Cultura e Società

Documento di Romulo Lander in Inglese


Caracas: February 24 2014


From: Romulo Lander Psychoanalyst

For: Friends and colleagues


Currently there is an important social revolt in all the streets of Venezuela. This revolt is included within the rights of citizens under the chapter of a legitimate civil disobedience. This is a right enshrined in the Constitution of Venezuela, chapter 333. This Civil Disobedience has its reasons. I consider it useful and ethical to report the causes of this revolt. The problem is that I can only offer my personal vision. It is possible that many scholars and thinkers, nationals and foreigners, may not agree with me. They may have another vision of all this events. This is something I respect. They may as well report it as freely as they wish. So, I will present to you my personal vision, presented in good faith and supported by some videos at the end of this note. The current civil disobedience express as an enormous civil turmoil has its origin in the ruin that is Venezuela today. This ruin has progressively developed over the last 14 years produced by a corrupt and incompetent government.


A necessary historical recount


As it is public knowledge, Venezuela has been governed for the last 14 years by a military authoritarian regime called Socialism-21. This government has maintained power thanks to electoral victories: some were legitimate,[1] others were fraudulent. I am convinced by reliable information received, that the last presidential election process, was a fraudulent process, and the adverse results for the government were electronically reversed at midnight on April 14, 2013. In Venezuela the electoral process is electronic. Therefore the current President of Venezuela is illegitimate. This illegitimate government exercised power through the support of Cuban foreign military forces and by the support of some official of the Venezuelan Armed Forces.


In Venezuela the public power is divided into 5 branches: the legislative branch, the executive, the judiciary, the citizen power and electoral power. The Constitution stipulates the administrative separation of these powers, so as to give opportunity to the balances of power and the emergence of democracy. Unfortunately in Venezuela all public branches are abducted and subjected to a single power: that of the executive branch since 14 years ago. It is clear: there is no separation of powers to allows the birth and existence of a democratic government.


During all these 14 years the management of public funds favored the looting of their wealth. These riches were dispossessed by the track of illicit enrichment and the track of the simple administrative corruption process. This corruption used the participation of multiple accomplices inside and outside the government. They were the perpetrators of the largest robbery ever remembered in the history of Venezuela. All the tangible wealth has disappeared, including the metal Gold reserves of the nation. In the present year, Venezuela has no international reserves from dollars to support its currency, nor the physical Gold, that should stand in the vaults of the Central Bank. The country is in ruins and financially bankrupt. There are no dollars and no Gold.


The oil industry [PDVSA] was destroyed when the executive branch dismissed by television in the year 2002 –to the sound of a sports whistle– 22 thousand oil engineers and specialized oil technicians. Immediately the majority of them, were absorbed by the international oil industry abroad, that is in need of competent specialists[2] . When the socialist-21 came to power in 1999 Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA] was an exemplary company in the world and with highly Venezuelan specialized staff. PDVSA produced almost 5 million barrels of oil per day and rising. The price was US$8 per barrel. Today 14 years later, they are producing 2 million plus of barrels per day and in decline. Half of that production comes from foreign companies contracted to produce it. The price has been since 12 years ago: US$100 per barrel. All the gigantic wealth received in dollars has disappeared. There are no major public works that bear witness to a significant investment. The government has tried to build major construction, but prior to the beginning of construction, all the millions of dollars allocated and delivered: disappear. Those responsible are reported in the national newspapers. There is no one responsible. The accused by the national media are sent abroad as diplomats. It is public knowledge that the culprits within and outside the government enjoyed total impunity. This is repeated again and again. The very few present mayor works in development are detained, stop and also indebted. 


The policy of the socialist-21 government [during all these 14 years] insisted to persecute and destroy the national industrial resources for allegedly be in the hands of so-called imperialism. The government also insisted on behalf of humble farmers, to persecute and confiscate agricultural resources and productive livestock. The humble peasants were not prepared to receive agro-business of advanced agricultural technology and successful livestock and in full production. In less than six months they were in ruin and closed. The original owners were out of the country or incarcerated without any legal reason. This supposedly new and improved agricultural production never materialized. The fields were abandoned and are now in ruins. From being an exporter of meat, we had to import all the meat we eat. From being an exporter of rice, bean, sugar, and coffee, now we do not produce anything. It is necessary to import everything we eat. Something curious: in Venezuela we put in bags the rice, sugar and coffee imported. The product is sold as Venezuelan, trying in vain to deceive the people. It also destroyed the hospital system: to replace it by a Cuban model that never arrive. The hospitals were and are in ruins. From Cuba the regime imported a health program called ‘Barrio-Adentro’ which is a first level health care service offered to the people inside the slums. This was a successful programs run by males nurses. This program lasted for a few years, until the majority of these male nurses run and escape to Miami. The ruin of the public hospitals produces an inevitable effect: the private hospitals are overcrowded and saturated. These private hospitals are also in crisis due to lack of medical consumables and proper supplies. 


A few months ago the regime started the destruction of the domestic commercial network. It was announced and unleashed as: the trade commercial war. It began when the President invited the people in television to the plundering of commerce. Then they loot hundreds of shops. Then the regime launched the fair prices war. They establish the prices of all merchandises without taking into account the replacement value, that is based on the illegal free dollar [that is the only existing dollar], nor the payment of the multiple bribes, before the product reaches to the commercial storage bins. Since these terms are not acceptable to the regime, the shops go bankrupt. It has not yet been determined the amount of shops closed and broken.


Out of the 15 thousand national productive industries that existed in the year 1999, today there are only 3 thousand companies operating throughout the country. This has increased the level of unemployment to alarming levels. The countless unemployed went to receive money from the regime, through what they call the ‘social missions’. They paid them without doing any work, to keep them calm. Now Venezuela produces nothing or almost nothing. Venezuela cannot self suffice in food: everything has to be imported. But the import consumes dollars. This consumption aggravates the availability of dollars. In addition there is a strict control of exchange rate that declares a value of the Bolívar. The official exchange rate is Bs.F 6.30 by 1 US$, to be offered by government only. Any one trading dollars is committing a crime. But to make things worse, this official dollars were and are: non-existent. So the only dollars available are traded in a clandestine and criminal manner to a value of Bs.F 90 by 1 US$. This crazy system: further increases inflation created by the shortages of products.


The inflationary effect of this problem is increasing. Today Venezuela has the highest rate of inflation of the world [59%]. The rejection of the government to employ highly qualify Venezuelan personnel is due to the existence of the infamous Tascon list.[3] This Tascon list policy contributes to the ineffectiveness of the regime. The basic industries of iron and aluminum are in ruins: do not produce any iron, nor aluminum. The few iron construction bars that are produced are originated in imported briquetted iron. Car factories are detained by lack of iron, aluminum and automotive parts that are imported. The electrical force is insufficient to meet the national demand. The cause of this insufficiency is negligence in maintaining and upgrading the electrical distribution network. But also incompetence and negligence in the construction of new hydroelectric power plants. The government does not employ competent professionals because they are all signatories of the infamous Tascon list. The entire workforce was brought from China and Iran. These primitive workers live, sleep and eat, in the work place. We must remember that the majority of the Venezuelan population ere not under the communist ideology. Today it has already started the return of these Chinese, Byelorussians, Iranians, because everything had stopped. There are no dollars. 


It happens that during the 2013 there is no ore dollars. Shortages of everything appeared progressively. There was a shortage of food, medicines, auto parts, batteries, spare parts for trucks, spare parts for tractors, shortages of tires, and so on. Absence of medical equipment, absence hospitals basic needs, absence of newspaper materials, absence of toilet paper, absence of inputs of graphic arts, and so on and so forth. For the population, it is clear, that Venezuela is in ruins. 


All this inflames the chronic social and street insecurity with and increase of frequency of the express kidnappings, robberies and theft. When any resistance to be assaulted and robbed appears, the delinquent shoot to kill. The current mortality rate in Venezuela is the highest in the world. The slogan of survival is to collaborate with whatever we are asking to do from robbers. We all avoid going out in the evening and avoid the red zones, the most dangerous areas of the city. What is a reality is the fact that this crimes are promoted by the regime: the regime wants to scare us and force to migration to the middle class and intellectuals. Thing strategy is producing some success. Many migrate because of insecurity and danger. Criminals enjoy impunity. These offenses are made by law enforcement agencies, especially by the motorized paramilitary, falsely called ‘collective workers’ who are armed and financed by the government. These paramilitary groups supported by the regime enjoyed complete impunity.


Humble people throughout Venezuela that had been protected by the socialist regime-21: began to go hungry and had wake up. There were long queues to buy staple foods. Now the people do not have a functioning Health System, there is no general hospitals that offer surgical services, there is a school system that is for military indoctrination only. The free food for poor kid program was suspended for lack of money. There is not a safe roads system in Venezuela. Airplane transportation is irregular and uncertain. Humble people has awakened and now they considered that they had been deceived by the socialist regime-21. This is produce the civil disobedience, the popular revolt.


The middle class in conjunction with the humble people has begun to take all the streets of Venezuela and to ask for a change of government. The brave and courageous students from all over Venezuela started this huge Civil Disobedience, called the popular revolt, during the youth-day: on February 12, 2014.[4]


It seems that the government has a political strategy of systematically distorting and denying information. The regime persecute the written, radio and television media, that dare to say something. In addition they are persecuting journalists. There is a news  silence on radio and television. The official channels inverted the perspective of things, creating disinformation in the population. This civil revolt is developing as I write this.[5]  Today February 24th 2014 no one knows what is going to happen in the next few days. No one knows what the epilogue to this whole civil disobedience will be.  


Something about the psychoanalytic happenings


In the Psychoanalytic Society of Caracas there is a respects for the freedom of thought. In our society there are members [few] who sympathize with the revolutionary process Socialist-21. Also there are members that are against this regime. The free thinking of each member has been respected impeccably. There have been no claims for institutional injustices motivated by topics of theoretical thinking or problems with the political ideology. We know each other for many years and we respect the uniqueness and the way of thinking of each one of us.


The Society has opened spaces: group discussions to ventilate anxieties, fears and share projects. We have cried and suffered together in these meetings of catharsis and understanding, within the society. We have seen dear colleagues emigrates to other nations that offers a more secure environment. We have developed programs to help free people traumatized by violence, by the loss of work, by the incarcerated relatives. We have visited populated areas and condos to listen to the anxiety of the people in a situation of real persecution and to talk about sadness, fear, anger and the loss of loved ones.


We have organized scientific conferences dedicated to understand in depth, specifically using the  psychoanalytic point of view, the violent behavior, the human intolerance and murderous behavior. We have discussed about resilience, fear, despair and hope. These meetings include all members and candidates, without distinction of ideologies and these theoretical and clinical discussions have produced important psychoanalytic documents that are secure in our files.  


Insecurity is the first reason for emigration of our members. The Society has suffered the loss of valuable analysts that have decided to emigrate on the grounds that they are a danger to their lives. Today we are 45 members only, and decreasing. 


Here I have included several links to internet and Youtube that illustrate what is currently happening in Venezuela. You must put the pointer on the link [link] and then press the control key + double click. In some computers: just click.;v=Ih5B6iKDyow& [Video on the violation of constitutional rights and their relationship with the violence, Spanish 4 minutes] [Video on the restriction of the information on  February 12th  in Spanish 3 minutes] [Video of NTN24 and his interview with Maria Corina Machado February 11th  in Spanish of 15 minutes] [Video of NTN24 and the interview with Leopoldo Lopez in Spanish 11 february 8 minutes] [Video on censorship, signal interruption of NTN24 in Spanish of 10 minutes] [Video on penetration of the Cuban intelligence in Venezuela in Spanish for 9 minutes];list=RD8Hc0sEkjspw [Video of reporters24 on violence in Chavez’s Venezuela, in Spanish of 10 minutes, 5 parts] [Video on the economy in Venezuela in spanish 4 minutes] [Video of CNN on the economy of Venezuela in 2014, Spanish 7 minutes] [Video on corruption and boliburgueses in Spanish of 12 minutes] [Video of Telesur on the repatriation of the Venezuelan Gold in  2012 Spanish 2 minutes] [Video concerning the exchange of Venezuelan gold into dollars in Spanish 2013 2 minutes] [Video about the commerce looting in Spanish 2 minutes] [Video on looting go unpunished in Venezuela, in Spanish of 2 minutes] [Video on large fortunes of the Chavismo in Spanish of 8 minutes] [Video on the richness of the Chavez family in Spanish of 2 minutes] [Video on the statements of ripe to solve the economic crisis in Venezuela 2014, Spanish 4 minutes] [Video on the problem of power in Venezuela in Spanish 4 minutes] [Video on shortages of food, in Spanish 3 minutes] [Video on the shortage of food in Spanish of 2 minutes] [Video on violence to obtain food in Spanish of 4 minutes] [Video of gears of the February 12 in Spanish 1 minute] [Video on the elite cuban troops BLACK WASPS arriving to Venezuela to strengthen the hooded paramilitary in Spanish of 8 minutes] [Video on the progress of the February 12th only written 3 minutes] [Video on CNN and the inflation in Venezuela, in Spanish 4 minutes] [Video on inflation in Spanish 7 minutes]  [Video on inflation as Nicolas Maduro in Spanish 3 minutes]


[1] My understanding of the initial legitimate electoral victory of the Socialist-21: It was caused by population explosion. The socialist electoral victory in 1999 is explained by the rapid population expansion that from 5 million inhabitants in 1960, went to 31 million inhabitants in 1999. To understand these figures it is necessary to recall that Japan joint World War II with a total population of 17 million inhabitants. Venezuela has at least 20 to 22 million of humble people, who were born in the hills [slums] of cities in all Venezuela. Without labor education: they are not specialized workers and did not qualify for technical jobs. Can only be peddlers, entering and leaving the small crime and survive on petty offenses. This humble people need and believed the socialist proposal. It turned out that the military only wanted to have and stay in power. The do not care for the well being of the people. The initial offer of social improvements, in defense to the needs of the humble, was and is, a transitory and false offer. This is an offer that had not been satisfied. After 14 years it is no longer possible to maintain deceived this humble but smart population. This is the cause of this civil disobedience. This is the tragedy of this socialism-21. 


[2] It is known as Oil Strike of 2002. It was the largest strike in the history of Latin America. These are events whose interpretation and study are still loaded with the extreme political polarization. From the opposition point of view, it was a general strike caused by labor disputes, between the regime and the oil workers, who were opposed to the new policy to replace the qualified workers in PDVSA. From a system based on meritocracy [labor merits], the regime wanted to go to a system, that was based on arbitrarily appoint political supporters of the socialist-21 ideology. The oil strike was extended to a nationwide general strike. Despite its historic duration of almost three months, finally the strike did not fulfill any of the objectives. The reason for the failure of the strike was: the regime has enormous amount of money available to feed the humble people, which did not join the strike. Today the situation is the opposite and there is no money. The regime ordered a general dismissal of all the oil workers that direct or indirectly had participated in the strike. Something the President did in person, on television. To survive the freeze of the principal national industry, the government launched the admition in the administration staff to their socialist-21 sympathizers, which later showed they were incompetent and negligent. At the operational level they contract Iranians, to lead the Venezuelan refineries. This was a mayor disaster. Two big explosions in Amuay destroyed the refinery capacity to produce gasoline. Now Venezuela have to import all the gasoline form the USA. And at the level of the area of maritime transport, the regime ordered the arrest and forced landing of all merchant seafarers in strike. The substitution of marine operators was a disaster until today. All of the oil workers were accused of criminal sabotage and treason. 


[3] The Tascon list refers to a list of names that were removed illegally by Congressman Luis Tascon from the National Electoral Council. This electoral council had organized order by law the electoral process for revoking the powers of the President of the Republic. The list contains the names and identity cards numbers of all the signatories in favor of the revoking process. This list becomes: the list of enemies of the state. These citizens may not work in any of the government offices. Or to be hire as specialized workers or as contractors with any company related with the government. Also this citizens will encounter ‘problems’ when requesting any paper in a government office, such as ID or driving papers or passport or registration of properties, etcetera. The CD with the Tascon-list was available to any one and was sold freely in the streets.


[4] February 12 commemorates the Battle of the victory. The battle was fought on the  February 12, 1814.Because of shortage of regular troops, General Ribas had to assemble a few thousand students from the colleges and seminaries of the city of Caracas and other neighboring villages. Before going into battle, General Ribas harangued to adolescents who were accompanying him, ending with these words: ‘Soldiers: what we have today is our desire: finally to go against the monster Boves. His army is five times greater that our army. We don’t care. We are ready to fight to the end. We will fight for our right to victory. Hold against the wrath of the tyrants: the life of your children, the honor of your wives and the soil of our fatherland. We are going to show them our omnipotence. On this day, that will be remembered: we will win. Now it is necessary to overcome our fears. We will win, long live the Republic.’

[5] Wikipedia says: The protests in Venezuela in 2014 also called ‘12F’ and ‘La salida’ [the way-out] are a series of pacific demonstrations against the government chaired by Nicolás Maduro. These demonstrations started on February 12, 2014, convened by some leaders of the Venezuelan opposition: María Corina Machado and Leopoldo López organized in conjunction with independent student movements. These demonstrations are carried out in several cities of the country and among the motivations claimed by opposition demonstrators include: dissatisfaction with the alleged violation of the civil rights, chronic shortage of commodities, high levels of criminal violence and of the alleged interference of Cuba and Castrismo in Venezuela’s politics. One of the main objectives of the protests within the student movement is the change of political and economic model and the resignation of President Nicolás Maduro and his cabinet. The Executive claims that in Venezuela is in full exercise of civil liberties. The Maduro government accuses the opposition demonstrators of fascists.  The report of the Attorney General of the Republic, in the first day of riots and demonstrations, left a balance of 10 dead and 137 wounded. It has been reported acts of vandalism on public property which the Venezuelan Government attaches to opponents. It is notorious the existence of motorized armed bands or collective, formed by supporters of the government that attack with war weapons the protesters of the opposition and that would have caused several deaths. On February 21th the Venezuelan Government withdrew the permission to operate and the signal inside of Venezuela to the news channels NTN24 and international CNN. The only one present.

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