Photo: Daniel Lara

Marialbert Barrios is the youngest deputy in the current National Assembly. Graduated from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in International Relations and elected in 2015, at 25 years old, as deputy from Primero Justicia (PJ) for one of Caracas’ toughest districts (Sucre/La Pastora/El Junquito, a chavista stronghold), she sees her growth, through the work with  fellow activists in her community, who lead by example in the midst of great adversity, as her greatest achievement.

The role of the politician is to serve, to think collectively, to support the solution of problems by the correct application of public policies

Marialbert’s main role as deputy has been supporting her community and voting base, by empowering people, giving them tools and teaching them about their rights and duties as described in the Constitution. “This has helped me grow as a leader, because they know I don’t visit only in electoral season.”

If the opposition were in power, Marialbert would like to marry her two passions: international relations and the “barrio.” After graduation, she wanted to be an ambassador but couldn’t attend the Institute of Higher Diplomatic Studies Pedro Güal, for opposing this government. Initially her role was behind the scenes, an operative with vocation to serve her fellow citizens, and she took that with her in the assumption of a political office. She believes that, in the international arena, you can be an advocate for the problems that the Venezuelan barrios face. “The global agenda challenges, as described by the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, in particular the first four (No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-Being and Quality Education), are the urgent challenges that our most vulnerable communities face.”

We need to develop public policies to make Venezuelans independent from the State

If Marialbert were president today, her immediate priorities would be poverty, education and employment. In the short term, the State would have to provide help for the most vulnerable, while investing in education and the economy, to provide employment and eradicate poverty in the medium and long terms.

She talks about solidarity in the immediate alleviation of poverty, especially with networks of female empowerment. “In Venezuela, women lead 48% of households, and these are some of the most vulnerable households in the country.”

Instead of investing on banners with the president’s face, I’d invest in teaching people to be good citizens

Talking about crime, Marialbert considers Venezuelan security forces need to have a complete inspection and overhaul, especially in incentives against corruption.

She also believes the State needs to invest in civility, teach people to be good citizens. Crime is prevented when a network is formed between the executive, the institutions and the citizens. “There’s no use for disarming police departments, or better salaries for police forces, if we don’t educate the population.”

For Marialbert, civil rights have taken a back seat to other problems, like 82% of Venezuelans living underneath the poverty line. She believes once things change, these issues will be taken care of by the competent institutions, including the National Assembly. She believes in participative democracy, as inscribed in the 1999 Constitution, because it gives power to the people to bring about the necessary changes themselves.

“As we advance, and move away from the present crisis, we’ll have chances to work on these issues. For example, legalizing abortion is something that won’t be too big of an issue,  in a country with the highest maternal mortality rate in Latin America.”

Negotiations are a tool and the fundamental process to overcome this crisis is an election, with the warranties described in the Constitution

Ms. Barrios thinks negotiating is the art of cooperating, integrating. “If one of the parties in a negotiation isn’t invested, there can be no results.”

Even if there haven’t been concrete results, Marialbert looks at the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, two peoples that have attacked each other for decades, but still keep agreements, maintain a conversation and even share territory, as an example of what can be achieved when two parties decide to cooperate.

The end of this crisis is a legitimate election, and the Constitution gives us the precise steps to take

Marialbert believes a new election is possible through pressure, either by negotiation or protests. “I’m sure that this government will end up calling a legitimate electoral process, because the situation, as it stands, is ungovernable. They should think about the easiest exit strategy.”

Deputy Barrios thinks there must be pre-established rules between opponents, founded in the Constitution, and to make sure the regime abides by them, national and international pressure is necessary. Together with pressure from the chavista establishment which, she underscores, has already materialized.

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46 COMMENTS

  1. While it is very admirable that young people are getting involved in politics (my own 21 y.o. daughter is involved), a lot is missed when you come from a perspective that involves only one world view, and a brief life experience. A lot.

    Who doesn’t want peace, justice, dignity and freedom? Those are not hallmarks of leftist political thought. Everyone wants that. It is whether a political paradigm should guarantee our own ability to take such things on our own initiative, or if the omnipotent, benevolent government ought to provide them.

    If the government can “give” me dignity, the government can take it away.

    Good luck, Marialbert Barrios! I hope you get your country back soon!

    As for me, I don’t see much hope for Venezuela when even the opposition is Chavista (or Chavista Lite). The nanny state will never achieve.

  2. “No Poverty”
    – You eliminate poverty when you create wealth. Tell me how you would create wealth in Venezuela.

    “Zero Hunger”
    – Poor people go hungry, wealthy people do not. Tell me how you would create wealth in Venezuela.

    “Good Health and Well-Being”
    – Poor people cannot afford the same healthcare and their lives are miserable compared to wealthy people. Tell me how you would create wealth in Venezuela.

    “Quality Education”
    – Poor people have lousy schools, wealthy people have good schools Tell me how you would create wealth in Venezuela.

    You really want to help people? Go back to school, earn a Masters Degree in Business Administration, then start a business in Venezuela. Generate some wealth and become an example.

    MRubio could give you pointers.

    • She reminds me a bit of She Guervara, the latest media darling for being [1] Latina, [2] young, and [3] socialist in the U.S. The answer is easy. You just tax those wealthy people to pay for it all. Problem solved!

      Remember, only government creates wealth, and it does this by printing money. Why, just look at all those Venezuelan millionaires. An accomplishment achieved by printing money!

    • “Tell me how you would create wealth in Venezuela.”

      Creating wealth is the hard part. Acolytes of Marx think that wealth appears when you pull it out of thin air.

      If not, then it needs to be taken. By force. Forgetting (willfully) that once wealth is stolen, the earner who created the wealth feels ZERO obligation to create any more of it for the thieves to steal. Bridgestone. Kelloggs. GM. Kimberly Clark. Any of this ring any bells?

      Which is why Venezuela is in the cesspool that it is in.

      My (crazy ass) uncles owned a cement/concrete business in Venezuela. Chavez demanded that they “sell” to the Government concrete products at below cost (free). They refused, and Chavez took their company, much to the delight of the locals who thought that once Chavismo owned the business, everyone would be getting FREE houses and wages would become “fair” and the workers would control the company. And take control the workers did! (my uncles got ZILCH in the way of compensation)

      About one month later, the business was not working. Nothing was being produced. Nobody paid the bills, ergo no suppliers were supplying. (Sand, aggregates, Portland, etc are needed to make concrete) Chavez took those businesses too, and within a month… THEY were out of business. (Does anyone see a pattern?)

      Three months into their forced retirement, agents of Chavez arrived with threats. “Come back and make it work, or else”. In the minds eye of Chavez, my uncles had SABOTAGED (see another pattern?) the once productive company and that is why it didn’t run. Blame certainly couldn’t be placed on the virtuous Chavista who had been voted into responsibility for running the now defunct company. (He had abandoned his post 2 weeks in.)

      My uncles then abandoned Venezuela.

      Chavistas and the Chavista Lites are immune to how things work. They haven’t ONCE created a single job, made a payroll or had to go hat in hand looking for money when times are tight.

      God bless Ms. Barrios, but she is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

      • “Creating wealth is the hard part. Acolytes of Marx think that wealth appears when you pull it out of thin air.”
        Lot’s of people have trouble understanding how wealth is created. The problem is not only that huge amounts of money was stolen, but that the country is so poorly run that little wealth is being created. If oil is not being pumped, it cannot be sold. If steel plants are not running, they cannot produce steeel. If the cement factory is expropriated and shut down, it cannot produce cement. Lots of people have trouble understanding how POLICY affects WEALTH CREATION. People from foreging free-marketeers to Marialbert Barrios, unfortunately.

        • Right you are. But in her defense, she was elected by people who thought exactly like her. She simply represents the worldview of an entire population of voting Venezuela Chavistas who think that wealth appears by magic. Which is the reason I think many thousands of El Pueblo will have to suffer horrifically (disease, starvation, death) before the mindset changes in them. If at all.

      • “God bless Ms. Barrios, but she is part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

        But, but, but … Social Justice!

        • If it were actually just, they would not need an adjective — they’d just say “justice.” Same with political correctness, etc.

        • My uncles were independent businessmen, creating building materials out of concrete that other businesses needed. They employed about 50 hard working Venezuelans when Chavez nationalized their company. Within a month Chavez employed about ZERO. Within 3 months, the business had been picked clean of any assets of value and the carcass was “gifted” to El Pueblo.

          I don’t feel obligated to divulge anything else.

          Last I heard, the main site was overgrown and was well on its way to being reclaimed by Earth Mother Gaia.

  3. The young politicians being presented in this series all grew up under chavismo. They know nothing else and readily assume that socialism is the proper perspective from which to view the world and is what should be the “obvious” answer to the world’s problems.

    I am eerily reminded of Miss Ocasio Cortez who is barnstorming the U.S. arn in arm with Bernie Sanders promoting the “benefits” of life under socialism. Funny thing is that when asked directly how all these “benefits” would be funded she has no idea at all.

      • Another Exactly Gringo, yes I know, we were thinking the same thing your post evidently popped on to the screen while I was composing my post. I saw your message immediately after hitting the “post comment” button . Sorry for the redundancy…..

    • Exactly… It’s like the Republicans that want the government out of their business but god forbid they touch their Medicare. Or like the Republicans with big trucks in flyover states that enjoy their freeways but god forbid that a “tax-and-spend” politician propose increasing the gas tax to keep up with inflation. Or like the Republicans who don’t want the government to mandate that people buy health insurance, but that when they’re sick are treated in emergency rooms and declare bankruptcy when they can’t pay their bills. Or the Republicans who believe that individual ingenuity is sufficient to build a business these days and who ignore that all infrastructure fur building a modern business is, or was, at one point, underwritten by the state; from the rail lines to the internet. Or the Republicans who think that it makes perfect sense that all the marginal wealth created in the past 25 years has been earned by very few and should only accrue to them. See a pattern here?

      I am a capitalist. I actually own my own business and I’m responsible for the employment of several people. I know the value of private property and of individual initiative when it comes to creating economic value. But the state has a role to play. My company won’t do well if there’s war, if the internet is out, if people come out of school unprepared for the workforce, if employees have to commute an hour and a half each way to work, and if they have high levels of economic insecurity.

        • I left that hellhole decades ago, and now I’m seeing how the U.S. is going in the same direction: The people at the top partying like it’s 1999, knowing that the game is rigged in their favor and no matter what they’ll come out the winners, the people in the middle taking all that they can from the government and pointing the finger at someone else, and the people at the bottom, indifferent to the decay, material, and moral all around them.

          • I suspect Ancient Aliens might be at the heart of all of this conspiracy to usurp power from “the little people”?

      • @Jacques Individual ingenuity and resources are sufficient to make a business, of only because it is possible to create infrastructure from the grassroots up. It is not possible to replace the human capital.

        I also do not despise the state and believe it has a role to play, but that role is a supporting one. Because the cruel fact is that commerce and business can function in the absence of a state, but a state does not function in true a sense of the former two.

        And if you doubt this, I beg you to research the cancer like creep of the Black Market during he waning days of the Western Roman Empire and the Qing as the state saw squeezing people and their businesses as necessary while people increasingly saw no good use for the state and so went “Galt.” Or Somalia, where some forms of commerce have taken off.

        Just because your company doesn’t do well if there is a war- and most don’t- does not mean that anarchy and chaos are not appealing economic niches for some enterprises. They are not enterprises I would WANT to see in my neighborhood, like piracy and smuggling, but they still exist.

        So let’s not kid ourselves. The “Republicans” in the examples you give are hypocritical, but hypocrisy is the alimony vice pays to virtue and their posturing recognizes something instinctively.

        That it is easier to build an economy and society from the ground up than the top down.

        I am no anarchist or even a libertarian, which is why I generally endorse the existence of the nation-state. But I do so knowing my history and that they’re a keystone on social and economic success, not the Ex Nihilo for it.

      • I think you are confusing Republicans with Libertarians. Thanks a bunch for the lecture, but I don’t see anyone here arguing that government doesn’t have a role to play.

        • It’s just my own frustration at seeing how the U.S. is going down the same road that Venezuela did, and how lot of commenters here just don’t see it. They seem to see Trump’s election as the second coming and hail economic growth of 4% as a miracle while ignoring the skyrocketing national debt underpinning it; all the while ignoring the outsize role of the federal government in propping up the economies of red states. Call it Trump derangement syndrome, if you like.

          • @Jacques “It’s just my own frustration at seeing how the U.S. is going down the same road that Venezuela did, ”

            You’re not wrong.

            Though we disagree fiercely on a bunch of things (like how totalitarian X and Y are) and I support Trump, you’re right about the whole messianism I’ve seen there. That if only we elect the Right Person things will all be solved.

            That road leads nowhere good. Because at best it leads to disappointment and turmoil because *no leader*- no matter how legitimately competent or good- can measure up to perfection.

            And at worse it slides us to either anarchy, or tyranny as people gather around the idea of a “great leader” responsible for everything.

            Unfortunately Venezuela’s further along because of the resource curse and some influence from the Castros, but the advanced economies have all been borrowing like there’s no tomorrow to finance today.

            But tomorrow’s just another word for the next today, and it will come.

            This isn’t a right or left issue, at least not exclusively. And I get the feeling the only way to break the cycle is one massive, bipartisan “come to Jesus” moment.

            I hope it comes soon, but I don’t dare hope that much.

      • I think people forget, as well, that we are talking about a country most of whose wealth lies in natural resources that were not “created”, the way say a kitchen cabinet or an iPhone are created.

        There is a reasonable argument that citizens should enjoy some benefit generally from resource wealth, and not simply the narrow group of interests to whom extraction right are granted (by the government). So reasonable in fact that I can’t think of many places -capitalist or not- where a different policy applies, except maybe some wartorn areas of Central Africa, where there is no resource regulation except by possession by force, and the gun.

        In turn, it is reasonable for politicians in Venezuela to discuss what priorities there should be for the spending of such wealth. Granted, a big priority in Venezuela inevitably is going to be dealing with mountains of debt. But causing unsustainable mountains of debt, and the tendency to avoid that discussion, are not strictly partisan problems these days.

        I don’t think giving high priority to the paying down of the debts accrued under the chavista kleptocracy is an excellent organizing strategy for this or any other Venezuelan opposition politician. So her approach may simply be pragmatic, and not part of some nefarious world historical movement.

        • @Canucklehead “
          I think people forget, as well, that we are talking about a country most of whose wealth lies in natural resources that were not “created”, the way say a kitchen cabinet or an iPhone are created.”

          There’s a limit to how far you can go. Certainly, Venezuela owes much more to its natural resources and environment than say, Singapore does. It also got punched with the resource curse a lot harder.

          But the Human factor’s still necessary to make use of them. Even a big “gummies” like a naturally bountiful grove neeed gatherers to go through.

          And we’ve come a long way since then. What we’re seeing is Venezuela starting to run into a wall under Chavismo, reaching a point where they can’t get people to harness their natural resources.

          Hence why food and fuel are both short.

          “But causing unsustainable mountains of debt, and the tendency to avoid that discussion, are not strictly partisan problems these days.”

          Agreed. However…

          “I don’t think giving high priority to the paying down of the debts accrued under the chavista kleptocracy is an excellent organizing strategy for this or any other Venezuelan opposition politician. “

          I disagree.

          I agree it shouldn’t be the single most important priority; that is the overthrow of Chavismo and a restoration of Venezuelan freedom.

          But let’s be honest. An army marches on its stomach, even if it just carried placards and demands for reform. And that stomach needs to be fed.

          Addressing Venezuela’s debts is crucial because it ties in to something that is unavoidable: logistics. Economics. How the hell you avoid getting in this dump again.

          “So her approach may simply be pragmatic, and not part of some nefarious world historical movement.”

          I agree it probably isn’t some nefarious conspiracy. Honestly I like her, even if I’m skeptical of what she does.

          But there’s such a phrase as penny wise and pound foolish. Ignoring the economics might help in the short and medium term it come back with a vengeance in the long one.

          • I am saying: the Venezuelan debt is a big deal.

            I am also saying: that reality makes a crappy pro-democracy slogan.

      • And btw, maybe the Good Ole’ Boys in flyover country will give up their big trucks when the coasties learn to live without their 26 foot Blackfins with twin 265 hp Mercs hanging on the transom.

  4. Another article full of canned off-the-shelf idealism. But who is not socialist at 20 yr? The problem is when you are still socialist at 40 years. Not worth reading. One of my kids always said that to me when he was younger. Now ha has two babies, a family to sustain, cannot change job with the frequency he had, he also realizes he better teach conservative values to his kids

    As respect the wealth in Venezuela: simply kill all the controls and subsidies and let the best survive. Remember opportunities are not rights. We may enjoy the same rights, but unless you prepare you may have all the opportunities you want, but won’t be able to grab one.

    I’m condescending I know.

  5. Getting things to work is the biggest challenge , its true that Marx wrote that great prosperity would follow come the revolution , because ‘the productive forces of society would then be freed’ . He was an hegelian gothic big picture thinker which means that it was easy for him to think that by proclaiming ones faith in abstractions one could automatically trasform realtity without any intermediate effort at doing things ….!! This superstition however is also very spread among more western defenders of liberal democracy , understimating how hard it is to make things work, specially where the job is intricate and there is no past experience doing it ….!! The task can best be met by developing groups that for long periods work together at doing things , an expertise which is part individual part collective is built that allows the making of things.
    Thats why the Chinese are moving so fast and growing by leap and bounds they are good at getting things done if not prevented by ideological delusions and political pie in the sky constraints.

  6. But who is crazy enough like this girl to ask for more socially progressive programs – 60 years and counting isn’t enough. Since Larrazabal, the master creator of subsidies; Romulo Betancourt, the master disguise of socialism. Etc (Maduro is inconsequential). Why do you free yourself from controls and subsidies? The life will be hard for many, but the few who succeeded will be better off.

  7. You what I’d really like? I’d like to see the exiled politicians take trips to places like Singapore and Ireland, where they can learn skills applicable to properly running a country. Venezuelan expats in other professional fields are currently plying their trades and gaining skills which will likely help rebuild Venezuela. But it seems that the people who will actually have a role in shaping future policy might not be taking this opportunity to learn from other countries during their exile.

    • I volunteer if I could – 68 yr old with a broken back plus 50 yr of global expat experience should help. I alerted El Nacional’s Otero in 1998 that this present event would happen. I opened an office that I had to close when Lucinchi started his currency games. I tried hard to no avail. But I won my three boys and they hate socialism – progressive ideas. And they are prosperous without stealing a banana. Much less trying to play games with currency as all middle-class Venezuela has done with so much intensity and enthusiasm, notwithstanding the perverse effects that would eventually take place. And I took away any Venezuelan ideals, feelings, family relatives and anything that had to do with that shithole. But now even corrupt Madburro, and all his court, have a unique opportunity to kill inflation in one shot: dismantle the currency controls, eliminate subsidies and let gas price follow the market. As I said before it will be a massacre, very bloody, but he has the army and the police to shut anything that moves while the country adapts. They only have to execute without a tear in their eyes, eventually, like killing cancer, the pain will subside and I might have the country of my childhood back. The Venezuelan intellectual and the ”too much smartest” (”más vivo que yo imposible”), the middle class killed the hen of golden eggs. They will never apologize and worse they will never recognize it.

  8. Socialism is sharing scarcity. Capitalism is creating abundance. Socialism leaches on capitalism’s abundance until scarcity and “a revolution” are achieved. Then Socialism fails. See Venezuela.

    Moreover, Socialism requires limits on people’s wants which will never happen.

  9. To my surprise, I received an e-mail from MRubio today.
    He said that the communications systems in his area have made it almost impossible to contact anyone.
    I have given up trying to call him. Calls into the country aren’t being connected.
    At least it was good to know that he is OK.

    Waltz, if you see this, I received an e-mail from CC saying that they would give you my contact details.

    • John, thanks for the update on MRubio. Glad to here he is hanging in there under deteriorating conditions. Thanks in advance for any future updates!

    • M Rubio doesn’t know where he’s standing. He’s not Republican – he’s rather an outmoded Democrat. A centrist like Democrats used to be, before they adopted the wrong part of the French ”liberté, égalité et fraternité. The last two words have been kidnapped by socialists to their wrong interpretation, which is bad. Rubio doesn’t know where he stands as a result of that. Do you believe him?

      PS: Unfortunately, Democrats don’t want to admit that they have become worse than Communists. They don’t recognize themselves with Socialism!! Fortunately, we live in Texas and this Republic has a treaty that can be reverted and a separation from the USA is not impossible to the disliking of the other States. Democrats will eventually take over because of Trump is the worse anarchist, a real troglodyte in our times.

      When and if Democrats finally take over Texas we will fight to the end.

      Delirium. Im’animam viventem in errore amplitudinem. Hoc statu facit me insanus.

      • @Jose Figueroa I’m sympathetic to most of your points and as happy to take potshots at the DNC, I feel obliged to note that:

        “Unfortunately, Democrats don’t want to admit that they have become worse than Communists. ”

        My opinion of most Democrats ranges from disagree to despise, but they aren’t worse than Communists. At least not yet, though of them are going there.

        Because Communism was a totalitarian, terroristic ideology from the start.

        Illych and the old Bolsheviks didn’t plan to bring Communism to Russia by running a bunch of photogenic loony toons for the Duma or running as campaigns.

        They planned a coup against the legitimate government by ginning up rabid mobs that make Antifa look insignificant and stockpiling supplies.

        Heck, even decades lasted Earl Bowder of the CPUSA got canned because he broached the mere *suggestion* of doing a Hitler and winning control of the US political system by the ballot box rather than staging a coup.

        The Dems and even Oscanio-Cortez at least deign to campaign for public office like a law abiding Political Critter is supposed to. And I’ll take small blessings over the Red Guard parading down the street.

      • Jose…I was completely stumped by your comments above regarding MRubio. I believe that for some reason you thought John was referring to Marco Rubio the senator from Florida. He was in fact referring to a different MRubio who is a completely different person and not the politician that you were talking about.

      • Waltz,
        I contacted one of the Caracas Chronicle people through linked in. He replied that he was no longer working for them but he would pass the message along.

        Raul Stolk e-mailed me with this reply. Perhaps you e-mailing Raul will help.

        Raúl Stolk Aug 2 at 10:31 AM
        CC
        John Vanderwerken
        Message body
        Hi John, we’ll reach out to him.
        Best,

  10. I’ve read the article again. I do appreciate she’s young but she isn’t fresh with new ideas. At most, it is a good 10th grade Free Essay. I’m completely lost, the bullet points are a 100% socialism-progressivism recipe. Exactly what took this country where it is today. A shithole.

    C+

  11. Nothing she stated has the slightest policy difference with those in power.

    Nothing talks about a plan.

    She is going to graft just as much as the next person.

    • The cunning and subtle plan is to take from the achievers (there are none, and none in the pipeline) and give El Pueblo all sorts of goodies under the guise of benevolence.

      I see no hope for Venezuela when I read about such forward thinking.

      • Translation: “our team will offer the same free shit and more of it with better packaging”

        No real economic plan or ideas about trade policy that would bring in foreign investment.

        “MFS” is not the cornerstone of all candidates.

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