A few months ago, I heard a strange tale of cheap Chinese cars being imported to Venezuela and sold for incredibly low prices. When I asked on limitations, I was told there were none, the organization they were telling me about could buy as many cars as it wanted. Just put a small down payment down per car and voilá, a few months later and upon delivery, you would pay the balance. To give you an idea of the prices, the down payment was less than Bs. 10,000 (US$ 1,587 at the official rate or US$ 244 at the parallel rate of exchange) and upon delivery you paid the balance, with the total cost being around Bs. 100,000, or US$ 15,870 at the official rate of exchange or US$ 2,440 at the parallel rate. Yes, less than US$ 3,000.
The whole thing sounded very fishy. I immediately thought it was some sort of scam via CADIVI, whereby someone was getting dollars at the official rate of exchange to bring these cars to Venezuela. But it sounded strange, why would the Government give official dollars to some scammer, rather than giving it to the car companies that generate work in the country?
After making a few inquiries, I tracked down the story behind the cars. In some sense, it is not a scam, it is somewhat legit. But in another it is an amazing example of how Chavismo has lost sight of what developing a country is all about. Moreover it is simply The Devil’s Excrement at work: Oil generates such wealth, that those in charge can’t think on how to use that wealth productively and instead waste it “doing good” to a few, without generating any wealth or well being for the “people”.
Most of you have probably never heard of Suvinca. Suvinca is a company owned by the Ministry of Commerce, which is an acronym to the name “Venezuelan Industrial Supplies”. Suvinca is supposed to procure “the access to raw materials, inputs, capital goods, intermediate and finished, with the purpose of deepening the endogenous development of the country”
A noble goal indeed. But somehow, something was lost in translation. Or by the limited brains of the Revolutionary management. Because it turns out that Suvinca has access to the loans from the Chinese Funds. One of those loans, was partly in in the Chinese currency Yuan (70 billion Yuan if I recall correctly, almost US$ 10 billion at the time). Well, the money from these Chinese Funds is supposed to go roughly (my words) to:
“Projects within the National Development Program, that have high social impact, improve the standard of living, generate employment and consolidate some sectors which are considered a priority.”
Well, it turns out that Suvinca uses intermediary companies in the US, of all places, to import cars made in China, some made by US companies in China exclusively for that market, and which are paid with the Yuans from the loan from the Chinese Fund. Suvinca then turns around and sells these cars to chosen groups of individuals, at ridiculously low prices, since those Yuan are calculated at the official rate of exchange.
Thus, Venezuela’s “development” money. The same money that is borrowed from the Chinese, instead of being used to buy machinery, factories, equipment, as everyone envisioned, is being used to import Chinese cars. That’s it!
That’s what someone in the Chavismo stratosphere considers “development”
How low our country has fallen…
In fact, if you look through the news section of Suvinca, this “procurement” company, seems to do anything but what it was mandated to do. It sells cars, school supplies, produce in markets. But mostly, it sells cars, cheap Chinese imported cars, paid by the loan, as you can see if you go down the list of “news”.
It is all about cars, importing them and selling them to buddies. Many quite well off, actually, like my friend.
Thus, we get a loan to import stuff, undercutting local producers who went more than a year without Cadivi giving them much and likely importing many cars that are not even supposed to come to Venezuela and for which there are no spare parts or support.
It’s The Devil’s Excrement at work, as implemented by brainless bureaucrats, whose only qualification to preside those institutions, is loyalty and ideology to the brainless revolution.
And President Maduro? In China, getting another one of these “development” loans.