Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Best wishes for 2018

Well, for those outside of Venezuela that is. Here? "May you survive 2018" seems as reasonable request as you may utter.

I do look like a chavista. Late December I was speculating/promising that I may be able to do a round up of 2017, having in theory more time ahead. Sure enough I did nothing. Not that it mattered much for our eggnog soaked audience. Or name your poison...

But I was on tweeter and even returned to Instagram for two videos.  That will have to suffice until I can come back to that round up, and trust me, there are a lot of things to round up....

The Instagram comes in two installments.

The first one is a video on January 4 at one of the three grocery stores that I patronize. Now, traditionally January has been a low month for stockage as many production facilities close for at least three weeks. But this year....  The video speak for itself.

But if this was bad enough the dictatorship made sure it would reach bottom barrel.  Under the pretense of controlling runaway inflation the regime did the easiest thing: force grocery stores to drop prices back to the those on December 15. Il suffisait d'y penser.

It was a scam through and through. First, grocery stores cannot drop prices on items that are delivered with prices on from the manufacturer as per law.  If they dared to ask for a higher price then, well, they asked for it.  Second, since stores are depleted enough as it goes, people just cannot stock on stuff they do not need just for the sake of it. If that stuff is on the shelf it is probably because nobody wants/can afford it and so you will not be able to resell it.  But these logical considerations were understood by a previous few like yours truly that would not lend himself to what amounted to an organized looting by the middle class. Yes, that same one that bemoans the regime but that has no problem in associating with the dictatorship when they can screw up a third party.

But I digress.

On epiphany day I went to get some vegetables and I saw what I filmed above. That is right, people stacked their carts of items that they wanted to pay for, but later, once the infamous price control SUNDDEE would rewire cash registers.  Thus these people waited for who knows how many hours to pay and meanwhile folks like me, that refused to partake on such shame, did not have to wait in line and just went through in one fo the fastest shopping errand of my life. My life is full of paradoxes.

I was so upset by the whole shameful experience that the SO had to berate me to recover my cool.

Note that in the end the press scandal was, for once, exaggerated. If the measure was scandalous the fact of the matter was that only a minority of items were scaled back. And they remained expensive enough that you could see people with only very few items in their carts standing in line for hours to pay, anyway.  I call it the fast impoverishment of the middle class.  Where you had looting it was in areas where people could not afford anything anyway and just looted taking the SUUNDE as an excuse. Which is not reassuring at all on its own.....

So there you are. Just wish me to survive 2018 😕

(and do follow me on Instagram, for modest but unfiltered real life moments in an age of censorship. And I do not post that often so I will not fill up your in box).


  1. After 18 years of Chavistoide pilferage, Kleptozuela still has a lot learn from Cuba: how to set prices and keep a docile populace completely dependent and subservient. How to make every one complicit in the massive looting of a nation, at all levels, after kicking out those who rebel (2.8 Million exiles thus far, 2.8 Million less people to feed, 2.8 Million sending $ or Euros back)

    They are getting there though, the complete Cubanization of Kleptozuela, it just takes a full generation.

  2. Tom in Oklahoma7:26 PM

    Daniel...I think most all your readers would join me in wishing that you and SO find your way through the worsening calamity, catastrophe that is occurring in Venezuela. I do have a question for you. In a recent meeting of Latin American leaders held in Washington D.C. the notion of possible outside military intervention was brought up by president Trump as a possible solution to the humanitarian crisis in Ven yet the idea was rejected as crazy by almost all those in attendance. I don't understand how these leaders think the crisis will resolve itself going forward if the regime is allowed to continue starving the populace into total submission. I would think that outside intervention would be less objectionable than standing by and watching whole populations slowly starved to death. What is your opinion of the reaction by the Latin leaders that attended this meeting?

    1. Tom I am not sure outside intervention is realistic given that China and Russia are operating on Venezuela and will come to its rescue. It has the same issue at this point as North Korea. Would be nice to go in there to and remove the problem but Russia and China won't allow it. As long as they stand to pillage Venezualas oil they will come to its rescue. Now with the petrocoin Russia and China can provide money with oil security. Soon they will own it all.

  3. I am a long time reader of your blog, living in Ecuador. I wish you and your SO to survive 2018.

  4. If there were some Venezuela opposition leaders that the USA government could provide assistance to covertly, the USA probably would do that. The more credible the opposition were, the more assistance they could get. There is no chance that the USA government will invade Venezuela at this time. There would have to be some large national security issue for the USA. However, people may talk about invading Venezuela to put pressure on Maduro.

  5. Assuming the USA hasn't been behind the whole movement. Given Venezuela's oil reserves it stood to be a super power in S America. The USA likely would not have wanted to see that. Outside chance but they may covertly support the regime.

    1. Of course, I assume the US is not behind the whole movement. It would be good for the world if Venezuela were a superpower in S. America. The people in the US would be thrilled if that happened. Of course, Venezuela could only do so as a democratic capitalist country. When Chavez took over, anyone with good historical, political and economic backgrounds knew that if Chavez were not somehow overturned, then Venezuela was headed to what it now endures. It would also be a haven for Cuban influence. The US wanted to prevent Cuban influence and the destruction of the Venezuela economy and democratic government. A fate that was inevitable under the leadership of someone lik Hugo Chavez and his successor.

  6. Interesting that the people of Venezuela are learning economics. The majority now do not want minimum wage increases as they realize prices increase multiples of the wage increase. A lesson in socialism and inflation.

  7. Tom in Oklahoma8:04 PM

    Has anyone heard even a peep from the U.N. about the catastrophe in Venezuela. The UN has become a nest of socialists/communists so I suppose they are reluctant to criticize their socialist brothers in arms in Venezuela and I guess we can forget the possibility that they would even consider intervening in this calamity. What a worthless organization it has become!

  8. Island Canuck10:01 PM

    "The majority now do not want minimum wage increases..."

    Where the h... did that info come from?

    My experience, and I live here, is that the pueblo (minimum wage earners) think exactly opposite. They have no idea even what inflation is other than prices keep going up.

    They mostly believe the government propaganda that it's the fault of the "economic war" and the merchants.

    But if you have verifiable evidence that I'm wrong then please enlighten me.

    1. I would be a tad more nuanced. Yes, indeed, they all want minimum wage increase. But many of them are realizing that it does not matter how much their pay check goes up it does not solve the problem. Many also realize that whenever there is price control there is shortage. So, yes, many believe that there is a so called "economic war" but many also would like to see how come the war cannot be won.

      Actually what I see is more and more people that would much prefer is not to have a minimum wage increase but rather an end to inflation. So there, at some obscure level, some light is peeping.

      Actually I have crossed minimum wage earners that do not care about price control, they just want to see it there on the shelves and then they will figure out a way to get it. The time when many of them did not mind making hours of lines for something cheap is slowly passing. Hence looting....

  9. Tom in Oklahoma8:22 PM

    Where the hell is the UN during this calamity? I guess they are not willing to interfere with their socialist brothers in arms!

  10. Brigitte12:25 AM

    Quick question: Is it wrong to call Venezuela (and Cuba and NKorea) shitholes?

    1. For once I have to agree with Trump: there are shit hole countries and the US (or Europe) cannot solve all of the problems in the world.


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