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Dude, Your Strategic Fund Has Less than a Week’s Worth of Imports In It

For years – literally years – we’ve been wondering exactly how much money the Venezuelan government had squirrelled away in its “parafiscal funds”: Fonden- and Fondo Chino-style unaudited, unreported, wholly discretionary accounting black boxes. Finally, yesterday, Maduro let the cat out of the bag: announcing he would finally unite all of these different pots into a…

Cuartel de la montana

The “4” that matters

The official press in Venezuela is full of details on the state visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. As part of his Caracas tour, agreements will be signed, swords will be passed around, sashes will be worn, tombs will be visited, oil will be traded, and a full-blown one-directional slobber-fest will take place. But the only thing, the…

Government applies the “Andrade doctrine”

Remember that Chavista deputy from Merida that was a little too honest while talking about how Asian inmigrants must toe the line and stop speculating? Well… Vice-President (and Chávez’s son-in-law, lest we forget why he got this job) Jorge Arreaza has upped the ante, by calling “Asian business owners to adjust their prices this week,…

The FT rings the alarm bells

The folks at the FT are worried. Very worried. Two money quotes, given their annoying firewalls: “In a report last week which was otherwise bullish on supplies, analysts at Citigroup called Venezuela “probably the biggest bull risk to the oil market in 2014 outside of the MENA [Middle East and north Africa] region.” “The current…

Peking (lame) duck

A few weeks ago I wrote an article for Foreign Policy’s Transitions blog about Nicolás Maduro’s China trip. Given the influence China is playing in how Venezuela shapes its policies, I labeled Maduro the Manchurian President. (If you have trouble accessing the article, here it is in Portuguese) Tom O’Donnell expands on this and provides…

Where are the China bashers?

Nicolás Maduro is wrapping up a trip to the piggy bank visit to China. The deal that he signed means that China gives us money so that we can buy trinkets from them and continue subsidizing the scam that is Cadivi. In exchange, they get our oil. In the end, China keeps their money and…