Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

An Example Of The Mood in Caracas

January 13, 2015

I am not in Caracas, but the mood of the people is very clear from this video at the Tiburones de La Guaira versus Tigres de Aragua playoff baseball game last night. A fan starts shouting against the Government and the regular cops (yellow shirts with cross) come to get him and take him out of the game:

The people start saying “¡Fuera!”¡ Fuera!” (Out!, out!). People throw beer and other stuff at the cops, but then in minute 0:59, people start shouting: ¡Y va a caer! ¡Y va a caer! Este Gobierno va a caer. (It’s going to fall, it’s going to fall, this Government is going to fall). Everybody joins and even if the heavily helmeted anti-riot cops show up (the ones with the bubble helmets in min 1:30 or so) they continue. At 2:15 people get mad again, the cops decide to leave. Yes, this is Caracas, but a few months ago, they would not have continued..The mood is turning ugly…

Looting of a drugstore in Maracaibo (including the fingerprint machines) here and looting of a truck here. And the arrival of chicken to a supermarket in Maracaibo here. (From the comments)

(Some people say that the fan that created the incident was not making anti-Government slogans, I am told by the friend who sent it and was there, that this is not true, but I am not sure it changes what happened anyway)

Venezuela Goes From Bizarre To Bizarro

January 10, 2015

The word bizarre is no longer enough to describe what has been going n in Venezuela in the last few days. As the country was expecting for the much needed economic measures to be announced, instead, President Maduro announces that he is going on a trip. As he leaves, the usual shortages seeing in the country in the last two years intensify to the level of being widespread with long lines everywhere.

The solution? In a country with the second highest homicide rate, the Government sends the military and the police to supermarkets and stores, as there are threats of looting reported by social media, while stores ban picture taking in their locales, under pressure by Government officials. This only increases tensions, as people are arrested for protesting and complaining in lines. Meanwhile, it turns out that Maduro took his family sightseeing to China on Government planes, which only irks people more.

As tensions rise, with the threat of social unrest quite real and explosive, Maduro does not return to Venezuela but continues to Teheran, where he made this statement, talking about Iranian pharmaceuticals, tourism between the two countries and saying that everything in Venezuela is normal and this is all the fault of the opposition trying to make a big deal out of nothing

This simply echoes what his Ministers have been saying in Caracas for days. The leader of the farce is the Minister for Feeding Carlos Osorio who went as far as saying that the lines are there because people have stuff to buy in the stores. Then why do they create a rule that people must have a Venezuelan ID card to buy stuff?

This is Osorio in a store trying to calm the people down, as you can see there are not that many chickens left and the people just overwhelm him, rushing to get the last chickens.

B69LdmuCMAApwJX

And lest you think that the lines are localized, the website http://www.runrun.es did an interactive map showing how the huge lines were widespread from West to East in Caracas, independent of the standard of living of the people in the neighborhood.

In Maracaibo the best idea is to write numbers of people on their arms to certify your location in the line.

B7A3Ur5CYAADRt7And people put up with it, as long as they can have some hope of getting the food they are seeking. Of course, the People’s Ombudsman, called the People’s Defender, says nothing about this, Human Rights be damned, they have been suspended in Venezuela for too long already.

And the lines are not only widespread, but also huge. This was the Government’s Bicentenario Supermarket in Plaza Venezuela this morning:

B66l3p7IQAAyRAmThis was taken from afar, not only to attempt to get the magnitude of the line, something never seen in Venezuela EVER (before or after Chavismo), but also because if you take pictures up close you can be detained. Like this reporter in Valencia (Andres Abreu @Andresabreu) being searched by the glorious Bolivarian National Guard for taking pictures of the lines in Valencia.

reporter

And Abreu showed us how, when the lines became embarrassingly long, they moved the people inside:

B7A8ovNIgAEEAHFThe whole thing has become so ridiculous that this guy (His name is Rafael, he builds kites with anti-Government sayings all the time) was detained for going to the line with a kite saying: “I will get in line like a “pendejo” (idiot) so I can find food”

B7BX1edIQAEvlio

Never mind the guarantees of free speech in the 2000 Venezuelan Constitution written by Chavismo. As if this was not enough, the Vice-President, who has the charisma of a featureless rock, says on TV that there are plenty of empty cells in Ramo Verde, where Leopoldo Lopez is being held, for those that dare to use political violence to upset the peace of the Republic. When pressured these guys can’t hide their fascists streak. Fascist is, fascist says.

The result is that people are really pissed in Venezuela today. At Maduro, at the military, at the cops, at the supermarkets and their owners, at scarcity and at all the lies they keep feeding them in Government media.

But Chavismo thinks that a President with 20% popularity can continue getting away with blaming the opposition for all the problems. Because this is not going away anytime soon. Price controls, exchange controls, absurd economic policies are coming home to roost. What is going on, is a reflection of the lack of foreign currency, for a Government used to solving supply problems with massive imports of scarce items. Except that the too many items are now scarce, national production has been decimated and the biggest scarcity is that of foreign currency. And neither the Chinese, nor the Russians, nor the Iranians, will give Maduro much at this time.

And Maduro was really wasting his time in Saudi Arabia, rather than being in Venezuela facing and dealing with the real problems. He was not only undiplomatic, but also stupid, making this statement right before going to visit the Saudis. You don’t make a statement against your host, right before arriving to visit him. The Saudis have been repeatedly been very clear as to their intent to let the price of oil fall, come what may. I am sure the Saudis were nor precisely happy with Maduro aligning himself with their enemy to object the Saudi stance on oil production cuts. Maduro learned little while being Chavez’ Foreign Minister for seven years.

And you really have to wonder if Maduro is so out of touch, or somebody or a group of somebodies is setting a trap up for him, telling him things are normal. Very few times have i felt Venezuela so close to turmoil and social unrest. Maduro is playing with fire and now reportedly he will not be back until Wednesday, as he continues touring OPEC countries in a hopeless cause. Who advised him to do it? How can he hope to get anything out of this, while things are almost out of control in Venezuela?

In November I said that I feared we may be going into a period of chaos, unless the Government wants to use brutal repression to stop it. All signs point to that concern becoming a reality, but I would hate it to be the case. By now, even if the Maduro Government were to make the right decisions, it could take weeks for things to go back to normal. But either Maduro is more limited than I thought, or someone has been setting a trap for him ever since he was elected in 2013.

And thus Venezuela has gone from being bizarre to bizarro, but where this all leads to is quite tricky and dangerous. With millions (yes, millions) of guns floating around the country and a disgruntled and hungry population, civil unrest and chaos could break out at any time.

After that, it is anybody’s guess.

(And dont forget to think of contributions to the previous post)

Killer Facts About Chavismo In 140 Characters

January 9, 2015

B68lhjvIgAA5q1E

Today there were two Tweets that were both clever, quantitative and, more importantly, completely true. Thus, I thought I would ask my readers to contribute tweets, that is, you have to say it in 140 characters, that are true, quantitative and describe some failure of the revolution. Better if they are clever and original in the sense that it is not a fact that is stated that often.  The whole point is to get a collection of facts that people can easily remember and that are BS-proof.

The first Tweet was by Carlos Blohm

En 1999 un sueldo mínimo eran 20 barriles de a $10, ahora no llega a medio barril de a $50.

(In 1999 the minimum salary was 20 barrels of oil at $20, now its not even half a barrel at $50

The Second one by ProFinanciero

en 1999 la calificacion de PDVSA era A3, 15 años de socialismo despues es CCC+.

In 1999 the credit rating of PDVSA was A3, after 15 years of socialism is now CCC+

The third one is mine:

En ninguno los primeros diez años del Chavismo se logró construir mas viviendas que en cualquier año de 1990 a 1998

In none of the first ten years of Chavismo, did they manage to build more housing units than in any yeaar from 1990 to 1998

Now is your turn…Tweet with my name on it or send it to devilexcrement@gmail.com and I will include it.

En la 4ta NUNCA falto el pollo, nunca hubo escenas como esta del ministro Hasta se exporto.

En la 4ta NUNCA falto el pollo, nunca hubo escenas como esta del ministro Hasta se exporto.

B69LdmuCMAApwJX

In the Fourth Republic, chicken was NEVER scarce, there were never scenes like this of Minister Osorio @czosorio We even exported it.

La inflación durante el chavismo también ha sido burocrática: 14 ministerios en ’99 a 28 ministerios y 107 viceministerios en ’15

Inflation during Chavismo has also been bureaucratic: 14 Ministries in ’99 to 28 Ministries and 107 Vice-Ministries in ’15

Boludo Tejano via comments

GNI per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $)
1998-2012 increase
Latin America 28%
Venezuela 13%

Boludo tejano

1998 :Venezuela 6th in Infant Mortality in Latin America & Caribbean
2013 Venezuela 8th in Infant Mortality in Latin America & Caribbean

Boludo Tejano

Death rate associated with Tuberculosis
1998 Venezuela 9th in Latin America & Caribbean
2012 Venezuela 12th in Latin America & Caribbean

Boludo Tejano

Total expenditure on health as a percentage of gross domestic product
1998 Venezuela 20th in Latin America & Caribbean
2007 Venezuela 15th in Latin America & Caribbean
2012 Venezuela 25th in Latin America & Caribbean

Road Trip or The Fantastic Voyage?

January 6, 2015

nmroad

You have to wonder how it all started. Was it in the middle of a boring meeting talking about economic scenarios or Maduro’s sinking popularity (7% down in one month!) that Nicolas himself shouted “Road Trip” and they all left the room and called Raul and borrowed “the” plane and took off for Russia, or was it Nicolas in a thoughtful (sigh!) moment that came up and said: “I know, we can sell half the country to the Chinese for US$ 20 billion” and the “Fantastic Voyage” began.

And you also have to wonder how they felt landing in Moscow on the biggest “puente” day of the year, right before their Christmas day and thinking “Uuups” nobody is around and is so freaking cold, but the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs saved the day, they found a cardboard picture of Hugo and a General to take pictures with his iPhone and the trip was on to an auspicious start

B6lYqpLCMAEsuiB

At this point Nicolas must have been wondering why he got rid of Rafael, Ramirez at least knew his way around the world. Why go to Russia first when their problems may be as tough as Venezuela’s? They offered to sell us some planes, some tanks,but even Nicolas learned how to say Nyet, the same word they heard all the time from their Russians counterpart. Then Nicolas thought that Jan. 6th. was St. Nicolas day and wanted to celebrate his birthday and the puzzled Russians asked him if his name was Jesus. Puzzled faces…

Time to take the Road Trip to China.

The following is Marcos´s narrative (From his Twitter TL):

Oh! Beijing in January! So freaking cold. It is not the temperature, its the winds.  Thanks God Nicolas had the huge scarf made and said he could skip the Wall because he had already been there. The first meeting went well, except for the ending

B6rHPRpIgAAwMWU

When Nicolas mentioned US$ 20 billion, the Chinese smiled. An unscrutable smile at that.  US$ 20 billion, they said, we would not pay that for all of Mongolia, said one of the Chinese. Nicolas argued back saying Sidor alone was worth US$ 10 billion, to what Ling Pin answered: “Chavez paid US$ 1.97 billion for it when it was functioning and eporting”. As we went out Maduro asked me what that was about and I said: “I did not know that”

We then had a meeting:

B6oI8Z1IAAAdHu2

No Chinese allowed here, you could only get in if you were a Minister and Merentes, of course, because he came all the way from Naiguata when he was called. We decided here to have lots of meetings. Make it look good in Venezuela.

So, we met with all of China (lots of people). Including the Chinese Oil company, Bank of China, Citic and Sany (below). The last two pictures may look the same, but the Chinese guys are different, we had like ten of these in two hours.It was a long day of work.

china

In the end, Maduro asked me to make a statement and I did :

B6rcyANIYAAtFJj

I said: “The Chinese trusts us and they want to invest in Venezuela soon”

So, they are coming on Jan. 17th. to see where they want to invest in Venezuela. All wee need, for now, is US$ 20 billion. Maybe 20 more later. Should not be that hard, they seem to have a lot of money, even if they are Communists.

Off we go now, we visit Iran (boring!), Algeria and Saudi Arabia, Nicolas wants to convince them to cut production. I guess he has never talked to them.

It is indeed a Fantastic Voyage, even if Nicolas feels like he is in a Road Trip.

End of report.

What To Wish For In 2015

January 1, 2015

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black background

Every single one of the twelve years of this blog, I have wished my readers a Happy New Year. It was always a personal wish, hoping that every reader would have the best year they can hope for, for themselves and their families. Since we are all personally involved with Venezuela, this wish is very interconnected to the country and its future. Whether they are there or not, whatever happens in Venezuela in 2015 will have an undue influence on how good a year it is for each and all of us. Thus, when last night I sat down to wish you the best for the New Year, I just could not find a simple message. This is my more complete post about what I wish for all of you and for myself and my family. And why I think the word “happy” will be hard to apply to all of us in 2015.

Unfortunately, I fear that 2015 will not be a good year for anyone connected to Venezuela. In fact, I expect 2015 to be THE annus horriblis for Venezuela. My only concern at this time, is that the slow pace of change in policies by the Maduro Government may extend the pain well into 2016 or even 2107, turning it into many anni horriblis, inflicting immeasurable pain on the Venezuelan people.

Because the delay in new decisions will only exacerbate the effects of bad policies which will now be magnified by the sharp drop in oil prices, that will only intensify the effects of the upcoming crisis. And we all know and think about the first order effects of the upcoming crisis, like inflation, shortages, increased poverty and the like, but the second order effects are even scarier. Years of neglect have deteriorated the country’s infrastructure and the problems with electric power and water supply will take years to be solved. Quality of life will deteriorate, as people will suffer blackouts and brownouts for years and water rationing will become the norm. Crime will only increase and protests and unrest will become the norm.

Unfortunately, in thinking about whether there was a possibility of having a “good” 2015 in Venezuela, the answer is that the panorama is quite fuzzy. As decisions are delayed, things will get worse, but they will not necessarily make a resolution to the problems be closer to reality. On the contrary, I believe the path that Chavismo will follow is to replace Maduro with someone else once his popularity reaches single digits, which will certainly occur in 2015. The fights within Chavismo will only intensify and Nicolas will be the loser, as most groups will realize a new face is the only possible way out for the Bolivarian revolution to survive. This, of course, is not a solution in the end, but a necessary step before real change can take place.

A new face in the Presidency will give Chavismo some fresh air, but the ideological trap will snare whichever group takes over: If they change the course, they will be repudiated, it they stay the course, the crisis will simply get worse and an already fragile Government will keep stumbling along, without any real possibility of improvement (unless oil prices hit US$ 200 per barrel, the only possible way out of the current crisis)

But real change will not take place until Chavismo’s groups are atomized and its popularity, not that of its leaders, falls to levels similar to those of the opposition.

And that, unfortunately, could take quite a while to take place.

My best guess is that it will take at east two or three years for the country to reach that stage. There are no easy solutions in my mind. For change to take place there has to be a process, not an event. And with Chavismo’s resources and controls today, the process will be long and drawn out.

And that is why it is hard to wish you a Happy New Year. My crystal ball suggests it will be anything but happy for Venezuelans, or those that care about the country, in 2015 and 2016.

Thus, the best I can wish you is that I am wrong. However, I may be wrong about the details, Venezuela may have a Black Swan, but the path will certainly look similar to what I am depicting. And it will not be pretty, let alone happy.

No Surprises In The Country With The Silly Putty Constitution

December 29, 2014

M19L

I continue to be amazed at the reaction by most to the naming of the so called “Moral” Powers, the CNE and the Venezuelan Supreme Court. People are surprised at “how far” Chavismo went to twist the Constitution to suit their goals, bending, folding and mutilating the Venezuelan Constitution as desired. Some call it a coup, others express their amazement, with few (Daniel being one exception) calling it what it is: Business as usual.

The Constitution has been silly putty for a long, long time…

Because you may want to argue whether the “coup” to the Constitution began in 2004, 2006 or 2008, but it certainly did not take place last week. Last week was another multiple maneuver by the Assembly and the Venezuelan Supreme Court to manipulate the Constitution and adapt it to its desires, constitutionality, with small caps, be damned.

But I was neither surprised, nor do I think much changed last week. I mean, what do you think happened when Chavez was allowed to hold another referendum in January 2009 so that he could be reelected indefinitely, despite the Constitution being very clear that once a subject is defeated in a Constitutional period, it can not be brought up again. Or the Venezuelan Supreme Court allowing Chavez to legislate via the Enabling Bill on the very same topics (Many of them too!) defeated in the 2007 Constitutional Referendum?

Really, do people not remember that we never even found out what the final vote was in the 2007 referendum? Chavismo accepted defeat, but the last votes and final count were never revealed by the CNE, presided at the time by the same person “wisely” selected President of that board by the Supreme Court.

Or is it that nobody remembers that the 2013 vote in which Maduro was elected President was extremely close, which rushed Chavismo into swearing in Maduro within 24 hours of the election and only under international pressure was  a recount called for and immediately the Supreme Court ruled that a recount was adding the numbers again, not counting the votes again. And that was the end of that.

Or does nobody remember that Maduro was allowed to continue being President/Candidate in 2013 when Chavez was incapacitated and then died? Or that Diosdado, who should have been President, whether you like him or not, was bypassed by a similar “administrative” interpretation of the silly putty Constitution by the Supreme Court?

The Venezuelan Constitution has been treated like silly putty now for years by the same people that created it. There are no surprises to me, they will mold decisions to achieve whatever their goals are. The “coup” or “coups” took place long ago. Expect more of the same: If Chavismo some day needs Maduro out, they will interpret the Constitution conveniently to name as his successor whomever they want. Whether it happens in the first four years of his period or not

But please, don’t be surprised. Chavismo neither has, nor has never had any scruples when it comes down to maintaining its stronghold on power. If you need a convicted murderer on the Highest Court, so be it. After all, they have many in their Government that have participated in similar crimes, they were just never tried or convicted.

The opposition may want to continue playing democracy. So will I. I will vote next year even if I know its rigged. But I will not be surprised by the outcome.

Neither should you.

Merry Christmas To All

December 24, 2014

santa-as-devil

Thank you all for your loyal reading, comments, I hope I have been at least informative and entertaining and I did not rant too much this year. I do hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve, which is what is mostly celebrated in Venezuela or a wonderful Christmas day tomorrow  with your family and loved ones. Love, Peace and the best to all of you.

Your Devil

US-Cuba: A Historic Decision

December 21, 2014

b5flbyviqaeue3l

I took my time writing about the historic agreement between the US and Cuba to reestablish diplomatic relations, exchange prisoners and end the embargo of the island, for the simple reason that it is a complex issue with many different edges. No matter how it eventually plays out, it is a historic event that will change the relations between the United States and Latin America. Let me say right off the bat, that I am in total agreement with the decision: The embargo is obsolete, made no sense and in the end, and it was just hurting the people of Cuba the most.

To begin with, the normal state of things is to have diplomatic relations between countries, no matter how unfriendly they may be and how deep the political divisions between the are. Relations are normally broken only when countries threaten each other and it has certainly been a while since this has happened between the US and Cuba beyond the rhetoric of claiming the US is the enemy of Cuba (and vice versa), something that will now simply have to go away.

The blockade of Cuba has certainly not worked, neither has it helped human rights on that island and it has had a negative impact on the people of Cuba, but not so much on the economy of the island. After all, in Venezuela, with no embargo, lots of trade with the US and lots of oil, the Government has tried the imitate the Cuban model and its economy is fast becoming the same failure as the Cuban one.

So, for the US, the policy has not worked at all, why keep it? How do you reason that you will keep it: We decided this 50 years ago, it has done nothing, we screwed up, but let’s just keep it because we are all used to it or is by now programmed into our DNA?

That’s precisely why it needs to end: The embargo was an utter failure!

If the US, or any other country for that matter, broke relations with any country that violated human rights or was run by a Dictator, countries would then  save a lot of money on diplomats, because they would have to reduce their Ambassadors significantly. If this were the criteria, neither Egypt, China, or for that matter Venezuela, would qualify for having diplomatic relationships with the US and European countries that value Human Rights. And while people may support sanctions on Venezuelan individuals, I don’t think an economic embargo would help Venezuela or Venezuelans on Human Rights, but would create the same “blame the US” propaganda tool that has been used in Cuba to blame the failure of the revolution on the US.

I do agree that the agreement reached between Obama and Raul Castro seems so far  fairly one-sided: Cuba appears to have gotten the best part of the deal. But do we really know all the details? I imagine lots of details are still being worked out. But this is not a short term decision, this is in my mind a deal struck thinking long term by both sides. A deal that has been decades in the works, given that Kissinger tried in the 70’s (via Fausta) to end the embargo, and he was part of a Republican administration! Imagine that!

And the US-China rapprochement in the 70’s can be a good comparison. It was started by Kissinger, but relations did not become formal for some eight years. Eight years from now, Raul will be 91 and Fidel 96, if any of them are alive. Clearly, Obama is planning ahead to the demise of the most visible leaders of the Cuban revolution and likely Raul is thinking long term too, no matter how much he claimed that the revolution will not steer away from its course. Obviously, Obama thinks he can convert Cubans to the capitalist mode, while Raul is thinking more of some Cuban-style mixed system, which would benefit the population of Cuba. Just think, US tourism alone could become the main driver of the Cuban economy, while keeping it under the control of the Government. In the end, an open relationship between the USA and Cuba will certainly lead to a more open Cuba. How can I be against that? How can that not help change the Cuban mindset?

But I am sure that Obama’s gambit with US-Cuban relations also has a fairly large electoral component. That is, a component aimed at helping the Democrats retain the White House in the next Presidential election. After all, the Republicans face a shift in demographics that does not help their chances of taking the White House, unless the candidate’s name is Marco Rubio. And Rubio now has to be very careful if he decides to fight the removal of the embargo, because if he fails, he will look like a loser. And he is likely to fail, even if the Republicans control the Senate, simply because it is an issue which no longer has the passion that it may have had in the past. The ineffectiveness of the embargo is the best argument against it. But at the same time, the end of the embargo will remove a very emotional topic from the political table, particularly in ever important Florida.

As to whether Maduro knew or not about what was going on, my feeling is that he clearly was left out in the cold. Just think, not only did Maduro hold on Monday a rally devoted exclusively to the issue of anti-Americanism (When was the last time Chavismo held a rally only against the US?), but Maduro spent the whole week prior to that making sure he made the US the enemy, “thinking whether we should have relations or not”, accusing the local Embassy of conspiring against him and saying that the US was behind the drop in oil prices, only to hurt Venezuela. But the worst part was, that as the details of the US-Cuba agreement were being ironed out, Maduro spent last weekend in Cuba.

And he was clueless and out of the loop.

Nicolas can´t be happy about all this. But maybe he was told it was not his problem anyway.

Nicolas is not Chávez and such a shift in policy (and history!) is likely to confuse him and maybe even make him screw up. It is not an easy change, his idols have decided to talk to the Evil Empire, leaving Venezuela alone in blaming all of its ills on the US.

For now, people are just wondering how the agreement will affect the Cuban cigar industry, Major League Baseball, Tourism, communications and the like. Many US companies are salivating at the possible opportunities. Cubans are also happy, but some are also somewhat bewildered by the agreement. It is not easy to change the party line 180 degrees in a country where all of the media is controlled and the story had a single script up to now.

And who knows what it all means for Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution. If it creates divisions between Cuba and Venezuela, then it is all for the better. The same is the case if it creates differences among the various Chavista groups vying for power. But for now, there is not enough information. The agreement is historic, but only history will be able to tell us its significance and how it changed (or not) the region.

About Vacuums And Announcements

December 16, 2014

About ten and even more years ago I met a group of very smart young people who embraced blogging in 2003-2006 and later many of them migrated to Twitter. They seemed very young, bright and energetic to me. Today most of these people have become opinion makers, reporters, professors, broadcasters and most are still very active. Now, rather than seeing them as young, I see them as wise beyond their years, hardened and weathered by the “revolution”. Among them Naky Soto and her husband Luis Carlos Díaz, do a periodic “hangout” in which they do political analysis which should put some experts to shame. Naky also still has a blog, called “El Zaperoco de Naky” (Naky’s Mess?). Yesterday she posted this and I liked her description of Maduro’s Sunday interview, combined with yesterday’s march and the bizarre Maduro oath so much, that I asked if I could translate it and post here. Enjoy!

B40qNpkIUAAvg5-

My father in law complained to me that yesterday I did not do a summary of the economic announcements by Nicolas. I could not do it, because he said nothing. All the sumptuousness of the setting chosen in the Miraflores Palace for the interview conducted by José Vicente Rangel, made the poor performance less comprehensible. Imprecise and erratic as ever, Nicolas made an effort to maintain an idea over the polished floor: he knows and controls everything that happens in the country and just because of that he affirmed that people buy things because they have money (explaining scarcity), that there are errors to correct in Cencoex errors (the same as with CADIVI); and because he had no way of explaining our foreign exchange system exchange system, he opted to assure us that Sicad II will be adjusted.  He added that bureaucracy (as if it was a subject) is the clumsy one in the process, that increasing the price gasoline is not urgent, and to our relief, that we have no debt with China. Of course, with great conviction he said that he will come out victorious in the economic war in 2015. Despite lower oil prices, he repeated that the budget for 2015 has its  resources guaranteed.

Today’s march originally was to celebrate la bicha” that Constitution approved only by 30% of the voters 15 years ago; in the midst of the  Vargas tragedy. But the announcement by the US Congress on potential sanctions against Venezuelan officials who have violated human rights intervened. The anti-imperialist binder was a gift that he could not fail to open. This crossing of reasons facilitated the “arroz con mango”* of Nicolas’ speech, fiercely shouting for the sovereignty that nobody will threaten as long as he is alive, but happy because of the fifteen years of “la bicha”. The deceased one was frank to call it that, there’s no better motto for a Constitution that is humiliated daily by its editors.

With very tight shots, the official nationwide broadcast tried to conceal the failure of the summons, the vacuum in Avenida Bolívar. Nicolas began with a long story about the history of the deceased, that one we all know. Given the notable boredom of the audience, Nicolas was kindled by mixing it with his enemies: the monster of Ramo Verde (Leopoldo López), the pelucón (long haired) (Lorenzo Mendoza, president of Polar), the one nobody loves (Henrique Capriles), Aznar (who he called a murderer several times), the right, the bureaucracy, etc. This is a very tedious loop.

In response to the Yankee attack, he proposed creating a committee of Human Rights jurists to bring to justice those gringos for their war crimes. He mixed up the Grinch with Gremlins, and supported his ravings with the chants of the cheerleaders event: PSUV’s youth who contributed more slogans than people. He announced without any stupor that he would delegate his presidential responsibilities on Arreaza, Jaua and Hector Rodriguez, to devote himself exclusively to defeat the economic war.

But the closing was the saddest part. Not even Diosdado was able to hide his displeasure, looking at Nicholas as if he was a militant of Primero Justicia. Holding up a replica of the Bolivar’s sword, Nicholas began improvising this disastrous oath:

“I swear by the immortal spirit of the Indians, of Guaicapuro, by the immortal spirit of the indigenous resistance. I swear by the people of African descent, for Andresote, by José Leonardo Chirinos. I swear by Negro Primero. I swear by the  liberators, by José Félix Ribas, Urdaneta , Sucre, Ezequiel Zamora, by the martyrs, by Alberto Lovera, by Jorge Rodríguez, by Robert Serra I swear before the immortal sword of Simon Bolivar, who will not give peace to our souls, nor rest in our struggle to see emerge in Venezuela a homeland of peace. I swear by the example of “comandante eterno” that I will work for the unity of the people, for the military-civic union and that we will achieve with the greatest commitment that this oath is transformed into the great victory of 2015, 2019 . So I swear. “

….
The Constitution states in its Article 29 states: The State is obliged to investigate and legally punish offenses against human rights committed by its authorities Actions to punish crimes against humanity, serious violations of human rights and war crimes. are barred. The human rights violations and crimes against humanity are investigated and tried by ordinary courts. Such offenses are excluded from the benefits that may result from punishment, including pardons and amnesty. “

There are now 50 dead Uribana. In the 3 years of managing Iris Varela 1463 are dead prisoners. The minister has not faced any investigation.

And they dare claim that they honor the Constitution.

Rangel-grande*Arroz con Mango, literally “Rice with mango” means a strange mixture, something that does not go well with each other.

Maduro Keeps Sending The Wrong Messages

December 14, 2014

I have been trying to write other posts, but the news are such that I have to set them aside and write more about very current events. One of my biggest complaints about the Maduro Government (and Chávez before him) is that while they carefully plan what they say to the Venezuelan “people”, they don’t apply the same analysis to what they tell (or not!) to foreign investors. Very simple messages, or simply informative messages would go a long way towards improving the outlook of Venezuela’s debt, mor so in the face of the recent drop in oil prices.

When I heard that José Vicente Rangel was going to have Maduro today in his program in Televen, I thought this would be an effort to do just that. Instead, the opposite was done. The interview did exactly the opposite. Clearly, the interview was going to be friendly, on tape (Maduro was not even in Venezuela today, so that this was not live) and a perfect chance to assure invetsors that he was in control. Instead, Maduro sent the wrong message (s). Start with gas prices:

He suggests that most people agree gas should be increased, but he says the time is not right, it would be like adding fuel to the fire and he has to wait until “speculative forces” in the economy subside.  He also states that there is no rush, even with the fall in oil prices, there is no rush to to do it and he has the funds to do things and the price of gas could be increased in 2015 or 2016. He has to wait until inflation is controlled. #FAIL

Maduro also said that he would “modify” the Sicad 2 market, something that would help, but is only a small problem in the scheme of things. He did not say the Bs. 6.3 rate would be modified (he ratified it would remain), nor Sicad 1, only that Sicad 2 would be modified.

Maduro repeated in the interview his phrase from four months ago: “The money form China is not debt, it is financing” (El dinero de China no es endeudamiento, es financiamiento). Oh yeah, how I would love to get financing that is not debt for myself!

He also said that sometimes he feels he should just break relations with the US, as if relations were normal. The two countries do not have Ambassadors, but worse, does Maduro understand what this could imply? Maybe he should look to Nigeria, a country that used to export one million barrels a day to the US in 2010, but now sends not a single barrel to a country with which it has friendly and normal diplomatic relations.

Nor did this sentence, said earlier helped much:

“There is no possibility that Venezuela will declare a default, unless we decided not to keep paying the debt”

Oh, I see. It’s like me saying I promise to  keep writing this blog, unless I decide to stop. I guess the only positive was that he did say that is what Chávez wanted, to keep paying debt. But the first part certainly was not very reassuring.

Just  another day of Maduro sending the wrong messages to markets and investors, let’s hope that oil does not continue hurting bond prices, as it is, they have been slaughtered in the last week and Maduro seems intent on not helping.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,450 other followers