Venezuela Inflation In One Picture

January 21, 2013


Venezuelans complain a lot about inflation. The December CPI was 3.3% for the month of December of which 5.4% was for Food and Beverages.

But nothing prepares you for it. I went out my first day, went to the Chacao “Mercado Libre”. On the way,  I bought El Nacional, then I got some peaches and finally a delicious Palmi Zulia chunk from Maracaibo.


El Nacional Bs. 9 US$ 2.1 at the official rate of exchange

Two Peaches Bs. 9.6 US$ 2.23 for two small peaches

405 grams of Palmi Zulia Bs. 38 US$ 8.8 per $

Total US$ 13.1

You may say: Who can buy or get $ at Bs. 4.3 per $.

Very few people, but tell that to the guy who makes the cheese or produces the peaches competing with imported fruit.

As for El Nacional, newsprint is largely imported at Bs. 4.3 per US$.


86 Responses to “Venezuela Inflation In One Picture”

  1. CarlosElio Says:

    I like Palmizulia. Is is possible to get it in the US?

    • concerned Says:

      I believe the point of the post is that if the trend continues, you will not be able to get it in Venezuela.

    • Glenn Says:

      Of course. Houston has it at Phonecia market. I’m thinking to buy it there retail and ship to Venezuela for a profit.

  2. Paramo Says:

    I don’t get it. Is it that expensive? I’ve been for long time out of Venezuela and don’t get easily the value of the BsF. Eight bucks for almost 0.5 kg of PalmiZulia seems to me like good deal. Since being abroad it looks like a dream to me and I could be willing to pay even more! However, the value of the “bolivarianos” is currently reduced to a third of their face value. So, I think is very confusing.

    • megaescualidus Says:

      $13.1 for 4 items is really expensive

    • Ricardo Says:

      I live in the US. If I had to pay $13 for a newspaper, two pieces of fruit, and a pound of cheese, I’d call it highway robbery.

    • Atarkus Says:

      Remember that the new Bolívar fuerte is equivalent to 1.000 former Bolívares. Ahora un toronto cuesta Bs 5, es decir Bs 5.000 de los de antes de 2008. El dolar oficial no es el que rige en la vida real. Es imposible para una persona gastar BsF digamos: 13 en transporte +90 en comida si tiene que comer afuera ,y aún llevandose la comida al trabajo. Eso suma mas o menos 2.266 BsF para esa persona solamente, en transporte y comida (hay quienes tiene que gastar en transporte diariamente Bs 24, como quien vive en S. Antonio y trabaja en Caracas ) No estamos contando el resto de los gastos mínimos como los relativos al aseo, ni electricidad, agua, alquiler o condominio, ni salud, seguros, etc. Si el salario mínimo (que es lo que gana la mayoría) es de BsF 2.047,52, cómo hace una familia por mas pequeña que sea?. Es imposible vivir con ese salario miserable.

      “..Los precios en bolívares crecieron en términos generales entre 75% y 100% desde octubre de 2012. Ello porque en el mercado paralelo de divisas, que a pesar de estar prohibido aun funciona, se produjo en el lapso señalado una depreciación del bolívar de 100%, en Venezuela es prohibido decir en los medios de comunicación cuánto cuesta un dólar en ese mercado, sin embargo es un secreto a voces…”

      En el mercado paralelo el dólar está por encima de Bs 18. Es imposible conseguir el dólar a precio “oficial” De forma que si la jornada de trabajo es de 7 horas, 22 días al mes, la hora de trabajo se paga con 13,3 BsF aprox., lo cual te dá BsF 93 diarios, que no te alcanza para el transporte y comida de lunes a viernes..

      na guará!

  3. Andres F Says:

    What did you like more the cheese or the peaches?

  4. ald Says:

    Paramo — ti is confusing, but of course you value money in your current currency context, probably Dollars, but under a Venezuelan context, where people earn a lot less (in real terms) I’m sure it is very expensive.

  5. Dr. Faustus Says:

    And there are price regulations on many products as well. How does a company like ‘Polar’ stay in business? Polar is private, yet I assume they must comply with government price controls. Are they forced to sell some of their products below the purchase cost? It’s complete insanity.

    • megaescualidus Says:

      For a long while already one strategy of the Government is to control the food supply, thru the implementation of “Pudrveal”, Mercal, regulated prices and expropriations. A large food supplier like Polar is against that strategy, so by extension, getting rid of Polar has been within the Government’s objectives. The fact it hasn’t happened yet spooks me (I would think if the Government decided to move ahead at full steam and get rid of Polar it would have already been done).

  6. Bruni Says:

    8$ for almost a pound of cheese is not that expensive. Here I buy the closest thing, which is an arab fresh cheese and it is at least 22 $/kilo.

    As for the peaches…is that durazno or peaches? If it is durazno, that’s expensive because they are local. If it is peaches…Why on earth are you going out buying peaches in Venezuela?!

    • its local cheese, local peaches, duraznos from El Jarillo, purchased from grower directly….I need fruit. I dont pay 22 dollars a pound in the US unless it is a specialty cheese from abroad, imported manchego I can get for $14 a pound.

    • shootoutloss Says:

      you can thank the dairy marketing boards for cheese being that expensive

    • Ricardo Says:

      You’re comparing the sale price of an imported specialty cheese to the sale price of a locally produced cheese? I know we’re often accused of living in a bubble, but for fuck’s sake, Bruni. Might as well claim Coke isn’t that expensive in Venezuela, since you pay more for champagne.

    • Ricardo Says:

      Or, for further perspective away from food comparisons, my mom (in Maracaibo) asked me what my electric bill is like in the US. I told her I pay about $180 a month. She was shocked, and told me she only pays 180 Bs.F. Then I explained what that $180 means to the average US salary, vs. what the 180 Bs. F. is to the average Venezuelan salary. That drove it home.

  7. pablortega (@pablortega) Says:

    I’ll try to make a fair comparison using Mexican products:
    2 peaches 40pesos/kilo and let’s say there are 10 peaches in a kilo, so 8 pesos.

    Queso Oaxaca (local cheese that also has to travel quite a distance to get to where I live) 100 pesos per kilo, 500grams= 50 pesos

    Newspaper 10 pesos

    Total= 68 pesos or about 6 US$

    Less than half and salaries in Mexico are way better than in Venezuela.

    I left Venezuela 10 years ago, and have been going back almost once a year for 2 weeks or so. The first couple of years things were around 30% cheaper in Venezuela than here. Then they began to be get really close. Last year when I when visit I could not believe, everything was 60-100% more than here. I what is even worst is that you cannot buy what you want but they have in stock.

    Mamá que aceite quieres que lleve? El que consigas mijo….

    • Juan Tabares Says:

      Antes las mamas te decian que marca, tamaño y si no les traias las que querian ardia troya!

      Pero ahora… ahora solo se limitan a decir: El que consigas mijo….

      Hay algunos que se atreven a decir que estamos mejor que antes…

  8. Carolina Says:

    In Calgary:

    Peaches – $1.68 / kilo. Two peaches would be about 350 grs. so $0.70.
    Newspaper – about $1.5
    Cheese is not cheap. there is a venezuelan cheese made locally that’s about that price, so let’s say $8.00/500 grs.

    Total: $About $10.50.

    • M Rubio Says:

      My son-in-law lives in El Frio in Tachira near the Colombian border. He buys lots of supplies in Colombia for his motorcycle business. He called the other day and said the going rate for US$ right now is 24 bs/$.

    • spanows Says:

      OK, and at purchasing power parity? Wages in Canada compared to Venezuela would make the difference even greater.

  9. Rafael Vicente Says:

    Miguel, end of travel to reach the empire, as Chavistas say, but a friend with $ 4.00, eat two person at Walmart, ie by BsF. 17.20, to $ 4.30 in CADIVI, in that restaurant eat two person in Venezuela by that amount, or the Socialist Arepera, eat for that amount

  10. Kepler Says:

    Guys, on one side it is interesting to compare things like that to measure competitiveness and on the effects on tourists.
    On the other side, the most interesting part if you want to feel the purchasing power of Venezuelans is to find out

    how many kilos of cheese/peaches/units of newspaper can the average worker buy with his salary in Venezuela/USA/Canada.

    I am, by the way, trying to find that out, also asking people who are in areas C and D, pro and anti-Chavez (also to see their state of mind and their connections)

  11. syd Says:

    There’s more than meets the eye in the comparison game. Because not only are items expensive in Venezuela, but the prices are truly outrageous when you factor in the chaos, the poor state of infrastructure, the appallingly high rate of homicides, etc., etc., etc.

    • Kepler Says:

      Eso es todo producto de la matriz de opinión, mi amor. En Noruega también matan. (I am just quoting)

      Seriously: those who have never been abroad (beyond the border with Colombia or Brazil, perhaps) don’t know what they are missing.
      The vast majority of boliburgueses going to Florida, Paris, etc (a minority but a powerful one) do know things are different but 1) they also know they won’t be able to have the luxuries they have now if the system changes and they actually have to make a living and 2) are still so obnoxiously blind to their own crappy ideology to see anything else.

      So, after all, what that Chavista ombudsperson said is true: it is a matter of perception. We are unfortunate to perceive reality.

  12. arco Says:

    If you change your dollars on the black market at 20bsf/1$ the total costs 2$! and that is really cheap.

    • liz Says:

      First of all, we don’t earn dollars, but bolivares. And the average Venezuelan works for minimum salary, which is around Bs. 2000/month.

      • gordo Says:

        Then, in black market dollars us, the average Venezuelan works for $100 per month. That should be the same as China… or even less! This is what people are earning, and they think Chavez is a god?

      • Kepler Says:

        Gordo, but that is not the reasoning either. Those people are not changing their money into dollars. Could you for a moment think from the perspective of those people, not dollars?

        They spend their money in Venezuela and most of those things they get from abroad (which are a lot) get so far the preferential dollar.

        I repeat yet again: if you want to really compare things from their perspective, you have to find out for what they buy stuff and how much of that stuff they can buy with their salaries.

        This is pretty basic stuff.

        I remember as a child getting this explanation of how the German economy recovered from the war. They listed a number of products and put:
        for 1 kilogram of butter, for a litre of mik, for a cinema ticket, for a bike, for a car a German worker had to work X hours in 1948, 1955, 1965…etc

        On top of that you need to remember a few mothers are getting some kind of “beca alimentaria”.
        Also: Mercal centres are LIKELY to be closer to their houses, not to your relatives’ houses.

        Still, we talk about low standards, but not as low as you might think.

        • Gordo Says:

          Then, how much salary is needed to survive? How many Bolivares is needed for say a family of four to subsist?

          • Kepler Says:

            I don’t know exactly. I am trying to have a better feeling of it by asking around to a lot of people, but that is just personal stuff.

            Look: the standard of life in Venezuela is going to pot. We know that. The thing is: this is complex.

            In Venezuela most people cannot pay the rent for a flat with average salaries. On the other side, lots of people live ‘arrimados’.

            A Venezuelan poor is more likely to have a huge flat screen than a poor here, in a rather wealthy area of Europe. He will also be able to get enough food through Mercal and stuff like that if he lives in the right place, a better variety than very poor people here. He doesn’t need heating. He doesn’t pay for electricity.

            But that Venezuelan poor doesn’t know here everybody here has a good health service. And there are mostly good schools here whereas in Venezuela you really have to be rich to get a chance of having some decent education now.

            I know a couple of people looking for employees in Venezuela. They have a hell of a time trying to find workers in many areas. Why? Those men and women who used to work for textile companies before are now at home with their scholarship…and some of them with Haier washing machines and TVs.
            They don’t know those machines were bought with oil that should have help to improve their children’s schools. And they don’t know how bad their children’s schools are. They don’t know how bad Venezuela’s hospitals are.

            They have no idea and we don’t tell them. Our leaders go to Florida or Europe every Christmas after election time but they forget to spend time in Venezuela explaining what they see as normal from abroad, things most Venezuelans don’t have really idea about.

            Those in Venezuela? They see on VTV and the like that in Spain people are losing their homes because they can’t pay. And they see they have something. They don’t see in Spain people have public services Venezuelans would dream abou. Chavez voters don’t know the murder rate in Spain is just 1/60 what they have in the Land of Grace.

            So: it is, after all a matter of perception. Most Venezuelans don’t know they are getting the crumbles

        • Gordo Says:

          Kepler, what is considered “poverty”, i.e. the poverty census report?

          • Atarkus Says:

            The truth that a family of 4 needs at least BsF 8000 or more to survive. It is easy to calculate. I can tell you.. And the poverty census is done by gov people calculating in the PDVSA dollars, not what we have to pay in a country that imports 85% of food and different items

  13. Kepler Says:

    But that is irrelevant for José Rodríguez or María García.
    Most Venezuelans have never left the country nor do they have access to dollars legally or not.

  14. John Barnard Says:

    Average cheese price in the U.S. is about $4.00 unless you’re talking about premium or imported cheeses which can easily be three times that amount.

    • NorskeDiv Says:

      True, you can pay almost any amount you could possibly want to on the high end for cheese. I’ve seen Cheese for over $25 a pound. I’m sure that wasn’t the most expensive cheese in the world.

  15. Pedro Says:

    If currency exchange rate is an indicator of financial health then the size of Venezuelan arses and waistlines indicates an unlimited access to food.

    And the Venezuelans are now extremely large. Long gone are the attractive women of this country.

    And gasoline is still Bs0.7, yes less than Bs1, per litre. Fill up your car for less than $2 !! Sod the peaches.

    Sat next to a woman booking a return airfare to Canada. Venezuela -Trinidad-two stopovers in Canada-Trinidad-Venezuela. Less than Bs 1500 ! At the parallel rate that’s $750. And she’s probably flying Business class too.
    Living is cheap in Venezuela, artificially so.
    How do you tell the people they are lucky to be able to put fuel in a car, travel cheaply and buy as many legs of pork they want at the local Mercal ?
    Only in Venezuela.

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      “And gasoline is still Bs0.7, yes less than Bs1, per litre. Fill up your car for less than $2 !! Sod the peaches.”

      Sod the peaches indeed.

      There may be too few people buying expensive, yet healthy peaches (see above) and too many buying cheap margarine/lard sprinkled with inexpensive sugar. Disgusting thought, but you get the idea. Subsidies have consequences. Venezuela wastes more gasoline than anywhere on earth and, before long, Venezuela will compete with Tonga as being the obese center of the universe. All because of government subsidies.

    • m_astera Says:

      Cheap refined carbohydrates are what causes fat. The body burns (healthy) fats in the diet preferentially as fuel and uses proteins for growth and repair, but carbohydrates, especially cheap refined carbs like pan arena, white rice, pan trigo, and sugar (all subsidized, all cheap), are stored as fat.

      When what the poor can afford is subsidized refined carbohydrates, that is what they will eat. And that is why they are fat. Not from an oversupply of food but from an oversupply of cheap, refined, subsidized carbohydrates.

    • Actually, gas is at 0.07 for 91-octane (or 0.097 for 95-octane), not 0.7.

      It’s almost impossible to have people understand that all these price controls are pan pa’ hoy, hambre pa’ mañana.

      • Pedro Says:

        Yeh, that makes a big difference.

        And yesterday I watched a few of the extremely obese Venezuelans going about their shopping in Margarita.
        In the shopping mall there are a number of the battery operated motability three wheel bikes for rent. In normal worlds they are used and made available to those who are physically handicapped in one way or another.

        In Venezuela they are used for the overwight and ‘too lazy to walk’ types. And were they of the poor peasant variety as they sped from from one designer shop to another as many would have you believe ?

        Oh hell no. They were, you might say, ‘well heeled characters’.

        It isn’t about how Chaves has corrupted the poor morally or indeed physically. There are many poor at work whose integrity is well above those who have made money from the Bs4.3 economy, and they have made lots.

        It would appear that the vast majority of Venezuelans from all levels of society are only too willing to be bought. Some are bought with Bs whilst others are bought with $.
        Indeed they have all the symptoms but the for sale sign hung around their necks.

  16. Kepler Says:

    On poverty and reports, perhaps Miguel will know more.
    I don’t know much, but look at this crap:
    and more recently

    Look specially at the definition he uses to defined extreme poverty.
    There is nothing like in other countries about the difference between people’s income with the average income or about the capacity of someone to pay with their own salary for the minimal needs to survive.
    It is all about fluffy parametres, several of which can be massaged a lot.

    I find the reports from the government completely irrelevant. From what I have seen, indeed people’s purchasing power went up until 2007 approximately, they had more dosh in their pockets than in the tough years of late nineties.
    That’s no wonder, as we know from Venezuela’s Alpha and Omega, oil prices.

    Then it has stagnated and started to go down.

    Chavismo measures poverty distinctly whether they want to report they have reduced poverty (in which case it is a smaller percentage) or whether the poor support them (in which case poverty percentage rises).

    It’s like with employment: supposedly we have even less unemployment than Germany right now (7%). In reality over half the Venezuelan population doesn’t have a “real job”. Half of the population is working in the informal sector because else they would starve and there are no unemployment or social benefits for them as in Germany. A couple of millions are on some bequita and thus not working but watching TV and rascándose las bolas or acomodándose el sostén.

    • Gordo Says:

      Well, then the question is: Does the minimum wage in Venezuela considered to be above the poverty line?

      • Atarkus Says:

        The minimum wage is not enough to live for one person, unless he/she does not pay rent nor electricity nor other services!

        If you have to pay from mondey to friday BsF 80 to 110, only for transport and one or two meals, it would be about 22 days x 100, this is 2200, and minimum wage is 2047. Only one person. And the rest of the family? If you have children, if your wife cannot work? If you have to care for your old parents?

        You need to pay medicines, healthcare, what you wear, dentist, etc. Most of the people earns minimum wage. It is not enough for one person. Not all receive money for nothing. A small percentage (mainly the governemnt people) receive many times the minimum wage, and bonuses. The social benefits are not enoigh for all the people inpoverty.

  17. John Barnard Says:

    What are Venezuelans doing with all that margarine?

  18. firepigette Says:

    It is extremely difficult to calculate the price of living in Venezuela and compare it to somewhere else,just as it is to compare any country in any way.These comparisons are false and do not take into account many factors, when seen in the light of just plain numbers for products etc.

    As someone who has to send money to family there for various reasons , I see this quite clearly.

    It is much easier to live in Venezuela ( money wise) than it is to to live here in the US.If it were for the money, I would never have left there.People in Venezuela do not have the financial responsibilities we have here in the US and it is far easier there to find odd jobs and survive than it is here.Here nobody can survive on odd jobs, and one has to compete with loads of overqualified people to obtain a post.

    The problem I see in Venezuela is not money.It is crime ; it is injustice on all levels, insecurity on many levels, deteriorating infrastructures, and values,difficulties in obtaining important medicines, and the overpowering awareness of the difficulty of having a future honestly obtained.

    Even to this day I know quite a few citizens of the US who remain in Venezuela precisely because they do not know how they can survive financially in the US, despite having a good education and a US passport, AND family living here.

    Quite frankly it irritates me to hear about any financial woes in Venezuela because I think most people have it easier there than they would elsewhere in this area.

    I think emphasis should be placed on the horrifying lack of justice one encounters there in all walks of life, destroying the moral fabric of the people and putting lives in danger everyday.

    • M Rubio Says:

      I carry a US passport and years ago decided that I’d no longer move money from the states to Venezeula to survive….it was just too easy and makes one lazy. Today I work my ass off and make a decent living, covering my bills, paying my employees on time, and putting some money aside to buy new equipment etc.

      To me, one of the biggest differences between the States and Venezuela for someone trying to get by is the issue of credit. It’s almost impossible to get credit here and if one is starting from scratch, then it’s a huge uphill climb.

      As for the average Venezuela in the countryside, I often tell them that they have no idea how the rest of the world lives. As someone in this thread alluded to, the poor in the US would look wealthy to the average Venezuelan campesino.

      • firepigette Says:

        M Rubio I agree with that one.I did have credit in Venezuela but rarely used it because I had no need.That one is a long story though.

        Never- the -less, here in the US many poor people do not establish credit and suffer as well.This comes from a lack of knowledge and the required discipline needed to do so.

        I realize that the poor in the US look wealthy next to a campesino Venezuelan.My point is that someone in Venezuela can be poor and survive with odd jobs,but here they cannot unless they are handicapped and obtain disability benefits.
        When you live in the tropics where there are few obligations and laws, not much is required to survive.

  19. Charlie Says:

    firepigette, it’s not that people in Venezuela have it easier. It just that you’re comparing two totally different standards of living. If people in Venezuela don’t pay their taxes, their streets don’t get fixed, the garbage doesn’t get picked up, sewer lines are not built, but that’s OK because ” we’ll manage. If they can only get odd jobs and don’t make enough to purchase a decent home, that’s OK because I’ll build a rancho somewhere. If the money they make is not enough for groceries, we’ll just add more water to the soup. The poor in the US may be able to eat out more than once a month, even if it’s only at a Burger King, in Venezuela, forget about it.

    The poor in the US may not live well (per US standards), but it can never be compared to how the poor live in Venezuela.

    • Atarkus Says:

      And not only the considered poor. We cannot pay for having our teeth fixed. A tooth corona costs more than 2 minimum wage. We cannot fix our homes when we have blown pipes. It can cost so much you cannot imagine. All we need is imported, we do not produce in Guayana what was employed in the past to construct the big infrastructure in Venezuela.

      Charlie, you are right, somehow “la gente se las arregla”, but it is not as it used to be. Now we are getting weaker, more erradicated illnesses are returning, we have too many family and friends and ourselves “cayendo por el tobogán” and getting older and having more responsibilities..

      And firepigette is right with respect to some people in USA. Yes, I have relatives in poverty there.. and we cannot help no more.. and it is terrible to know how bad can be things there. And she is right regarding tj horror of the non-justice, impunity here.

      But, if you have family here, that cannot have good healt assistance, nor pay rent and has to live in very dangerous places but you cannot help, nor can pay for medicines (which we do not have here, and do not have the possibility to pay a dollar Bs 18 or 20 to import..) well, life is an inferno…

  20. Charlie Says:

    if on top of that you add all the other stuff you mentioned (safety, infrastructure, etc.), then there’s no comparison whatsoever.

    • firepigette Says:

      Of course Charlie, I agree with that….precisely because there are very few obligations in Venezuela that people can get by on little money even though it means sacrificing certain amenities- they still have the basics almost without working.

      That was my point.Here whether you like it or not you have to pay up to the government.Only the absolute destitute get free housing etc.Who in the US can steal electric, squat on owned land, not pay taxes, etc?

      I lived in Venezuela since the late 60’s until 2002, and it was always my experience there that it is far easier to make money and live off nothing in Venezuela than here.
      Do most people have less amenities? Yes.Do poor people in the US have better conditions? Yes.I agree, but basic survival in Venezuela is amazingly easy( except for the crime)

      • Atarkus Says:

        We are beginning 2013, el valor de la moneda es muchísimo menor que en 2002.

        “… Los precios en bolívares crecieron en términos generales entre 75% y 100% desde octubre de 2012. Ello porque en el mercado paralelo de divisas, que a pesar de estar prohibido aun funciona, se produjo en el lapso señalado una depreciación del bolívar de 100%, en Venezuela es prohibido decir en los medios de comunicación cuánto cuesta un dólar en ese mercado, sin embargo es un secreto a voces…”

        Ya no es tan fácil sobrevivir. No todo el mundo tiene “ayuda”. Hay inmensa cantidad de personas desempleadas a quienes ni la buhonería ayuda a sobrevivir. Hay aumento de suicidios por desesperación. No todo es posible conseguirlo en mercal y pdval.. No es como antes.

        Basic survival maybe, pero no para todos. Y es a costa de la salud y vida por la pésima alimentación y la espantosa insalubridad, agua contaminada prácticamente sin tratamiento. etc..

  21. Gordo Says:

    According to ECLAC, Venezuela has the lowest poverty rate in LatinAmerica. How can this be so?

    Let me quote: “Venezuela has the third-lowest poverty rate among Latin American countries, according the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC).”

    Here is the link:

  22. Kepler Says:

    I am not an economist. What I can tell you is the little I see and can compare with. Firstly: CEPAL is based on what the Venezuelan government tells it.

    Now, look at this:

    I haven’t taken the time to look at what definition was used for ECLAC, but for the Venezuelan INE you can see the definition of extreme poverty in the La Patilla link I put above.

    Now: there is not a single definition of poverty. For world analysis, they use X $ to define absolute poverty and that definition is highly disputed.

    In Europe what I have seen the most is “poor (in Europe) is the person who earns less than 50% of the national average (with a little bit of variation around that).

    I have heard this is also disputed as there are some people in Germany who are very wealthy – not Diosdado-rich but just very very rich, and would be considered as that because their villas etc and companies are not counted.

    In Venezuela a secondary school teacher could not rent a flat in Caracas with his salary alone (well, unless it is in the Torre David)…but people have learnt to live with their parents or the like.

    Lastly: what is also important is to consider we are just making it now. Apparently Chávez was concious enough to mentioned to his bodyguard…to his vice president, that he was thinking of the oil price.
    Do you know what? They are worried. If they are worried because the oil price has just stabilized at 800% of what the price was in 1998, imagine how we are.

    It’s the oil rat race.

    • Gordo Says:

      The question is whether 2,000 Bsf is above the poverty line. So, how does one calculate that? Does anybody know?

    • extorres Says:

      As far as I know, the most generally used definition of critical poverty line is the income required to pay for a minimally balanced local diet, which is around 1USD per day per person in most of the world. Non critical poverty line is generally twice the critical poverty line, or 2USD/person/day.

  23. bt Says:

    Venezuelans: The Cuban rot has spread throughout your country. Your “leaders” are bus drivers and idiots. The country is falling apart. Are you all frogs in a slowly heating pot of water? IS IT NOT TIME TO GET THE FRICKEN JOB DONE? DAMNATION!!!!!!!!

  24. ErneX Says:

    Someone tried to sell a picture of Chávez on intensive care to spanish newspaper El Mundo, but they refused to buy it:

    The picture might show up tomorrow or the coming days on another newspaper or so they say.

    • ErneX Says:

      Pedro J. is a wise dog, El País published a picture of someone that isn’t Chávez, the original video of that picture is here:

      • ErneX Says:

        They took the main headline along with the picture from their digital edition, I wonder if they had time to recall the printed version. I’ll go out in a bit to buy it.

    • LD Says:

      That was a big fail… Not acceptable. Not ethic, maybe if they were really sure it is Chávez, and Chávez were incapacitated while the government says otherwise, maybe.

    • M Rubio Says:

      Even if a valid, dated video and/or photo of Chavez undergoing surgery surfaced, what would it prove?…..only that like every other patient undergoing serious surgery he was prepped and hooked up to monitoring machines and equipped with oxygen etc. I haven’t seen anyone say that they doubted he had surgery in early December.

    • ErneX Says:

      It was a gigantic fail by El Pais, I was mentioned on Clarin because I was the 1st person spreading the word that the picture was from that video.

  25. Kepler Says:


    I am trying to explain. If you check out the page I added above
    (and I add it here:
    they (Chavismo) don’t even consider that.

    If you were to use European standards, you would have to consider what the average income of Venezuelans is – something I do not know – and if someone earns 50% of that or less, he is really poor. But that is not valid either because Venezuelan standards are just low and on top of that costs even at international level are high.

    Look now at this:
    That’s several months old and yet it says the canasta básica for 2012 was Bs 8516,12.

    This should be enough to tell you that by all standards someone earning 2000 Bs is definitely poor.
    In fact, someone earning 3000 Bs is poor and most teachers in Venezuela earn that or less.

    Pero tenemos gasolina pa’ regalar, no jodaaaaaaaaaaa!

    To Miguel: any idea what the average income is in Venezuela? I reckon that number will have less meaning in the Land of the Black Economy.

    • Gordo Says:

      I was just trying to extrapolate from the comment that half the population is working for minimum wage. My take, so far, is that much more than half the population is in poverty. Viva la revolution!

      • Atarkus Says:

        Yes, you are right, much more than half the population is in poverty. Marxist revolutions need poor people. Well, this is a saqueo total de la boligarquía.. a sui-géneris revolution..

  26. Mathprof Says:

    I would rather focus on the middle class. It is far easier to live in CCS. Why a cleaning lady, and a nanny.

    Only a rich european could aspire to the amount of help all our parents had when we were little.

    Living like if the was no tomorrow surprised them in old age. No savings. The country gone to hell.

  27. Kepler Says:

    I think definitely the clear majority of the population is poor to very poor. What is most dramatic is how fragile their condition is right now.

    Chávez is like a cocaine addict who won the lottery with these oil prices.
    Even now we keep having very high oil prices, but the crazy government is not based on “very high oil prices” but ever higher hikes of oil prices, which is completely completely completely mad.

    • Gordo Says:

      2011-2012 World Economic Forum Report: (Venezuela is at the bottom just above Haiti). This is what they report:

      “Venezuela (124th) continues to fall in the rankings, despite a slight improvement in its overall score. The poor quality of the country’s public institutions is ranked the worst in the sample at 142nd place. This dismal
      showing, coupled with severe weaknesses in its markets efficiency—especially for its goods and labor markets, where the country repeats as the worst performer—and a deterioration in the macroeconomic
      stability have led Venezuela to feature at the bottom of the region and among the least competitive countries in the world. Despite being at the forefront in of its tertiary education enrollment rate (8th), the overall quality
      of the educational system is weak (121st). This, added to a lack of sophisticated businesses (124th) and poor innovation potential (126th), critically constrain the competitiveness performance of the country.”

      Here is the link:

  28. firepigette Says:

    A ” poor man” living in paradise is not really poor.

    A poor man living in hell is .

    Poverty has many meanings for different people depending on their vision of hell.
    Poverty is not a meaningful term outside of someone’s subjective view of it.

    But manipulative politicians all over the world use figures to get elected and stir up trouble.

    They have to stir up trouble in order to pretend to solve problems afterwards.

    I laugh when people talk about inequality.I am as unequal as I see myself, and not more, or less.

    • Kepler Says:

      Then laugh a lot because the child with functional illiterate parents going to a farce of a school might have all the potential on Earth but there is a huge inequality between him and your children and that has nothing to do with that child’s potentially defeatist attitudes now.

      It’s these extremes in thoughts that let us waste so much time.

      • firepigette Says:

        that is not for you to determine Kepler, it is for each person to determine if they are equal or not.

        an extremist view is the collective political one that ruins and distorts the truth of each individual.

        when people see themselves a helpless, they are.

        when people feel empowered they find ways to improve their lives and grow,

        that is not to say that a government should not help improve conditions, they should to some extent.

        however , not in the way that is usually done, by disempowering people through propaganda.

        • Kepler Says:

          Firepigette, it seems you have difficulty trying to understand any position other than your view.

          See: if there is a 1000 metre race and your kid starts at metre 50 and another kid starts at 0, your child will have an advantage, no matter what feeling of “empowerment” the other child may have.
          New Age and Budism and pop psychology do not help here.

          All other things being equal, if one has 50 metres less to run than the other one, he has a clear advantage. The child starting at position 0 might win, after all, but as I said: if all things are equal, he has less chances of doing so.

          You are already a grandmother, you talk about your thousand experiences with slums, but you don’t seem to grasp this.

          Yes, people can improve a lot. But they still have run more steps than necessary.

  29. Gordo Says:

    Let’s say there is a foreign entrepreneur who has a development project for a new widget. He might see an opportunity in Venezuela by exchanging his foreign currency through the black market. He hires engineers and machinists to design and build the new widgets. Then, he exports the widgets and makes a big profit, in Bolivars of course. However, the Bolivars are buying him a marvelous standard of living here in Venezuela.

    Is this entrepreneur stupid? I suppose, he might end up in jail.

    • Gordo Says:

      Oh yes! I should also point out that in El Universal is an article that says:

      Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro returned early on Saturday to Venezuela from Cuba and said he talked to President Hugo Chávez about various issues, adding that Chávez asked him to “send a message of encouragement to private entrepreneurs.”

      Hmmm.. is this a change in policy that could make the above scenario possibly a smart opportunity?

    • Atarkus Says:

      Precisamente lo iba a poner… Esto es la continuación del principio .. Ahora lamentablemente viene una etapa aún mas dura. Claro, ya anunciaron una medida de lo mas payasa: pdvsa entregará mas recursos al BCV y menos al fondén. Sacan de un bolsilloy se lo dan a otro. Ahora devaluarán, etc..

      Podremos seguir importando mas alimentos para lo que el ministro de alimentación llama “sobredemanda”. Que es sobredemanda? Será porque ahora hay muchos mas extranjeros que vienen diariamente a “trabajar” en Vzla?

  30. patou Says:

    According at what a friend in Margarita said, the rate is actually 19bsf for $1. We leave next tuesday for Porlamar for 1 night and then take avior for Barcelona the day after because the hotel are full occupied for carnival.

    So it seems it is not only tourist travelling, but many from Venezuela mainland.
    There must have money in a way there.

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