|She supports Maduro. The good life! |
Thieves of the world unite!
And yet today may be a turning point of equal importance for the Caracas regime. Today it has crossed the line where it is now OK to loot stores to satisfy the appetites of its followers. Today it made OK to brand enemies whoever needs to be branded an enemy even if a few weeks ago it was benefiting from the association with power, a mutual benefit if I may dare say. Today it has become clear that the regime will destroy anything it needs to destroy to remain in office. Today formalities have become unnecessary. Today the regime has demonstrated that it has no friends or foes, just moving targets.
What had started yesterday with the house appliances chain of Daka and the store of Pablo Electronica has extended tonight to many others, from Caracas to Margarita. Everywhere the regime claims that it fights excessive price increase and yet it blunders in admitting that Daka did not work with CADIVI obtained currency, explaining why they were so pricey.
What these stores had been doing was to anticipate yet another organized robbery from the government that is preparing yet another "retroactive devaluation". What these stores had been doing was to anticipate that the black market US dollar value was expected to cross the 60 per USD bar anytime soon. For those late in the game, Venezuela has a tight and corrupt currency control system. What the regime did early this year and it is ready to do again within the next three months, is to fail to honor its bills at the current currency exchange and pay them AFTER the devaluation at the new currency exchange. That is, what you obtained in good faith at X BVE for one USD, you will have to pay later at Z, Z being at least 30% more expensive. I know personally of it, I suffered the consequences earlier this year.
This is not about being associated with the regime or not, this is not about working ethically or not: what Daka et al., were doing was preparing themselves to avoid yet another major income loss as we all suffered last February, at the expense of the customer which in the end is always the one who pays even if idiots like the woman above are laughing their heads off. The regime simply decided today to throw to the wolves the head of the directors of all the appliance stores of Venezuela, "electrodomesticos". Tomorrow it will the supermarket CEO; or maybe the liquor stores one as the hoi polloi cannot get in its usual December semi constant drunken stupor.....
It is true that nobody quite understood how in an era of drastic currency controls traditional stores like CompuMall or Beco did not manage to grow at the astounding rates like some did such as Daka or Mundo Samira or even recent newcomer Ivoo. We, those that manage businesses, knew that the only way to grow so was to be well connected with the regime, "enchufado" as Capriles call them. Honest businesses, like ours, simply could not do so no matter how efficiently we worked, the regime allocating you foreign currency on past results, not expected economic growth. We are thus surprised that the whole lot was dismissed so suddenly. Had it been Daka alone we could speculate that the owners felt into disfavor because they either refused to pay a bribe, or refused to "share" the profits. That tonight most of them are in the dog house has to have a deeper political meaning.
That political meaning is not too difficult to find out. The incompetence of the regime has bankrupted the country. Now, for this electoral campaign they find themselves without money to purchase all the goodies they give around to buy votes. What to do, oh what to do!? Well, force those who are more efficient, that have some goods in their store rooms to supply what is missing to make the chavista voter joyful. And if the goodies of Daka do not make it all the way to the cerro, the idea remains that it shan't be long until the goods reach the chavista voter. Because the sad reality is that the looting or taking advantage of the forced down-slide of prices today benefited more the middle class than the inhabitant of the barrio, high on the cerro.
The economical consequences are of course going to be terrible: who in his sane mind is going to invest a penny of his or her own in Venezuela as long as an asshole like Maduro remains in office? A Maduro who, by the way, demonstrated again today how clueless and mean he is, the most lethal combination in economy. At a time when the regime is desperate to reactivate the economy it has taken the measure that is most certain to push it into recession.
The political consequences are going to be only worse. The country will be even more divided while Maduro will be more than ever a puppet of those he needs to keep control of the populace who after today is going to expect more and more giveaways and legalized looting. But then again, just as in Kristallnacht, the regime needs a scape goat to justify its hold on power. Maduro will be swept aside whenever it is convenient for whomever truly holds the reins of power. In this electrodomesticonacht Maduro appears weak and manipulated and even pusillanimous. Hitler never lost control of his assault troops like Maduro lost control of his in Valencia. And of course when people realize that Daka et al. are not refurbishing their shelves anymore, then Maduro praised by some idiots today will be blamed by them tomorrow.
But the saddest part of all are the looters, those that were not afraid to profit from the misery of others. And this is the worst lesson of today and the darkest forebodding in my heart. Just as 75 years ago most of a nation had no qualms in letting a minority lose its livelihood and its lives. For those like the woman above published around the world from El Pais, we shall pay dearly in the future.
Bonus: video when the looting started in the Daka Valencia store this morning. those are not people from the lower classes, this is Valencia middle class. Poor people would loot as much, see the woman above, but in the initial news when only prices were supposed to go down and people forced to pay something, poor people probably felt that Daka would be still too expensive for them.