Saturday, November 22, 2014

Venezuela reaches the limits of procrastination

It has been now two years that the post Chavez era has started and nothing has been done to correct the obvious. It is true that there are many explanations, ranging from the inner divisions of chavismo to their absolute ignorance of how the world really works, not forgetting that Cuban masters have come to the realization that Venezuela is lost and that they need to loot as much as possible before the inevitable bankruptcy. The point I am trying to make here is that the regime does not take any serious decision outside of repression while the opposition is doldrumier than ever, apparently waiting for things to fall of their own weight. But such procrastination has consequences.

It's the economy, stupid!

The problem here is that under Chavez Venezuela has become more dependent on oil than at any time in its history. That this income reached astronomical highs is only part of the explanation, there was also a deliberate and continuing attempt at destroying the private production sector to weaken opposition financing, beyond ideology, of course.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Alek Boyd tells us how he was robbed of his lap tops, and only them

Two days ago Alek Boyd, well know to our readers, suffered a break in at his home in London. Interestingly the only thing they took away was his lap tops. Money, cash, passports, remained behind. Just the lap tops. Since he has been a long time investigator of the Chavez regime corruption this blog asked him a few questions.

We have been surprised to learn that even in London methods like those used in Venezuela to harass opposition are applied. Could you briefly tell us what happened?

Basically, one and/or a group of subjects of my investigations must have felt that breaking and entering into my flat, and stealing a couple of laptops would send a chill down my spine, and I would be silenced, or blackmailed with the information potentially retrieved. For years chavistas and their associates have been sending death threats, have launched smear campaigns to tarnish my reputation, have tried to hack my website and email accounts, have initiated ridiculously spurious legal cases against me, have attacked my family, all with the purpose of shutting me down. In their infinite ineptitude, they truly believe that the methods they use in Caracas can be extrapolated to any other place, without consequences. But they keep miscalculating, and erring.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

28 new laws are going to solve all of our problems

Maduro is finishing his week the enabling law period. So, as it has always been the case since Chavez reached office, every hitlerian enabling law lasts one to two years but 90% of the "laws" decreed are published in the very final couple of weeks. One truly wonders why the urgency of an enabling law if the future alleged positive effects of such dictatorial measure will be announced at the very end of the period. Of course, for those new to this sick game, the whole point of the regime during these months of wait is to test political waters and announce political laws in bulk so that opposition will be drown under the flood. Remember: this is ALL about control, NOTHING about sound economics.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why the cruelty against Leopoldo Lopez?

The current Venezuelan dictatorship is unusual in that it has, relatively, few political prisoners. However this is amply compensated by the notorious cruelty that the regime has against such prisoners. The case of Afiuni has defrayed the chronicles. Simonovis had to be in a near death situation for the regime to give him home arrest so he could be treated. And "smaller" cases are also the target of human rights violations such as students raped or threatened with rape while arrested early this year. In addition to physical cruelty there is also a purposeful mental cruelty from all sorts of verbal abuses to trials that are postponed constantly so not even the illusion of justice is offered. But what is happening to Leopoldo Lopez is truly baffling, even by the regime "standards".

Before I get into this story let me add a comment. The current violence and almost randomness of torture, the abuse of power, the deliberate cruelty are alien to Venezuelan political "tradition". And it is a tradition with quite a story for itself, from the troubled civil wars of the XIX century to the longest of dictatorships with Gomez, to the anti AD expediency of Perez Jimenez. Whichever the case was in general the power in place tried to dispatch political enemies as fast as possible, be them killed quickly or interned in a camp after a fast trial of sorts. So why this totally novel form of crushing political dissent? I will advance two reasons.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A broke Venezuela splits its finances in two

To add more complexity to an already complicated situation Maduro went a big step ahead in creating a parallel administration for the country. That is, a parallel system for many activities of the state, a system that he can finance (if he has money) as he pleases, outside of any legislative control. Why is he doing that? Two reasons. Because he does not have enough money for all so he must find a "legal" way to give the money to only a few. Because he may be losing next year legislative election by a margin wide enough that no amount of electoral fraud will be able to disguise the fact (after all, we are in an elected dictatorship, are we not?)

To nail down the whole scheme he even dares making these new laws he decreed "organicas" which means that the laws can only be changed by a 2/3 vote in the national Assembly, something he trusts the opposition will not be able to reach. For those that still think Venezuela is a democracy (mercifully a dwindling small number) let me remind you that Maduro decrees these law through an "enabling law", Hitler style, that he got barely with a 3/5 majority (having expelled/blackmailed/bought enough opposition representatives on the flimsiest of charges to reach the magical number). And yet these laws can only be abrogated or modified by a 2/3 majority. 3/5 become 2/3. Explain to me where is representation and democracy in that....

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Regime's finely honed art of lying: Marcos Torres and the non-devaluation news

Look, indicators are in deep red but we are groovy!
One must be in awe at the news this morning, reflecting an interview of our top economic minister to the the top chavista talk show.  General Marcos Torres who is now the one in charge of all the money in Venezuela has given a gravity defying performance, helped by Jose Vicente Rangel, the worst courtier of the regime. But there is already a clear interpretation beyond the words of the General. One, the regime is already hard into an electoral campaign that may come sooner than expected and two, as a General we can only by charitable by supposing he thinks the economy is just like the barracks; he gives orders, people obey, results are predictable.

To make sure you do not think I am making up what follows then, I will take my sources from two pro Chavez papers, Ultimas Noticias and El Universal. Also I am not going to comment on this as a financier which I am not but as a business person at ground zero.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Las viudas de Berlín

Hoy celebramos la libertad del pueblo alemán, el día cuando cayeron los primeros pedazos del muro de Berlín, el infame muro que separó las democracias occidentales de la tiranía comunista. Que los resultados no hayan sido todos los esperados no es el punto: nadie discute que Europa y el mundo no hayan mejorado en estos últimos 25 años. Pero si Europa es más rica y prospera que en ningún momento de su historia, pese a una crisis coyuntural que afecta a algunos, no todos se han podido librar todavía del yugo comunista, yugo que ha adquirido otros nombres pero que sigue teniendo el mismo objetivo final.