14ymedio, Miguel Henrique Otero, Madrid, 13 August 2019 — There are 34 ministries with their respective ministers. 144 deputy ministers. 1.540 more people occupying positions classified as sector general director. Not counting Petróleos de Venezuela, the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana and Corpoelec, there are another 820 companies that are owned by the State. Read carefully: another 820 companies. Among them they have around 11,000 directors. These are approximately the positions of trust of the Chavez and Maduro regime: some 14,000 officials, members of the Central Executive Power, whose appointments have been published in the Official Gazette of Venezuela.
To these 14,000 officials is due, in the first place, the execution of the policies that have destroyed the Venezuelan public administration which, despite its chronic problems, had career professionals, technicians and experts of the first level, people trained with rigor and with a public service vocation. Most of these professionals, whose merits were evident in all institutions, were unknown, persecuted, harassed, dismissed or relegated to fulfilling tasks that waste and underestimate their abilities.
One of the most painful chapters of the destruction of Venezuelan institutions, undertaken by Chavistas and Maduristas, has been perpetrated against public officials, and this phenomenon, which has been massive and persistent over 20 years, has not been duly documented. The case of the 20,000 dismissals of Petróleos de Venezuela, which will one day have to be reversed, is just a chapter of the vile, disproportional, illegal abuse of power that has acted against Venezuelan public officials.
There are hundreds of thousands of personal stories, of Venezuelans from all regions of the country, in all the powers and levels of the vast world that we call the public administration — in that we must include governors and mayors — who were verbally veiled, their labor rights ignored, their social benefits stolen, their reputations tainted, their right to due process and defense violated time and again.
While Venezuelan public employees are, in some way, the sector of the population most exposed to power, captive of their obligations and hierarchies, they have been the first victims of the lawlessness and humiliation committed by the regime’s ’connected,’ civil or military.
Not only have they been impoverished, like the rest of Venezuelan society, but they have been forced to wear red clothing and attend marches and rallies. They have been imposed upon, under different threats, to sign communiqués, to enroll in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), to join in the policies of hatred and exclusion.
In the case of the military who were appointed in first and second level positions, the stories acquire grotesque and extreme proportions: brutes who have pretended to manage through screaming, threatening, insulting, dismissing and creating plots of terror.
But, and this is important, among those who remain — there are thousands and thousands who have the merit of having resisted and who continue to resist despite all adversities — and among those who were fired or resigned there is a potential mass of testimonies that will be fundamental for the reconstruction of Venezuela.
Public employees are the witnesses of thousands of appointments of incompetent persons to positions of high responsibility. It is they who have seen that mixture of ignorance and arrogance that is the predominant cultural sign of those put into these positions.
I insist: it is the Venezuelan public employees, active or not, who will report cases of nepotism, assault on per diem items, use of state resources for personal purposes, award of contracts to family members and frontmen, theft of the budgets, creation of chains of corruption in all areas where it has been possible.
The Chavista and Madurista bureaucracy is identifiable. It has signs that characterize it. I will list them below. It is, in the substantive, incapable. it does not know the subject for which it is responsible for making decisions. It takes office as a source of personal benefits. It excludes connoisseurs and surrounds itself with other ignorant people to have their own choir of praise. It practices impudence. It makes decisions against logic, forcing reality, and ignorant of the opinion of experts. To those who warn of or point out what it is doing, it accuses them of being conspirators, saboteurs and other insults.
The proof of what I affirm in this article is verifiable by the entire planet. There is nothing in Venezuela that has not been undermined, degraded, corrupted or partially or totally razed.
The 14,000 can be evaluated. Theft and devastation in the oil industry, in hospitals, in public services, in customs, in ports and airports, in SAIME (Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Foreigners, that is the civil registry system), in transport systems, in registers and notaries, in the education system, in cultural institutions, in prisons, in psychiatrics and centers for minors, in the 820 companies — those created by the regime and those that were expropriated — which remain as empty shells, with no other utility than being an opportunity for and an alibi for corruption.
Editor’s Note: Miguel Henrique Otero is president and CEO of the Venezuelan newspaperEl Nacional.
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