Today, Venezuela has to “celebrate” its entry, once and for all, into the totalitarianism of the 21st century summed up in the announcements made by President Reelect Hugo Chávez Frías this Monday, January 8.
While it is true that President Chávez had announced that, in this new term of office, he was going to radicalize the socialist process under his command, very few expected he would do it so swiftly, so radically or make such a broad sweep.
Here are some of the most outstanding “pearls” he announced:
Nationalization (read control by the State or, what is the same in these times, total control by Chávez) of everything that had previously been privatized. He made special mention of taking control of CANTV and all companies having to do with sovereignty, security and the defense of the nation (Sidor, for example). If one recalls the administrative chaos that reigned in CANTV before privatization or simply looks at the inefficiency that has always prevailed at Cadafe, there can be no doubt that the performance of these companies will decline drastically once they pass into the hands of the present administration; a situation that will be exacerbated if, as is its wont, it fires qualified employees, technicians and managers who do not sympathize with the regime and replaces them with people selected arbitrarily because they are “family” or party members.
The request for an Enabling Law (or a “mother law” as he called it) that would give the President special powers for passing revolutionary laws at his whim, nationalizing the electricity sector, putting all international companies, such as the PDVSA crude upgraders, under the control of the state, and implementing reforms in order to complete the task of transforming Venezuelan society into one of totalitarian communism after the style of Mao Tse Tung or Stalin. And if anyone, like the Venezuelan Synod, still had any doubts as to what his “socialism” means, he recommended reading Karl Marx and Lenin.
Chávez defined the four engines that he will be driving forward: a) Socialist Constitutional Reform; b) education of the people to “rout the old values of capitalism and individualism”; c) the new geometry of power over the people’s map to achieve a “symmetrical relationship throughout the nation’s territory (goodbye to decentralization and the autonomy of regional and municipal governments); and d) “the revolutionary explosion of community power” (read another way of getting each and every citizen to toe the autocrat’s line).
And lastly, he confirmed the closure of RCTV and any other communication medium that opposes him. Nor did he miss the opportunity to insult the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, who he called a “jerk,” saying that he would call for his resignation and that he would confront him in any international forum where he finds him. Insulza’s “sin” was to ask the government to reconsider the closure of RCTV.
What VenEconomy gives most cause for concern in this attack on democracy, freedom and the market economy is the apathy and passivity of the opposition to this confiscation of the traditional values of the Venezuelan people. Where are the leaders who will help to give voice to the opposition and organize decisive, coherent action to confront the outrages of this dictatorial regime? Tomorrow will be too late.
This column is based on an editorial in VenEconomy. Republished with permission.