Sicad 2: The Sequel, by Nicolas Maduro

February 11, 2014


Tonight, continuing their streak of ever more amazing announcements, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced with pride that Sicad 2 will be launched soon at a theater or financial institution near you. Now, in Hollywood, people know that you don’t make a sequel of a bad first movie. Your need the first movie to be quite good in fact.

But what can you really say about Sicad, the original movie? Not much really. It has been intermittent, ineffective, irrelevant, unfair, ever-changing and frustrating. There have been many promises around it. Remember, was it in October? President Maduro said Minister Merentes would hold weekly auctions of Sicad (Sicad is not an auction, but that is a different story), they just like to call it that) of US$ 900 million. Then three weeks ago, on January 21st, Minister Ramirez (Merentes is no longer Minister) announced weekly auctions of US$ 220 million for the remainder of the year.

The result?

So far, not much. The first auction which was to take place two weeks later, giving new meaning to the word weekly, was cancelled and now this week we are supposed to have an auction for US$ 440 million to compensate for the cancelled one.

So, what does Nicolas do? Announce a new Sicad 2 mechanism, so that (his words) “There will be dollar offers beyond those of the State”

It would appear as if Sicad 2 would be the permutas (swaps) announced by Minister Ramirez, which are also not swaps, but that, again, is another story.

And I have to apologize. The previous post was somewhat rushed in saying the Government was a self-parody. This really is beyond parody. It is simply incomprehensible.

Maduro acts, as if everything is peachy in Venezuela. I don’t want to abuse the word clueless, but I need to use it again: Maduro is simply clueless.

By now, it appears as if the radicals-radicals have taken over from the radicals. By now, Ramirez is the only member of the radicals (also called pragmatists) left and you can see his increasing frustration. The leader of the radicals Nelson Merentes was removed and to add insult to injury, he was moved to the Central Bank and within a month, the responsibility of the Sicad auctions was taken away from the monetary authority. Again the radical-radicals win.

But he can still preside over the Central Bank, which today released January’s inflation data under the headline: “The trend of inflation has been broken”.

Which is certainly good news. Except this is the graph:


Does anyone see inflation´s trend broken in this graph? I certainly don’t. There is a brief dip in December, but the next data point, this month’s, goes right back into the  trend. And Merentes may not know anything about economics and finance (he doesn’t), but he is a Mathematician and knows no trend has been broken in the graph above. But I guess he needs the job, so he goes along with it.

But much like Maduro and Sicad 2, the promise is in the report, in the future. Chavismo is very good about the future, not so good about the present. It says clearly that by the end of the first quarter of 2014 the “measures taken will positively impact the stability of prices and shortages.

Oh yeah! I forgot about those pesky shortages. According to the same Central Bank report, shortages, as measured by the scarcity index, were actually up, not down, just like inflation in January 2014. No trend broken there either. In December, the scarcity index was ta 22.2% and despite the “war on the economic war”, Central Bank dixit, it jumped to 28% in January. Yeap! As Daniel clearly explains it: “Think about that, 3 common household items out of 10 in your shopping list are going to be missing on any day. And maybe having to fight for the other 7”

But don’t be so concerned about this, because as the monetary authority explains, this was the result of scarcity in non-essential items, like motorcycles and autos, while “the population continues to receive, with the same or superior intensity, the benefits the State brings them, in the whole country, through the public commercialization system in which they can acquire (sic) the basic foodstuffs at supportive prices”

They certainly drink the right Kool Aid at the Central Bank.

The whole thing is so bizarre, so “Cantinflerico” which makes me think of Cantinflas’ history lesson. Maybe some of the readers do not even know who Cantinflas was, but this clip is a good example of how Cantinflas (for those that understand Spanish) would explain something, in this case history. Just imagine Cantinflas telling us why the trend in inflation has been broken. It would sound exactly like this:

That seems to be their inspiration, just picture Merentes saying it.

Soon, Sicad XIII at a theater near you…

16 Responses to “Sicad 2: The Sequel, by Nicolas Maduro”

  1. Roger Says:

    Going Bananas (the movie) part two!

  2. Ira Says:


    Everyone in the world might not recognize the name, but just about everyone knows Cantinflas’s face, if they’re anywhere near an old fart like me…

    Since he was in the English language movie “Around The World In 80 Days.”

    Me–never saw the movie, but with a VZ wife, I’ve seen plenty of him over the years.

    • Kepler Says:

      ” but with a VZ wife, I’ve seen plenty of him over the years.”
      Do you mean she speaks like him? :-p I know, I know: we all Venezuelans speak a little bit like Cantinflas sometimes. There is a verb you can find even in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Espanola, “cantinflear”

  3. Ira Says:

    There’s an extremely plausible theory that Hitler became a madman as a result of gas attacks and shell shock during his service in WWI. He actually suffered from hysterical blindness (100% documented) for an extended period of time, and his TREATMENT is also attributed to his later psychological instability.

    But let’s consider the gas attack theory first:

    What kind of bus did Maduro drive, and did any fumes seep up through the floorboards?

  4. JJ Says:

    Can’t you see the line is broken? It’s going down and then suddenly up: está broken, cuate!

  5. xp Says:

    AVN | ÚN.- “Los instrumentos cambiarios aprobados por el Gobierno bolivariano están orientados a proteger la moneda de los ataques especulativos”, señaló este miércoles el vicepresidente para el Área Económica, Rafael Ramírez.

    «Panem et circenses» (Literalmente «Pan y circo») es una locución latina peyorativa de uso actual que describe la práctica de un gobierno que, para mantener tranquila a la población u ocultar hechos controvertidos, provee a las masas de alimento y entretenimiento de baja calidad y con criterios asistencialistas.

    Panacea o Muerte!
    ampliamente garantizados por
    nuestros camaradas de anti-fascismo.

    Petroleo, Pan, Papel higiénico, Progreso!
    ampliamente cotizados por los

    • xp Says:

      Panacea [goddess of Universal remedy]
      was said to have a poultice or potion
      with which she healed the sick.
      The term is also used to completely solve
      a large, multi-faceted problem.

  6. Alejandro Vega Says:

    Cantinflas was the best..and he danced well too. Alice in Wonderland fits in well with Venezuela today… it gets curiouser and curiouser… and Maduro thinks it does not matter which way you go,you will get somewhere once you walk long enough. Maduro would be The Queen of Hearts. The judicial system is also similar, if you read the part where The Queen of Hearts sentences Alice.

  7. Daveed Says:

    The US TV commercials for the Joe Kennedy/CITGO heating oil program have reappeared:

    • Ira Says:

      I can’t believe that–and did you see those HOMES!? They don’t exactly look like poverty cases. Most annoying to me, and I worked for a major Madison Avenue ad agency:

      It’s a lie. Those people are all actors, and represent nothing.

  8. noel Says:

    It Toyota sends anybody to meet the Minister of Industry, it should remember what happened to the CEO of Russian fertilizer firm Uralkali when he was invited to travel to Belarus to meet a minister: he was put in jail. If Toyota doesn’t remember, I am sure Maduro does,

  9. Island Canuck Says:

    Now Maburo is threatening & name calling the manager of Toyota in Cumana.

    Some choice quotes:
    “Quiero dólar quiero dólar es lo único que dice el gerente de la Toyota aquí”.

    “Tiene mentalidad de burguesía parasitaria, aunque es un gerente”

    “Está jugando a perder – perder el gerente de la Toyota en Cumaná”, es por ello, que el Jefe de Estado llamó a la clase obrera para que esté alerta y activa a las decisiones que se tomen, una vez el Ejecutivo se reúna con el jefe de la Toyota en América Latina “a ver si nos entendemos”.

    Ha, ha
    Just a classic idiot. That’s diplomacy
    Come on Toyota – give him the finger & close up.
    I’m sure the Japanese will accept these comments with the respect they deserve.

  10. xp Says:

    Re: ….The previous post was somewhat rushed
    in saying the Government was a self-parody.
    This really is beyond parody.
    It is simply incomprehensible….

    Reinventing the wheel
    will be hard enough.
    Or maybe it’s the
    Perpetual Machinations
    Machine that needs tweeking.

    Alice lived through it, and
    so will we. 🙂

    “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can,
    just to stay in place.
    And if you wish to go anywhere
    you must run twice as fast as that.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

    “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
    “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here.
    I’m mad. You’re mad.”
    “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
    “You must be,” said the Cat,
    or you wouldn’t have come here.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

  11. MacPapas Medianas Says:

    Devil, in light of the recent protests in Tachira+others and tomorrows #12F #LaSalida protests, January’s inflation of 3.3% (implied 47% yearly inflation), the worsening scarcity and the precios justos killer-business law, does your prognosis that not much is going to happen in 2014 change?

    It seems something will have to give. That something could just be more repression. But it could also, conceivably, be the beginning of “THE END”.

    • Frank Says:

      Well certainly things are happening, there’s an order for the arrest of Leopoldo Lopez according to La Patilla. I wonder how this will work out.

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