Misión Cadivi: The story that just keeps on giving…

Quico says: In yesterday’s FT, Benedict Mander took a stab at explaining the weird tangle of distortions exchange controls have created. Killer fact:

According to Cadivi, from January to November last year, Venezuelans spent more than $4bn on credit cards abroad, compared with just over $1bn the year before. By contrast, Cadivi approved only $2.2bn for food importers…

Something to mull next time you’re rushing around Caracas frantically looking for a kilo of caraotas…

Katy likes to say that there’s a fine book just waiting to be written about all the nuttiness that Misión Cadivi is generating. I’m inclined to agree.

The only problem is, who would buy it?

My experience is that when I try to explain exchange control arbitrage to people in Europe, they just don’t believe me. Something deep in the First World psyche rebels at the notion that you can fill out some forms and get permission to buy dollar bills for 30 cents a pop.

It really is unique, Planet Cadivi. I mean, plenty of Chávez policies are misguided or mismanaged, counterproductive, badly thought through or just plain silly…but how many are actually, literally crazy?