A los políticos no les gustan para nada los mercados. Los ven como organizaciones conspirativas que, con malevolencia perversa, se dedican a castigar a quienes se niegan a someterse a sus dictados, lo que, afirman, es antidemocrático. Hace un par de días, el presidente de la Comisión Europea, el portugués José Manuel Durão Barroso, protestó contra el "acoso injustificado" de estas entelequias siniestras a Italia y España que, dijo, tienen todos sus "fundamentos" en orden y, por si eso ya no fuera suficiente, están trabajando con ahínco para reforzarlos todavía más. Comparten su punto de vista Zapatero, Berlusconi, Cameron, Sarkozy y Merkel, además de Obama. Quisieran que los mercados celebraran sus hazañas recientes con alzas pero, por motivos que no llegan a entender, se han puesto, una vez más, a señalar su desaprobación bajando un día tras otro.
Todo sería más sencillo si los malditos mercados realmente fueran organizaciones con una cadena de mando conocida, directivos formales comprometidos con una ideología determinada y reglas comprensibles, pero sucede que son anárquicos por naturaleza. Intervienen directamente o indirectamente millones de personas diseminadas por el planeta que a menudo prestan más atención a rumores que a hechos concretos. Parecería que en la actualidad los operadores más influyentes no son los universalmente denostados neoliberales sino los comunistas chinos que han comprado un sinnúmero de bonos norteamericanos. A los chinos no les convendría una gran depresión occidental, pero tampoco sería de su interés aferrarse a bonos que podrían perder buena parte de su valor.
No hay forma de saber cómo los mercados reaccionarán frente a un dato nuevo, una estadística promisoria o un discurso elocuente. A veces se dejan llevar por la euforia, produciendo burbujas que, para satisfacción primero y, cuando ya es demasiado tarde, indignación de los inversores, adquieren dimensiones descomunales antes de estallar; en otras ocasiones, como la actual, parecen resueltos a suicidarse. Sin que nadie comprenda muy bien por qué, últimamente se han entregado al pánico, huyendo de valores que sospechan contaminados y por lo tanto portadores de la temida enfermedad griega que, según algunos, está propagándose con rapidez no sólo en la periferia europea sino también en Estados Unidos. ¿Qué harán mañana? Nadie lo sabe; si alguien lograra entenderlos, muy pronto se erigiría en la persona más rica de la Tierra.
Desde que hace tres años el sistema financiero internacional se paralizó por algunos días luego de sufrir un ataque cardíaco, los mandatarios de los países opulentos y, con más fervor aún, sus homólogos de los "emergentes", entre ellos la presidenta Cristina, coinciden en que es urgente controlar, regular y disciplinar los mercados para que aprendan a comportarse mejor. Insisten en que hay que subordinarlos a la "economía real", es decir, a la parte que produce cosas tangibles o, al menos, brinda servicios útiles. Pero hasta ahora todos sus intentos en tal sentido han sido en vano. Los mercados, tan escurridizos ellos, no se dejan capturar tan fácilmente por los decididos a domesticarlos.
Tampoco están dispuestos a rendirse los banqueros que según los políticos y una multitud de manifestantes callejeros provocaron los desastres de los años últimos y por lo tanto merecen ser encarcelados o peor. Luego de pasar un mal rato frente a comisiones investigativas parlamentarias cuyos integrantes iracundos los anatematizaron por su "codicia", los banqueros más notorios del hemisferio norte siguieron apropiándose de cantidades fabulosas de dólares, libras y euros.
Pudieron hacerlo porque, con muy pocas excepciones, los políticos entienden que la internacional financiera –a esta altura, hablar de la patria financiera sería anacrónico– les es imprescindible. Se sienten obligados a tolerar sus excesos y manías por miedo a que, desairados, sus jefes más poderosos los abandonaran por completo, emigrando de sus bastiones en Nueva York, Londres y Frankfurt a lugares como Singapur y, tal vez, Shanghai. ¿Exageran los financistas cuando dicen que si se trasladaran a países más hospitalarios las consecuencias para las metrópolis tradicionales serían apocalípticas? Puede que sí, pero los políticos europeos y norteamericanos prefieren no arriesgarse.
Es sin duda natural que tantos políticos, pensadores y otros odien los mercados donde se venden y compran acciones, valores, divisas y "derivados" tan enigmáticamente complicados que en una oportunidad el renombrado multimillonario estadounidense Warren Buffet los llamó "armas financieras de destrucción masiva". Desde hace milenios las actividades de este tipo han sido despreciadas por religiosos, filósofos, guerreros y otros que las han descalificado por parasitarias para después, convencidos de su propia rectitud, exiliar, encarcelar, torturar o matar a quienes las habían practicado. Huelga decir que tales esfuerzos nunca contribuyeron a mejorar el estado de la "economía real" local. Antes bien, sirvieron para confirmar, de forma truculenta, que las finanzas son tan necesarias para el conjunto como lo son las partes menos admiradas del cuerpo humano para los interesados en sobrevivir.
En opinión de muchos, un mundo en el que los mercados quedaran debidamente subordinados a los políticos sería mucho más feliz que el que nos ha tocado. Suponen que si los gobiernos no tuvieran que preocuparse por sus reacciones podrían dedicarse a crear millones de fuentes de trabajo y repartir beneficios de todo tipo. Pero sólo se trata de una fantasía. Por caprichosos que sean, cumplen una función esencial al recordarles a los gobernantes que les es forzoso respetar ciertos límites y que, de todos modos, es una mala idea amontonar deudas que ni ellos ni sus sucesores estarán en condiciones de saldar.
La razón por la que las bolsas están actuando tan mal en Estados Unidos y Europa es que una proporción creciente de quienes participan cree que los pagadiós que se han ido acumulando son tan colosales que será imposible librarse de ellos.
Siempre se supo que tarde o temprano algo así ocurriría pero, puesto que es mucho más agradable gastar dinero de lo que es ponerse a ahorrarlo, las diversas clases políticas de los países desarrollados apostaron a que la hora de la verdad llegaría en el futuro lejano. Por cierto, no previeron que los cobradores golpearían a la puerta mientras ellos mismos aún estuvieran en el poder.
More about corruption in Brazil (in Portuguese)
Maria Corina Machado is running for the Presidency
English Translation of Live Speech
SPEECH ANNOUNCING HER CANDIDACY
17 July 2011
María Corina Machado
My thanks to all of you. From the bottom of my heart, my thanks to all of
you for being here today, for your trust, for your kindness. To my children, to
my parents, to my sisters, to my friends, to my teachers, to those who are
here and to those of you who guide me from afar – to the outstanding team
that honors me by making me a part of them – to my fellow lawmakers, to
my Venezuelan brothers and sisters.
God has given us so much. Venezuela has received so many blessings: a
beautiful and fertile land with wealth beneath its soil and in its geography.
And its greatest strength resides in us, the people of Venezuela. We are
living the most important and decisive moment of our lives: now is the time
to change the course of history. To decide our future and that of our children
Society’s foundation, the family, where the individual is taught to be aware of
his or her individual rights and collective responsibilities, is being attacked
mercilessly everyday: in Venezuela there is hardly one family which hasn’t
suffered the pain of losing a loved one or of separation resulting from
someone fleeing the country, or the most incomprehensible: ideological
intolerance: siblings who have not spoken to each other for years, parents
and children who have not shared hugs for years, who do not get together
and who do not protect each other. The barriers resulting from
discrimination and people discrediting others have come between us,
weakening and dividing us.
Venezuela, our country is suffering profoundly. Today we are a nation
divided, confrontational, in ruins, humiliated. The destruction has become so
swift that we notice it from day to day. Institutions are crumbling: the courts
of law, the jails, the police forces...just as bridges are falling, highways are
sinking, homes are collapsing. But the most profound destruction, the most
severe, the most damaging is the moral destruction.
The moral destruction has forced righteous and decent people who abide by
the rules to live in fear, threatened; while those who break the law, the guilty
are even rewarded. This is a country where those who do not persecute
become the persecuted and those who are not red do not exist. Men and
women who have worked hard for many years watch their belongings being
snatched away, whether it be by common criminals or by tramps vested with
For this reason, today I affirm with full conviction that our essential problem
is a problem of values. Therein lies the reason for our drama as well as our
salvation: as individuals and all of us together as a nation.
We have learned that the values held by those who govern have a direct
impact on the way in which they wield power, and on us as a society. If
thieves govern, then we have a corrupt government. If they sow hate, then
we shall have a violent society, if they do not keep their word, then they will
make a mockery of the people.
Today, those who govern Venezuela are in communion with corruption,
authoritarianism, lies, exclusion, hatred. That is why we have a society that
rewards trickery and forgives abuses, where violence rules and only one
point of view is foisted upon us, and where the common denominator in all
our relations is distrust.
How did we get here? How did we, the brave people, the proud and the
noble, the decent and freedom‐loving get here?
These 200 years of struggle against despotism and the yoke of oppression
have also been years of great lessons.
These have been two hundred years of strong arm dictatorships and
militarism, of attempts at modernization and institutionalization, of
enthralling advances and vertiginous reversals, of great promises but greater
frustrations. But the country’s rising oil revenues and modernization did not
reach many. Many, very many Venezuelans felt excluded and cheated and
that is why our Venezuela of 12 years ago tried to cling foolishly to the offer
of a change and this led many to build up their hopes. But those who rose to
power in 1999 turned their victory into booty, hope into an instrument of
domination, enthusiasm into slavery.
What a tragedy! What a tragedy it is to think about what we could have
been, what we could have done during this decade! Today Venezuela would
have been in first place in Latin America in every way: in the sciences, in
sports, in the arts, in progress, in success, in highways, schools, parks and
museums, exporting Venezuelan products and technology to the far corners
of the world.
But we have lived the decade of deceit, the decade of disdain, the decade of
When a mother, when a Venezuelan mother, goes out before dawn to stand
in line at a government‐owned Mercal supermarket, and they stamp her arm
so she can stand in line to get in yet only finds empty shelves, she is being
When a public employee, when a state worker, is forced to bow his head and
dress in red, he is being humiliated.
When one of our country’s retirees, after having dedicated his life to serving
Venezuela, now has to beg in order to be paid what is rightfully his: his
benefits and his pensions, he is being humiliated.
When officers of the Armed Forces, well aware of their Constitutional
mandate, are forced to accept orders from the Cubans, they are being
Students, teachers and professors who gallantly claim their right to academic
freedom but have to leave it behind in their classrooms in order to reclaim it
out on the streets and are repressed by teargas and gunfire, they are being
Shopkeepers, businessmen, farmers and cattlemen, pursuant to a
presidential whim, find their doors being rapped upon as part of a plan to
snatch away from under them what they have earned from the sweat of their
brows, their blood, and their efforts, they are being humiliated.
We are a nation that is being humiliated...we are a nation that is being
humiliated, when 200 years after the declaration of independence an
attempt is being made to oppress us under the yoke of the Cubans and their
This scenario affects us down to the last fiber of our body and our
conscience; this is the existential dilemma faced by us as Venezuelans today:
Must we accept to go on living while being trampled and humiliated? Or once
and for all will we firmly and steadfastly defend our dignity as individuals and
as a nation? It is a matter of dignity.
My fellow Venezuelans: when faced with this crude reality there is no other
option than to react. Ethically. Ethically, there is no room for indifference.
We must all take a stance, risk what needs to be risked and be bold.
And I have done so: I have faced my conscience and my spirit. I listened to
reasons and feelings and I made the decision: a rational and emotional
decision, but an essentially spiritual one. An existential decision. And that is
why, today, with humility and absolute conviction I accept the challenge of
becoming the first woman President of Venezuela.
If this regime wants the Venezuelan people down on their knees, humiliated
and with their hands stretched out, begging, then I want Venezuelans
standing tall because we live with dignity, without bowing our heads because
we are not afraid, and, yes, with our hands stretched out, but in order to
embrace each other and to help our brother or sister.
We already know. We already know what we DO NOT want for Venezuela.
We also know what we DO want, what we dream for and what we hope for,
passionately and desperately.
• We want to live in a country where people can get along together,
where we can live quietly and sleep peacefully, where our families
feel protected and safe;
• We want to live in a country where there are opportunities
for all, where young people do not want to leave the country
and where each and every one of those who have left will
• We want to live in a Venezuela that overcomes its
challenges, where the pride in being a Venezuelan can be
fulfilled, a Venezuela where effort is rewarded, a Venezuela
where all this energy pent up over the years can overflow.
I am going to tell you how we can achieve this. Rest assured that this dream
is present with us now, within our grasp, and we will strive to fulfill that
For that we will need:
• A government that will govern for your children.
• A government that will tell the truth, no matter how blunt it may be,
• A government with clear rules, to be respected always...always.
It is clear that I am proposing a radical change in our way of life and in our
Model for Society. And this entails transforming three fundamental pillars.
1. We shall have a new Model for Social Inclusion.
My fellow Venezuelans, in order to be fully free, a person should not
have to go hungry or be homeless and lacking an education. And this
is the life millions of Venezuelans are leading each day. For eight
years I shared my life with the most excluded of the excluded , with
the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, children who had been
abandoned by their families, children who had committed felonies
and misdemeanors. The arrival of a young girl at the Fundación
Atenea shelter was a milestone in my life. She was eleven years old
and she arrived with burns all over her face and body. Her own
mother had burned her. She spent most of the time hiding in her
room and would not dare to come out. We gave her respect, we gave
her love. And today she is the proud mother of three children, whom
she defends as if she were a lioness and will not let anything or
anybody harm them.
I want to say to all mothers who, just as she, will do anything for their
children, to teenage mothers who are raising children when they
should be studying, to single mothers who have no home or job, I
want to tell you that under my Presidency, your children’s future will
not be jail or the streets.
I will see to it that the power of the Venezuelan State, that all the
weight of the Republic, will be exerted in such away that these
injustices will come to an end forever. And with the resources of the
State and the love of the families we are going to bring down the jails
and build schools and universities for all of Venezuela.
The family is the reservoir of values. The family is the primary source
for education and the inexhaustible storehouse of love. When faced
with a storm, the family becomes a safe haven. And at the center of
the family one finds the woman, the mother, the wife, the daughter.
As women, we know, more than anyone else, what is at stake at this
moment, and that is why we have been standing and are standing at
the forefront of these struggles, which include that primeval cry to
the Government that said “stay away from my children” as well as
these ten years of struggle against tyranny. Because, as you know,
liberty and justice, as well as Venezuela, also have a woman’s face.
It is time to understand that poverty is not just a matter of low
income: it is essentially a problem of a lack of opportunities and the
absence of the training necessary to seize these opportunities. Listen
well: Populism as a social policy that seeks to generate dependence
on the State, in other words, the Administration that happens to be in
power, is something we are going to combat, and not exactly with yet
more populism. Social investment must focus on the development of
human capabilities. Solidarity, love, protection and caring for the
weakest and the most excluded is neither the monopoly nor the
exclusive responsibility of the State. The corporations, the churches
the communities and we as citizens share the responsibility in
eradicating poverty and exclusion in Venezuela. And those of us who
have received the most are the ones who must give back the most.
2. We shall also have a New Model for Economic Development:
From being a State that owns everything to becoming a society where
society is the one to create wealth, to enjoy it, and the one to be the
owner. A society of property owners, of entrepreneurs. We are going
to favor and strengthen a thriving market economy that will stimulate
talent, effort, creativity, innovation, productivity and property. Once
and for all we are going to overcome the limitations posed by a
petroleum dependent rentier state and promote investments by
national and foreign investors for the production of all goods. The
extraordinary potential that Venezuela has for power generation will
serve as a gigantic lever allowing the oil industry to become the first
among many other productive and profitable sectors in Venezuela.
These investments are indispensible for creating employment, many
dignified and productive jobs, with the understanding, that the
interests of the entrepreneurs and of the workers are tied together.
There can be no strong and solid entrepreneurs if there are no happy
and fulfilled workers, and vice versa.
Under my government the rules of the game and the rights to
property will be respected and justice will be done for those who had
their shops, their farms and their companies snatched away from
them. Never again. Never again will the State steal property from a
3. We shall also have a New Model for the State.
We are going to build a State at the service of the citizen and not one
that makes itself be served: a State where power is truly handed over
to the people. This requires setting into motion a thorough process of
decentralization, which will carry and respect the attributes and
competencies held by State and City Governments, but which will go
beyond and succeed in having state governments enjoy financial
autonomy. That is what one can truly call shared power.
As President I will accept being a public servant: the first in setting the
example and the first in rendering accounts. Thus, we will establish
the foundations for a new State‐Citizen relationship: dialogue and
Furthermore, we shall have a State that is opposed to using oil as a
weapon of blackmail. Our fellow Latin Americans can rest assured
that we will never use this resource for seeking adherents or
punishing differences. International solidarity, especially with our
fellow Latin Americans will have priority, but foremost and always we
will place the needs of the Venezuelan people first. We shall never,
never built a house in a foreign country while there is still a single
Venezuelan without a roof. We shall never, never again be a colony of
Cuba or of any other country.
We shall bring forth this wonderful transformation based on an essential
value which is trust. Today we as Venezuelans have nobody we can believe,
no one we can trust, no one to go to, to protect us, to shelter us, to rescue us
and to help us find the freedoms we never should have lost. And that is why
our essential challenge today is to build confidence: confidence in Venezuela,
confidence in its institutions, confidence in each other, confidence in
ourselves. And since confidence runs in both directions, I shall take the first
• I want to say to you, the public employee, the government worker,
that I trust you, your vocation and your eagerness to serve Venezuela
and I promise you that in my Government you will have respect and
opportunities. I promise you that you will never be forced to dress in a
certain color or to hide your ideas and beliefs. However, the people of
Venezuela expect our public workers to work hard and responsibly
because that is what the country needs.
• I want to say to the members of the Armed Forces and to their families
that I know that despite efforts by the Government to subjugate the
Armed Forces and to steer them away from the Constitutional path,
there are soldiers and officers who are defending Venezuela’s dignity
and its Constitution. We shall work hard, very hard, so that the military
family will be loved and respected by those they represent, for their
love for Venezuela and their respect for the Constitution. We shall see
to it that serving the country through the ministry of arms becomes a
matter of pride.
• I want to speak to communicators, to journalists, to those who seek
the truth and are the voice of those being silenced. During my
Presidency you will have access to information in a transparent
manner and we shall debate ideas and proposals passionately and
• I want to speak to those who are persecuted physically, morally and
spiritually; to the political prisoners and those who are exiled: your
pain and sacrifice is not in vain and I promise you that history will
recognize your contribution to our cause.
• Today I want to speak to the teachers, to the physicians, to the nurses,
to the police officers, to the judges. You have a sacred task before you
in this country and during my Presidency you will be recognized and
honored. I understand the anguish felt by healthcare workers today
and I promise you that you will never again have to live through the
pain and helplessness of not being able to save a human life because
there are no medications, because there is no equipment or because
there is a power outage at a Venezuelan hospital.
• I want to speak to the young people. To the youth! I want to speak to
the young people who have had the tranquility of childhood snatched
away from them by the violence and confrontation and have been
forced to mature at an early age. I promise you that Venezuela will
cease to be a country that must await its greatness sometime in the
distant future and will instead become a country enjoying an
• And today I want to talk to those who are living in fear today, afraid of
leaving your homes at dawn or returning late at night. Afraid that a
child may become ill because there no cure available for that child.
Afraid to share ideas with our neighbors. Afraid that what belongs to
you will be taken away. That is over. There will be no more fear in
Venezuela. Our children will not have to grow up in fear because we
as parents have the strength and have made the decision to eradicate
it from our hearts forever.
Venezuela stands united; united though ties of fellowship, united through
ties of solidarity, united through ties of hope. And in this unity lies our
As a person who trusts the Venezuelan people I know that I can rely on the
hard work of the people of the Andes, the clever astuteness of the llaneros of
the Plains, the vigor of the Orinoco, the nobility of the guaros of Trujillo, the
gallantry of the people of Carabobo, the joy of the people of the coast, the
pride of the people of Zulia and THIS IS HOW, THIS IS HOW I am going to say
Let us follow the example that Caracas once gave, and because WE ARE A
Let us break down these chains! Let us break down these chains!
Break down the chains of fear!
Break down the chains of exclusion!
Venezuela, break down the chains of sadness!
Break down the chains of poverty!
Break down the chains of the mandatory chained simulcasts!
Venezuela, break down the chains of humiliation!
Down with the chains!
God bless all of you!
Carolina Barros' take on Chilean Cabinet changes