In this letter I would like to summarize my opinion about your performance, so that it could be available to future students of early XXI century Venezuela.
When history about this period is written and your presence is long gone future Venezuelans will be able to understand in its true magnitude the disaster you created. This disaster has not been one-dimensional but financial, social, administrative, institutional and, especially, spiritual.
I will start by this last category. Beyond political ideologies the primordial duty of a chief of state is to unify the people around policies that promote national progress. To be able to do this he, she must utilize persuasion, exercise a truly inspiring leadership and maintain respect and tolerance for dissenters. These are essential components of democracy. You have done exactly the opposite. For 15 years you have sown hatred among our population, accusing the middle class of gains at the expense of the poor, calling us “apatridas” (stateless). Your attitude has been criminal and has created a deep cleavage in Venezuelan society, one that will only be repaired long after you are gone. You have been an anti-leader, not the leader the nation required.
In the institutional sector you have annihilated all autonomy of powers, a fundamental ingredient of democracy. No one can deny that our judicial and moral powers, as well as the National Electoral Council, the National assembly and the Armed Force are controlled by political eunuchs you have bought with money that belonged to the people. Every day we observe examples of the prostitution you have brought to our institutions with the help of oil money. Your actions have been openly criminal and deserve exemplary punishment.
Your main administrative duty was to use honestly and efficiently our national resources. You have failed, not in isolated cases, but in a systematic manner. You have turned Petroleos de Venezuela, the state-owned oil company into an importer and distributor of low quality food, often spoiled, and have subjected the company to chronic under investment. This has caused a drastic reduction in oil production and a serious deterioration of plant and equipment. You have converted the company into your preferred vehicle to obtain fresh money to finance your political plans. As a result the company now has a debt approximately 30 times higher than when you came into power. The development of the huge oil resources of the Orinoco region is at a standstill since you have placed the region in the hands of state-owned companies from socialist countries that lack the required capital or technology to do the job. Predictably not one single new barrel of upgraded oil has been produced from this region during your 14 years in power.
The industrial agglomerate of the Guayana region (CVG) is bankrupt. The country is now importing many of the products this complex used to produce and its affiliate companies no longer generate cash flow to pay their employees.
Ministries have proliferated, such as the Ministry of Prisons, under the management of a notorious friend of the criminals or the Ministry for Caracas Housing, run by a corrupt minister who gives government contracts to his private partner.
The social sector has been the fundamental claim to your popularity. Your strategy is based on direct subsidies: free medical attention, massive, low-amount scholarships, bonuses for special groups such as pregnant mothers and the handicapped, free or subsidized food and transport, houses to followers of your twitters. This could have been an acceptable strategy if it had been more transparent and accompanied by structural programs against poverty and for health and education. Since this has not been the case, the population has become more and more dependent on government handouts, in exchange for which you demand political loyalty. You handout fish but you do not teach people how to fish. When you are gone you will leave behind an immense legion of beggars.
In the financial sector you have wasted a record national income, more than one trillion dollars in your 14 years in power. No president has had so much money at his disposal. But there is little in Venezuela to show for it. Roads, buildings, universities, hospitals are lacking maintenance and no new significant public works have been built. Where is the money? We should look for it in Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, in the pockets of your government staff and friends, in Russia, as payment for the military toys bought from Mr. Putin; in Argentina, Mexico and Peru, given to presidential candidates of your choice. Although you claim that wealth is a perversion you have used Venezuelan money to buy $50,000 watches, $65 million airplanes and expensive clothing and to stay at the best hotels in the world accompanied by entourages of 50 or more persons, including cooks, doctors and bodyguards. The frequent visits to Cuba for medical treatment, where you hold cabinet meetings attended by all members of your cabinet, cost the nation some $300,000 per day.
And now you are running, once more, for president since you claim, quite cynically, that you are finally “learning to govern” and “need more time to consolidate the revolution”. You are financing your campaign with national resources, as has been convincingly documented. You are even getting the nation into new debt to finance your campaign.
If you were an honest person, truly concerned about the welfare of our nation, you would not try to stay in power, not only because of the disaster you have already created but also because you are in a lamentable physical and mental condition. You are shrewd enough to see that your followers will vote for you viscerally. They are no longer worried about what is best for the nation but about “winning”, about keeping the rich and the enemies of the “revolution” off the presidency. This is a primitive, Jurassic-like, political objective. You could have followed the examples of Mandela, Clavel, Cardoso, Lula or Betancourt but decided to throw your lot with Mugabe, Hussein, Gadhafi, Castro, Sure Shot Marulanda (FARC), Ahmadinejad and Lukashenka, the political underworld of our planet.
What I have said in this letter is not just an opinion. It can be documented, and in fact is already largely documented. Mr. Chavez: Your criminal record is gigantic and will serve to bring you to justice sooner or later. I will do all within my power to see that this is done.