|Daka pictures on newspapers and Twitter|
So what is a regime that got handed the news of 5% inflation for a single month, whose main "evil" opposition leader is received by the Pope, when a "spontaneous" multigathering protest is convoked for today, that cannot hide the increasing low key riots for food, to do? It decides to sack a major electronic store chain.
Maduro ordered yesterday to seize the 5 stores of Daka, an overpriced, but then they all are, electronic/appliance chain. Allegedly the stores will be forced to recalculate their "costs" and sell all their appliances at "just price". We assume of course that the militia and Nazional Guard in charge of the organized semi looting will be served first. Maybe even for free. Which does not stop a country of "lambucios", from the regime or the opposition, to rush to the store to take a turn in the line and be the first ones to shop when they open again. Maduro conoce su ganado we would say in Venezuela, Maduro knows his cattle.
Yesterday I was told by reliable insiders that polls in Petare district, all the East of Caracas with about a million inhabitants and 460,000 registered voters, mostly living in old established favellas/ranchos/barrios, indicate a 2 to 1 lead for Ocariz, the current mayor, from the opposition, that has had his administration sabotaged for the last 5 years by any possible trickery from the rules book on power abuse. This is a district that in a normal democracy should be voting 2 to 1 for any political party of leftist connotation. This is all what you need to know to understand why the regime is acting crazy for the last few weeks.
Because crazy it is. Not only ordering a government sponsored looting of a major appliance store that will surely close down after that (though the owners of Daka may be on the wrong side of the intra chavista fighting) but Maduro even announced that he would deploy anti-aerial defenses on the top of the barrios hills. The excuse is to defend the country against bombing from the US as if the US were to spend a dollar bombing a shanty town when it only needs to decide to stop buying suddenly any oil from Venezuela to have the regime collapse within hours. Since the US did not feel offended by this absolutely useless defense system, for good measure yesterday a journalist from the Miami Herald was arrested. Will the US say anything before December 8? I suggest pipsqueaking is the way to go to let self imposed ridicule flourish.
Seriously now. Daka and Pablo Electronica (another major supplier in Caracas) may or may not be overpriced, but if they are it is due to the scarcity of foreign currency, it is due to the retroactive devaluations, it is due to the uncertain rules of the economic game. If Daka and Pablo were overpriced yesterday they were vindicated in gouging customers and hiding their earnings under the mattress until the regime struck. The people lining in front of these stores to get a good deal today are worse parasites than were ever Daka because once they get their "cheap" refrigerator they will have nowhere to get the next one: who is going to keep investing in that line of business when the regime will steal your merchandise whenever it feels it useful? The end road for the hoi polloi is less goods available, and true black market gouging. See Cuba.
But the bad faith of the regime is the worse aspect of the whole scandal. We learn that when they revised the prices at Daka and Pablo they decided that the purchase receipt in dollars of the imported goods should be counted at the official 6.3 exchange rate when in fact a lot if not a majority of the stock comes at SICAD price of 10 to 15, or street value at 30 3 months ago. What stores do is an average of sorts between their three sources of currency to establish their final prices since they have no way to know what will be their next source of currency. I am not saying that I defend Daka who may or may not have been a major abuser. What I am saying is that Daka, like any supplier of imported goods, as a irrational price cost structure that is imposed on them by the disastrous economics of the regime, a regime that punishes Daka for the mismanagement that comes from the regime.
This goes beyond "shoot the messenger", this is putting up for public lynching any retailer, in the short term. Today Daka, tomorrow the bodega of the barrio.
We have pictures of Daka Valencia who seems actually to be looted straight by regime followers, starting with the people in charge.
|Nazional Guards with their loot|
The store of Daka in Valencia has been properly sacked and we have even pictures in twitter catching Nazional Guards on motor bikes going away with their share.
And I add this: it is quite possible that in the deep cynical nature of the regime they may have decided some slow cooking organized looting to avoid a repeat of the Caracazo of 1989, one that they could not control at all with the current state of the armed forces.