|Hoarding, according to Maduro & Co.|
I am not going to go much on Maduro trip around three continents. Thinking that he was a foreign minister once (he was not, he was Chavez errands boy), thinking that his skills would make him succeed where Ramirez failed, he went to a whole bunch of countries looking for deals and for higher oil prices. His novice, and incompetent, team accumulated one faux-pas after another, and in the end he looked the part of the guy hat in hand, begging for handouts, and not getting any.
His triumphal return to Venezuela was not a success even though Internet was down for half a day, delaying the pictorial diffusion of his poor reception committee.
So now he is back at Miraflores Palace, nothing to show, rumors of his demise growing fast as the short food shortage lines he left behind early January have become long hunger headlines around the world. Bouts of violence are now routinely recorded, and all the scandals of preceding months (colectivos, violence, chikungunya, what not) have taken a back seat to the population anxious search for diapers and food.
What does he chose to do? Well, he seems to be willing to jump from the cliff. He starts by offering even more "socialism" and issues an ultimatum to, hold to your hats, the food distribution system. As if those could hoard enough stuff, stuff that, to begin with, is not produced in Venezuela. I can vouch personally for it: we do not have enough supplies to produce all of the food needs for Venezuela. FEDECAMARAS, the business association, gives, what I find optimistic, 45 days left of manufacturing. It does not matter whether food distributors want to hoard food and soap, there is nothing to hoard. Anyone that holds a real job in the food industry that looks at the pictures shown by the regime as alleged hoarding will know immediately that what is on the floors represent at best a couple of weeks of the normal distribution schedule. Given the difficulties to operate in Venezuela, even that meager two weeks cannot be dispatched as fast as anyone would want.
Even workers went out against the intervention of the state, defending their jobs against a rapacious regime that could not care less about their livelihood. Never mind that the accused Fedecamaras replied very simply: with all busienss that are now in hands of the state, where the products that these busienss were supposed to make? From "guayuco" diapers to Diana edible oils. There is that precious 2009 video of Chavez announcing the Venezuelan socialist diaper which I am afraid has never been seen since.
It is that simple, there is no hoarding, there is a lack of production driven by the government policies, from needed currency to import supplies, to a chaotic transportation system for the little bit left to distribute. Again, my business itself is a direct victim of this disaster.
I am reserving the political implications of this debacle for a future post, just wanting here to impress on the reader that the crisis has started in earnest and that the regime has no clue about what to do.
Unfortunately the regime is not helped out by idiotic consultants that write the most senseless things.
I read an interesting article, recommended on Tweet by no one else but Moises Naim, where people from Barclay or a joint called Capital Economics offer mathematical solutions to Venezuela. The one that particularly infuriated me was the expert of Capital Economics, unnamed, that simply says that Venezuela should start by devaluating to a single currency exchange of 100 and the basic problem would be taken care of.
|This formula or another will do|
for Venezuela economics
At any rate. We have reached the end of the road. The regime has two choices: either bury the chavista revolution or start shooting people. I am afraid that the second one will be the choice since so many people would face jail terms if the country became more "normal". Which of course makes the cliff only higher, the crash only more spectacular.