I was planning this second post long ago, following my crude description of why Venezuela remains messed up in spite of all the regime propaganda. But on occasion procrastination pays and I can start with recent items telling us what type of wondercrap Venezuela is.
First the new economic zones (ZEE). This is the latest at attracting foreign investors offering them all sorts of fiscal favors, and other favors that better remain nameless for the time being, but surely one would be by exempting those investors with having to follow labor laws. The delirium goes as far as including in these zones the Tortuga Island that will be transformed in an international tourists pole with airport and all. I happen to know La Tortuga. It is small, barren, waterless, no natural harbour worthy mentioning, etc, etc. Yes, it is beautifully wild with scuba diving offerings. But if you imagine Tortuga with ten resorts and golf courses, well, there go the corals. Nothing will remain, the island is too fragile for even a single resort. The idea behind that cockamamie plan is for laundering money away from scrutiny, creating at best a secluded retreat so that regime higher ups can go partying among themselves.
The other item was to give Iran gazillions acres of land so they can produce food to bring home. That the country side is devastated, that the Venezuelan agricultural worker has lost long ago its punch and skill, that we lack food enough that giving land to Iran, that is just crazy. Again, there is something else at play there. There is ALWAYS something else at play when chavismo announces big undoable plans. A secret base for Iran comes to mind.
And of course, we are now in November and no one is speaking about this anymore.
From this items you get already the gist of this blog entry: there are no conditions in Venezuela today to discuss any rebuilding plan. Assuming of course that within the regime here are people able to draw a realistic reconstruction plan. This is a short list of the main obstacles you will face to develop almost anything productive in Venezuela.
- The general infrastructure is obsolete and in severe disrepair. Be it roads or electrical distribution, it does not work and the regime seems unable to fix it except in some points of utmost necessity for them, not for the populace. To build and run something is a major effort requiring that you bring in your own electricity generating system, for example.
- The sanitary situation is simply nasty for foreigners. From run down and resource poor hospitals to the increasing scarcity of decent tap water, life is difficult. Very difficult.
- The legal system is a joke. If you invest you never know when some government agency will knock at your door trying to see what they can extort from you. Or you can yourself get a single protector to whom you'll pay a regular stipend. The law is not your friend, it is your foe.
- Which brings us to the security of the people working for you. As bad as ever. Your top management will need armored cars and perhaps even body guards.
- So you say lets work with locals, they are used to it. What locals? 6 millions and counting have fled the country, including a cohort of skilled professionals. You are going to have trouble hiring competent mid management. As for lower ranks in your business hires, do not be too optimist. 20 years of chavismo have created a despondent worker, that thinks only about rights and that the bosses are tyrants. Then again enough are starving and desperate that you may manage to have them do all sorts of nasty jobs. Note: I am not saying that Venezuelan workers are bad, just saying that building a decent team is not going to be easy.
- And of course considerations such as the environment, protection from messy neighbors and the like you can dream on.