Looking into Venezuela’s future: Miraflores, February 4th. 2013

August 16, 2011

(The following scene was prompted by a discussion in this post in Quico’s and Juan’s blog)

Miraflores Palace, evening of Monday, February 4th., the day the new Venezuelan President was sworn in. The President asks to be connected to Raul Castro and his side of the conversation goes something like this:

-Hello Sr. Castro, is President O from Venezuela.

-Thank you, thank you. It was a hard campaign and harder now, but ready to start doing things. In any case, I am calling you after the first Cabinet meeting, which ended about half an hour ago. We have looked at what we pay for your Doctors and will unilaterally change the terms starting tomorrow. Basically, we will pay US$ 400 per month per Doctor for sixteen months a year, which amounts to US$ 128 million and we will pay the Cuban Government a 20% outsourcing fee, for a total of 153.6 million a year, which we will pay at the end of each month to each doctor and we will transfer the outsourcing fee to you.

-Oh, yes indeed, US$ 400 per month is less than what a Venezuelan Doctor makes, so you do know what a Venezuelan Doctor makes? How interesting! Well, we provide housing and utilities for your Doctors Sr. Castro, thus the difference. As for transportation charges to and from Cuba, don’t worry, we will take care of that for you from now on, we have to create some jobs and that sounds like a good way to do it.

-I know Sr. Castro, we all have problems, imagine mine with the debt and the holes Hugo left all over the place. But just think, if I send back the Doctors, you will have 20,000 more mouths to feed, I am not sure you want that either.

-No Sr. Castro, I can not add US$ 10 million more to help you out. I mean, Haiti wants only US$ 5 million and I have to wait to decide on that. And they are starving there.

-Ok, good, I am glad you understand, we have a deal on the Doctors then. The second point Sr. Castro, is that we are suspending all oil shipments to Cuba, we have noticed you have yet to make an interest payment since 2003, you had two years grace period, but it has been now ten years without a single penny coming our way.

-I know, I know, don’t get upset. We have problems too, Hugo left US$ 150 billion in debt and we are trying to put the house in order. I know you need the oil, but we also know that Cuba does not use as much oil as Venezuela sends there. We are just asking everyone that is behind on the interest payments to pay, we can negotiate terms, but also all terms will be equal to all countries, except Haiti, of course. Essentially, it’s 50% within thirty days and the remainder in 25 years, but we will charge market rates for the 25 year financing, we have our own load to pay. As for the Cienfuegos refinery, we rebuilt it for free and we have been providing the oil you sell in the international markets for three years, so we really should own it. But don’t worry, we don’t plan to make such a claim.

-Yes, I understand I can not leave Cuba without oil, but we have to negotiate payment for 12 years of oil, if you want us to send some oil, send your Minister of Finance and I am sure we can find 10 o 20 thousand barrels a day to give you a hand temporarily until you can adjust.

-I know, things are hard everywhere, but just think, with these measures Venezuela will save some US$ 16 billion a year, which means we will not incur in any new debt in the upcoming years, except with multilateral organizations. With these loans, we will buy back some debt at cheaper rates and essentially have the macro part fixed, so we can work on the hard parts, the people, reconciliation and the financial mess at every local Government institution.

-Oh yes, your country has done a great service to Venezuela in providing health care. But I am not sure it applies to the case you mention. After all, he is not amongst us now, is he?

-Goodnight Raul.

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41 Responses to “Looking into Venezuela’s future: Miraflores, February 4th. 2013”

  1. Ira Says:

    As I’ve posted before–and this is my take on the ONLY way the opposition can win–is to harp on illegal Cuban influence in VZ affairs.–something even many Chavistas don’t like.

    On many levels, both legal and social, Cuba’s involvement in VZ is both illegal and annoying to most Venezuelans, let alone the economic costs to VZ of supporting Cuba.

    Most Venezuelans, including Chavistas, don’t love the Castros. Chavistas will BIDE the Castros because Hugo tells them to, but deep inside, only but a handful of fanatics know it’s a bottomless pit of expense, with no valid returns to come from it.

    The number one and ONLY issue that will gain opposition victory is Hugo’s selling out the country to Castro. Combine that with the failure of Barrios Adentro…propose your OWN and better medical plan for the future…and you have a chance.

  2. Francisco Toro Says:

    Epa Miguel,

    Sorry I’m a day late to this thread. Anyway, it’s funny that after the test exchange on CaracasChron, it turns out we pretty much agree on a way forward.

    Part of it is about public education. Chavista rhetoric conceals the massive, multi-billion dollar political subsidy to the Castro brothers (All those Comisiones Mixtas Cuba-Venezuela) behind the rhetoric about cuban doctors and trainers and such. But the cost for the popular part of that – the doctors and trainers, etc. is in the low 9-figures. The figure for the subsidy is in the mid 10-figures, an order of difference off.

    This is something that’s never really been clearly explained in the public sphere in Venezuela. In the past, I’ve tried to explain it as the Cuban doctors paying a 90-something percent rate of income tax TO THE GOVERNMENT OF A COUNTRY WHERE THEY DON’T LIVE OR WORK on the income they make in Venezuela. But maybe the more vivid way to express this is that the doctors are just window-dressing for an gargantuan direct subsidy that’s strategic in nature.

    So yeah, let’s keep the doctors, and get rid of the subsidy!

  3. CharlesC Says:

    What if the Assembly doesn’t approve what the new president wants to do because it’s still a red one?
    A new president implies a “new mandate”- a new attitude in the country- the National Assebly – individuals- would be wise to put away their red clothing-even their red underwear- and “shape up” -ie, work for a better Venezuela –
    chavistas will fade fast -without Chavez.

    • JMA Says:

      Reading you all, I feel really proud to be a Venezuelan, something I have not felt in a long time. God is great!

  4. CharlesC Says:

    more ‘ammunition’ for the opposition.-Looking back at the last 12 years
    an obvious lack of investment by large corporations in Venezuela- in fact
    many have suffered-been nationalized, paid some monies for being taken over-some hve cases- many have laid off workers..
    No large investments in Venezuela(- except oil). So, what kind of jobs will be for Venezuelans in the future? Chavez has chased away more investments- which he seemed to relish doing-as if -“tearing up” their contracts was a joy-and apparently it was-and he continues.
    Furthermore- the “deals Chavez made” -were/are illegal. Noone gave him permission to go and spend billions whereever whenever-borrow billions for weapons-from Russia. Yes- they can be rescinded. They were made by a madman. Why should Venezuelan people pay back for his insanity forever-that is wrong.Carolina- I will not accept Chavez’s debts-he betrayed Venezuela and broke the law.

    • Caracola Says:

      Sure, but that has to be proven. If we want a new and a better Venezuela, we have to follow the constitution and the rule of law.

      We can’t do the same thing he does in order to change things. What if the Assembly doesn’t approve what the new president wants to do because it’s still a red one? Has anyone ever thought of that?

      We venezuelans tend to be too “presidential oriented” and forget that there is a process to follow. Just like the USA. Look at how Obama got to power as the mesias-yes-we-can and he hasn’t been able to do almost anything to date. I’m so afraid we will go through the same thing.

      • Carolina Says:

        Geeeez…I keep doing the same mistake. My name is Carolina. caracola is my “artistic” name. I could never be a double agent, lol.

      • CharlesC Says:

        “the Assembly” – yes- that IS a problem. They are just a “choir” for Chavez-they sing when he commands. Worthless.
        And, “chavista” judges- you know- need a thorough house-cleaning.
        I should hope many will resign and run away-to avoid being charged as “accomplices” which they are to the crimes committed by Chavez.
        Speaking of “process” – you must think Chavez followed a process-
        just like the US -No. Not really, neither do I…
        Finally Caro cola- do you call Chavez “presidential” – I call him
        a lying, thief, military dictator. Yes, Venezuela needs NEEDS
        a “good President”. Chavez will never be that-never has been.
        Question-do you think- if Chavez lives -he will continue to abuse power
        and want more absolute controll-will the National Assembly suddenly say
        No -to Chavez ? Sorry, but , we all know the answers already, don’t you?
        What exactly- “needs to be proven” to you?

  5. Armando Tavares Says:

    Ojalá y no se quede todo en pura ficción.

  6. Dr. Faustus Says:

    JMA’s proposal above is exactly correct. Well done!

  7. Roberto N Says:

    JMA:

    Nice sentiments, but let’s be practical.

    1) The elections (theoretically) are in November 2012, the new president takes over in February of 2013. Between one and the other, do you think the Cubans that want to stay are going to sit still?

    2)I would say that you should try to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Chavez lost the recall in 2004, and that therefore everything after that is null and void. Anything before, tienes razon pero vas preso brother.

    3, 4, 5 and the rest, definitely do-able, but you need to measure first.

    The G2? We’re going to have to clone Henry Lopez Sisco a few times to make headway against those bastards. And any caught, I would find a way to send to the CIA, send ’em back to Cuba, but to Guantanamo!

    • JMA Says:

      Dear Friend:

      i am not saying these things are really doable. But they should be guiding principles, because we have to take back what is rightly ours: the country. To rebuild it, we will face enormous challenges for which I personally doubt the opposition’s so called leaders are prepared to confront. It will take many decades and a totally new paradigm in terms of behavior. In other words, sweat, tears, and possibly, blood. Don’t underestimate us brother, our true army officers will love to hunt them down.

      • JMA Says:

        The last sentence was meant to say: “As for the G2 scum, don’t underestimate us brother. Our true army officers will love to hunt them down.”

  8. JMA Says:

    Sorry Miguel. As much as appreciate your efforts, I don’t agree with your new measures as “president.” Here the ones I would implement:
    1. Round up every Cuban in Venezuela for immediate deportation to Cuba. No exceptions. The ones who are called “doctors” get to leave first. (This is close to my heart, since I am a physician).
    2. Immediate invalidation of any deal ever made since Chavez came to power with the Cuban, Nicaraguan, Bolivian, Ecuadoran, Argentinian, Brazilian, Paraguayan, Uruguayan, Salvadoran, Honduran, Iranian, Syrian, Palestinian, and Chinese governments (I probably left some others out). Denounce those deals as made under a non-lawful dictatorship to the detriment of the interests of the republic.
    3. Immediate suspension of oil delivery to Cuba and Petrocaribe affiliated governments. No more long-term payment agreements with any country. Our sale of oil will be done exclusively on the same terms as those we use with U.S. We can no longer be nice guys with this. We just can’t afford it.
    4. Immediate legal action against Cuba to try to recuperate the money that they owe us (Wishful thinking, I admit).
    5. Those Cubans who demonstrably have been working for the G2 to support the Chavez regime, would be immediately incarcerated and put on trial. If found guilty of high treason, they get to serve their time in Venezuela with absolutely no chance of parole.
    6. Immediate suspension of any financial aid to any country currently receiving it. With so much poverty and economic destruction in Venezuela, we can ill afford it. We have to take care of our own first. As for the rest, well, too bad, but we are not responsible for their troubles. Let the truly rich nations help them. We are NOT a rich nation. They have much more means than we do.

    I can probably think of many more measures, but these would be a great start.Greetings!

    • CharlesC Says:

      You are so right. Thank you for your statement.
      I hope every opposition candidate swears
      to enact everything you say here if elected.
      (You left out Russia, Belorussia, Libya, others..)


      • JMA: Well, at least I hope you will support me in my efforts, he, he

        Anyway. I really dont believe there are 20,000 Cuban Doctors, you would have to start by determining how many Barrio Adentro modules are active. I would be nice to keep them running. The reason I dont believe in such a large number is that the original plan was for 6,000 modules, but if I recall correctly, only 4,500 or 4,800 were actually built. There are 60%+ closed, so we are talking about no more than 3,000, with 3 Doctors each. You will have to understand whether you can run them with local doctors or not.

        As to the rest, you are being more radical than me, which it’s ok, I dont know how this financing is being accounted for, how big is the hole, etc. If it were real financing, I would not be against it, the trick is that if you financed it with real terms, nobody would want it, so I am being polite and diplomatic.

        • Carolina. Says:

          I understand the radical feeling, we all have them.
          But something like the invalidation of the stupid deals that have been made…is that even legal? I don’t think it’s too different that the deals that Chavez broke taking us to I-don’t-know-how-many lawsuits in international courts, and we can’t afford to have any more!
          Imagine China losing the rights over the faja. They won’t let it go that easy.
          I am not lawyer but my gutt feeling is that those deals may have to be renegotiated first and if there is no agreement, then suspended.

          • JMA Says:

            Without question, the deals made with China surely are of a very complex nature, and it would be difficult to simply discard them. I agree that at first it would be better to try to renegotiate them. As for the rest of the countries mentioned, well, f….’d them. We have lost any international respect we had before this clown came to power. Time to make things right.

        • JMA Says:

          Miguel: As a physician who knows the reality of public medicine in Venezuela, I can tell you that the Barrio Adentro program is totally worthless. First of all, you don’t try to fix a problem by creating another one.
          Barrios, albeit a reality, are truly an anomaly. They are exactly how people are not supposed to live. The ambulatory clinic network already in existence before this asshole came to power would have been enough if it had been well maintained and supplied. But, alas, the endemic corruption in the country would not allowed it. I do not know how many Cubans Castro sent to Venezuela. However, they all have to get out. No exceptions.

      • JMA Says:

        Mi sincere excuses: I would also like to spit on the flags of Russia, Bielorussia, Libya, and the others… LOL!!!! Special comment about Brazil: those bastards helped Chavez to break out our strike against him. I still can remember the smell of the their gasoline in our streets. I can also remember how they participated in the construction of that little new bridge over the Orinoco River, that was perhaps the most expensive to build per Km. Those bastards are imperialists, they have benefited from Chavez largesse with our money, and supported him to the detriment to our country. If it were up to me, I would cut off any type of relations save for some basic diplomatic ties. BTW, I hope that those that cheer Brazil’s soccer team end up in hell!!!

        • CharlesC Says:

          You are so right- the Brazilians have been laughing behind Chavez’s back all the way to the bank. What a moron.
          Chavez is moonstruck when he thinks about S. America-his arse is way over his head.( I hve yet to see a day when Chavez -appeared normal- in my opinion)

          • JMA Says:

            We have to understand that Chavez, the delusional ignorant in words of the great Uslar Pietri, was elected purely on emotion, precisely from the ignorant who elected him in the first place. When the educated elite recognize their responsibility in leading the country, then we will be in the path of social and economic stability.

      • JMA Says:

        Thank you for your comment, CharlesC. It is very refreshing to have a rely from someone like you, because it indicates that there are Venezuelans that think with a precious mind. Alas, not everything is lost!.

    • island canuck Says:

      Right on JMA

      My feelings exactly
      Most largess by this government is 100% political in nature & is not affordable.


  9. It’s about 6 billion from the daily oil we send to Cuba. Another 6 billion paying for doctors and another 3 or 4 billion in Petrocaribe, Argentina oil that gets 50% of which is financed at 2% for 25 years. Fonden would add to it, but I dont know how much it is.

  10. Roberto N Says:

    Loved the post!

    Your only mistake was in calling those Cubans Doctors.

    Doctors they are not, at best they are advanced Nurses, y eso de vainita…………….

    As much as I liked the post, you do need to answer how President O is going to deal with the moles left behind. Because you can count on it, there will be moles left that will give our own intelligence services plenty of work in the coming years.

    I trust President O will have an answer to that

    • Roy Says:

      Roberto,

      I was thinking the same thing about how difficult it will be to excise the Cuban intelligence personnel from Venezuela. Operating to remove a metastasized brain tumor would be easier.


  11. How did you come up with the 16 billion?. can u show us the calculation?

  12. island canuck Says:

    Unfortunately for exactly the reasons outlined in Miguel’s great story there will never be such an event. They won’t allow it. Democracy is dead in Venezuela.

    They have continually repeated that they won’t allow the opposition to return. Believe them.


    • I have been in Berlin when students started to overthrow the “muro”, nobody could believe what was happening, I just remember a confusion, East Germany police and military left weapons on the floor, there was not a shoot. I leant one thing: political power is something is ephemeral, one day you strong hold it, the following day, it goes is such an easy way, it is only for historians to tell us how all that happened…the life goes on………………… Liberty, life and property is just one whole thing, when you try to separate them, you get into trouble. I am sure you might have heard about the Locke trilogy….

      • CharlesC Says:

        ” political power is something is ephemeral, one day you strong hold it, the following day, it goes is such an easy way, it is only for historians to tell us how all that happened…the life goes on………………… Liberty, life and property is just one whole thing, when you try to separate them, you get into trouble”
        This I have always believed with Venezuela- one day enough people will awaken and say “enough-get out Chavez!”
        ( I thought the same thing would happen in Cuba, too)

  13. amieres Says:

    In fact that conversation doesn’t need to take place in Feb. 2013 it can happen in Dec during the transition.
    Pres. O can also let Castro and the cubans know that those cubans with more than 3 years in the country that wish to become residents will be allowed to do so and also allowed to practice legally as soon as they revalidate their titles. In the mean time they’ll be granted special status so they can continue working and earn a living. Those that wish to emigrate somewhere else will also be allowed to do so.

    By Feb 2013 90% will already be out of the country.

  14. CharlesC Says:

    Next “conversation with Raul” -about those Generals and military trainers. Well,we don’t need any or them anymore.
    We are switching our military to some new roles- mainly a “Conservation Corps:” going out planting trees, working on flood control, fixing roads, building fences, working inrural areas-building parks and nature preserves,
    We are going to take some of our young people out into field army barracks and they will work alongside our military on these projects too.
    Maybe some of your experts can go help those fellas in Zimbabwe for example…
    We are halting all weapons purchases and using the money to buy building equipment and materials for housing, infrastructure projects, clinics, schools, and we suggest you do the same,
    Fact is, all of your “experts” are being released from duties here in Venezuela- our new policy is to hire Venezuelans.
    You know, your Cuban comrades-they just did not get along will with “el pueblo’ anyway-we had little in common. We got tired of parasite/host game..
    Raul, get a life-before it is too late. It is too late for Fidel-and too late for Chavez-but you- when is the last time you visited France. Sorry, can’t come to
    Venezuela and we will not be coming by to visit you either..

  15. Buster Hymen Says:

    great story…..if only…… it would be great to see the commies get their due…. perhaps if the cubans get hungry enough they will start lynching the neighborhood snitches and move up the ladder from there…….then that little shit from Facebook could just buy the whole island

  16. CharlesC Says:

    Brilliant!! I kiss you!


  17. ” O ” stands for “the other”

  18. moctavio Says:

    I am a nerd (like you) raton de biblioteca, happier at home than on the road.

    Not fit…

  19. Juan Cristóbal Nagel Says:

    Run Miguel Run!

  20. moctavio Says:

    He, he. President Octavio, of course!! (Who is not running!)


  21. Just a minor question, who was elected President ?


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