Upside down

Pasqualina Curcio
 
25/04/2017

One hundred thirty years ago, after visiting wonderland, Alice went through a mirror to discover the world in reverse. If Alice were to be reborn in our days [and in Venezuela], she would not need to go through any mirrors; it would be enough to look out the window.
Eduardo Galeano

1. Venezuela is one of the few countries, if not the only, with a dictatorial regime whose dictator exercises tyranny after having abandoned office– and who, as a dictator, commits a self-coup. In January 2017, the National Assembly, with the vote of the opposition majority, decided that President Nicolás Maduro had left office. A month later, the same representatives incorporated it into their discourse that we were under a dictatorship headed by the President of the Republic (the same one who had left office a month before). And a month later, already being dictator, and according to the same representatives, this president launched a coup d’état.


2. Between 1958 and 1998, in 40 years, 24 electoral processes were carried out, an average of 1 election every 2 years. Since 1999, in 18 years, there have been 25 elections, including recall and constitutional referendums – on average, almost two elections a year. There have been 3 elections the last 4 years, since 2013. According to the opposition, since 1999, Venezuelans have been subjected to a dictatorial regime, increasingly tyrannical, especially after 2013.


3. Out of over 1,000 radio and television stations which the government has granted licenses to operate, 67% are private, 28% are in the hands of communities and 5% are state-owned. Out of the 108 newspapers, 97 are private and 11 public. 67% of the Venezuelan population has access to the internet. According to the opposition, there is no freedom of expression in Venezuela.


4. The President of the Republic, in the exercise of his functions, during the 6-year presidential term, in the face of acts of violence by local factors seeking economic, social and political destabilization, has called the opposition to a dialogue for peace. The opposition does not attend to the call; instead it promotes acts of violence in the streets. The president is a tyrant and a dictator; those who are pro-democracy are those of the opposition.

5. All political organizations (parties) are in a renewal process announced by one of the five public powers, the National Electoral Council. All of them have answered the call for renewal. Regional and municipal elections are around the corner. Meanwhile, leaders and followers of the opposition shout: We are in a dictatorship!

6. “In Venezuela, all human rights are being violated, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter must be applied”, affirmed, Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, while he was in Washington, D.C. Simultaneously, in Geneva, the United Nations overwhelmingly approved the Universal Periodic Review submitted by Venezuela, an examination to monitor the human rights situation in each of the 193 member countries of the UN.


7. The extreme right, which opposes the government, finances and promotes acts of violence and terrorism. It blocks streets, avenues and main arterial roads; it attacks schools and health facilities. In a fascist, terrorist and insane act, they used mercenaries to siege and set fire to the “Hugo Chávez Frías Maternal and Infant Hospital” in El Valle, where 58 newborns and women who were about to give birth or had just done so were suffocated by the smoke. According to the opposition, this was the responsibility of the national government, for having controlled the situation, dispersed the mercenaries and evacuated the babies and women.

8. There is a shortage of certain foods, medicines and hygiene products. The companies in charge of their production, importation and distribution, the large transnational companies, have received, from the national government, foreign currencies at preferential rates. They have received raw materials at subsidized prices. They have increased the price of products by almost 4,000% in less than a year (2016). The Venezuelan people stand in long lines to acquire these products. Goods remain absent from the shelves. In Venezuela this situation is not because of the inefficiency of the private enterprises; it is a failure of the socialist model.

 

9. Although the price was increased by 3,700% (from 19.00 bolivars in March 2016 to 700.00 bolivars in December), a figure well above the annual inflation rate, hundreds of customers stand in long lines to acquire the pre-cooked corn flour for the “arepa” (the daily bread of Venezuelans). The owners of the companies, watching all their clients face long lines to acquire their products, responded by reducing the production of this flour by 80%.

10. It is heard in radio opinion programs, especially in those with an editorial line strongly against the government: “We are in the worst economic crisis; we require humanitarian aid; we are dying of hunger; there is no food; we demand that the government open the international humanitarian channel”. Then we hear from the same stations: “And now for a commercial break … We invite you to visit Restaurant ‘X’ where you can taste a variety of meat and fish and exquisite desserts, located in such and such street; bring the whole family this weekend…” “Dear friend, are you going on holiday this Easter? Don’t miss coming to Supermarket ‘Y’ where you will find everything you are looking for: variety and freshness at good prices to enjoy an excellent holiday and rest as you deserve.” End of commercials: “Now we return with our guest for today, an expert on the economy, and we continue talking about the urgent need to open the humanitarian channel for Venezuela due to the lack of food.”


11. During the last 4 years, farmers have fully supplied the fruits and vegetables consumed by the Venezuelan people. These are small-scale producers, without much financial capacity to withstand difficult economic and financial situations. The large national and transnational agribusiness companies, large monopolies and oligopolies with the capacity to cartelize, and undoubtedly with great financial muscle, have not supplied the people despite receiving subsidized raw materials and foreign currency at a preferential exchange rate.

12. Between 1980 and 1998, within the framework of the neoliberal capitalist system, poverty increased along with economic growth. In 1999, with the popular approval of a new Constitution, the economic along with economic growth. In 1999, with the popular approval of a new Constitution, the economic and social model changed to one based on social justice. Since that year, increases in production have meant decreases in poverty. For some Venezuelans, the socialist model, which was approved in 1999, failed.


13. The main Venezuelan state company, Petróleos de Venezuela, supplies 95% of the country’s foreign currency. Another 4% comes from other state enterprises. Private companies generate the remaining 1%. In Venezuela, private companies are “efficient and successful”; those of the state are “inefficient”.

14. In Venezuela, the value of the currency in the illegal market is the marker of domestic prices of the economy. When intentionally and disproportionately manipulated, those values in illegal markets induce inflation. The government, in the face of the induced inflation, in order to protect the purchasing power of the working class, decrees salary increases. The one responsible for inflation is the government for having increased wages and not the terrorists of the economy who have manipulated by 38.732% the illegal exchange rate from 2013 to date.

15. Domestic production per capita in Venezuela for the last 4 years is, on average, 9% higher than in the last 30 years. The unemployment rate is historically the lowest in 30 years, 6.6%. Venezuela is in the “worst” crisis and in economic “chaos”.

16. The main industries in the pharmaceutical sector, which import, produce and distribute more than 90% of medicines and medical surgical supplies in Venezuela, received from the government US $ 1,660 million to import at a preferential rate in 2008. In 2015 they received US $ 1,789  million (more than in 2008). In 2008 there was no shortage of medicines; there was one in 2015. It is the government who is responsible for the lack of medicines.

 

17. Venezuela paid more than 60 billion US dollars in foreign debt commitments during the last 4 years. It did so fully and punctually. Venezuela is rated as the country with the highest financial risk index in the world.

18. Citibank abruptly decided to close the national government’s bank accounts through which payments and transfers were made to comply with financial and commercial commitments abroad. The reason was that the Venezuelan state is very risky. Citibank did not close the accounts of private individuals. Perhaps the Venezuelan state is very risky because it has the main oil reserve in the world, the second largest reserve of gas, as well as some of the largest reserves of freshwater, coltan, diamonds, gold, and other resources. Such a condition must involve a lot of risk for Citibank.

19. In the Ayacucho Hall of the Miraflores Palace, seat of the Executive Power, on April 12, 2002, Pedro Carmona Estanga was proclaimed President of the Republic, after a coup against President Hugo Chavez. In this event of self-proclamation, the following decree was read: “All representatives of the National Assembly, the president , the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice, as well as the General Attorney, the General Comptroller, the National Ombudsman, and members of the National Electoral Council are suspended.” Those present at this act in which all public powers were dissolved by a decree that constituted the greatest offense to the National Constitution, shouted excitedly: “freedom and democracy!”

20. Those who shouted “freedom and democracy!” on April 12, 2002 in the Ayacucho Hall, today approved the supposed abandonment of office of the President. They are the ones who today shout “down with the dictator!” referring to the constitutionally elected president with the majority of the votes of the Venezuelan people. In the eyes of some, they are the democrats.


21. Some Venezuelans are heard, perhaps confused or misinformed, saying: “I hope the United States’ Southern Command has decided to invade us, thus ending this failed model, and the country would prosper.” Iraq, Libya and Syria, to mention some countries bombed and invaded by the United States, are at war, have not prospered, and are destroyed. Do you have an example of a country invaded by the United States that has prospered?

22. Venezuela is an extraordinary and unusual threat to the interests of the United States. That was decreed by Barack Obama, president of the greatest empire and world military power, responsible for invasions and wars.

Venezuelan patriots, people of peace, insist that it is the other way around.

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