A radical, authoritarian, nationalist, totalitarian state led by an absolutely supreme leader and fueled by oil that went from $10 to $100 a barrel, fabricated out of whole cloth a new national purpose. It was a revolution, a mass mobilization to eradicate foreign influences, degenerative oligarchs, savage capitalists, corrupt politicians, and a decadent society. The point was not Venezuela the nation but Venezuela the state. Everything was for, by and of the state. The people were fed this propaganda by the supreme leader who became a TV evangelist, governing from the studio camera. He dictated to his party, government, central bank, national oil company, private sector and society exactly how he wanted them to think and behave. He was hostile to capital, banks, business and money, but also to labor unions, churches, media or independent institutions that did not bend automatically to his will. His economy was a shambles because it substituted shortage and command for supply and demand. When it all fell apart, with the highest inflation, corruption and murder rates in memory, he just covered it over with oil and black market money to cover up his errors.
What Venezuela got by wasting its market democracy emerging since 1958, was Fascism. But it was not the honest Fascism of Italy under Mussolini. It was 21st Century Socialism, a Bolivarian Revolution and a pure democracy like Communist Cuba. It was a perfect world that still needed to purge a few naysayers, who might make up most of the people in the country, actually, but that was something that the election would fix all the technology, guns and threats were available to do that -- while Cuba and Iran will observe the election, so it should turn out exactly the way the supreme leader wants it. Now, where are those Bolivarian surgeons when we need them?
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."