No Minister

A Final Cheer for Christmas 2019

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Venezuela has been a slowly developing horror story for two decades now as Socialist policies of state ownership together with centralised command and control of the rest of the economy have slowly strangled it to death. And there was a decade of encroaching socialist policies preceding that, albeit with a lighter touch.

The country still has the highest rate of inflation in the world at about 15,000%, which is down from 1.5 million%, and about 4.5 million people have voted with their feet and left the dump. And as is always the case, the horror becomes a vortex where things get worse faster towards the end.

But the good news this Christmas is that the end point, the lowest dip in the curve, may have been reached, if the following televised comments from Maduro count for anything (he should have worn a Santa suit):

“I don’t see the process they call dollarization as bad,…. it can aid the recovery of the productive areas of the country and the functioning of the economy.”

Venezuela’s line up beside graffiti saying “Hunger”

 

Wait, what? Dollarization? Surely that can’t mean the evil Yanqui dollar? From the same “foreign empire” that “has been waging economic war” against Venezuela for a decade now?

And surely not after boastful articles over the years about how they’re going to adopt the Euro, like this 2018 piece from Putin’s propaganda organ, Russia Today.

As an aside, a few years earlier large-brained mammal Robert Fisk was super-excited about the demise of the US dollar, with the Euro as the new global currency (CAUTION: Do not read that last if you have coffee near your keyboard).

Star-Struck on Google That article is just one more reason why I laugh every time I see No RightTurn in our “Blogroll Left” column announce the thrilling headline “NEW FISK”.

My how the worm has turned:

“…It can help the recovery of the country, the spread of productive forces in the country, and the economy … Thank God it exists

No, No, Mr Maduro! Thank the United States of America it exists.

America says “You’re Welcome”, Mr Maduro

It turns out that three things have forced the situation.

First, all those Venezuelans who have escaped to find work abroad are sending between $70 – $100 a month back to their families in Venezuela, and irrespective of where they are working that money is sent as US dollars. It amounts to about $US 3.5 billion per year, a huge sum for such an impoverished nation.

Secondly the government, facing empty shelves because of price controls, finally relented on taxing imports, which have thus surged. But again purchased only with US dollars, aided further by the government freeing the exchange rate.

Third, this flood of US currency has caused local business to start using only it for their transactions. Whether it’s car mechanics, electricians or architects, they’re charging in greenbacks, and the government has turned a blind eye to it.

But nobody who cares about people should be complaining. Things may be on the way up, assuming the idiots in charge don’t try and revert to their old socialist ways. Christmas has come early and still limited, but now there is hope.

Ricardo Cusano, who is the president of Fedecamaras, Venezuela’s Chamber Of Commerce, probably summed it up best:

“The government had been unable to restart the economy any other way, so it’s doing what the people want..”

Yes, by giving into free enterprise and markets. And as for the Socialist government that’s still in power:

they have lost the ideological war.

As they always do – eventually – but only after yet another society is wrecked. Unfortunately the lesson seemingly has to be learned again and again and again, and even when it’s learned it’s only local, and for a few decades at best. The one Christmas present we don’t get is a permanent loss by the socialists: another recession and they’re right back in the picture.

Oh well, can’t have everything. Sounds like Venezuela might have a good New Years as well for once: As Hans said “It’s Christmas, Theo. It’s the time of miracles. So be of good cheer…

And now here’s the Andrews Sisters singing Maduro’s tune from 1944.

 

Written by Tom Hunter

December 29, 2019 at 11:38 pm

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