Archive for May 5th, 2010

Soaring swap rate, corruption, shortages and limited primaries welcome me back to Venezuela

May 5, 2010

(Dear Father, I ask that when I resucitate, it may not happen in the Republic of Venezuela)

I went away for ten days and really managed to keep my mind as far away from Venezuela as possible, something which is becoming harder and harder to do. And I must say, it was not only fun to get away but also to ignore the growing problems of our land.

And I come back with the currency soaring and reaching all time lows and the Government, as usual, refusing to take responsibility for its total incompetence and lack of coordination. It helps little when those in the key positions of responsibility have no clue as to what they are doing, but if on top of that they disagree and bicker over policy, it simply gets worse and worse. And thus, while the Government looks for culprits, the enemy is within and the swap rate soars without control. Any fool that believes that the swap rate does not matter to the masses is either nuts, or very ignorant, or simply both.

And Venezuela continues to bleed from corruption, as another Argentinean scandal hits the press. When the buddies of the Kirchner’s and even companies related to past and present Ministers and high Government officials of Mr. and Mrs. K, receive a 15% commission for doing business with Chavez’ Government, you have to wonder how much dirtier it has to get for Chavez to do anything about it. Chavez with his typical “who me?” attitude dismisses the charges, once again turning into prosecutor, judge and jury, deciding that like Maletagate (some of the principals are coincidentally the same) nothing should be investigated. It is as usual a “plot” by the “enemies” of Venezuelan-Argentinean friendship or the like.

And history will judge these “left wing” heroes like Chavez and Lula, on the one hand claiming to care about democracy and the people and on the other allowing corruption to run rampant and naming Mr. Kirchner to preside a less than democratic institution like Unasur, a “union” that only includes those they sympathize with them and will go the way of other useless and irrelevant institutions like the OAS, because they have been either reduced or created just to promote the personal interests of a few. Chavez gives away the farm, Argentina’s oil company never paid US$ 600 million to PDVSA, corruption in inter Government deals is rampant, but Chavez the clown is allowed to appoint kings to empty fiefdoms.

Meanwhile, Chavez’ own election did not go well for him. You can bicker about abstention and whether enough people showed up or not, but you can not argue that it was successful. But the numbers are remarkable, of the 106 “loyal” Deputies of the current National Assembly that aspired to repeat, a meager 22 were able to squeak by, giving clear indication that they got there because of Chavez, have no constituency and did so little in their four year tenure that nobody wants to vote for them.

But even more interesting is that “renown” figures of the robolution like that despicable character Mario Silva or the murderous shooter from Puente El Llaguno Richard PeƱalver did not get there either. Instead what is considered the “right-wing” of the revolution, led by Diosdado Cabello, scored a small victory by being more organized and preserving more loyalty from his followers that Chavez managed to do. Of course, some of the losers in these stage will be re-anointed by Chavez guaranteeing the level of loyalty that Chavez the Dictator likes to have.

And the little Dictator showed his class by insulting a reporter for the biggest of all sins: questioning the almighty leader. Cubans are good he said and in any case, he does not have to defend his position. But then he proceeded to do exactly that for half an hour. Next time, only loyal press at the press conference to insure that Chavez’ autocratic and personalistic view can be espoused without impertinent questions by brain washed reporters of the opposition and only the paid slaves of the robolution can ask questions.

And thus I am back, still tired and recovering from resting too much and partying some. The water is back for the time being but the shelves at the supermarket did not look great. To the Argentinean story I will return with more details, but I leave the primaries behind, both sides failed democracy, choosing at will and violating the spirit and the letter of the Constitution.Let’s see what happens in September.

As for the economy, not doing very well so far, soon the Central Bank will let us in on the secret of the first quarter GDP numbers , maybe that jolt will wake up Chavez, Merentes or Giordani, but I doubt it.