Remember how, until 1989, State Governors were hand-picked by the president? These days, in Lara, it’s starting to feel like descentralization never happened and Venezuelan states are ruled directly from Caracas once again.
Back in the day, the nation was divided into administrative regions, tasked with territorial development; a responsibility that was placed in the hands of regional “development agencies”. These were separate from state governments, and had broad powers to plan, promote and coordinate projects in the regions. As the years went by, their objectives were slowly abandoned.
The best known example is the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG), which grew to become a conglomerate of mining and metallurgical companies, now in critical condition. Another case is Corpozulia, acting in the largest state in the country. In effect a parallel State government, it now dedicates itself to pushing projects which go nowhere and to hindering the work of the elected government.
The latest victim of the policitization of these institutions is the Foundation for the Development of the Central-West Region (FUDECO). For now on, it will be known as Corpolara. Given the fact that its head is Chavez’s strong man in the region, it’s obvious who is the real target behind this action. Much as Chávez dreamt up a parallel government agency for Caracas to nullify Antonio Ledezma’s election to the post of Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, he’s now retreading an old development agency to nullify Governor Falcon’s win.
States are facing a permanent siege from the central power, both in terms of their responsibilities and of their coffers. This new power structure shows how far Miraflores is willing to go to expand its control.