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Venezuela: Invepal's co-management scheme fails

By Aleksander Boyd

London 24.06.06 | Do readers remember this headline "Venezuelan Government Launches Worker Co-Managed Factory" of last year? How about this one "The struggle for workers' control at Venezuela's CNV. A new Venepal?" And this "Venezuela's Venepal Under Workers Control After Bankruptcy and Expropriation"? All published in the same website, the one whose editorial line is to depict Venezuela under Chavez as the Garden of Eden without snakes. As with most of the endeavours of the Chavez revolution it turns out that the workers who took control of Venepal found out that their new co-management role exists only in the caudillo's head. El Nacional reports today that Ramón Lagardera, chair of the workers' cooperative that controls 49% of Invepal's stock is waiting for representatives of the monochromatic chavista assembly that are to investigate financial irregularities, read embezzlement.

Lagardera goes on to state that accounts have not been presented to them by the majority stockholder, the Venezuelan State that is, while Minister of Popular Economy -whatever that means- Elias Jaua declared in February this year, without providing accounts, that the company had had modest earnings in 2005.

The coop boss suggested an audit to the company books after discovering unsupported expenditure of Bs. 900 million (about $418.000).

The new board, formed 11 April 2006 headed by Minister of Labour María Cristina Iglesias, is yet to present accounts and the directors appointed decided to contract an external audit, without prior consultation with the workers who are meant to own 49% of the company, failing to show previous accounts.

Garden of Eden or animal farm?

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