Suggesting change may be as relevant as change itself

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Yeah, glass half full. What a cliche.Over at Foreign Policy’s Transitions blog, I take a less pessimistic approach to SICAD II than Quico. The value added:

“The new system is also much more transparent. The Central Bank will, supposedly, allow transaction prices to be set by market forces, and will publish the average exchange rate every day. There are pledges that transactions will be finalized within 48 hours, a stark contrast to the current delay-plagued system.

In a sign of how different the tone of the six-page law is, the word “market” appears eight times, the word “demand” five times, while the world “fatherland” does not appear at all — surely a first for chavista legislation.”

I think we can all agree that this is no sure thing, and the thing could easily collapse if other measures are not taken. Yet the signal SICAD II sends is very significant, and for a country reliant on expensive foreign financing, signals are important. And if we believe that protests – erm, the Cadivi barricades, remember? – have at least something to do with limited access to dollars, Sicad II may even help get people off the streets.

The fact that a political heavyweight such as Rafael Ramírez is behind it suggests that this is not just a show, and that the government is at least going to try and make this work – if not out of conviction then, perhaps, because the puppet masters demand it.

Quico has made up his mind: the thing will crumble after a few weeks. I’m not so sure. Will Ramírez let Sicad II fail when everyone seems to agree this is his baby? We’ll soon find out.

1 COMMENT

  1. I get your point, the fact that they are at least “trying” now (for the first time) is already a very positive one, and can be a sign that things may start to change and improve economically speaking. Well, if that’s really the case, we may say that the protests might not have been in vain.

  2. Maduro also making slightly, marginally more specific and aggressive statements about charging for gasoline. ” Markets markets everywhere. http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/228266/gobierno-realiza-plan-para-cobrar-la-gasolina-y-lo-vamos-a-sacar-al-debate-publico/

    En relación al consumo de gasolina en el país, Maduro explicó que el consumo de la gasolina ha aumentado “niveles históricos” y de 400 mil barriles diarios se pasó a 700 mil barriles, “producto de que lo que nada nos cuesta hagámoslo fiesta”, enfatizó.

  3. With the mention of market rate, dollars and transparency the tone changes completely ! So the economy is going to improve, the government is trying – all thanks to the protests and the deaths of young students at the hands of the same regime.

    Me, well I believe this initiative will fail as history suggests. In fact I hope it fails and the economic spiral that is Venezuela continues to drill itself deeper with each passing day.

    The cynical part of me suspects you have become blinded by the offer of dollars and dollar accounts. And it is that which gave Chavismo its firm foundation today.

    Sicad or whatever is irrelevant. The problem is still the same. It’s about the existence of Venezuela, not a Maduro dollar initiative.

  4. As Francisco said, one measures in one part of the problem without accompanying measures in other aspects (like interest rates, but not only that) would surely create worse problems. I would venture to say: the whole mess would probably be so big that it would make all those idiots turn to even more protective measurements.

    They are not suggesting “changes” but ad hoc adjustments, desperate patches without any vision of where the country should be heading. Neither the government nor the opposition are willing to present anything that would resemble like a plan in civilised nations.

    I am pessimistic.

  5. So if this starts relieving some pressure in the economy we all go back to our normal lives and hope for the best? I wonder if the people that died in the last 15 years, last two months and their families would settle for that.

  6. Interesting that all of this comes when the world starts paying attention to Venezuela.Why? Because of the Guarimbas and protests.

    Unfortunately if they get the hang of appearing to be more Democratic and fixing a few economic problems,combing that with the heavy repression they are applying , they might be able to hold onto power forever.

    When we are dealing with these kinds of thugs,we should think twice before rooting for them.That would be naive.

    Always remember the bottom line so as not to be fooled.

    On the other hand, the very fact, that Chavismo is going talking steps towards more Capitalistic economy , for the very first time since they came into power, suggest that the pressure from the demonstrations and Guarimbas were having some effect.This might have emphasized some internal divisions among Chavismo as up to now the golden rule was that ” El Proceso” would advance without any kind of hesitance.

    • “Unfortunately if they get the hang of appearing to be more Democratic and fixing a few economic problems,combing that with the heavy repression they are applying , they might be able to hold onto power forever.”

      Yes, I guess from now on we will witness the “Chinazation” of Venezuela. La revolución enter a new stage, and Maduro Xiaoping will start reforms in order to extend the life-span of this rotten brutal regime trying to survive the 21st century. Will they be able to do so? I doubt it, as Quico said, they are just too stupid, incompetent and lack the educational background required to achieve anything meaningful. They will either fail or get minor positive results without a relevant impact in the grand scheme of things.

      • China has adopted a model of governance that attempts to be meritocratic, rational and pragmatic in the handling of its economy in order to raise the general standards of living o its inhabitants, it must be admitted that with much success . To counterbalance that a system of fierce political repression is maintained to avoid the troubles and obstacles that a free adversarial democratic system might offfer to the above economic, welfare oriented system of governance . They have for decades now instituted a system for recruiting forming training and developing a cadre of competent officials to handle the affairs of government in a tough but professiona manner .

        Thats not the case in Venezuela , were officials are chosen not because of their mangerial competence but because of the level of virulence they show in advancing a hiper sectarian and pugnacious system of politics which seeks the destruction of the half of Venezuela that resists their efforts at stablishing a regime of total political hegemony.

        Now desperation arising from the catastrophic failure in their management of the countrys economy is making some of them start to adopt some more rational policies on the economic front . The problem is of course that the people now in power are not trained to be pragmatic or competent officials but rather cheap lying rabble rousers . The policies may be more enlightened than in the past , but to make them work you have to change the spirit and composition of the people who hold power in the regime , and that on the whole is not happening. Regime big wigs compete in being the most insolent , insulting and irrational and oppresive in their behaviour . Unless cooler heads prevail , these measures are condemned to failure just as you cant grow bananas in the artic or stawberries in a tropical jungle.!!

        • I would agree with you based on what happened in Zimbabwe. Possession is nine tenths of the law and Chavistas certainly have possession in Venezuela. In Zimbabwe they had spontaneous dollarization. I do not wish that on Venezuela because it happens at the end of hyperinflation to the tune of maybe 89 00000000000000000000000% per annum – as it happened in Zimbabwe. Your whole Bolivar money supply would become completely worthless and the population would refuse to accept Bolivars, only USD or Colombian money.

          Notwithstanding the economic implosion of the country in 2008, Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party maintain power.

          It seems that Venezuela is on the same path as far as the political side is concerned.

          • “Notwithstanding the economic implosion of the country in 2008, Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party maintain power.”

            Maduro can’t just mass kill the population as Mugabe did. I mean, Maduro can’t just dig mass graves and kill thousands and thousands of political enemies. The global community will not let that happen. In that strict sense, the situation in Venezuela is better.

  7. I wonder if the announced pipedream SICAD2 is not just another distraction from Nero’s Maduro’s tactics, as per the astute observation from Marco Rubio on Foreign Minister Elias Jaua’s sputterings:
    Marco Rubio ‏@marcorubio
    #Venezuela FM tries to distract from @NicolasMaduro violence ridiculously calling @JohnKerry murderer http://reut.rs/1kRw6dx #SOSVenezuela

  8. and while Jaua and Maduro ply their threat-tinged rhetoric to Venezuela and the World, along come the messengers of nirvana, or useful idiots from abroad, Weisbrot among them:

    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/3/letter-to-john-kerryonvenezuela.html .

    But forsooth! Shiningly absent from the “46 experts” who “urge Kerry to stand by democratic institutions and the rule of law there” is the Lingually Overabundant Noam Chomsky. Has he finally been shamed into silence? Or, did he finally get a grip on his linguistic logic to see through the call for “rule of law there,” where no rule of law exists?

  9. Juan, Sicad II at “market rates”, and a Govt. response to the Guarimbas, etc.–sonar no cuesta nada, but, unfortunately, I’m afraid you do no comprehend the nature of the animal you’re facing.This article would best be published at “Foreign Policy Non-Transition’s” blog.

  10. Or, as WebArticulista ‏@webarticulista would say, successively:

    Fidel Castro colocó a Alí Rodríguez al frente de las finanzas del país que funge como principal proveedor de capitales en dirección de Cuba.

    Alí Rodríguez es más incompetente que Giordani, pero no se meten con él, porque es enlace directo de Fidel Castro.

  11. Yeah sure, it will succeed… An unregulated market completely regulated and controlled by a leftist, repressive government in which all sorts of restrictions are imposed, oh and in a country in which macroeconomic figures are completely screwed ….. Sigan soñando…..

  12. ….that they are giving the system this ridiculous name “Sicad II” and that they have structured “it” as a regulated system is already plenty of grounds for failure. As Quico suggests, the moment they dislkie something they’ll pull the plug or they’ll impose self-defeating restrictions.

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