Food Minister Félix Osorio (brother of his predecessor, Carlos) has indicated that at least 26,000 tons of food (just under 1 Kg. per person) have been arriving to the country each day, not only to contain the current wave of shortages but also to create a new reserve.
While the Maduro government insists that “food sovereignty” is alive and kicking, reality is that we’re depending on “friends” like Nicaragua to sell us tons of food in exchange for black gold.
But this time things are different, according to the Nicaraguans: rather than hiring third-party ships, the government is using its own fleet of merchant vessels (through the State-owned company VENAVEGA) to bring the food post haste.
Last year, Venezuela brought in 496.389 metric tons of Nicaraguan food as part of the payment for the 11,8 million oil barrels Nicaragua got in return. At last year’s average oil export price of just under $100/barrel, that works out to $2,377 per ton of food. Pretty steep, when you consider that, for instance, spot prices for corn in world markets generally fluctuate between $250 and $500 per ton. Pero bueh, el regalo va por dentro…
So, nice work if you can get it for the Nicas, and another ALBA ally is not far behind: Bolivia will help us by setting up a “grannational” food company, as part of the bunch of deals signed by Nicolás Maduro during his recent visit to Evo Morales. Even though the Bolivian textile industry was forced to stop exports to Venezuela because of unpaid debts, both nations will continue their alliance beacuse of pure necessity: Maduro has some crisis to solve while Evo has a third re-election to win next year.
Last but not least: You may noticed the word “grannational”. No, that wasn’t a typo.
The ALBA group use it as part of a political concept that includes all aspects of the countries’ lives. (Well, that sounds pretty totalitarian). It includes something called “grannational company”, focused in satisfy the needs of the ALBA internal market.
I think they just wanted to avoid using the terms “multinational” or “transnational”, which have a ring of capitalism to them. It’s simply stupid. The English counterpart should be “grand national”, only that is already taken: it’s a famous horse race in Great Britain.