Antonio Padrino, formerly
Venezuela's Consul General
Former Venezuelan Consul General in Houston (Texas), Antonio Padrino writes: Bureaucracy and red tape has done, and is still doing, great harm to our country. I do not tire of writing about this kind of resistant virus and destroyer of values which, for decades, has invaded our government and affects the daily lives of all Venezuelans ... without distinction. Bureaucracy (Buro - cracy = office - power) is wrong and in Venezuela it has been given a derogatory connotation. Bureaucracy is defined as: "government by explicit rules and organization."
Contrary to what happens in Venezuela, government officials in France, England or the United States enjoy good reputations and are educated persons ready to serve the public.
The general image of a Latin American public official remains negative. To have to resort to a public office is something of a headache. In our country, Venezuela, even if there are some signs of progress in some institutions such as the IRS/Seniat, Caracas (Simon Bolivar) international airport, primary diagnostic health centers etc., there is still a long way to go and it therefore poses a challenge for both officials and the Venezuelan public to initiate a national campaign against this spiritual disease of bureaucracy or red tape.
Bureaucracy is a thousand-headed monster with invisible hands that does not respect any model or system and penetrates all levels of government in any country ... in our case, if short-term measures are not taken, it could be the undermining of the foundations of the Bolivarian Revolution.
President Hugo Chavez invites us ... almost daily ... to do battle with bureaucracy and its natural ally: CORRUPTION!
Bureaucracy is a kind of poison that the bad AD-COPEI governments had injected into Venezuelan soul through four decades of bipartisan dictatorship. Is NOT unique to the public sector and equally affects the private sector. It reached its peak in Venezuela in a wave of neo-liberal privatizations at the hands of the oppressive CAP 2 and Caldera 2 regimes when party bureaucrats, Congress and their cohorts in various functions of government put the accelerator to the floor to break up CAVN (shipbuilding & repair), to privatize Aeropostal and to sell off CANTV (telecommunications), VIASA (Venezuela's flagship airline) to Spanish IBERIA etc ... knowing that they were in financial trouble. In the case of Aeropostal, they jailed trade union leaders who opposed the foreign privatization. The order was given to minimize exposure that would allow the government to allow predatory capitalism to take over.
All of this was before the Chavez government began to make sure that all of these businesses are operating in the hands of a national, revolutionary State and for the benefit of the country and NOT foreign interests. Were it not for the Bolivarian Revolution ten years ago, we would be privatizing the "air that we breathe." According to Noam Chomsky, Latin American privatizations only serve to fill the pockets of the "buddies" of the rulers of the day ... "Bureaucracy" is sold to the highest bidder ... and in the case of Venezuela, it has been, by nature, counter-revolutionary to sell one's national birthright!
The bureaucrat is always very skilful in actions ... they have the ability change color according to wind and to turn the screws until their ultimate goal is achieved: "the honey trap of power."
Incompetent, inefficient, arrogance, scheming staff feigning adulation and fishing for good offices ... they have no scruples when it comes to slander and harass the more efficient and productive workers in various departments or ministries because to it would otherwise only reveals their own mediocrity and lack of revolutionary consciousness. Very often they use the power of vicious gossip to bring about distrust of a particular government official who they perceived to be a threat to their advantage ... they behave like criminals ... alarmingly with such ease that they themselves end up being manipulated and causing serious damage to others.
Bureaucracy ... "the monster heads and a thousand invisible hands" ... does not respect any model or system. It feeds on lack of ethics and labor discipline, poor supervision, the inefficiency of cronyism, the lack of recognition of vocational training and a complete lack of commitment to any institution.
In my opinion there are at least two fronts moving simultaneously:
A front that promotes "guerrilla" tactics and closed "meetings" ... characterized by primary and territorial bureaucratic power behavior, reluctant to show their true faces, they move in the shadows.
The second is to "appear" to take a very active role that one's superiors will not fail to notice ... while all the while maintaining an external front that is not the exception, but rather the rule, allowing for arrogance, mediocrity and failure in the delivery of public services.
It is precisely this evil, among other factors, that has generated the infamous role of "manager" and for decades at ONIDEX/DIEX (the Identification & Passport Office) the general public has, of course, been victim to these "facilitators."
Venezuelans must indeed unite and attend the call of President Hugo Chavez in his fight against bureaucracy. It is a fight, I suggest you begin with a call to all workers in the various ministries to openly discuss issue in talks, seminars, round tables, etc coordinated with technical specialists in the field. Similarly, study centers and the media could help with an intense campaign against the scourge that is bureaucracy with corruption as its natural ally.