My secret man-crush on Andrés Izarra

Come enjoy our stunning beaches, gorgeous jungles and total absence of enforceable Human Rights guarantees...
Come enjoy our stunning beaches, awe-inspiring jungles and total absence of enforceable Human Rights guarantees…

Tourism Minister Andrés Izarra is getting restless. The architect of chavismo’s Communicational Hegemony strategy has ambitions far bigger than what his crappy new cabinet post can contain. Yesterday, he couldn’t help himself: he just had to celebrate Venezuela’s exit from the Inter-American Human Rights Convention.

How, precisely, leaving the hemisphere’s oldest and most credible human rights court is meant to, y’know, attract tourists is obscure at best. The most reasonable guess, I think, is that Izarra is bored stiff with the tourism portfolio.

In a you-gotta-hand-it-to-Lex-Luthor kinda way, I won’t try to hide my admiration for the guy. Essentially alone in the claustrophobic little rotating cast of kleptocratic nullities Chávez and Maduro tapped for ministerial posts, Andrés Izarra built something: something real, something ambitious, something operative. Even if his zero-a-la-izquierda successor renamed it, nobody is fooled: SIBCI, the socialist state’s sprawling propaganda conglomerate, is Izarra’s creature through-and-through.

I’ve always thought of Izarra as an under-rated visionary: he’s the first guy who understood, really understood, that media pluralism was incompatible with Bolivarian Socialism. And he’s the guy who saw what needed to be done about it.

It’s Izarra who grasped why the government would never be stable if opposing voices had reasonably free access to the airwaves. It’s Izarra who figured out a softly-softly plan to drive them out, quietly, without making a fuss or giving the opposition martyrs to rally around. It’s Izarra who understood a single pro-government TV channel wasn’t enough, that you needed a real multi-platform, multi-media system to go after all the different ways information gets out to people, and that you needed to monopolize them all.

Honestly, I think Maduro has been ungracious exiling him to the desolate wilds of the tourism ministry, a place where no chavista could really hope to make his mark. For a government so short of real talent, it’s a puzzling decision. Sure, Maduro has no shortage of guys willing to offer him fanatical obedience and, well, just plain fanaticism. But how many of those will get their noses down to the grindstone and work it?

Not that many, folks…not that many…

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. ‘claustrophobic rotating cast of kleptocratic nullities’. Damn that’s good.

    Let’s celebrate the success stories of chavismo folks.

      • The Ledezma-Capriles Christmas dinners must be a really interesting affair. Their marriage also originated a very popular Twitter account called Cochina Perra I think.

          • It’s hard to feel sorry for somebody who before suffering such a horrible loss was mocking Franklin Brito’s dead. I do feel so sorry for the people who don’t fear God though. Gives me an chill all through my spine to read this.

            People who hold negative feelings all the time, very bad, very very bad….

      • I remember when she left the program to get married with this entity… I mean, must be real love… what else could be? Admiration? yeah right. Good looks? :O

        • Must be some weird pheromone quirk stemming from a very strange mutation triggered by the stress of power struggles. I shiver just to think such a mutation is genetically possible and a human can develop such fixation as to actually like Izarra.

          • Well they say that’s real love, people don’t know what was it …. but I agree, I cannot comprehend the disparity in this case. It’s not like Venezuela lives on a safe place where a Mary Matalin-James Carville combo can happily coexist like nothing.

      • Izarra learned about media on an assignments desk at CNN in Atlanta. He returned to Venezuela some time after having threatened his estranged former partner with a weapon (watch out for your man-crush, FT), and in order to become an enchufado via his father William, Commie ideologue revolutionary “una y carne” of Chavez.

    • LOL gosh, kinda off topic but remind me of my own personal nightmare with Lopez Casuso’s Calculus on the UCAB… I never saw light on that freaking Calculus class… gives me anxiety only to think about the guy, who was very charming btw, still alive?

      I am sure Nagel’s was a star in that class. I heard through the grapevine he was a real good student.

      • Feathers, López Casuso passed away recently, a real loss. I didn’t take Calculus with him, but I took Statistics and Econometrics.

        “La memoria es frágil, infiel y tendenciosa” was his catchphrase. Great teacher.

        • I am sorry to hear he passed away, I remember him with with a smile even though I hated his class. He was fun and very nice to speak to, but those tests!!! Chinese to me. I am sure many readers of this blog took classes with him.

  2. Izarras exceptional talents lie in strategic thinking , that doesnt mean he has the talents needed to engage in other kind of jobs , for example would he make a good Energy Ministry, a good Education Ministry ,a good finance Ministry ?? not sure he would . How would we rate him as tourist ministry ?? there must be a match between talents and the demands of each govt position !! We have to stop thinking of supermen and start thinking of people who are compentent and well grounded in what they do and good at organizing things even if they lack strategic genius ( Vielma Mora ?? Jesse Chacon ??) . I heard from people who knew Chacon in Conatel that he was not bad at all as a manager . Its amazing how few half competent people the regime has to do its jobs .!!

    • At the top level, competence is important, but for someone at the head of a company, ministry, or even a government, I think the capacity for strategic thinking is one of the most important qualifications for the job. Tie that with the ability to communicate the vision and focus, and you can get a lot done even if you aren’t as technically competent as some of the subordinates in your organization.

      I’ve seen both sides in companies over the years: brilliant and highly educated people who were competent but failed because they couldn’t cohesively lead their people, and those who were barely competent, but could drive the herd where it needed to go and make the decisions that needed to be made.

      Love him, or hate him, Chavez lacked a lot of the competencies for the decisions he made, but he stayed focused on his overarching goal (and I know this part won’t be popular here) and he was great at communicating it downstream to his followers. Granted, his approach apeared to be all over the place at times, but the driving strategy behind getting it all done worked well enough to keep him in the job for 14 years.

      Maduro lacks all the abilities, to the detriment of the country.

      • I stand corrected Pitiyanqui , your right , great strategic vision and the capacity to communicate it to the people in the organization you lead can be one primary quality of a succesful leader !! but you at least need the organization to have some degree of competence , however if the latter is altogether lacking then you might manage to continue as leader but the results for the organization or those who depend on it will be disastrous . thats precisely Chavez case , also Maos case , Great invincible political leaders who lacked the competence to transform their vision into a living reality and whose legacy was one of utter ruin for the people they led .
        At some level you have to have operational competence !! great visions and great ideas are not enough . Liddle Hart writes of the most brilliant strategic conception of WWI as the creature of a Coronel , Head of the Austro Hungarian army’s General Staff , who putting it into operation discovered that the Austro Hungarian army was not capable of following his complex set of orders with the result that it suffered the biggest defeat of their history surrendering hundreds of kilometers of its territory to its Russian enemy.!! Having caused this disaster he took his own life. I myself are wary of bigger than life supperman !!

  3. Izarra actually not as good, is responsible for the very low rating with the State channels if any become blatant propaganda machinery of the government, to the point that anyone who is not a radical Chavista avoided like the plague to VTV.

    But compared to what’s in the Chavismo, the guy is a statesman.

    • The underlying strategy is sound though. Why worry about viewers now? Narrow down the choices and the ratings will follow. Without any bothersome comparisons to other journalistic sources, how is someone to criticize their standards?

  4. Sounds like Maduro or someone close to him is smart enough to recognize when someone has what it takes to become a successful usurper.

    • Good point , where people are too sold on their own greatness or unique importance , they tend to respond to the achievement of others , even of someone who is their friend or follower , with an instinctive feeling of resentment which translates into a subliminal l tendency to cut him down to size by nitpicking on any small flaws in his behaviour or character or by finding imaginary faults in his performance !! . hence a smart accomplished man has to forestall that resentment by being very obsequious of the great mans accomplishements and importance , humbling pointing out his own flaws , and if clever enough by incurring in small mistakes which the great man can then take pleasure in correcting . I know this from observation of ‘succesful’ men in a corporate career context.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here