miércoles, 3 de septiembre de 2008
We are used to Teodoro Petkoff’s brilliant descriptions of political and economic life in Venezuela and this paper, written for the InterAmerican Dialogue, is no exception ( "A Watershed Moment for Venezuela", by Teodoro Petkoff, View PDF Document). It is a powerful synthesis of what has been taking place in Venezuela during the last six or seven years of Hugo Chavez rule. Much of what Petkoff asserts is true and most events are described with objectivity. However, reading through the paper I have felt that if Petkoff had been an army tracker in the old U.S. west, he would have excelled at describing where the Indians were going but would have often recommended taking a different direction to that his own investigations suggested.I have the following specific comments on the paper: 1. Petkoff says that December 2, 2007 was “the first time Chavez had been defeated at the polls”. In this connection Jon Goicochea, the student leader has said that in the early evening of that day the opposition led by Borges, Rosales and Petkoff were ready to concede defeat and that they pressured for this not to happen. What is the truth of this allegation, coming from a leader who, so far, has much credibility? I have no idea of what really took place during those hours. 2. Petkoff accepts that the opposition won that referendum by a very narrow margin of 2% or so. However, the National Electoral Council never gave the final results and the Petkoff/Borges/ Rosales opposition never pressured to obtain the final tallies. I think they should have made an effort to ascertain the true margins because a wider margin of defeat would have meant a much weaker Chavez. 3. His discussion on charismatic leadership is excellent and explains much of the process of weakening Chavez is experiencing;4. Petkoff mentions “three coups” against Chavez: one in 2002, when “conspirators hijacked a massive rally and conspirators from the armed forces removed Chavez from power”. This conspiracy claimed by Petkoff is arguable. Many observers have described it as a sequence of events not pre-ordained: the march, the firing of Chavez’s snipers against the march; the orders of Chavez to the armed forces to implement a repression plan; the refusal of the armed force leaders to obey him; the request for his resignation. All of these steps are pretty well documented. Petkoff’s classification of this process as a planned coup is highly debatable. The other two “coup” attempts can also be classified as popular protests, aiming at rejecting Chavez within constitutional means (article 350 and a national strike). Calling everyone who participated in these events “coupsters” is extreme. Petkoff says: “PDVSA workers allowed themselves to be manipulated by reckless coup plotters into a senseless conflict”. As a member of the group of “coup plotters” I think that we were acting in defense of PDVSA as an institution and in defense of the national interest. Chavez had placed a president who was totally inept and hated the managers he was called to supervise. The country could not accept this situation passively. Petkoff says that the “extremists” wrongly accused Chavez of being a totalitarian dictator but he sure was pretty close to being just that. Later in the paper Petkoff himself speaks of “Chavez’s neototalitarian schemes”. 5. Although Petkoff says he was against what he calls "the coup", one of the first editorials praising the ousting of Chavez was Tal Cual’s (see below):EDITORIAL DE ´TAL CUAL´ VIERNES 12 DE ABRIL DE 2002 CHAO HUGO. Con mucha pena, causada en decenas de hogares venezolanos, y sin ninguna gloria, se acabó el régimen de Hugo Chávez. El arrogante Hugo Cadena, que disfrutaba anunciando su retiro para el año 2021, ha sido derrocado apenas tres años después de su espectacular ascenso al poder en olor de multitudes y rodeado de la esperanzada expectativa de los venezolanos. Hasta el final vivió en el delirio que lo mató y su última acción de gobierno fue verdaderamente criminal. Esa cadena de la tarde de ayer, grotesca, realmente kafkiana, fue deliberadamente realizada para cubrir la información sobre la masacre que los matones y francotiradores de Bernal perpetraban. Dada la emboscada montada a la manifestación, es obvio que Chávez sabía perfectamente que mientras hablaba sus hombres estaban asesinando a mansalva a decenas de compatriotas. Fue una acción de infamia sin antecedentes en la historia contemporánea del país.Culminaron así tres años francamente desastrosos, durante los cuales un demagogo incompetente, sin visión alguna de país, embaucó a los más pobres y humildes de nuestros compatriotas, jugando con su justificadísima ansia de justicia, manipulándola para construir un poder personal y personalista, barnizado con una retórica balurda supuestamente revolucionaria, que no hizo otra cosa que dividir al país en nombre de nada. Todo su discurso era aire, gas, puras pendejadas reiterativas, que se fueron desgastando irremediablemente, al calor de una gestión llena de improvisaciones y corrupción. Su peor enemigo fue él mismo. Hizo todo para caer. No hubo torpeza que no cometiera, error en que no incurriera. El propio Chacumbele.Restañ ar las heridas que deja el chavezato no va a ser fácil, pero reconciliar a los venezolanos es una prioridad. Los problemas sociales del país son espantosos y los más pobres de nuestros compatriotas deben saber que su suerte estará en el centro de las políticas nacionales del inmediato futuro, para que sus desgracias no sirvan nunca más de pedestal a aventureros y demagogos.Esta no es una hora de venganza sino de justicia. Los responsables de los asesinatos de ayer deben ser encontrados, para someterlos a juicio, comenzando por el propio Chávez. Los ladrones que acumularon fortunas obscenas, que saquearon el tesoro nacional, no pueden quedar impunes. Pero docenas de personas que de buena fe acompañaron a esta empresa demencial y que no tienen responsabilidad de sus disparates ni de sus robos, no tienen que pagar culpas de otros. Menos todavía puede pasarse factura a aquellos venezolanos que aun habiendo desempeñado cargos importantes en el gobierno, al apartarse de este contribuyeron significativamente a su erosión y descomposició n.Aquí no hay manera de resolver institucionalmente el cambio político habido. Vicepresidente, presidente de la Asamblea, presidente del Tribunal Supremo no sobreviven al colapso del chavezato. Esa línea de mando institucional murió con el régimen. Ya se verá como se resuelve el problema de las formas, pero la Junta de Gobierno tiene un único y fundamental cometido: conducir al pueblo venezolano a decidir prontamente el gobierno que se quiere dar para restablecer la continuidad democrática asentada en la voluntad popular. Porque a este pueblo maravilloso que somos nadie puede ni podrá arrebatarle su indomable voluntad de ser y permanecer libre por siempre. **6. Petkoff claims that the boycott of the 2004 electoral event delivered the national assembly into Chavez’s hands. This is technically true, except that this control already existed since Chavez had a simple majority in the assembly that he used to railroad the existing opposition. In fact, the ineffectual presence of the opposition in the assembly provided its actions with an aura of legitimacy. The boycott was much criticized both at home and abroad but it was not an illogical move in the light of the Venezuelan political situation. It did not work well, however, but probably not worse than the alternative of going to the polls to play the Chavez’s game. 7. Petkoff says that Rosales “graciously” conceded defeat in the 2006 elections. Conceding defeat is a sign of democratic spirit and fair play. What a large segment of the Venezuelan opposition felt was that he conceded defeat too early, when exit polls suggested that the opposition was doing well. 8. Petkoff mentions the delicate issue of the disqualification of candidates and rightly says that such a move by the government is anti-constitutional . If this is so and the constitution is the supreme law of the land, how can he say that there is a law that allows for this? Obviously the opposition cannot accept. I think Petkoff shows a weak side when, talking about the disqualifications, says: “In spite of the disqualifications”… the regional elections look favorable to the opposition. He seems to accept playing by Chavez’s rules. There is a danger tat the opposition, acting in such an accommodating manner, will be co-opted by the regime, becoming almost unknowingly an allied of the regime.9. Petkoff is right about the failure of the Chavez’ nationalizations or, rather, statifications, since there is no real nationalization involved in Chavez’s idea of state control. He is also right in his assessment of Chavez’s waning international influence.10. His ideas about oil being a legitimate political tool are highly arguable. He says that “ PetroCaribe is an appropriate response to the needs of the states” but certainly cannot be called an appropriate response to our Venezuelan national interest. We are pilfering a non-renewable resource, giving it away for, literally, beans, bananas and other products. How many bananas per barrel? And all to make Chavez look good in the eyes of those states and to buy their votes for the support of Chavez’s plans in the hemisphere. This is no ethical foreign policy. This is not, as Petkoff says, what foreign policy is all about. Foreign policy is about national interest, not about megalomania. What Chavez is doing with PetroCaribe is not even aid in the true, honest sense. This is more hypocritical than saying trade is preferable to aid. I do believe that trade is better. But Petkoff goes on to say that: “ No post-Chavez government should set these agreements aside”. I believe, on the contrary, that they should be cancelled the very day after Chavez leaves the presidency.11. Paraphrasing T.S. Eliot I learn much from what Petkoff does not say. In his paper he mentions oil policy and the aid strategy as Chavez’s tools for making political inroads but does not mention the two best examples of his mismanagement of our oil resources: The agreement with Cuba and the donation to Evo Morales of diesel oil and of great amounts of cash, the money being used by Morales in an illegal manner. The total lack of references by Petkoff on these very significant connections is hard to understand.12. Petkoff mentions an external debt of some $40 billion. The internal debt is almost as large, so that Venezuelan debt has tripled since Chavez came into power.13. Petkoffs conclusions are interesting. He says the Chavez regime is not a revolution, I agree and is not a classic Latin American dictatorship, I also agree. But he goes on to say that is not a dictatorship. I disagree: there are no checks and balances, there is no accountability, there is a military controlled administration, there is plenty of authoritarianism in the presidency, there is no accountability and no transparency, there is no respect for dissidence, there are political prisoners (“ only a dozen, says Petkoff. They are a dozen too many). Walks like a duck, looks like a duck, makes duck’s sounds but is not a duck? Give me a break, Teodoro.14. The term used by Petkoff of “a Bonapartist democracy” to define Chavez’s regime could be acceptable in academic circles but not in the streets of Venezuela, where food is scarce, crime is rampant, bureaucratic corruption is at an all time high and presidential abuses of power are the daily bread of citizens. Petkoff also fails to mention the possibility of the revoking referendum coming up in 2010 and seems content to wait until 2013 to vote him out of office, after there is little country left.In summary I have a feeling that the kind of “ loyal” opposition Petkoff advocates tends to play into Chavez’s hands, reinforces him at a moment in which he is weak and popular pressure should be increased. Sometimes I wonder if there is a terrifying, subtle version of the Stockholm syndrome taking root in the well meaning, honest and naïve loyal opposition to Hugo Chavez.
Tricofagia (ingestión de cabello o lana); Urofagia (ingestión de orina. Nota: La orinoterapia, o consumo de la orina por los presuntos beneficios médicos y de salud, no debe considerarse pica porque no corresponde a un apetito, sino a una decisión consciente). Urolagnia (ingestión de orina como un fetiche sexual); Xilofagia (ingestión de madera).
A continuación las reglas del Premio:
• Al recibir el premio, se ha de escribir un post mostrando el premio y se ha de citar el nombre del blog o web que te lo otorga y enlazarlo al post de ese blog o web que te nombra ganador.
• Elegir un mínimo de siete blogs (pueden ser más) que creas que brillan por su temática y/o su diseño, para otorgarles el premio. Escribir sus nombres y los enlaces a ellos en tu blog.
• Avisarles de que han sido premiados con el premio "Brillante Weblog", incluyendo en el texto las Bases del concurso, para que continúen la red.
Nuestros premiados son:
1.- Blog de Francisco Alarcón
2.- Blog de Luis Castellanos - El Humor es importante.
3.- Blog de Gustavo Cardoso - El problema ambiental que no podemos olvidar.
4.- Venezuela y su Historia - Quien no conoce su Historia está condenado a cometer los mismos errores.
5.- Movimiento Republicano
6.- Docentes del Aula
7.- El Blog de Ovario
8.- El Blog de Ana Julia Jatar
9.- De Libre Opinion Política
10.- Cine. Libros, Literatura
11.- Realidad Alternativa