E-Ration Book is D.O.A.


Five days after its announcement, the Electronic Food Rationing program which was supposed to be implemented in Maracaibo on Monday is over even before it started.

Today, Nicolás Maduro considered such proposal as “insane” and asked Zulia State Governor Francisco Arias Cárdenas to withdraw it. Arias quickly accepted Maduro’s request via Twitter while somewhat disowning the same plan he just defended days ago.

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  1. Too bad! Rationing is a pricing system by alternative means, it would have increased the efficiency of distribution.

    The best solution would of course be the establishment of market prices, along with a cash for food distribution so low income people can afford food as is done in the US. Artificially low prices, which increases demand across the board and results in spoilage and waste, is a boneheaded pseudo Marxist solution only a deluded fool would love.

      • He says nothing about eating less, rather consuming less. You know very well those are two different things.

        You see the same thing in the US. Milk is artificially low in price because the government subsidizes producers. As a result, end-consumers buy more milk than they will use resulting in waste. When prices increase on a good, people tend to consume it more selectively because the opportunity cost of waste increases.

        The gasoline subsidy is much the same as milk in the U.S. People waste gasoline simply because it is so cheap. I’ve seen people idle their cars for an hour with the AC on full blast to keep it cool in Valencia. I’m sure its the same elsewhere. Or drive half a block to pick something up rather than walk.

        Rational consumption of a good is always correlated to the price of said good.

        • Running a car just for the air conditioner? If someone sees you doing that in Germany they will yell at you. The difference? Gas prices, and real concern for the environment instead of Hugo Chavez’s empty rhetoric.

          • For decades now I have told my European friends mineral water is more expensive than petrol. They are shocked, of course. And then I tell my Venezuelan friends about Europeans being shocked. And Venezuelans are shocked Europeans are shocked. Then I go back to the Europeans and tell them that. And they are shocked Venezuelans are shocked about Europeans being shocked. It becomes recursive until either of them decides to break away from the loop by saying the others are crazy.

            I see Valencia, my city, has just one real public library, the size of a public library in a town of 40000 people in Germany or Britain. I see it has only one general hospital, built over 40 years ago. I see teachers in Valencia cannot pay for a tiny flat with their salaries. Then I know who’s crazy.

          • Still one hospital, that’s sad, so much for Chavez’s healthcare revolution!

            It’s eye opening that Venezuelans would be shocked about Europeans being shocked… but I suppose if you live with the fact of free gasoline every day it begins to seem commonplace, and you forget how insane it really is.

          • There are tiny “health centres” here and there, there is a maternity and a couple of other specialized stuff, heavily crowded and from where employees rob as if there were no tomorrow, but basically the only general public hospital is the hospital where I was born, the Hospital Central de Valencia. Valencia has more than one million people. The rest have to go to those crappy health centres, to not much better private clinics, to specialized health centres like cardiology, etc.

            I have to say in Venezuela there was almost never any kind of planning. But things are now dramatic…and we have wasted the longest oil boom we ever had to improve things.

  2. Good, I like his repulse of rationing and the emphasis in increasing production, but do these people really think that problems are solved via public appearances and speeches? That’s what worries me the most about Maduro, he sounds too much like a well-intentioned incompetent. . .

    • Maduro is just responding to what he quickly understood was a non starter from a popular opinion point of view regardless of the rational merits ( if any) of the idea . He is definitely trying not to make waves that can hurt the regimes popularity now that it is becoming more vulnerable to popular discontent . Chavez taught his coterie that every thing could be fixed by media appearances and demagogic manipulation, they are sticking to the formula although they havent got the Charisma that Chavez had to make it work. He probably gained points by condemning the rationing idea . Their dilemma is that if they are to take measures which make sense econommically sometimes they will have to forfeit some degree of popularity and thats something which their idolatry of cheap popularity will never allow them to do .

  3. I’m amused by supporters of Maduro doing a 180 on this now. I mean, on other sites I go to they cheered on rationing and acted as if it was no big deal. Now? They’re cheering Maduro for not implementing an electronic control system to effectively spy on consumer behavior! Fucking hilarious.

  4. OT, but Jesus Christ, dude:

    “En este contexto, reveló que la derecha fascista venezolana había planificado para el 15 de abril irrumpir en el Cuartel de la Montaña y asaltar el féretro del Comandante Supremo Hugo Chávez, además de masacrar al pueblo del 23 de Enero, dejando un saldo no menor a los 10.000 muertos políticos. “No tengo la menor duda, ya lo tenían planificado”, denunció.”


  5. The regime’s backtracking on the chip food rationing issue is one more of several cases in which it is retreating from formerly much more aggresive stances , among them :
    1..- the pursuit of better relations with Polar and other Private Producers,
    2. the de freezing of certain controlled prices on mass consumer goods .
    3. the pursuit of better relations with the US Government
    4. the freeing of US Documentary Maker , of Judge Afuimi, of the Publisher of 6to Poder.
    5. the buying of private media through friendly private regime collaborators rather than shutting them up through administrative measures .
    6. the promise (yet unkept) of freeing up more foreign currency for private acquisition.
    7. Ceasing the violent attacks on Opposition reps in the National Assembly.
    The language used against the opposition is still as insulting and threatening as always but generally the regime is softening its position on many issues where formerly they were very violent and confrontational .
    This change must have a reason , their suddenly softpedaling on so many contentious issues must have a cause ,it is not the result of casuality .
    One reason is that they are for the 1st time facing a drop in popularity that threatens their future hold on power , even where they continue to have almost total control over key institutions , a drop which in turn is the result of the disastrous disorganized politices and decisions of the past catching up with them and resulting in crisis in the government finances ,a sharp drop in their us dollar oil income , rampant inflation , shortages in all kinds of goods, breakdown in electrical services , exploding rise in crime etc with the prospect that things will get worse as the year advances and with municipal elections coming in next december which are being viewed as a plesbicite on the regimes popular legitimacy. the fiasco of the april electoral result , the fiasco of the Silva recording and what they reveal of inside rivalries and corruption , the revelations of corruption in Fondem , The increase in protests from worker unions , from the staff and students of public universities etc etc. Its all adding up to a crisits in governance which they are trying desperately to avert !! One year ago none of this seemed possible or likely . What can we expect one year from now ??

    • You make good points about the regime recently backtracking. I have a different perspective on

      5. the buying of private media through friendly private regime collaborators rather than shutting them up through administrative measures.

      This is not a backtracking, but rather another path to the same goal: the elimination of oppo voices in the media. Whether media outlets are shut down or are under the control of regime-friendly people, the result is the same: elimination of oppo voices.

  6. For once, I agree with Maduro. However, I dont see why an independently elected Governor has to “obey” him.

    Dont these guys have any self esteem?

  7. …and as Chavez, Maduro is using the famous technique of passing the blame to others. “Yo no fui, fue tete, pegale pegale que ella fue.

    • Some answers to “Oh! what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott):

      1. To keep a job (Alvaro Sánchez, Consul at the Venezuelan Embassy)
      2. To ensure that a thesis remains valid. (Francisco Dominguez – Middlesex University)
      3. To perpetuate book sales (Eva Golinger)

    • Do you want to see the chart of Venezuelan voters with first name “Stalin” through the decades?

      I supposed so, quite depressing indeed!

      But as Syd said, somehow differently, ’tis about the money, the power, the pride

      • Excerpts from “To a Louse”:

        Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
        Detested, shunn’d by saunt an sinner

        Ha! whare ye gaun’ ye crowlin ferlie?
        Your impudence protects you sairly

        O wad some Power the giftie gie us
        To see oursels as ithers see us!
        It wad frae monie a blunder free us
        An foolish notion:
        What airs in dress an gait wad lea’es us,
        An ev’n devotion!

        Robert Burns

  8. I love how it’s when they actually try serious measures to attack issues that they lose popularity.

    That’s not just chavismo, either, it’s the stupidity of representative democracy as it stands.

    • From Irving Stones ‘the Death of Socrates’: “Anthistenes is supposed to have asked the Athenians why did they not vote that asses were horses since…..they sometimes elected Generals who had as little resemblance to real commanders as an ass did to a horse “

  9. Creo que al enfocarse sólo en el aspecto “económico” del encontronazo entre Maduro y Arias Cárdenas, nos estamos perdiendo la mitad de la historia. Aquí el tema es político. Primero, porque Maduro sabe que el racionamiento es malo para su débil popularidad y su cuestionada legitimidad. Pero hay otra lectura. En el régimen se está instalando un pragmatismo con ciertos toques de radicalismo. Hoy volvió al Indebapis Eduardo Samán, una concesión de Maduro al sector radical. No hay que engañarse sin embargo. El viaje de Diosdado a Cuba, China, Rusia y Vietnam es una señal clara de quién controla de verdad el poder en Venezuela. Y Diosdado es un pragmático que quiere mantener el billete circulando. Fue a Cuba a negociar su parte de poder, especialmente la militar, que no es poca cosa. A los demás países fue a arreglar temas de financiamiento e inversión. A los rusos, además, fue a calmarlos con respecto a la deuda que el régimen mantiene por el armamento comprado, asegurándoles al msimo tiempo que las adquisiciones para la Fuerza Armada continuarán. Por cierto, noten que de Arias Cárdenas no se habla ni en el primer audio del Silvagate ni en la grabación del Rupertigate. Un detallito.

  10. Rouge: So many strange things happening at the same time , which can be read so many different ways that we cant know for certain what they mean or imply , 1. Your reading of Maduros response to Arias Cardenas is spot on. Rationing is unpopular so Maduro cant afford to endorse the idea without hurting his own fragile and eroding popularity . 2.- Saman’s appointment now appears to be the result of a need to replace the current Head of Indepabis for its involvement in a corruption case thats just been discovered ( Maduro had to act fast before the opposition made it into a big scandal) . 3. Diosdado’s trip is really intriguing , it certainly makes obvious that he is no longer content to play the role of a backbencher or second fiddle in the regimes line up , Moreover that he has the first rank status that entitles him to become by himself a recognized representative of the regime before its most important allies . He is not simply accompanying Maduro on one of his trips , he is traveling ALONE as a regime representative. Cant guess what he will be discussing at each stop , but whatever it is , its a step up in his rise as the potential head of the regime should Maduro face forced retirement in the future . 4.- Maduro is certainly becoming more pragmatic and more selectively radical , probably because the circumstances of the day force him to do so (not out of any lasting conviction) . 5.- Arias Cardenas has no independent weight in the circle of power inside the Chavista movement so he can be simply ignored by Maduro , shouldnt surprise anybody , he is simply useful in rousing up the Chavista vote in Zulia but otherwise lacks any real influence inside the regime.. Guess we will be able to known more as the ongoing process of desintegration of the Maduro regime continues


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