I´m under the weather this week, so I’ll stick to re-posting interesting things that reach my Inbox. Today, Bloomberg has a story on how the military find all sorts of goodies, from cars to apartments, while regular Venezuelans face shortages.
One thing that has always baffled me about my country is how the military remains one of the more prestigious institutions. With rare exceptions, the Venezuelan military is an abusive, overweight, scamming, public-money sucking, toll-charging, unprofessional group of drug smugglers … … and yet people revere them.
I understand why that is, what with the myth of Bolívar and the wars of independence, but it frustrates me to no end. To me the military is the problem in Venezuela. Perhaps it´s something about my upbringing – a legacy from the Dutch side of my family perhaps. (The Dutch generally hold their military in low esteem, or so I´ve been told)
The value added from Bloomberg´s piece:
Military personnel don’t have to contend with the economic chaos in the rest of the country. The 43 trucks and tents at the market in the military base on Aug. 22 were loaded with subsidized milk, cooking oil and detergents — goods that are out of stock in most shops…
At Fort Tiuna in southern Caracas, hundreds of new Chinese cars glistened in the parking lots, after former Defense Minister Diego Molero pledged in May of last year to purchase 20,000 autos for the armed forces.
That compares with just eight new cars imported into the country of 29 million people in August, according to the Venezuelan Automotive Chamber, which excludes Chinese carmakers. (emphasis is mine) Few Chinese cars are imported outside government programs, said Raul Alvarez, a Caracas-based car industry consultant…
And the coup de grace:
There is one general for every 34 servicemen in Venezuela, compared with one for 1,490 servicemen in the U.S., based on the latest figures from the countries’ ministries of defense.
Yowza. The military is more of a scam than I thought…
Count the Armed Forces alongside Wall Street and China as the three groups Maduro will never default on. That´s why it pains me to read simplistic stuff such as García Mora’s latest, where he wonders out loud when the country will finally break.
As long as there´s enough cash to go around to keep the military happy, Maduro seems pretty safe to me. Sometimes, the answer is really simple.