Monday, October 22, 2007

Chavismo anal moment of the week: the lack of milk is media manipulation

This blogger has been one week in Caracas. He did not find milk anywhere he looked for. In fact, he was refused twice a "cafe con leche grande tibio" because the joint he was at could not find milk. This following several weeks in San Felipe where he could find milk at best once a week.

So, what is the government explanation? Both Chavez and his minister for Mercal, Rafael Oropeza, yet another military who has no idea on how to milk a cow, say that it is a paid for gigantic media conspiracy, to create panic in the population and make people buy more milk than what they need (you can hoard fresh milk?). What is wrong in this picture? Here are the arguments advanced by the government and the OBVIOUS reply that any journalist should confront the nincompoop uttering them:

  • The world climate dropped milk production (so we are now importing that much milk that we depend so much on world conditions? And if it is dry in the Netherlands does that mean that it is dry in New Zealand? How come we can import all the evaporated milk we can since it is the only type available in stores? Does that milk come from cow eating evaporated grass?)
  • It is a media campaign (What? With RCTV closed? With Globovision free only in Caracas and Valencia? Even Ultimas Noticias is in that campaign?)
  • The campaign is financed by "powerful interests and we have evidence of that" (Where is the evidence? Is it the same one as the multiple assassination attempts against Chavez? Who are they? How come, if you know who they are, that you have not already arrested these people playing with the hunger and misery of the people?)
  • It is all due because the consumption of milk by the poorer sectors have increased dramatically, a fact acknowledge by the world full of admiration (Are this "E-sector" people able to afford milk from the buhoneros at 3 to 5 times the regulated price? Is milk now only reserved to the poor sectors? Are the rich banned from "cafe con leche"?)
The intense stupidity, and bad faith, and hypocrisy, and outright lies, of these declarations is not only infuriating but mind numbing. The real reasons for the lack of milk are as follows:
  • The considerable land redistribution has affected the production of meat an milk all across Venezuela. Production of meat is down 30% from 1998. So, as people have more money to buy, there IS LESS product available thanks to the disastrous agricultural policies of chavismo.
  • The efforts to produce more milk and meat have failed because the state is such a poor instructor, such a poor manager, so poor in fact that the peasants end up eating the cattle given to them, when they can keep it alive long enough.
  • The private sector refuses to invest in dairy and meat production because the price of milk is regulated, they do not want to sell below the price it costs them to produce and because, simply, they do not know when chavismo is going to take away their investment without adequate compensation. Besides they can sell all their milk to cheese makers who are willing to pay the fair price and thus we have still enough cheese to eat even if the milk production has gone down. Will the government ban the production of cheese to provide milk to children? Will we get ration cards?
But milk is everywhere to be found, if you are willing to pay the price. That is, if you go to the side walks of Caracas, you can not only find the brands that you do not find in stores, at a 2 to 4 times mark up in price, but you can even find informal merchants, buhoneros, spliting cans of powder milk in small zip lock bags to sell lesser amounts for those who just want their "cafe con leche" and are unwilling to pay full price for a full can.

That is all you need to know to figure out by yourself the total failure of Chavez economic policies. If the government had an ounce of common sense it would let the price of milk float free and limit the purchase of subsidized milk to the lower sectors of the population. In fact I would not mind paying a tax on my "cafe con leche" at cafes to subsidize the poor. Just let me get my coffee!!!!!!!!

-The end-

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