Last Rites (UPDATED: A Juan Barreto Special)

Igual que la deuda...
Igual que la deuda…

Everybody’s got their favorite bit of Jorge Giordani’s heartfelt swan song, a letter he calls “Testimony and Accountability Before History.

Personally, this is the ‘graph I just couldn’t get past:

In this path of the Bolivarian process, it was crucial to conquer the challenge of [the Presidential election of] October 7th 2012, as well as the [gubernatorial] elections of December 16th of that same year. It was about the consolidation of political power as an essential objective to strengthen the revolution, and the pathway to a new phase of the process. The objective was met with great sacrifice and with an economic and financial effort that took the access and use of resources to extreme levels, which will require a review to ensure the sustainability of the economic and social transformation.

So this is Giordani saying something everybody knew: that they spent it all on getting Chávez elected, even though they know the problems this would store up for later.

Of course, this statement comes wrapped in true believer “monk” ideology bullcrap, failing to ponder on whether there was any wrongdoing even when, uh, the “mechanism” to consolidate political power at the time was elections and the law forbids using public funds to win them. Frusilerías burguesas, pues…

In a way, his sincerity is refreshing. He doesn’t beat around the bush. He almost goes on and just says it: we squandered the public treasure to get Chávez elected in 2012. Ciudad Tiuna is perhaps the best example of this. They rushed the construction of the first buildings inside the massive Fuerte Tiuna military complex just to have something to show before the elections. A couple of years later, and it looks like an infrastructure cemetery.  

He goes on to describe the nature of the extreme spending measures —which won Chávez the elections— in a Disney-like fashion:

1. Important resources dedicated to Social Security.

2. Improving the quality of life of the majority of Venezuelans through public sector spending.

3. Important subsidies to first necessity public services (food, electricity, fuel, water, transport, mass consumption goods, housing services)

4. Accomplish the access to the necessary resources with a substantial increment of PDVSA debt, internal Central Government debt, and moderate foreign debt.

5. Maintaining the currency exchange rate which favored imports and reducing the private economy’s already limited exports.

6. Subsidies to state owned companies with great operational deficit in order to ensure employment and salaries to the workers on the short term.

Giordani claims that both Chávez and himself recommended these issues should be subject to review once the election was over. I guess his tiff with the current government is that they are not doing this the right way – the socialist way. Oh well…

As far as pragmatic policy-makers go, well, we know Giordani wasn’t one – the man is quite clear in saying that the “path of dismantling and rebuilding is hard,” meaning that YES, he admits to purposely destroying the Venezuelan economy as a matter of principle (or belief, whichever suits the “monk” legend best). The funny thing is, we have been riding on the last fumes of our former not-so-capitalist oriented system these past fifteen years. Chavismo has not yet invented anything new – it has simply taken the old, bankrupt state patronage system and fed it an unhealthy dose of steroids. In the end it looks like Giordani was trying to kill what (he understands as) Capitalism with an overdoze of (what he understands as) Capitalism.

As the letter shows, there is not an ounce of regret in Giordani’s words. This is not the confession of a dying man. No. This is the Monk, reading the last rites to an entire country.

UPDATE: Chavismo’s slimiest villain, Juan Barreto, gave an interview to Carlos Croes on Televen where he revealed that during his years as Metropolitan Mayor he believed to have been tasked with bringing down the Alcaldía Metropolitana. Yep, the same office he was appointed to run by the good people of Caracas. It takes him just a few words to explain the Giordani dogma: to build we must first burn. Guess they were all in the same page. In these times of intrigue and deception it is refreshing to read something as candid as this (NOT):

Look, when I was in functions as mayor, the first thing I tried to do was destroy the Metropolitan Municipality and they didn’t let me.


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    • The two favorite insults of chavistas are “faggot” (marico) and “traitor” (traidor).
      It’s just another hissy fit of the moron.

      • Another fave: pequeño burgués = petty entrepreneur.

        Moron used it twice in his verbal dress-down, the second time coated with more barbs than the first.

  1. “…we squandered the public treasure to get Chávez elected in 2012.”

    First, thanks for writing that excellent article. Second, that quote above goes to the very core of what Chavismo has been all about, spending other people’s money, or in this case PDVSA’s money, to get themselves elected. They haven’t built anything new; they haven’t created a new dynamic economic system; they haven’t ADDED anything constructive to the national revenue stream, they’ve merely captured an existing money producer, PDVSA’s oil production, and ‘squandered the public treasury’ to get themselves elected. In the process, however, they’ve destroyed the financial infrastructure of the country, Giordani being the architect.

  2. The letter’s tone of injured innocence jars with the fact that – despite being isolated and ignored – Giordani did not resign and make his views known. Instead, he hung on in silence until he was kicked out before making his views known in a display of self-serving petulance. He might have been able to salvage a shred of credibility had he actually taken a principled stand by sacrificing his job. His other claim to revolutionary purity – that he never stole a brass farthing – is badly tarnished by the fact that (1) he corruptly, and by his own confession, used the national budget to further the aims of a political party, and (2) that he fathered a system which allowed others to become billionaires at public expense, yet never outed a single one of them.

      • … And every Chinese Fund check as well, Francisco. That’s USD 30-ish billion spent without a trace, and I heard that the projects not only have to be approved by the Planning Ministry, but they are selected by that Ministry itself (along its Chinese equivalent). Que te parece?

      • I wonder if he was clever enough to have set up a cache of information and proofs of all the shenanigans that will see the light of day in the event of his untimely demise as an insurance policy.

        He survived 16 years in the cesspool. He may be an idealist, but he can’t be so naive as to think that they will just let him retire in peace, with everything that he knows.

        • The Monk is 4 years past the average life expectancy of a Venezuelan. He didn’t retire, actually. He was sacked. Of course, they probably didn’t expect him to be so loquacious. They might try to remind him now of that average life expectancy in Venezuela.

          • Of course, but I am more interested to know if his “insurance policy” exists. If it ever surfaces, it would be an invaluable tool to prosecute some of the most guilty.

          • LOL….Kepler, I don’t know if it has to do with your german culture background but you’ve got a way to get at the very heart of things…

          • sorry, “average” is redundant.

            Anyway: does anyone know what that guy teaches or taught at university? It’s hard to believe he can teach anything than basic electronic principles or so (something that is still valid now as it was 50 years ago)

    • Actually the fact that he fathered a system that allowed many people to steal and he encourage/allow but did not steal himself to feel morally superior to the ones who did makes him a sanctimonious hypocrite who is probably worst that the one who steel. It´s like belonging to a gang of assassins and thinking you are not one of them because you haven’t personally pulled a trigger.

      • I doubt that he feels any moral guilt whatsoever. His guiding goal is/was to establish his ideal economic and social system in Venezuela. Everything else within his moral code is subordinated to this goal. He could (and did) easily justify theft and murder as necessary for the greater good. God save us from fanatics of all stripes.

    • Phil, Giordani’s confession is so close to Aponte Aponte confession, it is hair raising. Let us go back a few years of blogs and one will find both are made of the same mold. Is it possible Giordarni could go to Florida to spill the beans? Anything is possible with those troglodytes.

  3. Don’t forget the part when it says that one of the aims of the revolution was full control of of PDVSA, the oil concessions, the Central Bank, the external commerce, all the land that they could grab, the public communications and the Army.

  4. I would add to what’s been said that spending treasure is much easier than building things. I really don’t get it. What is he proud of?

  5. So Giordani knows too much, that is clear. He must have good plans to release the dirty laundry shroud anything happen to him , say an accident, or a failed mugging gone murder, or a slip in the tub…

    This Salvo is either his way of:

    1)warning the boli-bourgeoisie he knows, and he is ready to tell, or
    2)its planned/ allowed by the handlers to get us talking about it, obsessing about it, and wasting another month of two in useless realpolitik effort.

    what is your take on these fellow CC commenters? 1 or 2?

    • Not a chance. Remember, “there are no enemies on the left”,and Giordani is as far to the left as any communist(fanatic) can get. They might kill him but I don’t think he’s going to turn on the Glorious Historical Revolution of the Powerful and Almighty Proletariat People of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

      He’s one of those who believes his own bullshit,unlike others like Diosdado

  6. After processing the unavoidable shock, I am starting to believe that, if properly managed by Maduro (sorry, by guys around him who eventually could have this kind of political engineering skill), this could provide him with a golden opportunity to move close to the center and get support from substantial portion of the Ninis and of the moderate political players. No doubt we are talking about survival mode here. I guess that the Monk’s revelations allowed all of us to understand how deep the mess actually is. Therefore, rational people may agree down the line on the inevitable: if the boat sinks (which has become a real possibility) everybody will be hit even harder. Survival mode. Mayday! Mayday!

  7. So, everybody’s cool with Giordani’s admission of vote-buying? cause that’s what it was, you know, it was pretty clear, even for a notably opaque guy like Giordani…

    • 1.) Its not like this was a complete surprise. Hell, they were giving away stuff on television that all but had a “Vota Maduro” logo on it.

      2.) From what I’ve seen, there is a world of difference in the Venezuelan legal community for saying, “Here’s 1000 BF if you vote for X-Candidate” and giving handouts at rallies to influence voting. Its like saying, “Haier ya go, you can thank Maduro for this freebie.” Okay, maybe not a huge difference in actual impact, but, well, as loosey goosey as the CNE was/is, what can you possibly too, complain and blog about it?

      I realize the Constitution forbids the use of state funds in the manner that was done during the election, but c’mon, since when has that ever mattered a whit to those in power?

      Again, not remotely surprising and, quite frankly, I was surprised the vote was ever as close as it was.

      • No. I think you’ve missed an important point here. It’s groups like the ‘Carter Center’ and many of the UN watchdog agencies who bestow their written blessings on such voting frauds, the modern kleptocracies, that should be condemned here. They allow it to happen. By their silence they condone it. It’s disgusting.

        • Yes and no. I get that what the Carter Center put out was, at best, ignorant of reality. However, I would argue that the Carter Center is really irrelevant to the internal democratic operations of Venezuela. Statements like those the Carter Center makes are for external consumption, rather than internal. The readers of this blog see it differently, true, but most Venezuelans don’t know or don’t give a fig about what the rest of the world says about their democracy. Its a talking point for legitimizing the government outside of the country.

          The Carter Center doesn’t “allow it to happen” as they (nor for that matter, any other external psuedo-watchdog) cannot trigger a referendum or a recall. That is a mechanism within the constitution for the people to rely upon. I grant you, that has been subsumed by chavismo, but anger enough Venezuelans and it won’t matter. (Tamping down the anger is where the Hegemony comes into play.)

          50 years from now, when people look back with some perspective, the blame will not fall on the Carter Center, nor on Gollinger or Weisbrot. The real embarrassment and shame will fall on the majority of Venezuelans who let themselves be bought for a washing machine or cheap dollars, or a TV from DAKA. There’s some inherent short-sightedness than runs rampant in Venezuela when it comes to long-term planning. People there always seem so willing to take a boiled potato instead of waiting for a steak.

  8. Another incredible part – I mean, incredible that he says it without thinking anything of it, is that bit about basically using imports to destroy “the private economy”.

    Basically, self-dumping the country as a way to ensure the death of anything that could be an independente source of income for people. This has to be, well, a world first.

    • I have trouble understanding this statement from Giordani – an alternative interpretation is that the guy believes exporting is equal to giving away our wealth, in other words he’s a mercantilist…

      • Dunno, I may be judging it to hard and he meant that keeping imports cheap was necessary to the very urgent goal of having Chávez reelected even if it hurted the private economy already low exports levels, but thats not precisely much better, and my original interpretation kinda fits with their hatred of any company that is not firmly in their hands…

  9. Who…
    Jorge Antonio Giordani Cordero
    nació el 30 de junio de 1940
    en San Francisco de Macorís,
    República Dominicana.
    De padre italiano —
    quien huía de la Segunda Guerra Mundial
    — y madre hispano-venezolana.
    Llegó a Venezuela a la edad de dos años
    Heartless, Soulless,
    featureless, bland,
    dull, colorless,
    lackluster, dreary,
    drab, uninspiring,
    anemic, insipid.

    and you all find him fascinating?

  10. What the letter makes clear is that Giordani acted as a populist for the basic tenet of populism that its ok to take measures that seriously harm the economy on which we all depend in order to reinforce a regimes hold on power , specifically by irresponsibly distributing public resources to help it retain and gain the electorates political support .

    The new socialist regime is as populist as those preceding regimes it criticized , except the latter were more restrained by institutions than the current regime is and perhaps by some lingering inhibitions which the current regime absolutely lacks!!


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