Monday, January 30, 2017

Becoming a failed state (1): the parameters

There is actually the concern that Venezuela may become a failed state, if it has not become one already. After all, there is no way to get real numbers and thus for all that we know we may be already bankrupt with no way out as long until there is a sudden rise in oil price. Like to 90USD per barrel.
Being failed

So, are we becoming a failed state? Is there a way to avoid it? Do we have the people for that? Before going into the last point, a highly un-PC examination of the populace, let’s set the parameters that would qualify us as a failed state to be.

Let’s start with Wikipedia, as reliable a source as any other on this one since it is a relatively subjective notion.

Wikipedia offers a short resume to an article worth reading (at its current edition anyway). There are four items and thus I will take each one in turn.

Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein

This one already offers us two examples. On the loss of territory there is how the claim on Guyana has been lost by Chavez while Maduro has lost the claim on a large chunk of territorial sea that should belong to Venezuela.

On the legitimate use of physical force the example is even more dramatic. Venezuela has one of the highest death rates in the world. But we can also see the rise of a warlord cast that is already challenging authority in ways significant enough that the regime prefers to make deals with these warlords wannabe. Some are the “pran” or jail inmates “negative leaders” that conduct in all impunity all sorts of extortion and traffic business from their jail where they are safe from other gangs. Some of these jails have even swimming pools, discos, warehouses, etc. Tocoron, a noted jail, has even an outdoor market where people can find what cannot be found elsewhere. Trucks with food are routinely taken away from their delivery route, pillaged at Tocoron and then abandoned somewhere. That the Nazional Guard took action against them last year will turn out to be a mere pause since the weapons and the business that enters in Tocoron can only happen because authorities collaborate with the pranes.

There are also the infamous “colectivos” which are the tropical equivalent of a cross of S.A. with Cuban CDR. That is, assault bands which were created to defend the revolution and who know control large chunks of popular districts where they try to make sure the counter revolution does not make inroads in spite of all the penuries the populace suffers from.


Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions

The problem has been brought crudely in the forefront when the regime refused to recognize the legitimately elected National Assembly in December 2015 vote. The opposition got 2/3 of the seats but that did not stop the regime to use its control over the judicial system to invalidate 99% of the Assembly votes. As a consequence the regime cannot get its budget approved in a legal way threatening to bring the country into financial chaos. The Assembly has limited itself to revote the 2016 budget for 2017 since it cannot see the details of the 2016 use of money nor the proposals for 2017. The Assembly simply cannot engage its responsibility over an item that could carry penal implications.

Never mind that all important decisions since 2003 have been taken without consulting the opposition in order to take what are called state positions, those that are of national interest for all Venezuelans. Imposing soon 14 years of partisan politics has a toll.


Inability to provide public services

Need we detail that last one? Oh well…

Basic services like electricity and water are now rationed. In some areas regular power outages can last 12 hours, and more. Water in many parts reaches the people once a week for a few hours. Trash collection is reduced in some areas to once a week. Roads of Venezuela look some time like bombed roads in countries at war, not because of bombs but because of utter disregard for maintenance.

The health crisis has been widely documented by the international press, including graphic photo journalism. Never mind that the writer of this blog has narrated his own difficulties in providing for his family.

Now, I would put a caveat in putting a full check on this one. Contrary to the above mentioned items this one could find consensus to be worked out on some items such as electricity recovery or Hospital refurbishing. The political requirement and will may be reached easier here than on the above two items. But so far the regime has refused to take any step unless it is controlled by its minions all the way through and through. In short, since corruption is the driving force behind that lack of services then we must include it in the failed category.


Inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community

This is developing currently. Venezuela has already been kicked out of Mercosur for failing to fulfill its commitments amen of its human rights record. The OAS is on the verge of taking a decision on applying the Democratic Charter that would make Venezuela a pariah state. No significant head of state has visited Venezuela in a year or so, nor is Maduro received in any of the important capitals of the world. In fact Maduro as well as his foreign minister are now forced to crash in some countries where they are received by underlings of the foreign ministry when received at all. Only China, considering the huge debt Venezuela has with the Middle Empire, does receive Maduro at a decent bureaucratic level, but not at high level anymore.

What is worse is that there is an increasing number of Venezuelan high ranking officials that are on risk lists in the US (and elsewhere probably) and who thus cannot travel outside of the country anymore least Interpol grabs them.


There is no need to go further, the question is whether Venezuela is already a failed state.
Now let’s look at some causes of this, and to the people that are putting up with such a situation.


  1. I'd call it "Kleptocratic Mafia Narco-Mess"

  2. IslandCanuck1:19 AM

    Definately at least a bankrupt state.
    International reserves are just 10.8 billion while just the bill with Brasil is 6 billion.
    PDVSA can't afford to clean their contaminated oil carriers and imports have collapsed.
    Tourism, a main provider of jobs has collapsed both nationally and internationally.

    In my opinion a failed country with no hope of recovery even with $90 oil.

    1. Gotta give them some credit as the Russian givt company Rosnault controls much of the massive oils fields and now gave Trump 19 percent ownership in Rosnault. Who can possibly stop the regime with the backing of USA and Russia?

    2. There was a fake news report that Trump was given 19% ownership in Rosneft (not Rosnault) in return for ending Russian sanctions. This was based on a fake intelligence dossier.

      Venezuela has no backing from the US and Russia is too broke to help if they wanted to. China is Venezuela's biggest supporter and has provided huge loans in exchange they get oil shipped to China to pay back the loans.

      The problem though is that for PDVSA (the Venezuela State oil company), there has been so little investment and Hugo Chavez and now Maduro have so looted all the small oil company suppliers and the many small and large service companies that did the needed maintenance, construction, drilling and etc., that almost all of them are now out of business.

      Basically, Chavez and Maduro promised to pay them in the future and promised to take over their business if they didn't do the work. The future when the companies were supposed to be paid never arrived or didn't arrive on time for them and they went out of business. In some cases, the Venezuela government took them over - but of course, they could not run those companies.

      Now to revitalize the oil industry in Venezuela, Venezuela needs US, European or even Russian experts to help them do the work and to pay for it. But no one trusts Venezuela's PDVSA or government to pay.

      Many of the Venezuelans that have the best training or skills needed in the oil industry have left that kind of work or even left Venezuela all together.

      Venezuela's oil production is going to decline this year and the next couple of years after based on the current condition in Venezuela. There is no way to stop that decline as it is based on current conditions. Declines in the years after that would depend on if the Venezuela government changes and the needed investments in the oil industry are made. Otherwise, the estimate from various international analysts are for Venezuela production to drop by around 200,000 bo/d this year. If there is a PDVSA default, there could be a greater drop than that for a time. In 2018 and 2019, the drop will be 200,000 to 300,000 bo/d.

    3. The dosier you speak of was an intelligence report from a british spy. Yes cannot be prooved. 19.5 percent of Roseneft was given to an anonymus fund by the Russian gov't. This is a fact and happened shortly after Trump was sworn in. The Dossier done in July stated a bugged conversation between Trump and Putin heard Putin promise Trump 19 percent if he becomes president and lifts sanctions which I am sure is to come. Reality is Trump is using crazy immigration policy to applease tge 25 percent of popularion that voted for him. I say that because only low 50 percent of eligible voters voted and he got less then half. Since minors and non citizens cant vote the percent who voted for him is much less then 25 percent of population. The media owned by the rich rail on the imigration policy so no one cares about fact that he is firing everyone in govt who resists him like the attorney general. He is also testing how far he can push his executive powers. Trump is in it for Trump only much the same as those who robbed Venezuela blind. The fact that some may benefit in the great theft is only by coincidence or design to pull it off.

  3. Check the link out below to understand how Trump plans much the same for the USA. He is using crazy distractions like the immigration bad in order to take all the attention off of how he is replacing key positions throughout the constitutional structure.

    1. You give Trump too much credit

  4. I continue to be astounded at the people of Venezuela tolerance for abuse.

  5. "On the loss of territory...Guyana...of territorial sea that should belong to Venezuela."
    Get over it.
    You lost in court.
    This is a blind spot in the VZ psyche and is completely irrelevant to VZ being a successful country.


Comments policy:

1) Comments are moderated after the sixth day of publication. It may take up to a day or two for your note to appear then.

2) Your post will appear if you follow the basic polite rules of discourse. I will be ruthless in erasing, as well as those who replied to any off rule comment.