Photo: retrieved

The scene is poetic in itself.

In one of those local radio stations that chavismo labels “far-right,” a self-proclaimed “revolutionary” and chavista Yukpa chieftain from Machiques de Perijá denounced that, without proper roads in the state, 5,000 avocados have been lost in 2018.

But this isn’t just any Yukpa chieftain. It’s Sabino Romero, son of the eponymous indigenous leader murdered in 2013 in a drive-by shooting. In 2009, Hugo Chávez’s government granted Sabino Sr. the ownership of some lands, unleashing a conflict between livestock farmers and natives.

“Currently, there are 30 indigenous communities that grow cassava, malanga, coffee and small green bananas in Machiques de Perijá, Zulia. It goes to waste in the fertile land due to the lack of asphalt and roads to communicate farms with the main city,” says Romero, with a tricolor belt on his shoulder. “People have been forced to move the little they’ve managed to harvest on horse or mule. The most they’re able to transport daily is two sacks of small green plantain.”

People have been forced to move the little they’ve managed to harvest on horse or mule.

As he also confessed, neither him nor his peers have any idea of how to use the 845 hectares of land that Chávez gave them, originally belonging to criollos, the name natives have for those outside indigenous groups.

“We need technical assistance from agronomists, because there are lands used for growing coffee or cassava, and we don’t know how to differentiate them to give each a proper use. We also have pastures left by livestock farmers to feed animals and we can’t raze them,” he says.

This is the very real consequence of what started when Hugo Chávez expropriated companies and lands, under the demented Robin Hood-style pretense of stealing from the wealthy to give to the poor; it was all to fuel a narrative of alleged inclusion and equality, which has turned Venezuela into a completely unproductive, miserable nation.

That’s why it was both laughable and depressing to see the government take over Kimberly Clark and Kellogg’s, to later give them “to the people.”

This a consequence of what started when Hugo Chávez expropriated companies and lands, under the demented Robin Hood-style pretense of stealing from the wealthy to give to the poor.

The first expropriation took place in 2016, and Nicolás Maduro promised to boost production to 100 million diapers per month, which have been conspicuously absent from supermarkets. As for the second, the evidence of what went down is in a despicable video where Aragua governor, Rodolfo Marco Torres, celebrated the production of the first box of cereal after the intervention.

But the government hasn’t only tried to establish a narrative of how good they’re with the poor; they’ve also tried to exert loyalty, revealed when 17,000 PDVSA employees (47% of the payroll) were laid off in 2003 after the oil strike. Many of them, by the way, ended up boosting the industry in Argentina.

Today, practically all State-owned companies are run by ignorant soldiers close to Nicolás Maduro. That’s why PDVSA and Corpoelec, two of the most important companies in the country, are run by generals Manuel Quevedo and Luis Motta Domínguez. Because that’s how it must be: people who only know about guns are trying to boost oil production and solve the electrical crisis.

Today, practically all State-owned companies are run by ignorant soldiers close to Nicolás Maduro.

It’s common to hear opposition leaders and many citizens in the country say that the country needs people with training in various areas (economists running the economy, teachers helming education, oil engineers leading PDVSA, electrical engineers heading Corpoelec). No more corrupt soldiers in strategic posts destroying the little that remains to hold on to power and get even richer.

But the State cares very little about this demand. They control all public power and decide what to do, nobody can stop them. They go harder and faster on each of their absurd decisions, not looking back.

And why should they care, if they don’t suffer the consequences?

 

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