Overheard at a Tool convention


It must be nice to work for Centro Internacional Miranda: get a hefty salary, spout off a bunch of clichés, and be bathed in the veneer of official intellectual responsability. En tierra de ciegos and all that …

Here are some things I learn while watching this video of “intellectual” chavistas making sense of the close election and the numerous problems the government faces:

  1. You can get paid to say: half of oil rents are stolen; oil rents used to be stolen by the oligarchs, but now they’re being redistributed (and being stolen by the boligarchs); the interests of the large monopolists have not been touched; if oil prices fall, we will have to take unpopular measures; and we need to organize “el proceso.”
  2. There is no “revolutionary” party – the PSUV is an electoral machine.
  3. Oh, and revolutionary motorbike riders are the pits, and it’s all the media’s fault.

As for this video, Mr. Álvarez discovers el agua tibia:

Yes folks, you don’t need to read Caracas Chronicles, Mr. Álvarez breaks it down for you.

From his talk, we learn that Centro Internacional Miranda has a factory for manufacturing data (!). He then states the obvious:

  • The large flow of petro-dollars is being spent on importing stuff.
  • We don’t export anything other than oil.
  • Agriculture is declining – it should be at least 12% of GDP, but it’s only 4% of GDP – the rest we import.
  • Manufacturing is declining – it should be at least 20% of GDP, but now it’s 14% of GDP.
  • The private sector still dominates the economy, and most of the earning are going to capitalists.
  • Workers are now more exploited than before.
  • There is no socialism in Venezuela.
  • Private companies are responsible for poverty and social exclusion
  • Private companies using CADIVI are being subsidized
  • Our economy is now more based on rents than before.
  • The devaluation of the bolívar is not necessarily a bad thing.

And this is coming … from a supporter of the very government that put all this in place! The discussions and the obvious lack of answers to the glaring shortcomings of the Revolution are a searing indictment of chavismo’s dearth of intellectual capabilities.

These … are simply not the people that are going to find ways to lower crime, end scarcity, and overcome inflation. They simply can’t do it.

HT: Chigüire

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  1. Listening to Sr. Vladimir, I have to say, his opening pitch was basically that all this paz, amor, blah blah blah b.s. is getting in the way of actually dealing with corruption and impunity. I have no problem with that observation. Obvious though it may be, given the way things work, he maybe just put his comfortable post and hefty salary on the line with that bit of truth telling. If he does it and gets away with it, someone else will do it, and so on, and so on…maybe the academics are revolting!!

  2. Seriously, these guys seem to have a primary school level of analysis. As I said once, they are like the proverbial dog coming back to its vomit.
    What really amazes me is how they are completely unable to get to 4 after they have said 2 + 2.
    This idiot suggests 2 + 2 is 22.

    And he doesn’t seem to know how “workers” etc can take the means of production and he doesn’t seem to wonder whether any government elsewhere tried to do that.

    Industrialization under a “socialist” system can only be attained through the same means as Stalin used: through brutal force and lots of deaths…
    and there is not a chance in a billion that Venezuelans will endure that.

    This guy is so stupid that what he thinks that has been “re-activated” is capitalism, whereas what has been re-activated are the importing houses… the compradores of a feudal society.

    Now, when he comes to talk about the devaluation I just thought: pity Capriles didn’t dare to tell people the truth about the currency control. We need to start telling people that 2 + 2 is four. Preferably we need to teach them how to add and subtract.

  3. ‘The devaluation of the bolívar is not necessarily a bad thing.”

    Well, this is technically true…if viewed from the perspective of trying to boost exports and develop a thriving export based economy (cf. China). This goes doubly so if you aren’t overly reliant on imports and your export goods are not globally denominated in another currency. Oh, wait…..

    • Of course. Then again, these are the defenders of a government that has made the inflated value of the bolívar (and the subsidies to the rich and well connected that go with it) the cornerstone of their economic policy…!

      They should use their Cadivi dollars to buy themselves a moral compass.

      • Of all the Venezuelan ex-pats I know, only one is a hardened Chavista (compared to my in-laws, which are split about 50-50). He was explaining to me last week that the inflationary pressures are working as intended since the government needs time to continue el proceso; if inflation were to go away, the revolution would proceed far too quickly and “people” wouldn’t be able to adequately adjust.

        Thus, inflation is a good thing, since it allows for the gradual transition rather than rapid revolutionary gains and subsequent anarchy.

        Now, this is not something he would come up with on his own; he’s a decent enough guy, but understands nothing about finance or economics. I’m beginning to wonder if this is something being spouted on aporrea or elsewhere that he frequents online.

        The highlight of the discussion was his trotting out the fact that if it weren’t for inflation, the real gains by the government in poverty, real incomes and standards of living would absolutely shock the world. At this point, I had to turn away as I suffered from a “coughing fit” and we talked about baseball since I lacked the courage to go down that dark rabbit hole.

  4. The videos are rally entertaining but they don’t seem to get it. They don’t seem to get that they have been digging their own grave and that everyone told them (from analyst to our own history as a nation) that these things were going to happen if those decisions were made. Here they are talking about the failures without realizing that the failures are their own.

    Or much worse, that the failure is due to a political elite that never shared those goals. A political elite whose only goal was to stay in power and used marketing to do so. And apparently this marxist nonsense sells more than che guevara’s t-shirts.

    No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver.

    It is funny, how Mr. Alavarez talks about a currency control system that constantly adjusts itself to inflation. Seiguat??? And he didn’t even began talking on why is that ‘those’ other countries have low inflation while we are flooded in bolivares.

    ‘We fought the Alca (because free trade is evil) but here we go Mercosur’.

  5. I don’t entertain a lot of doubts about the objectivity of analysis, commitment to the truth, open-mindedness and general scientific spirit of intellectuals who have a gigantography of some political leader as their background.

    I don’t entertain a lot of doubts that they are lacking any and all of the above qualities.

    Specially if said political leader led a movement that at its idealized best is heavy with blind political faith, at worst and in actuality and practice, lots of cynicism, opportunism and doublethink.

    Then I don’t have a doubt that they completely lack all of those qualities. To boot, I am sure that they are hacks, for belief or for money, it’s irrelevant.

  6. We don’t export anything because Venezuela was nothing but a cheap gas pump for global capital for most of the century past, and all efforts during the past 14 years have been to service national demand with the long-term view to self-sufficiency.

    Now, let’s try and count on one hand how many current opposition politicians were complaining about this in the 90s?

    • First of all: Yoyo, would you try to elaborate on what this genus, Víctor Álvarez, thinks that needs to be done NOW, from now on? Later we can talk about what María Corina or Capriles said 22 to 14 years ago…or even Adeco/Causa-errista Aristóbulo Istúriz or all those military like Rodríguez Chacín or Chávez or Róger Cordero. There has been talk about “sembrar el petróleo” not only by Úslar Pietri, but a lot other people. We do know, for instance, that back in the late nineties Venezuela started to diversify more. One example I know a tiny bit off is Rualca, which started as a simple provider of aluminium for a car company and by 1998 it was exporting more and more aluminium-based products to the rest of the continent…95% of its production was being exported and it had plans for diversification. That company does not exist any more.

      Let’s talk about how industrialization shall be attained according to you, people. We have lived through 14 years during which you have kept talking about the bloody past and about how YOU, of all people, are the “descendants of Guaicaipuro and Bolívar” and we are the descendants of the Conquistadores and whatever.

      Please, let’s talk about the future: how do you think industrialization and diversification should be attained? Be as concrete as possible.

      • You can watch the results on youtube:

        fabricas de camiones, tractores, celulares, computadores y tabletas, bombillos, petrocasas, tuberias, fertilizantes, madera sintetica, fabricas de fabricas, electrodomesticos, maquinaria agricola, canaimitas, equipos de refrigeración, lubricantes y quimicos, tubos sin costura, automóviles, ventanas, materiales prefabricados, productos de limpieza, componentes para construcción de viviendas, motos, calzado y textil, vidrio, medicamentos…

        and i didn’t mention all the plantas de procesamiento de alimentos. that’s another very long list, and again you can see most of it on youtube.

        don’t take my word for it…

        • Whatever happened to that phone Chavez used to talk about? The one that was the phone of the revolution, made in Venezuela? I don’t even remember the name anymore

          Robbers on the street wouldn’t even bother to take those, if anyone actually used them.

          • ¿Tú estudiaste sociología socialista o algo así?
            Do you know what Android is? Do you? No diría esto si no fuera porque los que votas tú están embromando mi país.
            I will try once more: what are you going to do to change the current situation and make Venezuela less dependent on imports of nearly everything. As that guy said (something we have being blogging about for many years now), oil provides now for 95% of all our exports whereas it was around 80-85% in the late nineties.
            So: what are you going to do?

          • Kepler, try to use your brain. The value of oil has increased as a percentage of total imports because its VALUE on the world market has increased ten-fold in the last decade. What would you expect to happen?

          • Norkse epically failed to understand my comment apparently.

            Oil makes up a larger share of Venezuelan exports because we are talking about the VALUE of the exports, and given that oil has drastically increased its price on the world market it is only logical that it would now make up a much larger share of exports.

            As for your link, it refers only to private sector exports, which would obviously decrease as many of the major exporting firms were nationalized.

          • You know, it’s Not the same to assembly a phone that to make a phone. The vegetation isn’t produced here and I haven’t seen this android being produced here, just assembled.

        • This? In Youtube?

          So: how do you explain we are now importing more than ever before? Consumption, right?

          Yoyo, I knew a guy who had a little “computer company” in 1993-98. He didn’t get any cent from the state and yet what he did was more “national” than what the Chávez government did with the Chinese-Venezuelan joint venture…at least some cables and stuff like that was really made in Venezuela. There were several others like him in every major city.
          As for cars and the like: more and more modern “technology” transfer was carried out when Ford was working full in the nineties.
          Lorries? Don’t make me laugh. What lorries?
          In the late nineties I bought a radio-CD player-amplifier made in Venezuela. Did you believe what they told you now at “INCES” (socialist INCE), that now you are producing them for the first time?

          Yoyo, I could manage to buy lots of shirts made in Venezuela in the nineties. Try to do that now. Oh, no…Ovejita existed before Chávez murdered those people at his coup.

          Perhaps you will tell me that Chávez invented the wheel and there is a youtube video about that.

  7. Juan,

    These videos should make your head spin, since the claim around here has long been that there is no self-criticism or freedom for independent thought within Chavismo. So you’ve just disproved your own nonsense there.

    As for the content, most of what they say is true, except for agriculture declining as a percent of GDP (it has remained relatively constant, which isn’t terrible considering the GDP growth Venezuela has experienced over the last decade), and except for workers being more exploited. No one who has a job in Venezuela could possibly think that, as workers now have way more benefits and perks than they did before Chavez.

    But yes, most of what they say is true, and not even controversial. This is the reality that Venezuela faces, and has faced for about a century now.

    If you are an honest intellectual, you would attempt to challenge their proposals for solving these problems, and lay out your own vision, based on facts and empirical evidence, for how these problems could be resolved by what the opposition proposes (neoliberalism). Instead you choose to take the immature route, and instead of engaging, you ridicule them.

    Many Chavistas feel that as much as Chavismo has failed to solve all of these central problems, what the opposition proposes is ever worse, since it tends to negatively affect the poorest sectors. But, hey, you’re free to construct an argument to challenge that. But what you posted is far from an argument.

    • I applaud this criticism. Unfortunately I think they are still looking at the wrong direction. And by god almighty not everyone in the oficialismo is a comunist nor everyone in the opposition is a neoliberal.

      • I would say they are looking in the wrong direction in some things, but are looking in the right direction on others. However, even when they are looking in the right direction, they haven’t known how to go about resolving the issues. Take latifundio, for example. That is a problem that must be addressed if Venezuela is going to develop. Chavismo has been looking in the right direction by seeking to solve that problem, but they haven’t known how to go about it correctly. The opposition, on the other hand, just wants to ignore it (and even return latifundios to their previous owners, who are closely linked to opposition politicians by the way).

        You are correct that not everyone in the opposition is a neoliberal. But if you think that the consensus among the LEADERSHIP of the opposition is not neoliberalism then you are naive. There is simply no question about this. Their advisors have openly admitted it. I would guess that even JC would admit that.

        • While you fret about the neoliberals in the opposition, spare a moment to consider the fascists running this government. You gigantic, entitled, under-employed, pseudo-academic, narcissist baby.

        • “Neo-Liberalism”=rational economic planning, recognition of private property, and free-markets to incentivate private initiative and increase overall production=the opposite of what Venezuela is today, which is a completely failed economy/society poor imitation of the failed Soviet Union/Red Chinese models, sustained only temporarily by an oil price spike, and ending in the future as a slightly more-prosperous version of the miserably-failed Cuban model were it to continue for too long.

          • So you read a book, which does not respond to my comment. Venezuela has literally squandered its chance to be an important diversified developed economy due to terrible/corrupt political management, on a constantly declining plane, from 1965 on, but accelerating down at an ever-steepening angle into the abyss under the incredibly- corrupt/incompetent Chavismo Thugocracy, for which you are simply a paid apologist, and, as such, are an intellectually-corrupt accomplice

          • You’ve got a lot of reading to do NET. The book responds to exactly what you are saying, and refutes most of it.

  8. And of course neither agriculture nor manufacturing have declined in real terms. They have declined as a percentage of GDP. And why is that. Because GDP has grown so much that while both agriculture and manufacturing have grown substantially, they have not kept pace with the overall explosive GDP growth. Thus while agriculture and manufacturing are both generating more output and contributing more to the economy than they did in 1998, they are a smaller percentage of overall GDP. Easy when you actually think rather than just using preconceived notions and taking things out of context to reach a predetermined conclusion.

  9. What’s new about politicians thinking that they know how to run businesses better than business folk, and then being in denial about it being their fault when faced with the dismal results?

  10. People use rethorical labels as if they were epithets or panegyrics so they lose all specific meaning , all descriptive value, neoliberalism , socialism can mean a hundred different things , some good , some less good depending on who does the interpreting and to what you apply the label, I liked the definition of communism the governor of a Chinese province gave to a reporter who couldnt see that communism meant inviting large international corporate investors to come to the province . Im here the head of the communist party and I decide what comunism is. Also Deng Tsiao Ping’s famous phrase ‘I dont care what colour a cat is provided it catches mice’, If one large well run hacienda is more productive and generally more socially beneficial than a hundred tiny farms, then one ought prefer the large the large hacienda , ultimately what its about is about being capable to competently produce enough wealth so that the maximum of people can live with maximum welfare , labels be dammed , historically private enterprise has been better more economically competent than largely failed romantic grass roots comunas or badly managed state enterprises , but if its were the other way arround and in some areas state companies are better at generating wealth , then we should have state companies in those sectors . If we look at Venezuela most state enterprises have these last 14 years become even more incompetent than what they used to be , because of bad planning , bad management , dead beat economic sense and all invasive corruption. Even Pdvsa the realm of the crown in the cuarta is become a ruin , as all expert international commentators coincide. Some trolls are only great at crapping nonsense and boorish sophistry from faked or doctored government statistics.


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