I found this El Universal interview with chavista heavyweight Alí Rodríguez particularly galling. Rodríguez seems to have let his guard down, and we appreciate that, but in the process he lays naked the vast intellectual wasteland that is chavismo. Basically, he says that chavismo needs to define how much the State should do, and what they need the private sector for. Qué molleja…
After more than a trillion dollars in oil revenue, after umpteen elections, countless political conflicts, and accumulating more power than anyone in the history of the country, chavistas are calling each other to think about the fundamental question: how much should the State do?
You would think that after fifteen years, they would at least have that down. But no.
Rodríguez claims that fifteen years is nothing, because they inherited the State structures and the culture from the past. Oh, he seems to be saying, if only Venezuelans were different, we would be able to implement the horrendous utopia we have in mind.
Few chavistas have occupied as many important roled as Alí Rodríguez. Faithful to the core, he has been Foreign Minister, Oil Minister, President of PDVSA, and pretty much everything in between. He is a smarter, more mellow version of José VIcente Rangel, but just as wicked. Here, he is simply stating what is obvious to anyone but radical chavistas, that the government needs to work with the private sector, and do so “for a very long time.” (Huh, what happens after that?)
Rodríguez is frank enough to admit what everyone in their right mind has been saying all along: the chavista State simply distributes oil rents … and pretty much nothing else. He goes back to his old hobby horse about how chavismo is extracting more of those rents than before, not stopping for once to think that, perhaps, that model is showing some serious strain. After failed oil plan on top of failed oil plan, after years of under-investment in the industry, the Venezuelan oil sector has never been in worse shape. And yet Rodríguez has the gall to say that the opposition simply has no plan for the oil industry, or for anything else.
When, after fifteen years, you are still debating with your own side about the merits of state vs. private interests, there is only one thing to do: buck up to your own failure and pack your bags to go to Cuba. At least Rodríguez is doing the latter. Let’s hope he stays there for good.