Photo: CNN

The Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness of the Venezuelan People (VMSSHVP) is really failing at its job.

One might expect its objectives would be increasingly challenging, since it was conceived in 2013, given the violence, hyperinflation and shortages of everything from medicine to food. It’s hard to be happy when you have nothing to eat and you’re sick with no medicines.

Hunger and poverty can be measured by weight loss and minimum wage, but what about happiness? Given that the Venezuelan government hasn’t been at all forthcoming about statistics on its performance for years now, we can’t expect any better from the VMSSHVP, can we? As usual, we have to go elsewhere to know what’s really going on in that opaque and burgeoning monstrosity known as “the Bolivarian government.”

Venezuela came in last in Latin America, behind much happier places like Somalia and Bulgaria, and it also placed last as the country with the biggest change.

And here’s the World Happiness Report, which in its just-released edition begins by telling us that “Latin Americans consistently score higher on happiness — and on a range of other subjective well-being indicators — than respondents in other world regions with comparable income levels.”

A Latin American government with una Revolución Bonita and a ministry dedicated to happiness should be a shoo-in for first place, right?

Well, no. Venezuela didn’t do well at all — even when compared to mara-plagued Honduras and El Salvador. In fact, Venezuela came in last in Latin America, behind much happier places like Somalia and Bulgaria, and it also placed last as the country with the biggest change in terms of “happiness loss” in the entire world (there’s “an astonishing decline in people’s evaluation of life”, p. 122 World Happiness Report).  

It’s not clear if Rafael Ríos is still Vice Minister of Happiness, but perhaps it’s time for Maduro to do what he usually does with people who fail miserably at their jobs: promote whoever is Vice Minister and transfer the deposed to another ministry where he’s also bound to fail. In fact, Ríos might be a good candidate for a ministry created especially for him: The Ministry of Supreme Social Irony.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. Beyond mere Tropical Tragicomedy, this and countless other ‘ministries’ are nothing but propaganda machines and filthy Dens of Thieves. That’s it. Nothing more. A World-Record number of ‘ministries’ designed solely to embezzle funds, create Mega-Guisos, entertain Millions of zombie-like Pueblo-People Enchufados, and fool the uneducated, poor, clueless, gullible population. Simple as that.

    “No han pasado 24 horas desde la creación del “Viceministerio para la Suprema Felicidad Social del Pueblo” y ya me siento feliz :)”, ironizó el locutor y humorista venezolano Luis Chátaing”. Really something to either laugh at, or, if your family is starving and dying, cry.

    But again, WHY do they come up with such utterly laughable, surreal crap no one in their right mind can believe in? Because it’s not made for you. Or anyone on the planet with half a decent education, with the slightest clue or information about the world we live in. That’s why. You, and the rest of the somewhat advanced world are not the Intended Audience. You are not the victims of these scams. We are not, of course, gonna believe ANYTHING the Genecidal Narco-Tyranny throws at us, crap like Economic Wars, or Imperialist plots, ministerios de la felicidad and shit. Of course not. But Millions of average pueblo people are so incredibly uneducated that some of them partially believe in Galactic Mega-Mojones of that size. They are the Intended Audience of these Mega Scams, fueled by sheer massive ignorance.

    So they create as many bullshit “ministerios” or “alcaldias” as they can, laughing at everyone’s face, because they can. To STEAL more, to brain-wash more clueless, immensely ignorant millions of people, to make them dependent of such Guisos, ‘operativos’, and crap, and then steal some more.

    As always, Massive Corruption and Massive under education go hand-in-hand in Kleptozuela’s Tragicomedy.

  2. For just a brief moment, the ministry did it’s job. While reading this, I was happy to have a good laugh in the midst of so much misery.

  3. It’s not April 01 yet.
    I thought that a joke. Seriously? There is a “Happiness” division of the government? Paid staff and everything?

  4. Hey Poeta, this might brighten up your day!!

    Marco Rubio tweet: As I said just 2 weeks ago if Maduro thought pressure was going to lighten he was very mistaken. I know FOR A FACT that @realDonaldTrump is committed to a free #Venezuela & pressure only stops when democratic order is restored. Stay tuned, more to come

    Marco Rubio tweet: The day is coming when #Venezuela will see Maduro out of power, free & fair elections, the restoration of the National Assembly, & drug kingpins @dcabellor & @tarekpsuv extradited to the U.S. on an airplane accompanied by guys wearing DEA windbreakers

    I know the Falsonistas at the Arepa dont like to hear this, but this should be music to your ears bro

    • Well it’s not just Marco Rubio or even The Donald. It’s the entire US Administration, now with Pompeo as head of problematic “shitholes” like Kleptozuela or North Korea. They cannot ignore such a large Drug and Oil country, too important geo-politically and economically for the entire Continent and the world.

      That why the US works, check&balances. The Trumpster can’t do whatever he wants. But Congress knows by know, even Democrats that Klepto-Cubazuela must be dealt with for multiple big reasons. First shutting down the oil-cash, then, whatever it takes.. They have been waiting for the country to implode and/or explode by itself, see if they could save themselves. Since it’s now obvious they can’t, they’ve been gathering International Support (expect extra efforts now with Pompeo), that takes time, but now the entire Int’l community is squarely against the dangerous tropical Narco-Tyranny. The EU included. Not many top-ranked people in the world will be surprised when the US Marines pay Cabello/Tarek/Padrino a brief visit.

  5. Is the Clifton Ross Memoir in English. If not, it would be interesting to have a summary of his conversion from Chavismo or even an interview here in CC. For us outsiders the reasons for his conversion may well be instructive.

    • His books are in English at Amazon. Paperback version of his memoir costs less than the e-book. Agency pricing!
      You can also check what he has already written at CC. For example, he wrote an article on how his experience with real existing Sandinismo disillusioned him.
      Most Berserkeley lefties never change because they never leave the Berserkeley cocoon- or move from lefty cocoon to lefty cocoon. To his credit, Clifton Ross made the effort to experience real existing Socialism in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Nicaragua- which changed his mind.

      I spent a year in Berserkeley, but left before Clifton came to town.

  6. Talk about living in the belly of the beast. I was going to say that I don’t think I could do that and then I remembered where I’m living today. LOL

    The woman and I just had a conversation outside as we reviewed, and I explained, the number of kilos in our stockpile of corn. About the only thing that’s producing cash for her bodega these days is food……maiz trillado, auyama, platanos, ñame, etc. I’ve got a machine I used previously to grind coffee and offered to prepare “masa” for her to sell if she’d like. It’s a good way to stretch the maiz trillado as a kilo of maiz produces two kilos of masa. The buyers like it because they don’t have to boil and grind their own corn and can be eating an arepa within 30 minutes of their purchase.

    Cigarettes, which just a few months ago were the top producer of cash, have now dropped off to near zero because they’re so expensive, and from what I’ve heard, have gone up again since we last ordered. She didn’t even place an order last Friday, the first time in a long while. Our cigs are probably pretty cheap compared to the new prices and they’re still not moving.

    I drink a beer every month or so and the other night started looking for one in town. None to be had. Not a single beer! Even the drunks have fallen on hard times. Imagine times being so bad that one can’t even afford to be a wino! LOL. I figured when the beer ran out the revolution would come to an end as well, but apparently not.

    And that’s not all. Our clients are now hardly even buying medications, I suspect opting to eat instead, because the medicines are so expensive. Everything’s collapsing here.

    Back to my woman. The realities of hyper-inflation are finally setting in for her. I tried to explain it all to her late last year but she didn’t seem to grasp it or perhaps just wasn’t focused enough. She is now focused. She said, “I can’t believe how much corn we’ve sold, and at good prices, and it appears we have nothing to show for it”. To an extent she’s right though we’ve spent some serious money over the last 6 months making much-needed improvements to the house. When my home isn’t comfortable, I’m not comfortable so I’ve not been sweating the cost.

    She’s also now understanding that while we’d agreed to sell some equipment late last year, I’ve been in no rush to do so. What’s the point? What would one do with the cash, even dollars right now? Better to just let this all play out and see where we are in 6 months or so.

    While I’ve been saying for what seems like forever, that the country simply cannot continue under these conditions, I believe that more than ever today. We live comfortably, eat well, and are reasonably healthy, thank the good Lord. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be surrounded by tiny hungry faces and having no means to do anything about it. What a tragedy this country has become.

  7. Slightly off topic, but I see that, according to his campaign manager, Henri Falcon has not discarded the possibility of keeping Padrino Lopez as Minister of Defense. This confirms my worst fears about what he is doing.
    Luis Almagro made an interesting comment on Falcon recently.
    From Caraota Digital:-
    Recientemente Almagro afirmó que “le habíamos pedido a la oposición venezolana que separara la paja del trigo y Falcón es la paja que se ha separado sola”.

  8. The author of this blog is ex-Chavista and moved to BERKELEY!?

    You gotta be fucking kidding.

    He’s the same Chavista bullshit with a different spin.

    • I suggest you read his memoir: Home from the Dark Side of Utopia: A Journey through American Revolutions. Ross moved to Berserkeley over 40 years ago. Ross went back to Berserkeley from Chavezuela because it was home. ¿Me entendés? Having spent a year in Berserkeley, I know much better than you how hard it is for Berserkeleyites to change politically. Clifton Ross has done so.

      Yes, he’s still a lefty of sorts. But having seen real existing Socialism in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela, he views them as dystopias. Very few political pilgrims have seen the light, but Clifton Ross has. (Paul Hollander has written some good books on political pilgrims.)

  9. I’m really fascinated by the way the Chavistas seem to need to get into the most baroque, grandiloquent, pointlessly elaborated naming scheme in the world. At some times their inspiration seems to go beyond Communist USSR and go directly to Imperial China. You cant have a Ministry of X. You have to have a Ministry of the Supreme Achievement of the Bolivarian Socialist Ecologist Galactic Implementation of X for Workers and Children and Animals and….

    So much words to hide so little.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here