Sobremesa chronicles

the immorality of others

the immorality of others

(For this week’s sobremesa, Rodrigo chimes in re. the “morality” of selling your dollar allowance)

In Venezuela you get a yearly dollar allowance. If you use your allowance, nothing happens. If you sell your allowance, you could face jail time, and also be considered traitor to you Fatherland.

But is it morally wrong to sell what the State deems righfully yours? I know it is illegal, but let’s see how arbitrary that construct is.

From a policy view, the State, which is short on cash, wants to limit the access to those dollars, but it fears the consequences of doing away with the allowance entirely. In other words, the State doesn’t have enough cash to simultaneously honor commitments and give away dollars to Venezuelans.

The allowance has become a right to many. So, instead of removing it , it has created barriers around it in order to reduce its fiscal cost – folders, limits, audits. These are there to make sure that you spent your dollars in a “proper” and “lawful” way.

Let’s look at the lawful ways:

  • Dining can be marvelous as long as it is carried out outside of our borders. You can enjoy anything from a McDonalds meal for the modest sum of BsF 60, or you can go all-out and dine at the French Laundry (if you manage to get a table) for BsF 3600.
  • Go to the malls, enjoy the apparel. Visit that Mac Store. Buy to your heart’s content or til you reach your allowance cap. See, Venezuelans after all, are nothing but small children of the fatherland. But be aware that your allowance is only for overseas.
  • Go to Disney. By all means go to Disney. The Fatherland desires nothing but happiness for its children. And the Fatherland knows there is no happier place than Disney. Remember, Disney or any other experience that you may desire can only be fulfill, with your allowance outside of Venezuela.

You get the jest. Just take your money, get $100 for $5, but please – consume it somewhere else, in some other country, to benefit those economies from this oil wealth, which is such a burden.

What you must avoid is the thought of selling your allowance. If you happen to have this right, and willfully and in full use of your faculties, sell it to another individual for cash, then condemnation is upon you. Attempts to save it are also ruled out. You can certainly NOT use those dollars from selling your allowance and bring them back home to live off of.

But where is the wrong doing? To me, it is the same whether you spend your dollars overseas or within. In fact, one could say that using your allowance in Venezuela benefits the economy – bringing the cupo back home, if you will.

What’s wrong is to have such a fiscally unsustainable policy when the country’s economy is collapsing. The immoral aspect of rasparcupo isn’t raspar, it is the cupo.

So, there you go, like with drugs, it seems like authorities don’t mind the consumption as much as the selling. Is green lettuce considered a weed?

40 thoughts on “Sobremesa chronicles

  1. I’d even add, bringing the cupo back home benefits the economy, since it would increase the free offer of dollars, pushing down the black market rate.


  2. I get the feeling that you understate the importance of “el cupo” for some of us, it’s not only just another crumb of the oil revenue we get. The “cupo electronico” is probably the only way most people have to buy nice quality electronics at an accesible price, otherwise you would need to save your full salary for a few centuries to buy a computer or a better-than-vergatario-cellphone. My father uses it to buy some car parts that are relatively cheap abroad, I stacked a few family allowances to buy the parts to build a pc capable of running FIFA. So I would say that el cupo is possibly the only link venezuelans have to the 21st century.


  3. The whole thing, just like the “Fair Prices” is, first of all, a political measure, as Aristóbulo informed us. Meaning, the whole point is to buy off the military with cheap dollars and cheap products. What’s left after that is a little bread for the peasants*.

    Dollarization is a goverment admiting that is too incompetent to handle the monetary policy of their country, but that’s a known fact, so is a decent solution.


  4. Ultimately some deeds are legitimate although unlawful because the law which condems them in order to be legitmate must have a valid reason for it to be ennacted , The authorities can decide on what is legal by following legal procedure to define what it the law , but it is the people in general which decide what is legitimate by accepting or denying that there is a valid reason for such rule of law to exist.

    Take the case of prohibition , despite licquor being declared unlawful most people in the US except for some ludicrous religious fanatics found imbibing licquor totally acceptable , they felt no shame at imbibing it or buying it or selling it , they felt no guilt in taking it to their homes. or sharing drinks with friends and acquintances ,, licquor was legitimate even if formally it was unlawful .

    Same thing with what people do with their cupo , most people will use it to their best interest be it by buying stuff themselves of by selling the cupo to someone else for cash . Why is that? , because there is no reason why the restriction that it cannot be sold should be considered useful or necessary for the well being of the country. Not one that I can think of . So whatever the law states it can be considered a legitimate deed..

    Having said the above I must admit that Ive never made use of my cupo , In fact Im a bit disgusted with the whole idea o having to ask for one , find it undignified to beg the govt for some foreign currency and worse still to contemplare engaging in some kind of clandestine operation to sell it. behind its back.

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  5. And how long will our shameless populace languidly endure these demeaning “cupo” y “colas” games from their “State Authorities”?!

    Most of Corruptzuela has just become a pathetic herd of spineless SHEEP.


        • The more socialized people are the less easy is it for them to resort to mass violence to express their discontent with the misrule of a highly repressive govt . Also people naturally have a healthy respect for the protection of their own skin, and wont expose it to harm or injury unless they see themseves as having some chance of achieving something practical or specific for exposing themselves to that injury.

          Since earliest age Middle class peple are trained in self restraint , in obedience to authority , at home , at school, at work , so for them to scenify a social explostion something special must happen , a detonator if you like . The detonator might be anything , something which appears punctual and insignificant , 9 times they take it in the kisser and dont respond and then for some reason no one can explain one day someone touches their arm and they go bonkers and give them a blow.

          Middle class people are more socialized , more briddled with norms and rules , with inhibitions and restraints than people from other classes, so its particularly difficult for them to fan their anger into expresions of mass violence . To a lesserr extent people from other humbler classes are more prone to expresions of social violence , but the inhibitions and fears are also there , specially when there is in many of them an element of ambivalence about the govt they once believed in and which now has betrayed their trust to flagrantly . But what has been said about how suddenly the middle class just blows up also applies to them

          Right now the various crisis aflicting Venezuelans daily life are creating a situation which makes a social explosion of mass discontent more likely than ever in the past , the detonator hasnt appeared but it can appear suddenly and for what may seem an insignificant reason at any time . The thing is that once the floodgates of fear and inhibition open there is no stopping the contained forces of discontent and things do get a bit wild and chaotic. All govt repression is swept aside and what is most important people within the repressive apparatus or the army just stop repressing and start joining the people they are supposed to repress. Some will also feel that in the essuing chaos there is some benefit to be gained by them . !!


          • 1/ For some reason, Corruptzuelans seem to have a longer fuse than other populaces. You keep mentioning self-preservation, non-violence. I think it has a lot more to do with being Bribed left and right. The Brazilians, for example, as nice and bossanova as their are, no se la van a calar. Ni uno, ni 10, mucho menos 16 anos.. Why? That pupulist “government” can’t bribe them all, as we do back home.

            2/ I do have a theory about the much-needed “detonator” you mention: (You heard here first, I expect honorary rewards and to be called “Dr. Floyd” by Masburro’s University if it comes true:)

            – If the Masburristas, (Diosdado and his “Smartmatic Magician”, Jorge Rodriguez) are stupid enough to cheat in large scale for the elections, even these laughable, Parla-paja “elections”, and steal a large-margin “victory”.

            THAT might be a detonator. Along with the escasez, of course. El pueblo might finally get really pissed off.

            Unfortunately, Diablodado and his Fraudmatic Magician have proven not to be that dumb. They proved in the last stolen elections a measure of restraint when commiting the Fraud (Last 2 hours, when they artificially extended the “vote count” from 6-8pm, and magically obtained a huge spur to win by a small margin)

            Methinks they will do they same now. So we will have to wait for another Detonator in the Presidential Elections, when even if they concoct another “subtle” victory, hopefully it will be obvious enough that you can’t turn 80% disapproval into a 52% “win”..

            BanG !!!!


            • You are right that there are people who maintain an alligeance to the govt because such allegiance allows them a direct opportunity to benefit from bribes , I dont think however that overall there are that many of them, although they are bound to be important (many of the military for example) . To my surprise many boliburgueses take the tack that they simply wont vote for anybody because ‘all pols are the same’

              There are other group of people who are intimidated or extorted into following the govt , people who are led to believe that they might lose their jobs or small gifties if the govt loses power or worse still who think that if the govt finds out about their voting for the opposition they can be fired from govt jobs.

              And yet contact with people who work for the govt ( or friends of mine who have contact with them) makes me think that the number of people working for the gvt who are covert but fierce opponents of the govt are many more than people think and that HCL messaging has had an effect in convincing most of them that a change in gobt wont involve a bureaucractic bloodbath.

              By far the largest part of the electorate is composed of people who are fed up with the corruption and falling living standards and insecurity that afflicts their daily iives and which the govt evidently has no willngness to tackle or even recognize that it exists. The Chavez discourse repeated by clumsy Maduro has. lost much of its prior capacity to fascinate and draw enthusiasm.

              I am skeptical that the regimes capacity to game the elections big time is that easy , whatever stories of smartmatic manipulations and other shenaggigans are relishingly voiced by the chroniccally discontented.
              within the oppo ranks (and by infiltratated regime trolls wanting to convince all not to vote )

              The possibility of an explosion cannot be discarded , it isnt a question of people naturally exploding once they become dissatified and angry , most of the time you need a detonator which either someone prepares or which happens by itself with no warning or prior preparation.


  6. Every law which a government enacts that makes illegal that which the vast majority of the public finds moral corrodes and undermines the moral authority of that government. Once the public starts to decide for itself which laws are moral, and which are not, it becomes easier and easier for people whose own moral compass is defective to steal and murder. Eventually, the public no longer respects any law, and the society becomes ungovernable.

    In the case in point, you certainly won’t find me condemning raspacupos as immoral, and I do find the law and the manner in which it is enforced immoral. But then, this only scratches the surface of the immorality of this regime.


  7. “But is it morally wrong to sell what the State deems righfully yours? I know it is illegal, but let’s see how arbitrary that construct is.”

    You forgot to mention that it IS illegal BECAUSE it’s the only “legal way” the government can keep what the construct actually is: A MONOPOLY.

    “… it is the cupo”

    You hit the target, it’s frustrating that so many people feel entilted to say “you can’t complain about ANYTHING in Venezuela because you somehow benefitted from a subsidy that the corpse decided to bestow upon you! You ungrateful bastard!”

    People should be able to buy as much currency as they could need if they wanted to travel or import an item, and the price should be accessible if the government didn’t work so hard to obliterate the local money’s value as a means of saving.

    In simpler words, “¡No, marico, no es culpa mía, es del puto gobierno, termina de entenderlo de una puta vez!.” In fact, I can’t seem something that the chavista government can’t have more fault and responsibility than this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Un poco de BORREGOS sinverguenzas , enchufados y flojos, de cola en cola y de cupo en cupo, de mango en mango. Eso es lo que son en su mayoria.

    Sarne con gusto no pica.


      • Con toda honestidad, uno aquí en el extranjero se arrecha por las cosas que pasan en Venezuela, pero es divino vivir en libertad. Libertad para decir, opinar, caminar, salir sin miedo, comprar, ir en bici, estar seguro, etc.

        Teniendo en cuenta que esa libertad a muchos nos costo una bola, tu acusación (no hacer nada por el país) aunque cierta es más bien irrelevante.

        Admito que cuando uno, como se dice en España, se lo ha currado, tiende a pensar injustamente, usando lo que tu llamas “moralidad superior”. Pero también es verdad que los que están allí presumen de la moralidad superior que viene de pasar trabajo y ser una víctima (“tu, que estás allí, y nosotros aquí jodidos”, etc).

        Probablemente las dos partes tienen algo de razón. Tu al decir que estás luchando por el país y Floyd al criticar esa pose de mártir-víctima-haciendo-cola-pero-indignado que los venezolanos han desarrollado.

        Por mi parte, prefiero estar aquí y no me siento ni un poquito culpable.


        • Yo no tengo problema con que vivas una vida pacifica donde lo desees.

          Tengo problemas con aquellos que lo hacen, que optaron por la paz, y llaman spinless sheep a aquellos que eligen quedarse, o que sencillamente no pueden irse.

          Es ese lenguaje belicista, bravucon inutil el que me molesta.


          • Cuando menciona algo sobre “quedarse” o “irse”, bicho bruto?

            Llamo SHEEP a los borregos que aceptan toda esta vaine, donde esten.


          • Es verdad que hay muchos más valientes que yo allí. Pero cansa escucharlos cuando han sido tan inefectivos (al opositor estilo Dade ya ni lo escucho, es aun más ladilla).

            Reto a cualquiera a escuchar a MCM por 15 minutos sin querer salir corriendo. Capriles tiene su punto atorrante, cuando se disfraza de vendedor de puerta en puerta.

            Ya sé que la situación es tremendamente difícil para la oposición. Pero la oposición tampoco es para tirar cohetes.


              • Confieso que tengo años que no oigo nada ni nadie que personalmente me arrebate o deslumbre con lo inspirado de su discurso . Tampoco lo espero . Cuando uno se hace de un oido que analiza criticamente los conceptos detras de los discursos llega un punto en que , se da cuenta que los discursos ya no son para uno sino para una masa de gente disitnta a uno que puede sentirse emocionada oyendolos . Lo mas que se puede es reconocer si el discurso cumple ese proposito de provocar el entusiasmo de la generalidad de quienes nos rodean .Si es minimamente lucido y sagaz en lo que expone .!!

                Me importa mas saber detalles no publicos de lo que la gente hace o dice, saber de como se rodea , de como se organiza , de como planifica sus cosas tras bambalinas . Alli es donde se revela la gente . Vivimos en un mundo donde todo lo que se dice puede ser blanco de una condena pendeja o exagerada y donde el personaje publico tiene que cuidarse de no meterse con potenciales seguidores. Ser todas las cosas para todas las personas cuesta. !!

                Se cosas de lideres que no figuran y que me hace pensar que serian unos extraordinario gobernantes pero no pegan en la calle , no gustan , que incluso hay quienes los desprecian. Otros que no son lideres populares pero si muy sagaces y vivos y veteranos y entienden por donde van los tiros pero que no tienen la imagen bruñida y pulcra que gusta a los de nuestro mundo.

                En cualquier caso lo que mas me importa de un liderazgo es que bien o mal , con errores o sin ellos , con resolucion o timida cautela hagan frente al monstruo que ocupa todos los espacios del poder institucional en nuestro pais , aunque no merescan alabanzas sino reproches los prefiero y apoyo contra de quienes enfrentan .!! No tengo tantos melindres de perfeccion sobre la gente que da las peleas en las que creo . Los apoyo sino incondicionalmente sin tanta exigencia .!


            • Alejandro, creo que sería mejor que tratases de vivir bien porque si vienesa criticar aquí sin presentar ninguna propuesta constructiva, solo ladillas a los demás.


      • Que tu sabes, bicho bruto, lo que yo hago o no hago, o desde donde?

        Entre otras cosas, desde City Hall, con “voto-manual” este mes que viene?

        Que vaina con la gente que “asume” vainas..


        • A punta de teclear con furia en Facebook crees que vas a contribuir más que Rodrigo
          que está en Venezuela?
          Como dicen los primos ibéricos: qué morro que tienes!


      • Irse/quedarse del país es una acción moralmente neutra, el que se fue, se fue porque pudo o tuvo la oportunidad el que se quedó porque no es mejor que el no quiere no/ no se puede ir, ninguno de los dos es superior al otro. Por ello no entiendo ese complejo de superioridad de algunas personas que emigraron de llamar borregos e idiotas a los que nos tenemos que calar esto, si son tan arrechos ¿por qué no se quedaron y agarraron una Kalasnikov? Por cierto, aún con el populismo chavista, misiones, misión Cadivi, más del 40 % de la población de este país nunca se tragó el mojón chavista y votó en contra (incluyendo una parte considerable de las clases populares porque 40% de la población no es oligarca) aún con una oposición que siempre ha dejado mucho que desar.

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        • La pistola en algunos casos es metafórica, y en otros casos es bien real, los únicos 10 millones del chavismo serán los asesinatos que quieren tener en su récord para cuando termine su dictadura.

          Primero, acá todo el mundo sabe que el chavismo desde 2005 no es más de 10%, el por qué no se cobró en ese momento es historia de otro día, al igual que todas las veces que se ganó y los candidatos no cobraron, pero el resultado de la elección está ahí llueva, truene o relampaguee, es absurdo decir que diez millones de personas en Venezuela están viviendo como diablodado o perico silva, que se meten quien sabe cuantos miles de millones a la semana en las cuentas y andan con tres docenas de escoltas cada uno.

          Segundo, cuando me refiero a la pistola en la cabeza, como dije antes, esta se refiere a cualquier amenaza, y la gente le tiene pánico a cualquier consecuencia negativa, ya sea perder la misión o la bequita, que lamentablemente para mucha gente es “te mataré de hambre”, la lista de mierdascón precisamente era un ejemplo de eso, para dejar a la gente que se muriera de hambre al quitarles el derecho a trabajar.

          A la gente las dictaduras buscan diversos métodos para controlarlas, a los ricos los controlas obstruyéndoles el flujo de sus activos, a los clase media los controlas de la misma forma, a los pobres los controlas regalándoles cosas, y a los criminales los controlas dándoles impunidad para que hagan lo que les dé la gana.

          A los que no se dejen controlar entonces les aplicas las amenazas, al rico le quitas sus activos, al clase media lo haces objeto de campaña de odio y lo jodes a cada oportunidad porque no se puede defender, al pobre lo amenazas con quitarle lo que le regalas y al criminal lo amenazas con que le quitarás su impunidad y lo procesarás.

          Y al que todavía no se queda callado, pues le cumples la amenaza, expropias al rico (plan chás para arruinar a los productores) y al clase media (acoso de la sundee y ley de quiebra de negocios), pones a pasar hambre al pobre (le quitas la beca mediante apartheid) y metes preso al criminal, y al que TODAVÍA se atreva a decir algo, pues lo mueles a coñazos (ubch), y si todavía SIGUE, pues lo matas (colectivos, círculos de la muerte)

          La amenaza de violencia mortal es la más efectiva de todas, porque naturalmente la gente pensará en cómo coño sobrevivir para ver el siguiente día, ¿Da rabia ver que todavía tantos doblan el pescuezo? Sí, ¿Da arrechera que a tantos les dé arranques de estupidez y aleguen que como el régimen “subsidia” pues no hay derecho a quejarse? MUCHO MÁS.

          Hace tiempo conversando con un amigo británico por skype sobre la situación del país, él me comentó que el chavismo parecía una organización de villanos salida de una comiquita de los años 80-90, y cuando le pregunté que cómo había llegado a esa conclusión, él me respondió que “el chavismo puede resumirse una frase: OBEDEZCAN O MUERAN.”


  9. Survival seems to be the order of the day
    Buy low ,sell high, collect early and pay late
    No incentive to work for wages
    No pride in the environment in which you live
    Mad max live every night outside
    The killing fields imminent
    A beautiful fear
    No hay diet , hay will be a staple soon.
    Will I sell some dollars to survive. ???


  10. Nitpick time

    You get the gist. The gist as in “this is the point”

    Jest is the same as joke and well, everybody gets that the situation is a joke, although one that is not funny to anybody.


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