CARACAS, Friday January 21, 2011 | Update
Predominant "I" in the address to the National Assembly

Chávez tends to amalgamate State, government and person

The account shows the view of Chávez’s revolution of the State, the government and the person/leader: all of them merged into one, as noted by sociologist and university professor Ignacio Suárez (Photo: Miraflores Press Office)
Friday January 21, 2011  05:01 PM

First person prevailed in a speech delivered by Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez last January 15 to report on his management in 2010. "I" was the most frequent word; he cited it 489 times; "Chávez," (yes, third person) 52; "we," 146, and "I remember," 48 times.

The account shows the view of this revolution of the State, the government and the person/ leader: all of them merged into one, as noted by sociologist and university professor Ignacio Suárez.

"Firstly, we can see exacerbated egocentrism, but a psychologist would rather explain it. As a sociologist, I can say that such exaltation in a management report mirrors what many people fear to happen in the country: exacerbated blend of State and government and even the person. It seems that the role of State and its institutions is fully merged into a government appropriating such institutions. All of it under the umbrella of President Chávez," Suárez said.

Using the word "I remember" shows, the analyst added, "what we already knew about the anecdotic nature of the speech." The president "was supposed to be there to report on his management and while he dealt with some topics, he did it informally, sparsely and even like in another edition of (his TV and radio show aired on Sundays) Aló Presidente (Hello, President!). This time, however, it was aired from the Parliament. Sometimes the 'Aló' is from South Lake Maracaibo, some others from Guárico or Bolivar states. Well, this time it was at the legislature."

In Suárez's opinion, the president never meant to answer to the National Assembly or the country for his management. "He thinks he is the State owner, as if he were blended together to the State." As explained by Suárez, such union between State and government had been noted earlier in Venezuela's modern political history. However, it has been stronger over the past few years.

The sociologist is worried because there is no monitoring of the Executive Office. "One can see that nobody is to claim the gaps noted in the management report and his informality when addressing to the country. This makes him talk like he does. Criticism, if any, comes from abroad, from bodies such as the (Organization of American States) OAS. Later, though, it vanishes. As for here, opposition deputies just refer themselves to auditing. This is worrisome, because in this way he is allowed to continue talking in the name of the State. Neither the Comptroller General nor the National Assembly requires him accountability."

Suárez insisted on saying that no "team captain" could be seen at the National Assembly providing a rationale of the country mishaps. "As a citizen, I have little guidance on that report. I could not see a leader or a president explaining to me the reason for our troubles, for instance, in the field of economy."

For his people only
Suárez highlighted President Chávez's appeal to "lower" the tune of parliament debates. "It is a message for his people; firstly, because he is aware that insults do not yield in the long run; secondly, it is a message to foreign countries, to pretend he is willing to take a seat and talk. Chávez is a savvy politician and he knows that insults are not appropriate. It is ironical, because everybody knows where the order to 'crush and hammer' the opponent comes so as to believe that he is terrified by polarization at this stage. All of us know about the campaign of love and dislike."

@sasaraca in Twitter

Translated by Conchita Delgado

The end of a cycle

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brazil on March 13 to demand the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, carrying banners expressing anger at bribery scandals and economic woes. A banner read "We don't want a new Venezuela in Brazil." Estampas
Alianzas Estampas