The Chinese are also boliburgueses


A couple of articles to make your head spin.

Charlie Devereux has a terrific piece for Bloomberg on China’s influence on Venezuela. Charlie, perhaps motivated by our little trip to Parapara, went to Guárico to check out the train to nowhere and got to talk to the workers. The money quote:

“As with Chinese projects in Africa and elsewhere, tensions have surfaced between Venezuelan workers and their foreign managers. At three construction sites in different states visited by Bloomberg News over five days in August, dozens of workers described being forced by Chinese managers to work long hours, with little concern for their safety, and being harassed by police for airing complaints.

Jose Perez, a 31-year-old machinist on the same project, said he’s frequently forced to work 15 hours straight without overtime. “They’re trying to impose Chinese labor laws on us,” he said, standing near a giant billboard of Chavez shaking hands with Chinese President Hu.”

The piece is rich in detail, well worth a read. Thanks to Alejandro Tarre – who is blogging the crap out of this election – for pointing this out to me.

A separate one appeared in yesterday’s edition of La Nación, a Buenos Aires newspaper. In it, Olga Wormat documents the boliburguesía and in their full, nouveau-riche extravagance. The money quote (and, boy, there are lots … article is in Spanish, sorry):

“Salazar Carreño (familiar de Rafael Ramírez) pasó de vendedor de polizas de seguro a convertirse en uno de los hombres más ricos de Venezuela, y todo gracias a su poderoso pariente, quien le otorgó el multimillonario contrato de la póliza de seguros y reaseguros de Petróleos de Venezuela. Al “Rojo de Oro” le encanta la fiesta, el derroche y los lujos. Vacaciona en Dubai, donde se traslada en su avión, con mucamas, chefs y custodios. Tiene mansiones en EE.UU. y Europa. En Caracas, adquirió un lujoso piso en la urbanización Campo Alegre, pero como le resultaba poco, compró el edificio. Aficionado al canto, creó una orquesta de cien músicos de salsa -con salarios en dólares- con los que ensaya tres veces por semana en el hotel Marriott, cuya planta baja se cierra para él y su banda.”