The article that finally made Julio Borges’s head explode

Give Julio Borges his due. When the government promised to build 153,000 new homes in 2011, he knew he had his work cut out for him. Facing the kind of Cultural Alzheimer’s disease that eats away at the Venezuelan public sphere day in and day out, he decided if he was going to keep that number alive in the public mind he was going to have to do much of the heavy lifting himself. And so, at pretty much every single press conference he’s given this year as leader of the country’s largest second opposition party, he’s hammered away at it – keeping a running tally of houses built, making sure nobody gets away with conveniently “forgetting” the initial promise or moving the goal posts.

So when, inevitably, the government started to fudge the numberslowering the promised tally and counting houses it had no part in building as part of its delivered total - the guy might have thought his extensive prep-work on the issue would ease the task of unmasking the scam. No such luck.

Instead, the country’s main “serious” newspapers reports the government’s fudge numbers as a matter of fact, mentioning their fudged-ness as an aside. As the government Cancels Christmas in a mad last minute dash to meet its first watered-down, then fudged targets, JB’s gotta wonder: what does accountability even mean faced with a goldfish-attention-spanned media?

With luck, the government is going to build perhaps 30% of the houses it promised for 2011. Of course, it will claim it met 100%. Nobody will check. And nobody will call them on it.

21 thoughts on “The article that finally made Julio Borges’s head explode

  1. “When the government promised to build 153,000 new homes in 2011[...]”

    Didn’t they originally promise to build 2 million by 2012?

    “[...]he’s given this year as leader of the country’s largest opposition party[...]”

    I didn’t know Borges was adeco…

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      • Oh shit, I remembered this wrong.

        In fact, going by the metric that really matters – total nationwide votes – the biggest oppo party in the most recent election was…Un Nuevo Tiempo!

        U.N.T. 1.018.102 Votos 9,02 %
        P.J. 960.681 Votos 8,51 %
        AD 823.390 Votos 7,30 %
        C.O.P.E.I. 609.792 Votos 5,40 %
        PODEMOS 423.991 Votos 3,75 %
        PRVZL 374.020 Votos 3,31 %

        http://www.cne.gob.ve/divulgacion_parlamentarias_2010/

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  2. Indeed. I am happy Borges is hammering on this. I would suggest he use a chart, though…it shows better than numbers: a picture of him pointing at the built housing units (in red) and the ones missing (in yellow) would be brilliant.

    As for the “media”: but for a couple of examples, most of these guys don’t know what it means to do investigative journalism, to keep track of things, to search for the ultimate sources, to put things in perspective. I wish there were a wake-up call from some big intellectual or from Mandrake or from Rudy Rodríguez…anyone Venezuelans may pay attention to.

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    • That’s not all, Kepler. It’s getting worse. In the case of some regional TV channels, they have laid off some long-time journalists and putting “pasantes” (interns) as journalists for short periods of time.

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      • OK, sad… after I wrote that I called an aunt in Venezuela, a retired teacher, to tell her about the PISA results…and she told me about the ever-worsening level of Spanish in newspapers…she was guessing what you actually know: “it’s so bad, I don’t know, but it has to be they are just putting some people without any education to write down whatever ”

        There is definitely a lot of pressure on journalists everywhere but we seem to be in a particularly bad situation, comme toujours

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    • I made the mistake of reading some of the comments.

      It’s just scary that there are the number of uninformed loonies in the world. The article was a responsible report without taking sides & yet the fringe element that supports Chavez immediately took it as criticism.

      Scary, just scary.

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    • Off topic within the off topic. The article begins with:
      “The university’s concert hall is a rare enclave of architectural loveliness in Caracas: Alexander Calder designed a tremendous sculpture for its ceiling, and murals decorate the surrounding plaza.”
      When talking about architecture, we shall never forget to give credits to the architect. Calder’s clouds wouldn’t be anything without the aula magna and the plaza cubierta designed by Carlos Raul Villanueva.

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  3. Julio Borges as Sisyphus (obvious, from the traffic sign) pushing up the rock.

    Or trying to remind things to a people, us Venezuelans, with all the amazing retentive powers of Memento’s main character. And none of the motivation.

    Venezuelans might not be “stupid”, no people on Earth is “stupid”. But our collective ignorance, shallowness and laziness make us as if we were born every minute… as suckers!

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      • It’s even more ironic, considering how Venezuelans like to cast ourselves in the role of the savvy and astute, “vivos”. Memo to Venezuelans: If you have no memory and are not able to learn, you might as well be born yesterday.

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  4. Sorry guyes but the Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela included all dwellings built not just the ones by government teams.

    So what if the target of 153,000 was reduced to 130,000. The target was not met but the achievement of taking on this responibility and doing it well guarantees votes, as it will next year.

    Let’s be honest – if all the befuddled BS writen here by Quico and JC were true and the ongoing propaganda campaign running for ten years or more – no housing, violent crime, inflation etc etc etc were all true then Chavez would have zero chance of being reelected.

    So how do you explain that every day it looks more likely? It’s simple. Because he and the state media have far more credibility than the premajunches all put together and their media which is going to reap the same result as the Argentine private media did.

    Not one of the opposition candidates has a chance. Such mediocrity is mind blowing. I can’t believe how fortunate Chavez has been with this crowd infighting.

    Anyway have a pleasant Christmas……hallacas con Chávez……….

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    • ” if all the befuddled BS writen here by Quico and JC were true and the ongoing propaganda campaign running for ten years or more – no housing, violent crime, inflation etc etc etc were all true then Chavez would have zero chance of being reelected.”

      Why would the caudillo have zero chance of being reelected if there is not enough housing, if the murder rate has more than tripled and if inflation is the highest in Latin America by far, which it wasn’t even during Caldera II at about 100%?

      Try to think for yourself and don’t wait for answers from your dad’s boss.
      Explain.

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    • So what if the target of 153,000 was reduced to 130,000.

      Sí vale, what’s 23,000 families living in sub-human conditions between friends?!

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    • Sadam Hussein used to win elections with 99.99% of the vote. So did Gaddafi. Chavez wins with the percentage of the population that is either scared, threatened or has a “bozal de arepa”. And, of course, there is a 10% of hard core chavistas that will vote for him no matter what. Is not that difficult to understand. Welcome to the “dictablanda” of the 21st century. An abusive and authoritarian regime that uses elections as a propaganda tool.

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  5. This has nothing to do with the political message on this post. But that is my ex-favorite song. A born mowtown fanatic through and through.

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