When the final chapter in chavismo is written (and I’m one of the few that think this will happen sooner than most think) one of its most glaring mistakes will be how they sacrificed governance for politics.
We elect governments, in part, because of politics, because of the game they bring to the ring. Many of us choose our leaders to give it to the other side, so to speak, so it’s only natural that, once in power, politicians – politicians that they are – deliver on that. The political games don’t end with the election, the “enemy” is still there even after defeat, and that’s all fair and good.
The problem is that we also elect politicians to serve, to deliver, and to solve problems. When the government becomes all games and no policy – that is where chavismo’s failures are abysmal.
Case in point: the recent Uribana prison riot. After blaming opposition TV station Globovisión for prematurely announcing that prisoners at the jail would be searched for weapons – the Ministry itself was the one who announced the procedure – the government is at it again. This time, Prisons Minister Iris Varela went on the record to say that “she doesn’t discard the possibility that political factors are the ones trying to light up the prisons.”
In other words, she is suggesting the opposition is at fault.
Of course, Varela is completely mistaken. Never mind the fact that the opposition has no reason to engage in mass murder – how would we go about doing that, exactly? Do we have access to the prisons? To the guards? Does she not realize that Chávez is a deity among Venezuela’s prison population?
These are just political games the Minister is playing. She has no evidence of what she’s saying, but she lays it out there to plant the association in people’s heads. It’s the same as if we were to say that “we don’t discard” that Minister Varela is engaged in underage prostitution. Or that “we don’t discard” that the chavista commenters that come on this blog are all serial killers.
Instead of talking about the failures at Uribana, instead of formulating a policy, Minister Varela is simply … playing corrosive political games, which is what chavistas excel at, after all. Their radical adherence to political ploys, their strict focus on scoring cheap political points, only underscore how limited they are as individuals, how very basic they are at managing the country, how (why not say it) stupid they really are.
They play a good game. It’s too bad they stink at governing.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.