Why Leaders Should Pay Heed to the Dawn of the Reign of APATE

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel highlights how Apate, the ancient Greek goddess of deceit, has been pulverized through the leveling influence of the internet -- but not before a few others from Trump to Panama to Brazil got a taste.

To ancient Greeks, Apate was the goddess of deceit. Daughter of Nyx the sovereign of night while her dad, Eredos, was the spirit of darkness.

APATE made her entry to the mortal world when Pandora opened that infamous box that let a bunch of evil spirits on the loose.

Apate was also known to the Romans as Fraus (fraud). Her family milieu included several siblings named Violent Death (Keres) , Old Age (Geras) , Doom( Moros) Suffering(Oisyz) , Retribution (Nemesis) , Blame( Momos) and Strife (Eris).

Apate reigned in the world for many centuries up until fate had it that mortals guided by Ariadne, the supreme networker and labyrinth vanquisher, created the internet and the world wide web. That was to become the slow but sure march of Apate to her defeat.

Indeed, as the Internet began its worldwide communications take over, the foundations of Apate’s sway crumbled.

Light began to be shed in all realms of civilization. Transparency began its quiet but effect conquest of the economy, social relations, and most importantly public policies.

Today we can access information on practically anything. We can preserve history in a smart phone snapshot. People who were voiceless can now devise and execute public communication campaigns capable of impacting international organizations, governments and corporations.

We now know the true implications of Lobbying: who lobbies, who is lobbied, and what public interests are vanquished by lobbies.

We can follow the life, societal and productive path of an individual or a corporation throughout the world and from childhood to death.

Knowledge has turned into a collaborative and transparent process.

Companies and individuals gain wealth and advance in their careers by sharing knowledge as opposed to hoarding knowledge.

Successful companies have done away with back room discussions and board room policies to break silos culture and promote collaborative operations.

Information shared organization-wide allows employees to roll up their sleeves and create innovative solutions to the most challenging elements of business.

In the public realm good policies are prized while wrong doing is sooner or later unveiled to level impunity.

In short, the Internet liberated the world from the serfdom of ignorance and secrecy.

But as Max Planck once observed “it takes a while for leadership to become aware of change.”

Political leadership in the Americas continues to behave as if Apate continued her obscure reign upon mortals.

This explains the Hillary e-mails episode whereby, in a futile attempt to keep information to herself, she broke the rules of procedure concerning protection of national security sensitive information.

It also explains Donald Trump’s useless attempt to make the world believe that he is more successful that Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Michael Bloomberg put together.

This effort has recently been trumped by a New York Times investigation revealing that Trump has $650 million in debt.

But perhaps the clumsiest of all public policy decisions was that of the government of Panama to muffle the Panama Papers scandal by appointing Joseph Stiglitz, the Economics Nobel laureate, to head an international investigative committee to unveil the flaws of the country’s financial system.

The decision was taken as a PR move on the eve of the most publicized unveiling of theretofore secret information in the hands of a law firm to the rich and famous around the world.

The firm which was based in Panama created special purpose vehicles to avoid taxation among the very rich and even launder corruption money.

When it was clear to Stiglitz that there was not the slightest intention on the part of Panama’s forces vivantes of making the results of the investigation public — let alone cleaning up both the Panamanian financial system as well as the Panama Free Trade Zone — Stiglitz publicly resigned reinforcing in world public opinion the perception that Panama, besides owning an interoceanic canal, also owns the keys to hide proceeds for illicits.

Stiglitz and Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth joined the seven-member commission with a view to bring to Panama the same kind of cleansing operation as that undertaken by Prosecutor Moro in Brazil when faced with the major leagues corruption inside Petrobras, the energy giant.

All in all, the public is now more aware of the flaws of these three leadership styles; and the prognosis does not bode well for any of them, given that anything they do or say will be uber scrutinized. Because we are now living the century of the Sacred Mother of Golden Light, the Chinese deity of transparency and wisdom. Would it not be fabulous if our hemispheric leadership got the mythology right?

Published by Latin American Herald Tribune on August 21st, 2016