Cancillería blues


After four years without a salary increase, the workers of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MPPRE) said “enough!” this week and staged a loud protest outside the Ministry’s Administrative Building in Caracas.

What was the response from the higher ranks? Here’s a video of Human Resources Director Yajumari González, who descended from her office to give them a strong threat:

Short translation: “Because of your attitude, we will not negotiate. Get back to work or else.”

Union leaders have denounced a double standard in their treatment, as workers involved with government-aligned CorpoMiranda and the Francisco de Miranda Front (FFM) get better attention than them. Both organizations are related to current Foreign Affairs Minister Elias Jaua (he’s the head of the former and a major member of the latter, along with other State ministers).

The problems inside the MPPRE also stem from its internal organization. Case in point is the National Border Council (CNF), created (and re-created) on multiple occasions by previous Presidents to offer advice on all public policies related to our border areas. Right now, the CNF is in a state of “technical shutdown.” They don’t have their own space, most of its workers are paid below the minimal wage, and they all lack medical insurance.

The progressive decline of our foreign service is more than evident, as its purpose has shifted into political and electoral territory. Diplomacy is simply an alien concept to these folks.

[HT: Naky, for the video link]

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  1. Based on the inflation in the last four years, if they have really not had any salary adjustment at all, I am surprised they keep coming to work. They could make more as bujoneros.

    • She is highly enough placed that I am sure she has opportunities to supplement her income through official corruption. She probably doesn’t even care what her official salary is.

    • Well that’s very public employee of her. Public sector workers/managers seldom wear suit and tie. Most of the time is blue jeans and a t-shirt or blue jeans and a chemise (polo shirt I guess). Ocassionally they’re provided with utility vests.

    • John,
      I don’t care how someone is dressed for such a job in such a meeting as the one shown here, as long as that person has the qualifications. Dressing up perhaps for meeting some candidates or for some celebration or outside work is OK but for an internal meeting? Come on!

      One thing that has disturbed me a lot when I grew up in Venezuela was the obsession with “dressing well” in certain places where there was no need for that.

      Meeting a diplomat? Fine, go with the whole thing. Look at Capriles: he dresses like
      an old teenager who is still living with his mum, always in jogging suit and with a baseball cap.

      The former ambassador to Belgium and the EU, Fleming, couldn’t speak anything but malandro. He would dress up most of the time very well and he was driven around in a very luxurious car. He used to wear ALL THE BLOODY TIME one of those rings people get in Venezuela when they graduate from university.

      What was he doing in Belgium? Propaganda and meeting people from the extreme left (usually for propaganda)

      • I agree with Kepler completely. When I first moved to Brazil it was a bit of a cultural shock for me to see bank tellers, and actually all employees at State-owned Banco do Brasil agencies wearing jeans and polo shirts, or even t-shirts, instead of the white shirt/clip-on tie/unnecessary vest that was deemed de rigueur in Venezuelan banks… it didn’t take me long to accept the fact that it was the Brazilians that were being logical in their approach, and not the country where you cannot enter the INTTT offices wearing bermuda shorts.

        It is a cultural issue that prevents most Venezuelans from taking someone seriously if they are not dressed up according to our unnecessarily high standards, pretty much the same superficial issue that prevents them from taking someone seriously if they are not driving an expensive car or judging them if they live in a (Caracas) neighborhood where the landlines don’t start with 26, 96, 97 or 98… and then they wonder why chavismo was born.

        • Ehh!! you guys skipped the fact that she is dressed like a GAP commercial, cannot beat how gringa she is dressed, more than a roja rojita government official, aka civil servant 🙂

          Brazilians don’t have a quibble with gringo lifestyle, but Chavismo have made a career of criticism everything coming from USA so yes, there is a lot to say about her gringo style of dressing —> “#” another hypocrite chavista revolutionary!

    • Chavismo is giving her a quick “honorable” exit. IMHO she was the worst mayor ever. And many people (including inside the PSUV) shares that view with me.

    • Yeah, that is one of my pet peeves about Venezuela. About five years ago, Chavez proposed that he was going to issue a list of only 100 acceptable names, and that people would not be allowed to invent names. It may be the only proposal he ever came up with that I thought had some real merit. However, the idea was shouted down by the hoi polloi, and even Chavez knew better than to argue with the weather on that one.

      • The CNE data base is a source of “wonder”.
        Take a look at Mayuxseny Maxyury Torres Morillo. We have someone called
        Superman. There are quite some Napoleón Bonapartes
        I blogged before about the distribution of guys whose first name “Hitler”. The highest rate of Hitler per inhabitants goes to Barinas, where there is a guy whose cédula is 15486424 (just check for his record at the CNE site)

        • I’ve always found funny that Yoani Sánchez named her blog Generación Y because of the profusion of names containing the letter Y in Cuba among people her age. She has not seen anything in comparison.
          About the name, many of those names carry a social stigma and the bearers get mocked by middle and upper class persons as a sign that they come from the “barrio”, I think is a very complicated issue.

          • It’s not only there, even here in Western Europe there are such stigmas: Nancy in a non-English-speaking country would work at a supermarket and so on. Now, what I find amazing is how Venezuela and Cuba are on a league of their own. Why is it? Humboldt said 200 years ago Caracas and Havana were the cities with the strongest obsession for politics and also music, no science ( there even Mexico or Bogota would do better).
            I find it depressing we have those common characteristics with Cuba and I refuse to accept we will put up to this political crap as Cubans have done so far.

            But I guess the mania with those exotic names started in the XX century. I think it has to do with a large group of marginals in a country where identity is completely a mess,
            where social upheavals or sudden socio economic changes at the same time as strong foreign intervention has led to a complete loss of historical perspective.
            I heard Mexico restricts the names people can use for their children.

          • “I find it depressing we have those common characteristics with Cuba and I refuse to accept we will put up to this political crap as Cubans have done so far.”

            When chabe took office for the first time, Fidel had just celebrated his 40th anniversary at the helm of Cuba… in February 2013 it will be the 15th anniversary of that dreadful moment, and I see no end in sight.

          • I think is the same in Argentina. But if you try to do anything like that in here it would have an enormous backlash. Many people think that is their constitutional right to name their son Superman or Mayuxseny. Even the new Miss Venezuela is named Migdallis or something like that.

          • I would be interested to know where this naming thing came from.

            Someone told me it was generational, between say the 1950s and 1960s, and today people are going back to Jose and Maria and things like that. My observation is that there is some truth to that. Frankly, weird names are not all bad if they are not after a famous mass murderer. I like the name Napoleon, for example, and it would be great as a character in a novel by some ex pat Dominican writer or something like that, but not for my kid.

            But then suddenly a name pops up that sounds like a kind of infection or a part of the human brain, and I get to wondering, where does this inventing of names come from? As I say, I’m not totally against it, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, and maybe it needs to be in the Constitution.

          • But that’s clearly ok, the parents evidently were Star Wars fans who couldn’t spell. Or thet strongly admired that misunderstood gland, the amygdala.

          • Here I plotted when Lenins were born in my region (absolute numbers):


            I think the Canadian gentleman here is right about the Yonnis and Yuraimas and Yurilis and stuff like that: they started to appear in the late fifties and sixties.

            As for the Hitlers: most of them were born after 1975 and they tend to live in some of the areas with the strongest African American PLUS Barinas (as I said, Barinas has the highest amount of Hitlers per 100 000 inhabitants)

          • Kepler,

            Is the naming of a child “Hitler” an act of ignorance, or an act of giving the entire world the finger?

          • I don’t know. I suspect it’s a mixture of ignorance and “humour”.
            I remember when I was going to Germany I had to do some formality at the Ministry of Education, some papers. When the official in front of me heard I was going to Germany- he raised his hand as in a salute and said “Heil Hitler”. I was appalled. I do remember the guy was rather dark skinned.

  2. She’s flippant, smirking and able to wear a denim jacket to work because there is no real threat of violence from the crowd nor risk to her personal safety. The chanting employees understand the limits to their demonstration. But, …but, just imagine a role reversal here. Suppose that were a Capriles appointed director standing behind the table, and the crowd was being egged-on by an out-of-work Elias Jaua and a sea of red baseball caps. See the difference?

  3. Dentro de las exigencias de la Dirección de RRHH de la Cancillería, desde que Maduro era Ministro, aducen que para poder sentarse a negociar un nuevo contrato colectivo (vencido desde 2010), es necesaria la “unificación” de los sindicatos de empleados obreros, administrativos y diplomáticos. Es decir, el patrono condiciona la negociación, abrogándose el derecho de organizar sindicalmente a los empleados como a ellos mejor les parece! #GobiernoObrerista? #FinDeMundo

  4. anyone else loving the colorful audio commentary by a protester just next to the camera?

    “Cristina diciendo ‘no, pero es que ella, ese problema no es de ella’… PANA, ese es er cargo que asumiste, si te queda grande renuncias a esa mierda, y listo!” – 0:30

    “SERA QUE PUEDES CONVERSAR, que cinica es la perra esa” – 0:52

    I myself find this situation hilarious: Venezuelans vote for an arrogant, uncompromising, hard-headed, hard-line, autocratic, cynical, chivo-que-mas-mea type of caudillo for 13 bloody years… and then the same people complain when that type of ruling somehow blows up in their faces.


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