Sunday, 22 November 2015

How mental is Chavismo? Economics of an egg

It is hard to convey how screwed up Venezuela's economy is. Take the case of eggs...just conventional chicken eggs, not those of an ostrich.

Since 12 November the "fair price" for an egg is 14 Bolivars, which is equivalent to 2 euros at the official exchange rate. If you think that rate is not quite suitable because it does not reflect the real purchasing power, consider how many dozens of eggs the average school teacher in Venezuela can buy: 33.58 dozens or about 403 eggs. In reality, unless you spending hours every week queuing up for eggs, you are bound to find them at a much higher price. I could tell you stories of despair from my relatives and friends queuing up. Useful idiots in Venezuela and abroad still say the shortage economy has to do with capitalism and an economic war.

The video you see above is heart-breaking. it shows a chicken farm. The owners cannot find chicken food, which is imported, so they have to let the chicken run around the farm and find whatever they can. The chicken are desperate for grain, for anything. You cannot feed them nowadays like you use to do a hundred years ago...not if you need to feed a very urbanized nation.

At the same time as this is happening, Chavismo is 

1- importing massively chicken and other products from other South American nations - the ones with governments supporting the Chavista regime
2- still maintaining a currency control system whereby middle to upper middle class Venezuelans can buy a quota of highly subsidized foreign currency in order to spend it abroad. An expression of 21 Century Socialism is "raspar el cupo". That means: people who have credit cards and can afford that go abroad, buy some stuff but also simply get the cash in dollars or euros and then deposit it abroad. This is simply state-sponsored theft from the poor.

You can fairly say there is no one with lofty values running the so-called revolution nowadays. The people are taking umbrage and no matter how much the regime will try to cheat 6 December, things will become very hard for officialdom.

Hats off to Setty and Daniel for the video.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Preparing for something?

Today a couple of our readers saw these APCs on the road from Valencia to Caracas. The National Guard uses these vehicles to contain protests.

Everyone else is talking about the first lady's relatives caught by the US American DEA in Haiti in a sting operation against cocaine dealers. I will write about them when I get some extra information.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Der Weg zu den Wahlen: Venezuela, November 2015

Ein paar stinknormale Schuhe kostet in Venezuela jetzt etwa 30000 Bs. Das ist mehr als was Schullehrer und die meisten Dozenten an der Uni verdienen. Diese Dozenten müssten drei Monate Gehalt ausgeben, um einen Monat lang eine Einzimmerwohnung in einem armen Viertel zu bezahlen. Es liegt auf der Hand, dass die grösste Mehrheit der Venezolaner, die vor langen Zeit keine Wohnung gekauft hat, jetzt bei Verwandten oder einfach in Slums wohnt.

Das Regime und seine bedingungslosen Verteidiger in Europa - die kommunistische S. Wagenknecht ist ein Beispiel von denen- sprechen über einen Wirtschaftskrieg. Der Kapitalismus ist ja immer schuld.

Der Vorsitzende der Organisation Amerikanischer Staaten hat gestern einen langen Brief an die Vorsitzende des venezolanischen Wahlrates geschrieben, wo er sich über die venezolanischen Behörden beschwert, die ihre Macht missbrauchen, um der Regierungspartei allerlei Vorteile für die Wahlen zu verschaffen.

Der Wahlrat hat u.a. die Zahl der Abgeordneten in Bezirken reduziert, wo die Opposition in der Vergangenheit ganz sicher gewann und dafür behauptet, dass die Einwohnerzahl dort abnimmt, was völlig falsch ist. Der Wahlrat hat auch zugelassen, dass plötzlich im Stimmzettel neben einer Oppositionspartei eine andere Partei erscheint, die fast denselben Namen hat...und mit einem völlig unbekannten Kandidat, der denselben Namen wie der Leiter der Oppositionspartei aufweist.

Es gibt immer weniger Zeitungen, Radio- und Fernsehsehnder, die das Regime kritisieren dürfen. Internetzugang hinkt in Venezuela hinter dem Rest Südamerikas. Es ist so langsam, dass wenige Menschen im Internet Stream-TV aus dem Ausland sehen können...vor allem da, wo die Journalisten nicht hingehen...da, wo die Mehrheit der Venezolaner lebt. Dies ist etwas, was viele ausländischen Journalisten in Caracas noch nicht verstehen oder bekannt gegeben: Venezuela ist zwar ein sehr urbanes Land, die meisten Menschen leben aber nicht in den drei grössten Städten Venezuelas, sondern in den Ballungsräumen und in vielen mittelgroßen Städten, wo ausländische Journalisten und Diplomaten so gut wie nie sind.

Die Regierung Maduros ist aber sehr nervös, denn alle Umfragen zeigen, dass die Opposition die große Mehrheit hat. Die Regierung will alles tun, um einen Gewinn der Opposition zuzulassen. Wenn die Opposition gewinnt, wird die jetzige Mehrheit in der Nationalversammlung die eigene Institution entmachten und an Maduro geben.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Priorities for Venezuela's socialist regime

The Venezuelan regime knows where its priorities are. That's why it is spending $480,000,000 in maintenance for its Russian war planes. It will also spend Bs 6,000,000,000 in goodies for the military caste. That is equivalent to $944,000,000 or $7,600,000, depending on what exchange rate you use (I know how mental the range is).

In my city a huge amount of public schools similar to where I was as a child do not have teachers and pupils are getting their time wasted. A teacher in Venezuela doesn't earn enough to buy food for a family, much less to rent a tiny flat in a poor neighbourhood.

If this is not criminal, I do not know what is.

Bear in mind the military caste is the key element in logistics for the upcoming elections.

No wonder the regime does not want independent international observers.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Dying on Venezuela's roads

A few days back a relative of mine was murdered on the road. Some criminals threw stones to his car from a bridge. He crashed, they robbed the car. They were not found and it is highly unlikely they will be found. That bridge is well known for that kind of crimes. Many other times people die because they driving while drunk, because they drive too fast, because they do not know how to drive, because the cars are breaking apart, because the roads are full of holes.

In any case, Venezuela registered the second highest rate of traffic fatalities on Earth a few years back. What about now?

Well, now the regime has simply decided not to provide the data. This year Venezuela is, together with Ukraine and South Sudan, one of the few countries that did not report how many people die on the road.

Now, if you go to the previous report of 2013, where Venezuela still appeared, you will see Venezuela's enforcement of seat belt was among the lowest reported: 2 out of 10 times. Also, 3/4 of all fatality types are classified as "other", as opposed to "pedestrians, drivers" or the like, a figure that is usually less than 15% for other countries. It seems as if Venezuelan authorities didn't have a clue about who died why. Venezuelans do not like rules, they do not calculate risks.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

This is not a joke: ministry of trade in Venezuela

Since Maduro has been in power - since early 2013 - Venezuela has had five ministers of trade:

  • Alejandro Fleming
  • José Khan
  • Dante Rivas
  • Isabel Delgado and
  • David Cabello, Diosdado Cabello's brother

Diosdado Cabello's wife is the minister of tourism, by the way.

The average term for a minister in today's Venezuela is less than a year. For this ministry the average is exactly six months. That is quite shocking considering the change comes from the same functionary, not from a newly constituted government. My estimate is that David is going to outlast the previous ministers, though: the top military coupsters of 1992 and their relatives tend to last longer at any ministry than the average. 

Even Brazil is not sending official observers to Venezuela's elections in early December because there is no guarantee they would be able to do their work.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Venezuela's Electoral Council, Fraud and the Doppelgänger

Tal Cual and Efecto Cocuyo wrote about one of the many cases in which the Electoral Council, a tool of Chavismo, wants to manipulate the elections in Venezuela one more time. In one sentence: a party with a name almost exactly the same as the opposition option for a key circuit appears in the ballot box just next to the opposition and the candidate's name is exactly the same as the opposition politician. 
If you vote for one of these, you vote for the opposition. If you vote for the other, you vote against the opposition

The opposition candidate is Ismael García, for the Mesa de la Unidad or MUD in Spanish. 

As Tal Cual managed to find out, the other Ismael García, for the MinUnidad, is a 28-year old guy working at a parking lot for a pitance of a salary and with absolutely no past political activity known.

I wanted to get a better sense of what the probabilities are, really, given all the Ismael Garcías in Venezuela. I looked at all the voters' names for 2011 (we have them because the government was forced to publish them) and I saw there were 123 people called Ismael García in the whole country, only 11 in Aragua, in that region (out of about 1200000 persons who can potentially run). The chances that two people with the same name appear in the ballot next to each other with parties that share the same acronyms are, for any practical reason, zero.

So, what happened was that the regime looked for one of the 11 persons with Ismael García's name in that region and paid him to do this. And the Electoral Council, a vulgar tool for Chavismo, agreed to accept this.

This is one of the many ways Chavismo will cheat. No wonder the only "international" observers the regime wants are of those South American countries that still have a big surplus with Venezuela.