Why doesn’t the government change course?

April 17, 2017

Do you ever wonder why Maduro does not give up?

He could do so many things. But he is not wired that way. He. wants power.

Not since the Ukraine has there been a case like Venezuela and it is evident the government knows history.

A change in style? Regime change.

Change in terms of the debt? Regime change.

Devaluation? Regime change.

The only path that does not lead to regime change is if the price of oil goes back up. And they know it.
When Chavez got to power debt was $22 billion. It rose supported by higher oil prices. That Is all. Chavizmo borrowed right and left as oil prices rose. Debt went from $20 some billion to $70.1 billion while Chavizmo was in power. And with oil at $150 a barrel, it was not only payable, they could skim a little. And they did.

But now with oil back at $50 or less, there is not enough money. So unless oil goes up, Venezuela can’t survive unless there is change, from the top.

But change implies a different model, a devaluation, but it all leads to regime change if you read history. So, they stay the course. Worse case, oil stay at its current level and there is regime change. And unhappy Venezuelans.

Earlier, there was the possibility of an economic stabilization fund but money, which would now be over $200 billion, was not saved. So another opportunity was lost.

Yes, we could default. But guess what: it would lead to regime change. That is history again.

There you have it. Most roads lead to regime change. And with collective clauses on the PDVSA debt, it would be messy for this government to swing a default.

So, they are personally rich, beyond your imagination. And they wait. That is the plan!

If all else fails there is always the money they stole. Just in case!

20 Responses to “Why doesn’t the government change course?”

  1. Zbigniew Says:

    Thank you

  2. Ira Says:

    I refer you all to Miguel’s last blog, “Something has to give.”

    Well, it has. Maduro is rewriting the constitution, and the dictatorship is official.

    Civil War is the only way, and unless Venezuelans are willing to give up their lives for their CHILDREN’S future and not stay safe for their own present, forget it.

    So Latin America asked for it and they got it–no U.S. invasion to fix this fucking mess, which could be fixed in a month.

    Hey, the Venezuelans don’t have the balls for it.

  3. Ira Says:

    Honduras got it right.

  4. Boludo Tejano Says:

    But now with oil back at $50 or less, there is not enough money. So unless oil goes up, Venezuela can’t survive unless there is change, from the top.

    Regarding the price of oil going back up soon, Shale’s the Wild Horse OPEC Can’t Tame does not bring good news to Maduro and friends.

    U.S. oil output could pass its 2015 peak as early as July if recent growth continues.
    Total U.S. crude production has risen by more than 550,000 barrels a day in the 20 weeks since OPEC decided to cut output, according to weekly Department of Energy data. Much of that increase has come from shale formations. If this rate of growth — a little under 30,000 barrels a day of new supply each week — continues, U.S. output could top its recent peak of 9.61 million barrels a day shortly after OPEC meets on May 25 to consider its next move.

    U.S. production peaked at 9.6 Million BBL/D from May to July 2015. It fell to 8.4 Million BBL/D, and is now at 9.3 Million BBL/D.
    Chavismo’s strategy of making no economic policy changes in the hope that the price of oil would rebound has not worked.

  5. Michael Speizman Says:

    1st, sorry to hear about your accident and in my home town of Boca no less.

    2nd, why does regime change have to occur? Without outside intervention, crooked regimes have managed to stay in power over generations. Indeed once the population is solely focused on just getting enough to eat, Chavismo can stay in power forever.

    I am meeting more and more bright motivated educated Vzs. here in South Florida, they are going to be great for the economy.

    Your best and brightest are moving away, you can risk your life to opposed Chavez in Vz. or live a fine life in Florida/Spain/Columbia etc.

    Brutality plus Brain Drain can leave Chavismo in power for decades.

    Will people visit Caracas in the future and wonder at all the cool old cars from 2015?

  6. Boludo Tejano Says:

    Do you ever wonder why Maduro does not give up? He could do so many things. But he is not wired that way. He. wants power.

    Chavismo has operated on the principle of “Don’t compromise.Ever.” Ni un paso atrás. It worked for them thus far. Maduro was probably Fidel’s choice. No one has ever considered Fidel to be a master of compromise: it is his way or the highway- or worse. Maduro thus has two non-compromisers- Fidel and Hugo- that he emulates.

    The only path that does not lead to regime change is if the price of oil goes back up. And they know it.

    The price of oil crashed in 2008, and went back up within a year. The regime assumed in 2014 that the fall in the price of oil wouldn’t last long, so the best strategy was to wait it out. At the time, it was a reasonable assumption that the price of oil would soon rebound..

    Very few people anticipated that the 2014 fall in the price of oil would last long. The assumption being made, which was reasonable at the time, was that frackers couldn’t produce profitably at lower oil prices, and would go out of business. What changed was that technological improvements enabled frackers to profitably produce at lower prices. The result is that the price of oil has now been below $100/BBL for nearly three years, with most predicting that it will remain below $100 for at least several years more.

    When I look at Zimbabwe’s history, I am less optimistic about regime change in Venezuela.

  7. instinctivepath Says:

    I completely disagree. Maduro doesn’t change course most likely because he does not have the political capital/power to do so. I’m sure there’s a powerful network of individuals spread across different sectors of the economy (formal and informal, private and public), the military and state institutions that are currently benefiting from the crisis. My prediction: when the regime change comes, chavista elites will sacrifice Maduro, and some military junta – ruling in the name of Chavez – will enter power.

    • Dean A Nash Says:

      I agree, instinctivepath, and the main reason that he doesn’t have the power is the Cuban mafia that the Castro’s installed.

      And Noel, this is the flaw in your plan as well. Why would Cuba voluntarily give up its teat?

      The really interesting question is this: Where will they flee to? Bolivia? I guess that’s better than being hung in the street. They won’t even be welcomed in Cuba. Russia is a possibility, but its weather is rather unfriendly as far as most Venezuelans are concerned.

  8. Soozzee Says:

    Glad you are back. Wednesday may become too exciting with troops in the streets. S

  9. wskocpol504 Says:

    Moctavio (or Kathy) email Bill at lastname at bu dot edu and/or Theda at samelastname at fas dot harvard dot edu. 50th anniversary coming June 10

  10. Juli Carbonell Says:

    Dear Devil
    Very happy to see you’re back!

  11. Ira Says:

    You meant to say debt lowered by higher oil prices, not rose.

  12. Noel Says:

    Perhaps the US could lean on Cuba to leave Madura on its own. After all, we are leaning on China to do the same to North Korea.

  13. European Says:

    Zimbabwe has had currency collapse, debt forgiveness and still has the same regime https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwe

    • moctavio Says:

      That is very rare, people expect strong currencies in oil producing coutries and spoils them.

      • Waterwiz Says:

        As well as Zimbabwe, there are other countries where a strongman (dictator) has clung on to power despite all odds. Their trick is to be absolutely ruthless in the killing and imprisonment of their citizens and others. Examples include decades in many ex-Soviet countries, Cuba, Mao’s China, many (most ?) African countries…

        Maburro and his cronies may be rich , but will they be able to keep it and spend it when they start the killing on a grander scale ?

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