Did Someone In Maduro’s Team Really Write The “Economic Atomic Bomb” Document

April 10, 2013

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Today everyone is talking about this document that Spain’s ABC newspaper wrote about in which reportedly a Communist Deputy that supports Chavismo wrote this highly critical article about the way the Venezuelan economy has been managed and proposes solutions to avoid what it calls “an economic atomic bomb”, which “has practically exploded”.

While I am sure the document is real and written by someone on the Chavista camp, I doubt very much that this person exerts any sort of influence over the Chavista leadership. Clearly, the author is well versed on economic matters, providing a good diagnoses of the situation, except that I don’t think the Chavista leadership would consider that this atomic bomb is already exploding. If that were the case, then all of the polls that have been telling us that Maduro is likely to win are all wrong and we would see some sort of desperation on Maduro’s part. (Although today’s attack  by Maduro on pro-Chavismo Ultima Noticias was certainly peculiar)

But beyond that, the document seems to be inconsistent with the trends one sees in Chavismo under Maduro. Yes, Giordani seems to be on the way out, but it does not look, like the document suggests like Ramirez will give up any part of what is under his control. Nor do I believe that Ramirez or Maduro will like an “opening” to the Venezuelan bourgeois or “selective opening to foreign investment”.

Thus, I think this document comes from a Chavista economist, an idealist, who mixes up religion and state, who really believes the whole model is wrong, but who I think has little weight under a possible Maduro Government.

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31 Responses to “Did Someone In Maduro’s Team Really Write The “Economic Atomic Bomb” Document”

  1. Kepler Says:

    Ow,

    I am going through the pieces of data available from the census.
    They don’t make sense. Things do not add up. Most official statistics now
    are less reliable than they were any time before. They are so shameless…
    you would expect them at least to be able to know how to perform additions
    We can only infer what might be right…for sure we know they made up a lot of what they said when things on one table that are suppose to add up to another don’t make any sense.
    Please, don’t bother us again with state statistics.

  2. Kepler Says:

    Miguel,
    It’s quite remarkable how Ow gets into a very silly vicious circle with some pseudo-logics. We show time after time how Chavismo’s “accomplishments” have only beeen attain because of oil price hikes…and Ow comes with “it has always been the case”.

    Oil dependency has been a fact for the last 80 years but we haven’t had such a continuous increase in oil prices for so long. And Ow will come with: well, then there is no future…and it goes round and round and he won’t draw the conclusions he needs to draw. Since the seventies we never had such an opportunity as we had in the last 13 years and Chavismo has develivered much less per dollar than even the horrendously corrupt government of CAP I.

  3. Kepler Says:

    Ow,

    I thought you had learnt a bit but you are as arrogant as you were in 2005.
    You arrive to a country, to any country, without any bloody background, and start drawing conclusions and giving your opinionated statements as if you were THE expert on the country.

    I come from that region and I do have to have lots and lots of people living there. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, I went to a school not far from that place, a school where now almost 70% of people voted for Chávez. Why did they do that? I won’t go into that but for the same reason as they think Europeans are starving, Venezuela is a rich country, the Evil Eye exists and the likelihood of getting murdered in Iceland is higher than in Venezuela.

    I know, and I have said so before, Maduro is going to win.

    1) Miranda’s governor or any other governor, for that matter, has a very limited control over crime. Venezuela – and you don’t seem to get it- has a completely different system economically and politically than the USA. The governors have when it comes to this very little control (taxes someone?).
    Besides: in relative terms the most urban areas – and that includes Miranda and Carabobo and Zulia and Libertador- have shown higher crime rates all the time. You don’t have to be a genious to know that. That’s the case in Norway or Belgium as well, save perhaps for some tiny quirk that can be perfectly explained by basic statistics.
    If you wanted, you could care to see also the alcaldes…genius…it turns out that crime in poor areas is much higher and those poor areas are mostly in the hand of PSUV majors. What is what? You bloody have to look at the country at a NATIONAL LEVEL!
    When most Venezuelans make a living out of pseudo-jobs, when social injustice (the hell with GINI when the Venezuelan officials just spend their time massaging numbers) is worse, when you see a few boligarcs others flaunting money, when you see the government actually DENIED, DENIED crime rates were increasing for years (shall I give you the links of when Chávez started to “admit” crime issues and how he explained them? I have been following the whole thing), when the government allowed for a huge backlog of sentences to accumulate, when it turned most judges into employees on temporary basis who could be sacked at will, when the corrupt military left the inner part of prisons completely under the armed control of prisoners (beginning in 2003), we lost it.

    2) Read first what Miguel wrote.

    Also: I have already plotted the GDP growth next to the oil price hikes year after year. Do I have to comment on this?

    It is actually amazing how Venezuela has only got those growth levels when other countries around reached similar or higher rates. Were they also mostly commodities? Sure, but they were at least more varied (copper accounts for less than 80% of exports for Chile..do you know about Venezuela’s dependency on oil in 1998 and now?). Lots of people have to be employed in Chile and Brazil and Colombia to get those commodities to the market, unlike in Venezuela with PDVSA…and yet that is what the Venezuelan government can show with its comparative advantage?

    3) The infrastructure crumbling down is something I know not from articles but from being there and from my whole friends and family sending me pictures and reports on that.

    You once posted something about Carabobo’s water system, still very much a Chavez believer; You didn’t get it at all. Before we could actually drink tap water in Carabobo. Now water is mostly putrid, almost everyone has his or her method to deal with water impurity. Of course, this doesn’t make any influence in votes because people in Venezuela, including some in my family, would eat shit if given to them progressively. They will say: “oh, but we have always eaten shit”. Just keep giving them free petrol and the possibility to get an iPad or a Haier.
    The water problem was really made worse, among other things, by the stupid way in which Chavistas connected Valencia Lake to Cachinche, by their shameless corruption about the permits for canalisation (I could go in detail about that because I know several engineers who were threatened and sacked if they didn’t approve the permits to let certain businesses and urbanizations pollute more).

    4) It’s incredible you explain the blackouts with the booming “economy”. The only thing booming is spending, at the cost of our future. If we had such a booming economy, production would also increase.

    I told you: PDVSA accidents have multiplied A LOT, a fucking lot! I have doctors who have to attend those wounded and they hadn’t seen something like this earlier.
    I guess you will explain the burned people through the booming economy.

    I have relatives who are workers, simple workers, without university studies or the like who are working in companies that have been nationalised. All, all of those companies are falling apart.

    Is that anecdotal? Well, it is more based on reality than your little anecdotes of your trips to Venezuela without solid basis of where and to whom to ask there. It is more based on reality when I knew and lived through Venezuela through different phases and saw how Venezuela started to implode in 1983 whereas you didn’t have a bloody clue about Venezuela in 1997.

    What do you do in New York? Please, go to Venezuela and work at a hospital there.

    The chutzpah!

  4. Kepler Says:

    And Ow stil denies things are falling apart:

    http://news.yahoo.com/outside-caracas-chavismos-unfulfilled-promises-170808493.html

    Well, yeah, people still buy iPads and you can see people whose children don’t have books even today try to buy the latest flat screen Haier can offer.

    And Maduro has all chances to win elections…the iPads are still working, the US rice and Dominican black beans still arrive…por ahora.

    • firepigette Says:

      It’s matter of honor Kepler 🙂 I mean how could we stoop to the level of getting ourselves in a huff when all is well ?

    • OW Says:

      Kepler, do you really believe such silly and slanted reporting, or do you simply want to believe it?
      GDP was up 5% last year and is expected to grow this year as well, per capita consumption is up 50% during the Chavez/Maduro tenure, hundreds of thousands of housing units have been built in the past two years (not counting private housing!!) and that looks to be sustained, the country is the most egalitarian in Latin America, etc, etc. In fact, even the alleged falling apart that you and that article reference, is often the result of a boom in the economy. For example, the electricity supply is unstable because demand has increased so much do to all the appliances people now have in their homes. Supply has increased but it hasn’t kept up.
      About the only clear cut and obvious failure that could truly be viewed as “falling apart” is the soaring crime rate. So there you go, one point. But one point does not make an entirety.
      And just to make matters worse in that respect take a look at Capriles’s numbers on crime. Go to the Miranda state website and read the 2012 Memoria Y Cuenta there. Don’t look under crime – no statistics there (wonder why?). Go to the health section and on page 797 you will see that there were 2,238 homicides in MIranda with a rate of 74.9 per 100,000. I would appear the opposition and Capriles don’t have a crime fighting plan either.

      • moctavio Says:

        OW, the Chávez Government spent according to Bank of America US$ 145 billion last year, money it did not have. It owes importers, PDVSA suppliers,infrastructure builders, its own companies, another 30-40 billion US at 6.3 (not 4.3). And you really think the only failure is crime?Do you really think that despite billions spent on it, the electricity situation has improved at all? There is a national police now in Venezuela in charge of crime, so your Capriles complaint just holds no water.

  5. Noel Says:

    It seems to me that Chavism, like Gaullism and Maoism, is a movement based on the strength of a personality rather than ideology. After the founder dies, the movement’s glue and mission is to stay in power. Based on the other two examples, a certain dose of pragmatism is to be expected, but the path to be followed very much depends on the culture of each country.

  6. Gordo Says:

    Is there a possibility of a great schism in the Chavismo movement between pragmatists and purists and others? What happened to the Ni-Ni’s? I personally know Chavistas who became Chavistas solely for financial reasons only, i.e. to get jobs!

    Chavism is not monolithic, and there is a difference between loyalty and obedience, The in-fighting within the Chavismo leadership can cause it to lose its grip on many people who are no longer afraid to follow their conscience. I guess we will find out soon enough!

  7. Louie Says:

    Look this: rodillaentierra.com

  8. Spice Says:

    Have you guys been following Jorge Valero at the UN and his support for DPRK? Jorge is spewing his own opinions when he defends DPRK because this is his area of control. Valero has travelled to North Korea and trully believes it’s a model to be copied.

  9. Juan Franco Says:

    If you read the references in the end, there is a strong signal as to whom is the supposed author. It references Joseph Stiglitz and Felipe Pérez.

    The article definitely sounds like Felipe Pérez: a confused mind product of his religion, political beliefs and University of Chicago PhD.

    He is definitely NOT credible in chavista circles but the article somehow makes me wish that Maduro wins this Sunday. In order for chavismo to be sinificantly wiped out from our generation, the political and economic crisis needs to be squarely pinpointed on its shoulders.

  10. Kepler Says:

    Well, I went through the document as well.

    I have never been a communist, but I delved into What is to be Done ages ago, when trying to understand Russia’s history…and a bit more about Russia.

    Indeed What is to be done was written in 1901, not in 1918, but one could interpret what the writer said differently, about what Lenin said in 1918. But the writer really didn’t have a clue. Lenin’s focus back then was not on “electricity” and the soviets, the councils.
    The electricity impulse started much later, when the Civil War was nearly over: 20, 21. The soviet thing was a recurrent theme, councils being a normal factor of rural Russia that got transplanted to workers in Russian cities. Lenin wrote about the “All power to the Soviets” crap back in 1917 before getting into Russia with German money and producing the coup against the revolutionaries he deemed not revolutionaries enough, the Mencheviks and others. Of course, what he wanted was sabotage and his party’s control of the councils.

    And yet: I doubt much many of the so-called “communists” in Venezuela know much of this.
    Chávez, an avid although totally dispersed reader, didn’t read Das Kapital, even if he told people while saying so that still he thought Marx’s philosophy was great.

    He didn’t even think mankind could be older than 25 centuries,
    which is quite remarkable if you consider he went to bachillerato de ciencias, like you and I. And most Venezuelans are even worse when it comes to history or ideological stuff.

    If that was Chávez – admittedly, not a communist but first and foremost an authoritarian Chavista – the First Chavista – what’s for the average communist in our Oil Republic? I don’t know…

    The writing talks about the NEP and so on. And this is what I found phony.
    In Soviet Russia there was indeed a temporary liberalisation with the NEP, introduced by Lenin and much disputed among the theoreticians…but they all knew it was not something about reconciliation or forgiveness. It was about gaining time, rebuilding Russia after the Great War and the Civil War…the ultimate goal was always the replacement, the extermination of the bourgeoisie.

    Lenin’s and the other commies’ contempt for what they called bourgeoisie
    (some of whom could be rather poorer than many commies) and other items was always full and committed. They wanted to destroy them.

    In the case of Banana Socialism or Chavismo, idealists will want something similar (ain’t they cute?) and we cannot trust them ever and people like the Maduros or Diosdados will simply have one thing in mind: keep themselves in power, control the money flow specially for their own benefit and que se jodan esos burguesitos.

    Never trust a communist, never ever. Their contempt for democracy, for pluralism is complete (yeah, they talk about participatory democracy, which they will always disrupt until it is what les sale de los cojones).

    What is this document? Don’t pay attention to it. It doesn’t really matter.

    Oil prices will matter…and the degree of mismanagement by Chavistas.

    There could be something else that could matter if we wanted but we, apparently, don’t: to establish networks of propaganda for mid to long-term peaceful subversion, networks based on knowlege about economics, about real debates and about democracy, networks that are aware of our differences to other societies like the Czechs and the Germans and the Ukranians and that primarily try to show how naked the King is.

    Until we don’t do that, we will have to wait until Chavismo gets its 1989.

  11. Bruni Says:

    I am not so sure Miguel. When Chávez was alive, they all had to follow whatever Chávez said, even if they knew it was wrong economically speaking. It may be very well that some influencial chavistas were just afraid of speaking out then and now they no longer are afraid…or it might be Maduro’s way of announcing his economic colors.


  12. Maybe you should have stated that Tribuna Popular is the official magazine of the communist party of Venezuela.

    • Adam S Says:

      Okay. And I’ll let THAT be the end of it. Seriously, though, there is some meaningful economic debate going on within chavismo even though outwardly Venezuela is still locked into this weird situation where it’s the socialists who insist that the economy has settled into a state of perfect equilibrium while the neoliberals have predicted twenty of the last two crises.

  13. Adam S Says:

    I have no opinion on whether the document is a fake or not, but OW doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. There’s nothing in the survey of the economic situation in the document that hasn’t already been published in one form or another in Tribunal Popular. And since I’m the kind of person who reads Tribunal Popular on a regular basis, I’m going to let that be the end of it.


  14. The language sounds a but like Felipe Perez, the only other Minister of Planning Chavez ever had, that was the only name that came to my mind when I read jt. Of course, that could have been faked on purpose, but he is sort of spacy, religious, open software access type. His personality matches the document, which will prove it is from someone out of the loop, but it could be fake also.

    • Alexander Says:

      You are right. The “original revolution” has some fans well alive; they continued working behind the scenes –now with Maduro- with the “scientific communism” mantra, something lying between “Leninist communism and altruism”. They want Giordani’s job, and use a heterodox wording so many get confused rapidly, as you know there are many confused around. They are using the same wording from the well-known NEP (New Economic Policy) at the Lenin’s times in 1923 -before he died. The NEP was intent, pragmatic and ideological to call up “capitalism” in some markets since socialism failed in some areas, for instance, electricity, wealth industry, etc. The man behind NEP was Nikolai Bukharin, he argued, among other things, that the collectivization process should be stalled, wait until the “capitalism” develops these left behind sectors, so, when that happens, in few year collectivize again,
      In 1928, Stalin observed that the capitalism was more efficient than socialism; he noted some revolt inside CP and decided to force collectivization process. Bukharin “self-suicide” in 1928 following Stalin instruction, some kind of “Nacht der Langen Messer or Operation Hummingbird, when the National Socialist German Workers Party was purged and Hitler took the power there at once. Stalin was the first in doing something like that and purged the Communist Party in Russia in 1928, Bukharin was his main plate. The NEP ended then, Stalin forced the well-known recolectivization of Russian economy. Historians estimates in 6 millions of peasants and city worked died in those purges. Everybody knows what happened next.
      On this parody, the authors, 2 Venezuelan economist and 2 Cubans, (Cubans are a little bit worried about the future, not of the revolution, but losing the oil benefits) they have discussed the actual economic situation and suggested that particular ideological adjustment, and to do so, they are following the NEP’s script, gain some time, and deter the danger of losing the power.
      The document was distributed -about two weeks ago- to key private sector liters. Some of them are a bit happy; particularly, one of them declared last week that “he thinks that Maduro can work with private sector…..” I quote. At the end, what they want is radicalize the revolution. Assume that document as part of the bureaucrat struggle at the heart of “s XXI Socialism ideological components, left behind by Giordani ten years ago.

  15. Wholly Cow Says:

    The document metadata states the author as “felipe” and was generated using libreoffice, an open software package that is the rough equivalent of Microsoft Office.

    There is a fairly short section outlining a few advantages of using libre software, unfortunately marred by starry-eyed bullshit instead of solid arguments that make economic sense .

    Interestingly, the 1.5 gigabyte treasure trove of SEBIN docs that is floating around the net these days doesn’t contain ANY documents written with open software packages, as required by Hugo Chavez’ decree 3390.

  16. OW Says:

    I haven’t read the whole document but it clearly seems a fake to me, and it definitely could not be written by a “Communist”. What communist wouldn’t know that the very famous work “What is to be Done” is a political tract written 15 years before the communists got power in Russia? It had nothing to do with economics.

    And all the “Atomic Bomb” stuff is pure non-sense. The fiscal deficit was already gone, or almost gone, by the time this was written via devaluations. Venezuela does not face any imminent economic crisis unless the price of oil goes way down but with every central bank on the planet practically running the money printing presses non-stop that looks unlikely.

    There are things in this document which might be true and helpful if followed, such as greatly scaling back the gasoline subsidy and not gratioutisly harassing the private sector, but I don’t see anything that looks authentic here. Definitely looks like a propaganda piece written and given to the media prior to an elections for clearly political purposes.


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