Caribbean Mugabenomics

The Economist is already drawing comparisons between Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

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Three years ago I first heard the phrase “Brazil is on its way to becoming Argentina. Argentina is on its way to becoming Venezuela. And Venezuela is on its way to becoming…Zimbabwe”. At that moment (naïvely), I thought about it as a fatalist soundbite you could hear around El Cafetal while smirking in silence at the hyperbole.  

Cut to the present day: While Brazil is struggling and Argentina fortunately veered away from its path towards “Argenzuela”, Venezuela is…well…actually resembling Zimbabwe 15 years ago, with every passing day.

Don’t believe me? Check out how The Economist puts you through a Spot the Difference test in its most recent piece about Venezuela.

“Might Venezuela go the way of Zimbabwe? They are culturally very different, but the political parallels are ominous. Both countries have suffered under charismatic revolutionary leaders. Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. Hugo Chávez ran Venezuela from 1998 until his death in 2013. His handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, continues his policies, though with none of Chávez’s—or Mr Mugabe’s—political adroitness.

Mr. Mugabe seized big commercial farms without compensation, wrecking Zimbabwe’s largest industry. Chávez expropriated businesses on a whim, sometimes on live television […]”

“Mr Mugabe has long blamed his country’s economic woes on speculators, traitors, imperialists and homosexuals. Mr Maduro, to his credit, doesn’t blame gay people. But he insists that local capitalists and their American allies are waging an “economic war” on Venezuela. This is absurd: in both economies the assaults have come from their own governments […].”

Venezuela-Zimbabwe parallels are no longer a joke. This is getting real. Soaring shortages getting worse by the day, spiraling inflation poised to become hyperinflation as per IMF 2016’s estimates (720% forecasted by year-end) and an endless et cetera of consequences created by a failed economic model.

At this rate, present-day Bs.2 banknotes will replace the 1989 ones as collectors items sooner than you think.

15 COMMENTS

    • Where in the article does the Economist say ‘africanizacion’?

      The offence of this term is not PC driven, it is the truthful disdain people from African countries have at being lumped together in a homogenous group that is insulting at best, and racist at worst.

      Morocco is not Angola as Liberia is not Tanzania.
      Norway is not Greece as Serbia is not Latvia.
      Chile is not Colombia as Uruguay is not Suriname.

      If you take the trouble to make friends with people from different African countries you will understand the resentment they have to your colonialist language.

      Political Correctness has a use and a purpose, but it is not an excuse for everytime you are wrong about something.

      • At least Wu Ming tries to make an argument, albeit unconvincing, but you seem alarmingly close to this definition:

        bigot
        noun big·ot \ˈbi-gət\
        Popularity: Top 1% of lookups
        Simple Definition of bigot

        : a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc.

        but of course “on the right side of history”

        • Wu Ming’s arguments seem pretty sound to me. There’s no reason for generalizations, they’re always poor platforms for engaging in informed discussions.

  1. Mugabe propped himself up with North Koreans, until his own state police were sufficiently trained and numerous to repress the country without outside help. Chavismo is doubtless leaning on the Cubans, whose state police were trained up with the help of the East German Stasi. There are plenty of striking parallels between Chavismo and Mugabe’s robber barons.

  2. Shit. It’s the kind of stuff that venezuelans hardly notice until its pointed out to them as clearly as this… The Boiled Frogs effect has been unbelievable, and we’re definitely at the Zimbabwe-level-crisis threshold.

    PS: I already started to collect 2, 5 and 20 bs bills… For the mint condition ones, I can’t help but think their intrinsic value is way higher than its face value..

    • Tuve que buscar en internet lo de “boiled frog effect”. La wikipedia dice “according to contemporary biologists the premise is false: a submerged frog gradually heated will jump out”. Esperemos que los venezolanos tengan más inteligencia que las ranas pero los más de cinco millones que votaron por el chavismo, los cubanos que llevan décadas bajo el mandato comunista sin que los Castro teman por su futuro o los treinta millones de muertos por las hambrunas de la china maoista sin que se tengan noticia de grandes revueltas demuestran que las ranas, a veces, están por encima de los humanos en la escala evolutiva.

      • El humano, el chavizta en forma específica, es capaz de aceptar que hasta le maten a sus hijos a cambio de que su gobiernito les de una sobadita de su ego y los “visibilice” en su discurso, así es el complejo de superioridad tan grande que tienen, que creen que su “venganza contra los ricos” vale hasta la vida se sus familias.

    • The great irony is that the Bf is stronger on eBay by several orders of magnitude than it is in real life.

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Venezuela-2-Bolivares-Banknote-World-paper-money-S-America-Currency-UNC-Crisp-/350271673799?hash=item518dd195c7:g:UlMAAOSw-W5Uvbl9

      Imagine an exchange rate where the bolivar is $1.72:1.

      I, too, collect world currencies and the last time I saw something this odd where contemporary values were flipped was with the Turkish Lira some years back. We used to play “Who Wants To Be A Turkish Millionaire”. I’m sure something similar happened with the Z-Dollar, after all, there are 100 Trillion notes on eBay for $40 or so, but I don’t recall seeing them as readily available as that currency collapsed.

  3. […] Caracas Chronicles: […] “Might Venezuela go the way of Zimbabwe? They are culturally very different, but the political parallels are ominous. Both countries have suffered under charismatic revolutionary leaders. Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. Hugo Chávez ran Venezuela from 1998 until his death in 2013. His handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, continues his policies, though with none of Chávez’s—or Mr Mugabe’s—political adroitness. […]

  4. Most-worrisome is the Cubanization, rather than the Zimbabweization, of Venezuela, without the Raul realpolitick opening to the U. S.

  5. Chavez wanted to make Venezuela the “sea of happiness” like Cuba and made it the “sea of misery” like Cuba really is by listening to the senile bearded one who just wanted oil money to escape bankruptcy.

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