A Pathetic Show with Hugo Chavez Giving Away Cars on Nationwide TV

April 6, 2011

It was truly a pathetic show. While Venezuela’s has product shortages, the electric network is suffering from years of lack of investment, most state industries don’t function, let alone pay their own way, there was Hugo Chavez giving away all of 667 cars built by Venezuela’s joint venture with Iran, called Venirauto. And then the bombastic promise (Why i it always “we will”, never )we have”) “we will build 16,000 of these cars in 2011”


Over half a million cars were sold in Venezuela in 2007 and since the Venirauto cars are just modified Peugeots which have been built in Iran for years, all Chavez has accomplished is to import parts from Iran to be assembled here, not much different than what has been done for years. Except, of course, Venirauto has a green light to bring parts, while all other struggle to get a myriad approvals from the Government.

But let’s calculate it. GDP is one trilion Boliavrs at Bs. 4.3 per US$, it is around US$ 232 billion. Chavez kidnappped the country’s airwaves, forcing Ministers to be there, to give away 667 of these cars. There are two models of these cars, one sell for the not so socialist price of US$ 26,200 and the “cheap” model for $17,400 at the official rate of exchange. (We are talking 5.5 and 53.7 times the annual minimum salary, even if Chavez said lower prices)

If we assume that half the cars are of each model, then the cars “given out” by Hugo today, were worth 14.5 million dollars or 6.2 10-5 Venezuela’s GDP. (How much was the Nationwide broadcast worth in itself? How much advertising was lost?)

So, really, what’s the bid deal? If instead of building cars to compete with the private sector, Chavez was letting his Ministers work on solving health, electricity, transportation or water problems, the “people” who can not afford one of these cars would be much better off than they are.

(Come on, even importing thousands of computers, under the very nationalistic name of Canaima is more important than this, but in the end both projects do little to improve local know how.)

But that is what makes today Chavez show so pathetic: There is no sense of orders of magnitude, no sense of the ridiculous. Chavez boasts about giving away 667 Veinrauto cars (You have to wonder if they added one at the last minute) while he is being lied about their price, which is likely to be subsidized anyway.

Just more fuel to the official BS, at a very high cost. I mean, has anyone seen a Venirauto Distributor, or is Chavez the only one?

Because Venirauto was started five years ago and as far as we know, it has yet to produce more than 4,000 cars.

It’s just not worth it.

Simply put, the military must not teach orders of magnitude in their courses, because clearly, Hugo has no clue at what size is relevant or important.

But of course, he squeezes the topic as much as he can, the picture above is today’s, but the ones below are testimony to how much hot air and time Hugo has devoted to such an irrelevant topic:

Note added: It turns out that in 2009, then Minister of Science and Technology, today Government pollster Jesse Chacon said Venirauto would make 16,000 cars in 2010, the same number Chavez is projecting for this year. More interesting, Venirauto lost money in 2010, giving up Chavez’ claim that the company makes money.

24 Responses to “A Pathetic Show with Hugo Chavez Giving Away Cars on Nationwide TV”

  1. Ira Says:

    Cesar says, “Now the web page is working again, but is so amateurish it’s embarrasing to see and the information displayed is very basic.”

    I just went there, and when you click on the list of dealers in the Frequently Asked Questions pull-down, it says Bandwidth Limit Exceeded.

    I also love the “Hecho En Socialismo” logo on the home page!

  2. Kepler Says:


    This story is a couple of years old, but it is still relevant. A relative of mine -lower middle class- thought his kids, at the end of bachillerato, could visit a free CAD course in the evenings at INCES (what was formerly INCE). They went. They found almost all other there were part of the big D and E groups. They found out the others hardly had any education and they were there because the state was actually going to pay some “bequita” to keep them there.
    They started the class not with the topic at hand but with ideological crap and with “Chávez’s efforts to diversify the economy”. My relatives, young guys but with some idea about reality thanks to their parents, were shockd to see so much ignorance.

    They were talking to the others in the pause and realised the others firmly believed what they were being told: yeah, before Venezuela was forced to import everything and now we are MAKING tractors and cars with the Iranians and computers with the Chinese”.

    This is rubbish and this happened in Valencia, of all places, where some people should have had a memory of what we were doing before.

    Those kids had no memory and their parents hadn’t told them anything about reality. Probably their fathers were in many cases not known and their mothers very young or they came from Apure or Barinas or Guárico, as a large part of the people in Southern Valencia. In any case: they have no history heritage and ral education.

    The government can wash their brain as it wants.
    And I know for a fact the opposition leaders hardly have any contact with those people. They may do that in Sucre in Caracas and they may do that in Miranda, but you cannot rescue Venezuela if you are a national party and don’t care to look but for the fiefdom you are in.

    As you know, Valencia had Ford and GM and they were doing exactly what Chávez claims to be doing many many decades ago, but on a bigger scale.

    As someone else said here, a lot of small companies popped up to service GM and Ford.

    I had relatives in Ford.
    I knew another company that provided Ford and others and that was RUALCA. RUALCA was destroyed by the government. RUALCA when Chavez came to power would already export over 90% of its wheels and other alluminum products and they were back then looking into possibilities of making more complex parts. And there were several other “RUALCA” kind of companies. They are all gone.

    In the mid nineties, shortly before leaving Venezuela, I remember I was buying some clothes and also a high-fi. I wanted to buy Venezuelan if possible, which may seem very naive, but it was possible. And so I bought many nice Venezuelan shirts and I managed to buy a radio made in Venezuela. The radio – I forgot the brand- was rather crude, but it did its work and I felt fine about helping the emerging industry.
    I remember when I arrived in Germany a couple of people remarked they liked my shirts. Those were just nice “camisas de cuadro” with nice colours as you don’t see much in Europe, colourful but not extravagant.

    As we know, all those little industries disappeared.
    A couple of years ago I went back to Venezuela and I checked if I could buy Venezuelan shirts. I got into this big big store and I started to look for them. The saleswoman thought I was out of my mind. There were just a couple of items with imported textile and that was absolutely all “made in Venezuela”. All the rest (99.99999%) was from abroad. I mean: we imported most before, but sometimes there were some options and you saw there could have been an expanding market for those options.

    Not any more.

    And the vast majority of Venezuelans have NO IDEA how badly things have deteriorated in that sense.
    The vast majority of Venezuelans know about history that their mother gave them birth, that bloody Bolívar -supposedly single-handedly, as the hundreds of thousands of others do not count- liberated Venezuela,
    that Bolívar was born on 24 June and died on 17 December 1830,
    that Manuelita was Bolívar’s lover, that the Saman de Guere this and that.
    It seems half of their brain is full with non-issues about fucking Bolívar.

    The rest? They know nothing about.
    It is about time for “national” leaders to go around Venezuela unmaking the myths Chávez has been spreading for years and years.
    Unfortunately, nobody wants to move unless he is declared the would-be-president. Nobody wants to do the real job.

  3. loroferoz Says:

    Don’t compare a real used car salesman with a violent fraud, please. Victor will get you a car provided you make the monthly payments.

    Victor actually makes a profit and a living selling cars. Victor will sell as many cars as he can and provides a service, for money. Real cars. Maybe he will exaggerate their qualities to sell. But sell he will.

    Victor will not sign a money-losing agreement with some raving religious fundamentalist because they both hate another party. Victor will not set up a fake car sale. Victor will not give away the meager products of such a non-starter. Victor will not pretend to be making and selling cars to both bamboozle and rob people under his power. Victor knows well that he has no special powers to save him if he embezzles like some other people…

    Victor might not be your ideal businessman, but he is not a tyrant, he is not a hot air merchant, and he is not an utter fraud.

    Enter Hugo Chavez and his nonexistent Iranian cars.

  4. Roger Says:

    A block away from my house is Victor’s Auto Sales. With Signs that read “credito no problemo and “we finance what we sell” in Spanglish (my third language) we understand that Victor will get you into a car even if you don’t have a green card, as long as you make the monthly payments.
    Getting back to the post…… If I wanted a picture of “Victor” , some of the pictures of Chavezi this post posing as a California used car salesman would do well! Could Chavez sell used cars in Caracas or even Santa Elena is a good question.

  5. maria gonzalez Says:

    Well the only good thing about the problems with the electricity like the ones today is that Chavez will have to limit his “cadenas” to give away cars or opening “arepera”!

  6. Dillis Says:

    It’s about time this fool sorted out the electricty. Nearly the entire country has just suffered a 2 hour outage. If think the lastest polls of 35% for Chavez will be generous if this carries on. What an a-hole.

  7. Manuel Says:

    I cant believe… the guy gives to Uruguay 10 million $ and to Venezuela he give cars… I mean he basically spit on my face… ~.~

  8. tleon Says:

    What next? Start building Lada’s I am sure that they both would have the same level of realiability.

    Just think about the number of homes that could have been built with the money that was pissed off in this bull shit show by the asshole Chevez.

  9. metodex Says:

    Chavez’s shows make Jersey Shore and Family Guy look healthy and family oriented TV shows.

    It is these kind of shows in wich the Chavismo hegemony and monopoly was created. I’m not comfortable knowing that “someday” it’ll fall,as we all know,they all fall,and nothing lasts forever.

    Take the man down, just like Carlos Andres Perez said:

    “hay que sacarlo, a empujones”

  10. Luisa Says:

    Pena Ajena… as Francisco Miranda was famously quoted:
    “Bochinche, puro bochinche”.

  11. Jeffry House Says:

    Was this a lottery? Who was eligible to win a car? Who actually won and what are their connections with Chavez?

  12. A_Antonio Says:

    Nelson, I think Chavez is bi-polar, or maniac-depressive, the medicine make him get fat.

  13. LD Says:

    It is actually worser, only 200 Venirautos: 67 Centauro and 133 Turpial,
    457 Fiat Siena (from the agreement Argentina-Venezuela) and 24 Lada (yeah, that numbers are from YVKE, so don’t ask me about the total…).
    But the shows work, look at YVKE site, almost everyone is asking for a free car too…

  14. Gavrilo Princip (too bad this is only a nickname) Says:

    The technology of those jalopies is 1980’s. They simply re-badged old Peugeots, as they have had in Iran for 20 years.

    The funny thing about this criminal (Chavez), is that when he is in front of a non-military audience, he says that:
    -“people should not buy cars” or that
    -“cars are capitalistic desire objects” or that
    -“people do not need new cars because I used to be happy with my battered Land Cruiser before it was stolen” or that
    -“wishing to own a cars is capitalistic consumerism”

    He is a fraudster and, in the end, the founder of his own malignant sect(chavismo).

    Sometimes, stricken by impotence, I wonder how can we share territory/nationality/culture with 5-6mi of ardent chavismo “believers”… Can we solve that in a generation?

    I am not religious, but only by considering chavismo a sect commanded by a criminal group can we grasp the danger and terror they pose.

  15. Cesar Says:

    You gotta hand it to them. Chavismo is a magnificent vote-getting machine. They work on the lottery principle. The probability of winning the lottery is very small, yet why not believe that one day you’ll win? Even I buy the occasional 1 euro Bonolotto ticket. The probability of obtaining any Chavismo handout is very small to, but many people believe that one day it will happen to them.

    As for the Venirauto cars, their technology or lack thereof is not too relevant. It is normal for Third World mass-market cars to be one or several generations old. The important thing is affordability (both to buy and to run, fix, etc) and robustness, so I don’t criticize these cars. And about their price, well anything computed at the official exchange rate will seem ridiculously expensive. No, my real beef with Venirauto is 1) Government has no business making cars. I’m an absolute car nut, and I welcome any new manufacturer in Venezuela, even just an assembly plant, but not government-owned and managed. By the way, an assembly plant is not a bad thing to have, because usually healthy supplier and service industries quickly develop around it. 2) There is something fishy about the whole project, because after all these years, the production output has been really low. For many of those years, the “corporate” web page was not functioning, when you google “Venirauto” what you find is thousands of people asking where and how to but the cars (at least until a couple of years ago, when the car market in Venezuela was red hot), there was, until recently, basically no information about how to get the cars. Now the web page is working again, but is so amateurish it’s embarrasing to see and the information displayed is very basic.

  16. deananash Says:

    Freedom isn’t free. Neither are cars. You gave away your freedom by voting for him, and now you’re going to have to purchase it back. Unfortunately, history shows that the price of acquiring freedom is ‘the ultimate’. (Think blood.)

  17. Antonio Says:

    I like the red shirt. I’m sure it is of a much better quality than the cars. Will he give away some of them?
    Red, of course, was the color of the British Empire.

  18. loroferoz Says:

    A millennial brand of Socialism. A messianic leader with what seems a serious case of ADHD. A politician promising and electioneering (the above leader)(permanently). Advisors, directors and ministers definitely NOT chosen for managerial expertise or professionalism. Pseudo-commercial agreements by the government to cement an alliance based on a common enmity. Subsidized prices. Runaway inflation. An impoverished population…

    Now, where do we?, in any part of this heady mixture, fit a concern for economic efficiency, accounting (or accountability), and actual sustainability of a commercial enterprise? Or let alone providing a product that will make an impact of any kind on the auto market, failing everything else?

    Answer: Nowhere that I can see. And it’s no use. There was never the slightest concern for any of the above.

    Don’t fool ourselves. These guys are worse than the worst of the Soviets. These are Third World to the core. The greatest (really intended) result of Venirauto IS what we saw today. Hugo Chavez making a grand announcement and delivering a tiny sample with pie-in-the-sky promises, to be forgotten by everyone later. Except, of course, for the bank accounts of assorted chavistas and Iranians who lined their pockets with this one day wonder.

  19. m_astera Says:

    To whom did he give these cars? (I don’t watch TV)

  20. Mike Nelson Says:

    Is it just me or is Chavez’ head actually getting bigger and bigger? Is there a medical condition, perhaps caused by a reaction to some type of medication, that would explain this?

    Of course it could be that his bullet proof vest is too tight for him now and it’s time for a new one.

  21. Bloody Mary Says:

    I disagree. He actually knows very well what he is doing: a very effective show that serves to his preservation. The people actually believe that a car is going to fall from the sky when they see him talking about cars. About the minister: They could be more efficient doing nothing at the TV than “working”….. They are worse than usless…..

  22. island canuck Says:

    I just don’t understand how 667 cars out of a market of 200.000+ has any significance.

    I would love to buy a new car. Ours is from 2005 & has more than 100.000 km. We need a new one.

    But there are none available. Used cars are more expensive than new ones.

    An Daihatsu Terios is more than BsF.200.000 on the Toyota website,
    That’s US$46.500 at the official rate for a car that wouldn’t be sold for more than US$12.000 in the USA.

    Where is the reality?

  23. Speed Gibson Says:

    I dont understand….he’s out in the open air !!! just shoot his goofy ass and be done with it

  24. Carolina Says:

    Oprah did it much better, and with her own money.

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