Friday, September 13, 2013

Call 800-Sabotage

You really cannot make this stuff up. Nicolás Maduro announced new plans for an organization under his personal command to combat the sabotage that is the sole cause of economic woes in Venezuela. To aid in this endeavor, Venezuelans should call 800-Sabotaje to report any nefarious deeds by the fascists whose sole aim is to destroy el pueblo. Francisco Toro has a nice allegory on all this. Conspiracy theories are coming at an almost frantic pace.

To deal with food shortages, he said Venezuela was buying $600 million worth from Colombia. You may remember it was only a few months ago when the government made a similar announcement. Imported food was on its way to create a food reserve, which I suppose was thwarted by the fascist pigs.

For all the close ties with Cuba, it's interesting that Maduro's response to the problems created by an overly centralized economy is to centralize it more, whereas Raúl Castro's response has been the opposite. And Cuba's economy faces an official and implacable economic block that Venezuela does not. It's really hard to see this resulting in anything good for Venezuelans.

Operators standing by.


Justin Delacour 1:09 PM  

it's interesting that Maduro's response to the problems created by an overly centralized economy is to centralize it more

While there are undoubtedly problems with the government's economic management, you haven't provided any actual evidence that Maduro seeks to centralize the economy "more." Just a week or two ago, the Pan-American Post noted that the Minister of Finance, Nelson Merentes, offered some criticisms of the country's current economic model, which seems to contradict your suggestion here. It is well known that Nelson Merentes is more conciliatory to the business community than other previous economic ministers. So what exactly is the basis of your claim that Maduro seeks to centralize the economy "more"?

Greg Weeks 2:54 PM  

"Yo he decidido crear una instancia superior de coordinación, de inspección, de contraloría y de garantía de funcionamiento total de la economía."

Justin Delacour 7:16 PM  

Well, call me crazy, but I think a political scientist ought to do more than cherry-pick one vague quote from Maduro in attempting to draw some of kind of conclusion about the general economic policy direction of the state.

Adam S.,  3:54 AM  

In the way that a stopped clock is right twice a day, Justin has a point here. This new "organ" isn't so much about centralization of the economy as it is about centralizing (or being seen to centralize) some of the really basic, getting-food-to-the-Mercal areas of economic policymaking that are in crisis and working at cross-purposes. I wouldn't see much to object to in centralization if it meant that the person in charge of ordering food from Colombia might be able to communicate with the person in charge of picking it up.

In terms of macro policy, with Nelson Merentes in control of both Finance and the BCV the priority is going to be to find ways to get dollars to private-sector importers. My sense is that the talk of sabotage, hoarding, etc. is mostly intended to deflect blame for the problem while buying some time to work out a solution.

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