Money for baseball (and trips for free)

logo_lvbpBefore the baseball season began back in October, the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP) publicly thanked government currency distributor CENCOEX for handling their requests right on schedule.

But now it looks like the relationship between the state and the LVBP has reached an unprecedented level of intimacy. According to El Universal’s political correspondent Pedro Pablo Peñaloza, the central government is asking the National Assembly to approve an additional credit to help out the league.

The credit would serve in part to pay for the “operational expenditures” of the eight baseball teams, including the aerial trips needed to complete the season… because getting a plane ticket around here is getting harder and if you don’t believe me, read this post from Miguel’s blog for the latest.

But some teams get more money than others. The big winner? The Aragua Tigers (in hands of the chavista state government) who get more funds allocated than that the other seven clubs, and even the LVBP itself.

The credit was already approved by the Finance Commission and is yet to be discussed on the AN main chamber. But high-profile Chavista MP Pedro Carreño has his reservations about the request because he found crazy the idea of “…giving all these money to private business owners”. The opposition is also befuddled about this, calling it “weird”.

Years ago, the government decided to create its own league, the National Bolivarian Baseball League (LNBB) to try to compete with the LVBP by playing in the first half of the year, without much success. But the economic slump could be the way to finally take the full control of the country’s main sport league. After all, why create something when you can take over someone else’s success … is a fundamental part of chavismo.