The response I got (May 18) was "Roy! Yes, President Chavez is still in charge here! Yes, there is corruption and an ongoing battle against it, but I don't think things are out of control!"
Frankly, today, a little over a month later, I am not so sure!
An associate tells me: "Yes Roy, I am completely in agreement with your appreciation on corruption. We, Venezuelans must understand that it is our obligation to identify government officials who are corrupted, who do not have any moral prophylaxis, who have lost dominion over voluntary ethics and are totally without moral scruples, thinking that other people's rights are there to be violated and that the conscience of the young people is easily imprisoned by giving them money and thus turning them in active agents of institutional destruction."
The situation is so patently obvious throughout Venezuela. Admittedly, historically, corruption has always been with Venezuela but there had been raised hopes in the ascendency of Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias that in a total rejection of the "old ways" that the "New Venezuela" would give an empowerment to the masses to ensure that corruption and malfeasance in public and private life would be condemned to history.
"These government officials, and their industrialist corruptors, are exhibiting high levels of wealth without any type of remorse to a degree that is especially abhorrent to those of us who, from the grassroots of the revolutionary process, are firm believers in the President's revolutionary ideals."
Just the same as there are millions of good citizens of the United States of America that get tarnished with the broad brush of the world's condemnation of George W. Bush's mental aberrations � there are many millions of true Venezuelan patriots who want to see the country's leadership virtuously reborn.
The saddest part, from my perspective. is the way in which they have distorted the true values that Hugo Chavez Frias had in his conceptualization of the "new" Venezuela � so the sooner the false-flagged Chavistas can be dislodged from anything to do with the government the sooner it will be better for ALL Venezuelans.
We must expose corruption at every opportunity for while there are still many who maintain a belief in the core values of the Chavez revolution, there are many more who have become disillusioned and deceived by the blatant corruption and ineptitudes of government officials who by indolence or through sheer ignorance are destroying everything that has so far been gained.
The proverbial proof of the pudding will come on November 23 and, if current indications are anything to go by, it will be a rude awakening for Chavez on November 24 as he sees his electoral base eroded into nothingness through no fault of his own � other than his apparent inability to control the destiny of the labyrinth of his own administration.
Another associate recalls a Bible passage were Saint Peter, the man on whom Jesus declared he would build the church, had (on that awful Thursday night) declared that he would be loyal to Jesus, even to death � but in a rash moment, cut off the ear of one of those who had come to arrest Jesus and then denied he had ever known the man who had completely turned his life upside down.
Another correspondent says that Venezuelans are caught up in a (governing) counter-society that simply enhances deceit, thievery, indiscipline and individualism. "We have a generalized concern over the ways that some of our compatriots are behaving � people who seem to show that the foundation of their beliefs, desires and objectives are individualistic anti-values which ate NOT of now, but rather the result of a 'domestication' to which we were submitted by those who exerted power during second half of the 20th century in Venezuela."
"Please, do not believe that this epidemic is generalized, since a great sector of Venezuela was not penetrated by those anti-values; the greater evidence is that in Venezuela there is a moral reserve; the people that were not taken up in the vortex are now very true participants in our Bolivarian Revolution."
"Chameleons exist, but the wheels of the revolution will be shedding them off little by little � I believe that we are in the middle of those events!"
"We must stay alert and opportunely denounce the deviations of our public servants, fight the culture of death, the threats to kill our President and other Latin American revolutionary leaders � irrational consumption, military propaganda, individualism, alienation � we must be clear that this period of transition from the anti-values, towards advocated humanist values could take some time and that we can only guarantee our triumph with certainty and belief in what we are doing!"
Certainly, as an outside observer of the political machinations of Venezuelan democracy and the fraught machinery of the Chavez government administration, it is my sincerest wish that my associates, who are quoted extensively above, are not suffering under an delusions from reality since Venezuela today is at a political and socio-economic watershed faced with going completely over the precipice by November 23 if not already clinging by its fingernails on the edge of oblivion.