The Week in Bullets

Bullying
  • Chuito Superstar

A long time ago, way before we hit the 100s mark, on Wednesday, Chuo Torrealba accepted the chair as MUD’s secretary. It is clear that Chuo’s role will be different to that of RGA. As effective as MUD’s strategies were in the past (’cause they were, remember?), current developments in Venezuela call for a little dynamism, some asymmetric warfare if you may. We can expect to see Chuo’s face more than we did RGA’s, but the truth is he was appointed for a completely different position. If you wish to sink into the discussion of what the role of the MUD’s secretary should be (and whether Chuo’s got the stuff) and into the excruciating task of defining what the hell MUD actually is, click here, read the article, and plunge into the comments section.

  • I fought the law, and the law won

CIADI just ruled in favor of Gold Reserve and now Venezuela must pay US$ 740 million for terminating the Las Brisas mining concession. Liabilities around Chávez’s happy trigger round of nationalizations circle the gagillions, a little over US$ 50 billion.

Calixto

  • Obama and Leo

Barry called for Leopoldo’s liberation and included him in a list of prominent political prisoners. That’s nice. Or not nice, but great work on the part of Leo’s team in the US. Kudos.

  • Insulza and Leo

More surprising than Obama’s mention, was Insulza’s statement on an interview for El País saying that the Venezuelan opposition couldn’t be expected to sit down and negotiate with the government while some of their leaders were jailed. Ramírez, in his new role as head of Venezuelan diplomacy, said that Insulza’s comments were “unhappy.” Which is a feeling the former Venezuelan oil czar must be getting used to. [Word on the street is that there’s a rojorojito plan to throw him under the bus. El chivo más gordo no siempre es el que más mea.]

  • Henrique and Leo

This week Capriles gave an interview to El País as well, which in no way must be seen as a comeback to the extensive piece written by Boris Muñoz on Leopoldo López, except that they seem to have a disagreement on the role played by De Klerk in South African history.

  • Godfinger and Leo

Of course, the main protagonist of Lopez’s interview had to say his piece. Yes, main protagonist. I haven’t spoken with one person who didn’t say the meatiest part of the interview was the exchange between Diosdado and Leopoldo. But the President of the National Assembly said during his Late Night show (you just can’t make this shit up) that Leopoldo was lying. That his (Diosdado’s) intervention was not to negotiate Leopoldo’s self-exile, but that it was to save the opposition leader’s life. Which in fact he did. So he says.

  • No more Pine-Sol

Jorge Arreaza broke into the Clorox plant and took it for the people! To those joining the party, Clorox just decided to close shop and leave Venezuela. Then, a group of workers lead by the Vicepresident of the country, took over the plant to suck on the bones of a dead chicken.

  • 100

The (not so) black market Dollar? Bs. 100 (ding, ding, ding)

Bullying
Bullying

Yeah, this is the vortex that sucks in the attention of the crowd and renders all other news orphaned. Many throw the blame of the rocketing ascent of the Dólar paralelo on the government’s reluctance to legalize the black market. But, is the black market ilegal at all? In the last revision of the Exchange Crimes Law they lifted all penalties from dealing in the black market. Zip, there are none. The law now mainly regulates the mechanisms to obtain foreign currency at a more favorable government imposed exchange rate (oh, those sweet third world financial incentives). That’s it. Also, if you take a look at the recent busts by the foreign exchange authorities and CICPC’s financial crimes unit you’d see that they are mainly investigating the improper use of foreign currency received through the regular channels. Not many talk about it, but it’s like the black market Dollar has a license to kill, like James -Friggin’- Bond.

So, can we say the dólar paralelo is legal? No, ’cause these guys are crazy and they could send some thugs to beat me up, but in any other country I’d definitely say so. There wouldn’t even be a discussion about it. Would lifting the remaining controls and the expectancy of obtaining foreign currency at a cheaper rate (6.3, 12, 52) solve the problem at all? Probably not. Individual measures are just not enough to free us from the massive economic crisis we’re stuck in. But a little sincerity never hurts.

At least you can fill up your gas tank —FOR A YEAR— with one buck, eh?

Oh, and btw, check out Juan’s piece and Quico’s rant on what’s going on with BCV, PDVSA, and Fonden.

  • JanaTV

Some good news for a change. Our resident superstar economist, Anabella Abadi, has her own online TV show on ViVoPlay.net: Entorno Económico. (Subscribe, first 30 days are free)

  • Skyfall

And where’s the oil barrel?

US$ 86.65

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