So Chavez today decided that the Franco-Colombian distribution group EXITO should be nationalized because, see, they increased prices as soon as the devaluation was announced. Yeah, right... What is the truth here? Very simple:
-- the electricity rationing has failed
-- the devaluation is the acknowledgment of failure
-- the announced minimum wage increases are not fooling anyone
-- and many other issues from health system degradation though the Mercal empty shelves.
So Chavez needs some bold, daring, measure against somebody that is powerless and who he can bully at will and make pass as the guilty party of all of Chavez mistakes and failures.
The hypocrisy is simply un-stomach-able.
First, EXITO (and its associated lower middle class food distribution stores CADA) did not increase their prices more or less than Central Madeirense, UNICASA, or other groceries stores closed for one day last week by the fascistic overzealous INDEPABIS acting on Chavez orders. In San Felipe not only my Central was closed for a day but so did the bakery next door, depriving me from the groceries I needed that day.
Second, January ALWAYS sees a price variation from December, the more so when adjusting for inflation cannot be avoided any longer. With or without devaluation prices would have gone up. And what does it matter if devaluation price adjusting is done last week or next one? It will have to be done or otherwise these stores will go bankrupt.
Third, it is half Colombian and thus he gets, cheaply, a winnable war against Colombia without having to fire a shot. Or does he? Does anyone think that Uribe and Sarkozy will allow a company of their nationals unjustly punished and spoiled?
Of course, if this nationalization indeed takes place guess what the result would be? Have you seen the Mercal stores recently? Run down, shelves depleted... Do you think that a government that cannot run Mercal will be able to run a sophisticated operation like EXITO?
And the customer will pay fast for this because wherever there is an EXITO there is significant price competition as EXITO is a discount store. Now, with an empty shelved EXITO the other grocery stores will be able to raise their prices more easily.
The stupidity and vindictiveness of Chavez will never cease to amaze me. But I am happy because he is digging his hole faster everyday. Many chavistas go to CADA and EXITO and once they find out that they cannot find half of the stuff they used to find, and at lower quality, guess what will happen?
PS later: read Miguel post on how liberty of expression is once again attacked, on the same day where Chavez orders his goons to take over EXITO. I love it! That is a governmet shitting its pants!!