Archive for June 18th, 2009

The robolution is stealing Venezuela

June 18, 2009

Politically, Chavez has slowly taken away spaces from Venezuelans over the last ten years. One way or the other, institutions have fallen under the control of Chavez and his cronies and even those gained in elections by the opposition are threatened and ripped off by the Government, as roughly half of the Venezuelan population has lost its political rights.

At the same time, the revolution has stolen more and more spaces of the economy by having the Government take over companies, factories and whatever are of influence Hugo Chavez feels should be under the influence of the State.

But there is an even more pernicious take over taking place, that of the limited spaces of the Venezuelan economy where the private sector still plays a role. But this limited and remaining space is slowly being taken over by the robolutionaries, the so called boli-bourgeois, those than have enriched themselves under the shadow of the revolution and now are on a spending spree, buying out, fairly or not, whatever they can get their hands on in order to “clean” their ill-gotten fortunes.

When I began writing posts about the corruption levels going on in the robolution, many, including anti-Chavez people were skeptical of what I was saying. Fortunately, there were cases such as Maletagate, which revealed the lavish spending habits by the nouveau rich of the revolution, as well as the origin of their wealth under the silent shadow of Hugo Chavez and his fanatics.

But if there was silence on some of those cases of corruption, despite the fact that they were blatant and obvious, there is an even more dangerous process taking place: The buyout of ongoing companies by robolutionaries that under no circumstance could possibly justify the origin of the funds used to buy these institutions.

I have mentioned how a number of banks have mysteriously been purchased by unknown people, such as the case of Banco Bolivar, Confederado and Banpro. I have also mentioned the expansion of Bankinvest under the watchful supervision of Jesse Chacon’s brother, who according to this well documented post had no known employment until a few years ago. But today we hear that they also purchased Seguros La Previsora for US$ 185 million and the Chavistas that are irked by the smallest movement of Globovision and its owners, say absolutely nothing. The Comptroller, the same ruffian that disqualified Leopoldo Lopez politically because he used (with approval) money from one part of the budget on another, but found Merentes innocent when he borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars unnecessarily in a year in which Venezuela had a fiscal surplus, somehow says nothing. Mr. Ruffian: Where did these people with no known economic activity find the half a billion dollars spent in acquiring respectable businesses in the last two or three yeras?

And will the Insurance Superintendent approve with the same complacency as the Superintendent of Banks approves that of banks, the purchase of La Previsora?

Strange how regulations were speedily and expediently issued so that any transfer of property of a media outlet, TV or radio, has to be approved by the Government first, but banks and insurance companies are traded like baseball cards with the complicity of the authorities in those fields. In some cases the “new” owners are very obscure, have no banking experience as required by law, or are not even announced.

And one has to wonder if the Maldonado family, the former owner of La Previsora sold because they wanted to sell or they were made an offer “they could not refuse” as in the case of one of those banks that was magically sold after one of its owners was kidnapped a couple of years ago.

In the end, there is a slow take over of the private sector by the new oligarchs. They have more money than the old oligarchy ever dreamed of, which means that in the end they will outlast Chavez and his empty revolutionary project. They will move into the best neighborhoods in the East of Caracas and they will make sure to be ready for the “transition”, whether in two or twenty years, when they will be able to exercise power with their money and become the new elite, albeit one that never worked one day for it.

Thus, the robolution is stealing Venezuelan outright. It is the ultimate arbitrage: Get free money dealing with the Government so that you can buy legitimate businesses than in a few years everybody will have forgotten how you ended up buying them. Hope that Chavez never decides to take you over, but even then you are likely to come out ahead.

And, of course. Stay quiet. Don’t ruffle feathers. Go to Alo president if invited. Don’t meet with active military should anyone think you are conspiring. Just live and let live. Say socialism every time you talk to your employees. Mention your last meeting with Chavez when you meet with your workers. Steal and let steal, while your name and family gain the sudden prominence of the new robolutionaries, which in time will become the new oligarchs.

And there are new commissions to be charged everyday, insuring that the robolution steals Venezuela from the Venezuelans.