I do not know whether to be offended by Simon Romero's latest opus or heartily congratulate him. Never minds that it accompanied by a video which I find offensive because it reminds me of all the jalopies breaking down routinely in Venezuela's highways turning them into a hell of gridlock even on a Sunday morning.
The fact of the matter is that cheap, ridiculously cheap, the cheapest in the world now, gas prices have become the bane of Venezuela as Chavez has refused to increase gas price since he came to office. Think about it, 12 years without gas price increase while the yearly inflation average during that period is probably around 20%... No wonder Romero cites a number that I judge conservative: the gas price subsidy is around 9 billion dollars, something he explained three years ago already. That is, the regime has known for three years at least that it needed to increase gas prices and if we update the subsidy to todays economic parameters the subsidy might actually be significantly higher than 9 billion dollars a year even if oil is at a lower price: more cars, more trucks, less fuel efficiency.
Think about that for a second: with all the economic woes that the regime is suffering these days, by just halving that subsidy it could comfortably rebuild the areas damaged during the latest rains and refit the collapsing subway system of Caracas. But Chavez prefers to flatter one of the wost hedonistic aspects of Venezuelan culture. He is right, we fall for it, and once again I can write that as a people with chavismo we are only getting what we deserve, which makes me mad at Romero for holding that mirror in front of us.