Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez angered Venezuelans again. This time, it was Chavez's young daughter, Rosines, who was responsible for the new scandal. The 14-year-old posted a picture of herself online holding a handful of U.S. dollars -- an event that caused immediate outrage. The reason, as explained by the Venezuelan media, is that along the years the Venezuelan government has severely cut down the trading of U.S dollars. "[Chavez] limited the annual amount of dollars Venezuelans can buy; those who need more foreign currency for business or for travel, must dig deep into their pockets to buy dollars at exorbitant prices in the country's black market," wrote the media outlet Merco Press. The Chavez family, however, is apparenty not suffering from these restrictions
Although the dollars in Rosines's picture are in small denominations, Venezuelans deeply resent the daughter of their socialist president having easy access to foreign currency, while the Venezuelan government is even preventing investors from taking their assets out of Venezuela. Local media commented that Rosines Chavez is enjoying a comfortable capitalist lifestyle while the Venezuelans have to live under the rule of an illiberal socialist regime.
Moreover, Chavez's daughter also posted her photo in her Instagram's personal account, a photo sharing application for Iphone, generating even more criticism. "Rosines Chavez displayed her iPhone and her dollars to show the poor people how rich she is," was one of the comments on social networks. Socialist purists usually consider the iPhone a symbol of capitalism and therefore incompatible with the principles of the Venezuelan Socialist revolution. This incident therefore seems to contain several contradictions between what Chavez is preaching and what his family and he are practicing.
Although Chavez's young daughter is not being held responsible for her father's policies, she was nevertheless displaying a lavish lifestyle at a time when Venezuela has been hit by an economic crisis, unemployment and daily crime.
Rosines's photo also created a scandal in other Latin American countries, especially Ecuador and Bolivia, which share friendly relations with the Chavez regime. The Ecuadorian opposition paper, La Hora, wrote a harsh comment, exposing the hypocrisy of the Chavez regime. La Hora remarked that while Venezuelans must abide by certain restrictions for keeping dollars, these norms obviously do not apply to Chavez's daughter; he added that iPhones and dollars are the base of Socialism of the XXI century.
Before this photo appeared, Rosines was also criticized for having posted on her Twitter profile a picture of herself with Canadian pop idol Justin Bieber, whom she met, thanks to her father's influence, while he was on tour in Venezuela. In her Twitter account, she also posted messages such as "The thing that I hate about Christmas is that I have to go to Miami to buy new clothes, because here I don't like anything." The picture of her with a fistful of dollars, however, became by far the most widespread. Social network users even coined a new word, "Rosinesing" for displaying wealth. Some Twitter users satirized the photograph by posting their own versions of it, where, as an alternative, they replaced the green dollars with green leaves of lettuce, old Bolivar notes, or products that can be scarce in Venezuela such as cooking oil, coffee and sugar.
This is not the first time Venezuelans have complained that the Chavez family is enjoying an "imperialist" lifestyle while leaving the people to live the "socialist" life. According to an article published in 2010 by the Mexican paper la Razon, in a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Chavez family has five bank accounts amounting to $140 million in financial institutions in the U.S.. The newspaper mentions that the "Chavez royal family" is enjoying a "capitalistic" lifestyle with cars, concerts, parties and travels, while preaching to the population that being rich a bad thing.
Hugo Chavez is running to be elected again as president in this year's elections. His beloved daughter decided to post her photo at a very bad time, just as her father is in the midst of his electoral campaign. Further, the photo was posted a day after the Spanish paper ABC revealed that Chavez is battling cancer and may have only one year to live.
Chavez, however, seems not to care about the rumors and criticism surrounding him; he seems to feel that no matter what, he is going to win the elections again.
The opposition fear that the elections will not be transparent and that even if they were, Chavez will not accept a change of regime. As Rosines wrote in her Twitter account: "you don't need to be smart to acknowledge that my daddy is going to win the elections again."