Give Julio Borges his due. When the government promised to build 153,000 new homes in 2011, he knew he had his work cut out for him. Facing the kind of Cultural Alzheimer’s disease that eats away at the Venezuelan public sphere day in and day out, he decided if he was going to keep that number alive in the public mind he was going to have to do much of the heavy lifting himself. And so, at pretty much every single press conference he’s given this year as leader of the country’s
largest second opposition party, he’s hammered away at it – keeping a running tally of houses built, making sure nobody gets away with conveniently “forgetting” the initial promise or moving the goal posts.
So when, inevitably, the government started to fudge the numbers – lowering the promised tally and counting houses it had no part in building as part of its delivered total – the guy might have thought his extensive prep-work on the issue would ease the task of unmasking the scam. No such luck.
Instead, the country’s main “serious” newspapers reports the government’s fudge numbers as a matter of fact, mentioning their fudged-ness as an aside. As the government Cancels Christmas in a mad last minute dash to meet its first watered-down, then fudged targets, JB’s gotta wonder: what does accountability even mean faced with a goldfish-attention-spanned media?
With luck, the government is going to build perhaps 30% of the houses it promised for 2011. Of course, it will claim it met 100%. Nobody will check. And nobody will call them on it.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.