Muddling Through to Nowhere

The Aporrea-roots up in arms

The Aporrea-roots are up in arms

Aporrea made for uncommonly schadenfreudy reading this weekend as the collective penny dropped for middle class chavismo that their own prized shard of the petrostate piñata is now decidedly under threat.

The lazy soundbyte here is that the measures Rafael Ramirez announced last week were “too little too late.” But that understates the scale of the mess: Ramírez’s reforms were both way too much, and nowhere near enough.

They were way too much in that the chavista political coalition comes under serious strain when you even hint at messing with core-redistributive policies. But they were also nowhere near enough, because they’re just not on the kind of the scale of fiscal adjustment needed to really address the structural forces fuelling the crisis.

Let’s remind ourselves, what Ramírez announced amounts to a policy tweak, limiting the accessibility of a cherished populist goodie in order to save perhaps $1.4 billion…out of a figure variously estimated in the $35-$60 billion range (though of course the exact figure is a mystery).

So the latest non-devaluation-devaluation is a drop in the fiscal bucket. Still, the bottom fell out of the Venezuelan bond market, and chavismo is freaking out. The government is alienating core constituencies for the sake of not solving the problem. Even Simón Andrés Zúñiga, understood to be Jorge Giordani’s own nom-de-blogue on Aporrea, went into high rant mode, decrying that

Las medidas implican un fuerte ajuste macroeconómico, que incluye un shock institucional, esto tendrá un efecto importante sobre la fijación de los precios y sobre la actividad económica. En este inicio de año, el desabastecimiento se está generalizando y alcanzando niveles críticos.

Let’s just be clear: that’s Chávez’s chief economic ideologist and planning minister talking! When Giordani’s sock-puppet sounds indistinguishable from your standard oppo talking head, you know you’ve crossed some critical threshold into terminal loopiness.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: what Venezuelans are living through now is the furthest extremes of the 1989 counterfactual. I’m only sorry Hugo Chávez himself isn’t around to deal with it.

76 thoughts on “Muddling Through to Nowhere

  1. I only wish the opposition were better positioned to take advantage of this. With its recent muddling of what its own economic policy platform would be and inconsistency of delivering any sort of message, this is a lost opportunity to say a) we told you so. b.) it’ll get worse before it gets better, so batten the hatches (or its approximate in español) c.) but that’s alright because we have a potential solution. Communicational hegemony aside, that is.

    Anytime the more moderate aspect of chavismo, the opportunists, or as we’ve taken to fondly calling them, ChINOs (Chavistas-In-Name-Only), it is a prime chance to woo them away.

    It won’t make a difference today. Nor tomorrow. It will, however, be the first stone in paving the way to an open dialogue in 2016-2017, when it matters.

    The big concern at this point is trying to find out where the bottom will be. These are some murky waters are Ramirez isn’t helping things with his pathetically sad pseudo-fixes.


  2. Good piece, nicely told. I really have to download those texts by Zúñiga and do some stats on them. If someone could send me a digital copy of something that was definitely written by the Monk himself, please, let me know!

    “I’m only sorry Hugo Chávez himself isn’t around to deal with it.”
    Hear, hear. It would have been so good for Venezuela as a whole had he been alive while the policies already introduced by him started to show the level of distortion they show now.
    I don’t believe in complots like Maduro does but if someone had any reason for having Chávez dying soon, it would have been some Boligarchs themselves. It is like that story by Cortázar, Queremos Tanto a Glenda.


    • It really sucks that Chavez died into the romanticized memory of his followers and neither HE NOR HIS MEMORY will ever be accountable for laying waste on his country.

      The things that mortifies me the most is the idea, that long after Chavismo is irrelevant there will be some future public works projects that will be named after him. We will have to ride on some autopista Hugo Chavez, light our homes with electricity from some Hugo Chavez dam, and so on. The tropical version of Stalingrad and Leningrad.


      • Creo que todo esto depende en buena parte de nosotros.
        Si dejamos que los chavistas escriban la historia y nosotros solo nos convertimos en eternos espectadores, la vamos a tener muy mal después.
        Qué trato de hacer yo?

        Mira el gráfico que aparece en esta página:
        Lo agregué junto a un par de comentarios sobre la falta de evaluaciones, etc.
        Lamentablemente, hay pocos que quieran contribuir a ese tipo de acciones en Wikipedia o en medios semejantes. Trabajar para un fin común y a largo plazo es visto como algo demasiado abstracto. Pero hay que hacerlo si queremos influir en la conciencia histórica.

        No se trata de más o menos tiempo. El tiempo que muchos usan en escribir sobre su frustración en páginas de Facebook de personas que piensan como ellos mismos podrían usarlo en agregar un par de datos aquí o allí en un sitio más público, en escribir dichos datos para un periódico nacional o al menos en distribuir una información claramente legible a todos sus conocidos o mandársela a diputados de su preferencia para que estos lo hagan.

        Los historiadores profesionales y los políticos (como cualquier otro) no son más que un reflejo de toda la sociedad, gente que se ha especializado, motivada por el interés general.

        La historia de Venezuela depende, entonces, de cada uno de nosotros. Pero la hemos de explicar en castellano, que es nuestro idioma común.


        • Bravo Kepler ojala muchos siguieramos este consejo y tu ejemplo(empezando por mi)y quizas no te editen el articulo.Solia pasar que todo intento de decir la verdad sobre Venezuela era inmediatamente editado y transformado por los simpatizantes del innombrable y zas lo quitaban .Good luck maybe times are “achanging”


          • I know, but I have seen several of the editions and edition wars and I don’t think many act properly. We need to be more Catholic than the Pope to beat them.
            It is true Chavistas lurk and seem to live there. Things have changed only slightly. Still, the issue is how we react to that.

            1) you don’t do a big edit in one go, just keep in mind one article and do a tiny edition one week, then another
            2) you never ever say something like “the government screwed it up” or the like. You write Chavista minister stated blabla (preferably you can put some big words they say), you add a link of theirs…and then you add what one of our deputies or newspapers said. Even if they seem to cancel each other, you will see things will go to our favour.
            3) you preferably add things that are neutral as well – where a ministry is located or the code for something in the article about Apure
            4) you fix a couple of spelling errors (it’s extremely easy to find them in texts about Venezuela)
            5) you add in your edition some warning like “por favor, mantener el estilo enciclopédico”.
            6) When possible, add the tag for “fuente requerida” when they write some rubbish.

            I initially improved a lot of German articles about Venezuela. Now I see there are a couple of others who are also adding something there. I went to do a little bit more on Spanish. I think my work is done. Now it’s others who need to join in.

            We have a problem in Venezuela. Everyone says “aquí tiene que llegar alguien a componer esta vaina”. It’s everyone of us, a wee bit, a minute or two a week.


            • One way I have found to beat the constant rojo rojito lying in Wikipedia is to dispute the neutrality of the article. They can’t edit that out so easily.


    • I think he means the non-mentally disturbed in general.

      Even though that seems horribly unfair to the mentally ill to equate him with them.


  3. These are the times I enjoy the most, prophets of apocalypse ranting like there is no tomorrow and bond prices decreasing. Time to load more bonds and then sit down and clip clip :)

    The main reason why this measure was taken was the discontent of the Faja JV participants as they were not happy with the F/X rate they were getting when bringing their capital into the country (i.e. Petrovietnam, among others). Which is why Ramirez has taken the helm of all economic-related things in the country. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is preparing to become president in the future.

    In any case, devaluations will keep coming, shortages will keep existing and the majority of the population will still be fairly happy (as usual). If a 91% loss of purchasing power and a surge in violence/kidnappings hasn’t triggered an unstopable mass of people going to Miraflores and claiming their heads, then I don’t know what will.


    • “These are the times I enjoy the most, prophets of apocalypse ranting like there is no tomorrow”

      Then you should really love this blog. Toro has been doing nothing but prophesying impeding apocalypse since….. oh….. 2000? 2001?


      • People in this blog have become as indifferent to the personal financial fortunes of Vinnie as he has become to the broken fortunes of the unhappy inhabitants of this land . his idea of happiness is gloating at the money he expects t make from clipping coupons on the debt of a ruined country , but Toro and others are more concerned with something altogether different , much larger than what occupies Vinnnies mind . The kind of default that occupies my mind has nothing to do with my personal fortunes (they are healthy enough) , but with the disaster which has overtaken people in this country we love !! Still I think that he should not discard getting a skull shearing hair cut anyone of these days .


        • Bill. I think you will find that Venny Trader is actually our good mate Mark Weisbrot or the like. Actively trying to hike up interest in Venezuelan bonds to buy them another few months in power. There isn’t a sensible accounts manager anywhere in the world lapping up Venezuelan debt. Not seriously.


          • Thanks Shaun for the warning , I suspected as much but he sometimes camuflages his comments with some highly critical observation about the govt which makes one doubt where he actually stands . This last comment however was so transparently troll-like that perhaps I should have simply ignored it , but then I thought that even his ‘fake persona’ was so offensively egotistical that it warranted a response !! wont happen again. !!


            • You can call me troll or whatever you want. I am not Mark Weisbrot. And Shaun, don’t get into a conversation when you don’t know what you are talking about. PIMCO, Goldman, among other institutions hold big positions in Venz/PDVSA debt. For them, its just a matter of track record and risk/return. So far, Venz/PDVSA debt ticks the standard boxes and has been a good investment; that is a FACT. But as they say, ignorance is bliss.

              Bill, moral bankruptcy in our country began years ago (1st term of CAP to be precise). The only reason why it has a deeper effect now, is because oil revenues have been higher and thus more money has been stolen. I really like the articles written by Tomas Lander@Infodio on this matter, specially the one titled “La Sociedad de Complices”. So really, enough with this “everyone is so concerned now blah blah” because when these things happened in the past in pretty much the same fashion, no one said anything. Of course the scale was smaller because there were less revenues. However, the source of the problem was and still is the same one. Don’t come now saying: “We are all so concerned now and care so much about our country” when most of the people aged 40+ (Generacion Boba) didn’t do what they should have done in 80’s / 90 ‘s and now want to shift all the blame to Chavistas. Chavistas are a consequence of the deterioration that began in the 70’s. However, Chavismo has also evolved and turned into a whole new problem of its own given all the ideological mess they have put in the minds of the younger generations.

              I don’t like any politician in Venezuela, if you ask me, I would recommend they kick them all out of the country (Chavista and Opposition).


              • The facile superficial response to todays disasters is:, blame it on the past, blame it on the political crooks of yesterday, ,blame it on the corrupt morals of a now vanished poltical sytstem and a generations failure to put a stop to it. in other words todays catastrophic breakdown in Venezuelas life and freedoms should be blamed more on past failures tnat on Chavismo’s virulently destructive policies, crimes and blunders . Its not only superficial , its also convenient if you want to have people underplay the role that Chavez and his ilk had in creating the disaster we live today , in taking attention away from the exceptionally monstrous criminal corruption and incompetence of the regime , and by the way, the persona giving this explanation is saying, in gloating tone, Im getting rich because that regime will never default , ifs failures will never reach the point where its hold on power will implode , so despair those opposed to this regime for it will last forever whatever the magnitude and extent of its failures and the fracas ot its economic policies. The message is of course troll like . masking itself behind some diffuse criticism of the regime but actually painting the whole picture so as to favour it .
                Whatever the causal links to the past this regime represents a quantum jump in the way its corruption and incompetence have had a destructive effect on Venezuelas economy and political life , thats the relevant part of the history , dwelling on the past is significant but in the context of this explantion just a red herring , something to distract our attention from what has to be the real focus of our concerns . If Chavez had never appeared things might not be fine and dandy but they certainly would not be as terrible as they are now . Back then nothing forced and artificial barred a change in government , now the regime has created a system of hegemonic control over the institutions to concentrate all power on itself and never be displaced from it. . We are now living under a rethorically and mediatically cosmetized dictatorship . Before , whatever its failings we lived under a democracy.. We have to do whatever it takes to restore it by rescuing from the hands of a very challenged Chavista regime. !!


  4. This Zuniga character is hitting the nail on the head:

    La excusa aparente para desaparecer a CADIVI era la corrupción y la ineficiencia. Si se aplica este criterio a otras instituciones, organismos y empresas públicas, se tendría que desmantelar a gran parte del Estado venezolano. Esperamos que la nueva institución tenga una vacuna efectiva contra los dos males que socaban credibilidad de la dirigencia política y la esperanza socialista: corrupción e ineficiencia.

    Finalmente, no podemos de dejar mencionar el pronóstico optimista del ministro Ramírez con respecto al crecimiento del PIB de este año. Lo estima en 4%. Pensamos que hay tiempo, y si se logran hacer las cosas bien, para lograr aproximarse a esa meta, que pensamos es muy ambiciosa.

    Esperamos que ese pronóstico no se lo haya hecho la gerencia de planificación de PDVSA, los cuales tienen el récord que, en una década, no han logrado cumplir las metas de las proyecciones, por demás irreales, que presentan en los planes de inversión de la industria.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself..


  5. The regime doesnt just have private financial creditors , it has creditors among the huge rabble of its political constituency that have come to expect certain goodies coming to them without interruption , who want prices kept stable and the offer of many different consumer goods to remain accesible to enjoy the small or large amounts which are distributed to them in return for their political allegiance . who want cheap gas and a whole host of other subsidized goods and services . The government is starting to fall back on its promised ‘payments’ to these creditors , we now start hearing louder and louder rumblings of anger and dissatisfaction from them , they are stirring , protests multiply , they are a ravenous and savage multitude , you can hear their angry voices in every one of those interminable queues for missing goods or services that now criss cross the land . The govertnment does this and that to appease them temporarily with small make believe benefits , but the disattisfaction grows and grows and the governments difficulties in sattisfying their expectations , their inmmense bundle of IOU notes are becoming critical in scale and size . There is in these prrocesses a tipping point which when reached is the equivalent of a financial default, a default in the fullest sense of the word. but it wont involve the use of impecably dressed , manicured , spectacled , soft spoken wall street lawyers or the writs of distinguished judges . It will involve other things , mainly disagreable ones !! we cant see it now , but every day that passes the probability of it happening increases , it will seem as if it will never happen until one day unexpectedly it happens .!! and we have a collection time !!The regimes debt to its constituency is running up continously every day . At least 50% of Venezuelans already feel that the govt is in default of it promises and obligations , the number of those that feel the same is growing all the time , they havent taken action to express their dissatisfaction yet …but give them time . as govt failure to meet its many obligations and promises become deeper the pressure from the inside will build and build until it …explodes !!


  6. Ok, ok, dumb question: Can anyone explain to me why the government is not paying out its dues to the airlines or to say, industrias polar and other holders of promissory notes? Is it flagrant bureaucratic incompetence, reserves heading for rock-bottom, buying time, keeping inflation at bay, killing businesses?


    • All of the above.

      BTW, what CADIVI is doing to Polar is failing to pay Polar’s foreign creditors. Businesses such as Polar which import supplies or equipment applied to CADIVI for dollars for each purchase. If the purchase qualified for a grant of dollars, CADIVI would then sell the amount of dollars required to the importer at the BS6.30/$ rate. But CADIVI did not actually issue the dollars to the importer. Instead CADIVI issued a chit for the dollars, which the importer would then give to the foreign supplier. The supplier would then present the chit to CADIVI and get the dollars. Except that CADIVI has not been honoring the chits, giving various excuses. There are now several billion $ of these chits outstanding.


      • Many people do not realize that these chits (AAD – permit to import and ALD – actual authorization for the local Bank to transfer $ to offshore Banks) have not been issued since mid Ocober 2013.

        If a company does not have an AAD aproved before importing the good, it will be denied the request for Cadivi dollars.

        It is not only the situation that Cadivi dollars have nor been issued since Mid October, it is the situation that no AAD have beee issued (as far as I know – have asked), which is really an authorization-to-import-if you-want-Cadivi-dollars…

        I am talking of all kind of companies (Nwespaper paper rolls, automotive sper parts, packaging for food, etc. etc.)

        And these guys at teh Government believe that they can import everything and handle to private companies !!! When they start asking for quotes and get the dreaded CIA (Cash In Advance please, not Central of Intelligence Agency…) waht are they going to do ????


        • That’s completely nuts, and disturbing. This nut is gonna crack soon, whatever system was in place is breaking down.


    • Maybe its because they want to make it so that only the government run airlines are the only ones that can operate in the country, like Cuba.


    • Like!
      Para Francisco Ibarra, economista y director de Econométrica,
      despenalizar el mercado de la permuta
      implica abastecer
      la demanda latente ante la ABERTURA de la brecha.

      Thar’s a fighting chance for the psuvistas to bring back their bucks.
      Time to jettison the ill-gotten bucks for the seventy+,
      or at least,
      import that car of their dreams!


      • Dream on! The “permuta” system has one huge enemy: the Giordani/ cubano-communist faction of the government. For ideologic reasons they will never permit this system to come back as long as they have political power. Moreover, they have a de facto ally in the military who are the main beneficiaries of the arbitrage possibilities that exchange controls have brought to poor Venezuela. So much so, that today this income is part of their conventional earnings. The military have no interest in a foreign exchange system that sets the rate through some sort of “market” mechanism. Sorry.


    • Confused?
      Don’t be,
      Will F.BS. reach the eighties?
      … Will abastos discover troves of price-fixed consumables?
      … Will we wipe our asses with luxurious toilet paper?
      These questions—and many others—
      will be answered in the next neverending chorreadas
      of Aporrea


  7. OT: Saw this weekend two business people , one with a fairly big establishment in central Ccs , which a very large clientele , their usual providers ( of which they have many) now come visit them to tell them that altought they have nothing to offer, because production is paralyzed or down, they want them to know that when things ‘turn normal’ they are still arround . Another one, the head of a middle size distributor of industrial parts to factories and other plants (partly imported partly manufactured locally ) who because imports are impossible and local manufacturers have closed down ‘temporarily’ since december now have no way of replenishing their stocks and are thinking of shutting down for fear that they will totally decapitalize themselves by selling stock which they will not be able to replace any time soon or only at a price they cannot pass to their customers . Im thinking that if this is happening all over the place we could be heading for a total breakdown in the capacity of the economy to supply the goods and services on which we all depend to meet our normal living needs . If we come to that, what does that portend for the fate of the regime . Arent they aware of the looming disaster ?? will they simply rely on their capacity to militarize things and silence any news of whats happening ??


    • So, how would one find data? How many businesses have stopped operating? It would forewarn the crisis by several months!


      • Some have stopped operating permanent. Others temporarily. In theory, they are all temporary as they await access to fx. The extremely difficult task is quantifying those that are will not return versus those that can and will do so if they have the opportunity. Supplies are so irregular and haphazard, that you don’t know which is which.

        An example: I help the extended family with some businesses we set up. One, which involves some light manufacturing, has about a dozen or so regular companies we purchase intermediary or raw goods from. Three are still making fairly regular deliveries, 4 are semi-regular and have a backlog of a couple of months on orders. Another 4 are months out and are 60 to 90 days overdue. Of the last three, two are most definitely out and the last one we haven’t heard anything from for 6 months…so guessing that is gone as well.

        Curiously (or perhaps not), the ones in the best condition are more or less raw goods. Those further up the value chain are the ones that are being squeezed out of business and are gone or going.

        This is, to me at least, an indication of the regression from an industrialized economy to an extractive one. I believe that Venezuela is currently on a path to join Africa, rather than maintaining status with its neighbors and moving forward. This dovetails nicely with the massive influx of Chinese.


        • Maduro seems to be saying that the businesses that are closing are doing so to hide their profiteering, or are doing so to avoid being audited. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge any other reasons. He further says that the workers will take over the business? Am I interpreting this correctly?


          • I hadn’t heard the specifics of such, if he has indeed said something similar. It would be in keeping with chavismo ideology and his predecessor’s rhetoric.

            Funny thing about a business: you need labor and capital. If capital flees, good luck running with only labor. When they can’t produce because they lack materials and won’t produce because they don’t see their wages…lets see how long the workers will “run” the business.

            I highly doubt that the majority, or even a minority of the businesses are closing to hide profiteering. Most folks who run their own business in a normal competitive market intuitively understand that when your average variable cost > price, you shut down temporarily and when your average total cost > price, you exit the market. They may not put it in such terms, per se, but they understand that you don’t sell something for more than it costs you to produce it. (Unless, of course, you have a gun to your head.)

            Being choked of the ability to purchase in materials, or not knowing the cost of doing so, or even if/when you can, throws a huge amount of uncertainty into the variable/total cost mix. Add in a devaluation, and you no longer know what the price is.

            It is the equivalent of playing poker without being able to see your cards. Sometimes, its better to fold and walk away from the table. I think that is what we are really seeing, despite how Maduro & Company may spin it.

            Quien es Juan Galt?


              • Indeed. It is one thing that Venezuela has been able to show a measureable increase in production of over the last 15 years. Moreover, it doesn’t seem to be afflicted much by inflation. Rather, the more inflation, the more hot air is produced and the price remains the same.

                If Ramirez and Maduro could increase production at PDVSA like they’ve done with bellicose blathering, the revolution would be financed for a million years.


  8. Is Chavismo going bankrupt little by little? Or is it more like getting pregnant. You either are, or you aren’t! All the pent up frustration that the regime has been containing with informational hegemony, like a river reaching a dam that cannot bear it, cracks will form, the regime will repair them as best they can until it falters, and a climax of rage will the ensue that all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot put back together again!


    • This has been said too for Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cuba and yet I have seen my youth pass and still these unsavory characters are in power, only that much older, like me :-)

      They are certainly bankrupt regimens, yet they keep their people firmly, under their boot.


      • Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cuba have little in common with Venezuela. Venezuela has a tradition of democracy and a strong middle class!


        • I think the process of Iran and Cuba is the one I fear the most for Venezuela.

          There a slow tightening of the oppression vice was applied. Not too fast as to provoke a backlash that would buck them out of power, but instead a slow boil that makes those that care and can affect change leave. This is the ultimate consequence of the brain drain Venezuela suffers.

          And then there was the disastrous military coup, oil strike and election boycot which exhausted the final pockets of power ‘escualidos’ had and with this Chavismo holds all the deck.

          But, Gordo, I hope you are right. I really do.


          • Chavismo management is extremely inefficient. Its tactics are promises, opacity, hegemony, fraud, corruption, threats and selective punishment by example. Behind the curtain, bullies are cowards!


    • I guess a distinction may be that the Ukrainian democracy movement has a strong nationalist overlay to it. It would be as if Venezuela were literally ruled and occupied directly by a country which had a different language and culture. But the comparison is also a good one. Venezuela does not have as far to move to become a democratic country as many former soviet republics.



        Perpetuar el caduco esquema de las devaluaciones periódicas es reeditar el proceder de la Cuarta República y nos aleja de la vía al socialismo. Hay que trascender la dinámica puntofijista de servirse de este abyecto mecanismo para obtener más bolívares, en lugar de optimizar la recaudación tributaria, pechar con gravámenes más severos a los juegos de envite y azar, y ajustar el monto de los carburantes, por ejemplo. Mientras continuemos atados al inorgánico dólar estadounidense, la especulación cambiaria será más “rentable” que producir bienes y servicios en el país: numerosas empresas reciben los dólares del Estado pero no los invierten en las áreas correspondientes, los introducen en la centrífuga del mercado paralelo reiteradas veces y después sacan los capitales fuera de Venezuela. ¿Cuál sería la solución? Pues, hacer del bolívar venezolano una moneda internacional.

        Osea, el peo de base es que se emite moneda a lo loco sin respaldo…EN LA FEDERAL RESERVE!!!


          • He’s right–it’s all a conspiracy of the Cucutenos, backed by that drug cartel, the DEA, plus the FBI, CIA, and, to top it all off, the Colombian travel agencies. This guy, “corrector de estilos” and all, is as worthy a candidate for BCV chief as any of his Chavista predecessors.


            • My favorite part is that the author says people are fleeing the dollar for the Japanese Yen – Japan was doing quantitative easing before people even called it that. This guy knows nothing at all.


              • Si.


                You can really see the kick-in from Abenomics starting at the beginning of 2013. The Japanese are actually excited about inflation in 2014.

                Granted, I’m a bit senile, but…when a 2nd tier reserve currency goes into decline against a first tier reserve currency, isn’t that an indication of a lack of demand for that currency (amongst other silly things like busy printing presses and whatnot.)


    • If you have any question, you can contact him under “@rpkampuchea”
      Sabemos cuándo se usaba Campuchea para Camboya.


    • wow!
      I am truly dazzled!

      Liendo asserts –
      burbuja inflacionaria escudada en la escasez artificial

      la parasitaria clase empresarial-comerciante

      especulación cambiaria y no la producción de bienes, de servicios.

      DEA, verbigracia, es el gran cartel de Estados Unidos para controlar la producción y transporte de estupefacientes

      el fin de la DEA es salvaguardar la segunda industria sin chimeneas del capitalismo: el tráfico de drogas.

      objetivo de Washington ha sido fragmentar el país, impedir el avance de la izquierda y erigir un proveedor más cercano de alucinógenos,

      Reserva Federal ha manipulado el mercado del oro en papel con el objetivo de desplomar su cotización

      ¿Cuál sería la solución?
      Pues, hacer del bolívar venezolano una moneda internacional.


      • Dear Lord,
        I have set self-flagellation aside –
        as of today,
        I will atone for all of my multiple sins
        by reading Liendo’s essays
        word for word.


        • Couldn’t somebody send him a link to this conversation? He has the right to defend himself! What a creative fella, seriously, and it sounds all so “academic”.


  9. Rene and Agla, I hope Venezuela’s “democratic tradition” of some 40 years or so is as strong as you think; the core Chavista base, up to now, does resemble the poor of early Castro Cuba, as they slowly stew in ever-increasingly-hot water without ever really complaining too outwardly or publicly, until they were completely subjugated by a “civico-militar” regime similar to what Venezuela has now.


  10. Is this audit of businesses just hot air? Or is it going to be a justification of a ploy to confiscate more businesses and properties? It looks like any businesses that is behind in rent payments are going to be protected from collection efforts from landlords? This seems to me to be a final “Hale Mary Play!” If businesses are forced to close, I submit to you that Venezuela is a “failed state”, and this modern day Socialism better have a game plan in place! It doesn’t fare well among the coveted tourists who find everything either closed or waiting for deliveries.


  11. The last fallback for a regime that lacks any capacity to maintain peoples normal living standards and instead causes it to universally fall precipitously to near poverty levels is to establish a total police state , with some heavy window dressing that allows it to farcically claim popular legitimacy.!! People are psychologically and practically converted into broken souls that dare not protest for fear of punishment and persecution or which are corrupted into becoming opportunists who milk their show of allegiance to the regime to gain petty advantages or rewards .. That is a possibility . The regime is a specialist in manipulating appearances , in giving any unfavourable fact an outrageously false but face saving spin . The regime uses mental and methodical repression both phisical and economic and psychological to defang any practical demosntration of dissent !! It wouldnt be a harsh police state a la soviet union or Cuba , we are too disorganized and fundamentally easy going for that . Corruption would be used much more intensely to keep a pretorian guard of regime defenders happily bought than elsewhere. The country would not only be economically ruined but people’s will and character would be degraded to become submissive zombies , dont know whats worse. !! . The last line of defense against this tyranical project is inside peoples mind , keeping whole their will to resist , however difficult the task , however long it takes !! someday as happens to all sytems something gives and an opportunity presents it self to effect a regime change.


    • Bill Bass, what you describe is a nightmare that may be plausible enough for a Orwellian novel, but tactically and economically speaking, that is a lot too happen in a very short time period! The shit is hitting the fan! I don’t see any effective policies yet, just smoke and mirrors! This government is lots of bark, but it is rapidly losing money and credibility!


      • Economic failure of this regime, if not imminent, is inevitable! Its failure will bring chaos, and then what? Will there be a Calvary coming to the rescue? Perhaps, the Red Cross and international relief? Even after failure, will relief packages be targeted by thugs? At some point the people who care about the common good of the nation must show backbone and take their country back!


        • THE plan is not necessarily to maintain control, or to keep power. THE puppet master is only interested in embezzle as much as possible as long as possible and with as little political and military cost as possible while Venezuela finances bear.

          After that they don’t care, they will move on to whatever new venture finances the Cuban exploitation model and leave venezuela’s orgy to self implode.

          all the useful fools that are the Maduro and Diosdado and The VP types, will either run for their life with what they manage to take from the pinata, or be killed in the after shock. I hold little expectation for formal justice, trials and persecutions, and so forth given the opposition is still stuck in its paradigm of “quitate tu pa pnerme yo.

          In the midst of caos and violence it will be eary to set fire to many MTC’s and CADIVI’s and other records and clean the tracks….

          Los pobres venezolanos sufriran la resaca y el raton mas atroces en medio de una tierra arrasada.

          And BTW, remember, as long as possible, as much as possible and with as little costs as possible.


  12. Gordo , all you say is true , what I drew above was just one scenario among many , might not become real at all , but one thing Ive learned in reading history and from observation is that no one can really predict what can happen in a complex political situation such as we now face . The incumbent always has an advantage specially one as entrenched as this one . Certainly even one mans backbone may be all thats needed to free us from this monster on our backs . But there is no guarantee that such backbone will appear when needed !! history is guided not by logic but by happenstance and sometimes by the resolve of a few resourceful people !! lets hope the latter makes an appearance and restores venezuelan political life to some resemblance of freedom !!


  13. What is needed is a plan vs the thugs on motorcycles to protect peaceful protesters! Disable the motos, distribute mace pepper spray, prepare mobile first aid facilities. Is that being done?


  14. Bill, interestingly enough, it seems I am no longer able to reply to your comment because the reply button has dissappeared. Odd. Perhaps the administrator removed it.

    I really don’t get the whole troll thing. However, if it makes you happy fine. I’ve always debated all your points with serious arguments, however you have taken a different approach.

    In any case, I am not entirely taking the blame off the current government, they are in fact guilty of a good part of the country’s deterioration. But this is a complex issue and has a lot of moving parts. I never said not to blame the govt. but your rationale (i.e. Lets get rid of Chavismo at all cost and then we figure out what we do) hasn’t been succesful so far and will never be. Let us remember that is what happened during the April Coup (zero planification, 100% improvising) and look at the outcome. As long as a serious opposition, one who really understands how our actions in the past got Venezuela to what it is today, doesn’t step up, then it will be very difficult for them to reach office. Do you ever wonder why there are such high abstention rates in the country? Doesn’t that tell you anything about today’s politicians (both govt. and opposition)? By the way, I am not an abstentionist, I’ve voted for the opposition (shamefully) in various occassions. However, opposition supporters are very conformist and most actually believe that the current oppo politicians are fine and not part of the problem. They are mistaken and they have been for the past 15 years. Isn’t it time to try a different approach? They had their time, and they have failed miserably. Time to find new leaders (And no sorry but Smolanski and the “young” politicians are not really the solution”). And really, don’t come with all this bla bla about the country being managed “democratically” before. Venezuela, for cultural and historical reasons, has been managed as a plantation for the past 50 years.


  15. I’m beginning to feel that the aversion to grasp basic market concepts in Chavista circles is starting to reach the magnitude of the aversion to the teaching of evolution in US southern evangelicals. I’m thinking that, after this mess, the law of supply and demand should be start to be taught as early as 6th grade but no later than 9th grade, and continue being taught through high school, just to stay on the safe side.

    Otherwise will end up with public officials like this: Saman explains his points of views while still lamenting the demise of INDEPABIS

    ‘Saman expressed his views on the government economic policies. He denied that price regulations cause scarcity; acknowledged there’s scarcity, but maintained that products have “affordable prices”.

    Saman also stated that inflation happens when sellers raise prices.

    “There wouldn’t be any inflation if they didn’t raise prices without justification”, said the pharmacist, who defined himself as “communist”.’

    ‘Samán también fijó posición sobre las políticas económicas del Gobierno. Negó que la regulación de los precios en los productos genere la escasez; reconoció que existe desabastecimiento, pero dijo que los productos presentan “precios accesibles”.

    Además, Samán afirmó que la inflación parte de los aumentos de precios por parte de los comerciantes.

    “Si ellos no tuvieran la práctica de hacer incrementos injustificados no sucedería la inflación” , afirmó el farmacéutico, quien se definió como “comunista”.’–ningun-reconcomio–por-la-desapari.aspx


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