Archive for January 29th, 2007

A picture is worth 10,000 words #24: Venezuela’s debt

January 29, 2007

This is a very plain vanilla plot, but it needs to part of the collection  for reference. Last year  external debt went down as the Government concentrated on giving Argentina a hand, rather than improving our debt profile, which could have been done. External debt is still manageable at these levels as long as oil prices hold up. Internal debt has stabilized as it has gotten more difficult for the Government to place it unless it offers some type of dollar linkage as in the new so called TICC’s. As a percentage of GDP this are reasonable levels, except that at current yields (<7%) it is not clear that there would be appetite abroad for a Venezuelan issue larger than US$ 3 billion. A devaluation would lower internal debt significantly.

What someone should tell Chavez about his Sunday rant

January 29, 2007

So, the all mighty, all-powerful, Hugo Chavez said this yesterday:

“ Where are the mayors, governors what happened? (…) It’s a fraud, a deceit. This incenses me. I request forceful action by the Office of the public prosecutor, by the Judicial Power and the Comptroller (…) the date of delivery (in Tucupita) was February of this year and they have barely advanced 28%. At that rate they never will finish and if this continues thus governors and mayors, ministers, if this followed then all we would have within years would be a cemetery of things that we began to do and they were not finished and we were so vagabond that we saw it and we allowed it. I respect much the autonomy of the municipal power but I am the head of the State (…) But there is a Constitution. If we have to begin to scrape mayors, we will begin to scrape mayors, if we have to begin to remove governors, we will begin to remove governors. Lady President of the National Assembly, I want to review the Constitution because they are positions with popular election, it is necessary to respect them, but there are causes, and they must be in the law, for their suspension, their removal or whatever. It cannot be that this is happening. This produces a lot of pain in me, it hurts the heart, it hurts my soul. More pains come to me. Motherland, socialism or death over everything”

Well Hugo, this simply shows why your Government simply does not work. First of all, you do not even understand the law. This has been happening for your eight years in power, the sugar plants don’t get finished, CVG Telecom does not work, Caracas is filthy, bridges fall down, roads are never built, Vargas State is as it was in 2000, all of this mostly because the people you choose (most of his Mayors and Governors were hand pickedby you among your fellow and loyal incompetent military officers) have never run even the military canteen.

The second thing you don’t not understand is that the only way to “scrape” a Governor or Mayor is for him/her to finish the term, be recalled by the people, at the midpoint of the term, have them die on the job or have a firm sentence of fraud against him/her. There is no other reason, much like so many other things you plan or say, just wishing it wouldn’t make it so. Thus, you might be the Head of State, but you cannot scrape other people elected to hold office. And your wishes are not the law or supposed to be the law.

Third, what you are complaining about is the consequence of throwing money at problems without having expert people look at it. Knowledge, not ignorance, is power. The shrimp farmers in Delta Amacuro were given about $300,000 to start the company, farm, infrastructure and all and they probably would not recognize a shrimp larvae even if they saw one. I find it hard to believe (And I know nothing about the subject) that you can start a shrimp farm with US$300,000. These Chavistas probably figured the same thing out and decide to just split the money and split themselves, and long live the revolution!

Finally, the Prosecutor, the Comptroller and the like have been too busy persecuting your enemies, under your orders to do that job, so that even if these Mayors and Governors had committed an illegality they have not been under your buddies’ radar since they are just trying to wipe out competent and efficient people like Leopoldo Lopez and Enrique Mendoza from the political map, so that your buddies can take their offices.

The problem at the end is that, as Alberto Barrera said, you think that when you are talking BS for six or seven hours each Sunday, you are working. You are not. You are doing politics. Work would have been understanding what these projects are or choosing the right people to run them. Work would have been removing street vendors seven years ago, one year after your first allowed them to invade all public spaces and not now. Work would have been to understand and study how cooperatives work best and not to complain yesterday that the textile coop has not started working, but the workers use the pool at the factory every day. Work would have been being aware that your own buddies running the Government were increasing their salaries by a factor of ten during the last ten years in the name of the revolution. Work would have been having a plan eight years ago and not eight years of useless experimentation and your “I thought of this yesterday”, day after day, week after week.

What do you expect Mr. Chavez? You seem to enjoy the perks of power, your fancy suits, the watches, the trips, your Airbus, which cost US$ 80 million. Well, these people at the textile factory have no productive job, they see the pool, and they use it. They like to enjoy these little perks too. It’s called human nature.

And that human nature is the one you fail to understand, people don’t want to sacrifice, they don’t want to be all equal, they want to improve their lives, they want to do better. They want the coop to make more money for them, not less. They can barely scrape up a living, let alone sharing the gains with the community. They don’t want socialism or death, you didn’t even ask them!

And yes, if there is no work and the pool is there, they also want to be able to use it. Why not?