But it is Sunday, the night of the "reconversion monetaria" and all is still. Caracas died a few hours ago as banks web sites went down to adjust for the "new" currency tomorrow. By 2 PM almost everyone open a Sunday had closed. No grocery stores open after 2 PM, even the convenience stores normally open until 6 PM on Sundays. And even if some joints were to dare to risk their earnings tonight, why would you want to go out and drink? Better to pass out at home as many must have done, witness the amount of people buying booze yesterday.
The reason of today's shut down is not only the decision to lop off 5 zeroes from the currency, but the alleged measures taken to restore trust and relaunch, for the Nth time, the economy. These measures are not designed to make the economy work again, these measures are designed to establish full control over the private sector that will not be able to apply them. This is communism or some new ersatz of it, directed by a narco kleptocracy that uses communism as an ideological excuse to get rich and fat themselves. Nothing new here.
I am not going to discuss the "measures" here. A thread I posted on tweeter is still as valid today as 24 hours ago.
It is more pertinent to discuss what comes next since this is only political, not economical. Just to illustrate how crazy are the masures from Maduro and why they are so directed at leveling off everyone to minimum wage let me give you a personal calculation. I have good credit card rating in Venezuela. After my bad experience in the US I long got my lesson and I have been such a good boy here that I have 3 "black" credit card. Do not think that these are the same big deal as in the US: after hyperinflation with one of them I can barely afford the grocery shopping for the week And I need another one for the miscellaneous. The third one for an emergency but it is not enough to cover a medical emergency. Thus I need to sell my Euros every two weeks to clean upo the slate and restart the cycle. That makes me privileged.The "the ecomomic" measures of @NicolasMaduro yesterday are not such. They are strictly political measures designed to deliberately ruin/change the production system. It is the ultimate control: surrender or leave the country.— daniel duquenal (@danielduquenal) August 18, 2018
But I digress. My highest credit card has a 144 million top, rather good in Venezuela unless you have a "special" deal with a bank. Well, on September first my credit card will not cover the minimum wage that has been brought from 5 to 180 millions. Like that, without anesthesia.
If on twitter chavismo is elated that they will finally have enough money to go shopping, money obtained without any merit from their part but they are commies so that is lost on them, the rest of the still active work force wonders if they will have a job next Tuesday when the banking and business holiday ends. Because of course, for reasons too long to explain here, business will not only be unable to face that brutal increase but that enormous cost by itself will be tripled by the time they adjust the legal reserves and retain some form of differential pay check for management. Or are we expected to live all from the same wage from now on?
The regime has chosen to crash. Either Maduro is forcibly ousted within the next few days (to be replaced by some "new" chavista hoping to have 20 years of mismanagement forgotten,thus the military kleptocracy retaining power) or we submit all and we are the new Cuba. And in that new system it does not matter whether Maduro retains nominal power.
The opposition is trying to organize some sort of national protest next Tuesday. Even the National Assembly will get out of its constitutional recess for a special session where we all hope that they will be a tad bit more daring than what they have been in past months. But I am not too confident that the opposition will get its act together, even at this final unexpected opportunity given by the regime to make the long overdue head long shock. Again, a thread will let you know.
The Venezuelan opposition is calling for a national strike next Tuesday. If the following does not take place it will be a dismal failure and will reinforce the regime, making Maduro final step towards communism announced yesterday an irreversible reality.— daniel duquenal (@danielduquenal) August 19, 2018
What is next? I do not know.
The country is already collapsing. Emigrants are in a stampede at the border. Last week we lost yet another long time trusted employee. She is leaving her family behind because her sister is already in Peru and can help her get a job that here we cannot pay her. We, or anyone else for that matter. We were all crying when she left, even myself. At least her husband can manage here with her two kids but they need fresh income to keep their head above water and afford private schools. Yes, private school even though their origins are rather humble. They have long realized that the sacrifice of private school was worth it with a collapsing public system that is not even able any more to maintain the propaganda and indoctrination level it had until a couple of years ago. That is right, she is leaving the country with the hope that soon she will be able to send at least 100 dollars a month and maybe bring her family to Peru as soon as her eldest finishes college. I am writing this and I can hardly believe it myself.
The fact of the matter is that to maintain myself, the S.O., his Mom, our medical bills, and afford at least once in a while a decent cup of coffee and a cachito I need to sell three times the amounts of euros that I used to sell early this year. Outings of any sort are out as we prefer to eat my savings in decent food at home. He is sick, he needs to eat well.
But it is not my personal life collapsing. The country is doing so. Zulia state got such chronic power outages that work has practically been brought to a halt. The southern part of the country is under its worst Orinoco flood in decades and it does not even make it to the state news. In Caracas, still privileged, internet and cel phones are blanking more and more. Public transportation is in major crisis as there is not spare parts to maintain old cranky small bus. The lines of people waiting at rush hour for the occasional bus are stupendous. And the overfilled buses are a sight to behold. That is, if they are lucky to get a bus as more and more any type of truck will do, with people killed by scores when they fall off the platform. Water reaches my home only twice a week now, for a few hours each time. Since I have a large reservoir I am fine, but those in apartment complexes need to clutter their space with buckets as in many areas of Caracas water does not even make it for a few hours once a week. And let's not talk about trash, though there is a cynical silver lining as street people can find food in that trash.
The worst humiliation was yet to come as this week we learned of the first official assault on Venezuelan migrants, at the Brazilian borders. They were chased from a refugee area and their stuff was seized and burnt by a horde of Brazilians. Meanwhile Ecuador and Peru imposed passport restrictions at border as an indirect way to stop Venezuelan flow since it is nearly impossible to get a passport. There you go...
I do not what to do.