Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another thoroughly wasted year in Venezuela

The title, now that I think of it, is misleading. 2014 has not only being wasted, but it has also been destructive. We failed to advance on any aspect, and we went back quite a lot on others.

So yesterday Maduro held a press conference where supposedly he was going to announce economic measures. Of course I do not follow Maduro's addresses at all. Chavez, on occasion , I could tolerate. Listening to Maduro is always insulting to your intelligence, web/newspapers will suffice next day. Yesterday was no exception as the BBC itself reports (a joint which has been rather forgiving on Maduro):

He [Maburro Maduro]accused the United States of flooding the markets with oil as part of an economic war against Russia.
He said his country was suffering the consequences of an economic war launched by US President Barack Obama "to destroy" the oil producers' cartel, Opec.
"It is a two-year plan, which is affecting the prices of commodities and many developing economies," Mr Maduro said.
"The US wants to impose a unipolar world controlled from Washington. That is madness."
The crisis offered a "great opportunity for Venezuela to change its economic model," the president added.

It is simply amazing that Maburro Maduro keeps repeating the nonsense that the US is "flooding" the markets. I mean, the guy is president of a country and responsible of finding a lifeline somewhere. Has nobody told him that such idiotic display of ignorance and misinformation is a sure way to scare any possible bail out candidate?

But to add idiocy to ignorance Maduro speaks of a "two year plan"  without offering any proof, that Washington is trying to impose an unipolar world when Obama has been extensively criticized from his disengagement from the world, accused even of "isolationist" in the great old US tradition. This last one is particularly irking as Europe had to do the dirty job in Libya and if Syria is such a basket case is due in part of Obama's refusal to intervene as long as he could get away with it. Is Maduro that ignorant of what happened to his "allies"?

And of course Maduro rehashes the argument that Venezuela is going to change its economic model even though Chavez profusely while leaving Venezuela almost exclusively dependent of what oil it can export. Does Maduro believes the bulk of these journalists do not know that?

I think that at this point it must be a deliberate strategy of Maduro to come out as more ignorant than what he really is [dumb he is not, after all his intrigues landed him at Miraflores]. Watch Russian TV, RT, and you will see journalists repeating the same nonsense. Even our own Eva Golinger, recycled from track writer to alleged journalist, interviewed Cabello who said point blank that the opposition is who stole all the money through CADIVI. Were Golinger a journalist she could have pointed out that chavismo has been controlling CADIVI all the time while this cash passed away. But Golinger who is to journalism what I am to, well, I cannot come with an example. I can even assert that if I wanted to be a hack at RT I probably would do a better job than she does.

Whatever. The point here is that authoritarian petro states who did not invest their resources in semi sensible ways are hurting and have no choice but to launch a propaganda campaign once the price of oil collapsed.

But I have been digressing. The point is that Maduro called for a press conference to announce measures and he only announced that these will be announced next year.  To compensate he offered the same set of platitudes, including choice items like "it is forbidden to decrease social spending". Sure, through printing bolivares and devaluation of the currency at will it is possible to prove to the hurdled masses that in #bolivares social spending remains the same....

Thus 2014 came and went, the regime did nothing to deal with the crisis. That paralysis in turn made things worse and with the fall of oil prices we are bewildered as to what to do. The regime is itself in panic mode and we are batedly waiting if reform or communism are to be announced next month.


  1. Nebelwald2:24 PM

    Couldn't agree more. What a waste, and 2015 promises to be quite grim indeed for Venezuela. Un abrazo solidario.

  2. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Dear Daniel and fellow readers,

    I have a very big announcement to make. At this time I cannot shed any details but I can tell you that you will hear about it sometime next year.

    Best regards,

    An Idiot

  3. Anonymous2:42 PM

    Eva Golinger is a fat lying (starts with C ends with T). She is the lowest of the low.

  4. Dr. Faustus3:21 PM

    No, what this really means is that Maduro's days in office are numbered. There is a certainty that the back room discussions are taking place among the cognoscente, and the long knives are being quietly unsheathed. The 'Et tu Brute?' moment is coming. This CANNOT go on much longer. This is insanity on a grand scale. I have my money Adan Chavez.

    1. Charly3:28 PM

      Dear Dr, if you think any of those will do better than maburro, think again. They looted everything and now there is no cash. Will the military protect them? Only if there is cash as the military are only loyal to themselves as a caste .

  5. Charles Lemos5:19 PM

    The first hurdle is in March 2015 when Venezuela must pay a 1 billion euro note. That seems doable as Venezuela just sold Goldman Sachs its Dominican Republic debt. $4 billion USD with a variable interest rate over 20 years for $1.7 billion USD. A 59 percent discount.

    The bigger hurdles are the $3.1 billion of interest payments on international dollar debt due in October of next year. State oil producer Petroleos de Venezuela SA has $6 billion of debt payments due in 2015. Reserves as of December 16th amount to $21.5 billion. So Venezuela does have the cash. Here's hoping you can live on $12 billion dollars because that's what is left to pay for everything else.

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  7. Relevant read:

  8. Boludo Tejano8:33 PM

    He said his country was suffering the consequences of an economic war launched by US President Barack Obama "to destroy" the oil producers' cartel, Opec.

    The irony here is that Obama has long been hostile to gas and oil production. Look at his position on the Keystone Pipeline. Back in 2008, he considered drilling to be unnecessary.

    There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated — simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You’d actually save just as much!

    No need to drill for gas or oil. Just inflate your tires and get tuneups. Utter ignorance. It is certainly not the attitude of someone with a positive attitude towards drilling for gas and oil, which would be the obvious way to bring down oil prices- by increasing production.

    Consider what he said in 2012: You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas[oline] prices.

    One thing for sure, there was little or no increased drilling to lower prices on federal lands, as the increase in US oil production occurred all on privately held lands. Such as the $30 a year royalty check I get.

    A further point about Obama's hostility to domestic drilling can be seen in the Macondo/BP blowout. A panel of experts recommended that drilling in the Gulf continue after the blowout, with good reason. BP violated a slew of industry accepted practices in blowing out the Macondo well. [Truly a company that correctly billed itself as Beyond Petroleum, as in beyond accepted petroleum industry practices. Not just at Macondo. either. I also heard some stories.] Follow those accepted practices, and you shouldn't have such a problem. Shut BP down- yes- but not the others. But Interior Secretary Salazar, undoubtedly with the approval of President Obama, shut down drilling in the Gulf, falsely claiming that the expert panel had recommended such a shutdown.

    Maduro's claim that Obama planned an economic war to kill OPEC is risible, as Obama is hostile that which would kill OPEC- more domestic drilling and more domestic production.

    1. Thanks for confirming the utter ignorance of the assholes "in charge" in Venezuela. One wonders why they bother with a vice ministry for north America . Or with diplomatic representation in Guasinton.

  9. Charly9:09 PM

    Just saw the transmission of best wishes for the new year from our beloved president. He obviously does not know what Kitsch is all about. The best artifact in this touching scene is the "primera combatiente".

  10. People do not know how private enterprise and the government work here..Obama can not single handedly call the thousands of US producers and tell them to invest money in new fields, expand production and increase volume. It is not only impossible it is ridiculous to infer... Private business and citizens decide what, where, and how much to invest..The government does not have an "oil company" to dictate to at will..YThe US has been increasing production steadily since 2009 or 10....If no one took notice because they simply thought the price would stay high then it was their governments stupidity and ignorance..The US is not even allowed by law to export ,,,,,yet........Only some derivatives can be sold internationally....Maduro should really read before he "reads" en Cadena Nacional.

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  12. There is sime reason to believe that the US did indeed takean. action to bust the oil market, meant to harm Russia, Venezuela and Iran.Surely they would if they could, right? Have a read here.

    1. Anonymous7:40 AM

      Like all conspiracy theories at first glance it seems plausible . However a quick glance at the Saudi oil production figures show that in the last 4 years oil production has remained relatively constant. For this theory to hold water it would mean that The Saudis wanted to cut back on production but couldn't because they didn't want risk contaminating the supply. I am no oil engineer but surely if they wanted to cut down on production and this article is true it would be a relatively simple operation to continue the fracking until the "pressure" had normalized and to scale back the other operations in the meantime.

  13. I was hoping that an actual expert in the field could debunk this ¨conspiracy theory¨ which is actually either a fact or it is not a fact. You offer your admitedly untutored supposition that ¨¨surely¨¨ it can´t be so and you toss in the damning lable of ¨conspiracy theory¨ but you have not put that very¨ theory¨, or perhaps¨fact¨, to rest.

    The article has been out there for a while on several websites and I was unable to find a rebuttal anywhere. The premise that the US state via the CIA would to just this if it were feasable stands solid. It is not arguable that the outcome is desireable to the US and that the US would do it in a heartbeat if it could. Whether or not it is feasable, well, you have not put that possibility to rest. Whether or not it is factual, to that question you have contributed nothing, zilch , nada. Nice try but no cigar.

    1. Dear Eugene.... tsk, tsk....

      Please, find me the numbers on US export of oil as them being higher than its imports. Then we can verify that indeed, as Maduro is saying, the US is "flooding" the markets with oil to drop the prices.

      Hatred of the US is no excuse for one's own failing. For Maduro and Russia accusing the US is the lone way they think they have to explain to their people why their economic system has failed so miserably.

    2. Boludo Tejano3:31 PM

      The article has been out there for a while on several websites and I was unable to find a rebuttal anywhere.

      Which may mean that very few read it. Note that Madsen does not allow comments. The most obvious place to look for the rebuttal of an article are in its comments.Someone who does not allow comments does not strike me as someone with confidence that he can refute attempts at rebuttal. Here are some rebuttals off the top of my head of LYING PROPAGANDA the article has claimed to be truth.

      Iran, which has been under punitive Western economic sanctions for a number of years over its nuclear power program..
      The economic sanctions have to do with Iran's attempt to develop a nuclear bomb, NOT for a "nuclear power program." Anyone who claims that the sanctions were imposed due to Iran's "nuclear power program" is disseminating disinformation. IOW, a liar.

      Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress took its cues from the CIA and voted to impose devastating economic sanctions on both Russia and Venezuela. President Barack Obama approved the congressional sanctions.

      Russia? Like what? I don't know that much about Russia, so I will not comment. But anyone who follows Venezuela using sources like Venezuela News and Views: The Phantom of Miraflores knows that the US Congress voted sanctions on a select few, on human rights violators. And I quote:

      And the offensive does also betray great nervousness in the higher up echelons of the regime. The US Senate, now that Mary Landrieu has been booted out, mercifully, has finally voted a bipartisan legislation to emit sanctions against Venezuelan authorities that are involved in the repression earlier this year. NOTE: these are no sanctions against Venezuela, just against possible assets of a couple hundred chavista that happily jailed folks this year, tortured them, etc... We are just waiting for the House to pass its version and it seems that Obama will sign it. Of course he will sign it, if anything because the Venezuelan dog has only bark left to it. If that. [links at the link]

      But don't take Daniel's word on it. Here is what The New York Times wrote about Venezuela sanctions.
      The bill, which passed the Senate and the House this week, directs the president to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials and others who were involved in human rights violations aimed at protesters or who ordered the arrest or prosecution of someone for exercising freedom of expression or assembly.
      The sanctions include revoking or refusing visas or barring entry to the United States, as well as freezing assets held in the United States.

      "Devastating economic sanctions on Venezuela?" Decime otro de vaqueros, pues. [Tell me another cowboy story.]
      As I see it, having caught two instances of lying propaganda in the article, I see no need to investigate further.
      Note that Madsen doesn't document his claim.

  14. Boludo Tejano5:24 PM

    Daniel, I believe I posted another reply to our friend Eugene, which gave an oil field refutation to the Madsen article. Wha' happened?

    1. I have erased nutin'

      I have myself lost in the past comments I wrote.... Blogger's glitches.

      If the one you lost is not the one above, please, rewrite it and send a letter to blogger to bitch for both of us. :-)

    2. PermeabilityPaul4:04 PM

      Daniel, it got erased a second time. I got around it the next day by cutting out content and by changing my blog name from BT.

  15. Either the CIA bamboozled or otherwise influenced several Arab states into locking themselves in to overproduction of oil for years to come or the CIA didn´t do that.Everything else being said in these comments is beside the point. I am not President Madurosru´s Press Secretary.

  16. PermeabilityPaul10:48 AM

    Everything else being said in these comments is beside the poinr
    It is beside the point to point out lies/disinformation in Madsen's article? Decime otro de vaqueros.

    The article has been out there for a while on several websites and I was unable to find a rebuttal anywhere.
    You apparently didn't look very hard, or don't know how to conduct search queries. .This article came up on the fourth Ixquick hit, and on the second Google hit for me. AxisofLogic: The CIA engineered oil glut to bring down Putin and Maduro _By Wayne Madsen, The Wayne Madsen Report. The comments have excellent refutations of Madsen.

    1. PermeabilityPaul12:15 PM

      For our friend Eugene, a partial copy/paste of commenter armchair261's refutations at the above link, with my comments.

      An absolutely stupid article written by a journalist who's clearly technically illiterate. The naive article errs in many ways.
      1) Most Saudi oil production comes from carbonate reservoirs (Arab A, B, C, and especially D dolomites) that have very high permeabilites, meaning that fracture stimulation of these reservoirs would be a waste of money.

      My response: Fracking is used in shale reservoirs, which have very low permeabilities. Injecting fresh water and sand- a.k.a. fracking- is done to FRACTURE low permeability reservoirs so that oil trapped on low permeability reservoirs can flow. Fracking in high permeability reservoirs, such as formations with carbonates[limestone,dolomite], is the height of absurdity. Think taking coals to Newcastle, or curry to India, ice to the North Pole- or oil to Saudi Arabia. [Taking oil to Venezuela Saudita has already occurred, unfortunately.]

      So Mr. Madsen has the CIA directing the Saudis to frack their high permeability reservoirs when fracking is something done to low permeability reservoirs. No one pretending to even a modicum of knowledge of petroleum operations would consider fracking a high permeability reservoir such as one finds in Saudi Arabia. Only an ignorant fool would recommend fracking a high permeability reservoir. Who are the ignorant fools? The alleged CIA advisers, the Saudis- who as armchair261 points out have a lot more technical capabilities than Madsen assumes- or Madsen?

      My money is on Madsen.


    1. Boludo Tejano3:33 PM

      To your credit, you investigated. The results of your investigation are similar to what commenters here pointed out. Madsen is a purveyor of lies and nonsense. Verily a fractal pattern [replicated at every scale, small to large].

  18. You and I do not see the world the same way. I chose not to answer the posts addressed to me in detail because, well, my point of view is radically different from that of Daniel and the posters. (For example, reality tells us that there is no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, and that Iran was far away from producing a nuclear weapon were it their goal). So a detailed response would have eaten up a lot of time, and arguments seldom if ever change minds and hearts.

    They say that in order to purvey disinformation one must wrap it in creduible real information. It seems that this is Madsden´s forte. He certainly appeals to people who see the world the way I do or similarly. If he cannot respond then I must write off his website.

    1. This is a cope out for someone who does not know how to defend his point of view. Nobody is bringing Iran in the forefront (not that I could not, Iran is developing the tools that will allow it to have a nuclear program it wishes to do so, that much all serious people agree).

      Also element courtesy is that if a post is sent you in detail with concrete positions is to respond to it with your own concrete points. Otherwise silence is better than a lame cope out.

  19. No, I simply was not going to hog your forum nor wastwe my time here with extraeneous, sterile, pointless, tangential and time wasting debates.

    Now, Iran is relevant actually. Iran has violated no international treaty. The sanctions against Iran,and Russia, too, started with seemingly symbolic and very limited sanctions such as the ones the rulers of my country are presently contemplating against your country. These sanctions escalated, of course to a point of seriously harming the economies of these two countries and of really seriously increasing the immiseration of their peoples. Were this to be the course of action taken against Venezuela, an already beleagered people will be confronted with real misery as never seen ´till now, even with the bad moves of the previous several years, and I would be very critical of the Venezuelan government on those counts.You endorsed the first step on what will likely be a slippery slope to pain, suffering, starvation and misery of a scale you would cry real tears over, later. The cruelty and arrogance of the rulers of my country know no bounds.

    1. I suggest you come live in Venezuela for a couple of months, deal with crime and long lines for food and toiletries. Then you can try to explain to me how sanctions will make matters worse.

    2. Boludo Tejano1:23 PM

      No, I simply was not going to hog your forum nor wastwe my time here with extraeneous, sterile, pointless, tangential and time wasting debates.

      You are correct. There is no point debating your oikophobic claims.It is easy to refute your claims on Iran point by point or your claims about the current sanctions regime on Venezuela, just as it was easy to refute point by point Masden's claims. But what is the point of doing so? In one ear and out the other.

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  22. I´ve been staying in Venezuela since November 5 staying with my wife´s working class to lower middle class family members. I am rthe first to bust the bubbles of fantasy driven leftists of my country. Life for ordinary Venezuelans is tough. In my opinion the government did not take proper advantage of the boom years and opportunities were squandered. It is a crying shame. The lines for certain things, especially at the low cost Mercals and PDVALs are daunting and I imagine counter productive to the economy since people are without a doubt standing on lines to get things they want and in some cases actually need, like milk for kids are probably techncally at jobs, or else they are on line hours before the store and their workplaces open and so start the work day half worn out and not in good mindsets. Lines for gasoline in Tachira, whee I´ve been for around seven weeks blow my mind.

    Having said all this, the idea that sanctions will make this situation better is outrageous. I only can hope that the president´s new initiatives succeed and I say that with fingers crossed. Crossing fingers is not a plan but sanctions are definitely counter productive and harmful to your country´s people. To support any such thing, even in their initial seemingly innocuous form is dangerous and thoughtless.
    PS Daniel, the one who needs to explain his stand is you, not me. How in the name of God and all things decent will sanctions make things better for the people of your lovely and woderful country?


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