This is our "winter of discontent"

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Opportunist more than ideologue
Ideology meets opportunity

Back in 1978, Great Britain went through a horrendous period. Public employees went on strike, and public services were severely disrupted. The period, known as “the winter of discontent,” all but destroyed Labour’s reputation, and helped propel Margaret Thatcher to the Prime Minister’s office, a development that changed British history.

One of the anecdotes about the winter of discontent was that the strikes were so severe, garbage accumulated and the dead went unburied due to an undertakers’ strikes.

I was thinking about this while I read in an email that Private Jerry Rondón, a Chacao policeman, was shot dead while off duty. Yet the ordeal for his family didn’t end there. Jerry couldn’t be simply buried, according to his boss, Chacao mayor Ramón Muchacho.

First, there were 39 bodies in the morgue and only one forensic pathologist was available, so there was a long delay in getting the body.

Next, there were no plots in government-owned El Junquito cemetery, so they had to buy one in the black market at a huge markup.

And finally … the undertakers were on strike, so there was nobody to bury him.

The provision of public goods – justice, safety, clean streets, law, order, and yes, undertakers – is the responsability of the government. But there is not a single thing that the Venezuelan government does that is not a complete and utter disaster.

It only takes reading Quico’s personal impressions of a Kampala neighborhood to understand that poverty is one thing, and public inefficiency is quite another. Venezuelans aren’t as poor as Ugandans, but the provision of public goods by the state is a sham, making their quality of life arguably much worse.

These have been fourteen years of discontent. And yet … if we all know that government has stopped working, isn’t it time we entertain the thought that the problem is government itself? That the problem … is a state that has become too atrophied to provide the most basic needs for people? That all the government does is take things away from people? Isn’t the solution sort of obvious?

Putting ideology aside, there is simply no way a bloated public sector, with close to 3 million employees, can do anything right. The Venezuelan state is simply a machine that distributes rents – to public employees, to the military, to enchufados, to public contractors, to the public at large. But actually doing things … that’s asking too much of it. Delivering on its promises to citizens, you say? Mucho camisón pa’ Petra.

The Venezuelan state is morbidly obese. It can barely lift a finger..

And yet, if you look at our political landscape, nobody is framing the problem this way. All we see in the political spectrum is leftist, and radical leftist. Progressive, and chavista. Center left, and way-out-left. Nobody is talking about the government as the enemy. In fact, in one of the more cringe-inducing aspects of our recent political campaigns, the opposition has gone out of its way to reassure public servants that their jobs were safe!

Call me crazy, but the only way Venezuela is going to get out of this hole is by shaking up the entire structure of the Venezuelan government, and that means what it does, what it doesn’t do, how it does things, and yes, how many people it pays to do (or not do) things. In spite of these obvious realities, nobody in the opposition is honest enough to talk about the problems as they are.

Whether you agree with this notion or not, it seems curious that a political spectrum such as Venezuela’s, that allows for every lunatic to have their day in the sun, contains desperately few people saying the most common-sensical things. Where are the politicians saying that government is not going to solve problems? That government – particularly a petro-state with rapidly falling revenues – is the problem? Why hasn’t government itself become the target of our criticism? Why is nobody out there willing to speak some truth, damn the torpedoes?

Consider me baffled.

1 COMMENT

  1. Let’s see… “vote for me and a million and a half of you will lose your jobs” …. It’s not hard to understand why dismantling extreme populism has often involved de facto governments and massive human rights violations. Getting people to vote for it is an uphill struggle, to say the least. That might be considered the biggest single dilemma facing the opposition in the medium term, and one of the principal reasons why a negotiated solution to this mess (however unsatisfactory in the short term) is the only way to avoid serious bloodshed. Unfortunately, that requires politicians of considerable moral authority, combined with exemplary humility, on both sides. Call me a pessimist, but ….

    • Consider the Peruvian experience in the Fujimori vs Vargas Llosa runoff election in 1990.

      Vargas Llosa campaigned announcing the painful measures that would be needed to correct the misgovernment of Peru of the previous 20 years. People got scared.

      Fujimori stated that change was needed and said no more.

      Fujimori got elected.

      He applied what the press called the Fuji-shock which at the end were IMF prescribed economic measures, very much what Vargas Llosa had planned. He disbanded the congress with help of the military to re-establish governance and fight Sendero Luminoso with a very free hand.

      He stopped hyperinflation, he pacified Peru and initiated the 24 years of continuous economic growth. This was achieved at great human and moral cost.

      • What are you actually saying, though? One of the best examples of populism benefiting the opposition was Capriles’ outcome during the last presidential elections. His campaign at the time was a clear departure from the opposition’s discourse. Capriles disdained raising gas and upping controlled goods, all because of political benefit. He even incurred in military and nationalist themes previously exclusively associated with oficialista camps (“Comando Simon Bolivar”).

        Suggesting change for the sake of change is very far from actually stating the merits of your ideas. Not only do you propose treating a democratic government like a meritocratic one, you can’t even apply the concept to your own useless proposals.

      • Juan, remember, Castro was not a communist, Chavez had utmost respect for private property and didn’t plant to hang along for long. First get on the COROTO, then….(fill in the blanks) agree totally with Fujimori/MV Llosa comment

  2. The Venezuelan state is morbidly obese. It can barely lift a finger..

    And yet, if you look at our political landscape, nobody is framing the problem this way. All we see in the political spectrum is leftist, and radical leftist. Progressive, and chavista. Center left, and way-out-left. Nobody is talking about the government as the enemy. In fact, in one of the more cringe-inducing aspects of our recent political campaigns, the opposition has gone out of its way to reassure public servants that their jobs were safe!

    For the Chavista point of view, I am reminded of a slogan that was painted on walls during the Allende era in Chile:

    “Es una gobierno de mierda, pero es nuestro.”
    It’s a shitty government, but it’s ours.

    I would imagine that similar slogans have been painted on walls in Venezuela.

    “Nobody is talking about the government as the enemy,” because the government is seen as the distributor or petrodollar largesse- a generally accurate view of things. The government is not seen as an entity that takes from Juan Bimbo’s paycheck to perform various communal functions. You don’t complain about government incompetence, because you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, as the saying goes.

    • “Nobody is talking about the government as the enemy,” because the government is seen as the distributor or petrodollar largesse- a generally accurate view of things.

      Yes, yes and yes. That is the very essence of the problem.

      If you really want to rouse Venezuelans against the government, you have to tell them that :
      1 – Oil money is YOUR MONEY, not the government’s money.
      2 – It is YOUR MONEY that this morbidly obese, incompetent, corrupt government is squandering with less than nothing to show for it.
      3 – You ought to get this money directly in YOUR POCKET, not the government’s pockets, the same amount to each and every Venezuelan, because it is YOUR MONEY, not the government’s money, not the politicians’ money, not the bureaucracy’s money, YOUR MONEY.
      4 – It’s time Venezuela’s government finances itself like any other proper government of any civilized country, through taxes, paid by everybody (VAT, income tax, asset tax, tariffs and whatnot) on a transparent basis, according to the law, and be held accountable for every single céntimo of the tax money it collects and for how it uses it at the service of citizens.

      If the MUD wants to win, this is what they have to pledge and all that they need to pledge : Oil earnings will no longer go to the government but will be divided equally and paid directly to each and every citizen, equally, directly, in a bank account or a charge card to their name, and each citizen will be able whatever they want with that money without anyone telling them what to do, especially not politicians or the government or the bureaucracy or their corrupt friends and cronies.

      Don’t even talk about taxes, or public services, or anything.

      Just pound in the citizens’ minds over and over and over : IT IS YOUR MONEY.

      From there, everything else proceeds, and with it, the end of chavismo.

      • Your proposal would lead to virtually no investment in public goods like education, health and safety. This government isn’t working but completely free markets don’t provide enough of those public goods, by definition, either. No communist country has been terribly successful but neither has any libertarian society. Maybe one porridge is too cold and the other is too hot and we need to find one somewhere in the middle that is just right.

  3. I guess that JC’s message is that you say that the government is baaad and that most public employees are going to be fired and that the new government philosophy will be a better, efficient and leaner government.

    That will probably get you 3M votes against just from public employees against but hopefully it would wake up the ninis (who in theory are much more than 3M) who will finally hear someone saying the truth. If that is more or less what you are saying JC, then I am with you.

  4. The problem is the regime runs the government like its private hacienda. Government is a collection of personal and private interests. To me, one of the many great ironies of chavismo is that there has been something of a de facto privatization of government, through corruption. That has made it bloated and ineffective. That has rendered it unable to act in the public interest.

    So I think you have to distinguish cleaning government up from getting rid of it, but the latter is in any event a legitimate area of ideological debate. I think most people would agree for example that government should police and maintain a justice system. But this regime is incapable of policing or maintaining a justice system in any remotely “public” sense, or any normal sense. Both are principally areas of “private” endeavor under Bolivarian Socialism. It does not follow that both should be abolished, or that the police and the courts (in any normal world) are the “enemy”.

    The question I have is whether a country with such a bounty in a single resource like oil can do other than distribute wealth through large government. Given the distortions on the economy that oil creates, and the expectation among people- rightly so I would say- of a dividend from that bonanza, is it not inevitable that government will play an outsize role? You can’t just lay off all these government workers and hope they will start making stuff…can you? Oil economies have strong currencies that drive up costs of industry. Presumably that will be the historical norm for Venezuela, when all the lunacy ends, right? Isn’t large government the way Venezuelans have come up with to adapt to that reality?

    • The question I have is whether a country with such a bounty in a single resource like oil can do other than distribute wealth through large government.

      Of course, there is a way ! Give it directly to each and every citizens. Take the money, divide by the number of citizens, and give that amount to each citizen.

      What’s so hard about that idea ?

  5. I agree, JC, but over past months every time I hear/read Capriles he’s constantly focused on accusing the government for so much inefficiency here and there. Just take a look at his Twitter TL– there’s plenty of that

  6. there might be more than one significant difference between the UK back then and Venezuela right now that could easily explain your baffling. They had a more educated population, a population that could connect the dots and assign blame to who belonged, here we have people who barely finished high school who think they can run a factory better than university graduated folks. They didn’t have VTV either, nor armed forces that militate on the ruling party.

  7. If any politician really wanted to be honest with the public, they would be telling them that all they have to offer is “blood, sweat, and tears.”

  8. A recent NY Times article made the point that part of the reason why hardly anyone predicted the 2008 economic crisis was the idealize vision of capitalism that prevails among economists, which hold that individuals in the market are always rational. The same may be said of views toward voters (who are also economic actors). Rational action in politics seldom rules the day. Coupled that with the ‘capacidad de aguante’ [willingness to bear] that some have remarked about Venezuelans under the current government, and you have part of the answer to the inertia that has set in in the country with the largest oil reserves. We from the outside see clearly what (rational?) solutions are in order but in Ven that clarity is obfuscated by the bizarre unreality that exists there.

  9. It’s a taboo saying something, ANYthing, that might point that this mess is the government’s fault, the chavismo’s fault, and ultimately, the corpse’s fault, because “that will scare chavistas away”, stating basically that every chavista is but a stupid bully whiny kid who’ll throw a tantrum and will just go vote for some imbecile like maburro “just to piss off the escuálidos”.

    That’s why opposition politicians were so adamant against using “dictatorship” against this regime, heck, even Leopoldo López and María Corina said this was no dictatorship when interviewed by Bayly, the only candidate to something I’ve ever heard from the first time he spoke that this was dictatorship, and that he was going to trial and toss into a cell every bastard who helped to ruin this country was freakin’ Diego Arria, but hell no, the guy got treated as worse than Hitler just for daring to say something like that (And let’s be honest, many of you despise the guy with a passion, because he’s too “radical”)

    • You’re confusing opposing a person or a group of people with opposing an ideology. Arria may have talked a lot about sending chavistas to The Hague, but he never addressed the root of the problem.

      • “You’re confusing opposing a person or a group of people with opposing an ideology. ”
        Well, ideologies are represented by people, that’s how communists could basically destroy all the trust of a lot of venezuelans in democracy (since the 60s, until today with their chavista agents)

        “Arria may have talked a lot about sending chavistas to The Hague, but he never addressed the root of the problem.”
        Sending criminals to trial is a start to begin cleaning this mess, there can’t be peace without justice, and just letting them go (Invoking some so-called peace “turning the page”) would be an insult to every non-chavista that’s been harrassed and attacked by these last 15 years.

        Although I don’t remember right now if the guy actually spoke about the rest of the problems in the country, such as proposing methods to fix them. I guess I can agree with you if you were referring populism as “the root of the problem”, I guess he didn’t talk explicitly about ending populism so the country can develop, if I can find proof of the contrary, I’ll post it.

    • The problem is not “the government”, it’s government itself. Maria Corina is certainly not saying this.

      • Juan,

        Are you trying to make a case for Anarchism? If so, I could not disagree more.

        If the point is that government is a dangerous tool that must be carefully monitored and kept in check, than I agree.

      • I can hardly pinpoint Juan’s idea as Anarchist…

        The point is government is too big, too inefficient, that it can not even fulfill its basic task, like protecting their citizens.

  10. I believe we all make the same mistake when framing the state and the government as abstract concepts de-linked from Venezuelan society. It is a massive truth that all we have is left, and more left, and I praise you for saying it; but I reckon we have a massive problem as society we have to deal first with before even thinking about having a decent government in place. This idea has made me do some realistic comments in the past framed on the character of Venezuelans in general, and it has awarded me some insults.
    First, a country cannot function if its engine, i.e. the middle class, is not well aware of its role and behaves accordingly. Although education is an integral component of a nation, it cannot be disconnected from family values and tradition; in this sense, you can be engineer and still throw beer bottles through the window of your car while driving to your holidays. I have seen that. Just observing friends and family planning their holidays abroad thanks to CADIVI made me think that there was no difference whatsoever between those on the government side and those on the opposition side. The government could have been damaging the economy badly through the exchange control, but who really cared if I got my subsidised CADIVI air ticket to India or China. In the sense that any bureaucrat can be corrupt or not, but what cannot be denied is that he or she is Venezuelan. Like it or not.
    We can ask ourselves if we want to promote in our kids the idea of being a public servant in Venezuela: policeman, military, social worker, etc. On the contrary, we all want our kids to study in UK, Germany or the States and stay safely there. So, who is going to replace the middle class on these jobs? The government already answered that question long ago, when it proposed itself to break with regular universities and set their own system. The result is all well known, but also too obvious. And despite the fact that the big majority of public servants in Venezuela are oppositionist, that does not make them better than government cronies. Does it? Bosses will always bear the brunt of responsibility, but in several developed countries, ministers have to battle through their respective bureaucracies in their own offices to get something approve/done. Just have a look at France, or the long standing battle across UK ministries to avoid painful cuts.

  11. I think the fact that chavismo is so extreme left wing that people can get away saying chavismo is the wrong kind of left. That’s what leaves so much room for social democrats

  12. Britain was run into the dirt by stubborn socialist anti-capitalist madness, sheer ideological stupidity, and utter refusal to change course when it was clear that their policies were a disaster. Sound familiar? Socialist utopia sickness strikes those with no memory.

  13. No one politician from any part of the spectrum is willing to scope the real problems in government, or provide solutions, because a big part of the solution means whacking jobs. Therefore, announcing that solution pre-election — as meaningless as elections have become in Venezuela — means a severe downturn in votes.

    The other reason that no one is willing to cut through the bull is due to dreams of being in charge of EL COROTO — big and bloated even better. It’s a pathology.

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  15. Cutting your comparison short is disingenuous or confused at best. The problem with the opposition has nothing to do with their posture on public jobs, the problem is self-sabotaging negativity. Venezuela’s indoctrination is very far from England’s reality back then. The opposition’s discourse is, in varying degrees, a populist one because the Venezuelan voting mass has a certain degree of sophistication. If you use populism as a filter you’re left with no candidates then surely you should realise you’re insights amount to wishing for world peace and throwing a tantrum when it doesn’t happen. Drawing shallow parallels is no substitute for useful political analysis. Stop getting advice from Osmel Sousa.

  16. Juan, of course a bloated/inefficient Government is part of the problem, as is a Venezuelan society at most all levels irresponsible (but happy? as per some questionable polls–but why not, if you can act irresponsibly, even kill fellow citizens, with impunity), but, as pointed out by other Commenters, you can’t win (fair, if they were available, which they aren’t) elections on this platform.

  17. I could not agree more and wonder what what would happen if a candidate would be sincere and go into a campaign pronouncing a right winged revolution, up turning or reversing most of what chavismo has done. Would it be accepted? I doubt it.

  18. A point:

    I live and work in a northern European country with a massive public sector, high progressive taxation and a huge welfare state. Yet, the public sector is efficient, debt is under control, society is quite just and fair, poverty exists but it´s minimal, crime is low, we have free education up to the PhD level, free healthcare and living here is, in general terms, just wonderful.

    Not perfect, we have extreme-right populists and arseholes like everywhere else, but quite nice.

    We have certainly done better than Tory England and Republican America (the Bush years) during the crisis.

    Every time I visit the UK or America I feel like going to the third world.

    So, don´t give me that bullshit about public sector size, or “Government is the problem”.

    THAT IS NOT TRUE; IS IDEOLOGICAL BULLSHIT.

    Government is not the problem, THE PROBLEM IS VENEZUELA; NOT “GOVERNMENT”.

    The privatisation processes undertaken by the Thatcher government were a massive failure, beginning with the railways and ending in the schools. Not only services are worse, but now government has to subsidise these companies. They are now talking about re-nationalising failed privatised outlets.

    Same happened in Sweden, they just voted the liberals out to revert privatisation.

    I strongly suggest you take your Ayn Rand books, make a roll and stick them hard into your colon. Same with von Mises, Hayek and the rest. Why? because everything they say is not backed up by evidence.

    The opposition does well by not menacing anyone. Reform has to come by consensus and understanding, not ideological manure.

    • Yeah, about the sticking in colon part, it was meant for people who are still living in 1985 and believe the private sector is the panacea.

      • Even where you live (Norway?) the private sector is the only sector that can create and maintain the capital (capital creates more capital – ad infinitum) to make your country´s public sector possible: the private sector is the panacea – the sine qua non. The government has no capital. It is impossible for the government to create more capital when it has no capital. The government is a cost center not a profit center. No dominating private sector and your state of government affairs is not possible. I am sure you work in the private sector.

        • Honestly, to say that the government cannot be profitable is one of the most stupid utterances I have ever heard.

          Ever.

          I don´t live in Norway, but the Norwegian public sector is one of the richest and more profitable economic actors in the world. Oil? Venezuela and Nigeria have oil. Norway has top-notch public managers.

          Practically all the scientific development sustaining the private sector innovation comes from publicly-financed institutes. The world over. Go find out how anything works, and you will stumble into scientists financed by the government.

          Government here runs railways, electricity and energy-producing corporations (among others) at a profit.

          f you look at the latest development in industrial economies it has become clear that the dominance of the private sector has bolstered inequality, and this inequality is actually menacing capitalism itself, since it deprives whole swathes of the population of education, healthcare and opportunities.

          People who say government is the problem think in primitive terms: private and public sectors, when in reality is just ONE economy.

          And you know what makes it even more stupid? that after witnessing the BIGGEST financial crisis in 70 years being created by the private sector, people still say deregulation and supply-side economics are the panacea.

          And anyway, I do work in the public sector!

          • The innovation at Apple, Google and by Satoshi Nakamoto were not government financed. Apps are being used to modernise the world economy via the private sector.

            In principle, it is not government´s function to own capital and make a profit – as it sometimes does. Cuba is a good example of the public sector being vastly greater than the private sector: result: doctors earn $20 per month and they only started using the internet a couple of years ago.

            The vast majority of the global population would agree that the economy is better served by wealth creation in the private sector by the invisible hand of self-interest than in the public sector.

            The advancement of education, healthcare and opportunities is to a much greater extent thanks to the private sector than the public sector. It is accepted that the public sector – generally – spends twice the amount of money to do something compared to the private sector.

            Inequality has never stopped private sector creators to innovate – often starting with almost nothing.

          • See what I mean? This is why I find it hard to believe Venezuela will ever go anywhere. People are so simplistic and fanaticised. Man, look at the evidence.

            Where would all those companies without the internet (a public sector development), wi-fi (based on publicly financed research), the world wide web (again, public) modern electric grids (developed, during decades, by governments) computers (developed by dozens of scientists, most working in public universities and institutes, like Turing) and cell phones (an offspring of advances in telecom during WWII)?

            Starting with almost nothing? don´t be ridiculous.

            Advance in healthcare thanks to the private sector? what? Vaccines? antibiotics? x-rays? ct-scans? MRI? biotechnology? anti-retrovirals? universal healthcare? All come from research and work done by the public sector. The most privatised healthcare in the world, in America, actually spends more public money that public healthcare (BOOM! there you go)

            Education? the first modern universities were public, in Germany. Mandatory shooling?, pioneered by western Europe and the US governments.

            Listen, I could go on all day, but DO YOU KNOW WHO LOVES THE PUBLIC SECTOR? the private sector. During the 2008 crisis the taxpayers and governments saved the global private sector through banking rescues everywhere. Yeah, central bankers saved the world, and Wall Street comfortably took the money. No ideological complaints.

            I am telling you: there is only one economy, it is actually hard to trace a frontier between public and private.

            The problem does not lie in government or corporations, but in what the people make of them.

          • Listen, if you want to go to a place without taxes, where people can make money without the interference of the state and there is no public sector to compete with, I have the perfect place for you:

            Pakistan.

            Good luck.

    • Spot on. Some free marketeers I know are just as blinded by ideologies as hard leftists. When unchecked capitalism doesn’t work or leads to disaster, you hear the same excuses you hear from marxist apologists: “That wasn’t REAL capitalism…”. It’s much easier to say “Government is the problem”, then identify the reasons that government is often inefficient, slow, or ineffective.

      The proper size and function of government is a reasonable discussion, certainly. At the end of the day, though, IMO the most important factor is separating money and politics as much as possible, and destroying public corruption in all its forms. Only then can a government be structured to be most effective and efficient, and serve the needs of its people without strangling innovation.

      I think that’s truly what some of the Scandinavian countries have done well, which has allowed them to develop the most efficient government system without big money perverting the public interest. Certainly, there are other factors (cultural homogenuity which leads to high levels of trust, is a huge one).

    • You did not make a point. You made a rant. I lived through the Labour years in Britain, and I have lived in California for thirty years, and your description of the past situation in both countries is, let us say, incomplete. But your attitude qualifies you as a real chavista.

  19. The point has to be made that there is NO State in Venezuela , just something that uses its name and privileges but that lacks the capacity of a state to function in favour of the society it harbours. Its not that the State is badly and corruptly run but that there is effectively NO organization that can function as a State at all . There used to be the stump of a State , thats been destroyed , first order of priority for the opposition is to build a State from the ruins of the old one. .

    There is no comparison between pre Thatcher Britain in 1978 ( I can bear witness to that ) and the Venezuela of today. Britain back then had problems but the country’s institutions worked , maybe not as well as it later did but no doubt about it , it worked, there was a well functioning State whatever its flaws . Venezuela today is something quite different . A disfunctional country.

    Maybe they had a bad govt but they had a functioning state . ( govt heads the state but is not itself the state , it uses the state to advance policy but does not attempt to replace it )

    Juans point is well made and deserves attention , but not sure of how you tell these things to the average slum dweller ir ordinary joe.

    • MAN! THANKS!

      Nicely put. The problem can´t be government, when there is actually no government, just a gang.

      I am trying to make this point, but people are hard of hearing.

      • So far, there have been two reasons brought forth against “attack the ideology, not the follower” in Venezuela.

        But, are the participants properly detailing political and economic implications separately?

        Does the Venezuelan voting mass want anything to do with this to begin with? Are we engaging in intellectual masturbation?

        On the other hand, does your comment actually devolve into shitty semantics? It’s not a government but a gang? Have you addressed at all the needs of reducing attack surface with your exposition of a mysterious northern European country by bringing up the ARPA project?

        • I think the masses do not want anything to do with this BLOG. If you want some mass-involvement, I suggest you go somewhere else.

          Like joining the students on the streets, or Chuo Torrealba touring the country.

          On the other hand, masturbation is an enjoyable activity, I see nothing bad about it. Actually intellectual masturbation leads to good ideas.

          What is the meaning of “reducing attack surface”? We can switch to Spanish if you are more comfortable, you know?

          • “I think the masses do not want anything to do with this BLOG. If you want some mass-involvement, I suggest you go somewhere else.”

            After all the finger pointing against absolutes–and the Venezuelans who oblige, a set that for some reason never includes the author–you’ve ended up at square 1. This blog is so out there it doesn’t concern itself with useful political analysis in the least? What an infantile excuse. The people of this here blog aren’t retarded enough to agree with you.

            The rational response can’t be to dismiss criticism out right, alleging someone misunderstood directions.

  20. “sacan muelas sin anestesia”
    today’s front page of Diario Versión Final

    When you read things like that, words like discontent look like a pitiful journalistic euphemism

    • Con noticias como esas y una sinoesseleparece hiperinflación, yo sigo sin entender por qué nadie habla de lo que DEBE hacerse y explicar las razones… Tema de idología o no, es hora que empiece a existir una verdadera DERECHA. En este país debe haber equilibrio. No es posible que los brainwashed chavistas sigan llamando a AD la “ultra derecha”, por ejemplo y que Capriles siga hablando pistoladas, criticando medidas que sabemos deben ejecutarse. O sea, no van a ganar con el mismo discurso, ¿será que podrían al menos hablar “por la calle del medio”, como dice el nuevo “líder”? Me va a explotar la cabeza un día de estos jajaja, really…

      I’m sorry for the spanish but my english is not very good looking… 😉

      • yo creo que el sentido común (que por cierto, no es de derechas ni de izquierdas) es lo que realmente debería existir en Venezuela pero por ahora sigue brillando por su ausencia. Si dices “Tema de idología o no, es hora que empiece a existir una verdadera DERECHA” creo que te contradices porque primero pareces dejar a un lado la ideología pero luego pides la llegada de una en particular. No creo que la derecha como tal pueda salvar nada y su vuelta, con el odio que he visto hay en Venezuela hacia lo que llaman adecos y copeis le pone difícil el camino. Mientras tanto, la desesperación aumenta.

        • “No creo que la derecha como tal pueda salvar nada y su vuelta, con el odio que he visto hay en Venezuela hacia lo que llaman adecos y copeis le pone difícil el camino. ”

          La derecha como tal nunca ha existido en Venezuela, todos los partidos de todas las corrientes que han existido en este país han ido de la centro izquierda hasta la más podrida, sectaria y acosadora de las izquierdas.

          El mismo chavismo se encargó de meterle en la cabeza a la gente de este país que “derecha” era todo lo que no era chavista, y que dicho adjetivo se usa para definir a “todo lo malo” sin importar que hace realmente, que practica, que propone ni predica.

          • No sé si eso es verdad o no porque no conozco Venezuela tanto como ustedes pero tomo en cuenta ese comentario.

  21. I couldn’t agree more!!! I’ve been saying this for years… I really don’t see anyone getting to the point, maybe MCM a little bit. I mean, I don’t see there’s something to lose and yet MUD politicians discourse is pretty much like the chavista one, but “more efficient”.

  22. Completely agree with you Juan. The opposition always argue that the commies running the Government are scared shitless that they don’t even assume any risk-taking policies for implementing much needed economic reforms…and yet NO ONE in the MUD even dares to say why should the gasoline price go up, or why do we need to cut the burocracy of the State, or re-privatise certain companies (CANTV, Corpoelec, etc).

    My guess is that in essence and generally speaking they just want the same (MUD) but them calling the shots when they gain power (with little deviations from the incumbents).

    I disagree with you on labelling the opposition parties from just left to radical left. The problem is not so much as their ideology but rather their lack of pragmatism, they just got stagnated in the 20th or 19th century. They don’t even share or know about the famous “third way” of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

    How long will WE the constituents tolerate such attitude from the political leadership is a darn good question

  23. Democracies can be oppressive particularly when government controls both the political and economic spheres. Without powerful private and independant public institutions to parry the power of the majority, elections become public auctions where only redistributitionists can compete. Voters perceiving that they will be winners in the public auction will put up with all sorts of incompetence as long as they continue to receive that monthly check and nothing will change in Venezuela until a majority concludes that the check is not in the mail. But when that happens and your present government falls, Venezuela will need to develop a new model that limits the powerof govetnment. Bill

  24. This news on oil prices will but increase the winter of discontent in the land of eternal summer- or eternal spring, depending on your altitude.Oil Benchmark Hits 28-Month Low.
    The price of oil hit a more than two-year low in trading recently, as Brent crude plunged to just over $92 a barrel. For more than a year, that benchmark was trading above $100 a barrel, but a variety of factors has sent prices in a downward spiral in recent months, as you can see in the graph above.
    That is a $20+/BBL drop from mid June to now.

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