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Carabobo day: Venezuela as a military regime

By Daniel Duquenal | Venezuela News and Views

25.06.05 | Today we commemorated our decisive battle in our independence war. Just as many were protesting our loss of independence in front of the embassy of the senile dictator of Cuba. Indeed, even though the mayor of Baruta refused to give the permit for the rally, some opposition NGO, and some not so NGO, did manage a respectable protest march to the Cuban embassy. With protests on the planned education law, it seems that timidly the opposition is renewing with street demonstrations.

Meanwhile a president scared of his own shadow scorned the traditional Carabobo field of glory to lock himself up in Fuerte Tiuna military installation where he did try to put up a show. Of course, probably stung by the strong criticism of his intention to have Castro shamelessly be given the sponsorship of a graduating military class, he used the opportunity to criticize again the US and Bush of all the evils that beset the world, with of course no self criticism for his own inability to control Venezuelan corruption for example, or his incompetence not to be able to control Carabobo access (or was that he was afraid that few people would show up, not even would be assassins?)

But we are getting used to the same constantly regurgitated mash of his discourse. What we were not ready to learn was that now non military citizens are second class citizens in Venezuela. Chavez announced during the parade speech that he was increasing the paychecks of army personnel by up to 60%!!!!!! Now this is outrageous!

First, in May of this year Chavez "granted" a 26% increase on minimal wage. The "official" inflation is "only" less than 20% expected for the year. Why do the army get 50 to 60% increase? What are the real inflation numbers? Why do the poor get screwed once again?

Second, the army is part of many business deals in Venezuela. It also gets plenty of privileges (see for example the extensive housing constructions on military bases!). Not to mention its participation in social programs such as food distribution schemes which obviously benefit also the soldiers handing out the food stuff.

How can we explain such a gross inequality between the treatment to civilians and the favors to an army that has nothing left of an army, an army that could not resist an invasion because instead of controlling guerilla at our borders it has learned to invade our lives and our pockets?

Well, there are two explanations I can think of.

Chavez is really scared of the army. The rumors we heard are true. He is not managing to get the control of it he seeks. So he is trying to buy them off.

Or we are officially under a military regime and today's announcement is just the "official" announcement. As the ruling caste, the army decides how much of a paycheck it gets and how often it gets it. No need to go to the National Assembly to get the necessary credits, the budget office will have to manage. Tough luck for civilians. We can only congratulate the Venezuelan army for having reached highest power without having had to make a coup, and without even having to be responsible of running the country as the presiding fake civil administration will take all the blame of the failed policies.

The reader may chose. Or come up with a better explanation if possible.

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