Musical chairs


Yesterday, Hugo Chávez appointed socialist hyena Andrés Izarra as Minister of Information.

He replaces Mauricio Rodríguez, appointed Minister in June.

He replaced VTV opinionator Tania Díaz, who had been named Minister in April.

She, in turn, replaced Blanca Eckhout, who was appointed in April of 2009.

She replaced Jesse Chacón, appointed Minister in December of 2008.

And Chacón had been named to replace … Andrés Izarra!

In case you lost count, that’s five different ministers – six, if you count Izarra’s two tenures separately – in a span of two years.

Is it any wonder this government is a wreck? How can a bureaucracy work when the people setting the policies are being changed every four months? And where are the new ideas?

Let chaos ring!

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  1. In a more serious note, imagine you are a bureaucrat in a mid-level position in one of these ministries. A new minister comes in to try and shake things up, wanting people to work harder, or differently, or to reorganize things. Do you honestly follow through with the orders from the top? Or do you wait things out until the fool wanting to “shake things up” is shown the exit door and someone else comes in with grandiose plans that will get nowhere?

    How much authority can a single minister have when you know for sure he or she is four months away from getting the boot on Alo, Presidente? How much credibility can they have when they spend most of their tenure … simply finding the way from the parking lot to their office!

    • It’s actually worse than that. Things are shaken up every time a minister is changed in Venezuela.

      The mid-level official will probably be replaced or put aside when the new minister takes over, by one of his or her “people”.

      Policy and running as a continuous organization becomes impossible. Thus, anything directly run by the Venezuelan government can be written off.

      Mind you, it was like that before Chavez got power. Now it’s probably only more so.

    • More or less…

      Did you think they were selected according to their professionalism?

      Don’t forget all the infighting and brown-nosing to get in the good graces of Der Fuhrer.

  2. The people setting the policies are NOT being changed every four months. The PERSON setting the policies has been stuck in one place for (too many) years.

    • Well, I disagree. Chavez may give general guidelines, but there is no way he is involved in the day-to-day management, or in the strategic planning, of individual ministries. That is what I meant by “policy.”

    • Obviously the actual bureaucracy just drifts. Hyperleadership’s just another word for paranoïa [that somebody else might attain an independent powerbase]…

    • JC, I will agree that there is a distinction, but I would call it one without a difference. Chavista ministers get to figure out how to implement what Chavez decides, while ministers in other governments get to make actual decisions. Chavez gives much more than mere “guidelines.”

      Look at it this way – in a typical government in this world, changing ministers that often would indeed create chaos. Under Chavez, if he had had the same Minister all that time (or even longer), would you notice a difference?

    • Juan,

      I wouldn’t refer to it as “day-to-day management” so much as “day-to-day putting out of fires”. Secondly, “strategic planning”??? If you say so…

    • Well, exactly. The lack of planning, the general chaos – they are fueled by the frequent changes of posts at the top. I mean, we all know chavismo is chaotic and there is no strategic planning involved. But this does not happen *in spite* of changing ministers every four months, it happens *because* of it.

    • If Hugo Chavez’s capricious, vertiginous shifting of focus, means and guidelines… is to be called policy, then, yes. He has been in place a while.

      I guess it does not matter whether it’s a competent person or a nincompoop. Only that the person in question stick any pretensions of professionalism… in his back pocket and keep the manic/depressive cum ADHD brat… President happy enough that he is following along during his latest manic episode… policy guidelines.

  3. This also means that each minister has only four months to steal or destroy whatever they can. The minister’s have no time to relax and must be replaced even more often because of exhaustion.

    Maybe its a training academy for Chavista leaders.

  4. JC,
    I understand your point, but I don’t think the lack of planning and chaos is a result of changing ministers all the time. The constant changing is merely a symptom (from the very top) of chavismo’s general lack of discipline, preparedness, effectiveness and foresight. It’s their nature so to speak. Each change has resulted from every minister being absolutely incompetent. Contrary to what you said, the mess would’ve occurred regardless of if ministers changed all the time or not.

  5. What happened to Mauricio? I don’t think Izarra is better (or worst) than Mauricio. The same adulation and incompetence (Mauricio recibió sus regaños en vivo y directo, pero Izarra también). Any clue?

  6. Ain’t that last sentence supposed to read, “let chaos reign”?
    It actually appears -spoken by a wolf-, in Lars von Triers train-wreak “The antiChrist” (although the movie does work as a nice analogy for contemporary Hugoslavia, I must say).

    • Oh, I was thinking of a change-up of “let freedom ring”… Didn’t see that movie, but from what I’ve heard, it was the feel-good movie of the year.

  7. Juan, I am worried about the ministry of Justice. We have had the same minister for 2 years and two months now. Eso no es normal.
    That’s a record after 8 other ministers.
    It would be actually interesting to draw a mindmap of all the cabinet changes.

  8. It is amazing how this government seems to think all the issues are communication problems and once they find their Goebbels everything will be OK. I actually went to university with the now ex-minister Mauricio, it always gets the gossip going when we start talking about how he ended up on the dark side of the force. He was always the “comeflor” type and had definite ideas about how the rich were exploiting the poor and seems to have found the solution to that dilemma thanks to Chavez. He was very close to Marianna Jaua, who also was in our class, family of the vice-presidente. I have never stopped wondering how people that seemed intelligent and genuinely cared about poor people could buy into all this stupidity.
    With all the reciclyn that goes around witht them it would be no surprise if Mauricio went to direct Telesur…


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