. He has failed and there is no turning back.

VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.

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