El Guerrillero

We met him at night in early June in Barquisimeto: Pablo Hernadez is certainly the most controversial person of our trip. He is highly interesting, quick, perceptive and very clear in his statements. On the day of our meeting he had just finished a book, after the publication of which he should probably emigrate to Italy, he jokes. Financed by the human rights organization Provea and the EU, it is also about corruption of the authorities in Lara. Published in mid-August, it is called “Impunidad y Poder: Historia de las violaciones a lo DDHH en Lara (2000-2011).” It can be downloaded for free. An entire chapter is also dedicated to Victor Martinez, see my post “El Revolucionario.”

Pablo talks fast, he has facts and figures in his head, he enumerates the profits from de oil. The oil determines everything here. Life, politics. but not only here, worldwide, according to Pablo. There is a magic triangle in which the banks from the USA are also involved: Veneuzela sells oil to USA. Russia sells oil to China. But of the 400 million barrels, only 110 million arrive. Where has the rest gone? On the international markets. Venezuelan oil company PDVSA sells oil for only US $1 million, but takes in US $200 million – so where does the other 199 come from? Cuba, Russia, China, all tax havens. Everything is a numbers game, he tells us, and he calculates so quickly that it makes me dizzy. It’s clear that he’s known in Venezuela as an expert on the subject of oil and writes on the subject again and again, for example here.

Oil, drugs and big finance capital rule the world and also Venezuela. Pablo suspects everything here, including Chavez, may be directed by the US. He quotes a US American colonel who in 1992 had already claimed that Chavez was a spy, an agent of the USA. I get dizzy again.

We change the subject: the state as a provider. The biggest employer in Venezuela is the state, there are 2.5 million civil servants in Venezuela. (Remember: the total population is a little under 30 million). Of these, 140,000 are police, the military on top of that, the rest work in administration, health and education. 100,000 work in the oil industry. The “Estado Benefactor”, the provider state, is nothing new. Already under Perez Jimenez, from 1959 to 1975, the population was spoiled with free health and education systems. Petroleum parasites” had taken root everywhere, according to the motto “don’t give me anything, but take me to where there is something”. Parasites – especially the middle class in Venezuela, according to Pablo. But it is precisely the left that exploits the state in Venezuela like nowhere else, he said.

However, there are also individuals and smaller groupings of authentic leftists. Environmentalists, urbanists, who believe that it is possible to create a peaceful transformation of society. Pablo also believes that Chavez has changed the system as a whole and this is irreversible. Even a Capriles would not be able to turn back the wheel should he win the elections in October. Chavez’s greatest achievement, according to Pablo, is to have mobilized the excluded. If Chavez loses the elections, there will be a “transitional government,” Pablo predicts, and then a situation will develop like in Bolivia or Ecuador: misery, unemployment. Then the Chavistas come back after 4 years as heroes and saviors.

A growing problem is impunity. The security authorities in particular are very corrupt. It has been proven that 20% of the police commit crimes, that is 28,000. Since they always have 3-4 accomplices, one can assume that about 80,000 police are criminals! (We had just made the experience ourselves, see entry “police pirates”).

Why this has increased? Because Chavez controls the judiciary and the legeslative: the judiciary and the parliament. An example: in November 1995, there were two military gangs in the state of Lara and Bolivar that were caught with 3000 (!) kg of cocaine. However, they have never been arrested. Chavez lets the criminal military and police do what they want, because that way he has them in hand and can control them.
And so we are back to the subject of his book, “Impunity and Power,” here is the cover. Almost 500 pages of inflammatory material…