The Media Barrage Continues (Updated)


logo2Had great fun on NPR’s On Point just now, alongside Rory Carroll and Cynthia Arnson. I think the program is (or will be) online to listen again, if you’re so minded.

And my OpEd on Chávez’s economic legacy appeared in the Financial Times this morning. A taste:

Cronies found it easy to profit. A convoluted currency control regime resulted in multiple prices for the US dollar. The arbitrage opportunities this set-up created were legion: the well-connected could buy a dollar for one price on the official market, sell it for three or four times that price on the parallel market, then repeat it all over again. It was magical wealth, the kind of impossible conjuring trick only possible in a petrostate amid an oil boom. To those outside the magic circle, an immensely detailed, prescriptive and punitive regulatory regime stripped out the meaning of ownership even for those companies that were not expropriated outright.

And, last but not least, yes: you’re still supposed to buy our book!

Update: Juan has a post-mortem up on Americas Quarterly. Here, he dispenses with niceties

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  1. Listening. Took me some time to find a station that had On Point. My local one decided that Diane Rehm was more interesting. Not sure how anyone can listen to her. It is like Caldera during Chavez’ ignaguration.

      • Did not know she had a speech impediment. Amazing that she is on radio then. However, it does not make the show any more enjoyable to me. I tune out when she comes on 99% of the time.

  2. Quico and Juan,
    On a personal note I really hope you enjoy the exposure Chavez death will give you over the next days and that that exposure helps monetize your book.

    All the US media is focused on the Chavez legacy. Well, his biggest legacy is the myth he created about himself will all the money spent supporting revolutionaries and democratic autocracies around the world. The payback of his investment is the inordinate amount of time US media is dedicating to covering his death.

    Too bad Chavez is dead to enjoy it.

    I look forward to next Monday when the buzz is gone, with it all the useful idiots in love with the Chavez myth, and Venezuela starts looking at the painful years to come.

  3. Chavez’ legacy based on the media coverage: Barrio Adentro makes up for everything.

    It seems to be that the Frontline Club panel debate just keeps getting repeated over and over again. The trump card for all Chavez leaning commenters is how Barrio Adentro brought healthcare to poop people that didn’t have it. Never mind all the problems linked to it or the destruction of the existing healthcare model. Most times (like Francisco today) there isn’t event an opportunity to counter the point.

    If I didn’t have to (because of my job) I’d just isolate myself from news outlets for the next month.

  4. Chavez’s economic legacy in numbers:

    .- Exportaciones petroleras/total exportaciones: 1998: 69%; 2012: 96%
    .- PIB petrolero/PIB total : 1998: 19% ; 2012: 11%
    .- Deuda publica externa: 1998: US$28.4 mil millones ; 2012: US$105.8 mil millones
    .- Devaluacion de la moneda acumulada 1998/2013 : 92%
    .- Inflacion acumulada Diciembre 1998/ Enero 2013 : 1589%
    .- Salario minimo: 1998: US$190; Febrero 2013: US$102 (a la tasa de cambio del mercado negro)
    .- Caida en produccion de aluminio primario 1998/2012 : -62%
    .- Caida en produccion de acero primario 1998/2012: -30%
    .- Caida en produccion de azucar 1998/2012: -4%
    .- Caida en produccion de autos ensamblados 1998/2012: -11%
    .-Crecimiento promedio anual del PIB per capita real entre 2012 y 1998 : 1%

  5. I tried monitoring most chavez pieces in main world journals and the general impression is that his regime is far from enjoying the kind of favourable view that he used to have on much western media riding the ‘romantic revolutionary defender of the people’ steriotype , quite the opposite , that most have demasked the true character of the regime and are very critical of what it substantially represents, one sole dissappointment the BBC piece which almost never took off the rosy tinted glasses in reviewing it. this was not the case in the past and I figure that at least part of the ‘wising up’ is due to the efforts of people like those that created Caracas Chronicles. So kudos to you on this point . I sort of feel that in Latin America there is much more lingering sympathy for the regime than it deserves , Maybe we need a Caracas Chronicles in spanish or do we just wait for the petrochequera to start bouncing its cheques. ??

    • BB

      No website can do what we need despite all good intentions, which is an awakening of the people.People need to understand what they do that actually creates a dictatorship: erroneous thinking, and bad thinking habits.

      .Venezuela has a hard time tolerating differences of opinion.Unity and sameness are not the same.We should be able to express disagreement without a large portion of the people getting angry.
      Unity comes from the peaceful union of differences not the elimination of differences.

      People need to feel free to be different, and up till now I have not seen this freedom in Venezuela.I hope lessons will be learned at some point.


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