Katy says: Every Monday I get in my inbox the abridged transcript from the previous day's political reality show, "Hello, Mr. President!" While I wouldn't be caught dead watching this show, I always make it a point to read the summary just to see what the Fat Man in the Palace emphasized and what his mood seems to be.
One thing seems clear after yesterday's show: Chávez was not in a good mood.
First off, he kept talking about health policy, no doubt worried about the jump in health care as one of the population's top concerns, according to Alfredo Keller. He went on and on about how they needed to integrate new clinics to the current Misiones, no doubt realizing that the Misiones are slowly collapsing.
The other big topic of the day was communication policy. The President is still reeling from the fact that the death of Raúl Reyes put a hamper on the liberation of six of the FARC's hostages. He also scolded the Education Minister (his older brother) for not reacting to recent news reports that said that the rate of student enrollment has fallen dramatically in recent years, according to the Education Ministry's own statistics.
The Minister, who was immortalized thanks to this hilarious YouTube video, replied that these were all lies of the opposition, that this was all a conspiracy and that they were "manipulating the numbers to confuse the population." He said they would hold a press conference on Tuesday to explain what is going on. He also put out a press release that is full of lies and confusing statistics that do not address the crux of the issue raised by the news reports.
The President scoffed, saying it was silly to hold a press conference on Holy Tuesday and that, if this is false, the Ministry should have come out and said so immediately after the item was published. Chávez also stated that the problem is that the Annual Reports from the ministries are weak and are not "well-grounded" from a mathematical point of view, whatever that means. At one point he seemed so pissed, he said that all PSUV meetings had to be approved by him.
All of the government's media was focused yesterday on the President and his pet topics. Yet this little event went unmentioned in all of them. For chavista news outlets, it never happened.