World Premiere: In the Shadow of the Revolution

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Caracas Chronicles is proud to be the venue chosen by long-time friend and much-appreciated copy-editor Clifton Ross, and his colleague J.Arturo Albarrán, to premiere their latest film project, In the Shadow of the Revolution. The authors hope this timely work will challenge the Bolivarian government’s narrative about itself and the opposition through interviews with Left social movement activists, journalists, academics and intellectuals.

Through this latest collaboration, Albarrán and Ross hope to reach an international public that has been subject to a bombardment of propaganda from the Bolivarian government. You’d be surprised how many people still buy into chavismo propaganda, and the narrative in which a popular, Left-wing government that brought great benefits to a nation is under attack by imperialists and a right-wing “fascist” opposition.

The film disputes that line and offers a much-needed alternative view from the perspective of social movements and a democratic left. That this narrative comes in the voice of the very supporters that chavismo claimed to champion, now disillusioned and oppressed, is what really lends this film its powerful authenticity. The candid stories and provocative testimonies presented throughout paint a dramatically different picture of Venezuela, one that helps explain the current rebellion against a corrupt, inefficient and right-wing authoritarian government that has created a catastrophe in the country and brought it to the brink of civil war.

The writer-directors have a decade-long history of collaborations on smaller projects but this is their first feature film. Albarrán studied, and now teaches, film studies at the University of the Andes in Mérida, Venezuela. A former chavista, Arturo worked for a number of years at the Ministry of Land and Agriculture (MAT) where he organized agroecology projects with campesinos and made films on campesino life in Venezuela’s paramo. Ross is a Berkeley, California-based writer who has reported on Venezuela since 2004, first as a supporter, then as a critic of chavismo. He participated in the Second World Poetry Festival of Venezuela in 2005 and lived in Mérida through the following year. His political memoir, Home from the Dark Side of Utopia (AK Press, 2016), details his disillusionment with Chavismo.

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57 COMMENTS

  1. Interesante pero hasta ahora, en sus primeros 10 minutos, decepcionante. En especial, la discusión sobre Guayana es pobrísima. El líder sindical, ex-guerrillero y hasta el vaioso Damián Prat reducen el problema de la CVG a uno de izquierdas y derechas cuando allí lo que ha pasado es un inmenso saqueo llevado a cabo por los políticos y los sindicatos corruptos del pasado y del presente., tanto de uno como de otro signo. La progresiva mediocridad gerencial y la corrupción sindical llevó a la CVG al fracaso.
    Seguiré viendo, después del desayuno

  2. “interviews with Left social movement activists, journalists, academics and intellectuals”

    The first three mentioned; lefty activists, journalists and academics are just a sad bunch of pieces of shit, the fourth one mentioned is a contradiction in terms. How the hell can one be left AND intellectual????? It’s like a honest and non corrupt chavista, there is NO such thing!!! Socialism and Communism IS the world’s greatest cancer, always has been and always will be!!!!

    • “Socialism and Communism IS the world’s greatest cancer, always has been and always will be!!!!”

      This is a gross exaggeration. The idea has only been around for a hundred years. No doubt, it has been a spectacular failure, but to paint something that has only been around for such a short time as the ultimate human evil just too much.

      Digging deeper, I would lay a lot of blame on the concept of egalitarianism that was born from the collapse of the world’s aristocratic monarchies. But then, it was all sort of inevitable anyway.

      We are going to have to learn to accept that, no matter how much we may want them to be, all humans are not equal.

    • Define “Left”. Everybody is to somebody else’s left, unless you happen to be the rightwingest person on the planet.

      William F. Buckley was a serious conservative intellectual (at least I would hope that his credentials as a conservative and as an intellectual are not in question in this group, but who knows?) Mr. Buckley is considered a RINO (i.e., a lefty) by the band of cretins who currently control the Republican party, a party whose leaders seem to be incapable of anything other than joining a circle jerk while reciting portions of Atlas Shrugged. And speaking of John Galt, Mr. Buckley would not touch Ayn Rand with a ten foot pole, even though she did beg him and beg him to let her join the National Review, to which he wisely replied “maybe some other time” while pinching his nose.

  3. After a good breakfast I have continued seeing the film. I understand the objective of the authors, that of documenting the failure of Chavismo through the own words of tsome of their early defenders. This, in principle, makes the case against chavismo stronger than if the testimonies came from other quarters. I think there are sectors of the population that deserve this kind of tribute, even more so than those who were, in many ways, part of the chavismo fraud. But I respect the film maker’s choice since it represents their own position, as repented chavistas
    The documentary is disturbing since it gives first billing to people who do not sound to be as worried about the horror of the Chavez regime as to the risk that such a regime could be labeled “leftist”. They claim, once and again, that Chavismo does not represent the left but the extreme right. This business of names seems to be most important to them and I find it grotesque because it is untrue and a red herring.
    Actually Chavismo represents a left all right: the anti-american left, the left of the cliches about imperialism ( Never Cuba or China or Russia!), about neoliberalism and transnational blood sucking corporations, the left of Lula, of Orega, of Evo, a left of the mediocre and of those possesed by inferiority complexes. Of course there is a decent and valuable left that never was chavista. But the guys in this film (except Prat, I guess) were chavistas who accompanied the grotesque Mesiah for a good part of the way, as exemplified by some of their commemts about the guilt of the transnationals, about good chavista laws poorly executed, about the good old times of chavismo, etc.
    Some of the testimonies still sound sympathetic to Chavez and do not seem to resent the tragedy that has befallen Venezuela as much as the departure of Chavez from his early promises of “trrue socialism” and of power to the workers and other communist cliches.
    As for the film itself I think it gives too much time to Mrs. Rodzaida Marcus, frequently incoherent, although with a very strong finish. The CVG labor leaders themselves give us an explanation for the Guayana disaster but they do not seem to be aware of their civic cowardice and of the responsibility they have in this tragedy. Perez Marti was a minister of Chavez. Marea Socialista took too long in realizing they were accomplices of a big fraud to the Nation.

    All in all an A for effort but a C in its stated objective

    • To me Mrs. Marcus somehow sounded a lot like a sifrina from El Cafetal that was put in a rancho to do the film. The rancho itself looks like it was just built for the movie.

      My internet connection is so bad that I was only able to see only a few minutes into the movie, so can’t tell if it got better later on.

    • Mr. Coronel, thank you for your thoughtful reflections on the film, and for seeing it all the way through before you made your more critical comments. Arturo and I hoped to give voice to a sector of the opposition whose existence is denied by Chavismo, and a sector whose ideas are not even largely promoted by the political opposition. We also found much to disagree with among the people we interviewed, but we valued their perspectives and hoped to show that there is a very strong left (often non-socialist, non, or even anti-communist, but a social movement left with strong liberal values and commitment to advancing the rights of the less well-off) and that the left of Chavismo (and I would agree with you that it’s left) is more in the tradition of Mussolini and Lenin than of the social movements it claims to represent: the indigenous people, environmental activists, human rights activists, democratic rights activists, etc. I take your grade of “A for effort” with great gratitude since it affirms the value of the sacrifice on the part of the directors who made the film at their own expense and, particularly in the case of Arturo, who still lives in Venezuela, their risk, but also the value of the courage of the characters of the film who spoke, and continue to speak, truth to power despite the consequences, and, in some cases, the humility and personal integrity to publicly acknowledge past mistakes (having supported Chávez) in an open and forthright manner. I pass that grade of “A” on to them.

      • My A grade is an honest reaction to the efforts that went into this movie. I congratulate you for these efforts and hope your film will have the impact you desire. My opinion is only one point in the curve.

      • “Arturo and I hoped to give voice to a sector of the opposition whose existence is denied by Chavismo”

        Seriously? This guerrilleros and sociologos people MADE chavismo. they were chavistas, and even before Chavez they were socialists. Their voices are the only voices anyone has been allowed to hear for decades. And as much as they are guilty they deserve whats coming to them.

        These people have been both the mainstream and underground of politics for 60 years of cuarta and 20 years of 5ta. If anyone has been given too much voice is them. They are ALL the voice.

        What about the people who have never been in favor of socialism ? who are not guilty at all of this disaster? Who actually predicted this mess years in advance? The right is not even considered ever, liberals don`t exist in Venezuela. If you are not some form of leftist your opinion doesn`t matter and you don`t even get a political party.

        But exchavistas who were happy plundering until now, ohhh lets hear them out, give them voice, lets put them in the same pedestal Adecos, Copeianos and PSUV put them, so they can continue validating their Cognitive Dissonance and their love for a political ideology that has destroyed the nation.

      • Coming from a lefty family I have always wondering about the weight we put in the “socialism”. I remember in the 4th, El Mas would always get about 6% of the vote followed by the MIR and the PCV. All in all the left would gather about 10% and that was pretty much the best they would get before the traditional party division afterwards.

    • I thought Mr. Pratt’s description of the chavista ‘pasticho’ to be spot on. The pasticho had a heavy layer of old stalinist cheese on top in Chavez’s later years and continuing, but aside from its discourse, it has been more recognizable caudillismo, populism, state capitalism and militarism.

      And so it is true that the left-right labels tend to obscure more than reveal, and create divisions where they do not naturally exist. Which was, in essence, Chavez’s rhetorical game as a master demagogue.

  4. Can’t wait to watch. But calling this government RIGHT WING ???
    It’s as classic far left as it gets. Maybe this author has the view that right=bad and therefore when leftist ideology reaches its inevitable conclusion it magically becomes “right”? Ok. I guess the other unfettered leftist countries of Cuba, ussr, North Korea, east Germany, Cambodia, Zimbabwe…are all right wing too?
    Sorry just had to point out the absurdity of calling left-wing totalitarianism right wing. But kudos on launching this, as it is very important for people of all political stripes to see the truth about this leftist dictatorship… even if lefties are in self denial and have to call it something else.

    • What would you define State Capitalism at? At the lower echelons of society, you will see the traditional left-wing hand outs of the little that’s available. As you climb, you will see exactly how everything plays out.

      They might label themselves as “socialists” or some other BS left-wing belief, but in actuality, they run a state capitalist system, like China.

      It will depend what you actually label left-wing as. China is a prime example of State Capitalism. It’s not quite left-wing, but it fails to meet the criteria to be right-wing.

      Venezuela is something so much more complicated that can’t be labeled as left or right wing. Nor socialist or capitalist. It’s the embodiment of the worst that every single political position has to offer all at once.

      In modern times, left or right doesn’t mean much anymore. The means of controls have become much more sophisticated and will require new definitions to come to a clear conclusion.

  5. I thought it was excellent. I don’t look for a “correct” take on things. I’m more interested in why leftists became so disenchanted with the “revolution”. Each speaks for himself or herself. And I thought a crushing observation was F. Toro pointing out that after 19 years, the economic problem of the petrostate remained identical, but with a dictatorship layered on top. Excellent work, people!

  6. Classic lefties trying to wash their own face from disasters. It is always socialism until hunger strikes, then it isn´t real socialism, then it was the right wing all along! .

    Fuck them. Socialism should be as much of a taboo as nazism.

    • Nazism.is just another form of socialism. The Nazi’s were called the “National Socialists” in Germany. One more example of how “socialism” actually works.

      • Hitler persecuted marxists and bolsheviks but he was a socialist alright. He just branded himself as a “brand new kind of german socialism” like Mussolini did in Italy when he branched out of the socialist party. Nazis nationalized all industries and controled the media just the same.

        They are both path leading to the same outcome which is totalitarianism. The individual means nothing to either comunist or nazis.

  7. Shameful that there are still socialists and people rationalizing it this way. Just goes to prove that Pinochet did nothing wrong, helicopters are the way to go to prevent this.

  8. Da dolor y rabia ver gente como Rodzaida con tan buenas intenciones, con tantas energías pero con un pasticho intelectual, a ratos incoherente que es lamentable, que si la izquierda y la derecha y los burgueses etc, no es de extrañar que se sienta estafada, así muchos.. no terminan de entender que el socialismo, el comunismo, es un cancer. Vidas desperdiciadas…

  9. Excellent documentary, I enjoyed it a lot.

    There are few things as sad as listening to a truly-repentant, famelic ex-Chavista who discovered (way too late) that Chavez and Maduro were destroying our country all along. It shouldn’t had taken that looks g for them to realize that.

    Other than that, I found that many of the characters confuse the interpretation of the political compass. Chavismo is clearly a left-wing authoritarian ideology. That some interest groups were able to exploit said ideology for massive personal gain at the expense of the rest of society has nothing to do with its stated intentions and it’s a totally biased view of what “right-wing” stands for.

    • Thanks, Daniel, I really appreciate your affirmation, and also your criticism (see what I wrote to G. Coronel above). I think it would take a lot more than fifty minutes to get into what is “Left” and what is “Right,” and the various people were ALL OVER the political spectrum on the Left, but we wanted to get as many self-described “Left” viewpoints we could since their voices AS LEFT rarely are heard, and we wanted to challenge the Bolivarian narrative that the “Revolution” is “Left” and the opposition is all “ultra-derechista fascista.” Those were our only two objectives in this short film, and we hope to get that message out with these voices gathered here.

    • It’s doesn’t matter what you call them -left wing, in the center, right wing (except you play football) a crook is always a crook, They seem to always get into politics. They always try the “jealously” card to get your attention, Then they count on people stupidity or entitlement issues or “only want to party” to get their way and “Viola” you have Venezuela (or most of the “uncivilized” earth). A crook is always a crook, ad infinitum

  10. Just like Daniel said earlier; Chavismo is a left-wing authoritarian regime, our very own tropicalmierda Stalinist dictatorship.

    But that’s not the point of the documentary, what’s real interesting to me is that eitherway, left-wing grassroots groups feel betrayed by a model that failed them, just like it failed the rest of the country. As Quico says, Chavismo added a heavy dictatorial layer to our chronic petrostate problems and the fact left-wing groups are able to see and acknowledge that,-even with a broken political compass- is telling.

  11. We had chronic petrostate problems during the pre chavez era but beside the added dictatorial layer chavismo has been much more destructive of the economy and basic social infrastructure than pre chavez govts ever were ……..before there was a launching pad from which to improve things , now that launching pad is in tatters …….!!

  12. I enjoyed it, because it was entertaining:

    Leftists criticizing other leftists for not being leftist enough.

    And the VOCABULARY, my God! Marx would have been so proud!

  13. The revolution always begins with the promise to defend the people that are oppressed by the higher social class.
    Eventually the people become oppressed to defend the revolution.
    Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez, many more figures throughout history and now Maduro.
    Rinse and repeat.
    The people living in this corrupt man made hell don’t need anyone to tell them the failures of Socialism or to be berated for supporting Chavez.
    When this regime is gone and the long long process of rebuilding Venezuela is ongoing, this film needs to be shown to people that may be tempted to support any other populist candidate that tells them they are being oppressed by the wealthy class.
    Never again would be a good title.
    Venezuela is an excellent example of Ronald Reagan’s warning that freedom is always one generation away from disappearing. He urged people to be vigilant, oppose Socialism and to be involved in the political process. Reagan understood Communism for the menace that it is to our world.
    Russia’s support of Castro and Castro’s influence with Chavez are part of what brought Venezuelan society to this horrendous condition. The inherent corruption that always takes hold in totalitarian states is exemplified.
    Communism claims that all people are equal. The reality is that some are more equal than others.
    China and Russia are paying lip service to the Maduro regime. No country is writing him the checks he needs to keep the regime afloat. Cuba and the OAS members that support Maduro are all beneficiaries of oil and money that is stolen from the starving Venezuelan people.
    I am truly baffled at this regime still maintaining power. I underestimated the regime and overestimated the determination of the Venezuelan people.

    • “overestimated the determination of the Venezuelan people”
      John, do what I did and go live in a small town in Venezuela, I ended up in Tinaquillo, for a couple of years. Live with them and speak to them and you’ll understand why Venezuela is in the shithole its in. The fear that the 4th republic powers return and the ignorance of how the 5th republic is destroying the country is at the base of it all. In my opinion they are beyond salvation at this point in time. Cubazuela will be around for many years to come …. unfortunately!!!

  14. I think those here fixated on the left-versus right semantics miss the main point of the documentary. The point is that these are all self-declared leftists who have come to see that there ain’t no revolution, but a robolucion. Is it too little too late? Maybe, but they are not alone. I have zero friends in Venezuela who declare themselves leftists, nonetheless they happily lived under Chavismo while the dollar was high, and cheap money flowed in. To this very day, many want a change of government not because Chavism has been a political, economic and constitutional nightmare, but because they want back their days of the Venezuelan Saudi, of malls and buying useless shit at low prices. To me, most of the country has a serious mental issue, not just repenting Chavistas.

  15. The intro music, played various times, reminded me immediately of The Doors’ “The End” played in the movie “Apocalypse Now”.

    I thought it was an excellent film. Technically, the picture was clear, the sound was clear, the scenes were shot well, the change from interview to interview and back was very well done, and the people interviewed tell a story without artificial flavors – that is, as they see it.

    The woman at the opening, continuing throughout, told the story of the loss of her mother in the Caracazo, and immediately I associated it with what a reporter said after interviewing individuals from four levels of Afghan society: when you grow up with bombs exploding in your front yard, how would anyone expect you to not be a little towards the edge of psychotic?

    The guys interviewed in Guyana kept talking about “the government doesn’t give us money”. Then the morena explaining that Venezuela has been used to oil wealth for generations, since Gomez. Bing! Then FT says very little, but what he does say, emphasizes the petrostate … and how that has not changed, but conditions have worsened. Not to put words in his mouth – he said it better.

    With all that has been said here about “the problems Venezuela faces as a people”, it occurred to me that it might be possible to make a list of those (corruption, petrostate dependency, lack of education, and more). Just a list. To counterbalance that, a list could be made of the virtues of the Venezuelan people – an honest one, counting what needs to be counted, and not ignoring virtues. Simple ones should not be overlooked: think of the worst, then compare to the better, to see the contrasts. Who built the Guri? Who operates ships, loading them? Who manages to find ways to survive when most would throw up their hands and quit? What population would stage massive protests every day for two months? With cardboard shield against tear gas canisters and rubber bullets and water cannon?

    Just a thought.

    • “What population would stage massive protests every day for two months? With cardboard shield against tear gas canisters and rubber bullets and water cannon?”
      The answer to that question is a hand full of young and desperate Venezuelans that were hoping that the rest of the population would join them. The got stiffed because the vast majority went on haciendo colas y tomando polar lite. The protest weren’t done by huge amounts of people and that’s why the regime had a chance putting them down. The average Venezuelan doesn’t care fighting for a better life in a near future, they care about tonight’s arrepa and polar lite. And that’s why this dictatorship will win!

  16. Yes, these are disappointed leftists looking at Real Existing Chavismo. This is coming full circle. Chavez and friends were disgusted with the Fourth Republic which, by virtue of extensive social democratic programs and government ownership of much of the means of production (a.k.a. Socialism)- oil aluminum iron steel and more – was also a leftist government.

    In hearing denunciations about corruption, bear in mind that Chavez pledged in his 1998 campaign to deal with corruption. By 2000 or so it was clear that Chavez tolerated corruption among his underlings. There were some prominent resignations from Chavistas disappointed in the lack of a crackdown on corruption. That is, any earnest leftist who NOW complains about corruption should have been SHOUTING back in 2000.

    It’s all about the Benjamins and the petrostate’s distribution of same. The Caracazo was a response to the government’s attempts to rationalize parts of the economy in the wake of lower oil prices- which meant some weren’t getting their previously expected allotment of Benjamins. Chavez got elected in 1998, when the price of Venezuelan oil was the lowest in a generation. Today, the lower price of oil can no longer mask the disastrous economic policies of a generation of Chavismo. Like Quico said, Venezuela now has all the unresolved petrostate problems with a dictatorship on top.

  17. This video proved very clearly two things to me.

    Without a doubt, these people took an ideal to it’s ultimate conclusion with no regard for the consequences… And now they don’t like where they are at. It really is a complex path that lead them to where they are today, but, it didn’t really happen in a vacuum.

    The second thing this tells me is that, more than anything, military intervention there is doomed. And I can say without reservation that the people interviewed do not deserve to have a foreign power intervene in their behalf. There is no amount of good will worth the lives of US soldiers to be realized in Venezuela.

    Not. Going. To. Happen.

    • But see this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t78q_79VYWI

      All these categories must be taken with a grain of salt, and this partly explains why the repented Chavistas see Chavez and his minions as fascists. In terms of economic policy Chavismo is definitely to the left, but in terms of social attitudes, it is well into the Authoritarian spectrum.

  18. So here we have a man old enough to have witnessed much of the twentieth century, yet still falls for “XXI Century Socialism,” then changes his mind when it also goes to hell, and finally tries to make a buck by writing a book about it.

    Poor guy can’t win for loosing.

    • Yes, but consider where Cliff is coming from: 4+ decades residing in Berserkeley. There are very few Berserkeley radicals who, having swallowed the lefty Kool-Aid, take a step back from the abyss.

  19. Bravo to the authors of this documentary. There’s a lot here to think about, some interesting perspectives, and needless to say, some great lines. Well worth passing along.

  20. Chavismo will go down in history as a disaster of biblical proportions and I definitely agree that the arguing about left versus right is silly when Venezuela’s singular problem is that it’s overwhelmingly populated by Venezuelans.

  21. I have watched the film twice. The photogrsohy is quite beautiful and the interviewees come off completely unscripted and genuine. Mrs. Marcus is both interesting as she recounts her life in the garbled world of socialism but just captures the screen with her personality and manner. Her attachment to socialism is emotional, not intellectual but her stream of conscious explanation reveals her own inner struggle betwern the promise and reality of the Bolivarian revolution. The film achieves its purpose of proving that the democratic left opposes the Chavista left but begs questions more material to the future of Venezuela. The Chavez command economy failed but why will the next socialist government produce a different result. The interviewees blamed corrupt and anti democratic politicians for that failure but never questioned whether state owned enterprises are themselves sustainable when their owners, the people, consume all of the profits and then some. Great documentary film. Congrstulations.

  22. Excellent documentary, entertaining and revealing.

    I find it interesting and, a little bit sad, that of all the “diagnostics” offered none of them even mentioned as part of the problem:

    – price controls
    – currency exchanges
    – or the destruction of the private economy

    It is sad because they can not even see the problem, let alone hope to see the solution.

    They all mentioned corruption (a consequence not a cause)
    and their favorite bogeyman the transnational corporations (as if they were somehow the problem).

    For them the state is the end all be all of the country.
    They cannot even conceive of an economy that is moved by private enterprises of all sizes.

    They do not even realize that most of the problems are economic in nature, not political.

  23. I would like to thank the filmmakers for the documentary. I really don’t care if it hit the spot or if it got an A or a B. That being said, it does shed light on some of the many sectors that makes the Venezuelan political diaspora.

    I will point out that the documentary fails to portray the hard core chavistas and the opportunistic chavista. The focus is in this mea culpa on the stuff from those chavistas that saw what was coming but the did not do anything about it. Rodzaida (which I remember her in the UCV) continues to call herself chavista even after she throws her hero to the mud not once but several times. She summarizes that with the phrase “Son cualquier verga pero socialistas no son”.

    From the very beginning, we knew that Chavez was using the left to actually pursue his arrogant militaristic personal cult agenda. Chavez called the left intellectuals and whatnots to occupy government positions with public visibility. That they did, after several years of being relegated why not get into a power/guiso position?. By they way, Chavez did not invent that, it was invented by Caldera and his chiripero.
    In either case, behind all these “intellectuals” they there were ranked army officers in the second line and beyond. After Chavez easy win in the second presidential election (that BS to extend the mandate after the 1999 constitution was approved), he pulled his mask out and dropped most of the civil left to form a government almost completely dominated by the army (with few exceptions). Unfortunately the documentary does not dig into that and is limited to portray this array of people that either lived in some sort bubble or (as good pragmatic Venezuelan) do not confess to their own “viveza criolla” during the good times. Even the CVG guys do not mention the good times when the Argentinians were running the business and Chavez bailed them out when the workers did that massive strike in 2008.

    Last but not least, and this is for Kiko, the 4th did a lot of repression to the media. Not as overt as our current gorillas but in order to refresh some memories you may recall when the Lusinchi government stopped importing newspaper. Or the famous “domiciliary visits” that CAP did to some journalists or the failed ban on Frasso pictures on El Caracazo. In other words, we cannot become revisionists on the atrocities of the 4th in order to justify the exit of el chavismo. At the end it was the 4th that created Chavez and allowed it to root-in fed by the desperation of the people on the state of corruption and waste. The 4th should be used as a very strong cautionary tale of how corruption and individualism were the cradle of what would become the very worst period of Venezuela’s modern history.

  24. Very good documentary, well done and, dare I say, even entertaining.

    I find it a bit sad that after all the time and deep analysis that these people have done trying to understand the causes of the failure of Chavismo, none of them mention:

    – Price & exchange controls
    – Excessive regulations to the private businesses
    – Breakdown of the Rule of law

    … or the resulting destruction of the private sector economy. (Apart from the obvious expropriations)

    It is sad because, if they cannot see the root of the problems, they cannot hope to find the solutions.

    They all mentioned corruption, which is more of a consequence than a cause for the crisis, and several invoked a weird boogeyman: the Transnational Corporations, as if they had anything to do with the problems in Venezuela.

    These people do not even see the importance of the private sector as engine of the economy. They can only conceive of a paternalistic state providing everything for the people. Their only complain is that that state is not working as they wish it would, not realizing that it was precisely that big and powerful state intervening and meddling in every aspect of the economic life of the country that strangled the private sector and created the deep crisis Venezuela is in right now.

    • Long time no “see,” amieres. It takes about 5-10 minutes for a comment to appear. Don’t ask me why- that’s the way the software operates. If, after 5-10 minutes your comment hasn’t appeared, you have cause for concern.Sometimes I have had comments, such as one with too many links, that didn’t appear until a moderator took them out of the spamware folder.

      It is sad because, if they cannot see the root of the problems, they cannot hope to find the solutions.
      For a leftist, the solution is invariably more government. The Fourth Republic, which in retrospect was libertarian paradise compared to what replaced it, was still leftist with a great deal of government ownership and control of the economy. El Finado and his followers assumed, from a leftist perspective, that what was wrong with the Fourth Republic wasn’t too much government ownership and control, but not enough government ownership and control. And they got it- good and hard- as Mencken would have put it.

      They all mentioned corruption, which is more of a consequence than a cause for the crisis/
      Where the cause is control concentrated in the hands of too few. If exchange rates were unified, the enchufados wouldn’t have access to the In his 1998 campaign, El Finado said he was going to root out corruption. When in power, he did nothing about corruption among his cronies. The man at the top was who decided on prosecuting corruption.

      • BT
        It has been a while.
        Eventually my comments all appeared,
        but the first one took 2 days to show up!

        Mencken was very prescient in his many interesting quotes.
        I find this one resonates loudly, and applies globally, not just to the WH:
        “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

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