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Earlier this week, when Maduro spoke about the “severe economic difficulties” affecting the country, he stoically proclaimed:

That’s life. Life is full of obstacles and difficulties…

Maduro’s appeal to Venezuelans to simply “suck it up” because that’s just how life is seems almost Churchillian in nature. Just as the British leader pushed his country forward through its darkest and most difficult years with his famous no-nonsense speeches (“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat) , Maduro appeared to be driving at a similar point with his comments this past August 12.

“Asi es la vida” [“That’s life”], a stern reminder from the country’s leader that life is indeed full of unpleasantness. Being aware of that fact, and trying to maintain a positive attitude and strong work ethic when life does get tough, is exactly the kind of thinking that has gotten our species this far.

Yet, behind Maduro’s otherwise sound advice is the simple fact that it is so hypocritical that it is devoid of any meaning. This is because Maduro lives a life of decadent luxury.

Carlos Barrizbeitia is a National Assembly deputy. He has been tracking presidential expenditure over the past 15 years, and recently released updated numbers on Maduro’s office spending:

Berrizbeitia brought the extravagant spending into perspective, saying:

There aren’t resources for hospitals, universities, food or medicine. The abundance and waste in Miraflores [the government] is an insult before the necessities of thousands of families across the country.

The PSUV’s willingness to increase Maduro’s budget and put up with his spending is evidence that the PSUV in general is not opposed to taking care of itself. For this reason, it would not be unreasonable to believe that any sufficiently high-ranking PSUV official enjoys similar financial benefits afforded to Maduro. This fact is unsurprising.

What is surprising, however, is the fact that Chavez’s daughters continue to live in the presidential residence a year and a half after their father’s death. Not only that, but Maria Gabriela Chavez uses the presidential airplane to go on trips and is also given a publicly-funded budget. On average, Maria Gabriela and her sister claim expenses to La Casona  – the presidential residence – to the tune of $3.4 million per day.

Maria Gabriela was recently awarded for her service to the nation with the alternate ambassadorship to the United Nations, a role to which she brings zero international or diplomatic experience.

It is clear that when Maduro said, “that’s life”, what he really meant was, “that’s your life.” This might be one of the reasons why the country’s problems are so dire and appear to be out of control. If the leadership is so completely disconnected from the everyday hardships and needs of the average citizen, how can they ever be truly compelled to help?

 

 

One thought on “Opinion: Lives of Luxury

  1. Pingback: September 28: Bolibourgeoisie | In Venezuela

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