- Posted March 6, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your thoughts on Hugo Chavez
Chavez Legacy: A top 10
After Chavez departure, the path of destruction he left behind is pretty evident. Below the "greatest hits" of his legacy:
1. A divided country, where hatred has broken families and friendships.
2. A country riddled with crime, where the murder rate is among the highest in the world. Last year there were 21,700 murders, 5 times more than when he took power. Venezuela, with about 30 million people, has more violent crime than the US and the EU combined.
3. One of the most corrupt governments in the world. According to Transparency International, Venezuela is the third most corrupt country. And the many government officials driving Hummers, buying houses in Miami and spending tens of thousands of dollars in Paris, New York and London attest to this.
4. An economy in serious trouble, with out of control debt, an overvalued currency and rampant inflation. On top of this, sweetheart deals and giveaways to many countries, from China to Cuba, are bleeding the economy even further.
5. A decimated business park. Because of economic policies, expropriations and prosecution to free enterprise, in the last ten years the number of private companies dropped by 35%. As a result, Venezuela’s dependency on oil went from 77% to 96%.
6. A damaged oil industry.To add insult to injury, PDVSA today is running at 60% capacity. The company is plagued with lack of talent and a deep inability to deal with its operational challenges (The Company has not recovered from the dire loss of talent cause by the illegal mass firings of 2003). It has also been deeply politicized, and many of its resources are being misused for populist purposes. PDVSA runs a subsidized food distributing company, for instance. An oil company should be an oil company.
7. A country with crumbling infrastructure.During his presidency, the oil went from $9 to $129 per barrel. However, no major public works or improvements were started by his government, maintenance was ignored and the projects that had been started before he took over (like trains, subways and improvements to airports) slowed down to a crawl.
8. A completely deformed democracy.Some people argue that he got elected democratically, but this was after an obscene usage of state resources to prop up his candidacy. Also gone is the system of check and balances: all political institutions are in the hands of a single party, with complete disregard to the rule of law.
9. A destroyed work ethics. Because of the straight giveaways to low income people (known as “misiones”), and the inability of businesses to fire anyone (by law), a significant portion of Venezuelans simply refuse to work. This is perhaps the biggest damage to our country.
10. A global army of “useful idiots” that will praise him for what they saw from the outside. From Sean Penn and Danny Glover to millions of Twitter users, there will always be people praising him as a “revolutionary,” out of sheer ignorance and deep gullibility.
Many are mourning his passing, but all Venezuelans hope for the best. I do hope that his disappearance translates into a better future for my beleaguered country