CItgo

The Citgo fire sale

Reuters is reporting that PDVSA wants to sell Citgo for $10 billion dollars – the equivalent of 8 months’ worth of the cost of the gasoline subsidy. “Investment bank Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N), which is running the sale process for Citgo on behalf of PDVSA, has sent offering materials to potential buyers, the people said, asking not to…

bell pottinger

Spinning the revolution

I had to do a double-take upon learning that PDVSA had hired Bell Pottinger, the PR firm run by Margaret Thatcher’s former communications director to “clean its image.” Of course, no comment from the revolution, so we have no idea how much they (we) are paying for this, nor for what purpose exactly. The part that stood out from…

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An Election Fraud as Big as the Ritz

Last week, the government announced that addressing the country’s deep-seated economic distortions…just wasn’t something they were going to worry about. A few days have passed since the economic non-announcements that made this patently clear. So what does this tell us about the political road ahead? That the 2015 National Assembly elections are going to be rigged. Big time.…

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Of grandmothers and bicycles

There’s a good reason why seasoned politicians are careful never to answer questions about hypotheticals. Trying to take positions about what you would do if something that isn’t currently the case were the case is a good way to get yourself into all kinds of trouble. Politicians know hypotheticals sow misunderstanding, give opponents openings for attack, and generally leave you…

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Dime a quien no le defaulteas y te diré quien eres

Over on Project Syndicate, Ricardo Hausmann and Miguel Angel Santos have a fun riff on the state of the debate on whether Venezuela will go into default in the coming months. Because, viéndolo bien, Venezuela is already in default with regard to a huge range of obligations.  Cancer patients? Check. Food importers? Check. Car-makers, airlines, PDVSA suppliers? Check, check, check.…

That's tiny!

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…