Venezuela: Unsafe at this speed

July 31, 2010

(The bad thing about this Government is that one always expects the worst and one is always right)

While Venezuela’s economy continues to show distortions in basically every parameter of the economy, I never ceases to amaze me how little urgency the Government feels about fixing those problems. The last example of this is the foreign exchange system set up by the Venezuelan Central Bank. It has now been three months since the swap market was banned and about two since the Sitme was created and everyone agrees it is a dysfunctional system. Then El Nacional says that the Government will tweak this and that, create a New Market for public paper, allow the sale of other dollar denominated bonds and blah, blah, blah. But what impressed me the most was the ending: In two months.

So, you ste up a system, it does not work well and you are going to improve it in two months. What if what you do does not help either? Will they wait until January to fix it?

Absolutely nobody runs a business or a Government this way. If you detect a significant problem (shortages, lower economic activity, stupid policies, are important problems) you fix it today, or as soon as it can be implemented. Nothing that is being proposed can not be done by Monday.

But this represents a style. Almost a year ago, the first week in September 2009, The Government announced that it would announce 64 economic measures to get the economy growing. Well, I stopped counting at seven measures, because no more were announced, since then we have had four quarters if shrinking GDP and tye Government feels no urgency to change he slope, other than announce that next quarter GDP will actually go up YoY. Except it has been saying that for six quarters and nothing doing…

Some believe this simply reflects disagreements among Government officials. After all, Armando Leon, one of the few trained economists at the Venezuelan Central Bank said the other day Sitme is working fine, while the President of the Central Bank, a Mathematician, understands it does not work. Never thought I would agree with Merentes so much.

And this slowness at decision making is killing Venezuela and its economy. The Government has known for two years how putrid Pudreval was and but did not even want to do anything about it. Next week Venezuela will have to pay 1.5 billion dollars if a maturing bond and apparently two weeks ago the Government had not even thought about how it would go about paying it.

Running a country like this is simply unsafe. For a Government that switches political tactics at the speed of light and in unison according to what polls are saying, it is remarkable the tortoise speed they have at economic decision making.

Running the Venezuelan economy at this speed is certainly very unsafe.

104 Responses to “Venezuela: Unsafe at this speed”

  1. A_Antonio Says:

    I think the Regime is expecting that Banks will sell all their Bonds, from now to September, in BCV market.

    After that, they will allow to sell and buy bonds of all countries.

    But I do not see this solution solve the problems. Provably maintain the status quo.

  2. Kevin Says:

    In two or three weeks (I haven’t been keeping exact track) the sell rate for the dollar shown on a number of websites has gone from less that 10 bolivars to over 20. When the old parallel system was suspended that rate was about 7 if memory serves. Curiously the buy rate is still quoted between 7 and 9 bolivars.

    This raises so many questions:

    What is going on?

    How much is it really costing Venezuelan businesses or tourists to get the dollars they need?

    What explains the incredible bid-offered spread?

    Are the prices that these websites post really meaningful or are they just representative of a very illiquid market at the airport that means little?

    Is the government or its minions selling into the new black market?

  3. JJ Says:

    Chavez isn’t concerned about fixing the economy or solving related problems like shortages. Those who can will leave. The others will have to “sacrifice” for the revolution. The last 50 years of the cuban revolution is the model. Venezuelans will live in an economic disaster with shortages and rationing and chavez will sell oil and spend dollars internationally to be somebody important in the world. He’s got a plan.

  4. loroferoz Says:

    We are talking about the planners and movers in chavismo as if they were sane people who have the sincere, good intention of making Venezuela prosper, but make wrong decisions in good faith or by omission.

    We are the ones making some wrong assumptions. Remember that,

    They are Socialists. They are gambling on the collapse of the “capitalist” economy of Venezuela. They are in a Revolution. They are not playing it “safe”.

    The sincere ones are a bunch of authoritarian morons with an epic myth of an ideology that has failed repeatedly; but they don’t care much about reality, or present welfare. Remember again, in an infinite amount of time everything will even up and everybody will be happy.

    The crooked ones are in for the money and don’t care the least about the catastrophic conditions, only just enough to milk them.

    Sometimes sincere and crooked live by some magic of double-thought in the same person.

    However it goes. To them the events that deliver Venezuelans hogtied into their hands are not necessarily a bad thing. That’s the intention, isn’t it?

  5. Lemmy Caution Says:

    Venezuela under Chávez appears more and more like a dark invention of some hardcore neoliberals.
    Probably nobody were able to fantasize such a mess, though.

  6. Bridge Says:

    Loroforoz, to call these corrupt Chavistas “Socialists” is an insult to any Socialist in Norway, Sweden, Germany etc etc ….. Its not for nothing that his party was refused by the Socialist International

    It was Chavez best idea ever – if not his only good idea ever – to call himself Socialist so he got masses of lefties all over the world defending him. Without it he would be nothing than a military facist.

  7. Roy Says:

    Not only do I expect the worst, but then they consistently exceed my expectations.

  8. firepigette Says:

    Loroforoz,

    You said it well

    Bridge,

    there are different types of socialists, and different types of societies…and that is sometimes good and sometimes bad

  9. Kepler Says:

    Firepigette,

    Look at the kitty! There, there, there! Sooo cute!

    Loroferoz,

    I second Bridge. I am no socialist but calling Chavismo socialist is a big big favour for Chavismo. Chavismo is chavismo, absolutely nothing more. It is a military regime with some lefty lingo, some nationalist one and a pathetic personality cult…led mostly by pure thugs.
    I would suggest reading a couple of books on socialism NOT written by US Americans, preferably written by socialists of different shades and colours. I would suggest a wee visit to some countries in Western Europe and some discussion with people around.
    Chavismo is chavismo. We need every social democrat on our side (and actually, I bet they have done less to bring about our Venezuelan golem than the far-right)

  10. Kepler Says:

    Lemmy, we are starting to fancy complots, aren’t we? :-)
    But I have to own up: Chavismo’s mess does look like a wet dream for some vultures out there.

  11. speed Gibson Says:

    I went to a nice BBQ with vintage BMW motorcycle chums and their female units last night. There was a british couple there touring the world on their bike and after finishing N America they are headed south. They stated that the word is out in the international touring community about Venz as being unsafe and the country to avoid down there. Too bad….but you gets what you pays for.

  12. firepigette Says:

    Kepler,

    “Firepigette,”

    “Look at the kitty! There, there, there! Sooo cute!”

    Gee Kepler, More and more you are showing not only your lack of debate but your age as well.

    Cheers

  13. firepigette Says:

    Bridge and others,

    Chavez has become the quintessentially modern savior/”rebel” monster that both the right and the left can hate.Whether it be as a communist or as a fascist, the’ State’ or the’ people’..he is presenting himself as saving us from all other monsters ;)

    Those who do not get that fascism and ‘extended socialism’ can collude at some mid- point, do not understand the true nature of the authoritarian beast.

    In Scandinavia socialism seems to work for them, but there is still the element of Strong state control that gets out of hand or not depending on the society that supports it.Scandinavian society and Venezuelan society are worlds apart in terms habits, values and tendencies.

    Western European socialist-capitalist economies are a mixed system where certain areas are deemed to be better performed by government owned entities rather than by the private sector.They have different criteria to define these areas and degrees to which the government is involved.

    In Chavez’s case this is totally arbitrary depending on who owns the private companies ( Cisneros get special treatment for example) and the very fact that the most efficient companies like the Polar for example are targeted for takeover, shows that they are not really interested in creating an efficient mix..

    The Scandinavian models are a mix, Chavez for total control.

  14. Bridge Says:

    Firepigette – Chavez has nothing, but absolutely nothing to do with Socialism – it is just a word he is using for his benefit and you play with him if you accept he is a socialist.
    As I said – already in 2000 the Socialist International refused to accept a Chavez party of any kind in their midst.
    No, I am not a Socialist, but I grew up in Germany and yes, some things they did were not my taste, but to compare in any way the politics of the SPD, or the Scandinavians or Dutch Socialist with Chavez is an insult to them !

  15. Kepler Says:

    Firepigette,

    Thanks very much for telling US what mixed economies are and what socialism is. It is amazing how much we can learn from you.

    And tell us: is the US a mixed economy as well?

    Bridge, Firepigette knows much better than us. She has relatives in Belarus and her husband had to see crappy doctors in Italy and Britain.

    No, ma’am, don’t try to bring communism through the back door.
    I know when I see a commie and I am prepared because here we have our rights to defend ourselves (sound of rifle getting loaded)

  16. bob Says:

    obviously socialism is a religion. everytime it fails, it fails because “real” socialists aren’t in charge. so all the other pining socialists with their political neurosis are now floating around the ideas that anyone but socialists are responsible for the monster that is chavez. probably the evil “right.”

    laugh. out. loud.

  17. Bridge Says:

    Bob, you are mixing something up too !
    Socialism is not communism ! … and dont tell us that all the Scandinavian countries, The Netherlands, France etc are all failures only because regularly Socialist parties are elected in the last 60 years !
    It would be nice if in the US there would be not that one word for all kind of politics …. even putting Chavez, Obama, Hitler, Stalin all in one line a la Fox ! …. pour Brand, van Agt, Palme, Mitterand etc etc ….

  18. bob Says:

    actually bridge, karl max specifically referred to the economic system he wished to create as socialism.

    as for european success. that was built and sustained off corporations. not to get all fast and loose with definitions, but the left likes mussolini’s definition of fascism being state control of corporations. by that extension france is one of the most fascist countries in the world.

    on the reverse side of that if we look at what is threatening to destroy europe we see a common theme. public sector pensions, welfare obligations, state redistribution schemes.

  19. Kepler Says:

    Geez, Bob…have you ever opened up a book not published in the US?
    Did you have something called universal history or world history? (if you did, I am afraid to see what kind of book that was)

    “not to get all fast and loose with definitions”: Socialism is everything that is un-American, ma’an. Soccer? Spanish? Everything!

    Do you think social democrats are striving for what Marx conceived?
    Do you have any idea about what kind of currents have gone through the name of socialism?
    Even the Tories would be commies for you if you know what they stand for.

    By the way: you are not aware at all even what role the state has played in the US development, also in its economy…not since Obama is in power, not since Roosevelt II, but since the very beginning.

  20. bob Says:

    I don’t know kepler, was das kapital published in the US? I’m just some ignrnt amurikkkan, so I wouldn’t know about crazy things like that.

    honestly read your post. how is it contributing to anything? what am I suppose to respond with? your post is extremely high on assumption, and condescension, and extremely low on content.

    maybe you want to go back to the drawing board.

  21. Bridge Says:

    Please, read !!!! – inform yourself !!!! …. what has Marxism + Communism to do with Social Democrats ?????????????
    And please, do not give Chavez the honor to be on the same wave lenghts as Willi Brandt, Olaf Palme – not even with Obama – yes, not even with Obama! Because whoever is doing that just shows to have no idea, no knowledge at all ! And that person shows to have no idea what it means to live in a communist country or under a military facist like Chavez !

  22. firepigette Says:

    Bridge,

    That is exactly the point when I say that Chavez is not out for a mixed economy and only out for total control.

    Some people claim the term socialism for the mixed economies of Western Europe, but this is a ‘claim’ and not necessarily the only definition.There are extreme Marxists who consider themselves socialists including the ones in Cuba.You say that it is an insult to the Scandinavians to compare them with Chavez but they BOTH claim the same term even if they are quite different.

    But on an aside, it all depends on how we define socialism and there are degrees of socialism as well.

    Chavez is openly aiming towards the “socialism” they have in Cuba.

  23. Kepler Says:

    Bob, please, define what socialism is and explain how you found out about it.

    What does the fact Das Kapital appeared in Europe have to do with the whole issue? Calculus also appeared firstly in Europe and so did John Smith’s writings and so much more.

    By the way: a huge part of the US establishment -including companies- was actually supporting the Nazi regime until very late…yes, the evil National SOCIALISTS you see in the US films.

    Geez…you probably think that if you touch that book by accident you will turn into a communist. If you base your world on what a some people tell you without ever bothering to actually read/listen to how others think…no wonder you are experiencing again a Vietnam in Afghanistan.

  24. bob Says:

    how was marx not a social democrat?

    Democracy is the road to socialism.
    Karl Marx

    and even in a more general way, how is the method one uses to institute more socialism of a defining nature?

    ahhh fascist, the general term of abuse used by hardcore leftists. like watching a kkk member call someone the n word.

  25. firepigette Says:

    Bridge,

    “Please, read !!!! – inform yourself !!!! …. what has Marxism + Communism to do with Social Democrats ?????????????”

    Social Democrat is precisely the term that should be used to make it clear what you are talking about.In this sense nobody would call Chavez a social democrat.

  26. bob Says:

    “Geez, Bob…have you ever opened up a book not published in the US?”

    “I don’t know kepler, was das kapital published in the US?”

    sorry if that was too complicated an exchange for you(hint, the upshot is I’ve read das kapital). I shall endeavour to somehow be more obvious in the future.

    I’m confident you greatly dislike everything you assume I am, location I’m from and things I know kepler. but I have a really hard time finding anything even remotely worth responding to seriously.

  27. Nit the Picker Says:

    No True Scotsman Fallacy detected on aisle 5 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman ). Please send a cleaning crew as soon as possible.

  28. Bridge Says:

    Firepigette, The Socialist International I mentioned several times has as members Social Democrat Parties and Labour parties …. for Venezuela it is PODEMOS

    http://www.socialistinternational.org/viewArticle.cfm?ArticlePageID=931

  29. firepigette Says:

    Bridge,

    Yes I know but I repeat, there are different definitions.In Europe they distinguish themselves in this way, but in Cuba , Belarus, and among the FARC,they claim this term without implying they are the same kind of socialists.

  30. Maria Says:

    Would it not be more interesting and productive to discuss what the average Latin understands for socialism? After all, it is his interpretation of the subject that makes him susceptible to follow anybody who utters the word.

  31. Kepler Says:

    Bob, I hope at least you are not a creationist (including “Intelligent Design”)

    Please, instead of reading quotations selected by people like you, try to read Marx himself. There are fine translations in English, I am sure of it.
    Also, instead of pretending to know about social democracy from what your local church tells you to do, try to ask those people who are social democrats (not me, by the way).

    Fascism? I am not saying you are fascist, but you are mixing everything up: fascism, Nazism and then saying because that came up in Europe as socialism. And if you are going to try to associate fascism with social democrats, you have at least as much reason to associate a lot of other groups, including companies such as IBM and huge segments of the non-Jewish US population prior to 1939.

    I ask again:

    QUESTIONS’ START:

    Define socialism
    Define social democracy

    QUESTIONS END

    I hope you can find the questions now.

  32. Maria Says:

    Kepler,

    A question for you. What does the average Venezuelan understand for socialism?

  33. firepigette Says:

    Maria,

    Right on gal

  34. bob Says:

    fine I will satisfy you this time kepler but only in exchange for a dialing back of your most assinine and meaningless posts(for example random accusations of creationism, makes you sound like a weirdo fanatic).

    socialism is an economic theory based around common or collective ownership. often suppressing individualism in order to promote the “common good.”

  35. Boludo Tejano Says:

    Get your popcorn.

  36. Boludo Tejano Says:

    bob Says: August 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm
    sorry if that was too complicated an exchange for you(hint, the upshot is I’ve read das kapital).

    Kepler Says: August 1, 2010 at 1:59 pm
    Bob, I hope at least you are not a creationist (including “Intelligent Design”)
    Please, instead of reading quotations selected by people like you, try to read Marx himself. There are fine translations in English, I am sure of it.

    Like I said, get your popcorn

  37. Kepler Says:

    OK, and what is the difference between social democrats and socialists?

    Understand there is an important difference between values in policies and socialism as organisation.

    Even a system as what you have in the US has had quite a lot of government intervention and not, as I said, since recently, but since the very start.
    The government intervention has been mostly felt abroad, but also in the US itself.

    —-

    Maria:

    The problem with average in politics in Venezuela is that there is also a huge variance. In most cases the poor want what they call
    a “social democracy” (even if VTV has portrayed those polls as saying they want state socialism)
    when there is a social support to basic services and some populist measures. Most people do not want state socialism but some form of basic social services. In spite of all, I think most Venezuelans have a hunch that social democracy is something different from (state) socialism and definitely from outright communism.

    Right now Chavismo hardliners are a minority, but most people are just absolutely uninterested in politics of any kind. They want their food, their house and some more or much more. What system could give them that, they don’t care. They think of today and here.

    Now, in Venezuela we have had on one side a paternalism that you see nowhere else (ridiculously cheap petrol, free universities with even cafeterias for almost nothing) side by side with an almost feudal system
    where people got less of what really matters, making even Boludo’s Texas
    a socialist heaven (textbooks for everybody and other key services).

  38. bob Says:

    btw on nit the picker and the no true scotsman. I understand the drive. you’re a socialist and you see socialists doing things you dislike, so of course they aren’t really socialists. from a religious perspective this is of course nothing new, religious people have always attempted to say other people of the same religion don’t really belong to their religion.

    which just warps back in on socialism as a religion. maybe people like kepler can just imagine themselves as belonging to a different sect of socialism.

  39. bob Says:

    aye kepler, america has had loads of government intervention. I imagine in your mind that is suppose to be some revelation to me(though your mind appears to be a pretty god damn insane place to inhabit). unfortunately for you, it is not.

  40. firepigette Says:

    Ideology of any kind is like religion in the fundamental structure of its of thinking.

  41. Kepler Says:

    Bob, I am not even socialist nor Bridge here. I am not a social democrat. I actually vote for a centre-right party, although I am not married to any party.

    Now: do you think the USA was a socialist country in the late XVIII and early XIX centuries? Perhaps you do think so. Socialismo hasta en la sopa.

    Anyway, I have to go.

    Cheers

  42. bob Says:

    kepler, do you have an endless stream of idiotic bait questions to ask me. instead of being ridiculously passive aggressive why don’t you just grow a pair and make statements and arguments.

  43. Kepler Says:

    Sure, Bob.
    Your arguments are everything you don’t understand is socialism.
    Bye.

  44. bob Says:

    you asked me what socialism was, obviously my answer didn’t satisfy you. so why not just make an argument. between your insane fantasies about what I believe, and this endless stream of passive aggressive bait questions I fail to see any real argument from you.

    I must say though it is a rather brilliant way to avoid discussion. you must be some kind of idiot savant.

  45. capitankane Says:

    Loved the get the popcorn quote. I think these comments are getting a little out of control. No wonder there are so many ni-nis and the MUD don’t seem like a way out this current mess when everyone’s too busy bickering between themselves to focus on the real target. luck to yas guys

  46. firepigette Says:

    Gee Kepler is leaving without even having had a bite of popcorn.

    To imitate Kepler’s style,I could say for example,

    “I hear in Belgium the right and the left don’t even watch each other’s TV shows.I guess that explains it all.”jajaja lol

    Kepler does not debate-He insults, assumes, misinterprets, and then leaves in a huff.

  47. Kepler Says:

    Firepigette, you are wrong. It is the Dutch and the French-speaking regions who don’t watch each others’ programmes and that is a problem.

    On the other side, there are no “socialist” or “rightist programmes”. Your ignorance shows. It is not USA. We have a lot of programmes where all political parties, from the very right to the very left, actually debate. That is one of the reasons why right wingers are not usually mixing up social democracy with socialism with communism etc and the other way around.
    Basically the Republican and the Democrat parties are more or less two branches of the same party.

    I don’t fall into your chauvinism when referring to the problems of the nation I am living in.

    Whether one thinks this or that about a political belief or any kind of belief, one should have the decency to listen or read what the people professing those believes say about them, whether those things are crap or not. You are acting as Reagan said: if someone reads Lenin, he must be a communist. So if I read socialist sutff, I must be one (you wrote it, Bob).

    Guys, Venezuelans are screwing it up with Chávez, but no wonder you are in a new Vietnam right now. You just don’t want to listen what the others think, specially the military and conservative sectors. You want to determine you always know the intentions and believes of the rest of the world without having a slightest clue. It is not only the rest of the world that has problems.

    Kane,
    Bob and Firepigette are US Americans. They do not matter for the solution of Venezuela problems, the problems are elsewhere. Very few Venezuelans have such a position as these guys.

  48. Kepler Says:

    sorry, I meant “Venezuelans of the opposition”.

    Ciao

  49. firepigette Says:

    Capitane Kane,

    Lack of Unity is created by the unwillingness to sacrifice,and compromise; not because there is bickering.People can bicker and still make a commitment to work towards the same goal.I come from a family of Quakers, and though I am not a Christian myself I know the philosophy well.

    The idea is that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the successful resolution of it.

    We can all disagree, but when people insist on lying about what others write, and assuming they know more about that someone than the person himself, or when they talk bad about your origins and beliefs, and last but not least when they leave without sharing a bit of popcorn and admitting their wrongdoings, then there is NO resolution of conflict.

    I lived in Venezuela most of my life, and I saw this kind of lack of debate time and time again…thus the pickle we are in.

    People can have very different ideas, argue and bicker, but there must be some honest level where people do not claim others are saying something they are not saying, and attempt to win arguments , NOT with reason but with insults and obvious’ misinterpretations’.

  50. Jeez Says:

    Bob and Kepler
    Enough already. Your finger pointing and name calling are too much like Chavez in an Alo Presidente cadena.

  51. firepigette Says:

    Kepler,

    Again you misunderstand.What I said was said in jest as a perhaps poor imitation of the way you accuse others.I have no beliefs about Belgium.

    And if you think that a person cannot be a citizen of 2 countries then that is quite strange for most, but for you?

  52. A_Antonio Says:

    I am hallucinating about present discussion of political ideologies begins with a trying to defining a bastard Regime as bastard it is.

  53. bob Says:

    ” So if I read socialist sutff, I must be one (you wrote it, Bob).”
    -kepler

    is this meant to imply that at some point I accused people who read socialist material of being socialist? because that is an offensively ignorant statement. not only for its presumptionary idiocy, but because I, myself said that I had read das kapital.

    you really need to stop. read. respond. not respond. respond. respond. respond. because the latter is seriously failing you. how do you write these things? are you some kind of secret double agent wanting to make everyone who hates america look really really really really really really really bad? because if you are, that is a work of genius.

  54. Bridge Says:

    It all started because I wrote
    quote : ” to call these corrupt Chavistas “Socialists” is an insult to any Socialist in Norway, Sweden, Germany etc etc ….. Its not for nothing that his party was refused by the Socialist International

    It was Chavez best idea ever – if not his only good idea ever – to call himself Socialist so he got masses of lefties all over the world defending him. Without it he would be nothing than a military facist” – end quote …

    It is clearly the case that US citizens have a very different way to interpret Socialism … but p.ex. Firepigette … when I worte “Socialist
    International” it was rather clear it is “Social Demokrats” as others more left, very left or whatever are not welcome there.
    And there are masses of countries in the World who see Socialism this way !
    And you , who want to see Socialism in a different way, you are only doing this military facist in Venezuela a favour on calling him a “Socialist” only because he loves it to use this word .

    Why p.ex. Bob has to put this word equal to religion is out of my comprehension …. I am neither a Socialist nor I follow any religion, but I try to understand what is going on in these different areas and different parts of the world and try to follow it in several languages …

    I live in the “very dangerous ” Dutch ABC islands – I guess you really believe that because Chavez says so as you believe he is a Socialist.

  55. firepigette Says:

    Kepler makes up so many lies that the only thing we have time for is refuting them( does he do this on purpose?)

    I owe it to myself and others to publicly refute ALL lies made by him about my person.

    1. I am a Venezuelan citizen
    2. more than likely I lived many more years in Venezuela than Kepler as I am a senior citizen .I married a criollo guy from the popular classes who was part black though Kepler claims I am a racist.I lived in several barrios for many years.I still have many family in the poorest barrios.
    3. I have hundreds of family members I love and who love me living in Venezuela including one daughter
    4. while it is true that I think differently from most Venezuelans, it is also true that I think differently from most Americans and definitely from most Europeans
    5. I would not spend so much time on Venezuelan blogs if I did not care
    6. I am not a creationist
    7. I never owned a gun
    8. I was poor most of my life, and am not an elitist.
    9. I am a practicing Buddhist and feminist
    10. I hate politics with a passion and belong to NO party and never will
    11. I care about Venezuela and my family and friends there.I wake up every day with this in mind
    12. I think it is evident from these blogs that there are many people who are trying to resolve the Venezuelan problem by using the same tools most have used in Venezuela for some time, which has not will not bring good results

    Would like to add, that the stinking and mean remark that Kepler made about me( that I am not Venezuela and do not care to resolve its problems) that the following is true about me:

  56. firepigette Says:

    Bridge, I cannot let another ” misinterpretation” of my words slip by.I said and I quote:

    “Some people claim the term socialism for the mixed economies of Western Europe, but this is a ‘claim’ and not necessarily the only definition.There are extreme Marxists who consider themselves socialists including the ones in Cuba.You say that it is an insult to the Scandinavians to compare them with Chavez but they BOTH claim the same term even if they are quite different.

    But on an aside, it all depends on how we define socialism and there are degrees of socialism as well.”

    For anyone who speaks English it is clear that I DO NOT CALL CHAVEZ A SOCIALIST BUT THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO DO.

    As for your remark about the ABC islands, my husband is from Curacao and we are quite connected to the island and all of its aspects.

    I do not think it is dangerous, so do not put words in my mouth

  57. island canuck Says:

    Wow!

    It’s Sunday.

    Children learn to play nice or you’ll be sent to your bedrooms to sulk.

  58. firepigette Says:

    Island,

    I would agree if this were a matter of disagreements but Kepler has insulted me and LIED about my ideas and about my person for the past year or 2..My obligation is to publicly refute all of his lies.Disagreements are one, lies another.

    I am sick and tired of Kepler’s lies.He continually misrepresents ( andin an insulting way) most of what I say and I refuse to allow it to continue.

    I should have done this a long time ago.

  59. Kolya Says:

    As I scrolled down, I agree that much of this discussion has been silly. It was, however, amusing to see Firepigette hoisted with her own petard. She wrote:

    “We can all disagree, but when people insist on lying about what others write, and assuming they know more about that someone than the person himself, or when they talk bad about your origins and beliefs, and last but not least when they leave without sharing a bit of popcorn and admitting their wrongdoings, then there is NO resolution of conflict.”

    Seems like a case of psychological projection on Firepigette’s part. In the quoted passage above she described herself fairly accurately.

    With apologies to Miguel for this comment. His post deserves much better than what this thread devolved into.

  60. JOOG Says:

    Damn! I finally reached the end of the comments and now I can’t remember what the original blog was about. I think there was a question about how could this government be so slow to react to problems, even if the problems are of their own macking. Well I agree with JJ about 40 comments ago. Chavez doesn’t care about solving anything. He wants and he needs total chaos. When he finally has total chaos he will impliment his new order conmunism in Venezuela. He would like to keep control of the AN; but it really doesn’t mattter all that much. If he loses control he will just ignore them. He does need to keep most of the masses on his side for a while longer and his principle method of doing that is keeping PEDAVAL and Mercal stocked with subsidized food and he has pretty much done that inspite of the billions of dollars wasted. So I’m not holding my breath ,waiting for him to wake-up to the errors of his ways and try to rectify things. It is not going to happen.

  61. Steven Says:

    Firepigette, Kepler, Bob, and Bridge: Your “comments” today are the worst ever on this blog. They’re pointless and clarified nothing. Early in my Internet career, I read some good advice: Don’t repeat yourself. And don’t rephrase, or clarify, unless specifically asked. If your readers didn’t get it the first time, just move along.

    Sincerely,
    Steven

  62. m_astera Says:

    Thanks all, and especially those who pointed out what Hugo is: A military facist pretending to be a socialist. Exactly like Castro. As I asked someone the other day, when was the last open election for president in Cuba?

    That pretty much nails it.

  63. firepigette Says:

    Oh but Kolya, I did resolve the conflict.I spoke my mind and clarified the lies Kepler has been weaving for quite some time.The fact that you and some others do not agree, is beside the point.Agreement is not necessary for peace.Peace comes from truth.

    If Kepler wants to continue his sick game,that will be his decision.

  64. loroferoz Says:

    Socialism is about “social” or State (there is really a meaningless distinction here) control over the “means of production”, which means every single asset that can produce more goods by it’s utilization, like seed, agricultural machinery, industrial machines, raw materials, and others. In contrast to consumer goods like food, clothes or personal vehicles.

    When applied across all areas of activity, Socialism virtually guarantees the denial of every “negative” (negative in the sense that coercion is absent when you do something) right and every “positive” (positive in the sense that something must be provided to you) human right. In the best of world, by bureaucratic obstruction. In the worst of worlds, by use of force. It’s about hegemony and monopoly.

    Let me repeat this again: Socialism is not practiced ANYWHERE IN EUROPE, with the probable exception of Belarus.

    Social democracy, on the other hand, is an almost universal norm in Europe. It started as a democratic way to implement socialism. But economic reality, a realization of what socialism implied, and playing in a democratic field with conservatives and liberals “downsized” those aims to providing just those services where universal provision was deemed more important than economic efficiency.

    With no prejudice towards private competence in the same sectors, in most cases. Most countries in Europe have privatized inefficient, money-squandering State-owned companies, including utilities, or else allowed competition in such sectors, previously reserved to State-owned companies. With obvious benefits for consumers.

    Of course, social-democratic countries suffer from the weight of excessive and overly detailed regulation of all private activity, from excessive taxation and from special interests that have laws enacted for their own benefit.

    But still, there is separation of powers, democracy and a degree of freedom you will not see in any country trying to go Socialist.

    Whatever the effects of policy might be in social-democratic countries, the collapse or substitution of the economy with a planned, centralized, state-run economy has not been a formal aim for more than 30 years (or a practical aim for more than 60 years).

    Revolution and violent substitution was never an objective.

  65. firepigette Says:

    Loroferoz has made another excellent analysis that clarifies the meaning of the mixed system they have in Europe .

  66. Kepler Says:

    Bob, just this:
    I do not hate the USA or US Americans. I do think people like you -who are just a part of society there, but a part I reckon are very much represented in government and certain agencies- are oversimplifying the picture, placing every “socialist” almost as an sleeping agent trying to transform society into what Marx was thinking. Those kinds of oversimplifications lead to a mess in foreign policy, mess that can lead to disaster as not being able to recognise friend from foe.

    Loboferoz had a good explanation of what social democracy is compared to socialism as Marx conceived it. I would add this:

    1) although the more definite aspects consolidated in the late fifties and early sixties, the process started to radically differentiate itself from what Marx had in mind early on (WWI).
    2) Europe has mixed economies as much as the US has, Belarus is still a mixed economy where the autocratic state has most of the control, as opposed to Western Europe-USA, all but Belarus form a continuum, the US being more to the right in many but not in all things (for instance, in pre-university education, in defence, etc as opposed to certain aspects of health care, etc)

    3) West European countries are not “social democratic countries”. They are pluralistic countries where social democracy has to debate and discuss and negotiate on a daily basis with liberals (in the European sense), conservatives of all sorts, ecologists of all sorts (who may have from a right to a lefty approach) and others. Here we change all the time.
    There are some countries in Europe are not seen as things the state should be providing for and the US or some states do provide for them.
    That does not mean the US is “more social democratic”, better or worse. It is just a fact all countries are calibrating all the time towards more or less state in countless small things.

    Going back to Venezuela:
    And many people who can give moral support to Venezuela abroad and many people in Venezuela are actually close to those social democratic principles (look them up in Wikipedia, please).
    If we exclude them or have suspicions about them for being social democrats, we are losing half of the people.

    I comment no more here.

  67. Lemmy Caution Says:

    Dear Americans,

    Socialdemocrats and Comunists are very different groups in European history and present.

    Socialdemocrats more or less based their programs on the interests of the strong, well-trained worker, who is interested and able to progress in his life. They strived for better participation of the workers on the returns of progress. They fought for better training of workers, higher wages, better protection, participation of workers children in higher education.

    The Comunists base their program on strange 19th century ideas of a guy called Karl Marx and his succesors.

    Both groups are refered to as Socialists, but this creates only confusion. On the beginning of the 20th century Germany was seen as the country with the most powerfull comunists and socialdemocrats movements. But both groups fighted each other. In the turmoil after World War I the german comunists tried an insurgency against the building of the first democratic and republican constitution in the country. The social democrats used right wing paramilitary group to break down the rebellion in order to defend democratic principles against more marxist plans.

    In the 20ties there was a constant struggle between comunists and socialdemocrats. My grandpa was a harbour worker and comunist. In the 20ties he saw the Socialdemocrats as traitors. That changed a bit after the russians killed 2 of his brothers who did compulsory labour in northern russian camps. My grandpa wrote a card to kremlin, that they should release his 2 brothers, because they are good comunists. Kremlin answered that they would kill them, because comunists in an army that invades the Sovjet Union are the worst they could imagine.

    Repeatedly in german history Socialdemocrats were the most obstinate defenders of democratic values and market economies a.g.a.i.n.s.t comunists. After World War II for a long time all mayors of Western Berlin were from the Socialdemocratic Party. They fighted fiercely against comunism. They were surrounded by it.

    General idea of Socialdemocrats is to support advancement of individuals from the lower ranks of the social ladder. But they expect them to work hard to fullfill their goals in a market system.

    Now that “thanks” to german “reunification” we have a 10% comunist party (25%-30% in ex comunist part) and 5-10% in the bigger rest, the now 35% Socialdemocrat party don’t get along with them easily.

    If loroferoz is right, how comes that countries with a powerfull socialdemocratic past and present like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium are doing very well for a long time?

  68. Pedrop Says:

    Wow, I have learned so much reading all these posts. Certainly changed my view about Socialism in Venezuela, twentysomething century and so on, something like that.

    I always thought it was best assessed as –

    ———-Afirma experto de Miami:Fortuna de los Chávez-Frías supera los $2,000 millones
    La organización Criminal Justice International Associates (CJIA) de Miami, una firma de reducción de riesgo y análisis global, estimó en un reciente reporte que la fortuna de la familia Chávez Frías en Venezuela “ha amasado una fortuna” similar a la de los hermanos Castro en Cuba.——–

  69. PB Says:

    I blame the oil!

    Without that you may stand a chance.

  70. jz Says:

    Island Canuck or Miguel, I was reading this blog about the parallel exchange rate and my jaw dropped when I saw them listing 26 Bolivars to the dollar. See the link: http://www.preciodolar.info/

    IC, you said ten Bolivars to the dollar was not realistic. Do you guys know what is realistic?

  71. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, OT, mira esto:

    http://www.eluniversal.com/2010/08/02/eco_art_prestamo-con-china-a_1991955.shtml

    Foul billion dollals fol eleshions in Setembel

    Will that have some influence in the dollar exchange?

  72. island canuck Says:

    It’s not 26 unless you were super desperate.

    If someone sold an apartment or house, etc. & had to have the money in $$ maybe you could extort that kind of rate from them.

    More realistic is this site http://venezuelaparalelo.blogspot.com/

    or
    http://twitter.com/lechugaverde (click on link – they change it often)

    The real problem right now is not many people want BsF. in large quantities – they want US$ or Euros.

    The investment & real estate markets are almost non existent &, here in Margarita, foreign tourism is down 74.4% so the amount of available dollars or euros in the market is way down.

    The numbers I hear from tourists are in the mid 7 range for cash.

  73. CARLOS Says:

    70 comentarios de PURAS ESTUPIDESES de peleas entre 3 personas!

    que perdedera de tiempo señores, nada nutritivo en esta lectura

    Por favor MO modera el blog, ya que ninguno estuvo de acuerdo sobre que es el socialismo!

  74. firepigette Says:

    Lemmy Caution,

    What you are saying fits precisely with the point I made.The correct term to use to differentiate proponents of mixed economies from left wing Marxists is social democrat because the term socialist is claimed by both groups.

    I never implied that Europe was in anyway lacking because of its social democratic system.

  75. Gordo Says:

    Forget Marx et. al. and turn to Shakespeare to understand Chavez. Read Macbeth. A soldier who wants power, and it ends up being a curse.

  76. Douglas Says:

    It is not worthwhile to define what socialism is or is it not when talking about Chavez and Venezuela today, Chavez is exactly what m_astera said a few posts back:
    “Thanks all, and especially those who pointed out what Hugo is: A military fascist pretending to be a socialist…”
    What Venezuela was before Chavez and what Venezuela would like to be after Chavez could conceivably encompass a good hearty discussion of what socialism, and for that matter, capitalism is or is not, but right now the focus should be on how a fascist regime whose main political goal is clear can be brought down before it attains its objectives. To put Miguel Octavio´s original blog post in perspective: as long as they can get away with it, they will try/do/destroy/stop anything to keep and perpetuate their dominance over Venezuelan society.

  77. Tim Says:

    http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2010/08/venezuela-flu-keeps-chávez-from-mercosur-summit.html

    The president explained that he finds himself suffering from “a flu, it’s drenched me and grabbed me by the throat,” and therefore he is taking “a rest demanded” by his doctors.


  78. Carlos:i done like to censor, typically such long discussions end because I do another post, but I am in peaceful and quiet Montana, dont feel like reading about Venezuela, thus no posts until I do, although I read Chavez is sick, no alo Presidente, no whims or new crazy ideas for a few days, that is almost worth a post!!!!

  79. deananash Says:

    m_astera, you’re right. Chavez’s goal is to be exactly like Castro, only successful – at least in terms of suckering in other nearby countries.

    And, oh yeah, Chavez has been upfront and clear about this since day one. The only surprise is that anyone is surprised.

  80. HalfEmpty Says:

    So M.O. are you indeed (wait for it) Moving to Montana soon?


  81. Too quiet and cold for me, just going to a wedding


  82. Kepler: The 4 billion dollar loan is the first installment of the Chinese loan announced three times. With Pdvsa owing 7 billion to its suppliers, the Republic paying 1.5 billion next Monday for the 2010 bond, it will help, but it will have little impact on election spending, in fact, it may be too late for that, people dont “feel” election spending unless you start at least 4 or 5 months ahead.

  83. megaescualidus Says:

    Los Guardianes de Chavez, por reporteros espa~oles del Grupo Prisa. Estos videos son espeluznantes (y muy dolorosos)

    Parte 1/5

    Parte 2/5

    3/5

    4/5

    5/5

  84. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, I know its part of the 20b “dollars” (half in yuan), but can’t that money have some effect? Imagine: they got the money in an account and order now 1billion in mattresses, 1billion in mixers and so on. Can’t people get the mattresses for 24 September? Chavistas must have told the US/Chinese/Argentinian companies: please, stock now, we assure you we deliver the money on 1rst August…

  85. island canuck Says:

    Kepler:

    The ports are so full with waiting ships to unload that there is now way that anything ordered now would arrive in time.

    They’ve had to move ships to other ports to get them unloaded after waiting weeks.

  86. Kepler Says:

    I read they are doing actually that, I don’t know if it is for that reason: colchones y licuadoras para la revolución tienen prioridad

  87. bob Says:

    no kepler, sometimes socialists ruin countries like marx wishes. sometimes socialists just destroy things like greece is doing. I certainly prefer the slow death of public pensions, wealth redistribution and welfare schemes to the quick brutal chavez/castro socialism. but, if I had my way, I wouldn’t drown myself in either failure.

    as for this fantasy being promoted that chavez is “fascist” because obviously a socialist wouldn’t do all the “mean” things chavez is doing. LAUGH OUT LOUD. more delusions of leftists trying to not get their favorite brand(socialism) besmirched.

  88. bob Says:

    hey lemmy caution, I have a rewrite for you:

    “In the 20ties there was a constant struggle between catholics and protestants. My grandpa was a harbour worker and catholic. In the 20ties he saw the protestants as traitors. That changed a bit after the romans killed 2 of his brothers who did compulsory labour in northern roman camps. My grandpa wrote a card to vatican, that they should release his 2 brothers, because they are good catholics. vatican answered that they would kill them, because catholics in an army that invades the holy roman empire are the worst they could imagine.”

  89. firepigette Says:

    I agree with your comment on Chavez and Fascim.

    One of the main factors that define fascism is a belief in the inherent superiority of their own nationality to the point that they feel justified in imposing themselves on other nations.

    In Chavez’s case this is exactly the opposite, in his quest to unite LA under his brand of left wing ideology inspired by his mentor Castro he actually imports foreigners like FARC Colombians and his Cuban “advisers” to rule over his fellow Venezuelans.

  90. firepigette Says:

    Bob,

    sorry my last comment was directed to you

  91. Lemmy Caution Says:

    Firepigette,

    Chávez has a dualistic view on history as a fight of the good against the evil. And he believes that people like Bolivar or himself are kind of an incarnation of the “true spirit” of the people.
    You find this stuff in Hitler or Mussolini. Not so much in Lenin or Stalin. Both broke with russian history and wanted to start something new based on pseudo-scientific marxism.
    Hitler was an Austrian elected by Germans. They accepted any british, skandinavian or dutch who believed in their crazy race theory as equal.

    A bit futile this debate. No matter if we call Chávez faschist, socialist, communist or lunatic. This guy simply shouldn’t govern Venezuela.

    peace
    Lemmy

  92. A_Antonio Says:

    To me, Chavez ideology is only the smoking screen, fraud and lies to be in power is the only he wants.

    I recommend to people that know Spanish, read in El Universal web, the article from Alexander Cambero, “¿Por qué Venezuela no sale de Chavez?” (“Why Venezuela do not get rid from Chavez?)

    I recommend other bloggers to translate and publish that article in their blogs, to make clear to every body else what are dealing with.

  93. firepigette Says:

    Lemmy I totally agree that this debate is impractical at this point.
    Interesting maybe, but not necessarily an important one when it comes to solving or understanding our problems.

    The important thing is that Chavez is authoritarian, unreliable, dangerous,grandiose and the worst imaginable for Venezuela.

    Peace to you as well

  94. Ira Says:

    Congratulations, guys:

    Some of you win the prize for the most ridiculous waste of bandwidth I’ve ever seen, arguing over semantics. Yet everyone agrees on their opposition to Chavez’s policies.

    Is this an example of why the opposition over there can’t get their acts together and combine efforts to rid VZ of this fascist goon and his ignorant, gullible minions?

  95. Ira Says:

    I also want to add that I couldn’t understand 95% of what you were saying anyway,

  96. Kepler Says:

    “to rid VZ of this fascist goon and his ignorant, gullible minions?”

    One of the reasons why Chávez is there is people there are people saying the others are all “ignorant, gullible minions”. There are millions like that. Do you want to kill them?
    How do you get “rid of them”?

    This post has no importance whatsoever on whether there is an improvement in Venezuela’s lot. We are no oppo leaders and we are not in Venezuela. Most Venezuelans, anyway, do not follow the positions represented here.

  97. firepigette Says:

    Ira,

    “Is this an example of why the opposition over there can’t get their acts together and combine efforts to rid VZ of this fascist goon and his ignorant, gullible minions?”

    No actually I don’t think it is an example of that at all.People in Venezuela, especially the poorest base of Chavez, do not usually argue over semantics.Also I doubt that anyone here actually thinks we are saving or ruining Venezuela on this blog.

    I think the reasons the oppos don’t get together are more like the following:

    1. much of the opposition is infiltrated and bought off
    2. Chavez manages to get rid of the popular leaders
    3. people are living in denial due to psychological defense mechanisms
    4. the mechanism of The Chavez system is highly supported by many groups outside the country
    5. the opposition lost many opportunities in the past to get rid of him through peaceful means
    6. egoism( the desire by many to see their own groups lead instead of being willing to join with others ) and like I said before, disagreements do not matter as long as we join together in Unity when it counts.The opposition has many different types of ideologies and ideas that make it up.
    7. lack of available information for all about is going on
    8. lack of honest and integrity of many journalists in reporting the truth about Venezuela
    9.many ” nini’s” profiteering
    10. the typically third world emphasis on money rather than values- so many people who think that if they are okay economically that is what counts the most.

  98. A_Antonio Says:

    I aggre with firepigette.

    I recommend, again, to the people that know Spanish, read in El Universal web (eluniversal.com), the article from Alexander Cambero, “¿Por qué Venezuela no sale de Chavez?” (“Why Venezuela do not get rid of Chavez?)

    I recommend other bloggers to translate and publish that article in their blogs, to make clear to every body else what are dealing with.

  99. HalfEmpty Says:

    It’s easy enough to see why M.O. has abandoned blog and headed north to become a yanqui oral hygeine product producer, that, or the love of a pigmy pony.

    Thread needs to be put down.
    Zapped as it were.

  100. firepigette Says:

    half empty

    if Miguel doesn’t care, why do you? It’s his blog

    does your comment add anything to what yu consider an irritating thread ?

    If you really think it is too long, why did you make it longer?

    I have seen many irritating threads( to my taste) but refrain from commenting as such, as I sincerely believe that one man’s meat is another man’s poison

  101. Miguel Octavio Says:

    Training to be a white river drafting guide on the snake river, lots more fun , back Sunday to Reality

  102. Kolya Says:

    Hey, Miguel, I learned how to kayak on the Snake. Aeons ago a friend first thought me how to paddle and roll in the quite waters of a hot spring and then we hit the rapids of the Snake River. And a few months later, when it got cold, cross country skiing under the Tetons. All that is also very much part of reality, though…

    Enjoy, Miguel!

  103. ErneX Says:

    Reading all the comments of this post is like watching a slow motion train wreck, god damnit!


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