Venezuela, our history is of failure.
We have achieved nothing and we will achieve nothing if we do not change.
When Venezuela won its independence from Spain, sealed in 1824, it was our first and last great victory…Political, military or otherwise. Simon Bolivar, was the undisputed leader of this uprising (He sent firing squads to execute any rivals, such as Manuel Piar). History, from the venezuelan point of view, says that Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia were also freed thanks to Bolivar´s leadership; Bolivia (Formerly Alto Peru) is named after him.
After that moment of brilliance, luck, spanish idiocy or however you want to call it, we have suffered setback after setback ever since…So i challenge the notion that, in this country, “there can be a better future” while keeping our system, our culture and our way of life the same.
Although we are probably in the lowest moment of our modern history, i have tried again and again to explain that socialism (I have always said that socialism in Venezuela is just a name) has little to do with our problems. Of course, “socialism” exacerbates our problems, but these come from deeper roots than just a political ideology, at least in our case. In the early 1990´s we faced similar issues (albeit in a less harsh way) and the fashion trend in politics back then was neo-liberalism.
What does this mean? It means that since Venezuela became oil dependent, we share the same fate as this resource: if there is an oil boom, we have a great economy, if there is an oil crash, we´re broke. It´s that simple. And that is what venezuelans know as an economy. Our country just lives off its resources exactly like a rent(Oil, gold, iron ore, diamonds, etc).This easyness, historically linked to the venezuelan leaders, has been transferred to the public and that is very hard thing to fix.
If you study it closely, our history provides evidence that this is the case, even when oil was not part of our economy. In the beginning of the 20th century, the venezuelan economy was based in the export of coffee and cocoa beans, held in very high regard. When prices went down there was always a conflict. Without a diverse economy it is impossible to get by in this global world, but it is crucial to change our mentality. Can you believe than in a country as rich as mine, our main source of income (95%) is just one thing? When oil was discovered in our country, it displaced coffee and cocoa. This industry virtually vanished from our country. The oil rent is our way of life now.
Yes, the last 3 years of our history have been brutally hard. Chavez din´t build anything, he just expropriated and took credit for things. In the boom of oil in the first decade the 21st century however, he was hailed as a great man, a visionary, because he gave us prosperity. Everything was cool. What the hell? Chavez brougth prosperity?No he din´t…it was expensive oil that gave us ARTIFICIAL prosperity. But we do not learn
Chavez was not alone in this, it happened before in Carlos Andres Perez´s first stint as President of Venezuela in 1974. Oil prices were high and Perez nationalized the industry. It was a boom very much like the one Chavez enjoyed. Venezuela was the place to go. Then oil prices collapsed, the venezuelan economy took a downturn. Perez ran again for president in 1988 and won, because he gave us “prosperity” in 1974…Oil prices din´t help this time and Perez was kicked out. What did he bring? Nothing. Chavez? Nothing. But we do not learn…people keep blaming “socialism”. That´s too easy men, it´s our culture. You think giving away free stuff in this country started with Chavez? Ja! That´s funny. It´s deeply rooted in our political system ever since oil was discovered here and the rent economy started.
The same thing will happen in the future if people don´t change. I don´t see that happening, no leader has presented a real project of how the country can overcome this mess. It´s just a fight for power .