Looking through for links on chavismo’s batshit-nuts exchange control system, I found this rant, squirreled away in the 2009 memory-dustbin of my archive.
It’s nice to find something I wrote three years ago has held up as well as it has.
The permuta system is a virtuoso feat of misdirection. While we all focus on what the government is doing with one hand, it’s off remaking society with the other.
Because, make no mistake about it: the government really is upending Venezuelan society. It’s just that the upending is happening not on the political level, but by stealth, through a mechanism too obscure for most observers to quite grasp, let alone pay any attention to.
When you get past the jargon, you see the permuta system is the vehicle for a 21st century montonera: a way to replace one elite with another.
Sure, the details have changed…but the underlying mechanism has not…