As you may have guessed, I have been away (Still am). The picture above, taken by me a couple of days ago in Northern Italy, depicts what I did for the last week, after celebrating an important birthday in Spain the previous one. So, I have been mostly out of touch with Venezuela, if that is ever possible, more so when you are traveling with a group of Venezuelans. And all we hear simply reflects that Venezuela has become a very dysfunctional country in all aspects of a daily life, led by an incompetent Government that despite its few successes, insists in continuing on its path which leads to mostly failures.
-Nothing shows this dysfunctionality more than the electric crisis. When the current Minister for Electric Affairs Jesse Chacón assumed the post in 2013, he said he would stabilize the system in 100 days. Two years and who knows how many billions later, the system is as unstable (or more) than two yeas ago and as usual Chacón and the Vice-President blame nature and the weather, but nt their blatant incompetence. And to prove their point the come up with the brilliant solution of having pubic workers work only in the morning to save electricity.
I can think of two immediate effects this will have: 1) Many of these workers will join the ranks of the bachaqueros in the afternoons, promoting arbitrage, longer lines and higher prices. 2) The rest will go home to watch TV, turn on air conditioners and use more electricity than its used in public offices where thee same workers share the offices.
This was probably decided by Arreaza and Chacón without consulting any experts or even knowledgeable people, much like everything is decided in Venezuela by Chavismo.
-And in his infinite wisdom Maduro honored five Cubans whose main accomplishment was to get caught and be jailed in the US for spying. Quite an example. I guess Maduro would like to have some glorious past, other than being a bus driver, sucking up to both Chávez and Cilia. But I think he will not have time now. Remarkably, Leopoldo’s jail time is worth more than the five Cubans put together in terms of being repressed, harassed and the comforts of Ramo Verde.
-And only in a Dictatorship can the National Assembly decide that previously elected positions will no longer be voted for (Parlatino). No scandal, no noise as the Electoral Board agrees with this without even a discussion. I wonder what Dilma, Correa, Cristina and the rest of the the mercantile gang have to say about this…
-And despite cards, biometrics and increased Government controls, the lines are shortages are still there. But instead of reducing controls, Maduro wants to control the whole distribution system. I wonder if at that point, everything will be stolen and sent to Colombia and the country will stop functioning.
-And in a weird twist, the Government has decided to ignore certain problems it can not solve by dollarizing. Can’t figure out how to solve the problem with the airlines?: Dollarize and allow ticket prices in foreign currency. Don’t know what to do about the auto sector?: Allow Ford to dollarize prices. The good thing is that if you extrapolate, everything will be dollarized at some point, since they are incapable of solving any problem.
-And yes, the Government announces with pomp and circumstance that all cars in Tachira State now have a chip to control their purchase of gasoline. Of course, the Government says nothing about whether gasoline smuggling has gone down. They probably have no clue.
-And the new clown in the Government is the Minister of Health. When papers said that 13,000 medical doctors had left the country, he said that only 320 had left in the last six years. Never mind that graduate programs have no students, hospitals no Doctors and 90% of graduating classes have left the country. This guy is the new Chavista “expert” someone who has no clie but can make up stories as he goes along.
He could be a good replacement for Chacón in the Electric Ministry, he seems to be very good about inventing excuses.
And so it goes, back soon…