Here’s an interesting interview with Henrique Capriles in Portuguese, courtesy of Brazilian magazine Valor.
In it, Capriles is less vague than usual in laying out his economic vision. In doing so, he disappoints by revealing himself as a precambrian Statist, a child of the economic thinking that prevailed in the 60s and 70s throughout the region.
In the interview, Capriles says it makes sense for water, electricity, and phone companies to be owned by the State. He says these firms are “strategic” because they are “public services.” In the case of others, such as hotels, agricultural firms, or cement companies, he sees no point in having them be State-owned, but he makes no pledge to sell them off.
In this, Capriles is to the left of Dilma Rouseff, Cristina Kirchner, and pretty much every other President in the region not named Castro.
The Thatcher and Reagan revolutions, which saw the deregulation and privatization of public services, and which were copied all over Latin America, leading to massive inflows of private investment, as well as dramatic improvements in service and coverage?
Well, in Capriles’ eyes, they were a huge failure.
On the price of gasoline, he says that the change in the price must come from below. His goal is to bring the debate on the subsidies center stage, so that people understand the nature of the subsidies and practically ask the government to lift them. He pledges not to raise the price of gasoline until that happens.
He also reiterates that he will not lift price controls until the economy is ready and until production has had a chance to recover, whenever that is. He says that PDVSA must be 100% state-owned. He calls it a “strategic” issue for the country.
On Mercosur, he is against it. He says that Venezuela must return to the Andean Community, and from there apply to join Mercosur. He is indifferent toward ALBA.
He says he would love to meet Lula or other Brazilian leaders when he travels there, but that his agenda is being kept secret for fear of Chávez boycotting it.
One more thing: he says he is “Bolivarian,” something I had never heard him say before. He also says it makes no sense for him to try and change the name of the “Bolivarian Republic” if elected.