Something Obvious that Needed to be Said

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Gustavo-Tarre-Briceno-Williams-Marrero_NACIMA20140325_0034_19Sometimes, the self-evident gets lost in the melée of day-to-day politicking.

Sometimes, stating those (on reflection, perfectly obvious) things is important. Vital.

Sometimes, saying obvious things out loud is the biggest contribution a politician can make.

So Gustavo Tarre gets big props from me for this perfectly obvious observation: of course the opposition has a program.

La oposición ofrece la siguiente bicoca: restablecer la democracia. ¡Casi nada! Tirios y troyanos, radicales y moderados, tradicionalistas y recién llegados, electoralistas y guarimberos, huevos fritos y atorados, marxistas y capitalistas, socialdemócratas, socialcristianos y liberales coinciden, sin diferencia alguna, en el mejor programa que se le pueda ofrecer a Venezuela: El gobierno del pueblo, para y el pueblo y por el pueblo. El respeto a los derechos humanos. ¡Una pelusa!

La oposición ofrece que las elecciones sean organizadas, preparadas e implementadas por una autoridad electoral imparcial; que en los comicios venideros nadie goce de ventajas indebidas; que los dineros y bienes públicos no estén al servicio de una parcialidad; que el voto de cada venezolano se cuente, que la voluntad del elector sea respetada y que pueda formarse a través de una información abierta y libre. Todo ello se completa con el regreso a la alternabilidad republicana. Casi nada pues…

La oposición ofrece volver a la discusión política. Sacar de ella la descalificación y el insulto; dar a todos la oportunidad de decir lo que piensan a través de medios independientes y libres; regresar a la cordialidad en el trato que siempre fue una característica de la política venezolana; eliminar el odio y el resentimiento.  Regresar al diálogo, recordando, como decía Antonio Machado, que para dialogar primero hay que escuchar; que nadie vaya a la cárcel por pensar distinto o, simplemente, por pensar.

La oposición quiere un Parlamento que legisle y que controle al gobierno.  Una Asamblea Nacional que no delegue sus funciones de manera irresponsable y sumisa. Una representación popular que interpele a los ministros, investigue irregularidades y censure a los responsables. Unos legisladores que discutan, propongan, argumenten y rectifiquen para finalmente aceptar la decisión de la mayoría, respetando los derechos de las minorías. Y, como si fuera poco, una Asamblea presidida por un parlamentario y no por un patán.

La oposición quiere esta bobería: que la justicia tenga los ojos vendados; que el Poder Judicial la imparta con sabiduría y sapiencia; que los jueces no oigan los dictados de nadie y que conozcan el derecho; unos magistrados que no tengan que temer la cárcel y el oprobio cuando decidan en contra de los poderosos; unas sentencias que protejan los derechos de los venezolanos, apliquen e interpreten la ley y que no la atropellen o pretendan modificarla; un Ministerio Público que no sea instrumento de venganza de nadie.

La oposición quiere una Contraloría que controle; que investigue las denuncias de corrupción; que sancione a los culpables; que no sea un instrumento político; que no inhabilite a nadie.

La oposición coincide en que la educación tiene que ser la primera prioridad, que todos deben tener acceso a ella; que los maestros y profesores tengan un sueldo digno; que los programas educativos no pretendan lavarle el cerebro a nadie; que las universidades recuperen la autonomía; que los estudiantes estudien para que la meritocracia deje de ser una mala palabra y vuelva a ser la puerta  que se abre a los mejores.

La oposición propone volver a la libertad sindical, a la discusión de contratos colectivos, a los fueros que protegen a quienes dirigen a los obreros y campesinos, al ejercicio del derecho de huelga dentro del marco de la ley; devolver al trabajo su dignidad, eliminando las limosnas y el bachaqueo.

Toda la oposición coincide en que hay que respetar la libertad económica consagrada en la Constitución; nadie justifica o discute la incapacidad del gobierno en el manejo de las empresas expropiadas; todos coinciden en querer crecimiento económico, abastecimiento y empleo productivo con un sector privado grande, fuerte y sano.

La oposición quiere una Fuerza Armada apolítica, que esté al servicio de la nación y no de una parcialidad; que tenga el monopolio de las armas; que no tenga que obedecer a extranjeros; que los militares se dediquen a la defensa de la patria, a estar preparados para la guerra para que esta nunca ocurra; que sus componentes tengan los mejores equipos y que no se compre chatarra para que los vivos se enriquezcan; que Venezuela no tenga que soportar el desprecio y las amenazas de un generalote guyanés que sabe que nuestro Alto Mando recibe instrucciones de Cuba y que no tiene nada que temer cuando nos enseña los dientes.

That’s a far-reaching, multi-layered, multi-faceted program that covers all basic questions in national life: the opposition stands for democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms in contrast to a government that drips with contempt for all three. And there’s total consensus on it. This is no small thing.

There are, of course, differences in emphasis here or there. If I was writing the article, for instance, returning to macroeconomic sanity would receive much higher billing and more than a couple of throwaway phrases. But those are differences in nuance and communicational approach. The bigger truth is that you can’t find anyone in the opposition who really dissents from any of this.

And that’s one of those obvious things we forgot to remember. And yes, I realize Tarre’s vision is not so different from the way the pre-Chávez regime perceived itself, but there’s a difference: we now have 15+ years of chavismo behind us to put the fear of God into whomever is called on to implement this program.

The 4th Republic elite was blasé about the all-too-obvious gaps between the story it told about itself and the actual way the country was governed. Back in 1996, nobody believed the disasterist warnings about what might happen if they didn’t shape up.

One thing is for sure about that kind of insouciance: no volverá! If chavismo has done one thing, it’s make sure of that.

134 COMMENTS

  1. The problem Quico is that this is not a program but a declaration. It’s like trying to get from Caracas to La Guaira agreeing that “el norte es pa’llá” so let’s head north without any sense (aka consensus) on how to get there or the fact that there is still a highway somewhere. You may end up lost in Quebrada Las Adjuntas!

    • You’re right, of course.

      I still think it’s significant that nobody in the public sphere acknowledges any longer that there’s a basic congruence in the vision for the end-point. Nobody! We act as though Capriles was a Trotskyite and Leopoldo a Hayekian, divided by a basic understanding of the good society. Paja. One of them wants to take the highway, another the teleferico, another the carretera vieja. But they’re going to the same place and that’s not nothing.

      • It is not. First, those were written in order to win the 2012 presidential election. Needless to say it didn’t work out. And second, a huge reason for its failure was that schematics always lack depth in meaning so no guidelines are needed but an actual program that the average chavista can see as taking him into consideration and not a restoration of the previous status quo. A complete rewrite is in order.

  2. “The path to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    I don’t want to sound pessimistic but that project basically counts that everyone will pull the rope in the same direction. That economic or power interests (which is the same in the long run) will not see their position challenged. That the human factor, the culture and the history will be reversed just because the opposition becomes government. That the opposition is amalgamated and ready to take the challenge.

    I think is childish to assume that the colectivos, the hotheads and the current economic interests will give up peacefully for this project that I have to admit looks pretty good on paper. As well as, that the old and ingrained “vivieza” criolla may kidnap the whole project (as it happened to the Chavistas) and basically mutate the whole thing into a “grabastic piece of amphibian shit”.

    You may call this Tarre’s declaration as the “framework” but we need the “workflow”. How the opposition is going to achieve such big goals. What are the mechanisms in place to get “a government for the people” (by the way Hitler said that too in a speech but the phrase was originally coined by Lincoln in the Gettysburg address). We always fail to articulate that part, to get the plan and to follow the plan. For more than 100 years Venezuelans have tried to achieve just that: Ezequiel Zamora, Francisco Linares Alcantara, J M Vargas, Romulo Gallegos, Gustavo Machado to name a few that tried. You may even argue that the MBR-200 had a similar plan in mind that was ultimately betrayed by Chavez.

    The opposition may have the vision, now they need the actionable items…

    • ” As well as, that the old and ingrained “vivieza” criolla may kidnap the whole project (as it happened to the Chavistas) and basically mutate the whole thing into a “grabastic piece of amphibian shit”. ”

      It was not that chavismo was hijacked by viveza criolla, it was that chavismo IS viveza criolla made goverment, and chavismo and viveza criolla ARE garbastic amphibian shit because they are one and the same.

  3. What’s interesting is that this excellent plan should have a full consensus of the Oppo on board; but, as stated by others, how does one communicate this plan simply/effectively/emotionally to the Nairobis/Juan Bimbas of Venezuela, and, of course, then implement it with the typical cultural headwinds against it.

  4. Crime, inflation and curruption.The only concrete things the average lower-middle-class to poor person (i.e., majority of population) really cares about in this country right now. The campaign should be exclusively focursed on these three issues.

    We can try building Tarre’s idealistic society (only understood and appreciated by educated middle class persons) once the opposition is in power and has stabalized the country. Democracy, human rights, separation of power, independent military and judiciary, etc are all ideals many societies strive to achieve (and most in Latin America don’t) but they don’t make for effective campaign slogans, in my opinion.

  5. The main problem with this pretty political discourse is that there are Millions of under-educated people in Venezuela who don’t even comprehend the most basic concepts mentioned here.

    Intellectual, educated people always seem to forget Ignorance and lack of education is often the root od the problem. They think most people Have to know basic things we know. They don’t.

    Not even what Democracy really is. Heck, Millions still believe they live in one.

    Freedoms? No clue. Libertad de expresion? Millions think they have it, whatever that is.

    Human rights? No clue. (“gueno, yo tengo derecho a que no me peguen, pero no puedo guarimbia”) Zero idea of International Geneva concepts, minimum birth rights, nada.

    “Elecciones justas”? Maybe a quarter of the population believe they still have that. CNE independiente: huh? “que eh eso? Tibisai el del pueblo”, Separacion de poderes? “Cuales, mijo, podel mandal pal carajo a los imperialistas, podel recibi mi chequecito sin hace nada, aqui los que zobran son jueses y leyes y vaina d’esa”

    Fuersa almada apooo-que? Esos son un poco’e generales vuejitos ahi que no hasen naa y nos protejen del imperio”

    The the MUD, people who barely know a little bit more, cannot educate the masses of these somewhat basic concepts and democratic goals. They don’t have the Media, the financial resources and they represent 40+ years of adecos/copeyanos who completely ignored these ignorant, less educated Millions.

    To that huge populace, add the 3 Million + direct Enchufados, making a good living stealing with the Dictatorship, plus another 3,5,7 Miliion? of indirect leeches, stealing one way or another, directly or indirectly.

    That, more repression, and you have Cubazuela ‘pa rato.

    • Point being, of course, what you say is “obvious” and “self-evident”,,, ain’t, for many average Cubazuelans.

      • The same cheerful message gets repeated again and again under rotating assummed names , the message the regime pays guys with invented names to get into your head , its all useless , everyone is corrupt , all govt employees are corrupt and are in cahoots with the regime , masses of people are so dumb that they dont understand democracy , nothing about the anger discontent and disssatisfaction which the mass of people feel against the govt with the inflation , shortages , rampant insecurity . Its so obvious . the same stupid insults dressed up as underage witticisms . guisozuela , cubazuela , kleptozuela , one shot at the govt and three shots at your head .

        • Another brilliant post Billy Boy! You have once again addressed the specific topic at hand with original insights, adding your immense knowledge to the pertinent ideas exposed this time. Keep the focus!

        • Oh and if you must emulate me, get it right: It’s Cubazuela, a Petro–Narco Kleptocracy. Do you have an original, more accurate description, whining boy?

          • Yep , a confesion de parte relevo de prueba , same old troll , endlessly repeating his worn out message under a fancifully changed name . As San Anselm used to say ‘The higher the ape climbs the more you can see his arse.’ (mientras mas alto trepa la mona mas se le ve el culo) ..

          • Curious… Although I agree with “Bill Bassonly for o” about “Sembrando Petroleo”, I do not think he is the “Bill Bass” the posts here often. Different writing style and idiom usage.

  6. I was going to refrain from writing this, since the answer is perhaps too obvious to some or too open-ended to others (as in “it depends on who you choose to replace…”)

    But then I came across this: http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/the-real-lesson-of-the-stanford-prison-experiment.
    In this psychological experiment prisoners and guards came to engage in their roles with frightening fervor.
    The mental image this creates is of a world full of Abu Graibs, where prisoners and guards seem arbitrary labels.

    But getting back to the post, here’s finally my point: if you lean liberal, you are going to agree conceptually with some of the views held by more moderate chavistas, and in principle with some of their complaints regarding what came before. This is a point implicit in Quico’s post. Much of what is recited in this post as opposition goals could easily be claimed by a chavista to be goals of the chavistas. If chavismo cleaned up its act, dropped the fringe marxists, removed some of its less attractive leaders, and upgraded to more “democratic” individuals, how much and how quickly might we expect things to change?

    Is drafting a list such as Tarre’s enough to justify a change in leadership? And more crucially, will changing the leadership significantly change the game?

    I personally think it is simpler than what Tarre lists, it can be reduced to even fewer points.

    The problem with chavistas reduces to accountability, or the lack thereof, plain and simple.

    That is the demand that the opposition has to repeat ad nauseam: be accountable. Think Singapore.

    • “If chavismo cleaned up its act, dropped the fringe marxists, removed some of its less attractive leaders, and upgraded to more “democratic” individuals, how much and how quickly might we expect things to change?”

      Chavismo simply cannot “clean up it’s act” in the manner you suggest. At the core of Chavismo is furious hatred of its opponents and scapegoats, grandiose lies aimed at the ignorant, brazen contempt for rule of law and separation of powers, xenophobia, and violence threatened or aimed at its opponents. It’s anti-democratic and anti-modern, really just a potent mix of caudillismo, populism, and demagoguery.

      • Yes, it’s like asking the NSDAP to get rid of its “fringe nazists”. Or the PNF to get rid of its “fringe fascists”.

        PSUV is a criminal organization pretending to be an average political party. But I don’t think that they are even worried about pretending to be anything else than a criminal organization at this point. It’s in everyone’s faces. In plain sight… They just don’t care. Their political debate with society is to arrest or kill.

        How can you debate with such people? How can you expect normalcy with such people in power? No, they must go, no other remedy available.

      • If you must have a Totalitarian Dictatorship like Chavismo, at least go for one like mine or Singapore. In a few years we build 3/4 of your country’s infrastructure and leave the country with unprecedented economic indicators and lasting growth for decades to come. And meanwhile, zero colas, zero inflation, and 25000 don’t get killed by violent crime,

        Fair deal compared Chavismo, huh? that has built about 124 poor concrete “viviendas”, 2 small bridges and a few estaciones de metro in 16+ years, while destroying the economy and killing almost half a million people, for now.

        • One thing is for sure: if I had had the 16 years Chavismo is having, with Oil at $100/barrel, Venezuela right now would be better than Chile, Norway and Singapore combined, with about as much new infrastructure as Dubai, and plenty of affordable filet mignon at every abastos. Just about the same political prisoners, with excellent medical attention, top jails in the continent, without the half million people killed by crime. That’s for sure.

  7. Nice article the one wrote by Gustavo Tarre Briceño. It help us refresh what democracy stand for.
    Specially if we begin naming the venezuelan regime as a totalitarian regime.

    I would like to add one piece that is missing in the article. It is very important and can make a whole difference.
    He explicitly write about Fuerza Armada “apolitica”. When GTB refers to the Poder Judicial he don’t say a word about been “apolitica”.

    And this word “apolitica” is key: since all successful democracies in the world are abide to The Rule of Law, The more independent and the more powerful the Judicial Power the better.

    Add this word and will make the difference between the past (4ta Republica) and the unborn new one (6ta???), proposed in this article.

    Being a little naive, I would like to say that GTB forgot about this important point, instead of saying that an experimented former parliamentary and an lawyer put it out of the equation just to keep leaving the happy life they enjoy in the past.
    Warning: No way I am going to the past. Chavez regime was the consequences of the big mistakes made in the 4th. I don’t like chavismo neither and I will push the opposition as far as possible to create a society with the Values of Liberty; Equal Opportunities for all; and no less, Independent and Robust Institutions where The Rule of Law applied to everybody.

    Also, to put in a context, it is nice to said that GTB’s article is the answer to an interview aired in Televen of the Provincial de los Jesuitas en Venezuela Arturo Peraza SJ. http://www.noticierodigital.com/2015/06/la-narrativa-de-la-oposicion-es-mera-negatividad-dice-el-provincial-de-los-jesuitas/

    ” Para el jefe de la Compañía de Jesús en Venezuela, padre Arturo Peraza, la oposición todavía no es alternativa de poder en Venezuela. Y no lo es porque su narrativa política es pura negatividad, siendo incapaz de generar un sueño colectivo como lo hizo Doña Bárbara para la generación del 28.”

    Now, GTB’s article answer this point? What is the dream that the oposicion is offering to the venezuelans?
    I am not sure about that. In the mean time, my opinion is that the article of GTB is good but can be better!!!
    It is a good beginning.

  8. There are two messages, one for the regular oppo another for the guy who is straddling the fence and just wants a more normal life than the life of hardships his living . For the first group the Tarre message is great , for the second you have to emphatize a second message which basically promises to :
    1. control inflation
    2. control and put an end to shortages
    3. put a lid on crime
    4. No more gifties to foreign govts
    5. No more corruption in high govt .
    6. The poor to stand as partners with the govt in the fight against the causes of poverty and to receive protection from its many miseries.

    • Forgot to add , 6. total repudiation of the past , we are one people , the poor cannot be forgotten they stand at the centre of any new govt program to make all citizens equal !!

      • After your explanation below of what you would do with the majority of the poor, this is such a lie. Ironically, this comment is as much an afterthought as the poor are to your proposal.

  9. Do people care about those things, those area of agreement within the opposition, enough to change their vote, is the question. We know people care about other things. Like lineups and inflation.

    • The the message should add “with an opposition government, there won’t be lineups and inflation will go down so it doesn’t eat all your savings.”

  10. That’s the ticket–more Misiones, and, above all, Communes, where each man is equal, no matter if he works harder, studies more, or was born smarter than others–to each the same food ration, same housing, same education, El Hombre Nuevo Igual–but, wait….

      • The emphasis is on families with children to support and to those parents that stick with their children and dont abandon them , the emphasis is on helping children achieve a normal personal development which allows them to grow up to be healthy economically competent and personally responsible vis a vis their families and society, you create unpolitical organizations (Fe y Alegria might be an example) that help them if they experience want and hunger , if they get ill , if living conditions are unsanitary , if they dont go to school or recieve schooling which is worthless . You reward parents that take care of their kids , that send them to school , that provide for their heath in a regular way , You dont reward irresponsible prosmicuity and neglectful parent hood . Organizations handling these programs have specific measurable goals and their performance is constantly monitored and scrutinized , no results no assistance . !! reciepients of assistance dont have to show any particular political colour. The emphasis is on getting people to work productively at real jobs in a real economy , on being able to hope for a better life which they build for themselves , also needed the encouragement of responsible parenting and breeding , little girls un prepared for the tasks of mother hood should not be encouraged to have children , the number of children should be such that they can be taken care of , that they can be integrated into stable families , that are raised so that they develop devent character . Also on the care of the old aged who lack medical attention or live in extreme poverty , on food programs for selected swats of the most needy . On microloans to mothers or responsible fathers who are entrepeneural and pay their dues ( its worked very succesfully in other places in Latin America, specially with women) There will be people left out of the shower of bounties because there are not enough resources to go arround unless you come under some of the above categories .
        there .

        • By the way Im totally indifferent to equality , dont care if there are rich people whose fortune is greater than everyone elses, I would hope for an economy with lots of rich people who owe their wealth to their initiative and talents and contribution to economic growth , my problem would be with people who are very poor not only because of their external living conditions but because of the way they behave and act , because of how the culture of poverty makes them primitive scammmers and thugs My concern is to give those of the poor that can raise themselves to a better life to give them a nudge a help to achieve that improvement thru their own actions and decisions. It doesnt go for the 100% of the poor , it centres mainly on that 25 to 40% that agaisnt all odds fight like hell to improve their childrens life every way they can . Ive met quite a few of them , they are legion , but unfortunately they are not everybody , some are lost forever , permanently damaged by the character and life style they have developed from living in such conditions.

          • ” It doesnt go for the 100% of the poor , it centres mainly on that 25 to 40% that agaisnt all odds fight like hell to improve their childrens life every way they can .”

            What do you do about the 60 to 75% of the poor?

            By the way, do you see the total number of jobs available growing at a higher rate than population growth, or at a lower rate? And in the same proportions and locations of their interests, abilities, and geography?

          • Lets assumme that Venezuela is somehow restored to a more normal economic and political status , in that case the idea would be to agree on certain govt tasks , specifi and measurable which would be handled not by ministries but by specially created meritocratic organizations , ngos, maybe private parties or public priate joint ventures , totally free from govt meddlin in their day to day operations under a budget which they have to account for and which is subject to politically independent performance review and scrutiny. They would have to have a program , a detailed program such as private corporations have to meet their performance goals and which could be measured and monitored bby independent panels of experts..

            One such task would be to take care of the needs of the basic population in two ways , one to provide every one with basic medical attention , and those with children also with the basic medical educational and nourishment needed to save those kids from becoming useless or criminal elements , responsible birth control would be encouraged , as would be responsible parenting , through a scalated reward system .

            Then to the extent people or children show promise of qualities that allow them to become economically self sufficient you give them special incentives or conditions to allow such skills and qualities to develop in full and ultimately land a job or occupation which actually contribute to the economy and make them totally self sufficient . (this segment of the population deserves special help because they are like an investment for the country , there will inevitable be others which you will protect from hardship but which are already too far gone in their vices or flaws to be of use any time in the future .) When resurces are short or limited you concentrate them in those uses which bring the greatest gain !! Very basic management stuff.

            The percentages are mentioned not to represent a division between those that get nothing and those that get incentives , but rather to divide those who are given basic maintenance ( protection from hardship) and those which are given extra help to get them to scape poverty through their own efforts . Its always practical to prioritize and phocus you resources in those that give you the biggest bang for the buck ,

            If you have kids in a school you give scholarships to the best ranked , and basic schooling to the worst ranked , to those that every teacher knows that any extra effort on them will be wasted . You dont shove them into a hole but neither do you spend too much resources on attemtping them to develop a potential which clearly they dont have.

            Dont think that the above explanation will do any good , you wont even understand or read it without trying to find something critical to say of them , your pride is involved in being right and in proving everything I say is wrong , that much I know !! There are lots more to be said that Ive mentioned above but i dont have the time or space to say it all. and of course I dont have all the answers …which of course will never be your case .!!

          • Bill Bass, yours is a proposal of exclusion by an elite to which you belong. You seem to split the nation’s citizens into two groups, one of them subdivided into two subgroups:

            1) Non dead weights
            2) Dead weights
            a) with potential
            b) without potential

            Ugh! 15 years of chavismo and you have learned nothing.

  11. Even if most of the opposition subscribe to the same end-game, there are vastly different approaches and styles and these play a crucial role in determining how we might move forward. The trickiest hurdle is the fatalism of the poor, who for generations were neglected and abused by the ruling class. What’s it to them if the middle class suffers? So long as the hidalgos crash and burn, they (the dirt poor) can suffer any privation. At least Chavismo gave these folks a listen – maybe only lip service and a clinic or two, but many for the first time felt like members of something. My sense of the whole failed socialism fiasco is that A) socialism is not a viable economic model. If the Germans couldn’t make it work, what were our chances? And B), Chavis’ greatest flaw was not in focusing on bringing the bottom up so much as bring the top down – and here again is the bone-deep enmity of the campesino toward the privileged few. The way forward will probably require a leader like LL who can rally the country en mass, with a personal style and integrity that seeks reconciliation and participation of all on board. Even if every viable presidente is heading for the same Promise Land, at this point, with such volatile and explosive factors involved, it will take a bit of magic and an enlightened leadership style to build any kind of consensus and to leave nobody behind in the process. Probably not possible but some ideal is required as a pole start at this witching hour. Having a common direction is a wonderful thing, but I don’t believe it insures any movement. And remember, few if any give up power voluntarily. At this point we have to be wondering how the great escape from socialism can also avoid civil war, however big or small.

    J

    • ” At least Chavismo gave these folks a listen – maybe only lip service and a clinic or two, but many for the first time felt like members of something. ”

      Damn, this is a fallacy the size of a cathedral, were dealing with some bullshit in the same caliber than “april 11 was a bloody coup to kill shiabbe”, “the poor ate perrarina in the 4th” and “shiabbe was killed in Caracas in march 2013”

      Dude, ALL the populist governments that have laid their asses on chimpanflores have used the same “make the poor visible” wildcard to pick easy votes, it’s minblowing to see how people was so fast to adopt the chaburro fallacy that only chavismo “cared about the poor”

      • They all cared about the poor some professionally (venally) some sentimentally ( Im a tender hearted goody goody person ) , sometimes a mixture of both, but it was Chavez who made THEM feel that he really cared for them . I prefer to see the caring for the poor as a DUTY of public magistrates , not as sentimental self flattering emotion, or as a purely venally motivated move , problem is how do you get the poor to understand that you really have their welfare in mind !!

        • The difference between the corpse and the ones who preceded him was, that he manipulated the hatred of the poor, his campaign was synthetized in “Vote for me, and I’ll fuck up those who you hate!”

          It’s the feeling of having fulfilled some revenge the poor themselves made up on their minds against some people who in most cases had absolutely nothing to do with their disgraces, for example, the middle class, chavismo hates the middle class off its guts, because for chavistas they prefer the joy of satisfying their own rancor than to live a decent life, that’s why they make all sorts of stupid excuses about every single problem in the country.

    • Bueno si transformas al sector publico en algo minimo y chucuto que solo funciona para cubrir las apariencias de modo de llenar los bolsillos del ciudadano consumidor de cerveza y chucherias importadas ciertamente habremos cambiado una republica en una pinata , La pinata bolivariana de Venezuela !!

      No habra una solucion mejor que pasa por reformar el Estado de modo que cumpla sus funciones sin estar sujeto a las veleidades y corruptelas populistas de los elegidos del pueblo , dejar que la politica oriente el diseno de las politicas basicas pero dejando el desarrollo de esas politicas y la gestion del Estado en manos de profesionales tecnocratas como hacen en todo el mundo las grandes empresas donde los accionistas no regentan el negocio sino que este lo administra y diriguen una clase de gerentes expertos cuya mision es llevar el negocio con el maximo de racionalidad y eficiencia posible. ??

        • Yes Per it possible , its been done before , in fact if you dont do it we are stuck forever in our populist hell, the public sector has two roles: a political role and an administrative role , you need political will from the elites and a crisis to spur them to action and divide the two segment of the public sector so that each assumes its own task using the values and priciples best suited to accomplishing it .politics is ruled by popularity and administration is ruled by meritocracy , The thing is to make the tasks of public meritocracy independent from the role of the purely partisan politicking so that each works in its own sphere .

          Its the way large private businesses work , you separate the shareholders from the management while shareholders provide general guidance and approve the budgets, the plans and programs and activity are carried out by trained career expercts and professionals .

          Its not salte tu para ponerme yo , but rather apply the general principle of work specialization , you do this and I do that . The problem is that we give the pols the role of both taking the basic decisions autonomously and managing and designing the policies and their implementation which means the pols hunger for populist measures to make them win all elections gets in the way of proper management.

          We have a sirupy unrealistic buffo epic view of the people deciding everything thru democracy , but democracy is for taking basic decisions as to guidelines and not about doing things which require expertise, specially in todays complex world. Its not about abolishing the public sector starving it of funds but of making the way the public sectors work be like the way meritocratic private business corporations work . .

          Of course experts need to be controlled but they also its clear that mere popularity doenst make you competent and a good manager……… just dont get riled up and think …….

          .

          .

          • Per have you ever worked inside a transnational or a large corporation , are you acquainted with the fact that most of them have shareholders that dont involve themselves in the running of the business except for very big decisions and every thing else is left to professional class of managers and career technicians .

            This means that the shareholders dont handle the money of the company directly so they cant misuse it to their own personal advantage . The same principle could be used in the field of public governance , let the political bodies act as shareholders but not as the managers of the money and assets of the company. that way you sanitize the running of the administration from populist and other partisan forms of corruption .

            Come on you are smart you can understand this. nothing to with business competition or the percentage of the oil income that is currently received by the govt or rather by those whose popularity empowers them to misuse public resources . At your age you dont such your thumb. !!

          • I don’t trust government bureaucrats. Governments should work exclusively with resources provided by the citizens… otherwise they do not care enough about how it goes for the citizens.

            By the way have you seen the bonuses management awards to themselves when shareholders look away?

            In Venezuela, for all practical purposes we citizens do not live in a nation, we live in somebody else’s business. If you are ok with that… if you believe in the promises that is your prerogative… just don’t ask me to like it.

            I was the first diversification manager in the Venezuela Investment Fund set up in 2004 to handle the extraordinary oil income… it took me only two weeks to see that political pressure would turn that in a totally useless exercise… so I left.

      • Bill Bass: “si transformas al sector publico en algo minimo y chucuto”

        You keep repeating that, but you never address the math. Money from oil injected into the economy via citizen distribution will produce a *bonus* income for the government when it collects taxes. Why do you insist that the government will somehow have too little money? Taxation without the bonus is enough for a non minimal, non chucuto government; add the bonus and it will have *more* than enough. Of course there is the transition period for the government to be weaned off of its petro-dependence and turned to taxation-dependence, but we’ve already discussed how that could be achieved. The question is why do you reject the math of the end result?

        • Ex you dont work on abstract assumptions to figure out how much money a govt may legitimate need to fund public activities . You figure out how much you have to spend on public activities and then see whether you have any money to spare to use in other things . When your economy is dependent on a resource which price can fluctuate unpredictably for long periods you create a fund or savings for hard times, you dont spend it on giving cash indiscriminately to all and sundry . Same thing any family head does , save the extra money for a rainy day or to send kinds to college or repair the roof not in giving kids a bigger allowance . This is what Moises told your friends in the conference , this is recognized economic practice , Ive also heard the same said by Ricardo Hausman . This is what most oil countries in the world did , The Saudis ,The Russians, Kuwait. and they were the better for it. Its not a math problem its a common sense problem . !!

          • Bill Bass, Thank you for your comment, but it does not answer the very concrete question:

            Why do you keep implying that the government of a nation would be mathematically *worse* off with a *boost* in its tax collection from citizens spending oil money (and decreased poverty alleviation line items in the budget), than in a nation without any oil, at all?

          • The answer has been given many times over the last few months , but it doenst register in your mind because you cant accept the possibility that maybe your wrong in your calculations and expectations , but Ill give you an idea for free , elliminate all subsidies , (in gasoline , in the exchange rate , in the price of any and all govt services , in the price it charges for goods supplied by govt to industry and consumers ) elliminate all ill concieved populist social programs, require that ordinary people pay their electricity , water utilities bill (charged at what they really cost) , have them pay their taxes (which none do) and then give them a yearly amount as you propose . ( based on an ordinary 17% royaty and a 30% witholding tax payable by each recipient) . Moreover put it to a vote and see what happens. I dont known the answer to the above but do your own math on the consequences !!

          • The problem is all about the incentives. On one side 28 million citizens that could be getting 150-250 dollar month (slightly more than the monthly child-support paid in Sweden)… against those many thousands of “vivos” who aspire to collect thousand or even million of dollars per month as “well-intentioned” distributors of the oil revenues, or as good friends or family of the distributors.

            The best way to promote sharing, is going to those poor for which 150-250 dollar month makes all the difference…

          • Bill Bass,

            Your reply implies that you believe that Guyana’s government would be *more* “minimal and chucuto” than it is now if Guyana started giving all the potential oil revenues to its citizens? I think the Guyana government would be better off for two reasons: A) the citizens would spend the money which will increase tax collections, and B) there would be less need for for the government to spend on poverty alleviation programs.

            Please explain how just because money is injected at the citizen level it will make the government worse off, as you continue to imply. I think you painted yourself into a corner.

          • Please explain how just because money is injected at the citizen level it will make the government worse off, as you continue to imply. I think you painted yourself into a corner.

  12. Bueno vale pónganse de acuerdo!!

    La oposición no tiene programa! La oposición no tiene programa! La oposición no tiene programa!

    Que sí tiene programa, miralo aquí está…

    El programa de la oposición no sube cerro! El programa de la oposición no sube cerro! El programa de la oposición no sube cerro!

    Bueno ya va, pero no y que no tenía?!

    • Porque no sube cerro? Porque no esta en el mismo idioma, porque no Educa al pueblo sobre esos conceptos Basicos para nosotros, incomprendidos por Millones y Millonas.

      Hay que traducir ese “programa” en buen criollo., como hacia la rata de Chavez.

    • Francisco Toro,

      When people said, “La oposición no tiene programa!”, what they meant was “La oposición no tiene programa que suba cerro!”

      Si they weren’t being soooo ridiculous.

      What makes them ridiculous is that when one mentions cash distribution then they say: “La oposición no tiene programa que suba cerro, pero ese programa no!”

        • Ralph, take the simple model of the salesperson, a base salary, plus commission. The base salary is not enough to keep the salesperson happy. The incentive is to work harder for that commission. But the base salary is necessary for that person to accept the job, because commission, alone, is too risky. I see cash distribution along those lines. It is popular because a base salary takes some pressure off, but the commission makes it so that there is never a disincentive to work harder. People will vote for it, yet it is still good economically. The opposition, not “el pueblo”, is the one having a hard time getting behind a perfectly logical model. The opposition can’t seem to grasp the concept that it’s not about being “regalador”; it’s more like a base salary.

          The “job” in this particular case, however, is not a sales job; it’s being a citizen.

          • The opposition politicians still are blinded by the populist crap (As too many people too), that’s because they believe people want to have things handed to them instead of working, because there has been this idea seeded in a lot of venezuelans that any form of work or service is inherently a form of punishment or humillation.

  13. Many very poor people live mediochre futile lives full of petty dissapointments and frustration which hurt their sense of self dignity , their personal pride which is the most powerful emotion , the greatest source of sattisfaction and emotive pleasure most people can know. Thus they want to be praised , to feel appreciated , omnicompetent , respected even feared , they want (to put it poignantly) to be or feel like small supermen. Because in many dimensions of their daily lives they are incompetent or at least mediochre they want to dream themselves as part of something great and supreme, mighty and superior .

    Thats were political conjurers of grand fanciful histrionic revolutionarly passions like Chavez or Hitler come in and tell the masses you are great , you are part of an inmmense powerful army of heroic people struggling epically against an evil loathsome enemy who is to blame for all your miseries , youre mighty warriors in a cruzade against a host of demonic money grubbing cabals who love to put your down , if you join me in your hatred of them you become supermen . So in their heads they all get to wear their little ideological supermen suit , red supermen suits. They strut and inflate their chests and say big mouthful phrases , they shout brave slogans , they are like the three unhappy creatures in the Wizard of Oz saga that thanks to the Wizard giving them a medal or a diploma get to be brave and smart and heroically goody goody .

    To come up with a discourse that tops that message that allows them to wear their little red superman suits is dificult maybe impossible .!! Thats part of the challenge which the oppo faces in trying to come up with a discourse that sattifies those people’s need for feeling virulently mighty special and superior !!

    The one thing you have going for you is that these people are starting to have a real hard time in their lives and they can easily connect the dots and know that its the govts mismanagement and corruption thats led to that situation , that dissatisfaction can be capitalized by the oppo but still there will be some who are in love with their little red supermen suit and wont want to doff it off to become who they really are !!

  14. I’ll try another way: What Gustavo Tarre is saying, although very true is neither “obvious” nor “self-evident” for the under-educated, brain-washed Populace. It is only “obvious” and understandable by readers of this blog, the educated 1.5 Million professional who already left Kleptozuela, and the opposition itself or the somewhat educated Crooks with power.

    Mr. Tarre’s message is important precisely because a LOT of people don’t understand it. The under-educated, brain-washed Millions that need to be targeted to win their minds and hearts, the Chavistas and Masburristas, usually poor, and in the provinces, they don’t even know what a Democracy is ! (Let alone separation of powers or Apolitical Armed Forces. ). They think they are free and on a democracy today !!

    Here’s Quico’s implicitly contradictory epiphany:

    “Sometimes, the self-evident gets lost in the melée of day-to-day politicking.
    Sometimes, stating those (on reflection, perfectly obvious) things is important. Vital.
    Sometimes, saying obvious things out loud is the biggest contribution a politician can make”.

    Well no, that’s the point Mr. Tarre is making: it is NOT obvious, self-evident, or even UNDERSTOOD by Millions in Cubazuela. That’s precisely why Mr. Tarre’s lucidity at this point of the game is vital indeed, and the reason he wrote this article to begin with, to EXPLAIN these concepts again, to Millions who are not capacitated to understand it.

    Not only because the opposition and the populace are indeed lost in a MUDdy Politically Melee of sorts, it’s because of chronic under-education, under-information and massive media brain-washing of the very same Pueblo we need to win-over to overthrow the Dictatorship.

    The emphasis should be in improving the Delivery of this excellent message from Mr. Tarre to the mentally-challenged millions (so to speak, not dumb, but incapacitated by lack of basic education).

    To start explaining to the poor, uneducated Populace in the Barrios and Provinces a little bit more about what a true Democracy, a true Republic is, what Freedoms are, Rights and Responsibilities, and what they are not. What the difference between a Totalitarian, Dictatorship like Cuba and Freedoms in Chile or Uruguay or Europe are. What that woman from Guatemala was trying to do a few weeks ago in CCS, talking about the perils of disguised Populism.. What Capriles, I guess, tries to do in his little ways in his pueblos.

    What outsiders like the writers and readers of this blog, the professionals, the somewhat educated people who get disconnected from Venezuelan Pueblo realities keep forgetting is that no, Mr Tarre’s “obvious” message is not “self-evident” at all. Not even for some in the MUDcrap “leadership”.

    Heck, even overseas many people still think Cubazuela is still a democracy with freedoms and separation of powers, imagine what Chavistas or the opressed, who can barely count to 10, ill-informed, brain-washed by the Regime’s media,, , think or comprehend.

    Not much at all, obviously, or they would have rebelled ong, long ago.

    The emphasis should be in provided some sort of “state-of-emergency” crash course on these Democratic Truths and Values, crush all the Chavista Lies, Translate Mr. Tarre’s “obvious” message so that our ignorant, classroom-deprived Pueblo finally begins to understand “the obvious”.

    • “The emphasis should be in provided some sort of “state-of-emergency” crash course on these Democratic Truths and Values, crush all the Chavista Lies…”

      Don’t tell them; show them. With guaranteed, equal, daily, unconditional cash distribution no one will need any explanation to know everything Tarre is talking about.

      • I agree, I’, even for trying the Oil-to-Cash program that I advertised here months ago. (even though it has more chances in less corrupted, newly rich countries, like Guyana will be soon.

        You have to overthrow the Dictatorship First, to “show them” anything now, extorres..

        • I don’t think an overthrow is necessary. A mere spreading of the message that the opposition would distribute the oil income should be sufficient to make even the pro government people ask, “why not?”.

  15. Case in point, taking on of Mr. Tarre’s “easiest” points of the Program:

    “La oposición ofrece la siguiente bicoca: restablecer la democracia. ¡Casi nada! Tirios y troyanos, radicales y moderados, tradicionalistas y recién llegados, electoralistas y guarimberos, huevos fritos y atorados, marxistas y capitalistas, socialdemócratas, socialcristianos y liberales coinciden, sin diferencia alguna, en el mejor programa que se le pueda ofrecer a Venezuela: El gobierno del pueblo, para y el pueblo y por el pueblo. El respeto a los derechos humanos. ¡Una pelusa!”

    Awesome!! But only if Millions of people understood a few Basic facts and concepts:

    1/ What is Democracy, really? (As opposed to Cubazuela’s Authoritarian Petro-Narco Kleptocracy, disguised as “Revolusion Sosialista”.

    Not even highly educated people reading this know much about Tirios and Troyans, Cartaginenses y Romanos. Pero que sabe el Venezolano comun de la Historia Real en el mundo y diferencias fundamentales entre Marxista, Capitalistas,radilismo o moderacion? Heck, many Venezuelans call their own children Stalin or Maicol Jackson and they don’t even know why! Zero education about history, basic differences between political ideologies, Nada.

    2/ “Gobierno del Pueblo, para Pueblo y por el Pueblo”.

    Well, first of all that’s a blatant lie, and has never existed anywhere in true, pure form. It’s just an old, political sales-pitch to win votes and bullshit the dumb, even the educated dumb people, worldwide.

    Historically, everywhere, Governments that somehow work are, hopefully, by the Elite, smartest, most educated, or, at least, brightest “Shamans” in touch, supposedly with the Supernatural, Gods and what have you.. And, historically, they have done a terrible job at really working “for” the people, while looking out for themselves, their wealth and power first. That’s why, when you get a bus driver “del pueblo” as in Kleptozuela, or a carnival singer as in Haiti, to “Govern”, it’s a freaking disaster. It’s just so happens that “todos somos iguales, chamo, solo que unos mas iguales que otros”.

    Still, if you consider that as a moral Ideal, fine, explain it to the average Wilmer Eloy Paniagua what it means. What the fairly elected “government” must do for the people, or, as in Developed countries like the UK, freaking Resign and get kicked out if they are crooks or don’t serve the people.

    3/ Derechos Humanos? … Most Chavistas and pueblo in general have no clue about the History, International Agreements or the basic concept itself.

    And that’s only to address the first paragraph of Mr. Tarre’s excellent wake-up call. The easiest part of the opposition “program”.

    Again the problem is one of Delivery of the message, p’a que suba cerro, where people still can barely count to 10.

    • Again the problem is one of Delivery of the message, p’a que suba cerro, where people still can barely count to 10.

      I just have zero interest in this kind of argument. You don’t realize the damage this kind of bigotry causes, you STILL don’t grasp how the resentment it fuels is the thing that keeps chavismo going.

      When you take millions, millions of hardworking people and randomly slur them this way – casually tossing out insane shit like that they can’t count to ten – you embody the exact kind of classist animus that created chavismo in the same place.

      It’s 2015. People still don’t see it.

      Here really is the problem Tarre doesn’t address: the class animosity. In both directions: the anti-elite feeling the government has stoked, and the anti-regular people bigotry guys like you just take for granted.

      No, mi pana, por ahí no es…

      • Listen, this is just a blog, its audience is very limited, mostly well-educated anti-Chavistas anyway. So spare me the tears about potential “damage” of my little opinions in Venezuela, where 60 or 80% of Chavistas still don’t have internet, or don’t read this, much less speak English (or decent Spanish, ask their bus-driver president).

        I reiterate the root problem is a lack of basic education to overthrow Chavismo. Millions do not comprehend the basic concepts of fundamental world history necessary to understand Cuban Crap is horrinble and bad for people! That no Yankee Empire is conducting no evil “guerra economica” which is the cause of the colas, escasez, and all problems.

        How under-educated and ignorant must one be to even believe in that and all the other monstrous lies of Chavismo after 16 years?!

        What Tarre says must be re-phrased in Criollo, and basic lessons on Democracy taught, a a crash course, becuase OBVIOUSLY, as you like to say, el pueblo does not comprehend such basic concepts.

        • And btw, when I talk to less fortunate, less educated people, from Vzla or anywhere, OF COURSE I don’t say, much less write, the same type of things in the same blunt manner as I do here. Neither do any of you. The difference is I don’t give a flying fock about being “politically correct” here.

          I’ll write the OBVIOUS again:

          Ignorance and lack of basic Education is the root of the problem, and the source of Chavismo. Period.

          In ANY half-developed country, half educated (not just read/write) Chavismo Obvious LIES wouldn’t last these days. Even Brazil is prepared enough to fight it.

          On the contrary, when adecos/copeyanos were in power, disregarding the Pueblo, and I was in Vzla, I was warning everyone about Chavismo and blaming ourselves, the upper classes or more educated segments in CCS for being corrupt and forgetting the Pueblo.

          Tarre and the opposition need to Educate the masses a bit, and talk to them in their language, por esto no lo entienden y claro que no sube cerro.

          • “Ignorance and lack of basic Education is the root of the problem, and the source of Chavismo. Period”
            It is much worse than that! In a country where the government receives 97 percent of all exports, there simply are no educators capable of educating the people… they are all too busy negotiating their own deals with The Great Distributor.

          • Peer in response to your latest calculation : if you were to give each of the 30.000.000 Venezuelans 150 USD per month for 12 months that would mount to 54 BILLION usd per year , which means that If you were to sell all of Venezuelas oil production of 2.4 million bls per day at 55 USD per bl (assumming it costs nothing to produce and that the 730 kbd of domestic consumption is sold at international market prices) that would result in a yearly income falling a bit under 48 billion USD per year. that is to say 6 billion USD below the amount you suggest be distributed among the general population under an oil to cash transfer scheme which is ……delirious !! That is withoug considering the need for huge investments in the oil sector just to rescue it and keep it going and the need to support ordinary govt services like schools and hospitals and the need to pay our international debt of some 140 billion USD. !! Perhaps my math is wrong , so please go over the figures your self and correct any errors , but on its face your proposal is undeserving of any serious consideration.!!

          • Are there 30 million Venezuelans? And let us say it just comes up to 100$ per month… so what?
            Are we just going to go out and look for Messiahs that can manage such income without it getting to its head and without his successor not messing it up in 10 minutes?
            I don’t buy that… since I am no communist or absolute monarch royalist.

  16. In the end, saying that “el pueblo” doesn’t understand abstractions like “democracy” and “human rights” and therefore isn’t interested in them is as much a non-sequitur as saying “el pueblo” doesn’t understand abstractions like the mathematics behind the laws of newtonian gravitation and therefore isn’t interested in putting on a parachute before jumping out of an airplane.

    Of course if you discuss these things in the rarified technical language of the academy, people have no idea what you’re talking about. But regular Venezuelans are endowed with *plenty* of common sense. They may not understand the doctrine of “habeas corpus”, but they know getting thrown in jail without a chance to defend yourself is fucked up. They may not speak the technical language of human rights, but they know a human rights violation when they see one. And they may not have studies Locke or Rousseau, but they know damn well when their democratic institutions get trampled on.

    • They know very little, even basic, fundamental stuff, here’s proof:

      Many think they still live in a “Democracy”.

      I can barely digest the fact that some overseas observers and useless demagogues and diplomats of the ONU variety still mention the word “democracy” in the same paragraph as “Venezuela”. They don’t live in Colas, getting Id’d and fingerprinted to buy soap every day.

      But If you ask 1000 Chavistas and the poor or under-educated, 950 still swear they are enjoying great liberties and Socialistic Democracy para el Pueblo.

      I’ll leave it at that. Concepts like separation of powers, human rights, freedom of expression, apolitical military are wayyyy beyond Millions of average Venezuelans’ comprehension. No way if hell that if they barely understood any of it, had ANY idea what Comunism, Marxism, and Cuba etc are really about, as any half-educated person knows, no way in hell they would have put up with it for 16 years under these deplorable economic conditions.

      The level of ignorance that still exists is much more staggering that what we often like to think. Heck, about 25% still support Masburro, about 50% still Love Chavez, if that’s not Monumental Ignorance, I don’t know what is. I don’t care how “enchufados” they are.

          • No, he’s saying that if you want to catch the so-called “chavistas arrepentidos”, you are completely forbid from saying any name that might sound slightly like it might hurt their feelings.

            Look, I know it’s difficult as fuck, because chavistas are the most grudgeful people I’ve ever seen, and when someone is blinded by hate, they basically say “fuck this” to everything except the stuff that doesn’t satisfy their hate. I once spoke with a public transport driver who said he was happy with chavismo, even when he knew thousands of people were killed each year and capodado and company stole billions, because “he never ate meat before he hit 20-something”, also, it’s worth noticing that the guy was like in his late 50s, so, how do you convince somebody like this that any government different from chavismo is a viable option to rebuild the country when this people is moved by such stupid motives like “I didn’t like what my mom cooked”?

            Well, maybe that guy in the example’s clearly a lost case, like those turncoats at BCV who decided to spill the beans only after the bobolution touched their interests, so, here’s another example, you know about those people who never received anything from chavismo besides pretty promises? Yes, the problem with those, is that even when they were deceived and used like napkins, and will certainly stay deceived for a long time to come, they will furiously defend the names, how’s that, you might ask? Well, for chavistas, a person with no name is the perfect scapegoat, like “those corrupts at ___ mayor’s office”, but the mere mention of a single name throws them into full blown defensive mode, a case in example was the former mayor of Barquisimeto, who “went to retirement” with almost a billion old bolivars after she left the office, you might hear and read disgruntled chavistas who claimed “everybody is guilty”, but for them, the lady was guilt free, when I asked one of them the thought behind such reasoning, the person claimed that “it was a smear campaign against her”.

            That’s because chavistas won’t ever admit they made a mistake in their whole lives, much less a mistake that basically destroyed the country and left the remains as spoils for criminals who kill everybody they want like it was voting for a guy that later struck deals with the farc.

            You might offer villages and castles to chavistas, but what most of them actually want is to maintain their self image of perfect, infallible superior beings that dominated those who they were told to hate, and that passes throught accepting all their twisted moral where a malandro that earns four hundred million old bolivars a month is still “pueblo” and somebody that deserves to be praised like a god, while someone else who studyied and worked her ass off to get a decent, stable income along with a livable life, is seen as less than a turd.

      • The opposition tolerates views like yours, views that blithely dismiss millions of people as little more than mental deficients, and then we wonder why we’re not more popular with those same people. Your contempt is the best political ammunition the government has, and you keep providing it to them.

        • You are completely putting words in my mouth, totally misinterpreting everything I wrote. I thought you were smarter. I love Venezuela, grew up in pueblos of Choroni, Chuspa, every weekend for 10 years going to a Finca in freaking Barlovento, named Prado Largo, gamelote y culebra, Casertio Las Martinez, if you must know.

          Please refrain to resort to stupid ad haminems now. I commented on your good post calling attention to Tarres’ Excellent observations and complementing it with my own. The fact the I call the obvious Lack of education of our people as being the main cause of our problems does not make me love my people any less. Actually, what I am offering here is my contribution, addressed to the educated people who read this: we need to educate our people, crash course on real Democracia and the nastiness of disguised “socialism”. We need to talk in the language they can comprehend. If we want our beloved country to shake Chavismo IGNORANCE.

          • *Caserio – One of my best, dearest friends as we grew up there near Higuerote: Demesio Borotoche: a real Campesino de pueblo, and all the people there, not Caraquenos intelectuales como tu, chamo.

          • “ad haminems”,, sorry for the typos. Again, I don’t take this blog as seriously as some of you do.

        • They are not mental deficients , many of them are smart as whips , astute and intuitively insightful even if they lack a formal education, , they just come from a culture that doesnt price certain ideals quite the same way most of us do ,they have not been exposed to certain values the same way that a fully educated person has . we must distinguish between natural intelligence and and an intellectually formed mind , someone who has read the authors ,discussed or reflected on their ideas , who is well read and informed on many subjects that are not commonly dealt with in the popular media or who has had an intellectually enriching experience thru his work and personal activity. This is what many of them lack and which warps their view of things , make them them not dumb or mentally deprived but intellectually primitive, a bit prone to hanker after primitive passions or second rate thoughts . Its clear to me that even many of those who write in this blog lack a full intellectual development , the authors they quote or mention , the ideas they spouse have a primitive or rustic edge. and yet in the country of the blind the one eyed man is king. .

          One of the persons I most admire among the oppo leadership is someone whom I think is brilliant but who totally lacks an university education , that hasnt stopped him from understanding things and looking at our reality with impressive judgment , but he not in the front file of the leadership because he lacks that shine that comes from having had an university education.!! I wont embarrass myself by mentioning his name.

          I remember a neighbor form my youth who was a budding professional singer, To my surprise I discovered thru personal contact that his voice wasnt that great in terms of sonority or power and yet it had a melodic ring that made it very pleasing to hear . Same thing with people who try and understand some concepts , their natural intelligence may be sharp but if they have not a developed well formed intellectual understanding of the concept , they cant do anything with it. !! .

          Formal education is vastly overated , its a first step but much more study and effort is needed , thats why I prefer to speak of the intellectually primitive as something totally different from mental deficiency because there are smart people who are intellectually primitive for all sort of reasons including a lack of formal education .

          We must not disparage the intelligence of our opponents but not attribute to them an intellectual capacity for subtle reasoned judgment which they dont have.

          • Bill Bass: “…not attribute to them an intellectual capacity for subtle reasoned judgment which they dont have.”

            Their vote counts equal to yours, and, under law, their judgment as valid as yours, so a system we set up for a nation that includes us all must function well with all of us as we are, and not by having those that think themselves “more equal” than others deciding for the rest.

          • “Their vote counts equal to yours, and, under law, their judgment as valid as yours…”

            All based on the concept that “All men are equal.”, which is clearly a lie. We need to reconsider (or at least tweak) the original model.

          • Roy, no, it’s not based on the concept that “All men are equal”, but that “each person counts, equally, as one”. And until the model changes, tough patooties.

          • ‘The model is not based in all people and their votes counting as one but rather on the principle that the mayority of votes (however corruptly or fraudently obtained) grants the favourites of that mayority the power to destroy the life and liberty of all , so that those favoured by that mayority can become the tyrant of all!! We know in our own flesh how miserably this principle works in real life .

  17. I must perhaps reasses my former opinion of Sembrando Petroleo , the last few posts make a lot of sense , most ordinary people celebrate democracy , civic freedom etc but if the violation of those principles dont directly touch their lives then it doenst really register as something concrete and existentially relevant .

    Modern cililization is full of abstract symbolic emblems of the good and pure and people have a great time celebrating those grand lovely ideals but if they were more sincere with them selves they would ask ‘Con que se come eso??. People want fundamentally a good life , a comfortable life, a good well paid job , something gutsy colourful and exciting to entertain them like competitive sports , the opportunity for sexual dalliance , some tasty food, telenovelas or fancy films , riding a nice vehicle or motorcycle etc.

    Of course those emblems represent principles that are also useful not so much to foster good effective governance but to solve big basic collective quandaries or dilemmas that legitimately allow for more than one answer and to act as a check on whoever takes on the more mundane practical aspects of public rule .

    People want govt to create and maintain condition where an ordinary person has a fair shot at a life of welfare (not in the US sense of welfare founded on govt subsidies and hand outs but in the ordinary sense of good living conditions) . and love democracy and the values that go with it in order to relish in that kind of identity politics that flatters their sense of self worth as the followers of some grand ideal. in exciting struggle with other grand ideals.

    The mind of the unread and intellectually primitive seek rulers that give them both things , the welfare and the heady epic emotions . Right now its clear that the Chavez regime is largely a failure as regards the welfare part but still remains attrative to many as the provideer of those heady epic emotions .

    The problems is that although the oppo (inspired in middle class values) is probably capable of offering a more succesful shot at a life of well fare ( after a while) the narrative that excites its collective passions are not those which are most appealing or exciting to the most intellectually primitive poor. Tarre expouses a great message but not one thats particularly appealing to the intellectually most primitive.

      • So what Peer ?? what does that prove ?? that in a inmature democracy pols mobilize their followers by giving things away , by populist measures , They did it before Chavez !! they also do it in any country were the money is in the hands of the professional pols . Thats what needs correcting , dont give the professional political class the handling of the money

        Why not read something more worth while, something that allows you to UNDERSTAND rather than opine , read Fukuyama !!

        • How many of Chavez’ poor know about that giveaway… or of the travel abroad giveaways?

          We have an opposition who is not out there telling all that to give away gasoline is not how you build a country… so are these the leaders we need?

          • In reply to your latest Peer , the true calculus would give you a measly amount to distribute , if 48 billion is our total oil income and we take away the legitimate financial needs of the state , the current and rising costs of operating Pdvsa , the investments needed to keep the oil flowing , the cost of servicing our international debt , the opposition to elliminating gasoline and other subsidies there would be nothing left to distribute but lets assumme anyway that by some miracle all those costs dissappear using the royalty as a marker as proposed by Ex ( the true realistic royalty of 17% not the pie in the sky royalty of 30% dreamed up by Mr Mommer) and a 30% witholding tax ( also proposed by Ex) then you are left with a sum of about 6 billion which if divided betwee 30 million people ( the official population of Venezuela) gives you 200 USD per person per year or 16.2 usd per month. This at the price of basically shutting down govt , elliminating subsidies of any kind and making sure that the oil industry goes broke from lack of funds to cover its operating costs and all necessary investments . Wait to go Peer.!! Youve given the word primitive a new meaning. !!

          • I have no idea where you get the true realistic royalty of 17% and a 30% withholding tax but if you think that Venezuela is left with only $US 6 billion for its oil after taking care of investment needs for oil extraction then your math seems weak. By the way I do not care one iota about the servicing of the debt… it was mostly odious credit ☺

          • Read my past exchanges with ex torres to understand the royalty issue, you should not give opinions when so ill informed , your answers are very visceral not at all well thought out . With all respect but you have no idea of what you are talking about . TVery typically Venezuelan take up an opinion with great passion , dont bother to think of the consequences of its implementation, Dont bother to think about the assumptions and premises that need to exist to make it defensible , just use it to advertise your epic passion !! So sad !!

          • “El otorgar subsidios en forma adecuada nunca es fácil, pero ante las realidades anteriores hubiese sido mil veces más eficiente simplemente ahorrar US$ x.xxx millones y repartir los xxx.xxx millones de bolívares entregando un cheque de Bs. x.xxx a cada uno de los 18 millones de venezolanos.”

            And that was what I said over 26 years ago. http://radicaldelmedio.blogspot.com/2014/03/hace-25-anos-de-esta-entrevista-sobre.html

            And I have been on the issue of oil revenue sharing for decades… so save me from your schoolboy emotions/arguments http://theoilcurse.blogspot.com

            What’s your real name by the way Bill?

          • “Very typically Venezuelan take up an opinion with great passion , dont bother to think of the consequences of its implementation, Dont bother to think about the assumptions and premises that need to exist to make it defensible , just use it to advertise your epic passion !! ”

            Agree with you, BB. At the heart of the theories paraded by certain individuals, ad nauseum, is a need to say: ‘look-at-me-and-what-I’ve-invented/discovered-whatever’, and its corollary: “yes, that theory is good, but mine is better.”

            It’s all so childish. And narcissistic: the postulating of a pipe dream without having delved deeply into the infrastructure for its feasibility and delivery. Furthermore, when postulants are countered, one then has to deal with the monomaniacal and circuitous attempts at squeezing the magic theory onto the Vzlan economy, never mind a realistic or cold view of the country’s finances, but rather the repeated rationale from a *pop* in a US-based economic think tank that attempts to explain his pipe dream with little figurines. Teorías de comiquitas.

          • “Very typically Venezuelan” even after 100 years of failures, to believe “with great passion” they can find the great Leader to manage all their oil revenues… or to volunteer as the chosen well-intentioned meritocratic managers, and to which all should be grateful they burden themselves with such immense responsibility.

          • * but rather, the use of a repeated rationale from a *pope* in a US-based economic think tank that attempts to explain his pipe dream with little figurines.

          • they can find the great Leader to manage all their oil revenues… or to volunteer as the chosen well-intentioned meritocratic managers, and to which all should be grateful they burden themselves with such immense responsibility.

            Per: Your defensive attempts at a counter-argument show ignorance on the earlier well-run PDVSA, not just by seasoned and well-trained management in a complex and ever-evolving industry requiring infrastructural investment to stay competitive on a global scale. These managers, supervisors and all others involved in making Venezuela a competitive global player, were not chosen, nor displayed good intentions, unlike your attempt to portray same.

            Given your antipathy towards well-trained, seasoned and meritocratic personnel, insofar as running that oil industry is concerned, am I to understand that your cavalier explanation means giving the oil industry to the pueblo to run, or you? Really, this is pipe-dream stuff that belongs in grade school.

          • Bill Bass, “the true calculus would give you a measly amount to distribute”

            1USD per day to 30,000,000 people is 11billion USD. Very doable without breaking the government’s back, and it eliminates critical poverty in the nation, at least by one definition. If you think a poor family of 5 will think that 5USD per day is a measly amount, then it is clear that tú no subes cerro.

            Kick it up to 2USD per day, that’s just 22billion USD. Eliminating some subsidies, still easy, and it eliminates non critical poverty, at least by one definition. Again, not a measly amount to the poor.

            Let’s not forget, that those poor for whom those aren’t measly amounts are whose votes count the most for upcoming elections.

          • Right now the govt doesnt have enough money for the essentials , it doesnt have the money to keep the oil industry going for the long term , to restore Guayanas broken down production , to keep the electricity going , to keep the water services going . to pay its debts and avoid default . Thats why its printing all that money thats fueling the runaway inflation , thats why each day they turn to more intense violence and coercion to keep themselves in power bevause they can no longer bribe their followers with freebies .

            If we ever managed to get a decent govt it would need every penny to restore the economy and repair the broken down finances and mend the economy and then some more . 11 billion USD is 22% of Venezuelas current oil revenue ( which falling) . Your pinata scheme is only an eletoral gimmick to bribe the poorest most fanatic electorate to change sides . Its not based on anything else .

            You have abandoned your initial argument that the royalties and only the royalties were to be used to pay for the pinata , and you recognized that the 30% royalty was unrealistic and artificial born of a decision that lacked economic sense ( look at the average royalties in the US) that translates in to a net income available to bribe the population with a pinata like distribution of 12% which is equivalent to 6 bln USD.

            The authors in the panel you wanted us to see , said that they were proposing a yearly cash distribution of 40 USD oer person , never more than 20% of their regular income . Thats lots less than the 365 USD per year you are proposing now .

            Your proposal now resembles Roales promise of giving people a debit card ( la negrita ) which failed miserably to give him the votes he wanted . Your proposal is amateurish, sophomorish and fanciful , it is not based on any serious analysis of the countries economic reality , the proberbial fascination with magic bullets. . I respectfully suggest you try and explore the idea I gave you about the ellimination of subsidies and other programs in exchange for some compensation as they did in Iran . Why havent you even allowed yourself the chance of looking at it . Im nt sure that in todays dire economic situation its possible but maybe theres something to it for later year ( if the country survives its fall into the abyss) !!

          • “the proverbial fascination with magic bullets”

            What classifies as a more magical bullet?

            a. Each Venezuelan managing their share of the oil dividend and the government having to live with what taxpayers pays it and so that therefore government bureaucrats/politicians need to be concerned with how the economy is doing, or:

            b. That a small select group of government bureaucrats/politicians, manage efficiently all oil revenues and distributes neutrally part of these in ways that do not create dependency on their good will.

          • “still easy”

            Whenever I come across cavalier routines from those reluctant to look too hard at reality, I label those routines as Honey-Boo Boo syllogisms on Life, in the vein of “It is what it is” and related flippant absurdities.

      • Entonces todo el que tenga un carro no le gustará ese argumento.

        Porque hay “cerrícola” que jode que tiene un desperdiciador especializado de gasolina del 60 al 75 que de vaina y rued, y esos mismos saben, que todo lo que se ahorran en gasolina ahora se lo tienen que gastar en repuestos.

    • Thus the “crash-course” I propose. Tarre’s excellent article should be read and worked on very carefully by the opposition. He just fails to mention a “communication problem”, if you prefer, Mr. Toro,, between the Elite, like him, or somewhat educated and our average, less fortunate Pueblo people.

      His message needs to be geared towards the less educated. Reformulated, backed up with simple facts anyone can understand: Cuba, Rusia: Malo == Europa, Chile, Uruguay : Bueno. Chavismo: mentira.

  18. De todos modos, el argumento principal sigue sin resolverse.

    Lo que la oposición propone, o lo que el común entiende y capta que propone la oposición es “esto es malo, esto es malo, esto no sirve…”

    Ya mucha gente lo ha indicado antes, que el mensaje que se percibe de la oposición es de negatividad, y como los políticos no terminan de entender, pese a ser algo tan simple, que el chavizta (así como la mayoría de los venezolanos) actúa en términos políticos como una mujer enamorada de marido golpeador, la dialéctica negativa lo único que hace es mantenerlo a la defensiva y lo mueve a internarse más adentro de esa cueva-refugio que es su negación del problema, idolatría del agresor/líder de turno y esperanza de que él va a cambiar.

    Y sí es verdad que el común no está interesado en las abstracciones en las que se mueve el discurso de “recuperar la República”, “institucionalizar la democracia” y afines, porque el común, el cerrícola, no asocia eso con su modus vivendi. El común tiene que ver y captar en qué se traduce que exista por ejemplo “una Asamblea Nacional que no delegue irresponsablemente sus funciones en el Presidente”.

    Por ejemplo a esa cuestión ni yo mismo puedo imaginarme una respuesta convincente al nivel de discurso del cerrícola, capaz de responder por ejemplo sus preguntas de “va eso a significar que los malandros nos maten acá arriba (o abajo si es un zanjón)?” “va a significar que llegue el agua?” “va a significar que no se vaye la luz?” “va a significar que lo que gane me alcance pa darle de comer a los carajitos?” Porque muchos de esos problemas son de la órbita ejecutiva, ya que leyes hay, y el peo es que nadie las hace cumplir ni las implementa.

    Hay que digerir mejor esa propuesta que todos sabemos que es el fin último pero que como ya dijeron, sin workflow, no llega pa’ ningún lado.

  19. Ralph, you might get clear with a little more nuanced view. I am certain per what I have seen and lived through in Venezuela over the last 30 years. Of course every tin-horned politician has promised the poor the moon, but Chavez was the first to shift power – to some extent – to the previously superfluous folks, and to flame the rancor and to make suffer through appropriations and thwarting the hidalgos to whom the campesinos had loathed for 100 years going on forever. The crucial point you are missing is that Chavez’ socialist was not fashioned out of lip service to the poor, but through formenting a culture of hatred toward anyone (and any nation) with expertise, wealth, social standing, material possessions, education, and all the “bourgeois” posturings. The long and the short of it was summed up in a passage from today’s Forbes: ” Reliance on the loyal rather than the competent has produced exactly the kind of results you would expect, with nearly every part of the socio-economic structure either struggling or collapsing.”

    While it is crucial that people in power or with access to power undertake a fearless inventory of where we presently are, take responsibility for the thousands of wrong turns, and to make course corrections, it is likewise crucial that all of educated Venezuela accept responsibility that the vast majority of nationals were given only lip service and treated like shit and sub-humans by a series of narcissistic, corrupt governments who were only serving themselves.

    Basically, there can be no substantive change in anything in Venezuela till the bone-deep hatred of the underclass is fully aired out and dealt with in all of its cruelty and ugliness. There are simply too many desperate people, collectivos, no-counts embedded in the halls of power for anyone to waltz in with a new economic model and for the underclass to just go along with it because there is now ass wipe on the shelves and the queues are gone. I’m fairly sure the old Venezuela has to die, entirely, for the Phoenix to rise.

    J

    • J : I agree with all you say except that I dont think there was that suppressed class hatred that you mention , there has been a lot of social mobility , people moving from being poor to being middle class in one generation , thanks in part to the largesse of the govt and its sponsorship of free education , most people in middle class had just risen from a poorer class , family ties are often strong specially in the provinces and normally encompass people with a different social status, every one middle class has tons of lower class cousins , uncles , grannies not to mention cousins and vice versa . Venezuelans are not usually stuck up but love the common touch regardless of social status , I remember my dad being deliberately very nice and easy going with people of lower class and teaching me repeatedly how one should treat them with warmth and respect , making jokes , enjoying their company genuinely . The rich werent that rich and could relate to people suffering from hardship. Of course the population of the barrios grew fivefold in a very short time and the social fabric became rent as never before . But being stuck up is one very derided Venezuelan vice from always , The rich werent that isolated from the rest of society as happens in other places in Latin America, not did they control politics and they did elsewhere. What Chavez did was not garnish social hatred but create it with a narrative that played to the instinct for melodramatic and epical that all primitive people have.

      • I have experienced something quite different in Venezuela.I had many upper class friends who were incredible bitches to las mujeres de servicio.Those who worked in my house always told me they preferred Europeans and Americans because the Venezuelans treated them so badly.But it is even worse in Costa Rica where my husband’s family is partially from.These plastic people will not give you the time of day if you are not from their strata of society.

    • “…but Chavez was the first to shift power – to some extent – to the previously superfluous folks, and to flame the rancor and to make suffer through appropriations and thwarting the hidalgos to whom the campesinos had loathed for 100 years going on forever. The crucial point you are missing is that Chavez’ socialist was not fashioned out of lip service to the poor, but through formenting a culture of hatred toward anyone (and any nation) with expertise, wealth, social standing, material possessions, education, and all the “bourgeois” posturings. The long and the short of it was summed up in a passage from today’s Forbes: ” Reliance on the loyal rather than the competent has produced exactly the kind of results you would expect, with nearly every part of the socio-economic structure either struggling or collapsing.””

      Uh, not exactly as you say, shiabbismo started exactly as lip-service, as many other populist governments took hold before, shiabbismo found a fertile soil in the hatred instilled in the poor by those interested in seizing power from decades ago in Venezuela, most precisely by some mummyfied bastard that reigns supreme in a certain tiny island.

      You fill the people’s head with hatred, then you can manipulate them like puppets by just saying that you’ll screw the target of their hate, because satisfying the hatred is an addictive feel, one that chavistas are not willing to let go, ever, even if they’re making lines for the rest of their lives while seeing their overlords flaunting their riches in front of them, or even if their relatives get killed by the criminals that their very idols are more than happy to let roam free and do as they please.

  20. Many of my relatives came from El Tigre and Anaco and other bum-fuch areas and I spent every Christmas there for many years. the view from inside the hood, so to speak, is quite different from a cush Caracas enclave. But rather then bray on about the root causes, let me simply say that the shattered economy and gutted institutions are in my opinion only a symptom of a far deep social problem between the haves and the have-nots that was allowed to get so out of balance that someone had to flip the whole shebang upside down. Point being that no mere economic plan will right that ship, not now, when so many previously powerless folks have tasted some little privilege and power. Perhaps people will get so desperate that so long as food is available, they will go with any new government. But until those old social grievances are addressed bottom to top, no fundamental change can take place in my opinion. We will simply end up back where we started with the few educated folks still on hand running the show and over time, raking off the oil dough like they have always done. The real problem with Chavismo is that he didn’t generate opportunity or foster enough educational direction and incentive, rather he went with the populist gag of simply giving things away essentially buying loyalty. It’s giving people fish, as opposed to showing them how to fish. The latter takes work and planning and time. The former generates a mentality that expects something for nothing.

    JL

  21. Per , lets get this straight , neither your name or mine count in this blog , when we enter this pages we leave our public persona behind . what counts is the ideas that you post in it and how articulate you are in exposing them, in arguing them . The idea that subsidies as applied in this country cause more harm than good is one I heartily share with you , that govts corrupt misuse of funds it receives from public resources on populist venal and ego gratifying projects is one of our curses is something we both believe together , where I differ from you is that I dont think the adoption of an oil to cash distribution scheme is either practicable or per se capable of solving the many problems that afflict our collective life. I have in great detail given the arguments to support my skepticism in many past discussions with ex torres who is a good man but monomaniachal on the subject . I refer you to those discussions so that you can use reasoned arguments to counter my observations. I mean no offense to you but am a tad dissapointed that some one as intelligent and eloquent as yourself should fall for the familiar intellectual thoughtlesness that afflict so many Venezuelans .

  22. Per : sentimentally trusting the wisdom of the common people to make intelligent use of their money is just plain fanciful, the argument that people by spending willi nilly on their personal preferences will automatically create a consumers bonanza that will help private business growth enough to take us out of the hole we are in is a pipe dream is ever there was one .

    Changing the habits and thinking of 30 million people is much tougher than creating some elite meritocratic organization with some 10 or 20 thousand highly selected well motivated experts . The number challenge says it all . The thing is to separate bodies entrusted with public tasks from ordinary politically dominated Government . Think of the Panama Canal which nobody complains on how its run and yet is part of a public function and is separate from the Panamanian govt.

  23. Hey, here’s another obvious thing that the opposition could say:

    “We’re not going to pick on powerless people to create hatred campaigns based on plain ignorance:

    I’ll save you the stomach-turning whining of the imbecile: He’s saying that a girl that complains about the new system of quota distribution is a fascist instrument of a fascist hatred campaign, and that “using children in politics” is disgusting.

    Yeah, talking about the armadillo calling the tortoise big-shelled…

    • Are you a troll? Have I said a word about PDVSA’s management? I am of course 99% referring to those government bureaucrats that decide what to do with the nations oil revenues… like giving away in free gasoline value for about $30 dollars per day/per citizen.

      That said I was disappointed when PDVSA instead of using the subsidiaries to control each other decide to centralize… so as to increase the power of its most inner circle.

      http://petropolitan.blogspot.com/1997/11/restructuring-pdvsa-some-doubts.html

      And I was also disappointed to see that PDVSA, after arguing for the “Apertura”, because they had no money to explore, spent most of the funds they received from it, repainting gas stations.

      http://petropolitan.blogspot.com/1998/08/la-urgente-necesidad-de-un-ombudsman.html

      And I was also surprised to find out that in PDVSA the issue of how gasoline was taxed in Europe putting a damper on demand for oil, was not even on their radar screen… as admitted by Alberto Quiroz Corradi.

      http://petropolitan.blogspot.com/1999/12/worlds-real-petro-pirates.html

      And talking about Alberto Quiroz Corradi, and the issue at hand… this what he wrote in El Nacional June 2011:

      “No hay que tenerle miedo a crear una nueva relación Estado/sociedad/petróleo. Hemos vivido demasiado con la doctrina populista de la propiedad del Estado del subsuelo y todos los modelos que se intentaron bajo ese paraguas han fracasado. No hemos podido construir un país moderno, sin pobreza, con servicios adecuados y con pensiones dignas. Es hora de cambiar de paradigma.”

      http://quiroscorradi.blogspot.com/2011/06/la-futura-industria-petrolera.html

      • Per , you have some difficulty staying on phocus havent you ?? your attention span is very short so you scatter your attention all over the place , now its Pdvsa and dozen different issues relating to its activities 16 -20 years ago !! and of course your always the protagonist-antagonist in critically judging things that catch your momentary attention without going too deeply into any of them . The perfect professional Pundit /Corporate consultant . The man from outside with the big picture and fancy words that explain everything . I ve met many like you …from the other side .!!

        Still there is something which I apreciate in you , remembering that most intelligent of oil men , Alberto Quiros , someone whose complete works I alway keep close by in my library .

        The one thing that attracts my attention to the direct cash scheme is that Alberto Quiros once spoused some of its tenets , not as the main thing , but as one among many things that could be done to improve Venezuelans largelly sick relationship with its oil industry. Hadnt read that 2011 article , many things I simpathyze with but others … that Im not convinced can ever be made to work in Venezuela .

        throughout the years I have read and studied the matter and the way I figure it our problems as a society require a more radical change in the relationship it has with its resources . Quiros might have had an intuition that a change was needed but he fell short of visualizing what changes were required . There are three authors to be read to figure it out, some pieces by Hannah Arendt , other from Fukuyana and maybe some thoughts from Hayek. Why dont you try reading them and then maybe you have some ideas we can talk about….

  24. Bill Bass,

    Your comment was: “the true calculus would give you a measly amount to distribute”.

    I showed you numbers that proved your statement incorrect; it’s not a measly amount. You went off on a rant, to which I will reply out of courtesy, but I admit that I was expecting a courtesy from you accepting that the amount is not measly. I guess your intellectual dishonesty does not allow.

    As to your rant, you stated: “Right now the govt doesn’t have enough money for the essentials…”

    In reply to that, I have explained before that by exchanging some of the current subsidies for the initial cash transfers, the government would not be needing any extra money for the initial cash transfers, so I’m not proposing to take away from what the government would use for any of the other things you propose. You even agreed to such an exchange, excepting, you said, for the making of the cash transfers permanent, which I would do but you would not. So, I am contradicting you; I’m saying that there is a way to pay for the initial cash transfers *without* worsening the government’s current finances, and, in fact, *improving* the government’s current finances because it would be able to reduce many of the poverty alleviation items from its list of “essentials”.

    You also stated: “If we ever managed to get a decent govt”

    I don’t think there is a large enough font for the “If” in that quote.

    You continued: “…it would need every penny to restore the economy and repair the broken down finances and mend the economy and then some more .”

    I agree, which is why I don’t want many of those pennies to go to people whose incentives pull them away from spending 100% of the pennies on the very goals you describe. Cash distribution, however, hands the pennies over to people who will surely spend the pennies on what each one of them thinks is best for them, which will help turbo start the consumer market and the savings and loans system, thus the economy.

    You stated: “Your pinata scheme is only an eletoral gimmick to bribe the poorest most fanatic electorate to change sides .”

    You are very wrong in the “pinata” analogy, since pinatas are not equal distributors, nor daily, nor guaranteed, and are by invitation.
    You are very wrong in it being an electoral gimmick; you’re just jealous that cash distribution would actually get opposition *and* chavista support.
    You are very wrong about it being a bribe; I advocate that it become a citizen right embedded as a mandate near the top of the constitution.

    You stated: “You have abandoned your initial argument that the royalties and only the royalties were to be used…”

    You are wrong about my initial argument, let alone my abandoning it. My initial and still my argument is that *all* non taxation income be use for cash distribution. You even had, some posts ago, a rant about my making a differentiation between taxation income and non taxation income, so your intellectual dishonesty is showing through the seams of all your pontifications. My mention of 1, then 2 dollars a day is, as I have explained to you in the past, the way to transition into cash distribution without jolting all the way to the end goal. As to the royalty, I remember telling you to choose whatever percentage you wanted, and I would go along with it for discussion purposes, since in my proposal the value didn’t matter; the only thing that matters is that 100% of it goes to cash distribution once the proposal is fully implemented, which is done in steps, starting with 1USD per day.

    You state: “…they were proposing a yearly cash distribution of 40 USD oer person , never more than 20% of their regular income . Thats lots less than the 365 USD per year you are proposing now .”

    Their 40USD per year is their value for Liberia, obtained by looking at about 20% of Liberia’s poverty line. Note that even 40USD per year is not a “measly” amount, as you would have us believe. As I’ve told one of the authors, they fall way short vis a vis my proposal. I propose 365USD per year as the starting point, quickly doubling that, soon making 100% poverty line the *minimum*, then aiming for 100% of all non taxation income as the goal. The authors explained in their video that the 40USD limit was related to the appeasement of the number 1 complaint against cash distribution: that people would decide to stop working if it were more. My position is that it would still be good for the economy if some people did stop working. The market would very quickly adjust its job offerings.

    You stated: “Your proposal now resembles Roales promise of giving people a debit card”

    LOL You clearly have a reading comprehension. I began proposing a debit card implementation years ahead of Rosales. I’ve told you many times to read Quico’s post, but you only pretend to.

    “Now the main objection to Torres’s plan is also pretty straightforward: you can’t just deprive the state of all that oil revenue because the state needs that money to pay teachers, and road builders, and everything else the state does. The fiscal hole you would create would be far too dire for any politician to seriously entertain the idea. Indeed, when Manuel Rosales proposed a version of the plan, he didn’t dare promise to distribute more than 20% of our oil revenue. I mean, you’d have to be crazy to go any higher than that, right?

    “It seems like a knock-out blow, at first – but like most good ideas, the apparent simplicity of Torres’s plan conceals layers of possibility.”

    Once again, here’s the link: ” http://caracaschronicles.blogspot.ca/2007/07/torres-in-bethlehem.html

    You stated: “( la negrita ) which failed miserably to give him the votes he wanted .”

    Not really. He started that proposal very late in the campaign, then kept changing his initial, very popular proposal to ever more complicated versions, yet he still kept garnering votes, just not fast enough. It was clear to me then that if he had gone all the way in amount and simplicity, he would have won.

    You stated: “the ellimination of subsidies and other programs in exchange for some compensation as they did in Iran .”

    We had already agreed on that, only differing on the permanence.

    • Ex: I have to admire the desperate way you try to salvage your tattered arguments after they are logically destroyed again and again , I wish you didnt take it so personally , specially against anything I write in this post .but I hold you no grudges,. I understand your pain. which I have no wish to prolong . I have a busy day today but if I have enought time Ill try later to once again straighten up were youve gone wrong . AS you see I am very patient in my didactic efforts !! but this is mainly because I see you as a good man bent on a mediochre idea which if you put your mind to it you can possibly correct !!

      • As promised my last salvo against a sinking ship , the idea of a free for all open cash for oil distribution scheme .i.e My response to Ex Torres latest string of comments last week , following one by one each of your quotes:

        “the true calculus would give you a measly amount to distribute”.
        1.I’m afraid your numbers probe nothing, they are just figures taken out of the air without any consideration of Venezuelas current oil revenues, needs and desperate and worsening economic situation. Saying that in those circumstanes taking just 11 billion USD to give away indiscriminately to each of the 30 million Venezuelans , reveals an amateurishness that’s typical of the frivolous way you handle numbers.

        “Right now the govt doesn’t have enough money for the essentials…”
        2. I think you have little idea of how bad the economic situation is , but I do join you in thinking that to the extent subsidies can be eliminated by creating mechanism which allow the population some compensation for the lost subsidies, that might be useful !! Once the subsidies are eliminated or at least rationalized and the imbalance they create are gone or controlled there would be no justification for such compensation to ontinue and it too should dissapear. Here you abandon the idea that the money to be distributed is somehow related to royalties ( which accounts for 99% of oil revenues not derived from taxation ) . You have no idea of how taxes are flexible and can be increased very easily in all sort of over or covert ways , for example until 2003 there was no mention of oil royalties in Venezuelan legislation , the corresponding concept was treated as a tax , the 16 2/3 Exploitation Tax , so much for the artificial division between public revenues produced thru taxes and by other means.

        “If we ever managed to get a decent govt” as if you believed that was impossible ,
        3.for your information there are quite a few govts in the world which if not meeting the golden standard are very tolerable and capable of much better performance than the one we now suffer. If you don’t believe in that then you should shut your self up and never take the pen again .

        “…it would need every penny to restore the economy and repair the broken down finances and mend the economy and then some more .”
        4. You counter that the oil to cash would only cost pennies , 11 billion USD in pennies , that’s a lot of pennies , in Venezuelas current situation more pennies that it can afford . The notion that the multiplier effect on the economy of the increased consumption resulting from the indiscriminate direct distribution of public pennies to the general population would by itself miraculously rescue from our current predicament is one which any reasonable economist would view with skepticism.
        Have you ever considered that it might be better spent by concentrating the use of the money in other type of projects or uses as I have delineated above . Why do I have to prove that your scheme is not the best but you have nothing to prove regarding what I propose as an alternative . Your aren’t that blinded by your own prejudices are you ??

        “Your pinata scheme is only an electoral gimmick to bribe the poorest most fanatic electorate to change sides .”
        5. Pinatas are ways in which every one that gets invited to a party gets a free giftie by just picking it up , you are proposing to throw a party where all of Venezuela is invited to take from a huge public money pool without having to do anything to get it .

        You are very wrong in it being an electoral gimmick; you’re just jealous that cash distribution would actually get opposition *and* chavista support. You are very wrong about it being a bribe; I advocate that it become a citizen right embedded as a mandate near the top of the constitution.
        6. I don’t care if it gets anyones support because I judge the wisdom of a measure by its consequences not by its popularity . Chavez skills in making himself popular by corrupt ways is what got us to the situation we now face.

        “You have abandoned your initial argument that the royalties and only the royalties were to be used…”
        7. You once stated that royalties belonged to the people directly and not to the state, oil royalties were the basis of your ‘calculations’of what to distribute , the silliness of this position has been demonstrated to you again and again , you had an argument ( a failed one) as to why royalties had to be treated differently from taxes , but couldn’t justity it in any logical way thinking that your saying so was enough , well my friend it isn’t . First refute the very specific reason I mentioned why throwing money at a problem doesn’t work while directing it to specific targets does . Specially since your resources are very limited and cant be wasted . Give you an example , during WWII the allies tries saturation bombing of german targets , a study made of their effect after the war showed they were a failure , too many targets left untouched while a lot of bombs got spent on destruction that didn’t harm the enemies military effort . the technology didn’t allow for more them . Now technology allows the US to hit a target with great precision . If the showering system of attacking a problem achieves anything ask the current US air force if they would be ready to go back to the saturation bombing method of WWII?? I know their answer , you do too.

        You are wrong about my initial argument, let alone my abandoning it. My initial and still my argument is that *all* non taxation income be use for cash distribution.
        8. As mentioned above from a public economy perspective there is no different from tax revenues and other public revenues, they all have to get spent wisely and in organized fashion . The one dollar per day brainchild has no basis on whether the money comes from taxation or non taxation sources , again its just a figure thrown out of the air without any support in the reality of public revenue which does not discriminate by source. Remember the Unidad del Tesoro principle !!

        “…they were proposing a yearly cash distribution of 40 USD oer person , never more than 20% of their regular income . Thats lots less than the 365 USD per year you are proposing now .”
        9. You see that’s the problem , the resource to cash idea has been tested mostly in Africa and places where people have many less resources than they do in Venezuela , We are nothing like Liberia. We are not a subsistence economy . Main problem is that among the poor traditional 5 member families with dad and mom and the kids is not the norm , instead we have social chaos , great percentages of parental neglect and abandonment and kids that grow up damaged in an eviroment where there are few dads and moms that cant cope with the many children they have with different men. This should be a number one target , improve the social fabric of the popular family to allow for a better developed population . This is were I would put the money you want to distribute to everyone , to hoodlums , to irresponsible parents with many different paramours, to rich boliburgueses , to people who don’t need it at all.

        “Your proposal now resembles Rosales promise of giving people a debit card”
        10. The proposal was demagogic , in a Venezuela which finances and economy were not yet ruined and even then failed to attract the vote. Your self gloating celebration at coming up with the idea explains the obstinacy with which you defend it You have too much ego invested in it and cant see its flaws.

        “Now the main objection to Torres’s plan is also pretty straightforward: you can’t just deprive the state of all that oil revenue because the state needs that money to pay teachers, and road builders, and everything else the state does. The fiscal hole you would create would be far too dire for any politician to seriously entertain the idea.
        You go on to say “It seems like a knock-out blow, at first – but like most good ideas, the apparent simplicity of Torres’s plan conceals layers of possibility.”
        11. After reading the posting you mention as reply I still think its knock out blow , the whole complicated story about how la negrita was going to win the election for Rosales just a ‘just so story’ to excuse its failure . and no one is mentioning how impracticable it would have been if Rosales had won the election .

        “the ellimination of subsidies and other programs in exchange for some compensation as they did in Iran .”
        12. That’s one thing which I can favour which you support , but within a framework that doesn’t convert its adoption into an economic burden that harms the country’s future.

        One thing you never do is comment on the many other ideas and observations I mention in my responses , as If only your ideas count , as if you are so absorved in your own dreams that you have no time to even think about other possibilities or maybe you cant comment on them because you cant ever begin to understand them coming from outside the narrow horizon of your obsessions. Your responses are totally one sided , other peoples ideas being unworthy of your notice . This speaks volume of your state of mind and character .!!

        • Bill Bass,

          1) Are you attempting to refute that 1 dollar a day is not a “measly” amount by claiming that 11billion is a figure that cannot be obtained by reducing subsidies?! Well, that shows at least the three following things: a) you don’t know how much 1 dollar a day means to poor people that you think it is measly, b) you don’t know how much is being lost in subsidies that you don’t think 11billion is easily obtained from them, c) you don’t know logic if you think one thing logically refutes the other.

          2) I’m glad we agree on eliminating subsidies and that compensating people for their lost subsidies is a good way to achieve that goal. Your reasoning for later eliminating the compensation, however, does not logically follow, since one could argue just as ridiculously that it should continue. Your logic also fails in concluding that I abandoned anything. My proposal has always been, and continues to be that all non taxation income be distributed; this includes all royalties, so they are still related to my proposal. As to the twisted ways governments could use taxation, I have also explained in the past very specifically how to prevent any such twists. Based on that and other alternatives, I can espouse the very sound and non artificial division between taxation and non taxation revenues. Ironically, your argument goes against your proposal even more than mine, since your proposal depends much more than mine on a non twisting government.

          3) By your own definition, then, I have no reason to shut up and stop penning, because I believe firmly that a decent government is possible. Even further, I think the best government in history is possible in Venezuela. The reason for my big “if” response to you, is that a decent government seems to be a *prerequisite* for your platform to work, whereas a decent government would be a consequence of the implementation of my platform. If your platform does require a decent government first, then it is you who should shut up and never take the pen again.

          4) I gave a total, 11billion USD, which can be measured in pennies, nickels, dimes, or whatever you like; the total does not change. And that total is easily obtainable by reducing subsidies. I have considered and agreed with you in the past that the money can be better spent by concentrating the use of the money in projects or uses as you have delineated. But I have also pointed out that it is naive to think that in Venezuela as it is the money would get spent as per your delineation. The current system has so many leaks and negative incentives that, realistically, the money will be better spent by the citizens than via any of your delineations.

          5) I agree with the similarities between the pinata analogy and the cash distribution proposal, but you seem blind to the fundamental differences, so I bet you’ll keep using the analogy, however ridiculous it makes you seem.

          6) Your ruling out the importance of the popularity factor explains that you support a proposal that has low chance of getting needed votes, instead supporting a good enough proposal that has a high chance. That stance could lead to a terrible proposal winning with merely a medium popularity, a la chavismo.

          7) I never said, *only* royalties are to be used. I’ve always said all money derived from the sale of all natural resources. I still maintain that the oil belongs to the people, and the state represents the people. I also maintain that the best way to sell this proposal is still: Dame mi plata. I wonder how many times I have to repeat this to you before stop stating otherwise or claiming that I’ve changed my stance. Perhaps if I explain it more simply:
          A) all money derived from goods goes to cash distribution,
          B) all money derived from people goes to budget, after topping off cash distribution to poverty line if (A) is insufficient to reach poverty line
          As to your bombing example, it depends on the goal. For example, if the purpose were to make sure that everyone got hit, then the choice would be blanket bombing, not precision bombing. In our case, the main purpose is to eliminate poverty, at least by the income definition. Since your method excludes some people and is based on trickle down economics which is uneven, has overhead, and is vulnerable to corruption, my method is better since everyone is included, evenly, with hardly any overhead or corruption.

          8) As mentioned above, if the money is derived from goods, then it goes to cash distribution, if the money is derived from people, then it goes to the budget.

          9) My understanding is that about half of the cash distribution ideas mentioned in the book Oil to Cash were tested in Africa. The other half from around the world, including latin america. As to subsistence economy, according to your arguments Africa should be using spending as per your proposal more so than in Venezuela, but the cash distribution is being more successful than with “precision” spending alternatives. Aside from my disagreement with your dismal opinion of Venezuela’s social fabric, the alternatives are exclusive, regressive proposals like yours, or inclusive, progressive proposals like mine. You see, cash distribution reaches *all* who need, and proportionately to their need; whereas your proposals misses many who need, and gives the bulk of the money directly to people who don’t need, but who indirectly are supposed to create opportunities to those in need and deserving. Your argument regarding those not needing it getting some cash from a distribution falls flat by your own argument that it is a measly amount –which it is, to them. Also, even if they don’t need it, it will still get spent, which will still cause economic benefits, and it will still get recycled into government hands, where the budget will have all the “precision” spending line items.

          10) You were wrong about my proposal “now” resembling the Rosales debit card. Then when I prove mine came first, you claim I’m gloating and it is about ego. How could you only be finding out *now* that my proposal was first if it was so much about ego and gloating? I think that it’s your ego that blinds you from seeing the idea’s benefits, and your intellectual dishonesty from admitting so many faults in logic.

          11) I’m not buying that you read the post. The post made no further mention of Rosales, and you make no mention of what followed in the post. Perhaps you need the “for dummies” version –that’s right, Quico wrote one of those, too: http://caracaschronicles.blogspot.ca/2007/07/torres-for-dummies.html

          12) Allow me to point out that I am constantly referring to your proposal, even aspect with which I am in agreement, case in point, several of my points, above. You seem to sidestep my mentions, or forget that I even mentioned them. Let me emphasize two obvious criticisms that I have mentioned in the past as well as above: your proposal depends on an unrealistic change of system as a prerequisite to success, and it has trouble garnering votes. In other words, your proposal will not help us out of chavismo (it’ll be their own undoing, not an opposition’s proposal to credit), and it will most certainly not get us out of the petrostate model, nor will it ever get implemented as you dream it because of the negative incentives. All I can envision is you whining: “if it were only implemented as I say, then it would work”. Not going to happen, not in Venezuela. On the other hand, I can easily see a single leader in Venezuela being the driving force behind a cash distribution proposal. Dame mi plata.

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