El discurso que ha debido dar Capriles

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capriles

After my harsh critique of Capriles’s economic policy speech yesterday, plenty of you wanted me to put up or shut up: if not that, what? In that spirit, here’s the speech Capriles should’ve given…and still could, if he has the guts. 

La economía venezolana enfrenta la peor crisis de su historia. Es una crisis que toca todos los niveles, y que exige respuestas a largo plazo, pero tambien a mediano y corto plazo. Hoy me voy a concentrar en los problemas inmediatos, voy a proponer tres reformas que hay que adoptar con carácter de emergencia, inmediatamente.

Lo primero es estar bien claros en cuales problemas hay que tratar primero y cuales problemas se pueden tratar después: distinguir lo urgente de lo importante, y entender por dónde hay que empezar.

La economía venezolana es como un paciente que llega a la emergencia con un cuadro médico muy complicado. Tiene hipertensión arterial, tiene diabetes, es adicto a la droga, encima tiene HIV, el colesterol por las nubes, y signos de hepatitis.

A, y otro detalle: tiene dos heridas de bala en el pecho y se está desangrando.

La labor del médico en una sala de emergencia es establecer prioridades. En este caso, tiene que entender que lo primero es tratarle los balazos y detener la hemorragia. Si lo logra, después va a poder atender todos los otros problemas que tiene el paciente – que bastante graves de por si son. Pero solo si lo logra.

Entonces, ¿cuales son esas dos heridas de bala?

La primera es el control de cambios y la sobrevaluación del tipo de cambio oficial.

Todos sabemos que el control de cambio es un imán enorme para la corrupción, una teta de la que solo chupan los enchufados. Pero lo peor no es eso. Lo peor es que el control de cambio termina financiando la fuga de capitales – a través de la sobrefacturación – y alimentando justamente lo que se supone que debe tratar de reducir: la inflación y el desabastecimiento.

¿Como? Sencillo. El control de cambio tiene al gobierno quebrado. En Venezuela hay gente que haría cola para conseguir un dolar por Bs.200, pero el gobierno se niega a vendérselo tan caro. No quiere aceptarles la plata.

¿Que cosa tan curiosa, no? El gobierno se niega a vender los dólares que tiene a Bs.200, pero si les parece bien venderlos a seis bolos. Pregúntele Ud. a cualquier empresario si su empresa va a tener buenos resultados si se niega a atender los clientes que quieren pagar Bs.200 y solo atiende a unos pocos amigotes que ofrecen nada más Bs.6,30. Eso es una locura, y en el fondo todos lo sabemos.

Por eso es que el gobierno anda quebrao. Sin un medio. ¿Como no va a estar quebrado si regala los bienes mas valiosos que tiene?

Pero con un bemol: como ellos controlan al Banco Central – que aunque la constitución dice que no, la verdad es que sí – lo mandan a imprimir más plata.

Fíjense que perverso: en vez de aceptar la plata que la gente voluntariamente les daría por los dólares que obtiene PDVSA, dicen “no, prefiero crearla de la nada.”

Y ahí empieza la espiral inflacionaria endemoniada en la que nos conseguimos.

Esa es la primera herida de bala que nos está desangrando como país. El segundo balazo nos gusta menos discutirlo, pero ya no podemos seguir dándole largas al asunto porque – que nadie se olvide – el paciente se nos está desangrando.

El segundo balazo son los subsidios a la gasolina y a la electricidad.

Todos sabemos cuando vamos a la bomba y ponemos gasolina que el precio que pagamos es irreal. Una locura. Parece que nos sale barato, muy barato. Pero lo barato sale caro.

Los venezolanos pagamos ese subsidio de mil maneras, pero la peor es la de siempre la inflación. Cuando el gobierno te regala un tanque de gasolina deja un hueco en sus cuentas. Y como son una cuerda de irresponsables, ese hueco lo vuelven a llenar ahí mismo de la manera de siempre: creando plata de la nada. La maquinita del BCV.

La gente me dice, “Capriles, no digas nada del subsidio a la gasolina”, “Capriles, deja eso de ese tamaño mira que a la gente no le gusta.” Y sí, yo sé que políticamente lo más fácil es dejar eso hasta ahí.

Pero ¿qué diría Ud. de un médico de una emergencia que, viendo a un herido de bala se está desangrando en el quirofano prefiere no hablar sobre esa herida? Dejarla de ese tamaño? ¿Ud. se dejaría tratar por ese médico?

Tremendo irresponsable es ese médico. Y yo no soy ningún irresponsable. Así que se los voy a decir clarito: el país se está desangrando por el control de cambio y por los subsidios a la gasolina y a la electricidad y yo no voy a permitir que el país se desangre.

Los que quieran irresponsables que no tomen medidas urgentes – impostergables – porque no las ven populares ya tienen un presidente en Miraflores. Ya hemos visto a dónde lleva ese camino.

Cada vez que Ud. va al supermercado y no consigue harina, y la única forma de conseguirla es con un buhonero que la vende 20 veces más cara, está viendo las consecuencias de esas dos heridas de bala que están desangrando a Venezuela.

Cada vez que una mamá no consigue leche para su hijo está pagando las consecuencias de un control de cambio demencial y de unos subsidios a la gasolina que tienen al estado quebrado.

Porque no nos confundamos: el caos en que vivimos se origina en el control de cambio y los subsidios irresponsables. Esos dos balazos tienen al estado quebrado, y un estado quebrado es un estado hiperinflacionario. Defender políticas que condenan al estado a la quiebra es promover la hiperinflación.

¿Quiere decir todo esto que al resolver el problema del control de cambio y los problemas de los subsidios irresponsables ya todo va a estar bien? Pues no. Con mucho pesar les tengo que decir que no.

Ya lo dije al principio: el paciente no solo tiene esos dos balazos. Tambien tiene hipertensión, diabetes, HIV, colesterol elevado, hepatitis y un problema de drogadicción. Todos los problemas son graves, todos hay que tratarlos, y ninguno es fácil. Pero si uno no empieza por parar la hemorragia lo demás se hace académico: el paciente se te va a morir antes de poder llegarle a esos problemas.

La hipertensión es la irresponsabilidad fiscal y la opacidad presupuestaria que nos llevó a tener deficits fiscales incluso cuando el petróleo estaba a $140, y que hizo que durante la bonanza petrolera más grande de la historia de la humanidad Venezuela acumulara deudas en vez de ahorrar.

La diabetes es la política de expropiaciones y de desprecio a la propiedad privada que destruye los incentivos para la inversión. Eso se trata restituyendo las empresas ilegalmente expropiadas a sus verdaderos dueños y regresando a mecanismos como el CIADI que protegen la inversión.

El HIV es el demencial sistema de controles de precio de artículos de primera necesidad que destruyen la competencia y llevan directamente al desabastecimiento. Eso se puede tratar reformando y desmantelando el sistema de controles sin prisa pero sin pausa.

El colesterol elevado es una Ley del Trabajo que destruye los incentivos para la producción y la superación de nuestro pueblo y que tambien tenemos que reformar y flexibilizar.

La Hepatitis es el colapso de un sistema asistencial, y eso también hay que atenderlo a través de subsidios responsables y dirigidos, como por ejemplo las becas para comprarle los útiles escolares a los muchachos.

Y claro, la drogadicción es nuestra galopante dependencia en las exportaciones petroleras y el colapso casi completo de nuestro tejido industrial que esta conlleva, y tratarla es quizás la más importante de todas nuestras tareas a mediano y largo plazo.

Todo eso tienen que ser tratado. Cada uno de esos problemas es importante, importantísimo.

Si hoy no me estoy centrando en ellos es porque liderazgo quiere decir distinguir entre lo urgente y lo menos urgente. En este momento el país se está desangrando bajo nuestras narices y ponerse a discutir problemas estructurales cuando uno está frente a un paciente que se está desangrando es casi tan irresponsable como no hacer nada.

Entonces, ¿qué tenemos que hacer ahora, ya, en lo inmediato para empezar a estabilizar al paciente y ponerle un fin a la hemorragia por esas dos heridas de bala?

Primero: Sincerar y unificar el tipo de cambio oficial, inicialmente dentro del contexto del control de cambio pero con un propósito sólido en abolirlo en menos de doce meses. Abolir el sistema de tasas múltiples, y crear, en los próximos tres meses, un sistema paralelo legal, transparente, liquido y sin intervencion oficial.

Segundo: Anunciar un plan claro para internacionalizar el precio de la gasolina a traves de aumentos semanales durante los próximos seis meses.

Tercero: Detener inmediatamente la monetización de la deuda de PDVSA y la creación de dinero del BCV, y restituirle al BCV la independencia que le garantiza la constitución pero que el gobierno viola.

Estas medidas se pueden tomar ya. De una vez. Hoy. De un plumazo. Lo único que falta es la claridad y la decisión política para hacerlo.

Si no se toman, recordaremos al 2015 como los buenos tiempos, cuando la inflación estaba más o menos bajo control. Venezuela nunca ha vivido un episodio de verdadera hiperinflación, no sabe lo destructiva que puede ser cuando se habla no ya de 5 o 10 o 15% al mes sino de 50% o 75% o 100% al mes. Esa es la alternativa. Y eso es demasiado grave. Demasiado grave.

Desde hace años que está a la vista que el país se iba a terminar desangrando por la vía del control de cambio y de los subsidios. El gobierno, en su infinita irresponsabilidad, se ha hecho el loco. Durante ese tiempo el paciente ha perdido sangre, mucha sangre. Tanta que hoy, incluso adoptando inmediatamente las tres medidas que ya he expuesto, necesitará una transfusión para poder recuperarse.

En los próximos dos años, el país tendrá que levantar financiamiento internacional para poder superar la crisis. Creemos que, si se sigue una política de emergencia sensata como la aquí expuesta, los mercados de capitales internacionales entenderán que Venezuela está en manos de un médico medianamente cuerdo y estarán dispuestos a financiar la transición a un modelo económico más lógico.

Nadie va a querer donarle sangre a un paciente con dos heridas de bala si el médico que lo está tratando se dedica a ponerle pañitos calientes mientras se desangra. Pero cuando un médico da señales de competencia, cuando demuestra que sabe como detener los focos de la hemorragia, crea las condiciones para que un potencial donante de sangre se tranquilice y entienda que su contribución no será en vano.

Ahora, yo no soy ingenuo. Yo sé lo que van a decir los titulares mañana. Yo sé que el gobierno va a gozar un puyero asustando a la gente con que Capriles va a subir la gasolina – asustarlos, es decir, con algo que hasta Chávez había dicho que era necesario hacer. Yo sé que dirán que esa vaina a la gente no le gusta y que es políticamente inviable.

No me importa.

Yo no me voy a quedar callado mientras el país que amo se desangra por la irresponsabilidad y la ignorancia de los que lo gobiernan. ESO sí que es políticamente inviable.

El momento para los cuentos de hadas y las promesas fáciles quedó atrás. Caro, muy caro han pagado los venezolanos el populismo barato de quienes no se atreven a decir lo que saben por miedo de que a la gente no le guste. La gente se cansó de transitar perennemente por esa calle ciega. Ya basta. La situación es demasiado grave para ese tipo de ligereza.

Venezuela tiene un montón de problemas económicos. Muchos son graves, pero todos – absolutamente todos – tienen solución.

Lo que nos ha hecho falta es la claridad para analizar los problemas como son la convicción para enfrentarlos ya, decididamente, sin tabúes ni complejos, y la determinación de hacerle frente a la crisis con optimismo y dejando a un lado el pensamiento mágico y las promesas irresponsables. Esa claridad, esa convicción y esa determinación son las claves para poder ofrecerle a nuestros hijos y a nuestros nietos un futuro digno y prospero.

Si mantenemos esa claridad, esa convicción y esa determinación, todos los problemas – absolutamente todos – se pueden resolver.

103 COMMENTS

    • Since when has FT ever hidden his agenda? And why should he? He is 100% correct. This is the formula needed to restore productivity and prosperity.

  1. 1990 elections between Vargas Llosa and Fujimori in Peru.

    Vargas Llosa campaigned in the most honest way on what he HAD to do to rectify the Peruvian economy. People got so scared that they voted for the quiet and unknown ‘chinito’ with a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering.

    As soon as Fujimori got into power he was in the same situation as Tsipras, with no room for negotiation and unleashed the Fuji-Shock which was exactly what Vargas Llosa had promised.

    I am no politician, and I have a distaste for dishonesty, but it would seem that good guys finish last.

    • With the small difference that Capriles is not running for anything. That should afford him a little bit of freedom to speak his mind.

        • One of my relatives is medical doctor in Venezuela and we were talking about the difference in bedside manner between Venezuelan and American doctors. I posited that I would prefer brutal honesty from my physician and I was glad that american doctors tend to be this way, he countered that this is just inhuman to shock patients.

          I then thought of my grandfather’s death. He had terminal cancer and NEVER was formally informed of this and thus never discussed his condition with anyone, even my grandmother. Yet it was so clear that he was dying.

          Maybe we are thinking like gringo physicians.

          • Interesting. But, protecting people from the truth is how you treat children, not adults. I don’t know of anyone who likes to be patronized. Maybe someone should try using the truth. They might be surprised to find that most Venezuelans will appreciate being treated like adults for the first time.

          • That would be true for a terminal patient, but if you had the correct treatment, and tell them you have to take it even if it’s painful but it will save you, wouldn’t it make the difference?

      • And what that speedh says is exactly what the government will end up doing sooner or later because they won’t have another choice and Capriles will be able to say “I told you so”.

  2. Hablando en serio, dar un discurso así requiere de un nivel de meta-cognición del peo nacional que HCR no tiene … #MuchoCamisónPaPetra

  3. BTW, nice job there Quico, you wrote as if imagining these words coming out of Capriles’ mouth. Well written stuff.

  4. I’ll just sit here with some popcorn and wait for people to start saying “he wouldn’t last a day!”, “how can you propose a weekly increase in gas prices?!?” “it’s a package!!!!!!!” “if you dismantle the exchange rate we will start eating each other alive!!! YOU SADISTIC – NEO LIBERAL – FOOL!!!” “If he says that he will never win!!!!” “He is not trying to convince YOU! he is trying to convince the Venezuelan-on-foot”

    You know… the usual…

  5. We will never hear this from Capriles, primarily because he doesn’t think it’s necessary, and secondly, because he doesn’t have the guts.

    This is the speech LL would give if he could. But, it needs to be delivered with all the honesty of doctor explain to a patient that he has cancer and that the treatment is going to be long and painful.

  6. I dont want to criticize HC for the speech he gave , it wasnt easy and there may be a lot of political angles that he has considered and that we are not clear about , but I do think that FT speech is pretty dam good , he ought to offer himself to help the MUD craft its messages , he is a splendid writer , knows his subject well and can be very didactic in his expositions . I am concerned that giving a good exposition is one thing and doing the numbers to back up what you propose is another , there are dozens of details that need filling in before we actually know for instance what it means to dismantle the whole currency control system in 12 months . In any event kudos to our blog pioneer leader for this excellent piece !!

  7. This speech may be intellectually correct in many respects, but its language/concepts are not going to be understood by most of the 80+% D-E population, nor does it intimate the necessary huge additional/necessary sacrifices the population must make to implement the plan. Something with much simpler language, perhaps a question-and-answer format, might be more successful–Are you better off economically than you were a year ago? Can you buy what you need with your salary? Can you find the medicines you need? Milk? Diapers? Women’s sanitary products? Do you or your family members have to stand in line for hours to maybe get some of these products? Do you have regular running water? Has a family member been killed/maimed/injured/robbed by criminal violence? The reason you have suffered all this is that your Government has given away or stolen the moneys they should have spent on you. If you were in charge, would you give away oil to other countries that you could sell in order to put food on your table, have medicines for your hospitals, have running water in your barrio, with police that keep you safe? How many of you have seen a friend, neighbor, or simply passer-by who just because he’s an enchufado drives a fancy car and lives like a king in a mansion? Vote for us and we will put a stop to all these abuses. We will stop giving away your oil. We will stop the robbing of public moneys. We will have a panel of our best economists recommend the economic measures necessary to correct all your hardships. The damage to you has been great, and will require sacrifices from us all, and once elected we will start by reducing our own salaries as a show of good faith….

    • I’m not talking to a mass audience AND NEITHER IS HENRIQUE CAPRILES!!

      Did you forget?

      They shut down RCTV, Diosdado bought Globovision an Ultimas Noticias. Capriles has no access to a mass audience at all!

      Right now, he has to talk to an elite audience because that’s the only audience he has access to!

      What we have now is the worst of both worlds: a guy talking to an audience largely made up of international investors, diplomats and executives in language calculated to appeal to a barrio.

      He sounds like a moron to the people actually listening and doesn’t get heard at all by the people he’s trying to reach.

      • Talking to an elite audience will NOT get him/his elected, nor will enable them to implement corrective economic policies. It’s whistling in the wind. And, yes, his speech was scatterbrained/incoherent, but, seriously, I’m not sure he’s intellectually capable of much more on economic matters. International investors will not buy in unless there’s complete political/institutional reform coupled with a large IMF bailout loan with strictly-enforced conditions, none of which is likely with this Government, by itself or sharing power. Venezuela needs a real revolution, starting over from scratch, which will only come when the Pueblo can’t take the Socialist Siren Song any more, and rebels; otherwise, Cuba will then look good by comparison.

      • It was all over the Internet, Nacional, El Tiempo, FB. Twiiter, even El Universal.

        Covered by whatever media is still available.

        Of course it was crafted for an average, Chavista-light, ignorant audience.

      • They shut down RCTV, Diosdado bought Globovision an Ultimas Noticias. Capriles has no access to a mass audience at all!

        Boo-hoo.
        The Capriles family owns a communication channel, and no one can upload the video of the speech HCR gave on 14-07-2015, not even on youtube?

        Cry me a river.

        Still no audio of the presentation for primary source digestion.

      • Two issues:

        a) A speech like this WOULD get airtime in VTV for sure, so it would not only be for elites. They would use it to show your neo-liberal credentials.

        b) You explain the emergency and what would you do, but you don’t explain how would that end up benefiting the common folk. If someone doesn’t understand economics, the result of your measures in their eyes would be a huge (infinite!) increase in the price of gas, and huge increase in the exchange rate, which people would believe would cause even more inflation. There needs to be an explanation on how treating the two bullets would make the common folk better off.

        Right now, the belief is that the government keeps the exchange rate and the gas prices down to protect people, and you are only proposing to take even that away! I don’t think you will win the election…

  8. Mr. Toro has done a great job here. I applaud the taking on of the challenge. But sometimes the patient with cancer, to use another analogy, will prefer witchcraft over a treatment that they know will cause immense suffering, delivered by someone they have never known or trusted.

    • So true. But a real doctor will tell the patient the truth, and never stop trying to convince him to take the tough treatment. It would be dispicable if he tried to compete with the witchdoctor by lying.

      • I am not sure that ‘el venezolano de a pie’ really understands or is even willing to accept the reality of the straights the economy is in. It is much easier to think of easy solutions, such as witch doctors. It is not uncommon for the populace to hide behind cliches such as ” pero somos un pais rico porque tenemos petroleo” or “con que agarren a esos -corructos- y ya se compone esto”, in fact, Chavismo is built on this popular wisdom.

        I would refer you to my earlier comment in this page. There is a culture of avoidance of reality in Venezuela which may as well be childish, but the fact remains. (BTW, pick a couple of aporrea writers to see my point of reality avoidance).

        The Hegemon is waiting for Capriles to say anything that they can pull out of context and splice into venomous propaganda. In fact, sad to say, I believe that no one in the MUD can speak honestly lest they will be vilified with an out of context mash up.

        • “Reality” is about to slap Venezuela upside the head in a manner that cannot be avoided or ignored. No amount of pretending or “bone rattling” is going protect Venezuela from the consequences of its actions.

      • In fact anyone with a pulse will agree that the condition of Venezuelan economy is monotonically decreasing. But from the opposition perspective it is the elephant in the room, but it is totally and purely owned by Maduro, so why would they want to talk about such unpleasantries, what would you gain politically? Let Maduro y su combo choke on that one while you dance around the elephant.

        I believe everyone knows in their bones that there is hell to pay, even if they hope for magical potions.

  9. Lo único que falta para que ese plan inmediato funcione es que exista un gobierno que genere confianza. Sin eso, todo se cae.

    Por lo demás, muy didáctico y fácil de entender. Felicitaciones

  10. I admit I am failing to connect your huge distaste for this speech with the merits of the speech itself.

    Yeah, he needs a better speechwriter. The medical theme is muddled and easily ridiculed.

    Perhaps I am too used to the nonsense that passes for American political discourse, and not as familiar with the style of Venezuelan politics. I do know that I detest that affected, blustery, pompous tone of voice both Capriles and Maduro adopt when giving a stump speech, and welcome its absence in more natural speakers like Lopez. However this to me seems like a speech designed not to explain what everybody knows, but instead to confirm and declare one’s resolve. With such speeches, wonkishness and accuracy is never important, but instead the projection of strength. Problem is, I don’t think Capriles is capable of projecting strength at all.

    Aside from this, this speech is something tailor-made for the “man on the street”. It’s a policy speech written at a very dumbed down level. That will obviously kill a ton of nuance.

    And coming out and declaring publicly that gasoline subsidies must change is itself a somewhat gutsy move. Just my 12 BsF (2 cents)

  11. Buena esa Quico, me gustó. Mandaselo a Capriles a ver si la proxima vez que hable por el periscopio no la cague tanto como ayer!

  12. FT’s speech is good, solid economic and financial theory.

    However, it missed or underrated big, popular social problems and concerns, big ones: the Health Care issue, the Criminality issue, and most importantly the Galactic Corruption issue. (which has won Chavez and many Presidents many elections). You have to drill the idea about CHANGE, when things are wrong: in politics you HAVE to criticize your opponent, you will certainly be Drilled with this straight-medicine speech. The MUD has to be even more critical about escasez, crimen, etc, etc.

    The parallel or analogy of Vzla as a Patient here is a good idea: anyone can relate to that. And FT does make an effort to speak in relatively colloquial terms, or criollo raspao. But I can list at least a dozen of concepts and phrases here that would fly right over 80% of the intended audience. I agree with Net. or BB there. The ignorant, brain-washed, under-educated Chavista light pueblo you are trying to convince, even explain new things to, is not very open-minded.. at all.

    Just a couple of examples of Chinese verbiage in Guatire, Cota 905 or Valencia or Barlovento:

    “sistema de tasas multiples”? Taza’e chevrolet o ford? “detener monetizacion de la deuda”? La de mi suegra Petra, la del Imperio, Los chinitos o el ‘eurobolivar fuelte’ ese?

    “Todos sabemos que el control de cambio es un imán enorme para la corrupción, una teta de la que solo chupan los enchufados”

    How so? Primero, half of the Intended Audience, half of Vzlan’s really, does not really comprehend what the “control de cambio” is. They don’t own companies or try to buy dollars, except en la bodega de la esquina. They don’t clearly see the mechanisms that relate it to gargantuan government embezzlement.

    FT does try to explain how the enchufados steal through a corrupt BCV, pero esos son pajaritos prenaos para el pueblo, tu palabra o la de otro..

    “el caos en que vivimos se origina en el control de cambio y los subsidios irresponsables” .. people barely have a clue about stuff like “subsidios”, much less how they work or not. To many of the poor that’s how they get “precios justos”, cheaper harina pan.

    “El colesterol elevado es una Ley del Trabajo que destruye los incentivos para la producción ”

    You lost 2 million voters right there. Los sindicatos de trabajadores will eat you alive you for breakfast during the campaign.. etc, etc.

    ” “Gas prices at International levels” …. ‘Y paque ej el too ese petroleo? Pa que se roben eso tambien?”

    With most of the media controlled by Chavismo, all the censorship, the mega-money they will pour into campaigns, Freebies, Bribes all over the country, Threats, Fear and intimidation… a truthful, good speech like this one from FT would be picked apart, misinterpreted, misquoted, destroyed by the Regime.

    It has to be even more simplistic most of the times, down almost to the Urban Cerro level or Campesino level. Unfortunately, It has to be, unfortunately, less truthful: the truth hurts too much in desperate times, during a major crisis and right before an election. To win the votes of an ignorant, under-educated, bribed, corrupted, spoiled intended audience, against an unfair, criminal Dictatorship, unfortunately, you have to be waaaaaaay more tactful, if not right-down deceiving. That’s what ALL politicians do, worldwide, even when they have semi-educated countries in good shape.

    As a political, economic and financial advice for Leopoldo and J. Guerra, this speech could help, though.

    Capriles has to continue to help in delivering such concepts cerro-arriba. Sadly, that’s how he beat Masburro with Millions of votes last time, and that’s how Chavismo won in the first place.

    • Absolutely right. Cerro arriba. KISS principle. (“Liuis Herrera, Arregla Esto.” “Ese Hombre Si Camina”). He has to ask the crowd, “Are you happy with what you’ve got? (roar no).” Teach them self-awareness of the day-to-day misery they’re in via simple day-to-day terms, so that they will finally admit it, even to themselves. This is the kind of firebrand leadership downscale Venezuelans are used to and will vote for. Fancy economic concepts/terms fly right over the heads of the masses. Leave the dirty work for the multi-Party economic experts post-election.

  13. Unfortunately I’m pessimistic. By no means about F-Tor’s future as an economic consultant & political speechwriter to the oppo pols who badly need his services. But about HCR’s capacity to: (a) digest the simple message that F-Tor crafts to reach multiple socio-economic divides; and (b) implement the thoughts in unwavering terms to his target audiences.

    • But it’s not just Capriles. What we saw yesterday, —per Chuo’s own words, per J, Guerra –, was a deliberate attempt to start explaining in colloquial, simple terms some economic measures that should be taken, before December, to cool things down a bit until the election they think they are going to win (dream on..)

      The MUD chose Capriles for that, perhaps a poor choice, but the best they’ve got considering the target audience. (per El Universal and El Nacional reports: “no fue dibujo libre”)

      Hopefully, in the Future you will have Leopoldo out there, by next year after the stolen elections or sooner. That’s a Harvard graduate. J. Guerra is an Economics Instructor, has written a dozen books about Venezuela, Masters with Summa Cum Laude in the USA. And there are others.

      Not saying that the MUD is great, far from it. Capriles’ little presentation yesterday was not that big of a deal, a rather promising “Oposicion Unida” small media intervention, blown way out of proportion on Intellectual blogs like this one, full of Economists and such doing their thing.

  14. I think that speecch is excellent. And as FT said, you can learn it and say it by heart ithout actually knowing a damn about the subject, so he doesnt has to come up with that, just deliver it in a believably way.

    However I would add a reference that the measures are hard, but its better that we ourselves design and administer this “paquetazo”, so we can choose how hard the conazo would be, and the other only two choices are either complete destruction or the conazo the “bad guy IMF” decides we should have. Its even a matter of sovereignity, a matter of national dignity. We can get through this, yes-we-can!

    Think of it as the patient with diabetes and an infection in the foot. Its already on its way, we can choose to stop overeating sugars, cleaning it daily and taking those awful tasting meds and save our foot… or getting so sick that were unconscious from the infection and now the doctor has to choose over us what to do, and he choses to amputate, and evet like that, theres no 100% guarantee that it would heal. Venezuela is our motherland…would you let your mother die?

  15. I liked the speech, with medical analogies and all; I wonder, perhaps only as a thought experiment, what and how would “Toripollo” respond?

  16. Francisco,

    Totalmente de acuerdo, pero falta un eje estructurante que tiene que ver con proteger a las personas de los efectos del shock. La falta de ese eje en las políticas neoliberales venezolanas es lo que nos trajo el Caracazo y finalmente a Chávez.

    Tu dices: “Todos sabemos cuando vamos a la bomba y ponemos gasolina que el precio que pagamos es irreal.” pero la realidad es que ese no es el tema, y demuestra cierta desconexión con la realidad. ¡Sólo 1 de cada 15 venezolanos posee un automóvil! El problema con la gasolina es que encarece todo: especialmente el transporte y la comida.

    En mi opinión para que la gente apoye estas políticas necesita garantías mínimas. En Venezuela un 20% de la población vive con menos de 2 dólares diarios… el miedo al hambre es real. A pesar de todo Venezuela no es un país pobre. Venezuela puede y debe garantizar el acceso a una salud digna, a educación de calidad, ciertas facilidades de transporte, y comida para quien la necesite. Si garantizas esas cuatro cosas se abre un mundo de posibilidades para sincerar el mercado nacional sin que esto signifique mandar a nadie a la miseria más absoluta.

    De lo contrario, y tú lo sabes, estaríamos pidiendo a otros – a personas con familias que madrugan y trabajan – que sufran consecuencias que ninguno de ‘nosotros’ estaría dispuesto a enfrentar jamás. Más allá de que esto sería poco ético, lo más importante es que es resultaría políticamente inviable y podría (en caso de ejecutarse) llevar a una insurrección popular que finalmente acabaría con lo que le queda a este país de democracia.

    A fin de cuentas, el gobierno venezolano podría recortar sus gastos en un 70% y aun así mantener estas garantías mínimas.

    Saludos,

    • Totalmente de acuerdo, pero falta un eje estructurante que tiene que ver con proteger a las personas de los efectos del shock. La falta de ese eje en las políticas neoliberales venezolanas es lo que nos trajo el Caracazo y finalmente a Chávez.

      ^^ THIS (pero a efectos publicos, omitir mencionar la parte de que nos trajo a chavez, porque ahi si es alienar al pueblo mesmo que no esta de acuerdo con esto, pero de alguna u otra manera sienten una deuda con el tipo…)

  17. It’s a great speech and one that needs to be given, as a greater overall message that comes from a unified opposition consistently staying on message.

    At this point what’s on the radar screen is winning the national assembly elections. The opposition needs to have a clear message about what laws they would push for if they have enough power to wield in the assembly. The proposed speech is excellent. I believe the message from the opposition needs to be more specific and it also has to be a party wide message. We not only need to hear such a message from Capriles, but it needs to be coming from all of the opposition candidates.

    The real problem is going to be convincing the voters that they need to elect people who are going to do things that will increase the pain in the short term (we’re already in pain) but hugely beneficial in the long term. Sticking with the medical metaphor, a tooth with a cavity would be a good analogy. Nobody likes going to the dentist or having their teeth drilled, the pain is worse than before, but after a day or two the pain is gone and your pain-free.

    What will be on the radar soon will be the recall election that is probably coming next year. One problem the opposition has is they don’t have a prospective cabinet. In American politics by the time someone is being considered as a presidential candidate they usually have a track record and their friends and close contacts are well-known, and assumptions can be made about who would probably be chosen for which positions. I believe what needs to be a big part of the oppositions clearly laying out a plan for the future is to designate who those people would be. If you heard that your favorite ball team was working to get out of a slump and also hear which players they were planning on trading or acquiring and they were people you were excited about, it would greatly affect how much you believe the team is really trying to turn itself around. Does anybody have any idea who Capriles would surround himself with? Who would be his finance minister? Who would run PDVSA?

    • I just don’t buy that this is going to “increase the pain in the short term”.

      Right now, we’re spending $40 billion on CENCOEX imports a year, $20 of which are really just “sobrefacturación” – a.k.a., capital flight, a.k.a., enchufados gaming the systems to run off with cut rate dollars.

      If you end the distortion, and you end up both improving your balance of payments and with a huge net RISE in imports: instead of spending $40 billion, half on imports, half on enchufados, you can end up with $30 billion – all of it on imports.

      That’s not “pain”. That’s win-win from a pueblo point of view.

      The only guys who lose are the guys with the guns…

      • Francisco maybe you are better informed than myself but currently I dont know where the 40 billion comes from , we are not producing 40 billion $ per year of disposible oll revenues , more like 30 odd (1.6 kbd of exports times 55$ per bl for 365 days less production costs of 15$ per bl , and debt service of 10.3-10.6 $ bln per year ), some imports are to provide for basic needs others to pay for ongoing pdvsa projects (which at least 50% payable in forex) , not counting the billions of $ owed contractors , suppliers , joint venture partners , airlines , former suppliers or import goods etc. Also oil indsutry investments just to keep things going and undo the damage is going to run into the billions !!

        If controls are lifted and there is not trust in the sustainability of the system the capital flight is going to increase not diminish . This is not to say that the measures dont need to be taken but its going to be painful and very complicated to implement and the results wont be that automatic or inmmediate. Lots of thought has to go into the how !! If you increase the price of gasoline costs ot transportation and electricity will go up considerably and cost of food stapples at a valid market price are going to be much higher than the subsidized prices we have now , even if you elliminate the corruption its not going to be a bed of roses. the devil as always is in the details . !!

        • I use $40bn as a nice round number…the point is that we’re drawing down net foreign assets and borrowing at the same time that we finance capital flight. We’re selling gold, selling discounted Petrocaribe debt, looking to dump refineries in Luisiana…we’re also still borrowing $5 bn. more from China. So we’re sort of selling the family silver AND running up additional debt for what?! To finance the enchufados who make off with the extra dollars at Bs.6.30?! To put arbitrage margins in the pockets of fucking beer bellied Guardia Nacional generals in San Antonio del Tachira?!?

          That’s what I mean about bleeding to death.

          It’s like pouring more and more blood transfusions into a patient before you’ve stopped the damn hemorrage…

          • Ok Francisco the point is taken and its a valid one , our concern is that there is lots of less money being received by the regime than may appear , the two gold transactions were for rather small amounts , the selling of petrocaribe debt isnt going to bring in more than a few thousands (DR was probably one of the most productive) , Citgo got very dissapointing offers (hardly enough to pay for the oct nov debt service) , Chinas 5 bln is to be used for ongoing projects where probably most of the money goes direct to Chinese suppliers and contractors , its very slim pickings for selling the little thats left of the family . Under these conditions even if we take the measures which are being proposed ( and which NEED to be taken) there is going to be a lot of work in thinking how best to do it so that the hurt is minimized but believe you me the hurt is going to be there and it isnt going to be insignificant. !!

      • And the WSJ article that will be titled, “VENEZUELA FINALLY GETS IT!,” will not go unnoticed by investors the world over.

  18. We are still stuck with the idea that a Leader is going to change things , thats stupid , a leader cannot command the information and criteria needed to face the complex challenges that lie ahead . you need a team of people , more than shadow gabinet , a whole team of people , with lots of expertise looking at the details and implications of all the proposed measures . I understand that Capriles is surounded by a team , experts in every field of government , the task is too big for any single man no matter how talented . Lets think in terms of teams , of organized teams . of well integrated teams , The Leader is just the guy who coordinates the team takes final decisions but he is wholly reliant on his team to validate whatever is going to be done by his govt . I am so opposed to bigger than life super heroes . Guys watch too many superhero movies , read too many superhero comic books. Have too much taste for the epical. That was Chavez childish style and see where it got us.

    I am having second thoughts on the idea that if you discard the exchange controls in 12 months every thing will turn dandy, it may be true , but I dont know because I cant visualize figures in hand how thats suppose to work out , I am worried that we have so many obligations payable directly in forex that maybe the amount available to sell to meet local needs and desires may probe insufficient anyway, we have a big back log of unpaid bills that if paid in forex will leave the pool dry, so every foreign creditor gets paid but then do you have enough to keep the necessary food and basic stapples imports coming ?? if you start charging for all subsidised stuff the regular international market price what going to happen to people who dont make enough money to pay that price ?? In the long run I see all of that as going in the right direction and getting us to a more rational balanced economy , but the road in between is full of treacherous turns and shoals.

    Would like to be able to get a clean grasp of how all those measures work out in real time and in real life.

    Understand the idea of negotiating a deferral of due debt service to later years has already been tried , but current conditions are pretty awful to get any thing like that done on reasonable terms , maybe it could be done 18 months ago but now not sure its feasible !! oil prices are down and the political scenario is pretty obscure any way you look at it . !! Wonder why Guerra saw that as something which could be done in so short a time and in current conditions !!

  19. It is a long long overdue discurso that needs to be given not only to the “elite”, if there is one that can really classify as such… Even less educated people can understand the truth when explained and giving away gasoline, as it is done in Venezuela, is tantamount to a violation of human rights…

    http://petropolitan.blogspot.se/2009/12/lo-denunciare.html

    Pues jamas tuve el tiempo y el apoyo necesario para denunciarlo… quizás FT me puede ayudar 🙂

  20. These are mostly theoretical Dreams, anyway. Not gonna happen.

    Nothing remotely close to a fair recovery will happen in Kleptozuela, in decades to come.

    Unless a completely different right-wing authoritarian Regime, a constructive one, grabs the power.

    Even if Leopoldo was free tomorrow, Muduro and Cabello resigned, and a new MUD government started with Kenneth Galbraith, Jose Guerra and the best Economists on the planet with new policies. Screwed.

    As Bill here just hinted, it’s not up to just 1 Leader, or a few people in power. It’s the entire country that is rotten to the core. Its entire social and moral values: gone. Its work ethic (if it ever had one): gone. All the “Fabrics” we like to talk about that make up a semi-healthy Republic, the “democratic” institutions: gone. Its educated, talented professionals : massive brain-drain, over a Million: Gone, won’t come back.

    Guisozuela and its remaining pueblo are deeply fucked, profoundly decadent and destroyed. Heavily in debt, and facing a new world order where the only thing that we produce, the one and only lousy thing, heavy freaking oil, (coz we’re even importing light oil from Nigeria) is going to be cheaper and cheaper. You can’t rebuild, heck, build for the first time, entire decimated or non-existent industries, and agriculture and mining and the entire country with a few economic theories from our comfortable USA homes, in a few years. Or in a few decades, in Cubazuela’s case.

    40 years + of Theft, ineptitude + 16 years of more of the same, except even worse have taken their toll. And no one was educated in those 60 years, they were deeply corrupted instead. Body and souls. Nothing was built, zero infrastructure, instead, Chavismo destroyed 90% of what little we had. Rotten to the core.

    During the 2020’s and 2030’s , after more stolen elections, some sort of MUD governments will try to take some of the economic measures that are required. Too little, too late. It’s going to be another huge mess, as it’s Always been with adecos/copeyanos/socialistas/chavistas and all others; except 5 years with Perez Jimenez, in the entire History of Venezuela, (when about 3/4 of our infrastructure was built, with oil barrels at $2.5, while 25000 people were not killed every year, or even 1000). But I digress.

    They will Steal, that’s the problem, Galactic Theft, way too much again, as always. The temptation and lack of education in this oily country is too great. It ain’t Norway. They are also too incompetent, the hundreds and hundreds of people required to Govern a nation. Hundreds, I repeat, not just a few Economists and a few top MUD guys. Most of them will soon be Corrupt too, as always.

    The only solution would be through a completely different, authoritarian, right-wing, constructive, benevolent Regime. Another type of “dictatorship”, yes. Unfortunately. That’s the only way for Kleptozuela to fix such an extensive, putrid mess, at all levels of society. To educate it’s people, to teach them how to work, not depend of stealing or the corrupt governments, pay taxes, to build infrastructure and prosper in peace.

    We’re talking Singapore, yes, a nasty Pinochet Chile experience, yes. Whatever some well-intentioned military leaders can come up with these days. If we’re lucky. Yes they will kill. Yes they will arrest innocent people. Yes we would loose even more freedoms, of everything. Still, much, much better than any MUD or Chavismo-light.

    Such a tough, authoritarian right-wing regime would steal, of course, but they wouldn’t steal everything, 12 barrels out of 9 produced, as they do now.

    25000 people would not be killed, every year. Nothing remotely close to that. Look at all the countries in the world with resources, oil, that work. With the sole exception of Norway, a highly educated, small, advanced, robotic Scandinavian nation, all of them a screwed, unless they have tough authoritarian regimes: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, soon even Iran will be a hundred times better than Vzla. In months.

    Look at Singapore. A rigid government, right-wing authoritarian Regime started taking these tough, austere measure Decades ago, in the 70’s. It has finally paid off. And compared to Murderzuela, at such a low cost in lives and liberties. You are dreaming a MUD soft “democracy”, with a deeply corrupt Military, and a corrupt Police,Guardia Nazional, rotten to the core too……is gonna stop the violence, gangs, drug trade, 25000 murders per year, bachaqueo, kidnappings, an entire bachaqueo, drugs, Criminal culture? Think again.

    So, unfortunately, unless Kleptozuela gets a modern Singaporean, or Perez Jimenean-type of despicable, authoritarian, but constructive regime, they are SCREWED for decades to come. Totally fucked. Perhaps a little bit less decrepi and chaotic, if Leopoldo, Capriles, MCM, and the MUDcrap, PLUS K. Galbraith, Jose Guerra, Quico, Nagel, and the best Economist available were in power, but screwed anyway. Think Nigeria-screwed, for decades. Get used to it.

    In fact, be prepared for that. That’s what’s coming, by many international objective accounts. Much worse than Colombia, perhaps a bit better than Haiti. That’s what’s coming with ANY MUD “democracy”.

    • My hint is that you can do a lot without having to change the corrupt tendencies of everybody , you need more than leaders , groups of organized meritocratic islands in strategic areas acting in organized practical manner , thats not a lot of people , the thing is to keep them protected from interference from traditional clientelar partisan pressures , that means institutionalizing a system where partisan politics dont have total control of things , where they may take big decisions duly vetted by expert independent advise using mandatory programs formats ( like they do for instance in Bogota) and have their decisions and performance monitored and scrutinized periodically by teams of independent expert agencies or groups.

      That can be done more easily under an authoritarian system (Fukuyama dixit) but its also been done before in democracies where the political class take conscience that they have to establish a different more rigurous form of govt for the good of all ( including themselves) .!!

      • Patient Kleptozuela, is mortally wounded. And the corruption/under-education/ignorance cancer has metastasized. You need major surgeries, amputations, heavy morphine doses or total anesthesia. Only some authoritarian right-wing doctors could administer such painful and unpopular procedures to the putrid patient.

        Bring ONE example, in worldwide History, where a country as corrupted, deeply damaged as Venezuela, in similar total destruction, has recovered relatively quickly and well with some soft “democracy”. None exist.

        The MUD can’t and won’t do what’s necessary.

  21. “But sometimes the patient with cancer, to use another analogy, will prefer witchcraft over a treatment that they know will cause immense suffering, delivered by someone they have never known or trusted.”

    Correct. Especially if that “patient” is a highly under-educated, (superstitious if you prefer..), naive, profoundly ignorant, often corrupt and lazy, used to living like leeches off populist regimes.

  22. Yo siempre he visto a Capriles como un tipo muy capaz y como un buen “presidente de transición”, nada mas. El solo es el facilitador del cambio entre este comunismo dictatorial y la verdadera democracia. Veo el discurso que dio como politico, no como economico. Esta utilizando lenguage populista para ganar adeptos, mas nada, y todos aqui sabemos que ese es el unico lenguage que la mayoria de los venezolanos entiende.

    Nadie va a votar por alguien que dice que les va a “quitar el unico beneficio que tienen” (tal y como he oido a mucha gente clase media diciendo cuando se habla de subir los precios de la gasolina o de eliminarle “sus” dolares de viajero).

    El cambio no va a suceder de la noche a la mañana solo porque se cambia de presidente. El daño no es solo economico, es tambien social, moral. La brecha entre un lado y otro es demasiado grande y hay mucha, muchisima desinformacion e ignorancia en ambos lados con respecto a la economia.

    • It’s just terrible Public Relations management. What we have now is the worst of both worlds: a guy talking to an audience largely made up of international investors, diplomats and executives in language calculated to appeal to a barrio.

      • That is true. But right now, which one is more important?
        To keep in the theme, it’s like asking the family of the patient if they give permission to treat the patient immediately, or to call the insurance company to see if the patient is covered before operating.
        One other thing, it’s not only to”a barrio”. It’s also to the many Maria Alejandra Lopez that get mad if the take away their cupo cadivi.

  23. The money quotes:

    “Los que quieran irresponsables que no tomen medidas urgentes – impostergables – porque no las ven populares ya tienen un presidente en Miraflores. Ya hemos visto a dónde lleva ese camino.”

    “Yo no me voy a quedar callado mientras el país que amo se desangra por la irresponsabilidad y la ignorancia de los que lo gobiernan. ESO sí que es políticamente inviable.”

  24. Estimado, no te ofendas, pero bueno:

    Menos mal que no eres candidato ni médico, panita.
    Primero, en tus dos medidas estrellas de corto plazo, incluyes una medida parecida a la que Capriles mencionó (control de cambio). Segundo, en términos de populismo se te fue de las manos. Tercero, la analogía médica se cae como tres veces y no creo que sea el ejemplo mas claro, porque la gente que tiene VIH, siempre se muere, y los países no mueren.

    A ver, qué más?. Coye, falta un poco de humildad, y a mucha gente claro, y a mi también por supuesto. Por ejemplo: “Estas medidas se pueden tomar ya. De una vez. Hoy. De un plumazo. Lo único que falta es la claridad y la decisión política para hacerlo.“ ¿Cómo se puede hacer esto que dices?, ¿de una vez tumbar el control de cambio y los subsidios?, ¿de pana, de un plumazo?, ¿sobre la base de que teoría económica argumentas tu que esas medidas son tan sencillas?, ¿sobre la base de cual análisis político subvaloras tú la “claridad y decisión política“, como dos cosas que sólo, solamente faltan y ya, listo un plumazo, como si fuera la voluntad que hace falta para recetar un Advil (para seguir con la analogía).

    Luego, me doy cuenta que mas del 70% de tus propuestas son de “largo plazo“, mezcladas con propuestas de corto plazo. El discurso de Capriles, fue para el corto plazo, eso se llama enfoque, y si te desenfocas entonces comienza la habladera de “política“. Date cuenta, que Capriles, quizá pensó en demostrarle a la gente (para quedar bien, por supuesto), como es eso de que alguien piense en hacer algo para proteger lo que se pueda proteger en esta crisis, porque lo que está sucediendo es grave, no es una situación simple como tu dices, según tu larga experiencia escribiendo o gobernando.

    Te pongo aqui lo que yo entendí del discurso del que tantas quejas brillantes tienes.

    Útiles para 9 millones de niños, 250 millones, porque esas familias de esos niños no tienen o tendrán 20 o 25 mil BsF para el próximo Inicio de clases.

    Privatizar empresas expropiadas, para enviar una señal al mercado internacional de recapacitación y poder conseguir financiamiento con mejores condiciones.

    Dejar de regalar petróleo y cobrar las deudas (Esto tiene costos de transacción bastante altos, y costos políticos también)

    Subir el sueldo 50%. Esto está de más.

    Reconducción del presupuesto, ergo, reestructurar el gasto público, ergo, subsidios, ingresos (gasolina).

    Ah otra cosa, la inflación no baja necesariamente porque quites controles de cambio o porque influyas en la valoración del tipo de cambio.

    Estás medidas, no son un plan de gobierno, ni un proyecto de país. Pero funcionan para seguir moviendo el juego político. Presionar al gobierno, estimular la opinión publica. Pero bueno, claro que nuestra opinión pública es desinformada, prejuiciosa y soberbia.. Justo como la opinión sobre farándula.

    Por otro lado, el problema del país, ya no es económico, es político. Es un problema solapado, primero política y luego por debajo economía. Antes de agarrar tu libro de medicina económica para países subdesarrollados, agarre un libro de medicina política, o de primeros auxilios (según tu es muy fácil tener claridad y decisión política). Me gustaría leer, tus propuestas económicas para Grecia o China, sencillas y brillantes como las que tienes para sustituir el discurso de Capriles.

    Mira, yo no se que sé cual es la verdadera intensión de ese discurso de Capriles, no soy caprilista ni de PJ, no se si lo que yo entendí es acertado, no se si sean ideas correctas. Puede que no, porque en economía todo tiene un costo y a estas alturas cualquier movimiento puede salir muy bien o muy caro. Sin embargo, creo que deberías bajarte un poco de tu nube blogera. Es muy facil blogear y desmontar sin bases todo lo que puede ser desmontable. Pero el problema es ese, que tu intensión es criticar por criticas, proponer algo mas inteligente y decir cosas sin sentido, para intentar aterrizar información para “los ignorantes“. Es una insensatez chamo. Tu tienes la oportunidad de darle a tus lectores un análisis sensato y equilibrado. No una demostración de soberbia y cinismo criollo. Necesitamos tratarnos bien, no caernos a cuchillos de plástico.

    Saludos,

    PD: Esto lo posteo porque lei esto y la cabeza me dio vueltas de contradicción: “CaracasChronicles.com (on Twitter @CaracasChron) has been the place for opposition-leaning-but-not-insane analysis of the Venezuelan political scene since 2002. The blog aims to breathe life, insight, and wit into discussions of Venezuelan public life.“

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