Thursday, February 04, 2016

Mille e tre

Se sia brutta, se sia bella

I was in shock today going to my local grocery store after ten days out of the country. I was not expecting any improvement in the scarcity crisis but I was not expecting such clear degradation within a week. After all, the last week in January is the one where we are supposed to reopen business in full after the month and a half closing for the holidays. The least one would hope is that returning products would compensate for disappearing ones, for a few days, until all goes down the drain, say, late February. But it looks that wee will not have that luxury.

Madamina, il catalogo e' questo

I did not have time to look in details, first day at work, but that was I saw, or did not: lots of holes in all shelves. There was no pasta, not even the expensive imported Italian. No dish washing detergent.  No cereal whatsoever, not even some disgusting sugary concoction still available for kids. In fact, Coke had replaced cereal in its shelves. No tuna, even though it has gone a lot in price. Etc...

un catalogo egli è che [Lorenzo, not da Ponte] fatt'io

Of course, what is happening is simply what this blog narrative has been consistent about, "la costanza". There is no raw material henceforth, no production. The political humdrum welcoming me, much more important than grieving jails in Margarita, is the heptalogue of Lorenzo Mendoza about what the regime must do NOW, THIS INSTANT, WITHOUT ANY FURTHER DELAY before disaster strikes. I am not going to give you the details, I would need more than a post, and, besides, regural readers already can guess. What we need is regime change because reform at this point will not do anymore. Lorenzo did not say that but it is the inescapable conclusion of his words: he said what needs to be done and we all know that the regime is absolutely unable to do even a tenth of what is listed.

in Turchia novantuna

But Lorenzo went further than his proposal, he blew away the miserable half-assed actions that the regime has undertaken in recent days to try to cover up its failure at getting anything done anywhere, the more so that its emergency decree was rejected as it should have been. For example Lorenzo observed that in all those "mesas de trabajo" held to find solutions to the crisis, the Polar Group, the biggest, by far, food producing company in Venezuela was not invited to attend. Meaning that any regime plan that does not account for the only actor that can truly do something about the crisis is doomed to fail. And to nail in the point Lorenzo gave numbers, and deadly ones. He said that to import what Polar can produce with the 5.900 million dollars the regime allocated then the regime would have to spend 93.300 millions. In other words, Polar is 18 times more productive/efficient than the regime's bureaucrats.  The problem is not the private enterprise, it is the regime.

Osservate, leggete con me

Of course, the regime was not amused by the words of Lorenzo Mendoza, who were passed by Globovision that was punished again by the regime. But it is not going to stop there. We heard already heavy batteries shooting at Lorenzo from diverse quarters and tonight it came from Diosdado Cabello personally who said on his TV talk show that Lorenzo has received himself the 5.500 millions of dollars and thus became the richest man in the world. Why would the richest man in the world still reside in Venezuela he did not explain. But then again the audience he addressed such words is not the type of audience that delves in such finesse. Fancy fencing times are over, this is rude butcher knives throwing times.

...donne d'ogni grado,
D'ogni forma, d'ogni età

Meanwhile the currency reaches new records in the black market and lines for all are reaching new records. My black market person informed me today that he is not receiving goods, that there is not enough reaching the store so that he cannot resell some on the side. Apparently there is a certain percentage he was allowed to "buy" but now either there is not enough or he is outbid by other colleagues. How am I going to do to support not only me but those that I support because they cannot stand in line for hours, well, you tell me.... Anyone knows a good black-marketeer?

Voi sapete quel che fa........


  1. IslandCanuck1:29 PM

    Daniel, excellent post. Things are really deteriorating fast.
    We've been fortunate to find certain products here like toilet paper, rice & pasta which we bought in bultos and paid high prices but at least we have it.
    What we can't find is long duration milk and we only have 2 litres left.

    Sigo has had chicken (muslos & pechugas) & meat lately but at very high prices. Chicken was at Bs.1.400 kg., way above the official price.
    Fortunately it looks like the government watchdogs are looking the other way these days.

    This government has to go but I strongly doubt that they will leave by any democratic means.

  2. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Daniel, This column is right on.
    Now that ex Chavis ministers, still in the country are asking what happened to over $3 Billion dollars from CADIVI corruption, I would be interested in the AN, digging deeper and publishing a true debt picture of the country. What is the total CADIVI dept to international suppliers, "Food, industry,healthcare, Agriculture,Construction etc." Everything! Then list the assets of every govt/ Military and supreme court ofiical, includind the Chavis Family and PDV director! It would be interesting to compare the numbers. Island CanuckII.

    1. Unfortunately the AN can't get anyone to show up to be investigated

  3. Boludo Tejano5:49 PM

    What we need is regime change because reform at this point will not do anymore. Lorenzo did not say that but it is the inescapable conclusion of his words: he said what needs to be done and we all know that the regime is absolutely unable to do even a tenth of what is listed.

    Exactly so. Or in US vernacular, Daniel has nailed it. As far as I can tell, in the last year the regime has made no rational policy changes that would improve the economy. One can list a number of reasons why the regime has done nothing: paralysis, irrational hope that oil will soon bounce back [God will provide], ideological bullheadedness [printing money does not cause inflation..], or a refusal of the enchufados to give up any of their privileges. One can go on ad nauseum with additional reasons. At this stage, the reasons don't matter. Nothing has been done.

    By their works ye shall know them.
    Or from Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance:
    Policemen: We go, we go
    General: Yes, but you don't go !

    There are many predictions as to how it will end.

    1. I hope you noted the irony that a tenth of a heptalogue is 0,7 which could be rounded down to zero. ;-)

    2. Boludo Tejano8:13 PM

      One of Lorenzo's proposals:
      5.- Poner a producir las empresas estadales. Señaló el empresario venezolano la necesidad de que las empresas sociales sean sometidas a un plan transparente de recuperación de la producción.

      My translation, done to make explicit what I believe Lorenzo implied:
      Put the state-owned enterprises back to work. Show the Venezuelan entrepreneur the government recognizes the urgent need that that the the state-owned enterprises be subjected to a transparent plan for recovery of production.

      I doubt that the current government could do that, given its current ideology and its current competence. For one thing, Chavista government honchos would be loathe to admit that state-owned enterprises are under-producing. I am reminded of seeing from a blog- most likely this blog- a video of some Polar workers saying that one reason they didn't want Polar to be nationalized was that nationalized enterprises all had their production fall.

      Daniel, I didn't catch the heptalogue irony. To once again quote G&S from Pinafore:
      Fair moon to thee I sing
      Bright regent of the heavens
      Pray, why everything is either at sixes or at sevens.

      Not that it has anything to do with anything, I was just reminded. Stream of unconsciousness.

    3. Boludo Tejano8:44 PM

      More of Lorenzo Mendoza's point #5:

      Puntualizó que eso implicaría medidas inmediatas como el alquiler de las instalaciones improductivas y/o la reversión de las estatizaciones que han ocurrido.
      Tr: He pointed out the above implicates the taking of immediate measures such as the renting out of unproductive installations or the reversal of nationalizations that have occurred.

      Afirmó que las empresas estadales son improductivas e ineficientes y aún teniendo materia prima no producen por múltiples motivos. Resaltó la urgencia de activar la rentabilidad de ellas.

      Tr: He affirmed that the state-owned enterprises are unproductive and inefficient. Although they have raw materials for production, for various reasons they don't produce. He stressed the urgency of activating their profitability.

      Regarding the possibility of a Chavista government assenting to these very sensible suggestions, I am reminded once again of the end of Bob Dylan's 115th dream.

      Well, the last I heard of Arab
      He was stuck on a whale
      That was married to the deputy
      Sheriff of the jail
      But the funniest thing was
      When I was leavin' the bay
      I saw three ships a-sailin'
      There were all heading my way
      I asked the captain what his name was
      And how come he didn't drive a truck
      He said his name was Columbus
      I just said, "Good luck".

      While these suggestions reflect common-sense Economics 101, they are anathema to Chavismo. No way will Chavismo assent to these proposals. Down with the ship they go- or should I say three ships.

      Lorenzo Mendoza most probably realizes this. He is going on record as saying that he tried to stop the collapse, but wasn't listened to. It is a big shock for Chavismo that Lorenzo Mendoza's proposals got media play.

  4. It's tough to beat French or Italian, when it comes to the pretty ladies and romance:

    Madamina, il catalogo è questo
    Delle belle che amò il padron mio;
    un catalogo egli è che ho fatt'io;
    Osservate, leggete con me.

    In Italia seicento e quaranta;
    In Alemagna[2] duecento e trentuna;
    Cento in Francia, in Turchia novantuna;
    Ma in Ispagna son già mille e tre.

    V'han fra queste contadine,
    Cameriere, cittadine,
    V'han contesse, baronesse,
    Marchesane, principesse.
    E v'han donne d'ogni grado,
    D'ogni forma, d'ogni età.

    Nella bionda egli ha l'usanza
    Di lodar la gentilezza,
    Nella bruna la costanza,
    Nella bianca la dolcezza.

    Vuol d'inverno la grassotta,
    Vuol d'estate la magrotta;
    È la grande maestosa,
    La piccina è ognor vezzosa.

    Delle vecchie fa conquista
    Pel piacer di porle in lista;
    Sua passion predominante
    È la giovin principiante.

    Non si picca – se sia ricca,
    Se sia brutta, se sia bella;
    Purché porti la gonnella,
    Voi sapete quel che fa.


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