El Nacional published an article today in which it argues that since becoming president in 2013, Maduro is an expert not at acting to achieve concrete results, but at talking.

The article points out that since coming to power in April 2013, Maduro has spoken on television for 850 hours, or 35 days. Since April 20 of last year, Maduro has starred in 732 televised ceremonies.

Since April 20 of last year, Maduro has announced 122 “special measures”, and has created 84 special bodies/committees to carry out these measures.

Alberto Martinez, an economist at the Universidad Simon Bolivar, spoke on Maduro’s fondness for announcing initiatives and grandiose measures, saying:

All of those proposals end up staying on paper and have no connection to reality. This government isn’t realistic: it lives in fantasy. They think that by declaring things those things become real, but that’s not how it works. They never talk about how they will successfully accomplish what they propose.

The article points to the Plan de Alimentacion Escolar [School Nutrition Plan] (PAE) as the perfect example of the disconnect between Maduro’s talk and concrete results.

In December 2014, Maduro met with 15,000 mothers in a Caracas stadium to announce the plan, saying:

You can start developing school orchards to turn out educational units into productive units. I’m now approving Bs. 111 million to start the first orchards in the country. Your work is to put an end to junk food [in schools].

According to Olga Ramos from the Observatorio Educativo de Venezuela [Venezuela Education Watch], the PAE actually posted some of its worst years in 2015 and 2016. Ramos said:

The scarcity at Mercal and PDVAL [state-owned supermarkets], which supply schools, impedes the assignment of materials and on top of that their quality has really gone down. The orchards could act as a teaching tool, but they could never meet a school’s requirements because their production depends on the seasons, and that’s not enough.

El Nacional also points out that Maduro has proposed at least three major economic recovery plans since December 30 2014. With an inflation rate that could hit 700% by the end of the year and the worst scarcity crisis in living memory, the plans have not worked.

Santos: Venezuelans Staying in Colombia

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that his government is concerned over the fact that many Venezuelans who have crossed into Colombia over the past week appear to be intent on settling in the country. Santos said that there appears to be a growing “invasion problem” due to Venezuelans refusing to return to their country.

While the word invasion can literally mean “invasion” in the military sense, it can also mean “squatting”.

Maduro ordered the entire 2,219 kilometer border with Colombia closed last August in an attempt to combat the economic crisis in Venezuela. After weeks of negotiations, the neighbouring countries decided to re-open the border last week, first to pedestrian traffic.

Venezuelans suffering through the country’s worst economic crisis in decades have taken the opportunity to travel to Colombia to shop for food and other basic necessities that are desperately scare in Venezuela.

Speaking on the issue of the illegal Venezuelans in Colombia, Santos said:

This is a problem that we will have to deal with, and we already have a few ideas about how to administer it.

Santos said that since the border re-opened last week, 381,000 Venezuelans have crossed over into Colombia. He said that out of that number, 76% have crossed for “commercial reasons”, meaning that they were there to shop.

Allup: Chavez, Maduro “Mentally Ill”

National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup wrote a scathing attack against Maduro and Hugo Chavez on his Facebook account earlier today, suggesting that Chavez suffered from mental illness and that Maduro – while also insane – is a coward.

In his typically tongue-in-cheek, verbose and colourful tone, Allup lashes out against the legacy that Chavez left Maduro, and Maduro’s unwillingness to fix the country’s problems. After arguing that both Maduro and Chavez are examples of rulers with mental illnesses, Allup jokingly suggests that all future rulers must first pass a psychiatric exam before holding office.

Below, my translation of Allup’s post, which he titled “Those Sick Men Who Governed Us”:

It would be truly unjust to blame the the devout son, the failed heir, the kind of executor [Maduro], for the misery that has been thrown upon this nation by the psychopathic father [Chavez] who aside from squandering and allowing the looting of the most immense wealth that any country has ever had also left it destroyed, hungry, sick, divided and hopeless. However, it would also be unjust to blame the continuation of this calamity only on his [Chavez’s] influence from the grave, or only on the son’s devotion for the father, when in reality this is all a consequence of his [Maduro’s] sick cowardice. Maduro does not even govern his own house, and in the numerous occassions in which he has tried to make something to sort of fix this national tragedy engendered by the fetish now buried in the Military Mausoleum [Chavez], someone, either by ill or good will, [reminds him] that he cannot fix even the smallest bit of what the Eternal Commander [Chavez] has left him, and that the sacrosanct principles of the brew that is the chavista revolution must be upheld even if the entire country starves to death and admitting that anything is going wrong is not permitted, nor is it [to admit that] any of the undeniable problems from which we suffer are a consequence of that actions of the pathological conduct of that illustrious deceased nor of the model that he imposed based on his image and likeness so that he could live on until the end of time.

I have mentioned the words “cowardice” and “pathology”, but not to lay blame on one and not the other. No. Maduro is a coward for not daring to fix even the smallest bit of this mess, something which is in his power and yet he does not act. And when I say pathology I refer to that part of medicine that studies diseases, including mental ones which are very dangerous because they are unseen but cause damage. Neurosis, defects, phobias, obsessions, complexes, schizophrenia, paranoia and others are diseases like any other, generally more difficult to heal and generally incurable but rather [have a tendency to] get worse. If we are talking about mental illnesses, the patient matters. If [the patient] is an ordinary person the problem is mundanely individual and ordinary. But if the patient is the President of the Republic, then this is a serious thing because the patient then does not even realize [that he is sick] (generally those who are insane do not realize that they are insane even though they act it} and the victims of the disease end up being all of the citizens of the country.

Let us not believe either that we are the only country to have fallen into the prying hands of one mentally ill. No. [Neither that] this pig sty [the PSUV] with revolutionary aspirations is original. I have re-read a book called Aquellos Enfermos Que Nos Gobernaron [Those Sick Men Who Governed Us] (Pierre Acocce and Pierre Rentchinick. Plaza y Janes, Editors. Barcelona, 1977), where they talk about the pathology  of 28 rulers, among them Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Mao, and the consequences that their psychopathic personalities had on their nations and the world. On occasion, the damage continued beyond their physical existence because people still feared them after their deaths. In other cases, the consequences carried on because those who succeeded them did not fix anything, some because they were cowards, others because they took advantage of the situation without bearing the blame for having caused it.

I suggest that in the future one of the requirements for holding public office is the passing of a psychiatric test and corresponding electroencephalogram.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com
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