Friday, October 31, 2014

Returning home for Dummies

What can I say? Never did I see so many changes in Venezuela after a mere three weeks absence. In fact, the shock of the first few days was so big that I refused to update my database on politics and the like. Even today as I type I am far behind the details. And yet they do not matter: the big picture has become bigger for me after four weeks outside.

My first shock was the grocery store when I went to refurbish my refrigerator. The prices went noticeably up in one month for the stuff I buy. There was no imported goods. Of course, among the goods available there is all sorts of imported stuff re-processed in Venezuela. After all we are importing now at the very least 60% of our food (estimates vary, I am giving you the bottom line). What I mean is that you could still find an occasional treat, like some average Italian pasta, or an overpriced jar of raspberry jam. This is now all gone. And it has not been replaced, even by sub-par Venezuelan production.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The pernicious Foro politics

There were elections yesterday in Uruguay and Brasil, and friends of the Sao Paulo Forum have reasons to cheer. Not because they won but because their system of social division and class hatred prospers ensuring them meager but consistent electoral victories.  Let's look at Brasil.

Friday, October 24, 2014

News of the day

Venezuelan oil barrel reaches down to 75 USD a barrel. We are broke.

Rodriguez Torres, ferocious minister of security who had dozens of students killed and hundreds jailed is fired, when he tried to rein in the "colectivos", chavismo storm troopers. Yet, military balance in government remains unchanged.

Draw your own conclusions.

Dakazo 2 and Technocrats

The advantage of distance is that one has no time to follow closely what happens in Venezuela nor the ability to self drown in useless details. Thus the mind clears up and one starts seeing "things". I see a "dakazo 2" in play and I see an avid embrace of technocratic managed inflation by the regime. The poor guys do not have much of a choice: the drop in oil prices is not a mere circumstantial affair and something must be done even though as it is always the way in Venezuela the decisions are not the right ones.

The "dakazo 2"

Saturday, October 18, 2014

MariGabi does New York

Do not count me among those ones totally upset about Chavez daughter gaining a Security Council seat at the UN for two years with basically zero qualifications for the job. The problem is not her, the problem is the UN and assorted organizations which in the last decade have descended fast into a tolerated irrelevance.

The starting point in that race to nothingness could be traced to many starting blocks: I choose the decision of Bush to invade Iraq without any permit from the UN. It has all gone downhill since, sped up along by China and Russia voting strictly along their basic interests, forfeiting their global role and responsabilities whatsoever. Or have you forgotten their disgraceful performances during the Arab brief Spring? Syria?

Same thing for the OAS in the Americas already quite weak when Chavez came in. The problem is not that Chavez, guided by Fidel, reduced it to mulch, the problem is that people let him get away with it.  The near sightness of countries like Chile or Brazil in this disaster will come back soon enough to haunt them the day they will need support of international groups.

That Chavez daughter, who probaly has already a criminal record on her own, makes it to the UN, be it to be promoted as an eventual puppet successor to Chavez by her Cuban mentors, or because it was the only way to have her vacate the presidential home premises (soon two years after Chavez croaking) is a mere insult from Cuba to the UN, amazingly undetected by half of European countries, that I know. Maybe abstention is not allowed in the UN?  Whatever the reasons are, there is no beter proof that the UN has become a mere bureaucracy, a place where politicians can serve vacation time or suffer a comfy exile. 

If I were Ban, I would resign. Then again, I was named as a bureaucrat to that post, anyway.....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Waldoniel special 2014

Here are 4 pictures of 4 places I have visited these last few days. That way you will understand better the low posting rate. Note: it is 80% business trip and I am exhausted, but I still manage a day out on occasion. Bonus points if you guess more than the mere place or country.

City one: (hint: NOT Venezuela)

 Country 2: guess the fruit for free bonus. And no, it is not litchi or Asia.

City 2:

City 3: and a marvelous concert to boot, nobody coughing, no cel phones.

Further hints if you follow me on Twitter.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Postales de Paris para Maduro

Hola Nicolas

Estoy aquí en París. Sufrí mucho para conseguir pasaje. Y ahora sufro más porque CADVI me negó los dolares. Disque las fechas de mi pasaje no coincidían con los plazos "días hábiles" para pedir CADIVI. O sea que yo quien nunca me propase en mi cupo, yo que nunca me metí en tracalas con CADIVI, por güevon me quedé sin dolares y tengo que viajar con mis ahorros y dolares prestados esperando que por suerte saque algo en SICAD 2 para devolver esa plata... Y lo tengo que hacer para tratar de salvar el negocio y los empleos, cosa que los chaburros que todavía lo son en la empresa no me lo agradecen. ¿Pero que se hace?  Supe que tu en el Bronx no tuviste peos y que los dolares a ti sí te los aprobaron para payasear, porque para trabajar no fue que fuiste a Nueva York. Que yo sepa no salvaste nada allí...

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Danilo Anderson, Eliecer Otaiza and Robert Serra

Even though I am far away, in a country where there is medicine and food, where there are no power outages and where I can sleep on a ground floor room with my window open, waves of bad news keep reaching me even if I avoid my computer as much as possible.