Live-blogging Maduro's State-of-our-chaos address

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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.

B76W7NuIYAMdZ80

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Tonight they will announce: The deepening of the revolution. 2015 will be the year of productivity. The fx system will be improved (Details later). No gas price increase. Tax reform. More Efficiency.

  2. Given the state of things, I don’t think a blatant attempt at misdirection is going to do anything but inflame an already volatile situation. And to date, that is all the president is capable of. Grimly awaiting the play by play…

  3. Thank you for putting into words exactly what I thought when I read the new on El Nacional. The Government says: you have to produce to export. Ok. But then, the dollars that the poor producers manage to receive must be sold to them, to the official exchange rate! Not only that, they need dollars (most likely purchased in the black market) to import the raw material. So, they are compelled to buy dollars at 180, to spend money on the employees, services charges, production, and then forced to sell their earnings to the government at 50! Who, in his right state of mind, would commit such an economic suicide? I find extremely hard to believe that the government ministers and officials don’t realize how insane is the current economic system, are they just plain stupid or pure evil?

    • “I find extremely hard to believe that the government ministers and officials don’t realize how insane”

      They have no clue. How many economists in the Cabinet? Zero
      One levels below: 0
      Ok, go down two levels: one

      In Pdvsa: Top level 0
      Second level: There used to be one, dont know if still there.

      • I apologize Mr. Octavio but it seems so obvious that not company will produce to loss that I am more inclined to believe my pure evil theory. Que Dios nos ampare.

        • He will inmmediately take flight from the country after the announcements but will fojimori style say thats he is leaaving the country in answering an international commitment

      • Yes, yes, but you don’t need any freaking economists wearing official badges. Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges! What you really need is someone who can look at the accumulating pile of outstanding bills and subtract that amount from incoming revenue. Simple. Begin screaming. To hell with economists and their badges…

    • I don´t think that is a “carefree” move from him.

      See, if he dares to implement reforms starting from today, he’s fucked. If he doesn’t he’s also fucked.

      Being in friendly Bolivia by the time shit hits the fan is a rather smart choice, even from dim-witted Maduro.

  4. I think this likely anticipates that if you get export dollars you get to keep them and are not obligued to hand them to the govt at an officially set exchange rate , only if thats the case does it make sense.

  5. I will go on as long as long as Venezuelans continue to rest on their laurels. Which could very well be decades (at the current rate). One day generations may simply forget and accept the current state (lines and rationing) as the norm.

    The post states the obvious, this particular sector of private companies are no longer able to conduct business as the economy no longer supports their business model. Perhaps that is the point! Maybe El Comandante himself plans to get into the cleaning supply business. Free jobs and a wonderful career for the poor!

  6. Maduro will announce a National Emergency that will prohibit protests, cancel elections, outlaw standing in lines, and make the arepa into the National Symbol.

    • Jajaja oh dios, chamo tu creees que eso es Westminster? Obviamente no se permiten preguntas. Si insultos a los pelucones, escualidos, derecha fascista, etc

  7. Yes…he will declare martial law or some equally dramatic action (commandering all means of production and distribution)that will provide at least a fig leaf of a rationale to his supporters to continue in power. It has to be big….

  8. What time does the speech start? I thought it was 5:00pm. I get that a dinner invitation means 1-2 hours later than stated. But, I didn’t think it would be the same with this.

  9. Questions–
    Will Maduro truly admit that the economy in Venezuela has problems?

    Did the Cubans have enough time to prepare his speech?

    Will the electricity fail before or during his speech?

    Will reporters be allowed to ask questions?

    Will Maduro wear a military uniform or a jogging suit in the Vzla national pandera colors?

    How many military officers in red berets will stand next to him during the speech?

    Will grocery stores be closed early today to eliminate food lines and let everyone be home for Maduro’s speech?

    Will Maduro go on a diet so 6 families will have enough food?

    How many times will Maduro say “Mi Commandante Chavez”?

  10. All eyes on Maduro tonight!
    I wonder what is this distractions going to cover up this time!….

    Going for popcorn, CC my favourite way to follow up venezuelas’s FUBAR state.

  11. Apparently the presidente-obrero’s credentials now include “constructor de la suprema felicidad del pueblo” (for protocol purposes that comes right before “Keeper of the Faith and Slayer of Infidels”). btw, does anyone know who the “segunda combatiente” is?

  12. 7:38 PM: [ED] Maduro just recognized that we are about to live “times of elevated inflation.”
    ups! se le chispoteo!

    Que papelon el de toda esa cuerda de relleno en que se han convertido los poderes publicos de venezuela. Un grupo de parlamentarios de horror, resentidos e incapaces, la gran mayoria puestos alli por quinos electorales y fraude, Yes Men y Yes woman de utileria en el gran show de titeres que es el gobierno en este pais.

    Todos estos discusrso vacios, falsos y resentidos se quedaran estrellados contra el muro de la realidad de la crisis que necesariamente estallara pronto a nivel social politico, militar y humanitario.

    que tristeza da.

    • I am just sickened to see the whole circus play out while the ones in control keep sucking the country dry and will leave if and when there is nothing else to loot. these clowns will be left to fight among themselves for the spoils, and the country seems to be ok watching this unfold.

      In my book the greatest responsibility and blame goes to the so called opposition fro not calling this out forcefully.

      Yes, little hope they are able in avoiding the collapse, Worse still little hope the recovery is being properly preared for.

      # Diosproveera, adds to #amedidaquevallaviniendoiremosviendo core Venezuelan values it seems.
      We definitely would have benefited from more protestants in our social make up!

  13. So, instead of announcing economic measures, he tells us that he is convening the best experts in the country to advise him. So, the announcement of the forthcoming “medidas” is that was delayed from last year was… Oh, I can’t even go on mocking. It is just too tragic to mock.

  14. Still at 6.3 so he and Diasolldo can get it. 15% wage increase is another $5, yes another chicken… the kids get one every other month to to to college, families get 1 a month, two if both work. This will not go over well in the street, on the hillsides or with those mothers protesting for diapers in the above video I am afraid. Look at the faces in on the floor.. they see it.

  15. What did he just say? Cabello seems to be sweating profusely. Like to see that, the heart ensuing attack would be better though.

  16. He keeps touching on the real issues, but doesn’t say anything concrete about what he will do about them. He brought up the price of gasoline, but didn’t say what the price would be changed to.

  17. So the gas subsidies might be reduced? BUt probably not eliminated.
    Did he legalize the black market ?im so confused.
    Inflation is going to be outta control by mid year, exacerbated by 15% increase in minimum wage.
    He cannot print himself out of this mess.
    When will the next outbreak of street violence be?

  18. My take: Maduro in general was the best he’s been to date in speech delivery, BUT, most every statistic mentioned was a lie (unemployment rate, houses built and to-be-built, etc. etc.). The one true thing he said was his hope that, “God will provide (to get Venezuela out of this mess)”. The 6.30 rate will be maintained, mainly since critical Pueblo food imports are at this level, and the Pueblo cannot stand to pay more for food, but only some $9-10 bill will be allocated at this level, roughly 1/2 of Venezuela’s dollar income this year, and maybe less than 1/2 of real food import needs. The other reason for maintaining the 6.30 is to maintain the fiction of a high Venezuelan PTB, as well as “the highest minimum wage (sic) in SA”. A SICAD rate will be maintained for other, if any, non-food committed dollars, who knows at what rate, and a “free market” rate for those such as PDVSA, if it were to have any non-food/SICAD dollars left over, and those foolish enough to sell their dollars in this manner (disclosure/kidnapping potential/paperwork/etc. problems).The real free market rate will continue, in my opinion, soon to match the next 3-digit double zero centenarian figure, unless the Govt. temporarily knocks it down for propaganda purposes. The min. wage will go up 15% Feb.1, with more promised in the near future, and real inflation this year will easily be low 3 digits. Mentioned was that essential goods scarcity was due to (evil) wholesale/retail private distributors, setting the stage inadvertently for the Pueblo to blame/ransack them. Gas will be increased modestly some time in the future, in response to “public clamor”, including that of mototaxistas (sarcasm intended). “Good night, and good luck.”

  19. That was a little bit of an anticlimax.

    Venezuelan religiosity reached yesterday new summits. I don’t know of any country, even Islamic ones, where the government has “God will provide” as economic policy and the opposition says they will be government “when the time of God comes”.

    It would be sad if it wasn’t alarming.

  20. Maduro says “Dios proveerá” – and God head him. Don’t believe that? Here’s His own words: https://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod/status/558102955376001026

    By the way, it might be a good thing in the long run that the Vzlan opposition can’t get much of a foothold even now and see themselves reduced to bitter tweets and not much else.

    See, if those generals who’d gotten cold feet would have managed to blow up A. H. in 1944 instead of him making it to his bunker room in Berlin in 1945, his ideas would still be a political force in Germany.

    It’s a pity that Chavez didn’t live till today’s misery and what comes next but let the tragedy play out all the way to it’s sad ridiculous end. It will inoculate the country against this kind of hoodlums.

    • Yes, Chavez died at the exact right time to keep his myth alive. He avoided dealing with the inevitable consequences of a decade+ long spending binge (enabled by a prolonged oil boom), corruption, incompetence, destruction of private enterprise, and simple lunacy.

  21. Al parecer Maduro dijo esto:

    ” vamos a “repatriar” a la banca pública y privada las divisas que se encuentren depositadas por venezolanos en bancos extranjeros”

    ¿Eh? ¿Van a forzar a la gente a repatriar dólares? ¿como?.

  22. He meant Diosdado proveera!

    This people is their plan. They are playing chicken with venezuelans whiever gets out of the country loses. Today I am convinced that they will cause famines, genocides, default, in short do anything before changing the course. Criminals is what they are. Criminals playing chicken with us.

  23. The only thing that could be concluded from all his blabbering is:

    “I WILL DEVALUATE AGAIN THE BOLIVAR AGAINST THE DOLLAR, BECAUSE WE HAVE TO SQUEEZE EVEN MORE PLAY MONEY FROM MY MONOPOLY, BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO”

    “maburro el devaluador” is how this douchebag will be remembered by history.

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