The Santos Luzardo Moment


Sitting here in the comfort of my Montreal apartment and the security of my Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation-protected bank account, it’s a wee bit uncomfortable for me to summarize it but, over on the Spanish site, Raúl Aular’s furious harangue entreating us to put our money where our rhetoric is really is damn strong stuff. 

Go read it. Preferably with a stiff drink handy.

I’ll side-step the knotty morass of moral implications once more just long enough to note that the comments section after that post is really impressive too…

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  1. As Raul say, “money talks”. It talks the loudest, though, when it walks, which is happening, obviously.

    Still, assuming one could pick up and leave Venezuela at moment’s notice (and take their money with them), why would any sensible person stick around to put up with a government that just imposed price controls on everything, expropriates private property at the drop of a hat, tolerates 20%+ inflation just in the last quarter, imprisons people for speaking out, or acting against the wishes of one man, and… well, we’ve got the picture: a dreary, shabby, semi-Kafkaesque, semi-Orwellian world, dressed in tropical tatters, getting drearier and shabbier all the time, and all this against a national backdrop of frustration, helplessness, and hopelessness.

    I mean, what’s not to like? No wonder people and their money are getting out of Dodge…

    • “…assuming one could pick up and leave Venezuela at moment’s notice (and take their money with them),”

      That’s the rub. If you have your money invested in your business, home, etc. how do you get it out? The real estate market, at least here in Margarita, is virtually non existent with thousands of properties on the market & no buyers.
      If you do sell for a small % of it’s worth it will be in Bolivares. Now you have the problem of converting that into something you can actually spend outside Venezuela.

      I don’t even like thinking about it!

  2. Agree. What the government is doing is what all dictatorships do: getting rid of the intellect. Venezuela is a country where someone with a PhD needs a side job to pay the monthly bills. A doctor or lawyer makes less than someone who sell chicken in the street.

    With the new law on pricing they will get rid of the entrepreneurs and the privately held businesses, including the mom & pop stores. Everything will be owned by the government in the end.

    It is easy to say that a nation needs to get patriotic again. But it will not work when the nation has a corrupt system like Venezuela. You can only survive in such a nation by corrupting yourself and I do not blame the ones who do.

    The Dad of a friend of my used to be a professor at the ULA. He is a social and intelligent man. He was the on who once told me: “If I have the option to get wealthy by loosing control of my mind, or stay poor and still have control over my mind, I would rather stay poor. My mind got me where I am today”.

    The same guy also has bills to pay and a family to feed. So 2 years ago he decided to get involved in the PSUV. Just to make use of the corrupt system and getting his bills paid. He now drives a red jeep grand cherokee with a picture of Chavez on the side. Sure is handy at a chackpoint but it still is very corrupt.

    “Yo soy rojo rojito por la plata!”

  3. There is a lot to be said for voting with your feet. By withdrawing one’s brains, ability, and capital from the regime, one hastens it ultimate demise.

    I predict that patriotism will eventually be considered as obsolete as feudalism. Just as the free movements of capital insure competition, efficiency, and innovation within corporations, the free movement of citizens and their assets amongst nations will promote fair and efficient government because nations will be forced to compete for the best and most productive citizens.

    • Roy, I’m absolutely on your side, but … Over the last 50 years Cuba has lost brains, ability and capital. Also, money from the Soviet Union and from sugar exports. That has NOT hastened the demise of Cuban communism.

      • In part, I think Cuba’s hanging on because of Chavez’s benevolence – and then, there are guns, don’t forget guns; a lot of times, they speak a lot louder than money…

        • True. Also, Cuba has always had a nearby relief valve for its disaffected. If Cuba didn’t have a neighbor that was as accepting as its exiles as the US has been, would Fidelistas still be in power? Discuss.

      • Steven,

        Cuba is hanging on for all the reasons mentioned by you and others. However, I was predicting how the world might function in the future, not how it functions right now.

        Still, I think that depriving the regime of human resources does damage the regime. And, from the point of view of the moral individual, I think it is an ethically correct response.

    • The maximum amount for individuals was $5,000.
      You’re not going to pave your way out of here with that.
      The question is how do you convert the equivalent of $500,000 or $1,000,000?

      • Yes in every state the common man is always the one who suffers. Not only in Venezuela. To give you an example: I live in Holland and as you know, the euro is declining in value quite rapidly. As an individual you used to be able to get a bank account in foreign currency, so I asked some banks to open an account for me in Singapore Dollar. The reply I got was quite remarkable. As of this year, an individual cannot open a foreign currency account anymore. Policy of the ECB (European Central Bank). But as a company I could get one.

        • Y’all are writing about this backward: we need to dream up a way to get people to put money into Venezuela, not take it out!

          • Get rid of the current government & there might be a chance of recuperating confidence.

            With these idiots in power you would have to be really dumb to want to bring money INTO Venezuela.

          • There’s no need to dream. There’s a need to get a decent government in place, a judicial system that is truly blind to influence and a concerted effort to give budding industries a chance to live.

          • Why? So the Chavistas have more to steal? Private investment in Venezuela will happen when security and stability are restored.

    • Not a good idea to confuse things: ‘plata o plomo’ is the Hobson’s choice you’re faced with when the dark side requires your cooperation and ‘rojo rojito por la plata’ is just a lame excuse with which to camouflage flexible morals.

  4. Like I said in spanish at cronicasdecaracas:

    Confidence in the Venezuelan government, and particularly in the Venezuelan Executive is irretrievably lost, if you have any fear that your property might get stolen. That’s the side I’m optimistic about.

    Only that the rest of Venezuelans should also lose faith in the Executive: For it to steal or appropriate by monopolistic means wealth that is not theirs, so as to give them a crumb or two in the end. That’s the side I’m pessimistic about.

    The day Venezuelans choose an Executive and a Legislative that campaign on a promise they will stop robbing or corrupting the Venezuelans who DO work in diverse ways (high inflation, unstable currency and financial system, currency devaluation, oil monopoly, invasions and other tolerated crimes, expropriations, bureaucracy, etc.), we will have something to talk about in this regard.

    The day that Venezuelans of their own accord choose a government committed to divesting the State of the power to rob, embezzle and corrupt (itself and others) on THEIR behalf… THAT day and not before, we will be able to have a serious conversation on how to have people bringing their money to Venezuela as individual investors.


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