What would be Venezuela today if it had managed to hold to its brain power, and the one of its immigrant children in particular? Today, Rafael Reif, the son of Jews escaping Eastern Europe, born in Maracaibo, educated in Caracas, has been elected president of MIT That is right, president of THE MIT, the one and only. On the other hand, Pastor Maldonado, quite a criollito, has won a Formula 1 this week end and that is celebrated by all, even by those who should know better.
I do not want this post to be interpreted along ethnic cliches. There are plenty of Venezuelans of Venezuelan origin that have done well outside of Venezuela, and there are immigrant sons who also win a motor races (Johnny Cecotto anyone?). No, the point here is that more than anywhere else perhaps, in Venezuela brain power is considered second rate, even useless. Whereas prowess at machines, or baby making, or heavy drinking, or political bla-bla is what impresses.
The question is that after 14 years of Chavez, how many Rafael Reif (or Perez) have we lost in this past decade.
End of rant.
PS: although not mentioned in his bio, I suspect from the dates that Rafael Reif left Venezuela for his postgraduate studies with a Fundayacucho scholarship. If many bright students of the program did not come back to Venezuela and became big successes outside of the country is not their fault. The government then could not even pass a law that would have automatically recognized many degrees obtained through a Fundayacucho "beca". Because of course the "criollitos" that directed all the trade associations of Venezuela could not stomach the return of people who they considered threats and whenever possibel demanded that their degree would be "revalidated". And then you wonder how come Chavez became president and retained office for so long..... Mediocrity rules in Venezuela and Chavez embodies it. While ironically he does not demand "revalidation" from the Cubans of our health service, for lack of a better name.
End of PS rant.