Sepptic Shock

I freely admit I’ve gotten sucked all the way into the FIFA saga this week, wasting hours on end watching the Guardian live page for updates, gorging on every sordid twist and turn in the tale. (My favorite so far? This.)

At first I thought I was just a fútbol fan reading up on a story of interest to me. But soon, I started to suspect something deeper was at play.

For who, in the end, is Sepp Blatter? What does he stand for? What did he do to make me so angry?

Sepp Blatter took something deeply meaningful to me and prostituted it. He took something beautiful, something nearly sacred, something at the center of millions of people’s identities – at the center of my identity – and sullied it. More than sullied it, he profaned it.

But he went farther than that. Blatter built a system around his corruption to protect it. To make it unassailable, self-perpetuating, endlessly opaque and completely immune to critical scrutiny from outsiders. Slowly, painstakingly, from the ground up, he built the perfect racket. If it didn’t turn your stomach so much, you might be tempted to admire it.

Running on a nearly endless supply of chutzpah, on a shamelessness that just doesn’t give a shit about any of the conventional boundaries of polite society, and on a limitless – and, worse, justified – faith that the thing he was selling was something people would always want to buy, no matter how disgusting his organization became, Sepp Blatter did something far worse than mere racketeering. He sullied a part of my childhood. He debased my identity. He cheapened me.

And then it hit me: no somos suizos my ass. Blatter is just Chávez in a more expensive suit.

This, I think, accounts for my rampant schadenfreude over the last 48 hours. There’s been a strong undercurrent of displaced wish fulfillment to the FIFA saga for me, of getting to see, somehow, the day of reckoning Chávez deserved but never quite faced. It’s been…intoxicating.

Because so much of the angst of these last few years, so much of the frustrechera and that barely repressed need to sob so many of us carry with us all day, every day comes down to that, doesn’t it? That desperate howl of rage, never quite appeased, at seeing sheer evil get away with it. At seeing evil rewarded with spoils we all know it doesn’t deserve. At witnessing the way the institutions evil erected to protect itself from the wrath of its victims really are impregnable, seeing how they allow evil to parade its contempt for the ordinary mores of society day in and day out, rubbing our faces in its power and our powerlessness through the expedient of just never even deigning to answer the questions we put to it.

For the entire period between 1999 and 2011, I tended to assume that house of cards had to collapse, that it would collapse, that it was in the nature of things for it to collapse. Then cancer robbed us of even that, leaving us in the hands of the only thing that could’ve been worse than a talented charismatic autocrat: a talentless, charisma-bypassed bureaucrat who shares with his boss only that deep, down-to-the-bone contempt for the values of the powerless.

And that is a wound that will not heal.

On Wednesday, Loretta Lynch gave me a taste, a narcotic whiff of what it might feel like, one day, to see that wound start to heal. She did it in precisely the way we’re constantly being admonished to realize will never, can never happen in Venezuela: a deus ex machina intervention from Washington. I know it’s childish. I know FIFA is not Venezuela and that for us, that solution is no solution.

The thinking part of my brain knows that, anyway. The wounded child in me, I’m afraid, doesn’t. And I won’t lie: to him, the FIFA implosion is mindblowingly intoxicating.

Instantly addicting.

I need another hit.

108 thoughts on “Sepptic Shock

  1. You’re right. There is no difference between a Swiss human and a Venezuelan human in terms of perfidity. Take away the checks and the balances, and they perform identically. Or at least, that’s what I think.


  2. Those FIFA criminals do steal money, no doubt about it, but they are not trying to either enslave, or kill people, and that makes all the difference to me. Of course, I will still despise them until the end of times, and feel happy every time they get arrested, but since I just can’t see them as an existential threat in the same way I see the psycopath leftists of South America, the “Blatter is just Chávez in a more expensive suit” would never serve to appease my anger. I will have to wait for the downfall of whom I consider my real enemies to feel some sort of relieve, I’m glad it works for you, though.


  3. Excellent thoughts amigo as usual. Feel the same way…Let Justice Be Done….feels super good. Unfortunately not happening in Venezuela any time soon.


  4. Wonderful piece, exquisitely written. The brilliant part of it is that one can piggy-back on the angst and frustration, without previously sharing your sentiments towards chavismo or Fifa in general. But, as it is my case, if we share that deep seated self righteous wish for all sorts of evil to rain upon those that have proved unworthy of being alive…. well then, twice the fun!


  5. I was amazed to hear the FIFA president argue that he was not responsible because there was no way he could monitor everyone.


    • Yes, sounded just like a third world leader… Maybe he’s just practicing to become the president of a country in Africa or South America next.


    • He probably should have researched the legal idea of “command responsibility” before saying that.


  6. I’m with Kanako. The melodrama is too monumental. But great choice for a subject photo, and kudos for weaving into the sporting debacle the historical meme no somos suizos.


  7. ” He debased my identity. He cheapened me.”

    Jeeses, get a shrink man….

    I still managed to get a kick out of watching football all these years. I mind the commercialization of the sport, but that is unavoidable and entrenched in *every* professional sport.

    As for the corruption, that is why there is a government to police business. Job (finally?) well done.

    I haven’t read about this as much as you, evidently, but that the raid occurred just now after years of moaning about how corrupt fifa is probably also indicates how complex that organization is, but what do you expect, it includes every crappy country on this planet including every nest of football corruption from football powerhouse Italy to countries where you motivate your players not to strike on the eve of a world cup game with suitcases of cash. Good luck running that organization, *nobody* walks away clean….


  8. Welcome to the real world Mr. Toro – Please do make sure you leave your economics degree by the coat check at the entrance


  9. Your comparison FIFA-Venezuela is thought provoking… what it makes me conclude is that the most ethical of head honchos doesn’t always save an organization from being corrupted. Good leadership is important to avoid being corrupted, even necessary if purging corruption, but not sufficient. Venezuela won’t be saved by a pulcrit president alone but by a thorough deworming of the infested beast.

    This also reminds me of that beautiful phrase: when the shit hits the fan nobody walks away clean….


  10. Corruption is universal because its rooted in mens natural bent for venal gain , this is so in Switzerland , in Japan , in the US , in Argentina and Venezuela . Corruption uses all the wiles and deceits and ruses that the fertile human mind is capable of conceiving . All rules , all principles , all laws can be gamed and will be gamed given the presence of a sufficient degree of temptation and opportunity . Also men will find clever and subtle ways in which to disguise that corruption , using ideology and warped moral narratives to justify it and excuse it and even glamorize it (for example through that cultural construct which is the cult of Viveza Criolla)

    But there are degrees to the amount of corruption a society can experience , to the perversity and destructive damage that certain corruption can cause a society ,a community. When the bent for corruption present in so many humans is inspired not only by the desire for material wealth and its rewards but by the pride flattering pursuit of absolute and tyranical power then the damage it can cause becomes catastrophically destructive in its consequences. The crimes and misdeeds that its practitioners are willing to commit know no bounds .Venezuela has always known corruption but never corruption as perverse and destructive and as widespread as it has known during the last 15 years under the current regime. Morever this corruption has been able to wear an elaborate ideological mask to justify itself and attain an institutional reach that has helped it remain concealed and impune whilst pursuing its goals with almost total flagrancy .

    In that sense the Fifa corruption scandal and the pervasive and perversely destructive corruption of the Venezuelan regime bear no comparison.

    You cannot totally suppress corruption except in certain exceptional circumstances , but you can control the damages it causes and make it less common and pervasive through subjection of all activities where its likely to surface to constant methodical and intelligent scrutiny and procedural controls , by punishing those that incurr in it in ways which are exemplary and dissuasive, by creating conditions that institutionally limit the possibility of its ocurrence. Any regime change in Venezuela must seek to establish such kind of conditions .

    The Chinese regime has undertake a highly publicized attack on corruption , a surgical attack , targeting certain persons and practices to make the rest of the corrupt beware of the risks of engaging in too brash form of corruption . Such campaign is inspired not by an aboherrence of corruption but by a wise understanding that while it can never be totally abolished it must be controlled so that the true God of the Chineses system , the creation of a state of maximum welfare of its people through the methodical pursuit of economic growth cannot be affected by its too widespread existence . . .

    Liked by 2 people

      • Switzerland is a clearner country in corruption than Venezuela.

        Blatter is not the “president” of Switzerland, but of FIFA. FIFA … is as much a corrupt regime as Venezuela, but without bloodshed (directly) and less howling of angry idiots.


        • FIFA is a choir Boy compared to Guisozuela:

          You are taking a few Million $, —- compared to TRILLIONS, and I am not exaggerating.

          Get REAL, people!


          • You are mistaking the fact that the current case is about some FIFA guys having being caught stealling a few hundred million $, with the fact that FIFA is absolutely mind-blowingly corrupt.

            This is what the americans are nailing some guys about, it doesnt cover at all not even 1% of FIFA’s corruption.

            They were caught in petty schemes for votes for merchandising rights and stuff. Thats peanuts, yes. If they nail Blatter, its going to be for “we gave the World Cup to Russia and Qatar because bloody hell that was billions of $ in construction contracts and we got our cut of that, you can bet”


        • Switzerland is also a cleaner country than Venezuela, period. When Venezuela discovered oil and went from 3rd world to nearly first in an instant it forgot to educate its people re decency, I’m sure there may be less litter than some other countries but not many; breaks my heart whenever I see the beauty of nature trashed, literally.


      • Corruption is a form of behaviour which can be found in almost all human societies and cultures. Exceptionally there are cultures where the ocurrrence of corruption can be minimized or practically suppressed because of very idiosincratic historical conditions or circumstances . Switzerland appears to harbour one such culture , it isnt the only one , but for the vast mayority of countries corruption is the default form of behavior for most people given the prequisite opportunity and inducements . Perceptions may hide certain culturally sanitized forms of corruption or corruption which is so institutionalized and disguised that it cannot be easily detected .

        For instance Im told by friends who went arround the whole of the Far East on extensive trading missions that the only country were corruption was not a necessary part of doing business was Singapore . Japan has a certain degree of corruption but on such an organized and orderly scale that it is not noticed. (also they absolutely hate getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar)

        Africa and the Middle East are not generally known for their ‘clean’ business mileu, nor for that matter is Latin America . Even Europe (specially mediterranean Europe) knows quite a bit of corruption although in the northern parts its clearly a much more rare behaviour . The US of course is no stranger to both business and political corruption . (just read the papers), specially of the sanitized kind. (read Fukuyama on Political Decay )

        What may differ is the degree to which the corruption is flagrant , common and destructive, Venezuela being one of the countries where it has developed to one of the worlds worst .

        Part of this is the way so many of our people are infected with cultural mores that are not only tolerant of corrupt behaviour but which even glamorize it ( the viveza criolla cult) . If to that you add a total lack of institutional controls and a climate of total disorder then the effect is compounded .

        Human habit of eating cooked foods is Universal and yet that does not exclude the current taste for eating suchi or raw fish except that the latter is more the exception than the norm.


        • Saying corruption is everywhere and repeating that will get us nowhere when it comes to understanding why corruption in Venezuela is so incredibly bad.It sounds almost like a rationalization….a defense mechanism.

          What peculiarities does Venezuela have that makes such an outstanding home run on the diamond of crime and corruption every single time?

          It is easy to sit around blogging about how we are all the same, or how Chavistas are horrible….we all super knew that.

          But what do we know about the differences, and about the contribution we as an opposition have made.

          Therein lies the key.


          • I disagree!!!
            Accepting the fact corruption is a natural thing is very important, cause that’s how you realize the solution is NOT so focused on finding people with “”GOOD”” intentions, but instead focused on creating conditions where good intentions thrives and bad ones are minimized.


            • Everyone knows that nothing works when we go from the outer to the inner…only going from the inner to the outer is real


              • I dislike Coelho…going from the inner to the outer is known in mainstream psychology as the only way a person can really change.We can force people to obey certain laws but for a real change to come about it has to be internalized..You guys need to brush up on logic.

                In a culture like Venezuela that bases itself on shame and not on guilt…it is hard to internalize.


              • Well, if it ain’t Obi Juan(a) Kenobi.

                Yeah, how about them internalizations, firepigette? You sure would know about them, wouldncha?

                It’s why you were forced to finally admit that you *misspoke* when I caught you on an “internalized” bullshit, you concocting an image for the rest of us that you had 1,000 family members, mostly living in barrios in Venezuela.

                Or, about the “internalized” bullshit of you and your ex-husband, the latter first playing politician, later a “successful” businessman, both of you wearing alpargatas to internalize the “I feel your pain” schtick. That is, before exhibiting the display, going to the “outer”, in order to fool others.

                What some folks do, before pontificating behind anonymous masks. #locosycobardes


    • Concur. Where there are people there is corruption, it’s just a question of what kind, how much, and where the tipping point is where it becomes so institutionalized that it becomes catastrophically destructive.

      Corruption: you can’t stop it, you can only hope to contain it…


  11. It is always a bit funny listen to a Venezuelan talking football with passion. It sounds false, imposted.

    Of course everybody has a freedom to define his own “identity” and what is to be considered “sacred”-

    But the fact remains, until very recent times Venezuelans didn’t even follow the national team. Even now local teams are not that important outside certain niches.

    So this tirade about cheapened identity made me roll my eyes.

    Surely the blogger is not the only one to have acquired this sudden passion, I actually think is symptomatic.

    Before the nineties Venezuelans had a tendency to see themselves as Caribbean, not South American, and to have their eyes set north and east to the Atlantic, not South to the Andes.

    From 1999 there has been a strong movement towards an identification with Bolivians and Ecuadoreans. We now compare ourselves to Paraguay or Peru (not always favourably).

    In the end I think it is sad. Not only because this love of football is artificial, but also because baseball is a rational, strategic game, while football is primitive.

    Moreover, we excel at baseball, with quite a few players among the best ever, including (arguably) best active hitter and pitcher.

    At football, because is not our thing, we are unsuccessful.

    This football passion seems part of the journey towards mediocrity Venezuela has decided to take since 1999.

    Sure, football is fun to watch sometimes, but certainly not part of MY Venezuelan identity: Baseball, Caracas-Magallanes, Estadio Universitario de toda la vida.


    • Yea, because nobody watched any World Cup at all during all those years, cheering for whatever proxy team they could think of …


        • Si güebón porque a los 7 años yo consultaba las estadisticas internacionales sobre la popularidad relativa de los distintos deportes antes de sentarme a ver un mundial…


              • Huevón, sería la ortografía correcta, para la próxima cuando te lo digan que debe ser frecuentemente

                Por cierto, noto que me bloquearon.

                Al parecer los blogueros pueden insultar a los comentaristas, y estos no pueden defenderse.

                Decente actitud


              • Eso de “huevón” es en los paises del sur. En Venezuela es con “g”. ¿Por qué? Porque sí.

                “Al parecer los blogueros pueden insultar a los comentaristas, y estos no pueden defenderse.”

                Jeje… Yo no te ofendí. Yo lo que dije fué

                “Aprende a escribir (la palabra) güebón, es con diéresis.”

                Es decir, no te llamé güebón. Yo sería incapaz…


              • Here’s my suggestion, Alejandrito. In Boston, there are statistically more Patriots fans than Bruins fans. Bruins fans are therefore obviously a bunch of phoneys. Next time you go to Boston, go to a Bruins game, strut up to a group of fans, roll your eyes and inform them of that. Then post a selfie of your face, or what’s left of it by the time they’re done with you.


              • ¿”Alejandrito”?

                Es lo que digo, en la Venezuela que yo viví se trataba de usted a los desconocidos.

                Se nota que ustedes crecieron bajo Chávez y adoptaron sus maneras y modales.

                The Chavez generation…



            • Alejandro, how do you dare to say Venezuelan passion for “futbol” is not legitimate. For sure is not as big as it is for “beisbol”, but it is a legitimate one built from the bottom up in many schools and sports clubs around the country. One thing that I don’t agree with Francisco. You are actually a “recontra-…..”


            • Alejandrito,

              Presumes que en Venezuela todo el tiempo se trataba uno de Usted?
              No es así y si quieres dártela de sueco, date cuenta que en la misma Suecia la forma que se usa con casi todo el mundo es du, equivalente a nuestro tú. Y eso ha cambiado varias veces y Suecia no se ha chavetizado.
              Algo parecido se da en Noruega, si es que lo que prefieres es hacerte el noruego.
              Así que no te pongas con huevonadas o güevonadas o güenova’as.

              Con o sin chavismo, debemos dejar la mentalidad medieval. Los modales trascienden el uso de un pronombre. Con un “Usted” bien se puede expresar todo el desprecio del mundo.


              • Entre los gochos venezolanos el ud es de rigor incluso en el intercambio familiar, tutear al padre o a la madre es una suerte de falta de respeto . En el resto de Venezuela en cambio el tuteo es lo habitual , no se como sera entre los franceses o los belgas pero esta propension al tuteo intimista e instantaneo debe ser senal de algo idiosincratico en la forma de abordar el mundo de los demas.


        • Dont look at me, I cheered for Spain :P

          Your memories of childhood in Venezuela dont include Lázaro Candal screaming idiotic memes like his life was in danger? Nobody every told you “¿Que hiciste papaíto?”?

          It is clear that fútbol is not the #1 sport on Venezuela, but from that to thinking it some alien fad that doesnt have anything to do with the culture of the country…


          • You think? Lázaro was exotic precisely because he commented a sport that was only followed once every four years.

            If anyone told me in 1992 that he felt personally cheapened because FIFA was corrupt…. I would have thought the person was clinically crazy.

            In 2015, is fashionable.


        • “this love of football is artificial”.

          Alejandrito, you must have had a troubled childhood, if you grew up in Vzla. Did they let you out ?

          I still remember every Mundial de Futbol there. Much like in other Latin American countries, the entire Guisozuela would be paralized for a few weeks. At work, TV’s were on. On the streets, every Tasca en Chacaito or La Candelaria,.. I used to live in a typical building in el Cafetal, when a game of the Mundial was on, everyone was yelling from the Balconies, everywhere. After the final games, thousands would hit the streets to celebrate their preferred teams.. I wasn’t much of a fan, but ignoring all that was impossible. And watching those games out there with friends was unforgettable.


        • Gűevón tú. Baseball more rational? Rubish. You cannot define what the identity of any individual should be. Do you excell in baseball? I bet you think US Americans who play soccer are apátridas


          • The differences between soccer and baseball are interesting .

            Soccer. is a very fast moving game , demanding players who are very athletic , fast and agile ,also quick thinking , situations can change very rapidly , its more a team sport than baseball , even brilliant players need the help of its mates to score and get closer to the other teams goal.

            Baseball is slower , more deliberate , perhaps more analytic . it moves in the form of separately staged moves , one step at a time , it locks its protagonists into individual duels , on a one to one basis , for instance the tension between the batter and the pitcher is a thing of beauty . team work matters but it is not as vital as it is in soccer.

            Why people in the US and the Caribbean like baseball so much and people in the rest of the world prefer soccer probably has a psychlogical dimension that deserves reflexion.


    • “It is always a bit funny listen to a Venezuelan talking football with passion. It sounds false, imposted.”

      Tell that to a gocho…


    • Sorry Alejandro, but you forgot us, Los Gochos, we are quiet, we do not amount for the majority of the country, and back in the 80’s (and now) everything on TV was about Caracas or El Centro.
      Futbol is very, very, very important. What Futbol is everywhere else in Vzla every four years, beisbol is for us, an oddity that children play only in December during the season, the rest of the year Futbol is our thing.
      You can walk any street in merida, tovar, el vigia,etc on a Sunday afternoon, around 1:00 pm, and hear the radio on everywhere (busetas, casas,etc) with the game Estudiantes-Lo que Sea, and that particular way that they do it, talking like there is a 100 mts competition and the players are barely moving
      And Candal-Salcedo was the best thing during the world cup in 86, 90 and 94. One funny and the other giving “cultura general” facts.
      So yes Toro I am with you, we are old. :P


      • I suspect that the higher altitudes and thus lower temperatures of Gocholandia contribute to the greater attraction of futbol/soccer there. Back in the day when I ran around, I never liked playing soccer/futbol above 70 degrees F/21 degrees C. I don’t think I’d like to run around in 35 degrees C in Maracaibo. Correction: I KNOW I wouldn’t like to run around in 35 degrees C . By contrast, I loved playing soccer/futbol in 35 degrees F [2 degrees C] in December back in NE. In cooler weather you can run forever.


  12. Alejandro is right in that baseball is by far the more popular sport , football of course also has a great number of fans but the fanatism peaks arround the period of various world series to then fall drastically.

    Most everyone in Venezuela is a baseball fan and closely identifies with one of the main teams, national rounds are followed closely by masses of people , not so with football where lots of people dont follow the local games and have not special bond with any of the better known national football teams.

    The taste for football is really much older than Alejandro suggests , it was mainly brought over by the European inmigrants who flooded Venezuela in the fifties of the last century, also by the spanish religious orders that started schools in Venezuela .

    In my home sports were never followed except by my mother who now in her eightees is a baseball enthusiast ( which include being a rabid Caraquista and Boston Red Sox fan) , my father practiced some of the better known equestrian sports but unfortunately (my loss) I never developed a taste for competitive sports of any kind.


  13. A little “over the top”, but excellent writing, even though I agree with Kanako. All the time I was reading my mind was screaming, “It’s just a game!”.

    As disgusting as the corruption in FIFA is, no one is being forced to participate. Governments on the other hand… Real life, real weapons, real jails, and real economies, from which the citizens have no real escape. Boycott is not an option.


  14. Moreover: FIFA works, as in, football is No 1 in the planet (even Venezuelans are catching up with unforeseeable passion) the World Cup is the biggest event, everybody has a team nearby to vent their anxieties into, there is more money in it than ever…

    Blatter may be corrupt, but he is a hell of a CEO.

    I wish our local corrupt were half as effective.


    • He, through no work of his own, has a monopoly on a product that everyone can’t get enough of. Thousands of people could have done his job without being totally morally bankrupt and corrupt.


    • PDVSA is enormously successful, everybody wants to buy what it has to sell, it’s swimming in money, can’t put it away fast enough. Rafael Ramirez must be corrupt, but he’s a hell of a CEO…


      • you can’t possibly be serious. PDVSA is deeply in debt, has lost a third of its capacity since 1999 and has to buy what it sells from Algeria.

        And what these football guys are said to have taken is peanuts, compared to what PDVSA has lost.

        Bad example, I am afraid.


        • $9 billion in profit in 2014, $15 billion in 2013, tens of billions more on direct social spending: PDVSA is *hugely* successful. An order of magnitude more successful than Blatter’s gig, in fact. (That its owner spends the money even faster than PDVSA brings it in is neither her nor there…)


          • Erm, don’t push it, PDVSA is bankrupt and we both know it.


            FIFA is corrupt, but Blatter surely has made football bigger than ever. Partly because people like you, who didn’t live in a football market but adopted it. He marketed it exceedingly well.

            Compare it to other corrupt organisms, like IOC, has football ever been boycotted?

            Just two words are between football and true global supremacy: India and China, and the latter is coming round.


            • Pdvsa is broke , whatever doctored figures the well paid international accountants dolly up , the company is flat broke . Cant pay its joint venture partners , or contractors or suppliers what it owes them , sometimes it cant even pay the taxes that it owes the govt. the refining and production infrastructure is ruined , many of the formerly productive fields are ruined or producing only a small part of what they should . the company doesnt have the money it needs to fund essential projects on which its continuing operations and future economic viability depends , nor can it get anyone ( except maybe the Chinese, up to a point) to lend it any money. Its still operating thanks to the money it gets from the BCV’s printing presses, . This from a company that for 10 or more years enyoyed the biggest bonanza in oil prices that the world has ever known . All it can do with great difficuty , selling assets right and left is to continue to service its international debt at least in the short term and even that is often in doubt. By no means can Pdvsa be considered a success.


            • If “market well” means “I’m open to bribes to have the World Cup in places that never would have gotten it by a clear and open evaluation of risks”, yep, he did.


          • The fact that I’m earning 6 times more bolivars today than I was earning 4 years ago doesn’t mean that I am *hugely* successful.

            pudrevesa might have earned some more millions in these last years, but those were due to a completely random and out-of-control for Venezuela fact as the rise on oil prices was.

            And yes, the success depends largely in not spending the money faster than it can come inside the accounts.


  15. So now Corruptzuelans are worried about a tiny, microscopic little sports scam..

    What has happened in FIFA for a couple decades, happens in Guisozuela in 2 bad business-as-usual days.

    While Trillions are stolen at home, the country is on Fire, and it may all depend on Tomorrow’s aftermath.

    Ar least we have Critical Mass para descargar tonight.


    • On top of that, Bloomberg reported this week that Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield services company, will slow its pace in Venezuela due to behind payments by PDVSA. According to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for Canada-based investment bank RBC Capital Markets reported that the estimated debt with Schlumberger would be located between $565 million and $1.14 billion. And as if it were not enough, Bloomberg reported that total debt with PDVSA suppliers and contractors for 2011 reached $12.3 billion, something that, according to other sources, has risen now to $20 billion.

      If this debt is added to PDVSA’s financial debt, which at the close of 2012 hit $40 billion, total debt would stand at $60 billion, thus representing 11 months of PDVSA exports. Not to mention the astronomical debt with China, with which the country has irresponsibly mortgaged a big chunk of future oil output.”


      • Pronto la orgia llegara a un cimatico final y lo que querada sera limpiar el vomito y las botellas vacias, limpiar los vidrios rotos y ponerse a llorar!

        Luego, nadie se reconocera chavista! y si no se toma una senda de investigacion , juicios y castigos ejemplificantes, todo se volvera a repetir.


  16. Francisco, this is one of your best articles. I can see the passion really transferred to the words.
    One thing I know you don’t like people talking about other things but this week we had a huge division in the Venezuelan opposition and I haven’t seen any analysis from you guys. What’s going on?


  17. I share FT’s joy in justice at last being served on a corrupt seemingly invulnerable clique of corrupt bosses, because even if there are important differences between the world of International football and Venezuelas situation there is that similarity in both beign corrupt cliques that seem(ed) impervious to the hand of justice.. The news of the Fifa comeuppance brings me a ‘fresquito’ because of the remote association with our own situation.

    One issue which Alejandro poses and which might deserve further discussion is how to judge an organization or group that is successful in its performance of a task albeit tainted with some corruption , Is some measure of corruption compatible with the succesful management of a country ??


    • Very good insight BB.

      Since corruption is inevitably a part of the human traits we have, and organizations are based in humans, yes, there is a reality in which some level of corruption is going to be always present.

      However, the risk is that the level becomes overwhelming for the host organization. How much is too much?

      Functioning competitive elections are the control mechanism in healthy democracies. If the incumbent becomes TOO corrupt to function adequately (as perceived by voters), someone else gets a chance to try it!…

      Our problem in Vzla is that the safeguard was the first think the regime strategically destroyed, knowing too well, there was goring to be a time when its performance was not going to fly!

      Well! too late.

      La caldera va a explotar y la valvula de alivio no sirve.


    • There is corruption in Italy, Japan, China and Spain.

      JP Morgan, HSBC and BNP Paribas have been in implicated in corruption cases.

      Also Apple, Google and Microsoft.

      FIFA is corrupt, but it works, even in spite of Toro’s oversentimental complains…

      Maybe there is more to corruption to Venezuelan secular failure.


      • While the ideal state would be that the corruption would be non-existant, I think there’s still some sort of threshold, where the country or the company can keep running in an acceptable way.

        The problem in Venezuela is that corruption has spiked in such a way that the country is a broken unlivable wasteland regardless of how many dollars are pumped within its economy.


  18. “Blatter is just Chávez in a more expensive suit.”

    I’m not sure about the suit.

    But yes, I thought about it myself. Sepp Blatter, Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán, Silivio Berlusconi and Diosdado Cabello (to count the living) they all fell from the same tree.


  19. Fútbol ranks lower than boxing as far as openness, honesty & upright action go. It even ranks lower than American wrestling. Fútbol players throw games at the drop of a hat, whether it’s in Europe or Asia or Africa or the Americas


    • Fortunately for the condition of my computer monitor screen, I wasn’t drinking any coffee when I read this comment!


    • Cricket is the second most popular in the World after Soccer. It could soon become very popular in Cubazuela, since China and Russia own half of it already.


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