Monday, January 10, 2011

Chavez continues his steady transformation into a outright dictator: now he is a puritan for prohibition!

Today we got back on the attack mode against Polar.  Of course, we would.  The take over of Agroisleña is now clearly a fiasco, the one of Exito is becoming one in spite of retaining some of the French management.  And amen on having now to import cement from Cuba...  So Chavez needs new things to plunder until there is nothing left working in Venezuela.

But if that attack was not a surprise, some of the choice words used by Chavez deserve a special mention.  In November he accused CEO of Polar to look at Venezuela as a brothel and selling beer straight from the truck at street corners.  I personally never saw a Polar truck doing such a thing though it certainly can be possible, the more so if the truck is one of the frequently stolen beer trucks in a country that has absolutely no personal safety left.  However, Polar is one of my clients, a minor one albeit, but I have dealt with them enough to know that they operate under very stringent internal control because they are always at a high risk of government intervention.  I doubt that it would be very easy for a Polar beer truck to sell on detail cases of beer at a street corner since there will be a certain difficulty in gathering the necessary sales receipts....

The people of course know that because they certainly would love to buy beer from the truck as we do for sodas for example.  So that attack did not go much further.  Today we get one better, Chavez accuse Polar or promoting alcoholism in Venezuela, and in a very nasty way.
"...desata la lujuria en el colectivo, la desvergüenza gracias a la Polar y a muchas otras marcas”.

vale la pena preguntar cuántos muertos en el país son responsabilidad de la empresa Polar, productora de cerveza, entre otras bebidas alcohólicas. La cerveza es veneno."

"... it provokes lust in the collective [?????], slutyness thanks to Polar and many other brands

it would be worth to ask how many people are killed in the country becasue of Polar, enterprise producing beer, among other alcoholic beverages. Beer is poison."
I am not going to dwell on the obvious sexual perturbation of Chavez who mentally is trying to find ways to rape Polar.  I will just limit myself to some simple facts in Venezuela.

Beer is the beverage of the poor, and they are lucky to have a great quality product favorably commented upon by most tourists visiting.  We do not get here the pissy beer of the US, nor the stronger stuff of Europe not suitable for our warm climates.  So yes, Polar produces the opium of the masses but at least it is not only a good damn opium, it is good enough that the competition has never been able to prosper, and it has kept us away of worse poison such as Russian bad vodka....

That competition, by the way, which is not mentioned by Chavez is Regional, in the hands of the infamous Cisneros group of Venevision who has sold his soul to the devil; and to Brahma of Brazil who has met only a limited success and who I was told was selling or sold.  These two allies of Chavez are selling a significant portion of the beer in Venezuela and I am sure that they also try to sell at street corners because contrary to Polar they can probably get away with it.

But let's go further: Polar produces its beer INSIDE Venezuela, using corn in large amount, creating jobs, plenty of jobs.  If it were for Polar, it would grow and produce 90% of its supplies INSIDE Venezuela whereas now through the catastrophic policies of the regime it needs to import even corn!  What is really driving alcoholism in Venezuela these days is the undeviating love for Scotch, and the more expensive the better.  Scotch has supplanted long ago Venezuelan rum as the drink of choice and as you well know it is not produced in Venezuela.  On the other hand, "the other" alcohol produced by Polar is a fascinating wine growing experiencing near Carora with some reasonable success.  But of course the barracks lout that Chavez is could not comprehend what an exploit and what an economic boon a wine producing region in Venezuela is.

Anyway, as it is always the case between Chavez and Polar it is a problem that comes because Polar is the mirror through which the failures of Chavez are cruelly and constantly reflected.  Polar proves that in Venezuela we can have a first world quality economic concern and thus by comparison it makes all government initiatives and nationalizations look increasingly like 4th world badly run native tribal affairs.

And of course, the very real alcoholism problem that we see in Venezuela has NEVER been properly addressed by Chavez or his regime who have promoted access to easy cash to the masses so that they can get drunk on week ends.  That is something that you will not find reported even in Venezuelan press too self censored on such stuff and even less on progressive pages about Venezuela that should know better.  Under Chavez alcoholism (and drug addiction while we are at it) have become scourges.  The Polar trucks do not need to stop at street corner to sell their stuff, the tiniest village today might have only one store and it sells beer. Deliveries are easy, for any brand of beer or booze.

Think about that for a second.


  1. Daniel,

    Not to defend Chavez, for whom there is no defense, but I don't read the strong sexual connotations into his speech that you do.

    The first one, "lujuria" does translate as "lust", but even in English, this can mean "visceral desire" for many things; not just sex. Since the root is "lujo" which means "luxury", I don't see that, in this context, it should relate to sex.

    The second word "desvergüenza", I would translate as shamelessness. Again, it could be used with sexual connotations, but it could be used without them as well.

    My fastidiousness with the translation, notwithstanding, it was an interesting post.

  2. Anonymous6:08 AM

    Polar could sell beer from a raft in the middle of the Orinoco river if it wanted to. It has the most advanced geographic information system probably in the whole of South America to manage its huge database of crossed clients. The map has taken decades to construct and includes every point of sale of every Polar product in every corner of every barrio in every little town and big city in the country, identified by GPS and can be used to project the shortest distribution routes and the best combination of Polar products to load on the trucks given the routes and the order in which they need to be stacked up inside among other things See e.g. I remember reading a piece of news a year or two ago where the Chavez official was implying Polar has no right to keep this information system for itself, but must hand it over to Chavez. I think THAT is the real golden apple Chavez is after and he knows Polar could destroy it rather than give it to him. Maybe that is why he has not taken Polar over...

  3. Daniel,

    You wrote a post about making a Cuba Libre some time ago. I kept the recipe, but made one change. Somebody gave me a bottle of Cuban-produced Havana Club a few years ago. I tried it once. It is very easy to understand why Venezuelans prefer Scotch, and why Cuban rum is not likely to replace cement as the next Chavez solidarity import. However, I keep the bottle next to a can of coke, the Angostura bottle and one fresh lemon that gets renewed weekly. The very day there is regime change in Cuba I intend to celebrate with a Cuba Libre made with Havana Club. Then I'll get rid of the bottle and start saving on lemons.

    I also keep a bottle of Polar for another type of celebration. However, good as it is, it doesn't last as long in the bottle as Cuban rum does.


  4. Polar is a great beer and not just the beverage of the poor. Not all of us are scotch fans and my view on Venezuela love affair with scotch is the same as the Venezuela love affair with Tommy Hilfiger.

    You are correct that Chavez is only looking for points to pick at and make trouble and has a real struggle when it comes to Polar.

  5. Anonymous1:01 PM

    When people feel hopeless and depressed they have a tendency to drink to excess.

    It dulls the pain i.e. self medication.

    Chavez causes hoplessness and depression, both mental and economic.

    Hence the excess drinking.

    Strike 1-2-3.

  6. Island Canuck1:02 PM

    After being in a minor head on collision on Saturday with a drunk in an old pick up truck with no brakes, no licence plates, no lights, no insurance & no driver's licence I can sympathize with the need to control excessive alcoholism.

    But most every country in the world has beer available to the masses. I personally love Polar Light beer which has about 80% of the market here in Margarita. Haven't seen a case of Bramaha in a long time. Many countries control consumption with excessive taxes on alcohol. Why doesn't he try that. Raise the price with taxes to a point where the majority can't afford to buy it. Solves an income problem as well.

    With so many other problems to solve, Transito being just one, why start with something that is just going to backfire on you.

  7. Charly2:14 PM

    Wasn't that lunatic a self-confessed whorehouse rat during his days in the military?

  8. The Polar has always been an example of what a good private enterprise company could do for its workers, and as conditions worsen in Venezuela, this will make it stand out even more as an example.

    I find it commendable and perhaps even surprising that the owners of the Polar have not been tempted to go the same route as the Cisneros especially considering all they stand to lose.

  9. Boludo Tejano4:56 PM

    Beer is not only the beverage of the poor, but the beverage of choice for oilfield expats going on a bender. Who after spending money on prodigious amounts of beer, have made themselves a bit poorer.

    Yes, it is rather amusing to have Thugo come down on beer, considering the role of whiskey in Venezuela.

    But with Thugo, it's always something, something more that he needs to control.

  10. Roy

    I think that Chavez connotation was sexual, just as prohibitionists used women to promote their cause.

  11. Antonio

    My recipe works with Venezuelan rum. It can also work with Puerto Rican or some Colombian rum. Cuban is borderline (if god rum which seems a rare occurrence now) and British Caribbean does not work at all.

  12. I never saw so many drunkards as in Scotland. Still: car accidents there are few. It is one of the safest places to drive.
    For Hogmanay streets are chock-a-block with taxis. People drink more in the Benelux or Germany than in Venezuela, but the streets are considerably safer. You actually need control, good police agents and education.

  13. Kepler,

    In Belarus it is the same -Not too many car accidents but many drunks.
    The police in Belarus are heavy handed and in any party there are people who volunteer not to drink so they can drive others home.

  14. Anonymous7:41 PM


    Interesting.. a driver with no license or insurance drving a truck with no lights, no plates, no brakes.. and somehow eliminating beer would have prevetned the accident? Don't bother enforcing existing regulations, waste of time..

    And no new taxes are necessary, with ~30% inflation and ~20% salary increases there is a built in 10% progressive tax. The price of a case of Polar (or Regional) has doubled in 2 years, from Bs F50 to over BsF 100..

    CH's problem isn't with beer, it's Polar, for other reasons stated here.

  15. Funny how Ron Santa Teresa is never mentioned in his rants.

    I guess they became the Cisneros version of rum producers.....

  16. Daniel,

    Beer, the poor man's choice of drink? I don't really think so. Excessive alcoholism in Venezuela? I doubt it. Go abroad and see Europeans drinking; any occasion will do, if there is none, create one! Any excuse, even for minors. What is different though, is the behavior and sense of responsibility, as well as "check your wallet/bank account". Can you afford a ticket for driving under the influence, have your car impounded, your licence revoked, +++, anywhere in the world?
    Alcoholism? What is the REAL cause? Only psychology can address that issue, really. One thing seems clear; depression, anxiety and prolonged frustration and boredom, contribute to alcoholism and other drug abuse.
    By the way, what is el presidente drinking? I bet it's the best import available!

  17. La cerveza es veneno?

    Wow, talk about a political suicide move. Bet he backs off of that one fast, but I hope he doesn't.


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