Two great, eye-opening pieces on Venezuela landed from Reuters yesterday. First, Brian Ellsworth and Eyanir Chinea delve into the inscrutable mystery of ¿dónde están los reales del SICAD?
The central bank says it allocated $859 million through a new foreign exchange mechanism meant to complement a decade-long currency control system by ensuring importers are able to bring in products ranging from chicken to newsprint.
But business groups representing industries which the government said received U.S. dollars insist that only a fraction of their affiliates got approval for greenbacks, and those that did got only a small portion of what they sought.
Then Marianna Parraga – showing off her spiffy new Houston dateline, cuz braindrain-ain’t-just-a-river-in-Egypt – flexes her investigative muscles on PDVSA Tanker Fleet a.k.a., the SICAD of the Seven Seas:
With flags and confetti, Venezuela in the last 14 months launched three new oil tankers that exemplify the socialist nation’s ambitions to diversify to Asian markets and give a helping hand to its political allies.
But the tankers from shipyards in Iran, Argentina and China, have never set sail, according to five sources with knowledge of the company’s fleet, as well as ship tracking data from Reuters showing the ships sitting where they were built.
Both pieces come with a standard compliment of ‘we-asked-the-relevant-office-for-comment-and-they-told-us-to-fuck-right-off’ grafs – somebody should do a mash-up of those! – and both deserve a read. For sheer accumulation of petty insanities, though, the PDVSA Tanker story is hard to top.