When I first began this blog, I overused hyperlinks. My reasoning was simple: Some of the things going on were so bizarre and difficult to believe, that my credibility was at stake if I did not indicate the source of what I was saying was happening.
This is no longer the case.
The way Venezuela is run, the things the country’s leaders say or implement, from the Ozone tax, to President’s that talk to birds to 20 billion dollars rip-offs (twice), by now people have become accustomed to the bizarreness of the revolution.
But somehow, the Bolivarians never cease in amazing and surprising us. It would be entertaining, if were not so painful. Which it is.
I mean, when a President announces that he will make important announcements the next day, which involve the Sacudón (Big shake up?) of the structure of the State, the “misiones” and the economic and social offensive, you expect something. You expect even more, given the current state of the economy, with inflation running at 60-plus percent per year, 5,5% per month, shortages, airlines leaving, international reserves depleted, daily protests, Government losing popularity and fiscal and monetary distortions killing economy activity.
I did have my expectations down. I know the various factions in Government differ on how to solve problems. I know there are no economists in or near the Cabinet. I know the Government worries more about losing popularity (and power) that about making things better. But I expected at least some form of vaporous announcements, half defined measures, watered down policies.
But I really did not expect a rambling Maduro announcing essentially nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Niente.
First we had the nth. eulogy to our Comandante (“Our biggest difficulty is to have lost Him”), followed by a love fest. Love for all, but more particularly and more importantly, love for and to the military. Particularly, loveless Gen. Lopez Padrino, who apparently did not receive much love after his July 5th. speech, where he pledged allegiance to Chavismo above all. Lopez Padrino, according to Maduro, is supposed to represent the “new” Venezuelan military “thinking”. It does not get more oxymoronic than that.
Subconsciously Maduro also said how much the country misses Hugo, because he has no clue, I guess, he really wishes Hugo was here. Or there.
We then got the usual blast on the capitalists, opposition, speculators, who are responsible for inflation, shortages and all of the ills of the economy. Next sentence: But the Venezuelan economy is healthy (Never mind we have the highest credit risk in the world)
So, is there a problem or not Nico?
He seems to be in no rush to fix anything.
Next, the only “announcement”, we are ready for the fiscal revolution. Except the way it sounds is that they will control fiscal spending. Except that “fiscal” in Spanish, also refers to taxes. Thus, what it means is that they after impoverishing the productive sector, they will now try to tax it to death, so that “they” can keep spending.
At this point it was important for Maduro to clarify: “We will make announcements”. No idea of the timeline at this point.
Then we saw the clueless Maduro: We now have to check what imports we can substitute. How Cepalese can he get? Does he understand any of it? (I don’t miss Chávez, how could he leave us with Maduro in charge?)
Again: we will make some announcements…
In between he had a guy who has been Chavista like three times and opposition twice in the last fifteen years, tell us how wonderful agriculture is doing and the VP, Chávez’ son in law, tell us how the Government will be turned inside out or outside in, don’t recall the order.
We were also told at some point and at length how wonderful and “democratic” the World Soccer Cup was. (Democratic my foot, the best team won, the rest suck!)
We then heard a blast against those that stole the US$ 20 billion via Cadivi/Cencoex. Except that those that asked for $3,000 have been asked to prove their spending in the thousands, while not a single one of those that got the US$ 20 billion for imports has yet to be called. The Prosecutor says she does not want to interfere with the investigations, I say, she does not know who she will find behind each rip off, so she wants to be careful.
Then we come to the highlight of the day:
Maduro: “We worked really hard yesterday…like four or five hours”
He thus insulted , 95% of the working population of Venezuela, which I don’t want to guess how many Maduristas/Chavistas/Bolivarianos it includes, but it can’t be many.
By then, it was clear, there would not even be vaporous announcements like I predicted:
“We will make the announcements on August 11th.”
Yes, in the end, that was the only announcement of the “announcements”
And the we were shown a video of the one year anniversary of Nicolas’ marriage to Cilia. In another Fruedian slip, he said she was the real boss. As if we did not know…
It does not get more bizarre than that…but I will not listen on August 11th, I will be on vacation in September, when he will likely make some announcement.
Or maybe not…