Friday, October 07, 2005

CNN in hotel rooms

I have learned to dread CNN en español when I travel. At these times I usually do not read much the papers or watch TV but I feel compelled to turn on the TV in the morning while I shower and get ready for either business or tourism. The reason why I dread CNN en español is that whenever I hear the word "Venezuela" it is not for good news (not that CNN, under any of its forms, gives much good news anyway).

Two mornings ago there was Maza Zavala of the central bank announcing that Venezuela had transferred 20 billon US dollars of its reserve to Euro bonds or something of the sort.

Now, I am pretty sure that there could be a lot of pretty good reasons to do such a transfer. Euro bonds, for example, could have higher yields. Or Venezuela suddenly starts importing much more from the Euro zone and needs better support. Whichever the case might be, as new reserves are generated and placed in Euro, old reserves are let to dwindle for payments of different forms of debt. The process could be as short as 6 months when one realizes that a country reserves tend to represent only a few months of imports, kind of a guarantee payment to the provider of goods.

But this time all was made in a hurry because Yo, El Supremo, Castro mini-me, decided that that was that. No studies shown, no cost evaluated, no nothing explained to us, except for the tantrum fit of the bad tempered spoiled brat that presides over our destinies.

However there is one thing that I am quite certain did happen: during this fast transfer a comission was payed somewhere to somebody. Let's assume that the comission was a mere 0.1%. That would still yield as much as 20 MILLION US dollars (or is that a little bit less numerically in Euros?). In other words, Chavez fit cost the country 20 million USD, at the very least, 20 millon that could have been used to refurbish one of the downtrodden Caracas hospitals that Chavez has so ingominously abandonned in his search of foreign glory for him (not Venezuela I need to remind the reader).

Now, would it not be interesting to know who received such a comission for a couple of days of work? And how much of that comission did find its way to some Venezuelan "operators"? I can tell you one thing, I doubt that we will ever be able to find out what chavista hack benefited form this, but we will see the luxurious expenditures at some point, while some suckers scream "Viva Chavez!"

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