Sunday, November 10, 2013

Electrodomestico-nacht, the banana republic version of Kristallnacht

She supports Maduro. The good life!
Thieves of the world unite!
It is kind of eerie that tonight we commemorate the 75 anniversary of Kristallnacht when Hitler made his first large scale pogrom based on a rather minor political event in Paris.  But those are other times, in bolibanana pseudo revolution which has only in common with the Nazi of those days to be a band of thugs that turned to fascism to reach and retain power for as long as they could, to death if need be in order to avoid the punishment they so richly deserved.

And yet today may be a turning point of equal importance for the Caracas regime. Today it has crossed the line where it is now OK to loot stores to satisfy the appetites of its followers. Today it made OK to brand enemies whoever needs to be branded an enemy even if a few weeks ago it was benefiting from the association with power, a mutual benefit if I may dare say.  Today it has become clear that the regime will destroy anything it needs to destroy to remain in office. Today formalities have become unnecessary. Today the regime has demonstrated that it has no friends or foes, just moving targets.

What had started yesterday with the house appliances chain of Daka and the store of Pablo Electronica has extended tonight to many others, from Caracas to Margarita.  Everywhere the regime claims that it fights excessive price increase and yet it blunders in admitting that Daka did not work with CADIVI obtained currency, explaining why they were so pricey.

What these stores had been doing was to anticipate yet another organized robbery from the government that is preparing yet another "retroactive devaluation".  What these stores had been doing was to anticipate that the black market US dollar value was expected to cross the 60 per USD bar anytime soon.  For those late in the game, Venezuela has a tight and corrupt currency control system. What the regime did early this year and it is ready to do again within the next three months, is to fail to honor its bills at the current currency exchange and pay them AFTER the devaluation at the new currency exchange.  That is, what you obtained in good faith at X BVE for one USD, you will have to pay later at Z, Z being at least 30% more expensive. I know personally of it, I suffered the consequences earlier this year.

This is not about being associated with the regime or not, this is not about working ethically or not: what Daka et al., were doing was preparing themselves to avoid yet another major income loss as we all suffered last February, at the expense of the customer which in the end is always the one who pays even if idiots like the woman above are laughing their heads off.  The regime simply decided today to throw to the wolves the head of the directors of all the appliance stores of Venezuela, "electrodomesticos". Tomorrow it will the supermarket CEO; or maybe the liquor stores one as the hoi polloi cannot get in its usual December semi constant drunken stupor.....

It is true that nobody quite understood how in an era of drastic currency controls traditional stores like CompuMall or Beco did not manage to grow at the astounding rates like some did such as Daka or Mundo Samira or even recent newcomer Ivoo. We, those that manage businesses, knew that the only way to grow so was to be well connected with the regime, "enchufado" as Capriles call them.  Honest businesses, like ours, simply could not do so no matter how efficiently we worked, the regime allocating you foreign currency on past results, not expected economic growth.  We are thus surprised that the whole lot was dismissed so suddenly. Had it been Daka alone we could speculate that the owners felt into disfavor because they either refused to pay a bribe, or refused to "share" the profits.  That tonight most of them are in the dog house has to have a deeper political meaning.

That political meaning is not too difficult to find out. The incompetence of the regime has bankrupted the country. Now, for this electoral campaign they find themselves without money to purchase all the goodies they give around to buy votes.  What to do, oh what to do!?  Well, force those who are more efficient, that have some goods in their store rooms to supply what is missing to make the chavista voter joyful. And if the goodies of Daka do not make it all the way to the cerro, the idea remains that it shan't be long until the goods reach the chavista voter.  Because the sad reality is that the looting or taking advantage of the forced down-slide of prices today benefited more the middle class than the inhabitant of the barrio, high on the cerro.

The economical consequences are of course going to be terrible: who in his sane mind is going to invest a penny of his or her own in Venezuela as long as an asshole like Maduro remains in office?  A Maduro who, by the way, demonstrated again today how clueless and mean he is, the most lethal combination in economy.  At a time when the regime is desperate to reactivate the economy it has taken the measure that is most certain to push it into recession.
Looter's loot 

The political consequences are going to be only worse. The country will be even more divided while Maduro will be more than ever a puppet of those he needs to keep control of the populace who after today is going to expect more and more giveaways and legalized looting.  But then again, just as in Kristallnacht, the regime needs a scape goat to justify its hold on power.  Maduro will be swept aside whenever it is convenient for whomever truly holds the reins of power.  In this electrodomesticonacht Maduro appears weak and manipulated and even pusillanimous. Hitler never lost control of his assault troops like Maduro lost control of his in Valencia.  And of course when people realize that Daka et al. are not refurbishing their shelves anymore, then Maduro praised by some idiots today will be blamed by them tomorrow.

But the saddest part of all are the looters, those that were not afraid to profit from the misery of others. And this is the worst lesson of today and the darkest forebodding in my heart. Just as 75 years ago most of a nation had no qualms in letting a minority lose its livelihood and its lives. For those like the woman above published around the world from El Pais, we shall pay dearly in the future.

Bonus: video when the looting started in the Daka Valencia store this morning.  those are not people from the lower classes, this is Valencia middle class. Poor people would loot as much, see the woman above, but in the initial news when only prices were supposed to go down and people forced to pay something, poor people probably felt that Daka would be still too expensive for them.


  1. charly6:37 AM

    Another attack front is the parallel dollar. Tonight, Conatel ha menaced web providers to close them down if they do not block sites who promote black market rates. What a sore bunch of losers. As a dude who has been dabbling in black market since 1977 way before the Internet existed, I can tell you Maduro and his cohorts do not have a leg to stand on with this issue..The black market rate will be published because it is needed. Worse, it will gain strength because it is needed. Maduro, go backt in the dog house where you belong, the economy belongs to us.

  2. Island Canuck7:51 AM

    Many web sites now have Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts so blocking the black market rate will be impossible.
    Just another propaganda tool.
    I'm reading the reports from Twitter about other saqueos.
    This is going to get worse as those that haven't gotten the free stuff look to catch up.

  3. This will only create more Escacez, now in the electronics sectors, not to mention the loss of jobs for many people. This was so shocking to see in a civilized society that it makes one wonder where this is headed. Certainly a Usurper President can not create anarchy and looting and then continue on in office...It may be a few more weeks but this regime is collapsing by the day. This is probably going to spin out of control real fast. God Bless the people who get stuck in the cross fire. The comparison with Nazi Germany and their horrific policies and actions are not far off the mark. VNZA is on a very dangerous road.

    1. The last 14 years have been one atrocious act after another by Chavista government. I've lost count of how many times I'm thought or others have posted over the last 14 years that the end is nigh and yet the government stays as is or get worse. Anymore, I think none of us know what it will take to stop the craziness or how it will come about. Now we are looking at a country that has not only corrupt government but corrupt middle class too and lower classes happy with handouts.

  4. Interesting quote by Maduro where he dismisses the looting and calls the business owners the real criminals. No surprise there.

  5. I heard about 'marchas'...what happened? Is this news drowned out by the looting?


  6. Seven or eight years ago, I wrote on this blog that Venezuela seemed to be on the path of Zimbabwe and, sadly, I still believe it to be so. Despite the endless suffering of the people, Mugabe and his criminal cohorts are still in control and seem unlikely to release the reins of power anytime soon – Maduro is unlikely to have Mugabe’s longevity, but the situation in Venezuela will get much, much worse before it has any hope of getting better. Within the next few years Venezuela will undoubtedly default on its foreign bonds and the final resolution will be a foreign-currency (US dollar?) based economy. I wish only the best for those who seek a peaceful solution to this insanity.

  7. 1979 Boat People7:24 PM

    So how does the 21st century socialism compare with the 20th socialism?

  8. Unfortunately history tells us that only an unussual situation will get a country back its democracy. Cuba, Zimbawe, and Angola are a few examples of horrible goverments staying in power forever. Those in charge know that if democracy was to return to Vzla, they would have to be hanged and burned for their crimes...So the only way they will leave is following the example of their leader. I imagine Vzla is done for, most of those in this blog will not live to see the return to democracy.
    You can hope that at least it will serve as a lesson to other nations in the region "dreaming" of following similar tendencies, to wake up and run from it. If the socialism of the 21st century can do this to Vzla, imagine what it can do to other nations with a lot less resources. Sorry, but that is my honest appreciation of the situation. I don't see how it can be turned around before it his bottom.

  9. The woman in the picture was not a looter.
    She was in Boleita not Valencia.


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