The suffering continues without a break. One of the more ominous articles describes that Venezuela is so short of currency that the national oil company cannot afford to scrub down the hull of oil tankers, which is required before they enter international waters – the country cannot even get the oil in those loaded tankers to market.
1/6 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuela Tees Up Its Next Dictator – The Venezuelan president faces a recall election this year. It looks like in anticipation of losing the election, a new vice president has been appointed. Under the country’s rules, if the president lost a recall before the end of 2016, there would have been a new election. If he is voted out after the first of 2017, the VP will take over.
The editorial points out the new VP will likely continue the present policies. He was previously a follower of the previous president. WSJ reporting indicates while the new VP was governor of a state, there were two Iranian companies (owned by the Iranian military) who had joint ventures with military in that state. More info in the editorial pointing to the new guy won’t be a change in direction.
Thus the opposition needs to decide which dictator they wish to rule them.
1/9 – International Business Times – Nicolas Maduro raises minimum wage in Venezuela by 50% – In a further symbolic step that will further disrupt the country, the minimum wage will be increasing by half. This is the fifth increase in the last 12 months.
1/10 – New York Post – How Venezuela’s corrupt socialists are looting the country to death – Author asserts the few members of the ruling class are looting the country, to the tune of over a trillion US dollars, then laundering the money through the secret world of finance, with the cleaned up proceeds appearing around the world.
Meanwhile, 30 million people are starving, dying for lack of electricity and basic medicine in the hospitals, with unclaimed bodies rotting in the hallways of morgues due to lack of electricity.
1/26 – Foreign Policy – Venezuela is So Broke It Can’t Even Export Oil – The country is so strapped for cash that it can’t afford the inspections and hull cleanings international law requires before venturing into international waters. Leaks at the terminal are staining incoming and outgoing tankers, which means even more cleaning, which the national oil company also cannot afford.
Think through the repercussions if the country can’t afford to get tankers out into international waters to even sell the reduced amount of oil production at lower prices than needed to sustain the country.
1/28 print edition – The Economist – It’s a mad, mad, mad, Maduro world / The economy is collapsing like a nation at war. The government is to blame. – Graph shows the annual GDP change. My approximations from eyeballing the graph:
- +5% – 2012
- +1% – 2013
- -4% – 2014
- -6% – 2015
- -19% – 2016 estimate
That is level of collapse usually seen during a war, according to the editorial.
The last release of official GDP information in early 2016 is now considered a leak. The ‘leak’ is the reason Pres. Maduro replaced the head of the central bank, per the article. That is news to me and is a very bad omen for peaceful change ever happening.
Article attributes the shortages, inflation, and rationing directly to government imposed controls on prices and foreign exchange. Not that my opinion matters, but I think that is a super summary of the cause of all the human suffering in the country.
In a great turn of phrase, the article says the government is also “dismantling” democracy.
Only hope to end the misery is for peaceful talks, which could lead to reform. Article doesn’t give that much of a chance for success.
Next most likely avenue to change is the military decides things have deteriorated too much. That is never a good option though.
Your quiz for the day:
- What economic system delivered all this suffering?