Merentes' sin? Brutal honesty

Giordani, with a tight grip on economic policy
Giordani, with a tight grip on economic policy

It’s hard to dislike poor Finance Minister Nelson Merentes. In a sea of chavista insanity, he usually comes across as a sort-of reasonable guy or, at the very least, someone you can talk to.

It is only fitting that he just got demoted.

His crime? I think it has to do with this interview, given in early September. In it, he says some sensible things: that Venezuela is an economic failure, that we need to loosen regulations and learn to export stuff, that the State has to work WITH private industry, etc.

In the interview, Merentes comes across as sensible and honest. As we know, that is a capital offense in chavismo.His quarantine comes on the heels of a powerful member of his group also expelled from state bank Bandes.

A government seemingly intent on ruining the economy as a way of consolidating power and its ideological vision is not going to feel comfortable with anything approaching internal dissent. In effect, Merentes put Maduro in a bind by burning his bridges with the rest of the loonies in the Cabinet. Maduro was faced with a choice, and he made it. I expect Merentes will resign from the Cabinet altogether soon.

While that happens: to your corner, Nelson. Off you go.