I would have preferred another death | Luis Britto Garcia


At the beginning of 1988, the Campaign Command of the Democratic Action candidate, Carlos Andrés Pérez, undertook a delicate task: to disguise an International Monetary Fund Package with revolutionary or pseudo-revolutionary language. At the moment, the party has been in power for 23 years and the country has suffered three decades of bipartisanship. The results are not outstanding. According to those who write the program  Government Action for a Modern Venezuela, an “insufficient and distorted non-oil productive apparatus” persists, which “does not have the capacity to adequately supply the domestic market”, nor does it “generate an equitable structure of employment and income”. "Child malnutrition can become a threat to the future of Venezuela", there is a "deterioration of the middle class", a "noticeable decline in their living conditions", while "the weakest slide insensibly towards the economy subsistence poverty and social problems have worsened in recent times.


They are deficiencies whose solution would require joint revolutionary action of the people and the government. Instead, they are expected to be solved by the capitalists and international finance that partly caused them, by handing them full powers. It is an unpalatable pill, which must be browned. Whenever a measure is unpleasant, the Action program he disguises it with a euphemism. To announce the rise in interest rates, he says he will "make them more flexible." Eliminating subsidies and transfers of social interest is "sincere" them. The same expression is used to increase prices and rates. The removal of protectionist measures is "liberation." The elimination of tariffs for imports is "rationalization". Charging capital gains tax from users for works that have been carried out with the money they paid for taxes is “sharing responsibilities”.


More gloomy is the masking of expressions that offer the delivery of public companies and oil wealth to foreign capital: "Opening to the capital market of state companies through mechanisms compatible with diversification and strengthening of assets." "The development of the domestic oil industry, even inviting the participation of foreign investment to guarantee access to international markets." "We will guide the external financing policy towards obtaining positive net transfers from abroad", that is, new debts. With good reason, the then president of the democratic action Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela, Juan José Delpino, complained that, after almost three decades, "businessmen have a voice that is heard more in Miraflores than ours."


in Government actionthe offers to the ruling classes contradict the promises to the dominated classes. How to stop malnutrition, if subsidies are eliminated, prices and interests rise? How to improve the standard of living by raising prices and rates? Likewise, the offers to transnational capital contradict the promises to the national bourgeoisie. The payment of the debt requires denying the subsidy in preferential dollars on which the national capital lives; eliminating tariffs means leaving you defenseless against foreign competition. The populist state promises handouts, when it only distributes sacrifices.  


Of course, the program Government action… It has minimal diffusion, and its conclusions are not even mentioned in the electoral campaign, dominated by a personalist slogan: "El Gocho para el 88." Carlos Andrés Pérez presents himself as a candidate above all controversy, refusing to discuss with the Christian Social aspirant the issue of the dispute over the Gulf of Venezuela. In another wedge, it is bathed in a deluge of gold paper similar to that of gold coins that consecrated the ancient tsars. Another wedge showed the hands of the action-democratic leader waving; and then, the hands of workers who squeezed milk from an udder (Venezuelan substitute for the horn of plenty), accompanied by the jingle"Those hands you see are from Carlos Andrés." By miraculous alchemy, the production of goods seemed to be done entirely by the candidate. The last quarter of the year, jingle “Already Carlos Andrés won” appeared with images that presented sets of gaitas, men and women waving pompoms and white banners; three actors characterized as wise men, with golden crowns and robes; a forest of hands raising white banners; a conjurer who drew a white dove out of nowhere; hands sealing the two white cards. Carlos Andrés was a perennial merriment, spectacle, magical characters who bring gifts, a magician who takes things out of nowhere. This make-up makes it easy for it to be chosen and celebrated in a rousing ceremony at the Teresa Carreño Theater, which the people buzz-nicknamed "the Coronation."


It is one thing to make up Neoliberal Packages with euphemisms and another to apply them. The Coronation is followed by the signing of a Letter of Intent with the International Monetary Fund, and this is followed by the disappearance of essential goods in shops, which are hoarded to be sold later at "free" prices. The rise in gasoline and transportation tickets continues the popular uprising of the Caracazo of February 27, 1989, repressed at the cost of thousands of lives, and to this the military rebellion of February 4, 2002.


For the ruling classes, Carlos Andrés Pérez is no longer the Messiah who manages the masses by making up neoliberal programs. Prosecutor Ramón Escobar Salom accuses the President of embezzlement; The Supreme Court of Justice considers it appropriate: Rubio's Restless Boy goes from Miraflores to the Los Teques checkpoint and is expelled from Democratic Action, which never wins an election again. "I would have preferred another death," he murmurs when his sentence is announced. But he himself has signed his sentence, by handing over the sovereignty of Venezuela to foreign capital by signing the International Monetary Fund Package. Peace to his remains, and horror to his example.


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