Maduro gives his “State of the Union” address tonight. What is the state of our country? I think the video above speaks for itself.
As we await the event, I want to highlight the sheer stupidity of the people in charge by commenting on something we learned today.
According to El Nacional, the government has told cleaning-supply manufacturers that they simply will not give them any more hard currency to import. They will have to earn their own currency … through their exports.
Let’s think that through.
In order to export, you need to produce. In order to produce, you need to import your raw material, because Venezuela doesn’t produce much of it. Since you don’t have dollars, you have to find some other way of importing raw material. Chicken, egg, whatever. Let’s say you think of something – a loan in dollars, perhaps.
Let’s suppose you magically get a loan. You import the raw material to produce stuff for export, but suddenly, the government siezes your shipments. You can’t even store cleaning products, because storing stuff is now counter-revolutionary. You go to jail for hoarding.
But just in case you’re not put in jail, andyou manage, by some miracle, to export cleaning supplies, what do you do? Well you have to bring back the cash and exchange it … at the government’s official rate.
You then have to continue importing raw material to also supply the domestic market, using those very scarce dollars, and then selling the stuff at the price the government decides, which doesn’t cover costs. Oh, and you have to do this (in case I didn’t mention it) … without holding any inventories in the process!
Is it any wonder the state of our union … is a state of clusterfuck?
Anyway, we wait with baited breath to be disappointed by Maduro’s words, with one question in mind: how long can this go on?
9:48 PM: [ED] There was nothing redeemable about Maduro´s speech tonight. He did not announce any important measures, he evaded responsibility, he avoided citing numbers or figures, he assigned chores to his lackeys without giving away details, and he did not project leadership or confidence both of which are the pretty much the excuse for a President to have a State of the Union speech in the first place. The saddest part about tonight is that even an evidently weak and unpopular president, severely limited in his political and economic scope of action, manages to close his shameless performance with fireworks, while millions of venezuelans wait in line, under the sun, to buy food, and while the opposition tweets. My indignation has given way to a deep sadness.
9:38 PM: [ED]Really, Maduro? Fireworks? #StayClassy
9:19 PM: [ED] Thanks for tuning in! Go back to your regularly scheduled food/diaper/cleaning product line.
9:19 PM: [RS] We’re stuck in Groundhog Year. Mismo discurso del año pasado.
9:19 PM: [ED] Aaaaand we´re done. Nothing much happened other than another small part of my soul dying a little bit and our self esteem as a nation hitting another low. Oh, and me losing money over the tax-increase wager.
9:17 PM: [ED] Saint Robert Serra is getting a standing ovation.
9:13 PM: [ED] Ok I´m just gonna come out and say it. I miss Chávez.
9:12 PM: [RTL] He must know what to do. Somewhere, somehow, someone competent must have told him what needs to be done. But he just keeps the bill-printer going. Man, oh, man.
9:07 PM: [ED] So basically Maduro handed out responsibilities to a bunch of people who will announce to the country what announcements they will make. I bet he can´t even stand himself. And the longer decisions are not made, the deeper we sink into economic squalor.
9:04 PM: [ED] “Delaying the biometric system for food purchases has been a big mistake.”
9:04 PM: [ED] Good news guys! 34 more Bicentenario supermarkets will be opened, so there will be more places for people to wait in line!
9:02 PM: [RTL]: This is the amazing story of a president who is afraid of his own country.
9:01 PM: [ED] So here we have it: Maduro trying to deflect public attention from our failing state so that we may focus on this gasoline hullaballoo sound byte.
8:59 PM: [JCN]I think he is devaluing without saying so. Keep saying the 6.3 exchange rate exists, but sell everything via a new market.
8:57 PM: [ED] “We must open the debate so that gas prices are fair and balanced.”
8:47 PM: [ED] News flash, Maduro knows what a “distortion” is.
8:55 PM: [ED] Holy fuck is he going for a gas price increase?
8:54 PM: [ED] “I am committed to creating conditions of trust in our economy.” (renuncia entonces coño!)
8:54 PM: [ED] “A unified, floating currency is simply not viable.” “I must protect the people.”
8:52 PM: [JCN] Is Maduro legalizing the black market?
8:50 PM: [ED] And a third financial market in which private and public actors may participate.
8:48 PM: [ED] SICAD exchange rate which “fixes the price of the dollar through market forces” (Whatever TF that means) will remain as well.
8:47 PM: [ED] 6,30 dollar for social purposes will be maintained in “an efficient way.” Whatever TF that means.
8:47 PM: [JCN] This is amazing. Maduro is announcing a massive public spending program without any external financing. Printing money is his economic measure.
8:45 PM: [ED] I don´t think I can take much more of his self-fillibuster.
8:43 PM: [ED] oh fuck. the exchange control…hushed silence, Maduro is relishing in the suspense.
8:42 PM: [ED] Healthcare vouchers for senior citizens.
8:39 PM: [ED] If I made a drinking game out of how many times Maduro blames anybody else but himself for this shitshow, I would have already been interned in the hospital for acute alcohol poisoning.
8:39 PM: [ED] Minimum wage increase of 15%
8:38 PM: [ED] Special infrastructure plan: a new subway line in Caracas, new stations in Valencia, 57 bridges, a Chinese bus factory.. and .. well, the Minister will fill you in on the rest.
8:35 PM: [ED] Maduro´s version of import substitution: substitute US imports for Chinese imports.
8:31 PM: [ED] AAAAND!!! WAIT! THERE´S MORE!! college students will get Bs. 2,000!! (thats eleven dollars for all you non-math majors)
8:30 PM: [ED] 200,000 Bs.500 scholarships for high school students.
8:30 PM: [ED] National census of low-income housewives so that 500,000 single mothers can receive aid.
8:29 PM: [ED] OK everyone.. drumroll please! Here come the measures!!!
8:26 PM: [JCN] The special economic zones are not a bad idea. It’s too bad they landed in the hands of idiot chavistas.
8:23 PM: [ED] So the grand macroeconomic plan is….: “God shall provide.” (at least we now know that God is not part of the Economic Sabotage). He will strike down the evil speculators with the Archangel´s mighty sword.
8:23 PM: [ED] Here comes my first prediction: a tax raise. I have money riding on this, so Maduro don´t let me down. (it´s not like he could, anyways…)
8:20 PM: [ED] Apparently Maduro´s “Plan for Economic Recovery” is in full swing. #MaduroFTW
8:16 PM: [JCN] If Maduro announces a dramatic change in the model, it would be an absolute shock. it would go against everything he has been saying so far.
8:11 PM: [ED] So now we´re being treated to a video of an intercepted phone call between two retired military officers allegedly conspiring against the government. An illegally intercepted phone call that slanders two private citizens, broadcast through national tv by state media during the President´s annual address. But this is a democracy, you say?
8:07 PM: [JCN] First sign of empathy with people standing in line.
8:05 PM: [ED] …except for these two.
8:02 PM: [ED] So, the opposition caucus is disappointingly spineless. How is nobody raising a fuss over this monumental steaming pile of bullshit?
8:00 PM: [ED] Oh goody!!! double treat tonight! Diosdado´s Stasi TV show is up next!
8:00 PM: [AM] Luis Vicente, Maduro didn´t bring you back milk because he ran out of CADIVI dollars.
7:55 PM: [ED] OOOOOhh!!!! Maduro victimizing himself over a Luis Vicente León tweet asking if he brought back milk from his trip. If only THAT was his biggest problem….
7:51 PM: [ED] …”for which we are all responsible.”
7:50 PM: [ED] “It´s important to know that we are facing serious economic difficulties”
7:47 PM: [ED] Funny how he went right from unemployment to…fracking.
7:44 PM: [ED] #QueRenuncieEnLaAN is trending 2nd on Twitter worldwide.
7:41 PM: [ED] “We have a robust market and households have a great capacity for consumption.” ..of bullshit.
7:39 PM: [ED] And then goes on to declare that “the Venezuelan working class will be the most prosperous in the continent.”
7:38 PM: [ED] Maduro just recognized that we are about to live “times of elevated inflation.”
7:34 PM: [ED] Unemployment figures are the only ones Maduro can comfortably cite.
7:30 PM: [ED] Nice shot of the cabinet wearing adorable matching red ties.
7:25: [ED] Well this is rich: Maduro criticizing those who “destroy instead of constructing,” and who “attempt against prosperityand economic development.”
7:20 PM: [ED] Maduro informs us that an Italian came up with the GINI coefficient. The intern who wrote his notes must be proud.
7:19 PM: [ED] Welcome to the requisite shoddy statistics part of the show.
7:17 PM: [ED] O/T, is Venezuela really that poor that we can´t shell out some cash for a Teleprompter?
7:11 PM: [ED] There it is: Parliamentary elections (which Maduro says he will win in honor of Chavez´s memory) and calls for dialogue (which he shames the opposition for shunning). I hope the opposition does’t take the bait and answer with election talk.
7:06 PM: [JCN] Gushing about the trip, China, Iran, Russia. Waiting for the slideshow.
6:53 PM: [JCN] So how’s your Bingo coming along?
6:48 PM: [JCN] So far, this is a train-wreck. Maduro simply refuses to acknowledge the very real problems people are facing thanks to his policies.
6:45 PM: [JCN] Maduro talking about … the year 2013. So far, the opposition according to him is worthless. But he’s a democrat.
6:33 PM: [JCN] A minute of silence for Robert Serra.
6:32 PM: [JCN] Introduction has not finished, and Maduro is already calling the opposition murderers and coup-mongers.
6:27 PM: [JCN] Maduro begins by praising the liberties Venezuelans have. There isn’t enough Maalox for what we’re about to withstand tonight…
6:21 PM: [JCN] Diosdado: “Queridos compañeros de las Fuerzas Armadas, bienvenidos.” Translation: “You belong to me.”
6:20 PM: [JCN] Tibisay Lucena getting the loudest cheers from the chavista bases present.
6:05 PM: [JCN] Remember when Hugo Chávez, his body bloated with medication, gave one of these that lasted for like nine hours? #HumanRightsViolations #FunTimes It left us with this priceless moment…
5:50 PM: [JCN] Maduro apparently on his way. Meanwhile, Roberto has this to say: As Maduro’s speech nears, collective anxiety is in the air. Restaurants, stores, offices… people everywhere are talking about the anuncios. Many gas stations are closed or crowded with lines of cars going around the block. People seemingly want to fill ‘er up in advance of a probable (?) adjustment on gas prices. Scores of people flood supermarkets as usual (is it usual already?) but there seems to be some extra unrest today.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.