A move in the right direction

This won't hurt a bit.

This won’t hurt a bit.

For all we talk about policy in this blog, I’m glad I’m not a politician. I’m relieved I don’t have to repeat talking points or, gulp, lie.

Very few people are saying what needs to be said: that last Friday’s devaluation was, when you boil it down to the basics, a move in the right direction.

Yes, it’s going to be painful. Yes, it’s the consequence of a myriad of boneheaded economic policies, piled one on top of the other. Yes, it is the height of hypocrisy, when the government had repeatedly denied it was coming, and even criticized Capriles during the campaign for (supposedly) considering it.

But is it a bad thing? Absolutely not.

Cadivi dollars at 4.3 BsFs were a scandal, one we discussed at length on the blog. Giving people cheap dollars amounted to a subsidy for the rich, the tourists, and the well-connected. Every dollar sold at 4.3 was a dollar that couldn’t be sold at the real price, and as such, meant there were fewer bolívars available to the government to build schools or roads. Every day with a budget deficit is a day we saddle up future generations with debt.

Changing the exchange rate to BsF 6.3 doesn’t fix the situation entirely. In fact, it falls way short. But is it a bad thing? Absolutely not. Is it a step in the right direction? The answer is an unequivocal yes.

You just won’t hear that from our commentariat. In their view, if the government is doing it, it has to be bad.

Even with the devaluation, our currency remains overvalued, and the enormous distortions upon which our economy rest are still there, unabated. The only problem I see in the devaluation … is that it doesn’t go far enough.

Just don’t quote me on that.

59 thoughts on “A move in the right direction

  1. JuanC, you should take a step back and see the situation on a higher level. Ask yourself the following question: Are we fundamentally different than one week ago? The answer is an unequivocal no.

    Real people will still go to the black market to get their $$$, whereas the politically connected and the elite are the only ones who will have access to the US dollars. The tragedy is that this is all done in the name of protecting the poor, the very people who are hurt the most by this control policy.

    As long as we have a government AND an opposition that believe the economy and, more importantly, peoples’ lives can be centrally planned, the tragedy will carry on and, mark my words, nothing will change through political actions, even if “we” win the elections and change the faces in the government.

    The change will come, however, when the wellfare state collapses and we are no longer to pay 14% of interest in our debt or afford hyperinflation, so the necessary corrections will come. Just like in Zimbawe the currency was manipulated until they destroyed it, then the people found the way to substitute the currency.

    After the fall, there will be change.

    • Even with oceans of oil revenue, planning has no chance of working when the ‘planning’ is haphazard, impulsive, corrupt, and short sighted.

    • Well put, V. Thanks.

      By the way, just focusing on exchange controls, they could have put the rate at whatever. As long as they don’t open the USD faucet, the rate is less important than Diosa Canales’ last nude appearance.

    • Q: What is more boring than a political discussion with a doctrinaire libertarian?
      A: Trick question. Nothing is more boring than a political discussion with a doctrinaire libertarian.

    • what welfare state? Don’t insult real welfare states. They are generally based on more reasonable economic assumptions even if they might not be sustainable or even if they give wrong incentives to persons. This is a demagogic kleptocracy of the worst kind, period.

  2. Couldn’t agree more!
    Here are a couple of interesting charts and a reminder what FDR did in 1933. Not only did he devaluate, but he forbid the hoarding of any form of gold. The possessionn of monetary gold by individuals or corporations was criminalized, so hedging with gold was not legally possible. Reason given: hoarding of gold was stalling economic growth. (Some info “borrowed” from Wikipedia).
    http://tinyurl.com/byjzyaf

  3. very original, Juan. I doubt that the government will use the extra bolivares to “build schools and roads”. They will go to pay CVG or CORPOELEC employees who want to get paid or the bills sent by PDVSA contractors. In short, it will be for current expenditure. I would agree that it represents a move in the right direction of……. chaos.

  4. It would be a move in the right direction if it were accompanied with other changes. As it is, it does nothing to correct the country’s deep imbalances. Inflation will quickly eat away any temporary gain in competitiveness from the devaluation.

    • Exactly my point of view. And with SITME gone (meaning less “official” dollars available), black market can only go up (today it’s 17% higher than last Thursday)

  5. Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) — Venezuela’s bolivar plunged to a
    record low in unregulated trading after last week’s devaluation
    of the official rate failed to increase the supply of dollars.
    The currency weakened 10 percent to 22.36 bolivars per
    dollar today, according to Lechugaverde.com, a website that
    tracks the country’s currency in the black market.

  6. In Albert Speers bio he mentions how cleverly his engineers at the armaments ministry sorted out all kinds of huge problems without thinking one minute about how their efforts were helping the nazi war machine prosecute their war goals , I like Coronel’s description of the ‘right move’ as one into Chaos. Its the old River Kwai syndrome of how the Brit POW’s were so happy building the perfect bridge for their japanese captors that they forgot there was a war on.!!

      • I imagine you’ll have cause to hear it at least once more this year and probably again sometime early next.

        We figure that it ought to devalue at least another 60% or so from its current pegged rate to become remotely competitive.

  7. “Changing the exchange rate to BsF 6.3 doesn’t fix the situation entirely. In fact, it falls way short. But is it a bad thing? Absolutely not. Is it a step in the right direction? The answer is an unequivocal yes.”

    I beg to differ. A devaluation from 4,30 to 6,30 doesn’t change a thing. Cadivi is still subsidizing foreign private companies and helping them get rich. Brazilians, Argentinians and whatnot get a 66% subsidy via CADIVI to sell their stuff in Venezuela, while Venezuelan producers have to deal with price regulation and a 20-30% annual inflation, i.e. a governmental anti-subsidy.

    “Even with the devaluation, our currency remains overvalued, and the enormous distortions upon which our economy rest are still there, unabated. The only problem I see in the devaluation … is that it doesn’t go far enough.”

    Devaluation solves nothing. The only winner is chavismo, that get some extra money. To talk about the devaluation is a waste of energy. The opposition should be talking about how those $57 billion that we use to subsidize foreign private companies should be used instead to create jobs in Venezuela and not in China or Brazil or Argentina. How many jobs could have been created with all the money they wasted on Pudreval and the “cheap” chinese motorcycles and washing machines?

  8. Move in the right direction?

    And how do you know that by delaying the real adjustment you don’t end up producing a future adjustment bigger than you would have to make to begin with?

    I mean, with no monetary, fiscal, prices, productive and compensatory measures announced, I’m almost sure that will be the case. So yes, I think the dominant political strategy for our political leadership is to atack the #PaquetezoRojo

    You probably have strong coordination effects in economic policy in a country like ours. Unavoidable as it was, devaluing the BsF could be welfare enhancing in the mid term, if inserted in coherent set of other measures. By doing what Giordani did last friday, you just close temporarily the fiscal gap, by permanently fu***ing the consumers, with the poorest portion of them receiving the hardest hit.

    Move in the right direction? mmm…DUNNO

    • Well said…Devaluation on its own it’s not a move in the right direction! Plus, as Hugo the commenter said (not MIA Hugo) above, devaluation is the result of very bad policies in the past, which still are very much in place.

      • Let me pose a counterfactual.

        Suppose tomorrow Giordani comes on the air and says “My bad! Forget the devaluation thing! We’re going back to 4.3.” You’re saying you would applaud this?!

        We all know the real value of the dollar is somewhere between 4.3 and the current 22 it’s selling for in the black market. Any move that shifts the official rate closer to the true market rate helps us adjust in the future. Any move that decreases somewhat the subsidy to the rich while at the same time closes the fiscal gap has positive aspects to it.

        • The problem is that without a complete set of new policies any devaluation that takes the official exchange rate closer to the true market rate isn’t going to last long. In a few months, at best, the gap between the official and true rates is going to be pretty much the same as before the devaluation.

        • Well, it’a useless devaluation if doesn’t favor exports apart from oil (i.e. the chavernment), or if it’s going into Maduro’s next elections show, or into current spending, or to the neverending, bottomless pit. Oh, wait. No, I don’t think it’s a move in the right direction.

    • I am not a fan of the assumption that any given policy will hurt the poorest most of all. CADIVI subsidies to travel and students unambiguously benefit the better-off, and I see no evidence to think that the basket of goods the poor consume has fewer goods subsided by CADIVI.

  9. JC

    Errh… Yes and no.

    Like you I think that 6.3 is way insufficient and I wrote that 10 should have been the number. But that is my opinion :)

    However, let’s not congratulate the government for FINALLY devaluating. After all, if there is a need for devaluation it is their fault. We should stress before we say that they moved a step in the right direction. As for #paquetazorojo, let’s not pay much attention to twitter in Venezuela…. Our readers do know better.

  10. Say you have – oh, random example – a malignant tumor in your abdomen. The right therapeutic strategy is to have surgery to remove it. Part of that surgery involves making a large gash in your tummy with a sharp knife.

    Now say as you’re walking out of your consultation, a mugger comes up to you with a knife, steals your wallet and slashes a big gash in your tummy before running off. Would you call that “a step in the right direction” in treating your cancer?!

    Yes, the move is superficially similar to the first step you would take in a serious attempt to fight your cancer. In a radically different context the very same move would indeed be part of a sound therapeutic protocol.

    But done this way, and in this context, it’s just assault.

    • If the gash takes away part of the tumor, then yes, there is a silver lining to your assault.

    • For a moment I thought your simile was going to be that instead of extirpating the whole tumor, the surgeon – for now – would extract only a third of the tumor. That would be closer to what actually happened and it begs the question: is it a step in the right direction? I think most doctors would say that, for cancer, extracting only part of the tumor is worse than doing nothing as it accelerates metastasis. That may very well be the case with a partial isolated devaluation.

  11. It has been a big mistake on the part of the opposition and the economist to criticize the devaluation (With some exceptions). They should have concentrated on its causes and the history of evaluations under Chavez. Finally, they should have clarified they devalue because they need Bs. not because they think it is something that will help the economy.

    • Unfortunately, the above would be true if the mass population were educated and understood the consequences of unbridled fiscal expansion in Venezuela; given that this is not the case and that they will only recognize the one thing that hurts most, general price increases and dilution of consumption capacity, I think criticizing the devaluation is precisely the right political strategy, there is a direct cause and effect impact that the majority will perceive and understand. The rest is to abstract for the majority, sadly.

  12. The relevant variable in Venezuela -the one that is creating the humongous distortions in distortioland- is not the official exchange rate, IS THE GAP between the OfEx-rate and the black market. You do nothing to attack the causes of such gap and you do nothing at all…

    • I don’t buy your theory that by devaluing, the government is increasing pressure in the Forex market. I simply don’t see the signs of that.

      • By eliminating SITME, US$ 8 billion that came from the Government will have to look elsewhere. This system was terrible, but it was the alternative to complete purchases that CADIVI did not approve, without someone saying you could buy or not. Now, this money will have to to the the black market. (Which I hear is up already)

      • They did nothing about changing the relative abundance of foreign currency.
        They did nothing about changing the mechanisms to access the foreign currency (if anything, the opposite..see moctavio above).
        They did nothing to further penalize or hamper the use of the black market

        Therefore I would not expect the official-black market gap to recede.

        If the governement uses the extra funds to finance a renewed fiscal expansion for Maduro’s campaign, I guess even the drop in Forex demand for imports is going to be -at least partially- compensated

        signs of that?…go to lechugaverde a compute the change in the gap between friday and today ;)

  13. Once Maduro, Cabello, and company have exhaust their options and if they are united, it will be announced that a healthy Chavez is returning home. Somewhere, somehow en route Chavez will be assassinated. Members of the opposition will be implicated, arrested, and imprisoned. At that point, the only way PSUV loses power is if they implode or through armed conflict.

  14. Here’s another question: do we honestly think a President Capriles would have done something much different? I mean, he would have inherited Cadivi, and he promised to maintain it in the short term. Would Capriles have maintained the 4.3?

    • Remember, the premise of his economic policy during the presidential campaign was to disavow shocking measures, that is, slow reform. His team also counted on the chance to put their hands on the parallel national budget to lessen the social impact of economic reform. But we already know the insane amount of money Chavez siphoned to the electorate in order to win, so we’ll never know for sure what Capriles would’ve done.

    • I honestly think Capriles would have had more space for maneuver. I’m counting on the big expectations/confidence shock a change in Miraflores would have implied

    • No, but there was a plan to devalue and eventually float the currency which promoted expectations of a lower rate of exchange

      Juan: Have we switched places? :-)

    • Devaluation was unavoidable. But the chavista devaluation as it is is not the solution. It is just a shortcut to get some extra cash to stay afloat. Nothing else.

      And that’s probably the biggest difference between the dimwits of Giordani/Merentes and a hypothetical Capriles’ government (Villasmil/Guerra/etc): An opposition goverment would have proposed economic policies and not just a patchwork solution to the economic crisis.

  15. I think we all agree the currency was (is) hugely overvalued. The question is what measures are needed to prevent the currency from become overvalued again? How to break the devaluation cycle? Devaluation alone is not the answer.

  16. The thing is that we don’t know what the full strategy is. It may be just a “short-term fix” to “bridge the fiscal gap” or it may be part of a larger correction plan, aka, paquetazo but that is kept secretly somewhere. There are all kinds of rumors. One of them is the legalization of the “black market” or a SITME type of open market through the Caracas Stock Exchange. Which one will it be? Dunno.

    Also, there are tons of rumors about correcting the gas prices. Would you go all the way to international prices? Probably not. But a small adjustment would be a “step in the right direction”. Is it smart to free up the dollar in jump? I don’t think so. I think many people would agree with this move if it was part of a larger scheme.

    • What really hurts me to see is how the opposition dig their own graves by criticizing the devaluation. Also, if the government raises gas prizes I can already see the opposition accusing the government of a paquetazo. I pray every night Capriles doesn’t win a Presidential election

      • I has always said, that Capriles is far from being a statesman. But at least he seems to be democratic. There is a lot to do in the institutional side of things and he seems to be the man for those.

        And I am certain that after Capriles’s term is due, he will let go.

        But I agree. I wouldn’t just jump and critize this, but I would ask what the ultimate goal is. What’s the road that they (Merentes and Giordanni) have planned. What steps are being taken to correct dislocations in a way that these measures are not needed in the future.

        Sadly, this government is either ignorant of the answers to those question (and it’s merely improvising) or it is so elitist that he doesn’t trust the people with this information.

        • Clarification. I support Capriles and admire him for the way he ran his campaign. I was trying to say that if people are mad at the Government for devaluing, and the opposition gives them crap for doing so; a future Capriles government who devalues -not by 32% but by like 75%- people are going to be really pissed. This is why I think they’re digging their grave. cheers

  17. Come you all have heard that the grassroots and rank and file of the Bolivarian revolution is pretty upset with this and the bureaucracy.

    English and in Spanish below:
    The website of the Venezuelan Lucha de Clases, the Venezuela Marxist paper within the PSUV. In Spanish.

    http://www.luchadeclases.org.ve/component/content/article/7294-lucha-de-clases

    and posted also on:
    http://www.marxist.com/venezuela-declaracion-lucha-de-clases-ante-devaluacion.htm
    http://www.aporrea.org/ideologia/a159188.html
    http://www.kaosenlared.net/america-latina/item/46907-declaración-de-la-corriente-lucha-de-clases-del-psuv-ante-la-devaluación.html
    http://rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=163719

    —————————————————————————
    http://www.marxist.com/venezuela-statement-lucha-de-clases-devaluation.htm

    Venezuela: Statement of Lucha de Clases on the devaluation of the Bolivar

    Written by Lucha de Clases – Venezuela Tuesday, 12 February 2013

    On Friday, February 8, the Minister of Planning and Finances Jorge Giordani and the President of the Venezuelan Central Bank Nelson Merentes, spoke at a press conference to announce the devaluation of the Bolivar from 4.3 to the US dollar to 6.3.

    Regarding this decision the Lucha de Clases (Class Struggle) Marxist current of the PSUV declares:

    100 Bolivar close up. Photo: Rodrigo Suarez
    1) Our strongest repudiation of the hypocritical reaction of the oligarchy and its political representatives that have criticised the measure presenting it as a “red austerity package”. The inheritors of the Punto Fijo regime have no authority to speak about “austerity packages”. In power they introduced several capitalist neo-liberal adjustment packages against the working people, including the infamous Carlos Andres Perez package that led to the peoples’ uprising of February 27, 1989. Had they won the October 7 presidential elections they would have implemented a package of measures against the working class and the poor people, including the destruction of the misiones social programs, widespread cuts against education and health care, attacks on pensions and wages, etc. To them we say: “you will not be back!”

    2) At the same time we should critically analyse the economic decisions of the Bolivarian government on the basis of the following fundamental criteria: which social class do they benefit? Do they contribute to advance towards socialism, the stated aim of the Bolivarian revolution, or not?

    3) The devaluation of the Bolivar is a measure that has been imposed by the very logic of the capitalist system and the domination of the owners of the means of production and financial capitalists over the economy. It cannot therefore be considered a socialist measure.

    4) The introduction of currency exchange controls on the part of the national government in 2003 was an attempt to curb the massive flight of capital, the investment strike and the generalised sabotage of production on the part of the national and multinational bourgeoisie, particularly during the bosses lock out and criminal sabotage of the oil industry in December 2002 – January 2003.

    5) However, much like other similar measures that have been taken (regulation of prices of basic food stuffs, rent controls), the attempts to regulate the worst aspects of the capitalist system do not solve the main problem: the ruling class always manages to evade controls through legal, semi-legal and openly illegal means. In reality, all they achieve is the dislocation of the “normal” mechanisms of the capitalist system, without replacing them with a rational and democratic economic plan in the interest of the majority.

    6) Faced with currency exchange controls, the bourgeoisie responds with a black market and speculation – a parallel dollar exchange. Faced with price controls, the bourgeoisie responds with hoarding, profiteering and withdrawing basic products from the market place. If the price of white rice is regulated, the bourgeoisie produces flavoured rice. If the state institution CADIVI gives dollars to capitalists at the official exchange rate so that they can import materials for production, the capitalists will divert divert these dollars to the black market, making substantial profits while at the same time they sell the finished products at prices based on the black market exchange rate.

    7) The idea that the devaluation will benefit the State, because it will receive more Bolivars for each dollar it receives in payment for oil exports, is extremely short-sighted. Faced with the sabotage of production and the investment strike of the ruling class, the state has become a large-scale importer of all sorts of basic and food products, which it then sells at subsidised prices through the state-owned Mercal and PDVAL distribution chains. What the state earns by getting more bolivars from the sale of oil, it will lose by paying in dollars for the importation of basic products to satisfy the home market.

    8) In reality the national and multinational bourgeoisie has been waging a noisy campaign demanding devaluation since president Chávez announced he had to undergo surgery in Cuba in December. In the same way they continue to wage a campaign demanding the liberalisation or increase in the prices of the basic food products which are currently regulated.

    9) At the end of the day, devaluation inevitably leads to higher prices for the final consumers in a country which is heavily dependent on the import of consumer goods and raw materials and parts for manufacturing, assembly and even for agriculture – that is, inflation for working class families.

    10) The capitalist system “works” on the basis of guaranteeing maximum profit for the private owners of capital and the means of production. Well-intentioned appeals to businessmen to invest in production or to sell at a “fair price”, will not work. As long as capitalism exists, capitalists will only invest if they are certain they can obtain a reasonable profit margin, and if they can make more profit by speculating, they will.

    11) The only way to break with this perverse logic is precisely to break with the laws that govern the capitalist economy. The Owners of the Valley[1] , the 100 families and monopoly groups, national and foreign, which still control the basic levers of the Venezuelan economy (banks, companies and distribution chains) and use this control to sabotage the democratic will of the majority, must be expropriated. In the words of the revolutionary leader of the Federal War, Ezequiel Zamora: “what should be sequestrated are the assets of the rich, as they use them to wage war against the people, they should be left only with their shirts”. We are talking about the expropriation of the big capitalists, the 1% of the population, neither of individual property nor small businesses of the 99% of the population which do not represent a fundamental factor of the economy and which are suffocated by the big banks and monopolies.

    12) Only in this way would it be possible to plan, in a democratic manner and under workers’ control, the enormous productive potential, the human, technical and material resources, which the Venezuelan economy possesses, in the benefit of the overwhelming majority of the population. Thereby guaranteeing the social conquests of the revolution, spreading, enlarging and consolidating them.

    13) Reformists and bureaucrats will tell us that this is not possible. Some will argue that such measures would provoke the resistance of the bourgeoisie and imperialist aggression. Are they not already attacking us? Are the capitalist media not already lying and manipulating? Has imperialism not attacked the revolution since the very beginning? There are only two possible ways to prevent the bourgeoisie and imperialism from attacking us: one, by reaching deals and compromises with the class enemy and thereby putting an end to the revolution. Two, by taking sharp and firm socialist measures to complete the revolution and arming the people through workers’ and peasant militias. This would also generate a wave of sympathy and support amongst the workers and the peoples’ of the world which are currently themselves suffering the consequences of the capitalist crisis.

    14) Others will argue that it is too soon, that the level of consciousness of the workers and the people does not allow for it. To them we ask: who saved the revolution on April 13, 2002, during the coup? Who defended the president during the opposition guarimba riots in 2004 and the recall referendum? Who took over factories and PDVSA oil company installations during the bosses lock-out? Who struggled for the renationalisation of SIDOR? It was the working class and the revolutionary people that on every single occasion have defended the Bolivarian revolution at all crucial junctures, often against and despite the bureaucracy and the reformists.

    Against hoarding and speculation – expropriation of the means of production and jail sentences for those responsible
    No agreements, no conciliation – forward to socialism
    Nationalisation of the means of production under democratic workers’ control
    Against the anarchy of capitalism – for a democratic plan of production in the interest of the majority
    Source: Lucha de Clases (Venezuela)

    [1] Los Amos del Valle, a reference to the 20 families which ruled the Valley of Caracas since the XVII century, as described in the novel with the same title by Francisco Herrera Luque

    • Translation for non-Marxists:

      Blah blah blah everyone elses’ fault blah blah blah if they did it, so can we, cuz its still their fault blah blah blah down with capitalism as the root of all our woes blah blah blah this will ultimately benefit the people and not the ruling class blah blah blah how dare people look after their own self-interest since this betrays Marxism which runs counter to human nature.

      Seriously? This is the best that they can come up with? Shift the blame and point fingers at everyone but their own economic and financial ineptitude?

      This is no different than the malandro attitude of, “not my fault if everyone else does something wrong and if I don’t I’ll miss my share of the pie”.

      Worst. Diatribe. Ever.

  18. I don’t think it’s a step in the right direction because the right direction is to remove controls. A step in the right direction would be some signs of control removal. To understand the point, imagine there were no controls right now, but an announcement is made to start controlling it at 6.30. That’s bad. Now, if you’re trying to convince us that controlling at 6.30 is less bad than controlling at 4.30, I still think it’s debatable considering the 6.30 isn’t being controlled the same way that the 4.30 was. It seems to me that the new control at 6.30 is in effect giving the government greater control, so it may just be worse than before.

    Looking at this as a “the controlled exchange is closer to uncontrolled reality” thing, is really quite limited of scope.

    • Without restoring confidence first, lifting controls in the economy will mean suicide. Remember what happened when Chavez naively put an end to the crawling band regime in 2002.

      • True; I hope you don’t think I implied lifting controls without taking that into account, nor that you are defending raising the exchange rate while strengthening the controls.

  19. About a month or so before the October elections I got hold of a BOA report on the Venezuelan elections and its financial consequences , Their preferred electoral prediction came out as forecast . They assummed that Venezuela had the resources to carry out the inevitable corrections throughout 2013 but that the corrections would be accelerated if chavez won by a short margin because he would be thinking of the parlaimentary elections and would prefer to have the time for the adverse impacts to be absorved before having to face the opposition in a general election , on the other hand if Capriles won or Chavez won by a large margin then the corrections would be implemented throughout 2013 to lessen their political impact . What BOA evidently didnt take into account was that Chavez was facing such inmmediate dire health problems . secondly that the degree of resources used to create an artificial bonanza to favour the electoral result would be so overblown and costly!! Tells you something about how even very smart people outside the country can never figure out whats really happening

  20. Chavez neo-communist Government devastated domestic industrial production, killed real estate, exterminated capital markets and destroyed agro-industries in Venezuela. The Government is now seriously going after commercial activities of every kind. Devaluation, together with price controls, is one of their weapons of choice.

    After this new stage of commerce obliteration is complete, banks will have a single, major client: the Government. Banking extinction as an independent enterprise is now near.

    This is applied Communism 101.

    Is it not obvious?

  21. You know what would have been – unequivocally – a move in the right direction? A move in the price of gasoline. That is right in the causes side of the cause-effect chain

  22. Move in the right direction? Looks more like Chivo que se devuelve… because he’s out of it and sh*tting himself…

  23. Direct distribution is looking like a better option every day. Would it be plausible to give everybody an account, right away, to reflect the current situation and debt as well? Wouldn’t the possibly small or negative amount in each Venezuelan’s sovereign account increase with subsequent devaluations? Surely with gas price hikes? Other good policies that would otherwise have no evident effect to average Venezeulans except screwing them over? And set a limit for when it reaches a certain amount, distribution begins, sure this would be symbolic at first but could have a deep effect in public consciousness to have policies and speeches every day affecting the amount reflected in your e-bill or monthly text message?… jajaja libertarian dreams, still, it’s a fucked up situation the correct view is to support moves in the right direction, the opposition should act as if they were already in charge, as if they wanted Chavez to succeed. Heck, that probably would’ve been the best strategy from the get go. It still remains, that the opposition might hold the key to proper macro-economic and micro-economic policies which with good oil prices, could in 5 or 10 years beging to effect real change. But they have no clue as to how to obtain enough votes or public sympathy, to have another chance at it! If the crash comes anytime soon, people won’t suddenly start listening to good economic policy, they will go with Maduro, or the next, or the next.

  24. Its very revealing that Jauas remarks should be made in the Diana cooking oil plant , a rather insignificant part of Venezuelas much larger industrial complex , Why not make them in one of the big petrochemical or oil plants or in one of guayanas large industrial plants , Clearly the reason is that these much more important industrial facilities are in such bad shape that they would give a very poor impression of how bad Venezuelan industry is faring under the regime . Still another example of the effort the regime makes to manipulate appearances so as to give itself a better reputation that it deserves .

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