Thursday, December 27, 2012

Prosperity in the Maduro era

As usual the regime tries to throw cosmic dust at us to make us believe everything is coming up roses.  The more so now that we are in the electoral campaign of Maduro which is going to be a harder sell than the one of Chavez for October. See, in the Caribbean we did not know that Zombie voting was not only reserved for Haiti. Though admittedly Maduro has also Zombie like qualities.

On one hand the Central Bank assures us that the economy GDP last year grew by 5,5%, 0,5% BETTER than expected. Apparently without gagging Merentes assures us that the negative numbers are a thing of the past and that Venezuela has entered a phase of prosperity, the top 5 within Latin America.  He does acknowledge though that the growth is due to massive electoral public spending vote buying although he does not call it that way, just social investment or something like that. Of course, even though the year is not over and we have already the GDP 2012, we do not have the inflation 2012, and even less how that one contributed to the inflated GDP growth...  But I am such a nitpicker, sorry.

Now, today, Maduro, freshly invested with the power over the purse's strings, announces that it will be forbidden to fire people for another year.  This changes nothing, we have not been able to fire anyone for soon a decade. Not only that, but the new labor law announced last summer in great fanfare for Chavez reelection purposes made firing people awfully expensive so we thought that maybe we could start firing people legally even if we risked going bankrupt along the way (it is roughly about 2 years pay check penalty depending conditions).  But no, it is still forbidden to fire folks for another year (though for years we have been negotiating discrete firing with the workers for significant amounts of money, a true racket).

My question, and forgive my naivete, if central bank chair Merentes is right and we are booming at 5,5%, how come we cannot fire workers? Aren't we supposed after all to be hiring like crazy to satisfy the economic growth?  Why is there a need to protect workers against unjustified layoffs?  Am I the only one seeing contradictions in that?

I am sorry, I was not going to write this week but when I am at work in spite of the holidays and I read such idiotic contradictions of a regime in populist overdrive, I find out that I still have not lost my ability to wince.


  1. Anonymous4:24 PM

    The Chavista government reserves all rights to fire (non-Chavista) workers for itself.

  2. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Does this mean that if an employee decides he doesn't want to show up for work, but still collect a paycheck, he can't be fired? Or does the employer have recourse in that instance? If the employee is incapable of performing his or her job, is there any recourse? If the company can't afford to pay the employee are there any options? Forgive me for so many questions but I had never heard of this law before.

    1. Of course on paper major faults allow for firing a given employee. But for that you need to start a complicated administrative procedure that lasts months and costs you big time as you need lawyers and what not. So it is cheaper to call in the delinquent employee and negotiate a severance package. Yet it is not enough. You need the employee to sign a resignation letter and on the side you give a bonus for excellent services that can go as high as three years pay check.

    2. Indeed it is a Workers Paradise then! What job skills are hot? I might need some training. Oh, and this is crucial, how long do I have to work to get the three years pay check? If it's more than a month I'm staying put.

  3. the Maduro era ;-)
    Prosperity in the Maduro era :-P

  4. Daniel,
    First thank you for keeping your blog alive! I know you have been discouraged and it is a LOT of work to maintain and update with thoughtful information. AND I really, really appreciate it! There are very few blogs regarding Chavista and Venezuela worth taking the time to visit.. YOURS is a very informative, timely blog!
    We have no idea where all this will go, but I, like you are very disappointed and not very optimistic for the short term path of Venezuela. I love the people there, and hope things change for the better, some how, and with a peaceful way forward... HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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