A No-Show Epidemic in Distortiolandia


110211hubpmmidseat_512x288So puzzle me this one: how can it be possible that international flights out of Maiquetía are booked solid for now until the end of time, yet all kinds of flights leave more than half full!?

The answer’s after the jump. You get three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

The answer, of course, is the giant state sponsor rent-seeking orgy/scam known as CADIVI/SICAD, a handy revolutionary mechanism that shoves wads of free cash into middle class pockets so long as you jump through the series of insane hoops they want you to jump through.

In this case, in order to approve cheap travel dollars, you have to show you’ve bought an actual plane ticket. But what’s important isn’t that you get on that plane, but that your credit card does!

What’s insane is that CADIVI/SICAD is such a manguangua that the No Show Scam is profitable even after you deduct the cost of the plane tickets. (Of course, whether the psychic damage of going through the carpeta rigamarole is worth it is another question altogether.)

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  1. Conviasa solia tener vuelos a islas randoms a MUY buen precio. Solian cerrar el vuelo y aun estando completamente SOLD, el avion iba a volar vacio. Ya cancelaron esas rutas, o al menos estan suspendidas por un tiempo. El venezolano siempre le busca la vuelta a todo.

    • Yo no creo que es que el venezolano le busque la vuelta a todo. ¿En qué otro país del mundo le regalan plata (en dólares) a la gente de clase media hacia arriba por comprar un pasaje de avión? Porque eso es lo que hacía SITME y lo que hace SICAD. La locura no es la de la gente, es que existan SICAD y CADIVI.

      • I can see where you’re coming from, Lo unico que queria ilustrar es, como han dicho aqui muchisimas veces antes, es que we are all trying to be tio conejo. In the end, lo mas que logramos es ser menos conejos que los demas. Tio Tigre always wins.

  2. Unbelievable. Although I have to say, I’ve never been on a flight in or out of Venezuela, or inside Venezuela, or having anything to do with Venezuela, that was not full, and where getting one’s body on the plane, despite tickets in hand, did not involve several desperate rounds of trench warfare, over many hours. To think that some of those planes might be leaving empty is hard to think about.

  3. This year I used CADIVI for the first time in my life (I had no choice: I had to go to a Seminar in Bogotá, legitimately, though id did not use the academic “cupo” (I really did not want a bureaucrat pondering the socialist worthiness of my research and what have you…)). I guess the process was much worse before, though it was still grating and humiliating in and of itself. And yet, I cannot help but to get sick with all the scams people stoop to in order to get cheap dollars.

    My wife has her birthday on January 2nd, so on her party we would receive a lot of people coming back from their Christmas vacations, having cleaned out their “cupos”, and some of them using this or that scam (fake trips, selling dollars on their return, using “puntos de venta” falsely registered in a different country, faking shoppping receipts, and so on). It sickened me , even though I know it was an economically rational thing to do, maximizing their puny bolivars. Like scavenging in a zombie apocalypse.

    Of course, their rationality only heightened the controlling instincts of the CADIVI bureaucracy, which added layers of anti-graft measures. Which the “vivos” will ignore and the chumps will obey.

    Cadivi is tío tigre, and most people are tíos conejos.

    • I wonder if there are less scrupulous shops in Miami that offer “cash back” on purchases that are made with a credit card? i.e. purchase this “antique” and get 90% of your purchase back as cash under the table?

      • Just tru googling Cadivi Bogota, there are people who take you to a supermarket, you buy a giftcard with your cadivi credit card and they’ll give you dollars in exchange

      • There were but not anymore. Cadivi detected this kind of scam in 2009 and made mandatory to keep receipts of your purchases so that no one could swipe their credit card for a single large amount, get cash back and get away with it. Perhaps it can now be done with much smaller amounts. I’m just not into it.

          • I miss those days when making purchases abroad with a Venezuelan credit card was a matter between my bank and me only.

          • That is what makes the system truly evil. In order for ordinary honest people to survive, they must cheat the system. This makes everyone a “criminal”, and thus easy to control. Since everyone is a criminal, it is solely the choice of the Government who they choose to prosecute. If you cross their path, you will be prosecuted for… something. However, if you go along with the system and don’t make waves, then you won’t be.

            It is a sort of constitutional slavery based on a man-made form of “original sin”.

  4. It’s amazing how, in current Venezuela, anything crazy-absurd, unexplainable in regular terms, or simply pathetical, is inevitably linked with CADIVI.

  5. If I’m the airline, I start overbooking at a 300% of capacity rate. Or, I sell tickets on planes that don’t exist. (This is the modern version of the “Dead Souls” scam so beloved of Gogol.)

    • Reputable airlines right now have one overbooking policy: no overbooking. That is so 1990s, a thing of the past. So you should worry if the airline you choose to flight on allows overbooking.

    • “Or, I sell tickets on planes that don’t exist.”
      You have Venezuelan blood flowing in your veins, don’t you?
      (Russian – Ukrainian would be the other alternative but then Russia is so close to us, in spite of the cold)

  6. Recently I read a travel blog that recommended people backpacking through s america to get their return flight out of CCS. Their reasoning was that you could bring in dollars, change them to BsF and use those to buy your ticket at cadivi rates!

    • that blog get it really wrong, because the trip to miami at 400 dollars from bogota, is 1500-1800 from Venezuela ( paying at cadivi dollar/bolivares exchange)

      • Actually, the blog has it right. Maybe you don’t understand exactly how it works. You can bring dollars in and change them at the unofficial rate to bolivars, and then you can use those bolivars and buy plane tickets at the official exchange rate that the airlines operate by. It’s actually a great plan. You could save a lot. I recently renewed my Colombian work visa in Venezuela and using this same thinking I was able to pay $60 versus $220 if I would’ve paid in dollars or Colombian pesos. With a plane ticket, you would save even more.

          • It doesn’t, I made the comment to show that even foreigners are making money out of cadivi by selling dollars at the parallel rate and buying tickets at the cadivi rate

          • You say it doesn’t. So you ignore the topic and think your off-topic remark is on-topic just because your guts tell you so. Good luck the next time you answer questions in an exam.

          • This, of course, works if you do have UD$’s in the first place. Otherwise, if you’re in Venezuela you’re just paying over BsF20,000 to fly to MIA round trip and whatever the exchange rate is, does not make any difference. What’s important to you os how those BsF20,000 relate to how much money you make.

  7. I haven’t figured it out recently, but last Christmas time, by bringing in dollars and selling them, you could fly round trip. CCS to Madrid for about $300. It is probably cheaper now.

    • I just check for Caracas-Madrid flying on Aug 3 and returning 8/11. The cheapest flight, with 2 stops, was BsF19,230; which at let’s say 30 is equivalent to $641. The cheapest I found from MIA to MAD on the same dates was $1,560, but it was also a direct flight. Also, to fly from Caracas you need to add the cost of flying from MIA, which is around $1,800

      • This assumes you’re flying from MIA. But should be comparable if you’re flying from other places. Also, to do as you indicate, one must assume that you do have money in Venezuela and outside, have the contacts to change the money and probably need bank accounts I both countries. So this is not for everyone.

  8. Everyone that lives in the US and wants to visit Caracas books 3 tickets in bolivares… 2 CCS-MIA and 1 MIA-CCS. Chaper than paying ful lfare for MIA-CCS roundtrip. How do I know? I do it…

  9. in-f***cking-credible!

    Not only do the RRevolutionary exchange controls and associated scams allow barefaced stealing from money supposedly belonging to all Venezuelans…

    They also get to hurt legitimate passengers, Venezuelan infrastructure ***and*** the environment, by flying planes under capacity!!!

    Socialism never ceases to amaze me. How can this “system of the future” give birth to infinitely many ways to waste and harm everything and everyone in its reach?

  10. This is just f*** insane, this is the reason why bureaucrats exists, to try to implement new measures to ALL the people while a few people are managing to find loopholes, to avoid measures implemented by a dumb ass bureaucrat.

    This is a complete circle of insanity.

  11. The best thing I have heard is that it seems there is a group of no shows – non flyers whos credit card did travel, but because they did not, they are asking for refunds.

    Bureaucracy needs to keep on living and all their friends need to be able to get on this action so there is no interest on fixing things.

    Government could ask that for your expenditures to be recognized at a favorable rate you have to bring to your credit card”s bank your boarding pass, otherwise the exchange rate applied is a higher rate, or other way to prove you got on that plane, not your credit card.

    Why dont they cross reference your immigrations in and out with the fact you received US$ ? Because you will have people paying immigration authorities to put in their computers the dates you were supposed to leave and come back

    Among things that government cant ask for is to have your passport stamped with immigration in and out because you will have forgers of immigration stamps from around the world,

  12. “Of course, whether the psychic damage”

    Shouldn’t that be psychological damage? Or are you saying that going through carpetas requires ESP abilities? Maybe I’m just being too nitpicky but the two terms are different enough that I don’t think they can be used as synonyms.


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