The half-baked ministry of oversight

Carmen Meléndez, the first female Admiral of the Venezuelan Navy, becomes the first-ever Minister for Government Oversight.

During his last public interview of the campaign, the comandante presidente hinted at the idea of creating a new Ministry dedicated to somehow controlling the Chavernment, as he admitted that he has made mistakes during his tenure, and that oversight is not his strong suit.

After his victory on October 7th, he decided to implement that idea and announced the change of the President’s Office Ministry (a cabinet post similar to the Brazil’s Casa Civil) into the Ministry of Oversight and Control.

Days later, he backtracked a little bit on the idea, and now the Ministry will retain the day-to-day activities of the executive office. This will diminish the role of the new half-ministry.

For the task, a military woman was chosen. Carmen Meléndez was recently promoted as the first-ever female Admiral of the Venezuelan Navy, and her previous post was Vice-Minister of Military Education. Her role will be in part being Chavez’s chief of staff. I can guess she won’t have much time to oversee the Chavernment’s work.

It’s really hard to believe that a new half-ministry will now bring order to the Chavernment’s love of waste. Reuters’ report on Fonden is just the tip of the iceberg.

Beside that, this ministry undermines the role of the empty Comptroller’s Office, which is the one with the constitutional mandate of making the government accountable.

I’m very skeptic of all this “efficency” agenda promoted by Chávez. In my view, this is D.O.A. even before it even started.

28 thoughts on “The half-baked ministry of oversight

  1. Agreed!

    Capriles was able to open the first crack in Chavez’s armor: inefficiency. For the first time el comandante had to admit a shortcoming and promise to change it.

    The problem is that inefficiency is part of Chavismo’s DNA.  Valuing loyalty over merit is intrinsic in the model and a  recipe for failure. 

  2. “the empty Comptroller’s Office, which is the one with the constitutional mandate of making the government accountable.”

    I know institutions don’t work in Venezuela but after 7O I’ve been wondering why the oppo deputies in AN haven’t tried harder to negotiate and fill the comptroller office.

    We whine about Chavernment’s chanchullos and ventajismo. Being realistic don’t expect things to change in a major way but a negotiated comptroller could at least expose “more” the government guisos.

      • To select a Comptroller General, a two-thirds majority in parliament is needed. Chavismo doesn’t have one now and the idea of compromising with the opposition is out of the question. The current caketaker Comptroller is a person who’s close to former VP Jaua. They probably wait until the next NA election in 2015.

  3. May you explain to me a little more detailed the role of the chief of staff? I don’t completely get it.

    • The Wikipedia link is a good place to start. In short, the chief of staff handles the president’s daily agenda and more inmediate personnel.

    • As Yogi Berra would have observed inthat regard, “It’s just ‘quis custodiet ipsos custodes’ all over again”.

  4. Ironically, to fight the incompetence, improvisation and disorder of Chavista management, a Ministry is hastily and disorderly created which its going to headed by someone with very little experience in Public Administration.
    The ministers twitter header is @gestionperfecta which is pretty ambitious for a government that doesn’t even have a minimally accountable gestion.

  5. It’s not DOA, it’s window dressing. It will serve quite nicely at that purpose, which is the true intent, thank you very much.

  6. “Ministerio para Seguimiento” = “Ministry for Follow-Up”.

    I think what HCh is saying is that what is broken is the model where “he says and it shall be done”. You see that he has been “ordering” the right things but basically, his advisers are incompetent and don’t follow-up.

    Bottom line: an attempt to cleanse himself of any stains by throwing his entire team under the bus because they “don’t follow-up”. Should go without saying (but not in Venezuela) that as a leader, HCh should also be accountable for his appointments.

  7. Not only the work of the General Comptroller but also part of the “check and balance” duty of the National Assembly. But again, who is doing his job in Venezuela’s branches of government?

    Our constitution needs a stronger legislative branch. But that’s just one of my fantasies.

  8. This new ministry can and should follow up on the very long list of cases of corruption, some of which are related to the president himself and his family. Of course this will not happen but it will be a good sport to ask her publicly and constantly about open thefts such as the case of the sunk barge Aban Pearl or the drilling rigs contracted with ghost companies; or about the rotten food of PDVAL, or where are the houses being built, etc.
    In fact, the lady minister would have to address the performance or lack of, of the so-called Moral Power and its trio of lady-gangsters Luisa, Gabriela and Adelina.

    • I doubt the barge or anything else in the past will be disturbed; there’ll be a ‘no-retroactive’ condition unceremoniously slipped in there somewhere.

  9. So, in order to fight the ineficiency of our Ministries, we create a Ministry that will oversee the eficiency of the other Ministries? Brilliant.
    Talk about a one-trick pony: every time a problem pops up, create a Ministry for it! Be it Electricity or Prisons, Chávez seems to think that’s all it takes to deal with issues. This “Ministry to overlook other Ministries” displays the same bone-headed, lack of creative approach, that has sunk us.
    I bags he’ll soon create a Ministry for the efficiency of the Ministry of oversight of the efficiency of the other Ministries, or MinPoPoEfiMinSegContMins’…

    • The original name for the ministry was Oversight and Control (Seguimiento y control) The acronym could ended up as MinPoPoSeCo. LOOOOOOL.

      Maybe that was the reason behind the swift change at the last minute.

    • Like a Ministry of Redundancies Ministry. Chavez creates ministries to show that he recognizes a problem, not to solve a problem. Chavez has no problems. He is a happy cancer-free wealthy powerful famous leader.

    • It’s no trouble imagining the fun you’d have, since you’ve already described it, sicko.

      “I wish I was the Khan an order my hordes to capture them and pour melted silver into their eyes … I wish I could decapitate in public plazas Lina Ron and Diosdado Cabello. I wish I could torture for the rest of his remaining existence Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel … I wish I could fly over Caracas slums throwing the dead bodies of the criminals that have destroyed my country … Only barbaric practices will neutralize them, much the same way the Khan did. I wish I was him.”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/sep/01/friendsinlowplaces

  10. There is a minefield here too in the terminology, where oversight conveys both ‘monitoring’ and ‘a minor error’; ‘overlook’ conveys both ‘view from a higher vantage point’ (as a building vis-a-vis the next-door garden) and …. ‘to make a minor error’ or ‘to purposely ignore’ (perhaps the most applicable in the case at issue as for instance, ‘When considering his application for a sensetive senior governement post, the selection panel opted to overlook his shady past dealings’).

    And you’ve gotta love the coolly Yogi-influenced, “D.O.A. even before it even started.”

  11. Poor woman, now Chávez that is used to humiliate his ministers in public, now has a single person to blame when things go wrong.

    Very smart on his part. Now it is HER fault, not his,

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