Los Tiempos de Bogotá son Perfectos

0

El TiempoAs you may have guessed, I have something of a complex about writing in Spanish. (I was only educated in Venezuela through the sixth grade, so I always feel slightly like I’m skating on thin ice.)

Which is why I’m really excited to be published, with the benefit of some really great editing, in Spanish  outside Venezuela for the first time…ever?!…with this piece on the Economy Maduro inherits, in Bogotá’s El Tiempo today. 

En la república bolivariana el proceso ha sido más gradual: la economía socialista es como una capa que se solapa con estructuras capitalistas preexistentes que todavía funcionan, aunque mal, y cada vez peor. Las contradicciones que esto engendra son ya famosas. En Caracas, hoy por hoy, es mucho más fácil conseguir una botella de whisky importado de Escocia que una caja de leche; un fino aceite de oliva extravirgen italiano, que un litro de aceite de maíz para freír una arepa.

[Hat tip: Birdman]

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.

1 COMMENT

  1. Yep, when you lift the disposable income of the majority of the population rapidly and dramatically, they tend to increase consumption of basics such as milk in tandem, not liquor.

    It should be obvious to anyone living in Venezuela today that money is flying around and everyone is eating three square meals. Per capita consumption of everything from milk to meat to sugar and cooking oil is way, way up.

    It’s odd that this striking phenomenon is ignored. Yes, imports are way up, but so is domestic milk production.

          • Yes that is the reason You have to go a make a huge line and cannot buy more than an specific quantity///Basil? ok 3 supermarkets….thyroid medicine 6 pharmacies….By the way look up the word oligarchy….and well who is the oligarchy now? and Yes the hate the people

      • Absolutely. This is why the poor have no cash. It’s because they are rich. It’s why 20K people will be murdered, it due to the overwhelming calm and peace. The Cambodian genocide was in reality a post-war, primato-agricultural renaissance.

    • Yoyo: We all welcome the increased consumption of food staples by the poorest among the population , the problem is that this is the result of keeping controlled prices below cost for many industries (both State and Private) and huge government subsidies which are unsustainable and which are leading to very serious fiscal imbalances , these imbalances in turn lead to currency devaluations and increase inflation which hurt the poor mens pocket . Its like giving the poor one dollar today to take away two dollars the next day in terms of increased inflation . or to use another example , Its like giving your self a feast today with money you will need to feed yourself during the rest of the month. I’m also doubtful about the greater production statistics the Regime gives out, independent oil production statistics for example give production figures which dont tally with official Pdvsa figures. Having to import 80% to 90% of Venezuelas milk consumption doesnt jibe with a great increase in domestic milk production , It also contradicts all the grapevine accounts one receives from people in the trade . The challenge for both regime partisans and their opponents is finding a way to gradually elliminate poverty ( not simply to temporarily alliveate its worst effects) and improving on a rational effective basis the working of the economy so that it can be a source of sustainable welfare for all.. .

    • That’s the beauty of capitalism: the market tends to regulate itself. There is no need for quotas, for central planning. Scarcity establishes prices and encourages additional production. If milk production/consumption was unregulated in Venezuela, prices would go up and producers would rapidly step up supply. But this is not entirely fair. Milk and similar staples are often price controlled in developed countries to “protect” farmers or consumers (I am not an expert on the subject but am guessing this is politically motivated – its classic protectionism – and ultimately does not help the consumer). See for instance: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2012/12/28/milk-prices-could-soar/1797375/

      Simple point is, if you deregulate the market, the milk will come back to the shelves. Yes, you need to protect poor consumers, there is no question about it. How you do it is debatable. Multi-tier pricing, food stamps, …

      You can argue all you like about this topic, it is fascinating. There was a piece in the NYT about poison-pill pricing schemes which lead corporations to form legal de facto cartels that keep prices high. It is not simple. But top down management a la Chavez tends to make things worse. A good example of the wonderful effects of deregulation for consumers is air travel (yes, for those corrupt jetsetters who can afford to do so). Thanks to Ronald Reagan (gasp) airlines have been competing tooth-and-claw driving travel prices to the floor. The consumers benefit. Beautiful. Chavistas need to learn this basic stuff.

      • In countries where the poor cannot afford the necessities of life, direct monetary subsidies can insure access to the basics. This was the successful povery-reduction strategy in Brazil; food stamps carry a stigma which says “This person is poverty-stricken”.

        • Agreed. The dilemma is how to optimize growth and achieve a fair income distribution. Chavismo is short-sighted, though, it cannot see past tomorrow. But I understand that when people are hungry and poor, getting through to tomorrow is often all that counts.

    • Only in your mind, money flying around and chasing diminishing amounts of goods can be construed NOT to be a disaster. By that metric, Germany in 1923 and 1929 was paradise on Earth.

      Everyone is eating three square meals? Where did you get that?

      Of course, we are swilling oil by the liters! And milk, and sugar! And more by the day. That would explain why people are so fat. People mix cocktails of oil with sugar and milk. Thus they are scarce. Thus they are looking for more for their newfound addiction. I am trying to follow your logic, and really I can’t without cracking up.

  2. Escribir, especialmente en español, es un trabajo engorroso. Pero es un muy buen artículo.

    Me atrevo a preguntar: Hay alguna esperanza de ver “Blogging the revolution” traducido al español en un futuro? Luego de leer “The petrostate that was and the petrostate that is” por recientemente, pienso que sería muy bueno que discusiones como esa estuvieran al alcance de todos los venezolanos.

    • Quizás es por mi experiencia traduciendo textos técnicos del inglés al español. Hay ocasiones en que la traducción no existe y para explicar una palabra necesitas una oración o dos.
      Creo que en este contexto accountability es un buen ejemplo…
      Lo otro es el nivel del discurso. A mi me cuesta un mundo encontrar un punto intermedio entre lo formal ( I love Milagros Socorro) y lo guachamaron (Eudomar Santos). Y eso sin siquiera pensar en otros tipos duros (Vargas Llosa) Pero quizás son sólo vainas mias…

      • Hay una multitud de palabras y hasta ideas que no se pueden traducir directamente al español. Pero no es un fenómeno que ocurra únicamente entre el inglés y el español. Por ejemplo, la palabra alemana Schadenfreude no tiene equivalente en inglés. Siempre he pensado que estas faltas de correspondencia revelan también diferencias culturales.

  3. Me gusta, me gusta! Te felicito, Toro.

    Small Quibble (oxymoron in bold italics?):
    Y este es el legado económico de Chávez: un Estado hipertrofiado, administrando una maraña regulatoria que destruye la iniciativa privada, que a medida que va muriendo va siendo suplantada poco a poco por el enorme sector productivo público, donde una sola empresa da ganancias, y estas se usan para cubrir las pérdidas que arrojan todas las demás.

  4. Me gusta tambien! Pero si la transferencia de poder es como Luschinski a CAP, se va a producir otro Caracazo? Y cuales niveles de represion estarian los nuevos señore dispuestos a utilizar?

  5. Amigo Toro , su castellano no tiene nada de torpe o deficiente , todo lo contrario es bastante legible y fluido , mejor que el de muchos que escriben siempre en castellano. Lo felicito por su articulo . Es verdad que su ingles es mas chispeante y agil pero estoy seguro que con algo de practica estara escribiendo castellano con la misma chispa y agilidad con que escribe en ingles . Creo que la idea de un faccimil del caracas chronicle en castellano es excelente y debe ensayarse , sospecho que la mayoria de los lectores del CC son hispanoparlantes por las muchas veces que cuando se emocionan olvidan su ingles y se lanzan a escribir largas parrafadas en castellano!! Asi que la creacion de un CC en castellano contara desde el principio con una base importante de lectores que ya los conocen.

  6. You obviously can’t believe the government BS about anything because under socialism there is nothing but perfection and happiness. This whole charade is propped up nearly 100% by petrodollars coming from capitalist-oriented economies (which produce wealth – unlike socialist economies which just steal money and redistribute it). As the world moves rapidly away from oil as an energy source and as other sources of oil become available worldwide, the Bolivarian circus is not economically sustainable. The Chavez family and cronies will have to tap into their Swiss bank accounts to maintain their standard of living as they have become the new aristocracy. The slums are still there in Caracas and each new murder victim means one vote lost for the Chavistas.

  7. I agree with pretty much all the above. Giving people more money that buys less is a cruel trick, but it works at making people feel rich. Blaming others is a proven technique called “scapegoating” but it is also very good at exciting violence against innocents who play a valuable roll in society. Taking the profit out of staples sounds like it helps the poor (doesn’t it?), but it takes away the incentive to produce and distribute them. Cheating and abusing the democratic process protects political power, but it gets harder and harder to hide the truth. There is no escape. There is only continuing the same with evermore extreme crimes against constitutional and human rights that can eventually lead to further deterioration of the nation that becomes useful as an excuse to distract and to confuse and to keep power longer to create evermore damage.

  8. >>> …En Caracas, hoy por hoy, es mucho más fácil
    ser ‘mugged’ que comprar el dolar en el mercado libre?
    pasar un rato agradable entre vecinos?
    quejar de los cortes de luz?
    añorare las conservitas de coco, friticas de plátano con quesito rayado?
    and let the rigged votes in april take care of themselves.
    time to enjoy living.

    • >>> … Which is why I’m really excited to be published, with the benefit of some really great editing, in Spanish outside Venezuela for the first time…ever?! …
      Congrats

  9. El Teimpo is a great news paper – best in Colombia. I disagree that oil prices won’t go up, though. Saudi exports fell recently, because their increased output to cover Iranian-blockade, can not be sustained in the medium to long term and the prospect of Asian economic upturn is only going to increase demand. Maduro will have a lot of oil money play with.

  10. Ok Quico… Again Chapeau, seems that you are now bedoming the new media darlin’ and you deliver. Kudos although the fture is dark dark dark. I’m happy for you but not for my country :'(

  11. Sí, Quico! Bien escrito, y eso de no tener confianza en el uso del castellano – pffft! Tu manera de escribir es muy claro y descriptivo, y tus argumentos bien razonados. Estoy con ErneX con los “Lea también…” en el artículo, pero eso no es nada tuyo. Felicidades!

  12. Es verdad. Tu español escrito no es tan elegante como tu inglés. Lo bueno es que en español la competencia no es muy dura. La mayoría escribe mal o sin gracia.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here