Today is the fifth anniversary of this blog. I must confess that during the past month I have considered whether to shut it down on this date.Why? Because I get the feeling that everything I say is simply repetitive. That I am not saying anything new. What was a suspicion a few years ago, has become a certainty. Everything bad thing about Chavez and his Government has become institutionalized. The Government no longer even attempts to hide its abuses in the gray area of the law. Even Chavez challenges the CNE and the Courts to stop him from violating the law and defends the fact that the President of PDVSA blatantly violated it during last year’s election.
But I will leave the blog open, not so much out of duty or need to do so, it is almost irrelevant given the hold on power of the autocrat/dictator on all institutions, but because things are going to get much worse and as long as I am allowed to, I might as well leave it alive and continue recording what Chavze is doing to the Venezuelan people and the country.
Everything has become absurd. A Minister suspends a concession just because…she felt like it. A foreigner is invited to the National Assembly to say that any reporter ever invited to her country by the local Embassy is a traitor to Venezuela and the National Assembly not only takes it seriously, but calls the reporters to testify. Corruption is so rampant that on Thursday “some” banks, those friendly to the Government and willing to pay a “fee” , were sold US$ 400 million in structured notes at an equivalent prices of Bs. 3,100 to 3,200 and they quickly turned around and sold it in the parallel market at Bs. 4,200 for a tidy one day US$ 95 million in profits (minus “fees”) to those lucky enough to be selected. A Congressional Committee shows a decision from the PDVSA Board “forgiving” some companies from fulfilling contracts for a few hundred million dollars, because they backed the Government during the strike. a billion dollars in drilling rig contracts is given to 12 companies, 7 of which only exist on paper. Two years later only the five that were real delivered. A pro-Chavez reporter/priest says that he knows things going on at PDVSA that are so bad they will make the Government “fall”, thus, he says, he can’t reveal what he knows, but the Prosecutor does not call him to ask what it is he knows. The Minister of Communications says Venezuelans have a right to “control” media produced by Venezuelans in Venezuela and aimed mostly at Venezuelans, which implies this blog can be “controlled”. A CNE Director agrees with Chavez that what happens at PDVSA is a “private” matter. Public telephones become free. Dozens of jets belonging to the friends of the revolution land daily in Caracas’s military airport where private planes are banned from landing. The Government buys a company on sale a year ago for US$ 15 million, for US$ 103 million. Venezuela will import US$45 billion in 2007, up from US$ 12 billion in 1998. Structural inflation was over 24% annualized in July, but the Government pays for ads saying the Government anti-inflation plan is working. RCTV was closed and rules were invented to shut down RCTV International, just because…A new Constitution has been rewritten and the Government of “participation” has yet to tell its people what it says.
Then, how can I be worried if everything is so rosy?
Because the country is a basket case and only oil prices going higher all the time will be able to sustain the madness.
For example…It went unnoticed that in the last three weeks, bolivar denominated Government bonds, mostly in the hands of the banking system, dropped 20-30% in value.
Or that Venezuela’s Global 27 bond fell 30% since March and gyrated 8% on a single day last Friday.
And that Fonden’s indiscriminate sale of its Venezuelan and Argentinean bonds, destroyed the market for some of them and increased spreads by 300% due to the amateurish way in which this was done.
And this all spells trouble in the economic front at a time when oil prices are at an all time high…imagine if they happened to go down
And that is precisely why I will keep writing, because all sorts of external reasons will be blamed when the whole thing collapses, but I plan to record how it all happened and how this is the result of ignorance, arrogance and the belief that the laws of economics can be manipulated at will.
And I will also report for as long as I am allowed to how this Government is not democratic, it has fascist tendencies and is run by a bunch of of people who simply suck up to the autocrat/dictator while they enrich themselves.
Not that I think I will have any effect by writing about it. I am very pessimistic about the future of this country under the current administration, which I think is here to stay, whether the “people” want it or not. And I believe the damage is so severe, that I don’t think changing administrations will help much anyway, except that maybe, just maybe, we could get someone who has respect for human rights and the rule of law.But there will only be change when the mess becomes chaos and by then it will be that much more difficult to fix things.
So, you can count me in for a while. I will be here. Off and on. Pessimistic. But I will be chronicling the destruction and will try not to be too repetitive. But sometimes, it is just impossible. Like in this post.