The Emperor has no clothes


The saddest thing about the memos that Venezuela’s ministers sent to Hugo Chávez while he was convalescing in Havanna?

It’s not that they address the guy as “Comandante Presidente,” and that he signs his name above a line that says exactly that.

It’s not that jalabolismo has been routinized and institutionalized to such an extent that the forms he handles come pre-printed with a spot for comments from the “Comandante Presidente”.

It’s not that he makes little side notes, telling his ministers to “administer it with efficiency” when all they are doing is asking for money to cover up yet another hole.

It’s not that the nation’s riches are handled like they were during the tenure of Juan Vicente Gómez, whereby if someone needed money, they begged the caudillo, and if they were lucky, they got it.

It’s not that the Ministers ask the “comandante Presidente” to consider funding health care, “muy respetuosamente.”

It’s not even that the communications section of these appropriations includes the option “twittear.”

No. The saddest thing is that they are posted in a chavista website. This isn’t some leak chavistas are mortified to see out in the open; this is their idea of PR!

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    • So so much is fucked about that form. I don’t even know what to call it. It can’t be a “Budget Appropriation” Form because Budget Appropriation – legally, constitutionally – is what the National Assembly does. This is just a guy operationalizing Como-Va-Viniendo-Vamos-Viendo as a governing philosophy. It’s unbelievably fucked!

  1. Are there any of these that are not approved and the jefe is critical? I bet not. I suspect these are strictly for public consumption.

  2. How can anybody expose the violations of the law commited by the president when he does it openly and shamelessly in front of everyone on a daily basis? Who is more fucked up…

  3. What’s kinda funny (or sad) is the Comandante-Presidente’s comment in the first picture: “Bien…Administrar con eficiencia!” It’s like when you dad would give you “4 fuertes” and tell you: “Bueno carajito, no los malgastes.” Plus, aren’t they supposed to do that in the first place?

  4. This system of administration is so wrong on so many levels. You know, one thinks that a government has a planned budget for ordinary expenditures and a provision for extraordinary ones, even more so, taking into account that the Venezuelan State Budget is calculated using a price for the barrel of oil of $40, when in fact the price is over $100. So why is it that they have to keep asking “El Padrote” for more money?

    The form in itself is an ode to stupidity, with the Comandante Presidente title repeated ad nauseam, and its inclusion of tweeter as a manner to inform the public about state business. However, there is a line that got my attention, the one that reads: Aprobado, Negado, Visto, Diferido, and Otro.

    As much as I have tortured my neurons, I fail to see the difference between Visto and Diferido, because if you have reviewed something and did not make a decision, then the matter is “Diferido,” is it not?

    However, the one that really made me shudder is the last one. I just hope that “Otro” does not mean “Transfer the Funds to Cuba.”

  5. It’s hard to let go, isn’t it?

    The other line that’s worth noting is where the Comandante Presidente scribbles:

    Fuente: Fondo Miranda 2011

    This, of course, is how parafiscal spending comes into being. Chávez just sort of assigns money from different off-budget spending funds to different projects like that, on the fly, with a scribbled note. And then we wonder why Fonden’s accounting is a chaos!

    Of course it’s chaos, the Eudomar Santos who runs Chávez’s ID is the country’s finance minister, national treasurer and Budget director!

    • I don’t know if you have noticed this, but I found it very amusing. In the third image, top to bottom, Erika Farias seems to be asking for 61 million, but Chavez apparently seems to approve only 50 million. Like, “lo siento chama, arrea con 50 millones, no tengo mas.”

    • Francisco, isn’t there a picture of the back part for this document? I am sure we could find something there as well…this document is a mine, a real mine on information about what’s going wrong.

  6. Twittear! Yes, no post on Facebook! This guys are really behind the curve, more Venezuelans use Facebook than Twitter.

    Twittear, I just can’t believe it!

    Usar con eficencia! Well, that’s better than don’t steal more than 30%, no?

    You are right, cant let go.

  7. a) lol, this is awesome, I don´t know even were to begin… Thanks for the evidence (Aporrea, AVN, etc)?

    b) Is it me, or is patient “Ch” getting sicker? -Lot´s of weird stuff going on… Or is that what they want us to think?

  8. This is so wrong in so many levels that I’m having a hard time in remaining objective.
    The “comandante-presidente” gets me. I know that they all call him that – I’m assuming he makes them – but the fact that is written in a form for him to be signed, just show how important is for him to show his military background, despite the fact that he was court martialed and discharged after the 1992 coup. He is a regular civilian like any other president and he can’t stand it. I know that presidents automatically becomes also the commander in chief, but I never saw anyone making such a big deal of it. Obviously it hurts him.
    Then the twittear thing….(hand on, I have to run to the bathroom to puke…)
    The his hand notes like the dog owner training the puppy with a cookie? (bathroom again…i’ll be right back)

    • (sorry guys, I have so many typos in that posting that I can’t even understand it myself…I’ll try again tomorrow, LOL
      BTW, it’s interesting you mentioning Juan Vicente Gomez. For quite a while I have said the same thing, how similar both regimes are. The first thing is the iconization of Simon Bolivar. Before JVG he was just a very cool dude whoe liberated us. The rest – the coin, the plazas, even the panteon – were orders of the caudillo. Same thing.

    • Interesting thing: you write “He is a regular civilian like any other president and he can’t stand it.”

      That’s actually wrong.

      In most normal countries – including Venezuela until a few years back – “Commander in Chief” was not technically a military rank: it was a civilian office granting Civilian Authority over a military force. Obama (or Bush, or Sarkozy, or whomever) is not a military officer, he’s a civilian in command of military officers.

      What Chávez did was actually amend the Armed Forces Law to turn “Comandante en Jefe” into a military office and a military rank. He’s not a civilian! Not anymore. He is a military officer with the rank of commander in chief. Suck on that tangerine!

      • I didn’t know that! I just couldn’t take it, isn’t it? That’s a sour tangerine Quico..
        So that means that the next president would also be a “comandante presidente” just like him, with military ranking and everything? How about a “comandanta presidenta”?

        • They produced a new insignia for him some years ago, one that can only be used by him.

          Guys, it goes even before Gómez. As Manuel Caballero wrote, the personality cult goes even further back. It was already there with Guzmán Blanco. What I have been reading recently is that Páez initiated the whole circus when he used the personality cult to Bolívar to focus attention on himself. Venezuela’s economic situation was very bad in the forties, the Venezuelan economy was collapsing and massive plunders were imminent. It had to do with climate, world prices for its exports and the whole post-war chaos. Páez decided to bring back Bolívar’s body and announce that through the country. He decided to push forward prohibiting criticism to dead Bolívar in congress, much to the chagrin of some groups that still thought Bolívar had gone over the top with some things. Páez started to place all kind of Bolívar memorabilia over the place. The only thing he did not manage to do was to rename Caracas – believe it or not – Ciudad Bolívar. But Angostura got later the name.
          It was his way to gain more power, through that new religion. But then if we go even further back, we see that the very Bolívar, in spite of all his theatre about not wanting command blablabla was very very obsessed with putting in place an irrational personality cult. He insisted, insisted, in being called Libertador (it was not just he was thankful). If you see the official reports from the mid twenties of the XIX century, you see things like “xxx. El LIBERTADOR ha anunciado que las tropas de…” over and over and over.
          He instaurated the Orden del Libertador and made himself be paraded almost like a king. He had a pretorian guard, kind of. As Napoleon had gone down so badly in 1815 he decided to avoid associations with the idea of king, but he wanted the same shit all the same.

          There was something weird that happened in Venezuela early on. The sickness remained there and, again as Caballero said, although he didn’t call it sickness, manifested itself in a very superficial form, like a Catholicism light (quoting him). In reality and with all the ignorance in Venezuela and feudal structures we had it was bound to come back in force…and run amok as in few places on Earth…in the form of our Golem Chávez Frías, the military Llanero.

          • I arrived in Venezuela in 1982 after a three year absence. Does anyone remember the hysteria that the LHC presidency instigated around the bicentenario (in 1983 but boy did we get a run up). I always thought it was ridiculous. National Anthem was played four times a day (6am, 12, 6pm and midnight or when the station closed). Huge billboards with ‘penamientos’ -many of them even as a 10 year old I spotted as simple rephrasing of stuff that other people had said….others were plain stupid “si la naturaleza se opone….bla bla bla…..tell that to the dinosaurs. If we have a regime change someday we need to think about replacing all this with the cult of values (Liberte, Fraternity, Egalite or something of the sort). Now question, do not some types of religion predispose us to fall for this kind of crap? (Question not the thoughts of the leader, Mesiah will solve it all, etc, etc). I think it does!

          • Perhaps a bit but not so much. Look at Mexico. It can have all the problems you name, but the personality cult there was not so extended. Look at Chile. I do think the military component in Venezuela played a huge role in this. Venezuela was also lagging behind most other countries when it came to development. The wealth of the pearls was short-lived and benefited very few. At the end of the XVI century Caracas managed to prosper a bit with – believe it or not – wheat export, but the limits on that were visible after new areas were discovered with better conditions for wheat. Then Venezuela became a burden. Other colonies had to provide about 2/3 of the money to pay the Venezuelan administration. Only late in the XIX century things started to improve a bit, but too late.
            Venezuelans got their first university very late and after the military – who only knew how capitanes generales ruled – this being a military post- didn’t care a fig about real education.
            Venezuelans were the worst of the class in 1998 when it came to reading and comprehension in a study carried out in 41 countries. Venezuelans know every word Bolívar presumably said when he farted at the Angostura Congress or pissed in the waters of the Caribbean in 1821. They know on what day Bolívar was born and when he died and what he said before he kicked the bucket and whose shirt he was wearing. The average Venezuelans – do the test with 10 average persons, not just your closest ones – does not know in what century – more or less – the Spaniards arrived to Venezuela or in what century we got our independence, half of them don’t know from what language Spanish derives primarily, a lot of them don’t know in what century – MORE OR LESS – Jesus Christ was born (whether one is a believer or not, it doesn’t matter). This goes even for teachers. No wonder we have the comandante presidente signing bills with “twittear/no divulgar”

          • THis must be changed. And, in order for Venezuela to become a better country-the Venezuelan military must be reduced and restricted, downsized significantly. Spending on weapons must be cancelled. As I said before- send the military out to build roads,
            clean up parklands, plant trees, clean up poor neighborhoods, turn them into a PEACE CORPS of sorts. FIre all generals. Get rid of all Cubans trainers. That is just the beginning.
            If IF Venezuelans have learned anything-it is no more military running anything -even the sewer service.And teach that to all Venezuelan friends and neighbors, and especially
            including Cuba.
            (&*^)&*(^(&^(*(&_*don’t need any help from Cuba!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • I always thought that it was Guzman Blanco who initiated the Bolivar cult (Bolivar ladilla, as M. Caballero once wrote, which induced a heated exchange several years ago between the priests of the cult and the free thinkers.). You, of course, might be correct in your assertion that it was Paez who began the whole thing, although I have trouble figuring out how this may have favored him. If memory serves, Bolivar and Paez weren’t exactly in the best of terms, a fact partially proven by the fact that Paez didn’t even want Bolivar’s remains to be buried in Venezuela until he recanted 12 years after his death. To me, that seems to suggest that he wanted Bolivar erased out of people’s memory. But, again, you may be correct. Perhaps you can supply some sources?

        • Artículo 6º. El Presidente o Presidenta de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela tiene el grado militar de Comandante en Jefe y es la máxima autoridad jerárquica de la Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana. Ejerce el mando supremo de ésta, de acuerdo con lo previsto en la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela y demás leyes. Dirige el desarrollo general de las operaciones, define y activa el área de conflicto, los teatros de operaciones y regiones estratégicas de defensa integral, así como los espacios para maniobras y demostraciones, designando sus respectivos Comandantes y fijándoles la jurisdicción territorial correspondiente, según la naturaleza del caso. Tiene bajo su mando y dirección la Comandancia en Jefe, integrada por un Estado Mayor y las unidades que designe. Su organización y funcionamiento se rige por lo establecido en el reglamento respectivo. Las insignias de grado y el estandarte del Comandante en Jefe serán establecidos en el Reglamento respectivo.

          It’s staggering: it means the second a new person is sworn in to the presidency s/he “becomes” a military officer! And the guinda de la torta is that this is a law passed unilaterally by Chávez (decreto ley) under Habilitante powers –

      • “Suck on that tangerine”

        My American friends can’t get enough of that phrase. If we just make one contribution to global culture, I hope that’s it.

  9. This is all so sad. I just don’t kmow what to say or what to think anymore, other than this guy is absolutely crazy.
    And it’s sadder that venezuelans have had to put up with it for so long, in my opinion because his take over had been in such a slowly but surely pace that it has been hard to feel the development and for many, because they don’t know better I suppose.

  10. Speaking of “Emperor has no clothes”- I am very happy that
    Chavez did not attend and speak at the UN Assembly
    and spout nonsense before the whole world.


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