Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hugo is playing with fuego

I have put up with Hugo Chavez's many sins (except his friendship with the louse in Iran) because he cracks me up. And because he has done some stuff for the poor. However, I think now he is starting to suffer from acute megalomania, seeing probably as he does, that his pal Fidel has held on for centuries and is never going to die. Hugo has decided to start inching his country towards a dictatorship. He has the support of most of the poor, who tend to be ignorant and uneducated because the rich have made sure they stay that way. Now Chavez is talking about:

  • Removing term limits for the presidency, and extending the term of office from six years to seven

  • Bringing in a maximum six-hour working day

  • Increasing presidential control over the central bank
  • Strengthening state economic powers, allowing the government to control assets of private companies before a court grants an expropriation order.
By passing these laws through an unanimously Chavezian National Assembly and then, apparently, a referendum, he feels confident that the majority will be on his side, even though all the rich and the middle class hate his guts. The guy's term expires only in 2012, which is an eternity from now, and he is already talking about extending it. He is courting fate. If oil goes down for whatever reason, or if he keeps fucking up, people may not be as patient. There is already and will certainly be more of a flight not only of capital, but also of capable professionals, so he should take these things into account. Probably he thinks that he can get rich with oil, screw the rich and fool the poor, while he and his cronies get rich. Welcome to Latin America. Plus ça change.
I certainly hope the Venezuelan people who love him, as poor and benighted as they may be, are smart enough (and they are) to understand that giving him this unlimited power will get them a dictatorship and endless misery of a different kind. Unless he intends to extricate them from their ignorance and poverty so they can survive without a middle class or the rich, it will be a disaster.
This serves as a perfect example of why keeping the poor uneducated is ultimately a very bad idea all around the world (Mexico, take heed).
1. Because they remain eternally poor, they are the albatross around everybody's neck and resentful of the middle class. People think the poor are cheap but I think that they are very costly, not to mention unsightly.
2. Because they swallow the bullshit from a charismatic populist such as Chavez and are loyal to him forever, whether he throws the country to the dogs or not. Same almost happened with AMLO in Mexico.
With an education they simply may not be as gullible, or as poor.
So now the Venezuelan well to do are going to probably abscond to Miami with all the money and the know how and they will leave the poor to live off Chavez's demagogic largesse, which he owes entirely to oil and the gift of gab.
But you can never get news from his quarters without something hilarious, and this was no exception:
He is going to institute a 6 hour workday. This is hysterical in a country where I'm told people show up almost two hours late and they think you are batshit insane to expect an apology.
I personally know someone who had an employee who arrived two hours late and when she complained, he calmly told her she was a stuck up brat. She fired him on the spot. There was talk of an overreaction on her part. I would have gone straight for his neck, set him on fire and thrown him out the window.
I know that many Venezuelans work very hard, but come on, a six hour day? Not even the French have such gall.

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