panini album

PANINI-nomics in Venezuela

Over the past two weeks, Venezuelans have poured into the streets, but not simply to protest. Throngs are desperately trying to get the officially licensed sticker albums of this year’s FIFA World Cup from Panini. Every four years, soccer fans the world over buy the officially licensed Panini sticker album in order to get a glimpse of which of their favorite football…

Maiquetia 2

On a wing and a prayer

The ongoing saga between international airlines and the Venezuelan government continues. Just when you thought airlines were going to get their money, the government is now suggesting they will only get paid in part, and at a much higher rate than previously thought. According to El Mundo, the government is playing hard ball as usual,…

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SICAD II: Lost in Translation

Confused about SICAD II? Wondering whether the new currency exchange system really is a legal, market-based alternative to the black-market, or whether it just plays one on TV? Don’t worry, you’re not the alone: Nicolás Maduro himself seems to conflicted on the question to the point of schizophrenia. In his New York Times OpEd, he describes SICAD II as…

well_bolivar

A Caracas City Shuffle

Venezuela’s government is about to unleash the biggest economic reform set forth in the last 11 years. A currency market is about to be set in place, with far fewer restrictions than the previous systems. This reform is a step back from the toxic policy of exchange control, and it is exactly 11 years late. The…

Carpeta Cadivi

The Cadivi Barricades

Quico Toro, the founder of this blog, wrote an OpEd for yesterday’s New York Times in which he ponders the reasons for the massive protests currently rocking Venezuela. His theory is that the protests are in defense of the right to free assembly. There may be some truth to that. However, I think we are…

portada_vea_3feb2014

Countdown to Newsprint-geddon, cont. (Updated)

The latest casualty in the ongoing newsprint crisis is, surprisingly, one of the hegemony’s main newspapers: Diario VEA. In Monday’s edition (seen the photo), they informed their readers that they would probably stop printing because of the shortage. They finally could keep publishing for now thanks to the leftovers of newsprint from previous editions. VEA’s…

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Countdown to Newsprint-geddon

As reported in earlier posts, the ongoing newsprint shortage crisis has been deepening in the last few weeks with more newspapers closing shop, and others being forced to heavily reduce their content. This week, the National Press Workers’ Union (SNTP) staged a protest in front of the main offices of CADIVI, demanding that the multiple…

The object of one's addiction

Ban the poison

After an eleven-year course on currency exchange controls, it’s time to take our final exam boys and girls. The test has a single question: what have we learnt about currency exchange controls? Is it that … they are ineffective at stemming capital flight; they create huge distortions; they usually lead to an overvalued currency; they…

Latin integration indeed

Maracaibo chronicles

An excellent story on smuggling in Zulia state, by Bloomberg’s Anatoly Kurmanaev and Andrew Willis, on Venezuela’s unlikely and unsustainable path to becoming … a rice exporter! The money quote: “Sotomayor hasn’t seen rice for sale in the shops of Venezuela’s second-largest city since July, as smugglers snap up the staple for a maximum of…

Sky high ordeal

It has become very hard for foreign airlines to keep working in Venezuela. Thanks to currency controls, the government (through CADIVI) owes them around two and half billion dollars. After a proposed trueque deal of bonds and free fuel didn’t quite fly, some airlines are starting to consider the idea of just packing their bags…

Ceci n’est pas une devaluation

With the advent of Magrittenomics, Maduro’s economic strategy enters its high surrealist phase. If I understood right, the main bulk of foreign exchange operations will now be done through SICAD, a mechanism that  uses an exchange rate that is not actually published, nor the same between one dollar buyer and another, and inhabits an ambiguous…