Archive for May 3rd, 2003

Bic Mac Index: Bolivar 40% undervalued

May 3, 2003

The Economist just came out with its usual Bic Mac index for currencies (via PostPolitics). The Venezuelan currency the Bolivar is reported to be 15% undervalued, except that they are using the official rate, which essentially does not exist. After 100 days of currency controls not a single importer has been given foreign currency at the official rate. Thus, using the parallel rate of Bs. 2300 per US dollar the currency is 40% undervalued. Way to go Hugo!

The intolerant Minister

May 3, 2003


Minister of Interior and Justice Lucas Rincon, infamous for his statement April 11th, 2002 “The President has resigned” , when he was the highest ranking member of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, showed his intolerance today when he called the opposition Mayors of Chacao and Baruta “vagabonds” adding “if it were for me, I would jail them”. The Minister was upset because the two Majors said that the level of insecurity was the fault of the Ministry, as well as saying that the Ministry does not even talk to the Mayors to attempt to solve problems such as the closing of a Caracas highway after the march on Thursday. Such tolerance!

Contradictions and confusion over murderer of opposition marcher

May 3, 2003

The Chavez Government continues to attempt to downplay the death of an opposition marcher during Thursday’s demonstration. Minister of the Interior and Justice Lucas Rincon of “The President has resigned fame” said that the death was fortuitous and not political. However, there have been contradictions in the Government’s statements. From trying to say it was a personal dispute to the Head of the Intelligence police saying the killer had been drinking which lead to a discussion. However, the main prosecutor in the case said this was a personal problem between the suspect and the union worker that died. The same prosecutor suggested the person murdered was a shark loan, which his family denies. He also has said this was a problem over control of the union, later saying it was a discussion over some losses at the credit union of construction workers’ union.

The Government has failed to explain how this was not political if the suspect is Head of one of Chavezís Bolivarian circles, is a well-known Chavez supporter according to neighbors and was taped in a video presented by opposition Deputy Gerardo Blyde hanging around the end-point of the march, a scene of which is shown here:

The man on the far right is Manuel Arias “el Pollo”, the suspect who is seen awaiting the arrival of the march with other reportedly Chavez supporters. Given that there was a pro-Chavez march at the same time; one has to wonder what these characters were doing there and if this was not premeditated. Despite this, Vice President Rangel said that the opposition was “necrophilic”, using these deaths to create scandals against the Government.

Lost in the shuffle was the fact that the prosecutor assigned to the case is Danilo Anderson, the environmental prosecutor chosen by the Attorney General to investigate the deaths of April 11th. 2002 of which all pro-Chavez supporters have been exonerated and freed. The Democratic Coordinator has asked the Attorney General “if he has any shame left” to remove Mr. Anderson from the case. The construction union had a similar request.