Venezuelans Are Trapped In Their Own Inconsistencies

July 2, 2013

palante

As I was leaving Venezuela last week, this guy in the picture above in his Pa’lante Comandante and PSUV jacket, created quite a stir, as the immigration line was about 40 minutes long, but the jacket gave this new oligarch the privilege of bypassing everyone and be thru the whole process in about two minutes. Some people silently bitched about the whole thing, others were vocal, yet others were quite loud about it. Using Capriles’ phrase, they called him “enchufado”, plugged into the system to get his privileges.

But then, I had to open my mouth. There was a group of young guys, excitedly going to Miami for the first time in their lives. They were quite pissed at the Pa’lante gordo and I talked to them about it as I took the picture. But then, I created another stir, by reminding these young guys, that they are as privileged as the Pa’lante guy, even if to a lesser degree. (They get the ticket, but not the special line)

These guys took offense at this, so I explained: “You guys pay a cheap ticket, get a couple of thousand dollars at the official rate so that you can go out and party for a week or so, that seems quite a privilege in Venezuela, if those that can not afford it could see this line and understand, they would be as mad at you, as you are at the Pa’lante guy”

Well, I did not make much headway, to them traveling at Bs. 6.3 and their CADIVI dollars is essentially a right by now, the same way the poor think that they should be given a home by the Government and free food and appliances when election time comes up.

In fact, it seems as if Venezuelans are all trapped in their own inconsistencies.

The opposition does not dare say what they think, because they know they would not get elected if they did. But neither do Chavistas. Most of them understand how screwed up the revolution is, but they can’t say anything , for they risk their own future. It is hard to explain to opposition people that yes, the opposition is censored, but Chavismo/Madurismo is censored even more. Some in the opposition are not allowed to say what they want, but if you are Chavista and you say what you want, you are banned, recused, accused of treason and the like. So, all Chavistas stay silent, it is the Arepa muzzle at work. (Bozal de arepa)

And privileges are everywhere.

Nobody believes the gasoline subsidy can be removed. (I do!). But how can the price of gas have an impact on anything, when a bus costs 500,000 Bolivars and if you fill the tank up daily, you spend Bs. 10 per tank? That is one third or one quarter of an arepa per day. Make it five times more expensive and the owner of the bus would spend 15,000 Bolivars per year. That’s 3% of the cost of the bus. Are you kidding me? Raise it by a factor of twenty!

But everywhere you turn, there are privileges. I was talking to a Colombian that wants to leave the country, but he sends his parents $300 per month via Cadivi and another $600 to his kids. That is all of Bs. 5,400 he spends, but the family keeps only $300 and returns $600, that he readily exchanges for a net of (18,000-5,400)=13,600 Bolivars, more than he can make in a moth working in Venezuela or Colombia! This guy is really trapped!

And the whole education discussion in CCSC reveals the same. Why should CADIVI give anyone money to study undergraduate abroad? (Don’t get mad bro!) It’s absurd. And graduate work is even more absurd. That is a sure guarantee that the person will never return.

As for the University conflict. Yes, it is very valid, but so are a few dozen conflicts around the country. I mean, why would a Guayana worker complain if he gets his salary without working? He is also trapped. Or maybe he has more than one job, since he does not have to go to the other one to get paid.

Everywhere we look is the same. And if the Government, any Government, tried to rationalize anything, from gas to electricity prices, to Cadivi, to make pensions available only when you are 65, let alone make people work, that Government would have to face the consequences.

Venezuelans are trapped and I don’t see anyone “poniendole el cascabel al gato” however you may say that in English (Putting the bell on the cat???)

191 Responses to “Venezuelans Are Trapped In Their Own Inconsistencies”


  1. Including myself that makes two of us who think gas price should be jacked up 20 fold.

      • Daniel C Says:

        Venezuelans never seem to see the big picture, but that’s just my perception maybe. I say prices should be minimally equivalent to 1usd based on black market rate.


        • that would cause inmediate havoc, but yeah why not.. I’d say at least o,60$ which is close to us prices.
          that would make filling a 50 lt thank about Bs 900
          oh wait..

    • Charly Says:

      Daniel, I agreed with your position some ten years ago but had to recant as my wife in a display of Venezuelan idiosyncrasy promised to gouge my eyes out if I ever talked about raising the cost of HER gas. Man are they ever touchy on the subject.

  2. Kepler Says:

    Texto excelente, Miguel. Gracias. Parece como si uno le hablase en chino a toda Venezuela.

  3. Yaya Says:

    Bell the cat.

  4. Javier Says:

    Nice Miguel, everything needs a change as long as nothing changes.

  5. m_astera Says:

    So, raise the gasoline price 20x. Who gets that money? We all know it would only be taken through graft or wasted somewhere else.

    I think it’s a great idea to use Venezuela’s oil wealth to subsidize the people. When the only alternative is to see it given to government employees or cronies.

    Did you know that every citizen of the State of Alaska gets a check for their share of the oil revenues each year? Would it be better if the state kept that and spent it on more bureaucracy?

    • Kepler Says:

      They could spend it like the Norwegians.

    • m_astera Says:

      That simply isn’t going to happen in Venezuela. Probably not ever. Venezuelan culture is entirely different than Norwegian culture.

      • Kepler Says:

        Venezuelans decide what their culture is and how it evolves.
        Cultures are not built on stone. I know it is not realistic to expect a radical change now but I as a Venezuelan want to talk to as many people as possible for a change to come. “Culture” is not in the air. It is the sum of all our brains. Monuments or ruins are just a consequence of it all.

      • Maria Gonzalez Says:

        and entirely different than USA culture since you mentioned the example of Alaska

    • moctavio Says:

      PDVSA is being destroyed by the lack of investment, part of the problem is the gas subisidy. If it is increased, there will be more investment.

      • marzolian Says:

        There COULD be more investment. But many other things would have to change, at the same time.

      • m_astera Says:

        I would guess that the gas subsidy is a very small part of why PDVSA is in the red. I would further venture that more income for PDVSA would simply lead to more theft from PDVSA by the usual suspects. I don’t see any connection at all between more income for PDVSA and more investment by PDVSA in infrastructure and maintenance.

        As for gas-guzzlers and the wealthy being helped more by the gas subsidy, I don’t think so. If the cost of gas were raised to parity with cost of production Venezuela would shut down. Tens or hundreds of thousands of taxi drivers would be out of work. The privately owned buses would cease running. The poor and much of the middle class who own cars could not afford to drive them. The independent truckers and haulers would go out of business. Immediately.

        The consequence would be that only the wealthy could afford to drive.

        The problem is not that gas is subsidized. The problem is that all of the government, and most of those with access to government controlled money, are all thieves.

        • moctavio Says:

          US$ 20 billion-plus a year is more than what PDVSA spends on social programs, so the subsidy is BIG.

    • Boludo Tejano Says:

      I think it’s a great idea to use Venezuela’s oil wealth to subsidize the people.

      .The gasoline subsidy doesn’t increase car ownership. It subsidizes gas guzzlers.

      Venezuelans don’t own more cars per capita than comparable countries in the region, so the large consumption must be because they own old gas guzzlers.

      Or newer gas guzzlers like the Hummer. Furthermore, the gasoline subsidy more directly benefits the better off, who own autos, not the poor, who do not own autos.

      Bozal de arepa, indeed. As Miguel astutely points out, when everyone is lining up for a gift from the all-powerful government, that is the consequence.

      • moses Says:

        Large per capita consumption is not due to old gas guzzlers (pre 1983 cars – last year 8 cylinder cars were assembled locally was in 1980.) It is mostly due to traffic conditions in Caracas, and commuters driving from suburbs in Tuy valleys, Guarenas – Guatire and Altos Mirandinos, maybe 200,000 to 350,000 per day (stats are difficult to source..)

        • Boludo Tejano Says:

          The subject needs more investigation, apparently.

        • Alvaro Says:

          and why they move to the suburbs? because have a better chance affording the ride than the rent. and, just in case, Caracas ain’t Venezuela,

  6. fred Says:

    You’re expectations are a little ridiculous. The guys waiting for the plane were at least following the given rules. You cannot compare them to the entitled guy that thinks rules are for others to follow. If you make the dollar 31 to the bolivar for everyone then so be it. if gasoline goes to Bsf 500 a liter then that’s what it is, but to say that buying gasoline at the market price or that using cadivi mo ney to travel creates a false equivalency between law abiding citizens being subsidized and a ruling class that believes they are exempt from the government they themselves created and represent.

    • moctavio Says:

      The “priviliged” line is also legal, it says Diplomaticos y Espciales

    • Kepler Says:

      The fact one is “following the rules” doesn’t make it less stupid and less selfish and less destructive for Venezuela as a whole.

      Do you know what requisites it takes to get those CADIVI dollars? Do you know how many average Venezuelans can comply with said requisites? Because I know a lot of Venezuelans who can’t, Venezuelans who have worked as much, at least, as any of the parents of those travellers and who are not less intelligent but who have not the means.
      And they can’t profit from the heavily subsidized dollars.

      And the money that should go to their children’s schools and hospitals in El Tocuyo, in Boconó, in Vargas go to pay so that these guys Miguel saw in Maiquetía could buy cheaper iPads or whatever in Miami.

      I also know lots of Venezuelans who do not have a car. One of them had recently to pay a lot of money to get some medicine for her granddaughter, something here in Europe she would have got for free.

      • Pedrop Says:

        Well not exactly free, that’s why people pay taxes.

        Maybe you could put that in the “Maduro” ideas box .

        • Kepler Says:

          Sure, and we prefer to pay those taxes.

          In any case: if the government is going to use money of the people – be it out of national resources or taxes – I prefer it to be using it to pay for services that are more sustainable and have to do with the development of the nation, with health or with education, not with my private desire
          for the latest gadget I might want to buy on my next visit to New York or Montreal.

          And remember: whereas here the very poor are less likely to travel outside the eurozone than the middle class, in Venezuela the vast majority of the population cannot have any access to subsidized dollars at all. And most Venezuelans still now, in spite of the jams, do NOT have a car.

          I have despised Chavismo since I knew there was going to be a coup in 1992 (I didn’t know it was Chávez, just the military and extreme “left”)
          but this is not about that. This is larger than that.

          Venezuela should be an open society for ALL, not for the privileged “red” or “blue”, not for those with connections, not for those with the import contracts.


          • wow, nice post Kepler, I have to agree with this, there is nothing wrong with subsidizing something per say, its more like how can you subsidize in such a way that can be more beneficial and sustainable of the growth of the country. subsidizing gas just seems wasteful, as the opportunity costs are so high. I would say better off giving subsidize to the people directly in terms of vouchers, if they qualify. (but then again that gives more political power to these people and that just isnt something that can be trusted under chavista/madurista hands.

  7. OW Says:

    One of the best posts ever. And I give you credit for speaking honestly to the people on the line.

    “The opposition does not dare say what they think, because they know they would not get elected if they did. But neither do Chavistas”

    Absolutely correct. There is the whole problem in a nutshell. And that is why I get mad when some express anger at the Venezuelan population for electing bad politicians. Of course the Venezuelan population doesn’t understand these issues. The reason is most people spend their time living their lifes, not studying economics. To make matters worse, every time there is someone speaking about economics in Venezuela in the Venezuelan media they are almost certainly lying just to win support. So of course the population is confused and doesn’t understand these things.

    To make matters even worse I see no hope anyone is about to start speaking the truth any time soon. The “moderates” amongst Chavismo are sure looking like liars and bullshitters simply interested in hanging on to power more than actually making anything better. The “moderates” amongst the opposition such as Primero Justicio have also exposed themselves as being liars and bullshitters just interested in getting power for themselves.

    I see no hope at all, at least in the near term. But it was still good that you spoke the truth on that line. Maybe for this to ever change it will all have to come from the grass roots up given the wretched leadership the country has.

    • fred Says:

      Elections are not won by having economics lessons. Whoever leads Venezuela is going to have huge intractable problems to contend with. Elections are won by people that can inspire hope for change and deliver consistent, positive results. However meager those results are.
      Nobody is going to be elected by explaining that the country is broke and that everyone has to prepare for a generation of economic hardship.That may be accurate, but it is not going to inspire anyone.

    • moctavio Says:

      Politicians would change if people changed, that is my main concern.

      • moctavio Says:

        Politicians do have “some” principles. Tatcher ran on principles, for example, and gave economic lessons on the way, the altermative is disaster.

        • Pedrop Says:

          And Thatcher never lost a leadership election. That says more about the people and their principals.


      • I’ve been reading this blog for almost 6 years now.. and this keeps coming up in this blog, It took me a few years to finally get back to my venezuelan roots to realize that the people need to change as well as the politicians…… its unfortunate, but surprised me to be true. (not to say that there arent those who understand and willing, its just that the majority just isnt there.)

      • Gordo Says:

        If people see things moving in the right direction, no matter how meager, they will get excited! Solutions are not going to be on the table. Only small gains that inspire hope.

    • NorskeDiv Says:

      Yes, but there are numerous ways in which the opposition could at least stop Venezuela shooting itself in the foot:

      A. Stop throwing money at money losing banks in Uruguay and Argentina which accomplish nothing.
      B. Reduce drastically military purchases which will do nothing to stop US invasion anyway.

      All things being equal, the opposition is still the clear choice. Everything exists on a continuum. and moving towards sanity is the first step.

  8. Wilson Says:

    Miguel,

    Would you please give to me your thoughts on a few questions:

    What is the consumer credit card debt today in Venezuela?
    Are Venezuelans using their credit card limits to cover the increases of daily life? What is the exposure to the banks? (Both private and government) Is there a silent debt bomb growing within most Venezuelan household? What happens when the population can NOT pay their credit card debts?

    Do banks take houses and cars from the debtors? If yes, where and how are these assets sold?

    Did you see the inventory on store shelves depleted? Are store owners simply selling their inventory and pocketing the BsF. With NO or very few US Dollars available, when will the high inventory levels of 2012 be depleted?

    As inflation and devaluation continue to eat the discretionary income, when will we see:
    1. The housing bubble / construction bubble bust?
    2. The tenant vacancies at the malls increase as rents become too high for the limited sales of the consumer products.
    3. Labor lay-offs as businesses close.

    Will the next devaluation bring the straw that breaks the camel’s back? (Venezuelan Economy)

    What event will trigger the economic snowball rolling downhill to pick up speed?

    We all know the Economy Needs to get Worse, before change will occur, but WHAT in Particular are we looking for as “THE SIGN”?

    School of Hard Knocks
    PHD

    • moctavio Says:

      I am traveling and don have the specific numbers. Venezuelans have large credit card debt, with 30%+ inflation makes sense when rates are less. Banks do not take cars and it is difficult to take houses. Car loans are rare, hosuing one are not, but it would be dumb to not pay your mortgage, if you got it three years ago, the price of the house has doubled, your mortgage payments have gone down in half. (another privilege?)

      Inventories in many items are down, you can find only one brand. Stuff is being imported, just not enough for how many Bs. are out there.

      Housing prices are rising, little construction taking place.

      I think that we could see 100% inflation for the first time ever for a sustained perood of time, that could be the last straw.

  9. espadachin Says:

    CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

  10. Pedro Esteban Says:

    Sr. Octavio, gracias por sus articulos. aqui esta la fabula de Esopo de “ponerle la cascabel al gato” en Ingles. Me parece muy acertado el uso que Ud. le dio.

    Belling the Cat

    Long ago, the mice had a general council to consider what
    measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat.
    Some said this, and some said that; but at last a young mouse got
    up and said he had a proposal to make, which he thought would meet
    the case. “You will all agree,” said he, “that our chief danger
    consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy
    approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her
    approach, we could easily escape from her. I venture, therefore,
    to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon
    round the neck of the Cat. By this means we should always know
    when she was about, and could easily retire while she was in the
    neighbourhood.”

    This proposal met with general applause, until an old mouse
    got up and said: “That is all very well, but who is to bell the
    Cat?” The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the
    old mouse said:

    “It is easy to propose impossible remedies.”


  11. El enchufado va por dentro…

  12. firepigette Says:

    La complicidad a gran escala entre gobernantes y gente de oposición es una de las dictaduras mas antiguas para los tontos que van a votar.

  13. xp Says:

    >>>>…that he readily exchanges for a net of (18,000-5,400)=13,600 Bolivars, more than he can make in a moth working in Venezuela or Colombia! …<<<<

    By this measure,
    doubling the informal $ currency exchange rate from bsf 30 to bsf 60
    would launch Venezuela into even greater riches!

    • xp Says:

      Here’s something from the el universal –

      Por VICTOR SANCHEZ
      03.07.2013
      9:04 AM
      LETRA MUERTA…En venezuela impera el mercado Negro y por esto la Inflacion Galopante Monstruosa en venezuela en todo los sectores, y los sueldos ahi congelados, EN FRONTERA CON COLOMBIA un bolivar fuerte vale 60 pesos, es decir 0.06 centimos de peso, que llevandolo a dolar seria un cambio de 30 bs. fuertes por dolar, esto es vox populi, y este cambio fronterizo Ilegal, inmoral influye en que todo se lo lleven a colombia, productos subsidiados, conbustibles, dejando corrupcion, encareciendo la frontera ya que se paga y se cobra a precio de moneda colombiana, perdiendose SOBERANIA, imperando moneda extranjera
      …. etc etc

      • xp Says:

        And as for fortune and as for $
        I never invited them in
        Though it seemed to the world
        They were all I desired
        They are illusions
        They’re not the solutions
        They promise to be
        The answer was here all the time-
        YESSSS!!!!!

        More BsF to the Dollar!!

        More BsF to the Dollar!!
        More BsF to the Dollar!!
        More BsF to the Dollar!!
        More BsF to the Dollar!!

    • moctavio Says:

      xp: Yes, those that take advantage. If all Venezuelans with a relative abroad bought the dollars, it would go to 50

    • xp Says:

      Re: Trapped In Their Own Inconsistencies

      Jorge Mario Bergoglio has a similar problem, and this is what
      he seems to be doing –
      [from spiegel]
      “When the church does not emerge from itself to evangalize, it becomes self-referential and therefore becomes sick.” He warned of “self-referentiality” and “theological narcissism.” He also criticized a “mundane church that lives within itself, of itself and for itself.” And it appears the Argentinian pope meant this criticism seriously. In fact, he demonstrates that every day.

      Instead of wearing a gold cross, he has one of steel. And he lives in a sparsely furnished apartment in the Santa Marta guest house rather than in the Apostolic Palace.

      “mundane VENEZUELAN SOCIETY that lives within itself, of itself and for itself.”?????
      ” RICHER THAN THOU ?? self-referentiality” and
      “SOCIALISTIC?? narcissism.”


  14. I think there is a possible way around the problem with the gasoline subsidy; the government can make an arrangement like the one in Iran, where part of the revenue coming from higher gasoline prices gets shared whit the population in the form of direct transfers. This diminishes the fear of the population that (all) the extra revenue would get eat up by corruption. The other share of the extra revenue would then be used for investment in the oil industry (I know, wishful thinking).

    There is a substantial amount of new research that demonstrates that direct transfers to the poor are one of the best ways to help the less fortunate (some caveats here, for example, the transfers have to be made to the women of the households, ….). And you get the popular backing to implement this. You can even make it progressive (more for the poor, lees for the rest of us).

    I think this would be politically feasible.

    • moctavio Says:

      I agree, say $500 a year per person the first year, $400, the second and fade it out like that. Let the gasoline price go to the world price, immediately, people would drive less and save money.


      • Exactly!
        By the way, it was great meeting you last Thursday at BBO.

      • m_astera Says:

        Indeed people would drive less. The poor and lower middle class, the taxi drivers, the private bus operators and truckers wouldn’t drive at all. I’m not sure how that would lead to saving money. Would they put the 10 or 20 Bs per week that they now spend on gasoline in the bank and earn interest on it?

  15. Mick Says:

    Everything in this world requires payment. Even air must be inhaled. Anytime you go against nature there will be consequences. Therefore, the best government is one that exerts the least amount of control necessary to get the job done. Otherwise you create waste and imbalance, a.k.a. excessive corruption, inflation, crime, and inefficiency.

    Government is absolutely necessary, absolute government is not.

  16. Imbroglio Says:

    I’ve been thinking carefully about my response, because in some sense I agree with you completely, in another I disagree with you fiercely. I agree with you on gasoline prices, they are absurd and a privilege I neither want, nor need. It is inconsistent but not on my part but in the part of a government, that gives less to the needy with that subsidy than to the rich. I wonder if what I pay in taxes would cover what I get in gasoline.

    I also agree the people in that line, and me, are privileged. I disagree with what you consider the privilege they have. They have the privilege of having money, as do I, more than the average Venezuelan, but the CADIVI system is not a privilege to them and, certainly, not an inconsistency to me. It sounds like a privilege because they are getting cheap dollars, but that is like saying that being a slave is a privilege because slaves get food for free. As the slave that I am in the current system I’ll accept the free food and the cheap dollars, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want my freedom.

    So, I am not inconsistent. I do not want the “privilege” of CADIVI, I want the privilege of having my natural rights, among them the right to use my well earned goods as I see fit. I want the “privilege”of buying all the dollars I want, with the only limitation of how much bolivares I have to spend on that. In exchange for that right I accept that the price will fluctuate with time.

    *Posted this in the wrong place, sorry, you can deleted from the other post.*


    • I disagree, they have the privilege of having a subsidy, only because they have money, that is what is perverse and should be criticized as much as crime, for example. Everyone wants and likes priviliges, but when you are being unfair to others and someone else pays your way, it is perverse, unjust and will never get the country outof underdevelopment.

      It is gas, electricity, cadivi, pensions, etc, etc. no country can progress like that. If those that have the privilige protest about it, they will be better even if nobody hears them.

      • Imbroglio Says:

        I neither want, nor like the false privilege of cadivi. As I stated the privilege I want is that of my natural rights. I don’t see how you can disagree with that… Since it is an statement of what I want. Misquoting popeye “I want what I want…”

  17. VJ Says:

    Excellent post but a better title would be “The Curse of the Devil´s Excrement”

  18. Noel Says:

    Very good albeit depressing post. But the future may not necessarily be as bleak as the present. Who predicted that people in Turkey and then in Egypt would revolt against authoritarian heads of state? Nobody.

    As to the culture being slowly corrupted, that isn’t necessarily an obstacle to change, even drastic change. In 1958 in France, de Gaulle made his come-back, legally, and for the better of the country. Yet he was famous for saying “les francais sont des veaux”, loosely translated as the French are mindless wimps.

    This new Internet -wired world is unpredictable.

  19. Charlie Says:

    I agree with Imbroglio’s comments above. Gas prices should increase to cover costs and make a profit. The price may not be necessarily international price (whatever that is … US? European?) It should also be noted that sell prices should be what the market bears. If the price of local market for an item does not cover the costs, the seller should reduce their costs in order to make a profit. If the market lets you sell at a 1000% profit, then congrats. From what I understand, oil refining costs have increased a lot more than they should’ve in the last 14 years. So if I’m going to pay more for gas, I also want PDVSA to be run efficiently.

    I left Venezuela some 26 years ago and returned a couple of years ago. I’m retired and spend my retirement in traffic going to several stores to get toilette paper, to a bunch of other store to get chicken, to many pharmacies looking for X item, etc., etc., etc. So, once a year I’d like to take a relaxing vacation. Last year went to Merida for the first time. There was garbage everywhere, the roads were in extremely bad shape. Cover charge to Los Aleros was about $15 at black market rate a year ago; which is very expensive for what you get. Restaurants were, for the most part, not open outside their limited serving hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Couldn’t get anything in the afternoon except for what you could get at a panaderia. And this is supposed to be one of the best tourist places in Venezuela. Then went to Chichirivichi, Falcon and found more garbage, mosquito breeding puddles of water everywhere, etc. So I want to be able to fly overseas at a reasonable price. Using CADIVI $ is the only way I can do it, and it actually does not save me that much. I just checked the cheapest airline tickets in Expedia for CCS-MIA = $1,232.75 Price to fly on the very same dates from Bogota (which is a longer distance) to Miami is $587.70. When the “raw” prices for these tickets are the same, flying from Venezuela will still cost me more because the taxes attached to it can be 3 times higher. So I don’t feel as opposition enchufado, but as someone who’s trying to make the best of this living hell; which Venezuela can be.

  20. Carlos Says:

    I agree Miguel but… you are absolutely wrong with the air tickets.. I assume you were flying to Miami also.
    Now…..this ticket price is not a subsidy for the traveler, it a is a dirt and unacceptable subsidy to American Airlines. The guys probably paid between 7000 and 12000 BsF. The airline gets (4 to 6 months later) the ticket cost wired in CADIVI dollars at 6.3 Bs./ US$ to the headquarter. They are getting from 1200 to 2000 US$ per passenger in economy for a 3 + 3 hours round-trip flight, airplane usually totally filled. Same fligh between Miami and Bogota, same distance, is paid less than 500 US$ roundtrip. This is the most outrageous subsidy in Venezuela.. American Airlines finally collects 3 to 4 times the reasonable value of a ticket price. You may also see that flights from Venezuela to Europe (8 to 10 hours flying in top notch AIRBUS 340 planes) are priced like American Airlines 3 hour flights to Miami in obsolete Boeing 757 planes. THIS IS THE MOST INCONSISTENT AND OUTRAGEOUS SUBSIDY FROM CADIVI


  21. American Airlines has not been paid in one year, I am not sure they think it is a privilige, they may never get paid, or will be paid st Bs. 20. So, they are not getting anything. I went to Miami and continued, absurd how cheap it is, I met foreigners on the plane that go to Caracas to go to Europe in first class with cheap subsidized Bs., as long as they go thru Caracas, they get cheap tickets. No questions asked.

    For American, like many companies, doing business in Venezuela is like monopoly money. They will get paid at 6.3 what they sold at 4.3 if at all…Maybe they will decide to leave, that is no way of running a business. I can give you many such examples. I have shares in a company that sold product at 4.3 and the raw materials were paid at 6.3, the company is happy, it will live another year. If they do this again, doors will be shut down.

    • Charlie Says:

      I thought that if you bought tickets from outside Venezuela you paid for them in US$ or the equivalent in the local currency. Now, if you have US$’s, exchange them at 30+ and paid for the tickets in BsF’s, then the tickets are cheap as dirt. The $1,232.75 ticket would actually end up costing you $259. But some of us only have bolivares. Maybe the day we have an open single currency exchange transparent system, things will be more fair. This still doesn’t explain the difference in flying from/to Caracas compared to flying from/to Bogota. A regular tourist from Miami will pay much more than twice to fly to Caracas, so why would he?

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        “A regular tourist from Miami will pay much more than twice to fly to Caracas, so why would he?”

        He wouldn’t.

      • moctavio Says:

        People from surrounding countries pay $ to get to Caracas from Bogota, Quito and Central America. Then, they pay in Bs. from Caracas to Singapore, First Class, US$ 2,000 or so, for example, subsidized by none other than us…and they are not even Venezuelan.

        • Charlie Says:

          Like I said before, you need dollars to change in the black market for your ticket to be dirt cheap. But for those in Venezuela who don’t have dollars, tickets are very, very expensive.


          • They are still cheap in the sense that if the prices were “reasonable” in us dollars and the bolivar were allowed to float freely, they would be much more expensive to you.

    • Carlos Says:

      Wrong again MIguel..

      1, American Airlines received from CADIVI 264 millions dollars in 2012 and 1600 Millions from 2004 to 2011 (200 Millions per year). This info is accurate and displayed in CADIVI web page.
      So in 2012 they got more dollars from CADIVI than the mean 200 MIll in previous years. It is not true they were not paid from 1 year.CAdivi payments are delayed 4-5 months.
      264 millions in 2012 means 800.000 dollars per day just to fly 4 obsolete 757 3+3 hours roundtrip to Miami, another shorter one to P rico and one to NYC (5+5). And these are true greenbacks, wired to headquarters, not monopoly money. THIS IS OURAGEOUS, it is 7 times the revenue per passenger per mile for a typical US domestic flight and 3 times any flight from the US to South America.

      2. Dirty cheap tickets to Europe. First this applies assuming that foreigners (or venezuelan living abroad and their relatives??) come to Caracas with greenbacks , then they sell in black market and 30+ and then pay for the ticket in bolivares. It happens, very unlikely, more probable is that a venezuelan living abroad buy the ticket with a Venezuelan Credit Card or ask the cousin in Caracas to pay for such ticket.. yeah, this one is another privileged guy, good for him, he’s cheating a cheater government. However this is the 1 % of the people flying, other 99% are venezuelans or residents paying a reasonable ticket price using a subsidized dollar. In fact, airlines from europe are not overcharging tickets, they charge a 9 hours flight sometimes less that AMERICAN for a 3 hours flight to Miami. For Airlines from Europe the main beneficiary is the passenger , for American Airlines the main beneficiary and privileged is the airline

      3. American will never close its Venezuelan office and many other corps. It is the most profitable country for the Airline (a financially broken and rescued airline BTW).
      They got here the highest revenue per passenger per mile in the world, these are they best profitable flights. Thanks to the outrageous subsidy
      Same story for the cars industrry… where in the world would you sell a Grand Cherokee for 1.400.000 Bs, ie. 220.000 US$ at CADIVI or 40.000 US$ at blue rate or 140.000 US$ at SICAD?? They will never close


      • They may have received that in 2012 but they have not received any dollars for one year as of today, I guarantee it. Fedex has not received any for a year and a half.

        I own shares of a company in a “priority” area that did not receive dollars for 8 months and the money was paid at 6.3 three weeks ago for material sold at 4.3, that 4-5 month delay is not a clear number anywhere.

        I really think itis terrible when people can make money off our Government, when there are poor people in Venezuela,1% to me is not acceptable, I think it is more in any case. .

        Venezuela is not the most profitable country for Anerican. American may have reflected a number in its 2012 financials at Bs. 4.3 which made it the most profitable. But if half the yeAr is paid at Bs. 6.3, the number will have to be adjusted. The bigger the inflation, the bigger the devaluation. And this will have a terrible effect, and yes,American is priviliged, conpare with the many multinationals that have not been able to repatriate profits for five years, many are leaving Venezuela partially and this used to be their most profitable country.To them it is monopoly money now, you dont know what it is worth.

        As for the car industry, if you only sell few cars, the price is irrelevant, most car companies would prefer to sell ten times more cars at a third of the price.

  22. Pedrop Says:

    A like for like airfare return to Europe is bs 23000ish from Caracas to Frankfurt.

    From Frankfurt to Caracas return is $2300. Before anyone points out the obvious I didn’t play with the dates for the cheapest flights but any dates would do for comparison purposes only.

    The rate would appear to be Bs10 to the $. Now that’ s good bearing in mind the official is 6.3.

    However as there are no dollars in the market the price at the parallel rate should be Bs69000 ! That’s what your economy, or lack of it, indicates you should be paying.

    Not so long ago I flew on the same flight for about $900 and that would have been about Bs 9000 more or less if bought in Venezuela. At the parallel rate that should have been Bs 27000.
    Now if you have dollars that’s about $300 ! At the official rate that is $1500. OK that is $600 more. Somebody is getting extra money for your journey but in reality if you complain about paying that bit more for buying your ticket in Venezuela maybe you shouldn’t be flying.

    Also at the parallel rate, more than likely the real figure, it’s Bs27000. That’s roughly three times the figure you are actually paying in Bolivres,

    There’s something about acceptance. It’s a well known fact that Venezuela is on a steep decline soon to join the ranks of failed states. Normally in such countries flying is for the wealthy. Generally that does not include the majority. That will become the norm in Venezuela as it is elsewhere.

    Real problem is the Venezuelans did not know how good they had it, they were happy and didn’t know it.

  23. Bruni Says:

    I am somehow in agreement with Imbroglio, but I also see your point about Venezuela being a society of privileges. If there were no control exchanges, nobody would get a benefit. The problem is the exchange control venezuelans have not asked for. The government has imposed it and it does not know how to get out of it. If there were no controls and the dollar costed 50Bs, people would have to deal with it, period. It is the government the one to blame, not the people that are trying to get a little bit of leisure escaping for a vacation.

    The airplane tickets, the special purpose money to study abroad, all are “privileges” created by the exchange control.

    On the other hand, the guy cutting the line because he wears a red shirt “pa’lante comandante” is himself 50% responsible of his privilege (the other 50% is the clerk or system that accepted his jumping ahead). Not quite the same type of perk.

    • moctavio Says:

      The point is most people defend those priviliges, don criticize them.

    • Carlos Says:

      The only way to go back to a free exchange currency market now is to freeze banks deposits and exchange them with long term bonds with a low coupon. It happened in Brasil in 1990 (Collor de Melo) and in Argentina in 1992 (Menen).
      You freeze all customer bank deposits ,,say above 100.000 Bs and exhange them with US dollar bonds maturing at 20 years. This way you stop immediately the pressure for dollars and Central bank can “fix” a reasonable technical rate..say at 20?
      Many issued bonds will go straight to a secondary market in a few days with deep discount and will stabilize in a matter of months IF SOME KIND OF FISCAL DISCIPLINE IS FOLLOWED. And this is the difficult point log term.
      This secondary market would be a pleasure for banks and hedge funds.
      Mid class depositors and weak hands will sell quickly and loose again and big boys with strong hands and deep pockets to keep bonds will win again.
      Argentina attempted another light plan named CORRALITO in 2001.. It did not fix anything.
      This government and country has all the guns to play the BONEX game: strong military allies, most of all officers from parliament, supreme court, attorney office, governors, majors, etc. pledged, plus a long term implicit securing from oil revenues..


      • Why not devalue to Bs. 30? Then you dont have to screw the people and let the rate settle down. Or impose a decreasing (in time) tax so that devaluation expectations are decreased. You dO what you say, many companies may go under asyou essentially, wipe out their cash.

      • Noel Says:

        It certainly didn’t wok with Collor. The most obvious drawback is that it is akin to confiscation and will destroy whatever confidence is left in the banking system.

    • Pedro Says:

      And why the people are not fed up with it and take the streets to protest? Because it is easier to just look away and take the “privileges” (they are more like a “limosna”). Also, why does still around 50% of the population vote for this inefficient government? Ignorance? resentment? maybe those who vote for this government feel “identified” with it, no matter what. They prefer a government by the “people” like them than a government by the “oligarchs” that 50% or more does not feel represents them. It will take some years for a new leadership to form and take over what is left after and if the Chavismo fails.

  24. marga Says:

    All governments are absurd. When humanity gets conscious enough there will not be any need to have a group of people directing your life since everybody will direct their one life as it should… that is the dream!

  25. Tomate Says:

    “Eramos muchos y pario abuelita”… Interesting article about the reduction in Venezuela’s reserves as a consequence of gold prices coming down… according to bloomberg 70% of Venezuela’s reserves are in gold. This percentage is 50 times higher than the amount that Colombia or Brazil hold.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-04/chavez-s-70-gold-bet-unravels-on-reserves-plunge-andes-credit.html

    • carlos Says:

      The article is someway misleading. Chavez did not buy more gold, he just moved it from custody banks in Europe to the Central Bank in Venezuela.
      In fact BCV gold bars are the grandma jewels inherited from 4th Republic.
      There were roughly 320 tons of gold and now I think there are still 300 because there were a couple of disclosed gold sales in 2011..who knows, probably some more were sold.
      What actually happened is that BCV priced and revalued this gold holding as far as the gold was in bullish trend from 5 billions to more than 20 billions and moved cash to Fonden…
      Now same gold is in bearish trend and its price collapsed more than 30 percent, thus BCV total reserves are being killed unless they move back some money from Fonden to Central Bank..and IMHO this is good for the country.

  26. moctavio Says:

    Well, the rumor today is travellers money, airfare and money, will now go through Sicad. If true, a step in the right direction.

  27. moctavio Says:

    Wrong info, you can buy 3,000 additional at the Sicad rate

    • Carlos Says:

      Yep.. 3000 for travel per year, additional to CADIVI travelers quota…. 5000 for students, health, etc etc…
      As I look at the Cadivi AAD and ALD exception rule for companies, it is an improvement compared with SItme rule.
      There are more controls for importations but less restrictions for traditional importers working also with CADIVI…
      Bottom line… same SITME with a different hat..


    • so does that mean that people can get 2500 cash (assume going to asia) from cadivi, and add 3000 at the sicad rate now?

  28. Bill S. Says:

    ‘Chavez’s 70% Gold Bet Unravels as Reserves Plunge: Andes Credit.’
    from Bloomberg.com, News, 4 July 2013.

    • m_astera Says:

      Except, as was pointed out above, Chavez bet nothing on gold, he only repatriated Venezuelan gold that was stored in offshore banks. He bought zero (0) gold. Did not spend one cent on gold. The gold did not suddenly appear on the balance sheets when it reached Caracas, it was already a fully owned asset. Is that clear enough?

      Apparently not clear enough for Bloomberg.

      What is most interesting about it is how quickly Chavez received the gold, in a matter of a couple of months. 160 tons was allegedly delivered to Caracas in November 2011. In January 2013, Germany’s Bundesbank asked for a part of their gold to be returned from “storage” in Paris, London, and New York and was told it would take seven years: until 2020 or later. 300 tons of gold could easily be transported by air in a few days. So what’s the problem? The problem appears to be that the gold isn’t in the vaults where it is supposed to be, but has been leased, sold, or “rehypothecated” (whatever that means). Why could Chavez ask for and have delivered 160 tons of Venezuela’s gold in a few months, while Germany must wait seven years?

      One hopes that someone at the Caracas vaults knew enough to check the gold with a sonogram, to make sure it wasn’t gold plated tungsten.

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        Actually the Bundesbank never requested all of its gold back. It is a long term transition plan removing all reserves from Paris, while reducing the amount of reserves in New York.

        Apart from a small fringe, I don’t think anyone questions the existence or purity of gold reserves. it’s certainly nothing that central bankers worry about.

        Quite frankly, the idea that the Bundesbank was “told” by anyone that gold reserves could not be immediatly transferred is absurd. It sounds like the kind of propaganda put out by gold nuts or infowars, many of whom are probably dismayed at the drop in value of their investments. Normally I completely and totally ignore such claims, but since you normally seem sane I am curious where you read this?

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        BTW, the fact that this gold Paranoia has even infested otherwise reasonable opponents of Chavez has put the final nail in the coffin for me: Gold reserves should be liquidated worldwide. They cost a bunch to store and no longer fulfill their purpose as a confidence builder at all, in fact, having large gold reserves only increases the volume of doubt from those who think it is all gold plated tungsten bars! What purpose does it serve? I say follow Canada’s example and sell it all, especially with the price as high as it is.

        • Carlos Says:

          Really??? Central Banks must sell its gold??And then…foreign country reserves will be invested in FIAT CURRENCIES paying near zero interest that can be freely printed by another Central Bank (like the FED) ?
          Look .. it took to China almost 20 years of trade surplus and growth to accumulate near 3 trillion in US$ bonds and other currencies paper stuff like this… Now, in 2008/2009 the US printed (and issued bonds) for several trillions dollars in a matter of months just to help their broken banks and save depositors..
          A currency reserve printed to support internal financial issues is no longer a foreign asset to be trust by large economies….
          I will never understand why Band of Canada sold its gold reserves (650 Tons..of gold)…, no idea, it was back in 1988-1993 well before the last financial mess

      • m_astera Says:

        Nor did I say Germany asked for all of its gold back. I wrote “In January 2013, Germany’s Bundesbank asked for a *part* of their gold to be returned”

        The fact they were told it would take over seven years to return it seems very strange to me. When I have something of value in another’s keeping I’m not used to being told it will take years to return it, especially in a case such as this where Germany’s gold is supposedly a small percentage of the total gold stored in those banks, and supposedly each country’s gold is marked and stored separately with recorded serial numbers for each bar they own.

        According to the US Fed’s own page:”As of 2012, the vault housed approximately 530,000 gold bars, with a combined weight of approximately 6,700 tons.”

        http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/goldvault.html

        The Bundesbank asked for 300 tons to be returned from storage in the NY Fed’s vault, around 4.5% of the total holdings. Why would this require seven years to return?

        As for the tungsten idea, pure gold has a specific gravity of 19.32; tungsten’s is 19.22. One can order exact replica and weight gold plated tungsten coins from China; those making them advertise online. I would imagine it is much simpler to fabricate a rough-cast gold plated tungsten bar than a mirror-finished coin.

        If these supposed gold bars now constitute the majority of the Venezuelan government’s cash reserves, perhaps it is worth asking where they are now and if they really are solid gold.

        • NorskeDiv Says:

          My question was: WHERE did you read the Bundesbank was told that the gold reserves would take 7 years to return?

          I haven’t read that from any reliable source, anywhere. It sounds quite frankly like complete gold monger conspiracy BS. Everything I’ve read, in English and German, indicates it is the Bundesbank which came up with the seven year transition plan.

          As to Tungsten bars, why bother? Canada and Norway both publicly sold all of their gold and it had no monetary or economic impact. If Venezuela is selling its gold it would be far easier just to not tell anyone, Venezuela already has very little transparency about the status of its reserves.

        • m_astera Says:

          I’m not going to do your homework for you. Why in the world would the Bundesbank ask the holders of their gold to send it back, but take seven years to do that? Maybe they didn’t have room, had to re-arrange some furniture? They accepted that deal, it isn’t what they asked for.

          The simplest argument for owning gold is the same as Mark Twain’s argument for buying land: “They are not making it any more”

          And FYI, I do not limit my sources of news and information to those that are approved by the corporate media, or by you.

          • HalfEmpty Says:

            The real number of years is eleven teen. You can look it up, the truth is out their, plain fact is there never was any gold except a small amount the Martians left. The rest is FIAT or Chrysler gold.

            • NorskeDiv Says:

              The aliens took most of it back when Mars had a large civilization, before Capitalism destroyed it. Most of it is in the central martian reserve bank!!

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        So you don’t have any reliable sources. Some guy with a blog making suppositions is not news, a quote from a Bundesbank representative would be reliable. I don’t care whether that quote appears in corporate or public media, or directly on the Bundesbank website.

        “I’m not going to do your homework for you. Why in the world would the Bundesbank ask the holders of their gold to send it back, but take seven years to do that?”

        Let’s ask it another way: Why would the Bundesbank develop long term plans instead of impulsively moving their gold over the course of a few weeks as Chavez did? Perhaps they are interested in saving money. Perhaps they prefer smaller shipments. Most likely, there is simply no need to quickly move the gold. Hence “Schrittweise” (gradual) movement of Gold.

        I don’t know if you speak German, but Google Translate is pretty good these days:

        http://www.bundesbank.de/Redaktion/DE/Downloads/Presse/Publikationen/2013_01_16_thiele_praesentation_pressegespraech_gold.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

        The presentation repeatedly cites France and the US as reliable partners in storing German gold. It also explains more gold used to be stored in the US as part of the Bretton-Woods agreement, but that is no longer relevant so there’s no reason to keep so much in the US.

  29. Ira Says:

    Happy Independence Day guys!

  30. Alvaro Says:

    “And the whole education discussion in CCSC reveals the same. Why should CADIVI give anyone money to study undergraduate abroad? (Don’t get mad bro!) It’s absurd. And graduate work is even more absurd. That is a sure guarantee that the person will never return.”

    Diablo, think twice who are the ones leaving! not precisely the best candidates to follow the revolutionary path. Cadivi is nothing but a extra encouragement to those que se irian demasiado

  31. Pedrop Says:

    ……..but they could always blog about it.

  32. Ira Says:

    Let the fun begin:

    Maduro offers asylum to Snowden.

    • Kepler Says:

      This won’t be good for us oppos

      • Sapito del Monte Says:

        Tranquilo. Snowden does not affect you. This is a Russia and/or Cuba thing. Snowden is just a pawn. He may be easier to repatriate from the Western Hemisphere. Let’s see where this goes. The Americans have four Cuban spies in jail that Cuban wants before Fidel dies. If Snowden goes to Venezuela and cooler heads prevail, it’s a win-win. OTOH, you never know with these people and that includes Igor Sechin and Raul Castro.

        • syd Says:

          interesting, sdm. To recap:

          4 Cuban spies (US > Cuba) = 1 Snowden (Cuban-favored nation in LatAm > US).

          I can now see that Time is needed for all this to play out, between two or more nations, whether or not the above equation is in the final cards.

          Goes to show that when socialists/communists start harping on the geopolitical skulduggeries by the US, they shoot squid ink into waters so that they can conduct equally nefarious operations.


  33. Inflation in June 4.7%, but Snowden may be among us

    • RattInnaCage Says:

      Will he get a free (but empty) Chinese refrigerator upon arrival?

      The story said Maduro offered him asylum, but it said nothing about Snowden accepting. I would imagine that at this very moment he is shopping for a better deal.

      Snowden still seems to have his sights set on Iceland, although only five out of fifty some legislators wanted to give him asylum.

      • Sapito del Monte Says:

        Snowden in no condition to shop around. Putin can turn him over to the Americans at any moment and would if the Americans would agree to return Viktor Bout but not likely. CIA, DEA and ATF busted their tails going after Bout and not ready to hand him over yet besides Putin painted himself in corner speaking out to soon. Snowden will end up where Russia, Cuba and Washington want him and that eventually means back home.

        • RattInnaCage Says:

          I really never meant that Snowden would find a better place, only that he is desperately looking for another place. There is really no country in the world that really wants him – it might look good for the “Tweak the Nose of the Americans” crowd, but you can’t get a much more toxic person than Edward Snowden right now.

      • Sapito del Monte Says:

        There’s a very important summit between POTUS and host Putin coming up followed by G20 I believe. Putin called Obama yesterday. It’s clear that Snowden matter will be resolved by then or Obama does not go to Russia.

      • Pedrop Says:

        Iceland would be a good choice. The women are lookers whereas in Venezuela the women have gone downhill big time.

    • Sapito del Monte Says:

      Don’t see Snowden staying in Venezuela long. Unlike the PSFs, spies, and unregistered foreign agents, don’t think the Cubans can cultivate Snowden’s narcissism to make him work for them (like they did with Ana Montes, Phil Agee, and even Eva Golinger).

  34. m_astera Says:

    Taking what Snowden did at face value, he is a hero. Analogous to a Chavista insider publicly blowing the whistle on the level of corruption in the Venezuelan government.

    Unfortunately, even if Snowden should make it to Venezuela, the only reason the government would offer him asylum is for purposes of self-promotion. They are about as far from supporting openness and transparency as is possible to be. In addition, they could offer him no real protection, and as Sapito del Monte encourages and supports, would probably sell him out to the US.

    • Ira Says:

      Does face value mean jeopardizing the lives of people in the American intelligence community? Do you also classify Assange equally? Who damaged American interests, security and values?

      So exactly who was he a hero to?

      The majority of Anericans want him tried for breaking the rules and obligations of his job. Not just as a government contractor, but by revealing classified information that ANY ordinary American would be tried as as a traitor. And American standards are pretty clear-cut and non-partisan in this regard. Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, same thing.

      Comparing him to a Chavista whistle-blower is as about as ignorant as it gets. If he was a Venezuelan, doing the same thing about VZ security policies…be it a Maduro or Capriles regime…he would be subject to the same scorn and legal prosecution as Snowden currently finds himself in.

      I mean, what are you exactly saying?

      It’s okay for you to wish a certain set of values on certain countries, and a different set of values on others, but that doesn’t make it morally or legally right.

      This man, like Snowden, is a traitor to his country. And as an American, let US deal with the ramifications of any domestic spying.

      The rest of the world has its own problems, and trying to split the U.S. on this issue isn’t going to work, because we’ll fix it.

      By the way:

      Didn’t you also claim that the Wehrmacht, the regular Nazi Germany army, had nothing to do with mass exterminations, although it’s clearly proven that they did?

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        I will keep this short as I think it’s off topic, but I think Snowden performed some service in making it public so there can be a debate on the issue. My sense is that the majority support the data gathering.

    • RattInnaCage Says:

      Snowden is a “hero” to only the absolute fringe both the right and the left of the US political spectrum. It’s actually kind of funny seeing the farthest of the right and the farthest of the left finding themselves agreeing with each other.

      Believe me when I say that a substantial majority of Americans do not approve of what he’s done. As more and more information comes out about exactly what it is that Snowden has done and how he has compromised our safety you will find that majority growing every day.

      As far as other countries taking him – What possible upside is there? He’s already spilled his guts to the Chinese and Russians, and quite frankly, exactly who is he a “HERO” to?

      Any country that accepts him will realize he nothing more than a man who betrayed his country. Not much of a prize catch, even for a leader who desperately needs a diversion from their own counties woes, like Maduro.

      • Kepler Says:

        If you mean by “Americans” US Americans, it might be the case. Most other Americans – but the absolute pro-everything-USA-rah-rah-rah-I-wish-I-were-like-them – are rather of another opinion and so are the vast majority of people in the rest of the world, which, I have to tell you, have many more people and is growing on average faster.

        Their governments might be unwilling to give refuge to this guy for the simple fact that they have more related skeletons in their closet than many think (see the couple of details “revealed” by Le Monde recently, or some also in Germany discussed several months before and which were not known outside German media). The vast amount of the population is rather fed up.

        Venezuela is, sadly speaking, rapidly becoming the same kind of stuff as Cuba: the government in power is a disaster and a vast amount of the top of the opposition thinks the solution is to support any interests of the US top

        • RattInnaCage Says:

          Of course I mean United States of America as “Americans”. When was the last time you heard or read ANYONE from the continent of South America call themselves simply “an American”?

          The simple reason I say Americans is because the United States of America is the only country on either American Continent that actually has the word America in it. Yes, I do realize that there are probably many people who feel that we have appropriated the word, but say the word American to anyone in the world and I doubt if the are going to think of any other country other that the United States.

          I’ll put it another way. When was the last time you read a comment or a story and the word “the Americans” popped up and you thought to yourself “Geeez, I wonder if they are talking about the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela?”

          • Kepler Says:

            Actually many times outside the US or Britain. There is such a thing as “outside US, Britain or Venezuela”.

            I am an American and I don’t have anything to do with the USA. There are many others who also will tell you they are americanos and that because they were born in Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, etc.
            Anyway: it’s OT. But America first came to a map in South America. Vespucci was in South America and that was what he meant.

            • RattInnaCage Says:

              I’m waiting for some proof of that . . . oh that’s right, you never really have proof, you just throw things out there – and Ira’s right, you were the guy with the Wehrmacht quote – more BS. While were at it, I don’t think Ira really cares about Pollard who’s another American traitor growing old in jail.

              Quick Kepler, which country was I talking about when I used the word “American”? Yeah, gotcha, didn’t I.

            • RattInnaCage Says:

              BTW, I want to apologize to the rest of you for leaving so many comments to Kepler. It’s just that the guy is so, so . . . annoying.

    • SDM Says:

      Brother, todo Los programas son legales. Aqui no hay ningun secreto para quienes saben. Claro q los detalles preocupan and there’s an overdue debate coming but ES is a traitor and guilty of espionage. He’s an idiot.

    • m_astera Says:

      @RIC, norsekdiv, Ira-

      I’m laughing. The majority of Americans believe Snowden is a traitor, so it must be true? If the majority actually believe that, it’s because that is what they have been told to believe by the corporate media. Conformity bias, i.e. fitting into the herd, takes care of the rest.

      Since when was there any connection between majority opinion and what is true, good, or right? Consensus agreement does not equal truth or integrity. Never has and never will.

      Snowden Honored by Ex-Intel Officials
      Monday, 08 July 2013 14:30

      Edward Snowden, an ex-contractor for the National Security Agency, has been named recipient of this year’s award for truth-telling given by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, the group announced Monday.

      Most of the Sam Adams Associates are former senior national security officials who, with the other members, understand fully the need to keep legitimate secrets. Each of the U.S. members took a solemn oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

      When secrecy is misused to hide unconstitutional activities, fealty to that oath – and higher duty as citizens of conscience – dictate support for truth-tellers who summon the courage to blow the whistle. Edward Snowden’s disclosures fit the classic definition of whistle-blowing.

      The invective hurled at Snowden by the corporate and government-influenced media reflects understandable embarrassment that he would dare expose the collusion of all three branches of the U.S. government in perpetrating and then covering up their abuse of the Constitution. This same collusion has thwarted all attempts to pass laws that would protect genuine truth-tellers like Snowden who see and wish to stop unconstitutional activities.

      http://truth-out.org/news/item/17450-snowden-honored-by-ex-intel-officials

      A little study of history shows that intrusive and secret government surveillance of its own people has never led to more freedom or security for the people, only to more tyranny and control by the government. As all three of you fully support that, I know which side you are on. It’s not the side I am on.

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        Sorry man, you’re confusing me with ratinacage. I appreciate Snowden’s revelations, even if I don’t like what he has done following them.

        All I said is that a majority of Americans probably support the surveillance. There are precious few countries where the majority of people would not support such a program. Germany, a few other small European countries, that’s about it. This is a statement of what I believe to be true, not what I think should be true.

        • m_astera Says:

          Majority rule is democracy by definition. Why democracy is promoted by the corporate media. It really is as simple as that because the TV programs the majority, and the TV is owned by guess who?

          So you know, NorskeDiv, the shill in this game is Ira.

          • NorskeDiv Says:

            My sense is that people around the world support such data gathering (when done by THEIR governments), regardless if the media in each country is owned by corporations or the government.

            Germany and a few other European countries would be the only exceptions… As such I think this is more an issue of peoples value of abstract privacy vs. safety, not media ownership.

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        Eben, sind Sie Deutsch? In dem fall ist Eure Englisch total gut.

        Ich bin einige Jahre in Deutschland gewesen, tolle politische System. Ich hab aber die Grammatik immer nie richtig hingekriegt :O

  35. Kepler Says:

    Inman, former NSA director -> works for Acami now, the very notorious Blackwater that has murdered so many innocent
    John M McConnell, former NSA director -> works for Booz Allen Hamilton now
    Woosley, former CIA director -> works for Booz Allen Hamilton now
    George Tenet -> works for L-1 Identity Solutions and QinetiQ now

    Fatherland? It’s all about business interests, economic spoofing and so on.

    The funny thing: what this Snowden character “revealed” is absolutely nothing, nothing new, but perhaps for the names. So, now we know one programme is “Prism” and not “Mirror”, big deal.
    Curiously, though, now some more people know about it. But everything was very public already, only that the masses were not paying attention.

    I hope more and more people get aware of how the business-government complex are using their very private data for those businesses’ profits and how it is carrying out commercial spionage with the pretext of the war on terror.

    • Kepler Says:

      Ira,
      Was Jonathan Pollard a patriot?

      And there are many more like him

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3607060.stm

    • Kepler Says:

      Lastly:

      I think Snowden should have declared whatever he wanted to declare in a place like Britain and then gone back to the USA, just like the other latest NSA whistle blowers.

      If he goes to Venezuela it’s not going to be as bad for Maduro as bad for the opposition in the long run. It’s a very divisive issue – everywhere – every-where.

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        It’s also bad for those who want more transparency in intelligence and less of a revolving door, now it just becomes and US vs them issue.

  36. Pedro Says:

    The sad story here is that this has happened in Venezuela for ages. The Chavismo has basically multiplied exponentiallly the subsidies, but subsidies have been there since Perez Jimenez was overthrown. Nobody wants to pay for anything. Has anyone paid taxes before Chavez? What about all those banks that went bankrupt and the oil money paid for it…What about Otac? What about Recadi? What about Ta barato dame dos 4.30 bs/usd? Venezuelans have got so used to subsidies it is just embedded in their culture. Once chavismo goes, subsidies won’t..unfortunatelly,.its part of the cultural heritage already……

    • firepigette Says:

      Sorry Pedro, but anything other than a ‘can do’ attitude is totally useless.

      1+1 + 2, and the Sun shines and gives light :)

      People can change, people can learn, people can grow,even when habits are strong -they can be broken.Sometimes people just need a bit of tough love.

      • Pedro Says:

        firepigette, I know, hope is what keeps everyone alive, but in the case of Venezuela, subsidies like the ones every venezuelan has lived with and enjoyed (or not?) in the last 50 years will be there for years to come, as long as oil keeps flowing from the bottom of the earth and seas of the country. People, get ready, more doses of bread in the form of cadivi and sicad and other ways of exchange are coming, so sit back, relax and enjoy the circus…For all this to change, every single person will have to change and for that to happen, a major historic event will need to happen, like for example a war, an epidemic or starvation. I don’t see (thank god) any of these happening in Venezuela..

        • Dr. Faustus Says:

          The ‘major’ historic event coming is called inflation. It just started to grab hold. The reality of it being permanent condition is just around the corner. 40% today, 60% tomorrow and then hyperinflation. That’s a calamity. That will rob everyone of everything in terms of finances. Nothing left. Perhaps that’s the shock that all Venezuelans will take notice of.

          • Pedro Says:

            Dr. Faustus, Hyperinflation = starvation? maybe…But it still has to be seen that Venezuela’ s economy gets trapped in the hyperinflation spiral…Yes, the “negro” has gone from 10 to 36 in 10 months..But it only takes a little bit of effort and enough flow of USD to keep everyone busy applying for the alms (limosna) for some or prize for others (now called Sicad) to get the USD down to 18-20 and kick the can a couple of years more down the road…Chavismo knows how to take the venezuelan people focus away from what is really important and have them dedicate their time now to figure out how to get these precious USD at the subsidized rate, exactly what they did with Sitme..

  37. Roberto Gonzalez Says:

    Estudiantes fuera no “echan vaina”, no protestan cuando hay paro etc. clase media-alta está anestesiada por los viajes, y mandar a sus hijos al extranjero.

  38. A.M. Mora y Leon Says:

    I read this brilliant, insightful essay and thought to myself – this reminds me of the scenes described in Allende’s Chile, and the battle to reform them during the Pinochet years. The best memoir on this issue has the exact same title as Miguel’s final sentence – I highly recommend it here: http://www.josepinera.com/libros/libros_cascabel_pinera.htm

  39. xp Says:

    La reforma aprobada por el Banco Central ya no fija en 3 mil dólares para viajes ó 5 mil dólares para estudiantes, requerimientos de salud o de otro tipo la participación máxima enlas subastas del Sicad.

    De igual manera, ya el BCV no tendrá que dar autorizaciones para participar por montos mayores a 3 y 5 mil dólares a las personas naturales.

    It means that individuals, needing
    currencies for tuition and
    individuals needing currencies for health reasons,
    need NOT inscribe themselves in spurious registers, and
    can proceed to BID for as many units of foreign currency
    that they may afford.
    Currency controls are to end?
    Tuition and Health Approvals by the Enchufados
    will become the camburs of tomorrow?

    • xp Says:

      “He Who Must Be Obeyed”,

      Venezuela’s Minister of Planning and Finance, Jorge Giordani,
      [nació en 1940 en San Francisco de Macorís, República Dominicana. De padre italiano —quien huía de la Segunda Guerra Mundial— y madre hispano-venezolana. Llegó a Venezuela a la edad de dos años]

      has been silent.

      Muzzled? In ill health? or off on a sabbatical?

      • xp Says:

        If I were still a powerful man,

        I’d build a big tall house with Controls by the Dozen,
        Right in the middle of the town.
        A fine tin roof with real decretos below.
        There would be one long staircase JUST GOING UP,
        And one EVEN LONGER COMING DOWN,
        And ONE MORE LEADING NOWHERE, just for SHOW.

    • xp Says:

      Pueden acceder personas naturales, es decir, cualquier venezolano residencial en el país para:

      Cubrir sus gastos de consumo en el exterior.
      Por estudios en el exterior.
      Gastos relacionados con salud, investigaciones científicas, deporte, cultura y otros de especial urgencia.
      Pago de bienes requeridos para la prestación de servicios profesionales.
      No es necesario que la persona haya agotado su cupo anual de divisas otorgado por Cadivi.

      La nueva resolución no hace referencia a montos máximos para personas naturales.


      • its all smoke and mirrors, who will sell in this market? US$ 200 million every 15 days is peanuts

        • Pedro Says:

          Exactly. Bread and crumbs. Sadly people have no choice but deal with it and get the most out of it. Like when everyone jumps from one grocery store to another to find toilet paper and other things. In the meantime, however, all the international flights are packed. It is as bizarre as it could get. It is the story of the frog that has been placed in a glass of water and has been slowly put to die. With the only difference that this government is careful enough not to kill the frog, but keep it very very weak instead (morally).

    • Carlos Says:

      NO LIMIT is worse than 3000 or 5000 per year… NO LIMIT means that just a few “privileged” will get a lot and all the other NON PRIVILEGED will get near Zero.. So, the few privileged will resale to the non-privileged with a huge profit..

      I envision a privileged chavista asking for say 30.000 US$ SICAD for an urgent surgery in Spain through Banco Bicentenario or Banco Venezuela..
      Or many private bank managers and relatives getting 30.000 US$ for student tuition…

      And chinese restaurants or car dealers asking for raw materials and spare parts…

      Then ther will be 500.000 ordinary people asking for months to have 2000 US$ for travel or 4000 US$ for a true student fee and just get a NO HAY…

  40. JB Lenoir Says:

    Everyone appears to always (conveniently) forget that Chavez and the Boludarian robolution are the consequence, the result, of all the looting, stealing and corruption that characterized the country particularly from 1973 to
    1998, the year Chavez was elected. I have been involved with Venezuela since 1973 – 40 years – longer than some (many?) of your readers have lived, and I’ve watched the country implode/devolve/regress permanently throughout those four decades. If the chavistas are bad, it’s a historically demonstrated fact that the opposition is as bad, if not worse if they ever get back into power. You and I have chatted occasionally about Venezuela, and I recall your observation back in 2009 that many of the biggest thieves in this regime are the offspring of “apellidos” that were prominent in the pre-Chavez era, particularly in the permuta market. The attitude of those young venezuelans in line at the airport is not surprising at all. Venezuela is a country populated by a people surprisingly devoid of any awareness of their own history. It’s also, perhaps, worth noting that many prominent oppo leaders today – like Ismael Garcia – long ago sold their souls to the devil and still, I wager, serve as paid fifth columnists for dirtbags like Diosdado Cabello.

  41. Ivo Santamaria Says:

    sad but true article.
    I didn’t read the comments, but by the length of it, I think the tone is the same I get when I make the same remarks about gasoline, and Cadivi-estudiantes to my acquaintances,

  42. SDM Says:

    Un complejo juego diplomático en torno a Snowden

    El caso ha ido evolucionando hacia un complejo problema político ante el que cada Gobierno se está viendo obligado a tomar partido

    Antonio Caño Washington 10 JUL 2013 – 01:50 CET

    http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2013/07/09/actualidad/1373393280_555316.html

  43. SDM Says:

    Por favor lean bien este articulo… sounds familiar to what I posted earlier? Yes

  44. SDM Says:

    sure they are problems with the Fisa court but for now it’s legal and besides the point of the trans-national fugitive pawn ES.

  45. SMD Says:

    Eva does Patino. Everything according to plan. Phil Agee mwentioned @4:20
    way to go Eva

    • syd Says:

      All Eva does is read the teleprompter in an obviously accented Spanish.
      The pretense from this woman is remarkable. I don’t think she’s being used as a pawn; rather, she offers herself as such to a market where she can preen before the cameras, bask in her narcissism, and not be asked too hard of a question.

      Fortunately, she’s been well discredited (Xtianne Amanpour). I wonder if Eva finally came up with the proof that Chávez’s cancer was inoculated?

      More recently, she severely goofed on timeframe by thinking publicly that Snowden might be on his way his way Vzla.

  46. xp Says:

    Fewer controls lead to a two-way street.
    When bcv sells [not gives] currency at
    higher than the 6.3 rate, but under the 30plus
    that everyone jabbers about [where is this
    black market and do its transactions take place?].
    Reality will set in, outsiders will take
    notice, and vzlans may start buying bsF
    to take advantage of the bargains in the
    country. Some may even wish to purchase
    real estate. Yes, go ahead and laugh.

  47. Sapito del Monte Says:

    Eva, te dedico este editorial con todo my amor y carino!

    In Venezuela, Snowden Can Prepare For Life As A Pawn

    Posted 06:55 PM ET

    Diplomacy: National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden seems to have taken Venezuela’s asylum offer, an odd choice for a man supposedly motivated by a desire for transparency. He should prepare for life as a pawn.

    U.S. surveillance is “not something I am willing to live under,” Snowden told the U.K. Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, in a story published Monday, condemning yet again the NSA, whose operations, he claims, motivated him to hack into its computers, steal U.S. secrets, leak them to the press, and then flee a $100,000-a-year job and a pole-dancing girlfriend on the island paradise of Hawaii for a life on the lam.

    His whining to Greenwald now has a hollow ring, assuming he can exit the Moscow airport transit lounge where he is marooned with a cancelled passport, because Venezuela is far, far worse.

    Venezuela, contrary to its claims of sovereignty, is a nation run by totalitarian Cuba’s security organs, a sort of zombie state under the same goons who keep watch over ordinary Cubans in the crudest surveillance this side of North Korea.

    Phone lines are tapped and listened to, neighbors spy on neighbors, and Cuban security men have been known for tactics such as invading homes (including those of U.S. diplomats in Havana), and leaving urine in their mouthwash as a kind of communist calling card.

    In that kind of security state, it’s pretty much guaranteed that Snowden will do as he’s told.

    The Cubans will shake every secret they can out of him, for one, and package them up and ship them to their allies, such as Iran. Never mind transparency.

    Snowden says he has more secrets lying around, should anything happen to him. The Cubans will demand those — while turning him into a propaganda tool, just as the former CIA renegade Philip Agee and Venezuelan shill Eva Golinger were.

    He may also be called upon to teach Cuba’s goons the latest in computer hacking techniques.

    It’s no exaggeration to say every lever of Venezuelan government power is a Cuban operation now. “Venezuela has two presidents” and “one government,” as the late President Hugo Chavez declared.

    The problem has grown worse after the fraudulent election that brought bus driver Nicolas Maduro to power last April. Unlike Chavez, Maduro has a major crisis of legitimacy, so the power void is being filled by Cuban security muscle.

    The Cuban flag flies over Venezuelan military bases. Nearly 50,000 Cubans live and work in Venezuela, ostensibly as medics, teachers, trainers — and snitches. But Cubans also serve as policy “advisers,” exerting control over Venezuela’s telecommunications systems, ports, voter identification registry, airports and police.

    If Venezuela really were a sovereign state, their government would have little use for Snowden, and a lot to lose by annoying Uncle Sam in the wake of their recent efforts to create a diplomatic “thaw” with the U.S.

    But that matters little with the Cubans calling the shots. Behind every single Latin country that has played footsie with the idea of admitting Snowden — Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia — Cuba was behind the effort. They want Snowden, and for more reasons than just putting a thumb in America’s eye.

    So Snowden can look forward to more of the same — along with toilet paper shortages and an inability to buy a gun in crime-infested Caracas, the one city where he’d really need one.

    Meanwhile, history does not offer Snowden a pretty picture. The few espionage defectors who get away have lived miserable lives, and sometimes died in premature “accidents” in the totalitarian states where they sought asylum.

    U.K. defector Guy Burgess, who defected with Donald MacLean in 1951 to the USSR, died a drunk in 1963. Kim Philby, who defected to the Soviets in 1963, died lonely and depressed in 1988.

    CIA officer Edward Howard, who defected to the Soviet Union in 1985, was an unhappy alcoholic and died in a suspicious “accident” in 2002. Agee, who defected in 1975, died of inept CastroCare from a simple, curable ailment in Cuba in 2008.

    Now it’s Snowden’s turn. If he makes it to Caracas, his next chapter is life as a pawn.

  48. Sapito del Monte Says:

    Glen Greenwald of The Guardian is not on the cutting edge of journalism, he’s on the bleeding edge. Glen is not honest and forthcoming for his reasons to live in Brasil. I respect his vida loca. But it’s a bit balsy to help Snowden while trying to walk the thin line between journalism and actor.

  49. Sapito del Monte Says:

    Tidbit: Eva Golinger provided Glen Greenwald the copy of the US Embassy Ccs Request for Arrest of Edward Snowden. Glen posted it and Eva linked to it. Esto no es un juego

  50. James Says:

    Folks sympathise with Ed without knowing who he is. This guy lied to his fiance, family, friends, employer and country. His grandiosity is only surpassed by his idiotness. And I’m supposed to believe Glen Greenwald when he says Ed did not leak anything to the Ruskies and Chinese? Te pasaste Glen.

  51. Kepler Says:

    I don’t sympathise with the guy but I have less reason to sympathise with people who led a country into a very unethical war just for the sake of billions in profits for weapons and security companies.
    Iraq and Afghanistan? Total failure based on lies.

    I also have (and had long before) concerns about the incredible revolving doors functioning in the area of Defence in the Anglo coalition (and not only there).

    • Don't make me laugh Says:

      Kepler, those folks where voted out of office and the new folks, well you take a guess. We had to go to Afghanistan. You mention one ugly side of war and I can’t disagree yet I have to support the troops no matter what.

      • m_astera Says:

        tell me that when they kick in your door and shoot your dog.
        If they find you with a firearm you are dead on sight.
        You will support the troops no matter what.
        It won’t be painless.

        • NorskeDiv Says:

          If a government is going to do that they will do it with or without internet metadata gathering.

  52. Bobby Says:

    The Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Mankind” is going to be a metaphor for Snowden’s life and once he lands on Cuban or Venezuelan soil, there’s no escaping.

  53. Sad Reality Says:

    This article hit the nail on the head. A majority of Venezuelans would not be traveling the world if they had to exchange their bolivares at the real exchange rate (note: “real exchange rate” is not CADIVI or any of those other artificial ones created by the government).

    This is a handout, no question about it. The sad part is that everyone expects it – the poor and the rich. It’s a terrible mindset and not one that is easy to shake.

  54. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, a couple of years ago former Acción Democrática, former Causa R and current PSUV politician Istúriz said we could not do without the currency control because “without it, the government would fall”.

    I think he was being honest there. This thing keeps those with some dosh and power happy – at the cost of the majority and against the long term development of the country.

  55. Larry Says:

    He is not on the flight

    re aeroflot 150 currently over water

  56. Don't make me laugh Says:

    Snowden latest quotes:

    “The scale of threatening behaviour is without precedent: never before in history have states conspired to force to the ground a sovereign president’s plane to effect a search for a political refugee,”

    “This dangerous escalation represents a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America or my own personal security, but to the basic right shared by every living person to live free from persecution.”

  57. Don't make me laugh Says:

    Edward Snowden’s father is who should bring Ed back home. Ed is stubborn and is probably being manipulated. Ed does not want to do time but he did the crime. His latest comments are the stuff of PSFs and if the Cubans get ahold of him, the conversion may be complete. Nodobdy does it better than the Cubans.

  58. Don't make me laugh Says:

    I think the plan is for Snowden to eventually go to Latam where he will meet with his dad and maybe come back home. This means Ecuador and not Venezuela.

  59. Gordo Says:

    Dear Snowden,

    A true champion of freedom and humanity would accept his/her fate willingly and stand up to whatever consequences the prevailing tyranny portends. Saving your hide looks more like a hit-and-run sabotaging terrorist, especially if you run away to hippocrates that are even worse than the tyrants who are after you!

  60. Mel Says:

    Actually the plan is Brasil but looks tough. Maybe they document him in Venezuela and then he goes to Brasil to party with his pal Glen.

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/washingtons-abuses-are-good-reason-for-brazil-to-offer-asylum-to-snowden

  61. Mel Says:

    I’m going back to my initial assumption that his best bet was staying in Russia and going Russian. Learn the language, integrate, disappear.

  62. Mel Says:

    his supporters including Noam Chomsky, Mark Weisbrot, etc dont want him to go to Venezuela because he will get burned. He becomes a traitor and they cannot use him. Ecuador synomymous with the equator for most Americans. Brasil preferred choice. Eva saying ‘the only way to bring him back is on State bird’. Putin and Obama are talking but WH shifted gears Friday. Snowden may need Ruskie asylum to move such as Venezuelan Embassy or other airport. air routes suggested will require military or government long range jet. No commercial charter will do.

  63. Mel Says:

    Certain Russians are looking for confrontation between US and Venezuela.

  64. Mel Says:

    Regarding the domestic surveillance, I understand the current phone programs revealed with Verizon will be rolled back. Decision not yet made. This is the three day rolling buffer of all call data they store. They can abuse this easily. The social media and email stuff requires Fisa court orders when domestic only so no fears.

  65. Mel Says:

    However, they are at all the junction boxes grabbing raw data from the pipes. The Nap of the Americas in Miami for example. Many subsea cables end here. Like 90% of Latam traffic flows through here…government has entire floor.

  66. Mel Says:

    There is no privacy on the net. Whatever you type they can see. I have always known and assumed this.

  67. Melbourne Says:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A key congressional Republican said on Sunday that the Obama administration must step up efforts and exert “any and all pressure” on Russia to get it to hand over Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor turned fugitive leaker.

    “I’m sure Russia loves this,” Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said of the Snowden drama that has opened the United States to international criticism.

    McCaul told “Fox News Sunday” that the Russians are “making a mockery” of U.S. foreign policy, and, “I’m sure every day, they’re extracting more and more information from this man.”

    McCaul described the showdown as “a test of our foreign policy,” and, he said, “I would give the administration low marks for what they’ve done so far.”

    “We should be putting any and all pressure we have – economic, trade,” on Russia to get Snowden, McCaul said.

    McCaul said that the administration has failed to develop an acceptable relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    “It’s not working,” McCaul said. “They’re thumbing their nose at the United States.”

  68. Melbourne Says:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — America is pivoting to Asia, focused on the Mideast, yet the “backyard,” as Secretary of State John Kerry once referred to Latin America, is sprouting angry weeds as the scandal involving intelligence leaker Edward Snowden lays bare already thorny U.S. relations with Latin America.

    “What the Snowden affair has done to the reinvigorated effort to re-engage with Latin America is to dump a pail of cold water on it,” said Carl Meacham, a former senior Latin America adviser on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It won’t stop trade deals, cooperation on energy, but it’s going to be harder for the president to portray the image that ‘We are here to work with you.’ It’s a step back.”

    The U.S. has sought to downplay the fallout from the disclosure of information about its intelligence activities. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki acknowledged that the United States does gather foreign intelligence just like other nations.

    “I can tell you that we have spoken with Brazilian officials regarding these allegations,” she said this week. “We plan to continue our dialogue with the Brazilians through normal diplomatic channels, but those are conversations that, of course, we would keep private.”

    Psaki has also said that any country granting asylum to Snowden would create “grave difficulties in our bilateral relationship.”

    “What they’re saying is ‘See, the U.S. hasn’t changed. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House, the U.S. is the same. The U.S. is the big imperial power … they are not treating us as equals. Look, they are even spying on us,'” said Meacham, who directs the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    The Snowden affair is not likely to unravel these strong U.S. connections to the region, but it is a roadblock to efforts to improve cooperation, said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based policy forum on Western Hemisphere affairs.

    “I don’t think it’s going to paralyze relations,” Shifter said. “But I think it’s a setback overall — even with countries that have been friendly.”

    In Bolivia, Morales on May 1 acted on a long-time threat and expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development, saying it was trying to undermine the government — allegations the State Department said were baseless. Morales said Washington “still has a mentality of domination and submission” in the region, and he also harangued Kerry for offending the region when, in congressional testimony in April, he said the “Western Hemisphere is our backyard.”

    Cuba — a possible transit stop for Snowden if he is granted asylum in a Latin American country — has a history of conflict with the United States. Fidel Castro’s brother Raul, who now leads the government, has recently explored new diplomatic entrees with Washington. At the same time, he earlier this year assumed the rotating presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in what was a demonstration of regional unity against U.S. efforts to isolate the communist government through a 50-year-old economic embargo.

    In Brazil, which wields the most influence in Latin America, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva lent support to the Iranian government and also backed Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez, who spoke out against U.S.-style capitalism and formed alliances with Russia, China and Iran. The new president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, appears more moderate. Biden visited Brazil in May, saying stronger trade ties and closer cooperation in education, science and other fields should usher in a new era of U.S.-Brazil relations.

    During his visit, Biden announced that Obama was hosting Rousseff at the first official state dinner of his second term. The October dinner is a sign of respect and Brazilian officials say the spying allegations won’t taint it, yet Rousseff herself has said that any such data collection infringed on the nation’s sovereignty and that Brazil would raise the issue at the United Nations.

    U.S. relations with Venezuela have been a lot thornier.

    While the new President Nicolas Maduro appears to be more pragmatic than his predecessor, he has loudly voiced his own anti-American rhetoric since taking office — even alleging that the U.S. had a hand in Chavez’ death from cancer. Maduro expelled two U.S. Air Force attaches from Caracas, accusing them of trying to foment instability. The Obama administration responded by expelling two Venezuelan diplomats from Washington.

    In a gesture that could have signaled a thaw in relations, Venezuela released an American documentary filmmaker who had been jailed for alleged espionage in the country. Timothy Tracy, 35, was released just hours before Kerry met with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua on the sidelines of a regional gathering in Guatemala. Kerry said the two agreed to take steps to change the dialogue between the two countries and hopefully, quickly move to appoint ambassadors, which haven’t been in either capital since 2010.

  69. Melbourne Says:

    fotos Snowden… esta flaco. He has lost weight. Hard not to feel sorry…he’s is stubborn and is being expertly manipulated

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/07/12/welcome-to-the-transit-zone-photos-from-snowdens-meeting-and-the-strange-scene-outside/

  70. Alabama Says:

    Desperate people do desperate things. Sounds like a Chavista!

    http://swampland.time.com/2013/07/13/edward-snowden-invokes-historic-nazi-trial/

  71. Alabama Says:

    and the dark horse is Argentina!


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