A review to the nation’s 2014 budget allow us to clearly discern what the priorities are and, more than that, the values that define the chavo-madurista regime.
It is worth mentioning that this budget has a clear centralizing and destructive orientation of the decentralization process that started in 1989 with the direct popular election of state governors and the creation of mayoral office positions, which came along with a direct popular election process as well.
The late Hugo Chávez never agreed with such decentralization and started a process for its reversal. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, continues on the same course.
There is a re-concentration and recentralization of power at present, which does nothing else but to lead to (as it has been doing so far) an increase in inefficiency and a huge increase in bureaucracy within the central state.
This country went through that experience already and what changed with the decentralization process was quite remarkable since that improved all regional and local administrations very significantly.
According to the Constitution, the nation’s budget state allocation, meaning a proportion of the national budget that goes to the states, must be around 20% of the entire budget.
The centralizing and concentrating orientation of power may be clearly visualized by following the path of the budget state allocation, as part of the central budget, a few years from now.
That proportion, which was far from 20% in 2010, has experienced a steady drop since that year. It dropped to 12% in 2011 from 13% a year earlier; to 10.6% in 2012 and this year has reached 9.8%. Just do the math.
This downward process is done by means of a ruse consisting of calculating the national budget based on completely unrealistic oil revenues that are understated.
With a barrel of oil hovering steadily around $100, the Government estimates budget revenues based on $60 per barrel.
Revenues deriving from $60 per barrel serve as a basis to calculate budget revenues and to set the 20% corresponding to the budget state allocation.
The difference there is between the $60 per barrel from the chavo-madurismo regime and the real price of $100 per barrel, rather than being proportionately allocated to the country’s regions, the Government keeps it for its own purposes.
All of this is highly unconstitutional, naturally, but Maduro must be thinking it is no big deal. Since the Constitution has been violated so many times over and over again, things like this are hardly noticed, such as the case of taking a fair amount money from the budget of the regions.
Same discrimination goes for most mayoral offices while favoring the so-called Communal Power, which in practice has been a cover for all grassroots bodies from the left-wing PSUV party, whose finances obviously come from the utilization of the national budget.
This party, the PSUV, is part of the State nowadays. The confusion between State and party was a common practice of left – and right-wing – totalitarian regimes.
Of course we are not living in the Germany of Adolf Hitler or the fascist Italy or the Soviet Union, countries in which that party-State symbiosis was characteristic, but the orientation of the Government, with decentralization out of its way, does not bode well.