Sunday, 1 May 2016

Venezuela now and what to do (I)

average yearly price for an OPEC oil barrel
Above you see Venezuela's Alpha and's the average oil price as dollars per barrel for each year. Actually: the data reflects OPEC average barrel whereas Venezuela's oil is somewhat cheaper. Prices have started to increase since February. As usual, some so-called specialists say there is a clear trend now and some other so-called specialists there is none. Their guess is almost as good as your or my grandfather's.

Even if prices were to keep increasing, anything under 100 dollars a barrel won't be enough to keep Venezuela's economy afloat.

And yet: we have seen Chavismo is able to  keep power even if Venezuela is in it has been for several years now. Beyond Caracas, Valencia and Maracaibo and some surrounding areas, the regime firmly controls what people can watch and read. Your average Russian Ivan Popov in Nizhny Novgorod or even a village around Kemerovo is more likely to be able to surf at high speed on the Internet than my José González or María Rodríguez in Guacara, Calabozo or Quíbor, the kind of urban centres where more than half of Venezuela's population live. Even though the vast majority of Venezuelans are spending many hours every week queuing up to be able to buy a few basic products and find only a fraction of them, even if murder rates are among the highest in the world, even if the inflation is the highest at all, there is still a 30% of the population that keeps supporting the regime. Why? Because for them a turning back is just too painful, because they know nothing else, because they fear to lose the state jobs they now have. 

Don't fool yourself: Chavismo is led by gangsters who have a lot of skeletons in their closets. Chances they leave power willingly are less than of bank robbers of turning themselves to the police unless they are completely cornered.

What is going to come? 

We might find some support from the new government in Argentina, but Macri is very busy now trying to fix an economy plundered by the Kirchner family. Peru's future is still to be decided. Brazil is in a mess of its own. Other Latin American countries are getting into recession mode as well.

Venezuelans of good faith are again left to their own. Still, there is a lot they can do.

Let's start with this: Venezuelan expats need to organise demos in front of the embassies of Latin American countries in Latin America and all of the Americas to 

1- denounce how the Supreme Court in Venezuela is constantly violating the Venezuelan constitution
2- force the renewal of the Judiciary 
3- make the Venezuelan regime accept independent observers who will prevent abuses of power during the recall process.

Venezuelans in Brazil need to talk about these things in front of the embassies of Peru and Colombia, Venezuelans in Germany need to do that in front of the embassies of Colombia and Mexico, Venezuelans in Washington need to do the same in front of the embassies  of Chile and Costa Rica and so on. The whole world needs to know Venezuelan democrats are asking their Latin American neighbours to support democracy the same way Venezuelans supported democracy in Latin America when most countries were living under military dictatorships.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Venezuelas Untergang - Kapitel CCCLXXXVIII

Wie kann ich über den fortschreitenden Untergang meines Landes sprechen und etwas Positives bewirken?

Die Regierung Venezuelas hat viele Schulden und unter ihnen befinden sich Schulden in Höhe von $1 Milliard für die Kosten der Benutzung von Schifffahrtscontainern. Der Grund für diese Summe ist, dass die Container, die für die Einfuhr so vieler Waren benutzt werden, mit viel Verspätung an die Transportfirmen zurückgegeben werden. Dies ist wiederum mit der sehr hohen Ineffizienz und Korruption im Land der Chavistas.

Die Opposition hat über 1.5 Millionen Unterschriften gesammelt, um ein Referendum zu veranlassen. Der Wahlrat, der völlig der Regierung untertänig ist, wird das Verfahren so weit es geht erschweren. Viele denken, dass das Referendum erst im Jahr 2017 stattfinden wird. Das würde bedeuten, dass auch wenn Maduro weggehen muss, Venezuela keine neue Wahlen haben würde, denn dann würde Maduro lediglich vom Vizepräsident ersetzt werden und der ist ein Chavista.

Die Mangelwirtschaft verschärft sich. Menschen müssen immer länger Schlange stehen und finden immer weniger. Selbst der sehr bekannte Musiker Yordano twittert mittlerweile, um zu fragen, ob man irgendwo bestimmte Medizinen findet, die er seit seiner Krebserkrankung nötig hat.

Die Politiker der deutschen Linksextremisten sagen aber immer noch, dass die ganze Katastrophe in Venezuela Folge eines Wirtschaftskrieges ist.

Francisco denkt, dass Maduro nicht so plump als Politike sein kann, wenn noch 30% der Bevölkerung eine positive Meinung über seine Regierung hat, während Roussef in Brasilien über nur ein Drittel dieser Popularität verfügt. Diese Zahlen so zu interpretieren wäre aber falsch. Die meisten Venezolaner, vor allem ausserhalb Caracas, Valencia und Maracaibo, können kaum regierungskritische Fernsehsender sehen und viel weniger lesen Zeitungen.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

¿Qué nos dice CEPAL ahora del 2016?

Estas son las proyecciones del crecimiento del PIB que tiene la CEPAL para Suramérica en 2016. Como pueden ver, Venezuela es clase aparte una vez más. Los de la extrema izquierda en Europa hablan de una guerra económica...hay que tener morros para decir esto.

Según estos datos, el PIB de Venezuela caerá en un 6,9% en 2016.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

A day in the life of a good engineer in Venezuela

Prices of most important household products are regulated in Venezuela of the "21 Century Socialism". The government does this at the same time as it keeps three currency exchange rates and currency controls that generate much more corruption and at the same time it keeps printing bank notes as if no one in the government knew anything about basic economics.

The horrible shortages product of these stupid economic policies have led the government to force citizens to buy controlled products only two days a week according to the last digit of their ID.

This is the account I got from a couple in Valencia. These friends are two formerly middle-class engineers who now can be classified simply as poor.

My time for shopping according to my ID was on Monday. I didn't find sugar, maize or wheat flour, rice, pasta, milk, butter, soap, tooth paste or shampoo in the main supermarkets. My husband went to queue up in front of the drugstore at 4 am. He got position 80. I got there at 7 am, shortly before the shop opened. When there were only 30 persons before me, the drugstore didn't have any more products with regulated prices.

I decided then to go to the Chinese shop as I had heard a lorry with pasta had arrived. I waited there from 10 to 1pm but I couldn't get anything when black market vendors tried to jump the queue and fighting broke out.

I gave up as I had to pick up our daughter from school.

Most of the people I see in the shops are actually from Southern Valencia, from towns of Güigüe, Miranda, Puerto Cabello, etc [a region with over 2 million people] because they do not find anything where they live.

She is one of the many who lost her job last year and she does little jobs here and there. There is no jobseeker allowance in Venezuela. Still, we  have 33% of the population that is still Chavista, just like 2, 3 years ago. They even believe things are worse in Spain.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Chicken and mathematics or how Chavismo's destroying my country

A friend of mine went shopping in Caracas. He was looking for some discount in the small poultry case of the local supermarket and while sifting through things he discovered, between a few chicken legs, an improvised ad:

"Maths specialist. Home lessons. Guaranteed comprehension and success.
Any day. Any time (Name and mobile number)"

Let's go to the chicken wings, though: the price is 1070 Bs a kilo. Instead of translating that into euros or dollars - very few Venezuelans earn either of them -, I'll translate that into a university professor's salary: that is equivalent to 1/19 to 1/39 of what she or he earns in a month. A school teacher earns less, of course.

Mind: you need more than a professor's full monthly salary to be able to rent a tiny flat in a working class area in any major city of Venezuela now.

My parents were a teacher and a professor in public - i.e. free- institutions before Chávez came to power and their salaries gave them a purchasing power that was much higher than anything teachers have in Venezuela of the "XXI Century Socialism".

I forgot to mention: my friend is also a professor. He was one of the very best at university. He would easily have a top job in Europe or in the USA. In Venezuela, though, he has to give maths lessons after his normal work at university in order to buy discount chicken wings.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Schon wieder verschwindet eine regimekritische Zeitung in Venezuela

Ab heute wird die venezolanische Zeitung El Carabobeño aufhören, als Druckausgabe zu erscheinen. Der Grund ist nicht, dass die Leute sie nicht mehr kaufen wollen. Die Druckausgabe wird es jetzt nicht mehr geben, weil die chavistische Regierung keine Dollars für die Einfuhr von Druckmaterial an diese unabhängige Zeitung geben will. In Venezuela entscheidet die Regierung wer wie viele Dollars und zu welchem Preis bekommt. In Venezuela, wo Internet so langsam und Internetzahlungen so beschränkt sind, bedeutet dies praktisch, dass diese Zeitung kaum Einfluss haben wird.

El Carabobeño war zwar eine Regionalzeitung, sie war aber die wichtigste in der Region zwischen Yaracuy und Aragua, mit Mittelpunkt in Valencia, meiner Stadt. Sagen wir das mal so: das war die wichtigste Zeitung in einem Gebiet, wo über 3 Millionen Venezolaner leben.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Chavismo jailing journalists

The publisher of one of the few remaining critical newspapers in Venezuela, Correo del Caroní, has been sentenced to prison for defamation after his newspaper denounced a very real corruption case at a state company.

Here you have (in Spanish) the position of Correo del Caroní.