This is what the Paquetazo looks like


As the government finds it has fewer dollars to fund imports of cut-price food, scenes like this one are set to become increasingly “normal”.

When people imagine the “paquetazo“, they imagine a grave Giordani announcing unpleasant measures on TV.

But it’s not like that. Instead, the paquetazo – the quick retrenchment in real government spending that’s inevitable following last year’s spedning orgy – is going to turn up in a thousand unpleasant day-to-day situations, like the chicken-induced clusterfuck above.

The paquetazo is a process, not an event – a mounting drip-drip-drip of pain and aggravation leading up to…who knows what?!

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  1. What got me from the video is that people didn’t look angry, a lot were smiling and having fun, piñata style… People know they are getting something for a lot less they would pay otherwise so what if they have to scuffle to get it? A caballo regalado no se le mira el colmillo

  2. Some observations:

    1. Much more meat being eaten (por persona) than a decade ago.

    2. Now everyone seems to have enough money to buy 6 chickens de golpe.

    3. Venezuelans will queue and run for cheap celulares, why not chicken?

    4. Fast rising demand and perceived scarcity causes people to stockpile.

    5. You’ll know when scarcity becomes a problem when they start fighting.

    • 1. I’m curious if that is really accurate or not. According to my relatievs, meat is more difficult to find than 10 years ago, regardless of the price.

      2. I’m sure everyone is willing to buy 6 chickens knowing that, a). they will be able to turn around and sell half of them to neighbors for 3-5 times what they purchased them for which also supports b). When the government imports things like chicken, sugar, coffee, etc. and then sells them at a subsidized price that results in the destruction of domestic production…is this really a good thing and is it remotely sustainable?

      3. Microecon 101 should tell you that when a price ceiling is set, you will always have much higher demand than production. As mentioned above, this truly is not a good thing since you are altering the market price rather than creating a sustainable market condition.

      4. This is created demand and stockpiling..but not by the retailers…rather by the consumers. Why? Expectation of continued shortages..

      5. True enough. But, having seen this same phenomenon before with oil, powdered milk, and other basic staples in the mercatos…doesn’t it still seem fundamentally wrong that people have to do this in the first place?

      Market distortions are not good things in the long run. And, as noted in the post, shrinking dollar reserves will cripple imports and make the shortages even worse. We aren’t talking about “finished” goods here such as twinkies (which have their own shortage, actually) or wine, or candy bars…we are talking basic goods that are the foundations for everything else such as harina p.a.n., sugar, etc.

    • There is a lot of data – hopefully accurate- at the FAO site.
      1)There has been an increase in animal products protein consumption: from averaging 34.4 grams of protein from animal products from 1996-2005, to 44.2 for 2007-2009.
      2) This also follows a general increase in food supply during this time
      3) The increase in food supply comes nearly all from increasing imports, not from increasing domestic production.

      • I’m suspecting the information is relatively accurate based on the Egg Index. Is it perfect, probably not entirely since it would probably count all imports…including those that don’t quite make it to their destination but are still counted anyway (such as those in Pudreval).

        However, as you note, there is a significant narrative here: Population increases, but domestic production by and large has not kept pace and in some instances is significantly lower whereas quantitatively, the food supply has increased due to a huge expansion in imports, particularly from 2006 onward. Sadly, they lack the pivot table data from 2010-11 to see if there is a consistent trend.

        And this is food sovereignity.

        Crowding out your domestic supply through imports is always bad. Care to imagine what would happen if the food import spigot were turned off?

    • Yoyo enrollao’ If you really believe this video represents so many great things that the revolution has done maybe you should tell Maduro to use it as a campaign add. I really hope you, perdido en el espacio and many other chavistas don’t believe all the bull you guys write and you troll just to keep getting paid.

      • Kudos for this comment! They could spin their screwups around this way… NOT.

        Also, blackouts are a consequence of everybody having a new fridge, a home theater and spotlights in their new mansions… NOT!

        Yoyo should know that such spins would never resist the laugh test, or worse, could work up some of the people who are perpetually on the edge in Venezuela to really murderous rage.

        • This video doesn’t tell me much. All I can see are a crowd of people waiting for chickens. There seems to be enough chicken for everybody. The competition is playful not desperate.

          And yes, blackouts are partially due to the working class majoritye having more money, more appliances, more gadgets, more food to cook, etc.

          • What a heartless commentary – more chickens for everybody? Please. How long were these people waiting? What about the people that couldn’t be in that precise moment? Blackouts as a sign of progress? What about the poor people whose appliances are ruined because of Chavista policies?

            One more of these and I’m deleting your comments. Go hate the poor somewhere else.

          • Yeah, I could half-believe you if chicken were not scarce across the nation. If this were for example a huge SALE at 1/4 PRICE of chicken in a normal supermarket in a normal country where such things are usual, and they are just getting rid of their surplus. It’
            s not, there’s scarcity and no surplus. Why would normal people go for it anyhow except that chicken has become a scarce commodity? COME ON!

            Blackouts are due to inept and corrupt Socialists running a public service.

          • And you are welcome to write this into publicity for Maduro and the Chavernment. Hope they don’t burn down the venues for such advertisement.

          • yoyo enrollao’ you really are a legend. You keep on writing bull after bull. I have no idea how you can do it. But let me try to think(?) like you do.
            Food shortage is due to people buying lots of chickens, check
            Blackouts is due to people having more appliances, check
            Murder rates are then dueto malandros having more money to buy guns.
            People dying in hospital are because now they are all rich and go there to get cured.
            Overcrowded jails is due the marvelous state they are in so malandros love staying in that 5 stars hotel.
            Water shortage is due to more people taking baths than ever.

            Man this is fun. I was just looking at problems from the wrong side. Thanks yoyo enrollao’ everything seems to shine with a new light.

          • Traffic is due to the massive increase in car ownership,
            Morgues are over-crowded because they are such nice facilities and people are lining up to be dead there,
            Bridges are collapsing because people own so many cars and are driving on them all the time,
            Coffee is in shortage because Venezuelan coffee has gone up so much in quality and is in swift demand around the world.

            Absolutely anything which you think is a problem is in fact a case of amazingly successful policies.

    • This video reminds of a scene I saw a few weeks ago whilst visiting EXPANZOO. People shoving each other, in order to get chicken, was very similar to the Goats reaction when visitors came along with their bags of carrots.

      I personally would find it very insulting to be put in a situation where this would be the only way to get affordable food. You wouldn’t see me jumping for joy at the occasion and I would most definitely retaliate at the ballot box.

      The scene in the video is not the first one. There have been many others shown and way before October 7th. So my questions are: Are Venezuelans happy to allow their government to treat them like goats? Am I missing something?

  3. Moraima : Very acute comment , people were just like children in a pinata , if people are denied something which they need and suddenly they find it , theirs is not a normal joy but a feeling of exhilaration . People find more pleasure in losing something and then finding it than in always having it , The regime will work harder at giving people a flash pinata of goodies than to provide them with the means of ensuring a settled steady long term sattisfaction to their needs .

  4. I also noticed that people were contributing to the horror by having fun.


    If they were a bit more astute they would not only be ashamed of being greedy and fighting over chickens, but learn to fulfill their protein need in other ways.Where is their shame in taking more than their share?

    People need to learn to outsmart the political moves of Chavismo.

    They need to detach from neediness in order to find the maturity and freedom stand up to the government without fear.

    They don’t seem to care about a Venezuela that is for everyone.

  5. This is the result you will allways get if you give away commodities for less than their perceived value.

    Its Infinite demand.

    It doesn’t matter how much chicken you put out, people will take it. As they know supply under these conditions is not sustainable.

    … People through this behavior acknowledge that the Paquetazo is coming and soon.

  6. My take away from this is there were no chickens available before the rumble and certainly people came later to find no chickens again. This is a sad state of affairs.

  7. 70% went away with nothing. The most common “noticia” that one sees in Venezuela, is that which announces “There is no Chicken”.

  8. Has the time come to start building your “Gallinero Vertical” [Translation – Vertical chicken coop]? Truly, quite tragic.

      • Its one thing to have a rooftop coop. Quite another to keep chickens it. Not necessarily the keeping, mind you, but being able to keep them in there.

        Given feedback from relatives on this subject, your chickens become the commune’s chickens pretty quickly. Often with you not finding out about it until after the fact since they seem to go around 3-4 AM.

  9. What happens if you happen to be a 70 year old granny with no strength to wrestle a chicken out of the crowd? Are you supposed to go hungry?

    • It happened to my mother, who had a package of Harina Pan in her hands in Margarita, and another woman yanked it out saying “this is not for you, is for the pueblo!”

  10. Or if you suffer from kidney ailments and cannot eat beans, lentils, nuts and seeds as a way to fulfill your protein need in other ways? Let them eat tofurkey, I say! #condescending

  11. You know what, Scarcity IS already a problem. Believe me, I’m not fucking smiling when I can’t find my Kids Milk Formula, I’m not fuckin laughing when I can’t find their diapers, I’m not fucking having a ball when I have to go to three or four Supermarkets looking for wheat flour.
    This Goverment “se llena la boca” talking about “Soberanía Alimentaria” but they can’t bring food to the table.

  12. Back in town for a few weeks, and we had our own Chicken Run experience the other day here in Zulia. Everyone cordially lined up for 2 chickens per person. And besides a few packages of ground meat, that was all that was offered in the butchery section all week. The cupboards are looking pretty bare everywhere. One supermarket owner stole me he’s simply not getting restocked. It’s feeling and looking a little bit like the old paro days of 2002-2003, and I can’t help but wondering if the long lines to the gas stations are going to start up again. I must admit, things seem just a little more wrong than usual.


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