Well, despite the new, new Chavez attempt, today the President named
his new Minister of Finance, proving that little has changed. Chavez
named Ali Rodriguez Araque, whose only qualification for the position
is his total and absolute loyalty to Chavez and his revolutionary
credentials. At a time that Venezuela needs more than ever someone with
knowledge of macroeconomics, Chavez names a lawyer, a former guerrilla
fighter who was still in the mountains when there was no armed fight in
Venezuela in 1963.
Rodriguez Araque, who is a lawyer, became a Deputy of the old Congress
in the 90′s, where he specialized in oil Law. He has served as Minister
of Energy, President of PDVSA (where he presided over the firing of
20,000 people and beagn the destruction of the country’s oil industry)
and was Foreign Minister. When he got sick, he was named Ambassador of
Venezuela to Cuba.
About the only good thing I can say for him is that he will not
participate in the corruption of the sale of bonds and notes to those
friendly to the Government as he has no interest in getting rich. Thus,
I expect the sale of bonds and structured notes to the banks to stop,
which will make the swap rate go up for a while until he can figure out
a different way of selling dollars into the parallel market. The
nomination is unfortunate, as inflation continues to roar ahead and
distortions are being sustained only by the high oil prices. Rodriguez
Araque does not have the knowledge to manage the country’s economy at a
time that it requires strong measures.
So much for “change”. Rodriguez Araque is as radical, conniving and left-wing as they get.He will be there plotting from day one and his ignorance on economi matters is bad news for Venezuela.