Someone better call Guinness…


GWR_TM_Official_Attempt_Gold…because it looks like we have a new world record for the most State Vice-Ministries.

Nicolas Maduro has decided to reform the government in more ways than one. Besides the seven cabinet changes announced last week (none of them newsworthy), he also rearranged the entire structure of deputy ministers by decree.

The result: 111 Vice-Ministers, who will complement the current number of 39 Ministers (according to the Official Gazette).

Venezuela doesn’t have the record for Most Government Ministries. Yet. That honor belongs to Sri Lanka, whose President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, apparently named 52 ministers in his cabinet after taking office in 2005. CC te enseña, CC te entretiene…

One question: all 111 Vice-Ministers will have their own security detail (escolta), right? I think I know the answer to that one. Meanwhile, here are some examples of new posts:

  • Vice-Ministry for the People’s Supreme Social Happiness (Wait… it isn’t that new)
  • Vice-Ministry for Socialist Industrial Management
  • Vice-Ministry for Articulation with Higher Education Instititutions
  • Vice-Ministry for Educational Communities and Union with the People
  • Vice-Ministry for Collective Health Networks
  • Vice-Ministry for New Socialist Urban and Rural Arrangement
  • Vice-Ministry for the System of Communal Formation and Social Movements
  • Vice-Ministry for the Socialist Food System
  • Vice-Ministry for the Promotion of the Cultural Economy
  • Vice-Ministry for the Social Networks (Because #TROPA)

For better enjoyment, I recommend reading the list with this accompanying tune. HIT IT!

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  1. After the one of Supreme Happiness I like the one about Physical Activity (sports). I suppose that one is for promoting jogging in El Ávila (or Wa….repano) and in schools.

    If you have one MB of hosting space, I can produce an applet that would show all those vice ministries as a colourful network and you can zoom and move them as you like and you can show that as long as you want 🙂

  2. well they got everything covered except they forgot to get a vice minister to ensure the oil industry has capital…just saw this little tidbit on Canadian industry spending on oil infrastructure…..every week in Canada there’s USD $1Bn being spent on oil infrastructure (about 40% to heavy oil) and not counting spending on LNG development…..I’m sure the USA numbers are next time we hear about a $1-$2Bn oil deal or a $5Bn Chinese loan it needs to be put in context…..the rest of the world will be energy self sufficient by the time Venezuela finds the funds to develops its fields resources

  3. Rondas infantiles bolivarianas y socialistas (al ritmo de “un elefante se balanceaba”)

    “Un viceministro se aprovechaba de la burocracia venezolana, como veía que resistía, fue a llamar un camarada. Dos viceministros se aprovechaban de la burocracia venezolana, como veían que resistía, fueron a llamar un camarada”

    • As a Norwegian explained me, that is not really that much.
      1 million crowns is equivalent to €119,528. Here in the Benelux you can live out of that for a couple of years, depending on how careful you are and that’s it. In Norway things are considerably more expensive. That’s not enough for retirement if you expect to live 10 or more years. Still, it’s not bad. I am sure if oil prices were to drop to 80 dollars a barrel the Venezuelan government wouldn’t have the dosh to pay the millions of people currently in pension.

      • ARE YOU JOKING? THIS IS “not really that much”???? Venezuela is currently spending more than its income and you are saying that a fund that holds 120K euros PER CITIZEN is not that much????How many economies do you know that are currently running a surplus?

        • I am not saying it’s bad. It is really good, but it is also silly to be saying “now they are millionaires”. Just do the maths.
          Some other people would see that amount of money and say: “oh, we are millionaires” and stop doing anything or start buying over their means and after a couple of years they would be broke and their industry would be in tatters.

          They are doing the right thing and it is still just right. They have a nice cushion but that is it.

          What I am trying to say is not so much about the Norwegians but about most of the others, how most of the world is living well beyond its means…and how this will have terrible consequences for a lot of people. Of course, Venezuela is top on living beyond its means, but that we know.

          Had the million be in euros and not in Norwegian crowns I would definitely say: well, actually, they have reached the critical mass and can stop working (of course, not seriously).

      • Kepler,

        Yes, the “millionaire” part was a stretch. My point was in the difference in how the oil wealth income is being managed. Contrast Norway’s accumulation of capital per citizen with Venezuela’s accumulation of debt per citizen.

      • I think that the key takeaways are that the two SWFs that comprise the Government Pension Fund have both been established in the last 50 years, are under professional management and have stringement reporting and ethical guidelines. Compare and contrast to Venezuela.

        Incidentally, the junior of the two funds, the Global, was legislated into existence in 1990 or so and designed specifically with declines in income from oil production and a prepatory glidepath to ease the economy into a different stage after the oil runs out.

        Do you see that sort of foresight in Venezuela?

  4. [La propuesta de Hugo Chávez …para transformar a Venezuela]

    “Para lograr que el aparato administrativo del Estado funcione adecuadamente, proponemos:

    “”7.Reducir el número de Ministerios, para lograr, entre otros, un Consejo de Ministros más operativo; pero más importante aún es que los Ministerios que existan sean eficientes y funcionales.”

  5. Students of Chinese history have noted that whenever a Dinasty entered decadence it begun sprouting countless new regulations and beaurocratic systems as compensation for the fact that day by day it was losing control over its fate ,
    Some people when they cant achieve a task compensate for their failure by doing lots of hollow easy things that bring them an illusory sense of accomplishement , Mao did this frequently but with the idea of making his followers believe that by engaging in futile but noisy activity it was actually accomplishing things for their benefit . This was a favourite ploy of the defunct eternal leader,For example the sad state of abandoned street children was brought to the attention of the public and he would ennact a decree or create a new govt body to protect abandoned street children , even if later there was absolutely no follow thru to help improve their lot. The thing is to make noise , to raise a lot of dust , to make believe that problems are being vigoroulsy attacked while actually doing nothing effective . the effect is psychological but delusional and short lived !! .

  6. 111 Vice-Ministers, who will complement
    the current number of 39 Ministers

    God came down to look at their Leader,
    and remarked that as one organization
    speaking a common language,
    nothing was beyond their Control and their Reach.
    So God spitefully confounded their speech,
    letting them all babble earnestly and with great vigor –
    learning to mis-understand each other,
    then scattered them and their bodyguards
    into safe havens all over Caracas.
    Thus Caracas came to be known as
    Fort Babbling Babel
    of the Americas.

    • the total abolition of money,
      Citizens doing work that they enjoy
      and only for the common good.
      Leaving everyone ample time for
      the cultivation of the arts and crimes.

    • the 111 +39 = 150 of the best and the brightest,
      will catapult us to the forefront of nations.
      Let’s all shoulder our minds to the glorious task
      of socialism. Much needs to be done.
      However our illustrious leader is steeled
      by years of apprenticeship, and is now
      our shining light in such a task.

  7. I’m surprised no one has trotted out this little nugget:

    The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy ~ Oscar Wilde

    • Hm…they didn’t say if it was
      * the viceministro de gestión comercial del Poder Popular para el Comercio
      * the viceministro de comercio exterior del Poder Popular para el Comercio or
      * the viceministro de comercio interior del Poder Popular para el Comercio.
      In any case, if they all have 2 bodyguards, we can deduce from IV Republic 2-grade mathematics there are at least 222 bodyguards for the viceministras or viceministros or viceministres.

      • Gotta love this nugget:
        “Cuando escapaban llegaron los escoltas del viceministro y comenzaron a lanzar piedras contra el vehículo en el que iban los atracadores y lograron reventar el parabrisas.”

        “As [the muggers] scaped, the vice-minister’s bodyguards arrived and began throwing rocks against the getaway car, thus managing to break its windshield”.

        Asymmetric warfare for the win!

  8. Chavez shuffled ministries and ministers like 109 times over 12 years, i believe. Hard to have effective government administration with all that chaos (on top of the other problems!)

  9. I looked into this in some detail in late 20115/early 2006:

    My assessment at the time is that regularly changing the organization of the state, by adding, consolidating, spliting and creating new ministerios, viceministerios etc, made it really complex for any serious tracking on spending, performance, etc.

    One interesting insight from my research was that is you track Actos Administrativos from the Gaceta Nacional (not to mention equivalent Estado and Municipio levels), and you filter by Creditos adicionales category, and compare to Creditos ordinarios (per fiscal year) , You will find a ration of Adicionales being way larger ordinario ones.

    Add to this the unaccounted budget keep in FONDEM and the like, and further, add this crazy dynamic of viceministro proliferation, and you have a clear indication of smoke screen management to hide any accountability.

    All in all, systematic saqueo and cover up….


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