sábado, 28 de febrero de 2015

WOLA: slowly starting to see the Venezuelan tragedy

As the Venezuelan crisis mounts the last presentation made by Professor David Smilde at WOLA, the Washington Office for Latin America, showed less of a bias in favor of the Venezuelan regime.  Please see:
I have no doubt Professor Smilde is trying to be impartial but he still clings to the idea that the Venezuelan government is just a bad government, still not accepting that it is a  corrupt, inept and murderous regime. Every one of these adjectives can be sufficiently documented.
In his presentation Professor Smilde made much emphasis on the economic side of the Venezuelan  problem. He was right in saying that basic foodstuffs, medicines and other are scarce. But he explained it  as a  problem of the government’s own creation, of dramatic economic mismanagement. He makes it sound as if the government always had good intentions but erred in its policies. Of course, this is not the case. The government is consciously, ideologically driven into actions that are ruining the country. It is not a matter of having good intentions but applying the wrong policies. It is a matter of ideological perversity.
Professor Smilde says that Maduro tries to follow Chavez’s model but lacks his charisma. This would seem to suggest that Chavez had it right. The reality is that Chavez’s model was already extremely harmful to the nation. Chavez’s model ran the country into the ground. Even when he was very ill, this corrupt leader had the perversity of running for president for the next six years, when he already knew he would not live for six more months. His campaign consumed billions of dollars, as admitted by former finance minister Jorge Giordani. . This is a fact that Professor Smilde glosses over.
Professor Smilde says that Maduro is ruining the Chavez’s legacy, one he defines as reformist and popular. He correctly says that Maduro’s popularity is now very low (currently is running below 20%). However, if I understood him correctly, he added that the regime can still turn things around, that the coming elections are not yet pre-determined. Chavismo, he says, is not over.
He talks about the coming legislative elections but does not mention that the elections will be monitored by the same corrupt officers, illegally selected.
One comment made by professor Smilde is unacceptable to democratic Venezuelans. He says that the chances for a succesful dialogue in Venezuela promoted by UNASUR have been compromised by the issuing of sanctions by the U.S.  against members of the Venezuelan government. This is absurd. Smilde should know that UNASUR  is run by Ernesto Samper, a man who became president of Colombia thanks to the drug cartels and is now an unconditional supporter of Nicolas Maduro. The dialogue they promote is a mechanism for maintaining Maduro in power.
For WOLA the Venezuelan situation still belongs into the realm of conventional political science. The reality is that it belongs into the criminal realm of human rights violations and failed states.  

3 comentarios:

Jacob Sulzbach dijo...

Ideological blinders are difficult things to remove once you put them on.  And obviously Professor Smilde's pair cover quite a bit.

But CYA rules!

Even now the pro-Chavista talking heads are preparing another "if only the Socialists had understood . . ." apology that will be traceable directly to similar excuses we have read for years.  The academics can see it coming now and they must cover themselves.  Events like these can make for such uncomfortable conversations over morning coffee.

How said it is that so many good Venezuelans must still be hurt before reality forces a change of system.

Anónimo dijo...

Socialism good, socialists can do no wrong, hate America, it's all a capitalist plot, it's all George Bush's fault, hate Israel all from the comfort of their cushy bourgeois home in the suburbs. Only 2 ways to get these brainwashed liberal types to face reality - take their money or hit them in the head with a club. The rest of the time they are floating in the Marxist utopia dream fantasy.

jeff house dijo...

Prof. Smiled prides himself on evenhandedness, of the sort that wants to provide both sides on questions such as whether tobacco is harmful, or vaccines cause autism.

Recently, he wrote about the Venezuelan justice system, but, characteristically pulled punches to allow the regime its fig leaf. So, he writes: "Time and again, the Supreme Court supported the government position", but he didn't say: "The President of the Criminal Appeals section of the Criminal Court has stated under oath that their decisions were dictated by the Executive branch, under threats of death to the justices." He might have mentioned how Justice Afiuni got incarcerated and raped for a decision she made, against government interest, too. Presumably he knows these details, but once you include them in your analysis, you have to admit that it's basically a criminal regime. Prof. Smilde won't do this, except postmortem of the regime.