Sunday, August 19, 2018

Apocalypse tomorrow

It has been almost a month I have posted last.  I think it may be the longest time ever in between posts.  I guess tweeting as taken over.  I can tweet anytime, like in some medical waiting room that I am visiting a little bit too much these days.  And trust me, in Venezuela there is nothing as
depressing, after looking for food, as looking for medical help.

But it is Sunday, the night of the "reconversion monetaria" and all is still. Caracas died a few hours ago as banks web sites went down to adjust for the "new" currency tomorrow.  By 2 PM almost everyone open a Sunday had closed. No grocery stores open after 2 PM, even the convenience stores normally open until 6 PM on Sundays. And even if some joints were to dare to risk their earnings tonight, why would you want to go out and drink? Better to pass out at home as many must have done, witness the amount of people buying booze yesterday.


The reason of today's shut down is not only the decision to lop off 5 zeroes from the currency, but the alleged measures taken to restore trust and relaunch, for the Nth time, the economy.  These measures are not designed to make the economy work again, these measures are designed to establish full control over the private sector that will not be able to apply them.  This is communism or some new ersatz of it, directed by a narco kleptocracy that uses communism as an ideological excuse to get rich and fat themselves.  Nothing new here.

I am not going to discuss the "measures" here. A thread I posted on tweeter is still as valid today as 24 hours ago.

It is more pertinent to discuss what comes next since this is only political, not economical. Just to illustrate how crazy are the masures from Maduro and why they are so directed at leveling off everyone to minimum wage let me give you a personal calculation. I have good credit card rating in Venezuela. After my bad experience in the US I long got my lesson and I have been such a good boy here that I have 3 "black" credit card.  Do not think that these are the same big deal as in the US: after hyperinflation with one of them I can barely afford the grocery shopping for the week And I need another one for the miscellaneous.  The third one for an emergency but it is not enough to cover a medical emergency. Thus I need to sell my Euros every two weeks to clean upo the slate and restart the cycle. That makes me privileged.

But I digress.  My highest credit card has a 144 million top, rather good in Venezuela unless you have a "special" deal with a bank.  Well, on September first my credit card will not cover the minimum wage that has been brought from 5 to 180 millions. Like that, without anesthesia.

If on twitter chavismo is elated that they will finally have enough money to go shopping, money obtained without any merit from their part but they are commies so that is lost on them, the rest of the still active work force wonders if they will have a job next Tuesday when the banking and business holiday ends.  Because of course, for reasons too long to explain here, business will not only be unable to face that brutal increase but that enormous cost by itself will be tripled by the time they adjust the legal reserves and retain some form of differential pay check for management. Or are we expected to live all from the same wage from now on?

The regime has chosen to crash. Either Maduro is forcibly ousted within the next few days (to be replaced by some "new" chavista hoping to have 20 years of mismanagement forgotten,thus  the military kleptocracy retaining power) or we submit all and we are the new Cuba. And in that new system it does not matter whether Maduro retains nominal power.

The opposition is trying to organize some  sort of national protest next Tuesday. Even the National Assembly will get out of its constitutional recess for a special session where we all hope that they will be a tad bit more daring than what they have been in past months.  But I am not too confident that the opposition will get its act together, even at this final unexpected opportunity given by the regime to make the long overdue head long shock. Again, a thread will let you know.



What is next? I do not know.

The country is already collapsing. Emigrants are in a stampede at the border. Last week we lost yet another long time trusted employee. She is leaving her family behind because her sister is already in Peru and can help her get a job that here we cannot pay her. We, or anyone else for that matter. We were all crying when she left, even myself. At least her husband can manage here with her two kids but they need fresh income to keep their head above water and afford private schools. Yes, private school even though their origins are rather humble. They have long realized that the sacrifice of private school was worth it with a collapsing public system that is not even able any more to maintain the propaganda and indoctrination level it had until a couple of years ago.  That is right, she is leaving the country with the hope that soon she will be able to send at least 100 dollars a month and maybe bring her family to Peru as soon as her eldest finishes college. I am writing this and I can hardly believe it myself.

The fact of the matter is that to maintain myself, the S.O., his Mom, our medical bills, and afford at least once in a while a decent cup of coffee and a cachito I need to sell three times the amounts of euros that I used to sell early this year. Outings of any sort are out as we prefer to eat my savings in decent food at home. He is sick, he needs to eat well.

But it is not my personal life collapsing. The country is doing so. Zulia state got such chronic power outages that work has practically been brought to a halt. The southern part of the country is under its worst Orinoco flood in decades and it does not even make it to the state news. In Caracas, still privileged, internet and cel phones are blanking more and more. Public transportation is in major crisis as there is not spare parts to maintain old cranky small bus. The lines of people waiting at rush hour for the occasional bus are stupendous. And the overfilled buses are a sight to behold. That is, if they are lucky to get a bus as more and more any type of truck will do, with people killed by scores when they fall off the platform.  Water reaches my home only twice a week now, for a few hours each time. Since I have a large reservoir I am fine, but those in apartment complexes need to clutter their space with buckets as in many areas of Caracas water does not even make it for a few hours once a week. And let's not talk about trash, though there is a cynical silver lining as street people can find food in that trash.

The worst humiliation was yet to come as this week we learned of the first official assault on Venezuelan migrants, at the Brazilian borders. They were chased from a refugee area and their stuff was seized and burnt by a horde of Brazilians.  Meanwhile Ecuador and Peru imposed passport restrictions at border as an indirect way to stop Venezuelan flow since it is nearly impossible to get a passport. There you go...

I do not what to do.



14 comments:

  1. Great to get another post from you Daniel.
    What a sad situation. It is amazing how the regime was able to manipulate people and the system to the point where the country is well on its way to be like a modern day Cuba. Soon to have a bogus digital currency such that it will no longer need to print money it can just magically create endless Petros. As it drives out millions of Venezuelans it will soon have only Fatherland Card holders left. Having too many military involved to prosperly rule they are now manipulating them and thinning out those until they will be done to a manageable number that a profitable drug regime can prosper. From their they will license out oil production for royalty and live in wealth at the peoples expense.
    I think it was clear long ago that the people needed to put their lives on the line and all out revolt but those days have past.

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  2. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Is what you do somehow doable outside Venezuela. I know that you are in some kind of agribusiness, so it may not but think to see if any skills do travel well.

    Other than that, we're praying for you and yours.

    Anon 242

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  3. So sorry.I hope you can get out and take your loved ones, before it becomes impossible.

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  4. Ecuador now requires a passport for Venezuelans. The country has accepted 300.000 refugees and Ecuador can't handle this amount of refugees, or provide housing or job!

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your SO...

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  5. For whatever it is worth...I'm still reading your posts in horror and concern.

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  6. Daniel, what nobody understands is that the new wages are indeed in Petros that according to Mafuro should equal a barrel of oil at $60, more or less, thus the BsS 180000 everyone mentions. The problem is that you need someone to believe this tale. I think it is much more likely that the Petro will have to be heavily discounted against the US$ or Euro before someone actually will venture to acquire it and those who do, will do it to pay their employees the half Petro promised which will be worth much less than advertised. Only then, the people will realise they been duped.

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    Replies
    1. I imagine soon the US will pass a law making any trade in the Petro illegal and hence of zero value since that is truly what it is worth. Is just a made up digital currency that no one will believe any evaluation of. The gov't will use it to replace the worthless Boliviar nut no one out side of the Venezuelan gov't will want them.

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    2. Anonymous2:51 PM

      Ash,

      That has already been done: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-economy-cryptocurrency/u-s-warns-investors-over-venezuelas-petro-cryptocurrency-idUSKBN1F52AB

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    3. Thanks, yeah I read that after posting. Sounds like they do not even have a block chain set up for the Petro yet that it is truly an imaginary currency, 100% controlled by a bankrupt company (PDVSA)

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  7. My number of Venezuelan immigrants entering Ecuador this year should be 430,000.

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  8. Consider the plight of the Jews in Germany in the later 30's, and their refusal in accepting the Nazi reality. Reality finally hit them when the Gestapo showed up at their door and took them away to concentration camps. Use your Euros to get a forged passport. Get out now before the real violence starts!

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  9. Daniel....dont blame the Brazilians...seriously.
    As far as leaving..with no sarcasm....i say stay...the interesting thing about the conversion....when you go to buy food for instance...it was cheaper by about 15% in old bs.....its hard to figure out if the shops are over charging.....and the dollar today is way off.....in cucuta they are getting 10-11.

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  10. A MORAL CRISIS : THE ROWLEY ADMINISTRATION NEUTRALITY ON VENEZUELA

    Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote in the third canto of The Inferno “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” In the Inferno, Dante and his guide Virgil, on their way to Hell, pass by a group of dead souls outside the entrance to Hell. These individuals, when alive, remained neutral at a time of great moral decision. Virgil explains to Dante that these souls cannot enter either Heaven or Hell because they did not choose one side or another. They are therefore worse than the greatest sinners in Hell because they are repugnant to both God and Satan alike. The Rowley Administration has carried Trinidad and Tobago into this darkest place of Hell with the neutrality regarding the economic and humanitarian crisis.

    The exodus of migrants from Venezuela is building towards a “crisis moment” comparable to the European refugee crisis of 2015, the UN has warned. Thousands of people flee the country every day, traveling by bus or sometimes by foot along migration routes across South America. They flee an economic collapse that has left food and basic medicine scarce while armed gangs rob and kill without consequence.

    The Rowley Administration chose to close its eyes to the waves of Venezuelan refugees streaming into Trinidad and Tobago daily, and to international reports on human rights violations, media infringements, the economic collapse and the erosion of democracy in the Venezuela over that past years. Trinidad is only eleven (11) kilometres off the coast of north-eastern Venezuela while Tobago is located thirty five (35 km) northeast of the mainland of Trinidad. Yet the indifference to the human suffering in Venezuela is apparent in the Rowley Administration.

    This indifference carried to the extreme by the Rowley Administration virtually ignores that there is even a crisis existing in Venezuela. This is most acutely evidenced today when Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley signed a deal where Trinidad will purchase gas from Venezuela’s Dragon Field. With this singular act the Rowley Administration has shown that it is willing to do business with anyone for the correct price.

    Human Rights Watch told Latin American governments in 2017 to apply strong pressure on the Maduro administration to address severe shortages of medicine and food in Venezuela that are causing Venezuelans to leave the country. Brazil, Equador and Columbia are countries that are grappling to deal with the migration of Venezuelans refugees. This week, Ecuador and Peru said those without valid passports would be denied entry, in a move affecting hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who were previously allowed to cross the border with paper ID cards instead.

    The Rowley Administration closes its eyes for thirty pieces of silver. Venezuela refugees meet an indifferent Trinidad and Tobago Government, compared to when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in 2017 proposed that the country open its doors and waive immigration restrictions so that Dominicans left homeless in the wake of Hurricane Maria can find shelter in T&T. As a nation the Rowley Administration has vacuumed the soul of Trinidad and Tobago by dealing with the Muduro regime.

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  11. Chapter 1,004th of the Venezuelan Tragedy,

    Maduro: How can we get rid of inflation?
    Newly-appointed economic minister: We issue new bills with five zeros removed.
    Maduro: Brilliant idea.

    That exchange, although made-up, very likely took place.

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