Down the Serranomics Rabbit Hole


It’s been an open secret for quite some time that the real power behind economic policy making (or the lack thereof) in the Maduro Era isn’t even Venezuelan. But  and Mayela Armas still does a real service by diving into the weeds and actually reporting the crap out of the story of how a single Spanish lunatic with the president’s ear is keeping an entire country hungry,

In a move that underscores Mr. Serrano’s influence, Mr. Maduro chose to ignore a recent economic-reform plan that he had requested from the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, a left-leaning bloc co-founded by Venezuela.

The then-vice president for the economy, Miguel Pérez Abad, endorsed the plan, which called for direct subsidies to the poorest families, the elimination of foreign-exchange controls and a reduction of price controls, according to two members of a Unasur mission who worked on the plan.

“I thought it was a good proposal, very reasonable,” said José Antonio Ocampo, a Columbia University economist and former Colombian finance minister who took part in two preliminary meetings of the Unasur mission earlier this year.

But Mr. Serrano argued against the plan after Mr. Maduro asked the mission to present the proposals directly to the Spanish adviser in May, said one Unasur member at the presentation. Mr. Serrano said the plan omitted a tax reform and took away too much state power, according to the person.

Probably the thing that makes me angriest about this whole thing is Anatoly and Mayela’s confirmation that it’s Serrano who’s behind Maduro’s weird fixation with Urban Agriculture and the creation of the Ministry for Urban Agriculture — with a Serrano acolyte at the helm, naturally.

Look, I grow vegetables in my backyard, and it’s a lovely hobby. But the notion of Urban Agriculture as the lynchpin of an economic development strategy is so aggressively moronic, so patently at odds of even the barest of bare bones economic reasoning, so catastrophically unable to take on even the so-obvious-it’s-just-DUHHHHHH insight that it may not be such a great idea to center the economic activity that uses land most intensively (farming) in the area where land is scarcest (cities), the entire thing bursts the banks of ideological disagreement and becomes, to me, simply stomach-churning, like finding out the surgeon who’s been treating your gravely ill child doesn’t believe in modern medicine and has been bleeding him with leeches instead.

There are many, many people responsible for Venezuela’s descent into dystopia. But few bear a heavier responsibility than Alfredo fuckin’ Serrano and the lunatics who take him seriously.

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    • Yeah the Wall Street Journal…that lair of closet Marxists…way to keep your eye on the real threat, Jake…

      • Lol Jake, yea, I’m sure that the proper conclusion from this article is that Quico is a closet Marxist. How the hell did you reach that conclusion? 😛

        Also, despite not defending socialism anywhere, Quico has a point in one of his recent posts (Dogma) when he says that what really screws this government over is their lack of pragmatism. An empirical socialist, like Miguel Pérez Abad, would arrive to conclusions that are not necessarily in line with their ideology because they would see that their hypotheses are not leading to the desired results. A lunatic, like Serrano, doesn’t really care about results, and that in itself is a huge part of the problem.

  1. Well, on the one hand, Venezuela is the Western Hemisphere’s most urbanized country (Puerto Rico is more urbanized but it sin’t, well, de jure a ‘country’), and since most of the Venezuelans who once farmed are now in cities/barrios, they might actually know a bit about farming.

    BUT SERIOUSLY: I can imagine them in Miraflores conjuring up the urban gardens of Cubans during the ‘special period’ (i.e., near starvation) and, who knows, even the “victory gardens” in the USA and the record-extension of cultivated land in G. Britain during WWII … and the fact urban gardens now spreading now across places like dystopian post-industrial Detroit (check out satellite images!).

    I can just hear it now!

    But, in any case, even if it WERE a good idea, almost NOTHING has worked in ANY agricultural program Chavismo has EVER implemented … because it is an organizationally-and-managerially incompetent movement… so why should this end up any different!? It is nonsense in the present circumstances.

    Beyond this, it is interesting to reflect on why, in general, Chavismo has always trusted foreign advisers so much!
    ANSWER: Because they know that they themselves lack competence.

    • Una persona que escribe en alemán sobre Venezuela recomienda artículos encontrados en la web de la universidad de la Rioja, donde yo resido, en la página de un periodista que vive en Canadá… el mundo es un pañuelo, decimos en España, y cada vez parece hacerse más pequeño

  2. Cónchale, Toro, cuando uno escribe una palabrota en los comentarios hasta correos le mandas a uno con una pastilla de jabón y un cepillo de dientes en la mano, mientras tú sí te puedes divertir con los adjetivos a tus anchas xDDD

    Y bueno, sí, el Serrano es poco más que uno de esos comunistas trasnochados de manual, igual que el Iglesias y el Monedero, de esos a los que todo el tiempo les dicen que si tanto les gusta ser comunistas que se vayan a Cuba y tal.

    Pero ya ves, que los comunistas son expertos en manipular con palabritas dulces y tal, como decirle a los vagos que pueden vivir sin trabajar, o a los políticos que pueden controlar para siempre al perraje sin importar cuánto lo hagan sufrir.

  3. A tidbit from tradingeconomics dot com:

    “Spain Jobless Rate Falls to Nearly 6-Year Low in Q2. Spain’s unemployment rate fell to 20 percent in the three months to June of 2016 from 21 percent in the previous period, beating market expectations of 20.4 percent. It was the lowest reading since the third quarter of 2010, aided by jobs in services and tourism.Jul 28, 2016 ”

    Socialism does work …! But for what? Maybe someday in the distant future someone will find a way to refine it or distill it, and use it as a new form of antibiotic, or to communize mosquitoes and wipe them out.

  4. Quico’s comment: To tar Bernie supporters with the ills of the Chavez era is to show the kind of slackjawed rightwing simplemindedness that brought us…well, that brought us candidate Trump.

    As you never replied to my replies, I am linking back.

    While Bernie Sanders has currently declined to comment on Venezuela, in the past he has vehemently defended the Sandinistas and Castro’s Cuba, which I pointed out in my replies to you. As such, it is far from “slackjawed rightwing simplemindedness” to tar Bernie, if not his supporters, with “the ills of the Chavez era.” After all, don’t most defenders of Castro and of the Sandinistas also support Chavismo?

    Perhaps you should check at the door some of the assumptions you picked up at Reed. “Slackjawed,” indeed. Rather like “monte y culebra,” isn’t it?

      • Had you bothered to read my comments at the link, you would have noted that Sanders had the warm fuzzies for Fidel, another “communist dictator ” [Vermont Freeman writings]. Which shows that when Bernie Sanders labels someone “a communist dictator,” that doesn’t prevent him from supporting “a communist dictator.”

        As Bernie Sanders supported food lines in Sandinista Nicaragua[video] , would that not also imply his support for food lines in Chavista Venezuela? My comments are well- documented.

        Of course Bernie Sanders wouldn’t want to be associated with the disaster that is Venezuela 2016. Who does? Of course Sanders doesn’t want to be associated with Maduro’s endorsement. Nor does Sanders want to be associated with those wanting Venezuelan political prisoners to be freed.

      • That’s a reasonable enough point of view, Phil.

        This never was about Bernie Sanders, though. It was about the relative weight you should put on ideology vs. propensity-for-institutional-destruction in assessing the locus of chaos generation during the Chávez era.

        • This never was about Bernie Sanders, though.
          Then you shouldn’t have mentioned him. You were the one who initially brought up Bernie Sanders,not I. My point was about your assumptions of “slackjawed rightwing simplemindedness.” Which you haven’t addressed.

    • Boludo Tejano,

      Let’s not forget that Bernie Sanders and his supporters share the same opinion of the Chavistas and Fidel Castro about Dilma’s 100% constitutional impeachment: “coup d’etat”.

      Not only that, Sanders also wants the US meddling in internal affairs of Brazil, while at the same time doesn’t want the US doing anything to topple dictators like Maduro or Fidel Castro. I see a Nobel peace prize nominee in the making right there!

      Anti-chavistas supporting Bernie Sanders are the ones with a simple mind, as they believe that being a native English-speaker born in it US would automatically prevent a person from being a left-wing bastard. “He eats at McDonalds and watches NFL, he can’t be a communist pretending to like democracy, you moron. Yes, he does praise Chavez, Castro, the Bolivarian revolution, Farc, USSR, and everything else bad in the world with a coat of red on it, but he is American, thus, he can’t be associated with what he says that he likes. He is different because he speaks English.”

      • Let’s not forget that Bernie Sanders and his supporters share the same opinion of the Chavistas and Fidel Castro about Dilma’s 100% constitutional impeachment: “coup d’etat”.

        Yes, indeed. Bernie Sanders Denounces Brazil’s Impeachment as Undemocratic, Calls for New Elections.

        Bernie Sanders on the impeachment: “To many Brazilians and observers the controversial impeachment process more closely resembles a coup d’état.”

        Maduro on the impeachment “I have no doubt that behind this coup is the label ‘made in USA,'” President Nicolas Maduro said in a speech on state TV.

        Yup, it’s really an example of “slackjawed rightwing simplemindedness” to see resemblances between Bernie Sanders and Maduro, especially when they have very similar opinions on the impeachment in Brazil.

        Crickets from Quico. if Quico doesn’t want discussion on his Sanders comment, then Quico should not have brought up Sanders several weeks ago, a time when it was obvious that Sanders was dead in the water. I suspect that Quico didn’t really care about Sanders- he just wanted to insert a crack about “slackjawed rightwing simplemindedness.” Which, given his education at Reed, is no surprise. g

        Quico, there are now three well-documented examples which show it is anything but “slackjawed rightwing simplemindedness” to connect Bernie Sanders and Maduro, but crickets from you.

  5. So pathetic but so unsurprising. A more or less reasonable plan out of the hole is scrapped because it would reduce state power.

    Because that is the important thing, you see, not actually delivering good quality of life (or at least, survivable poverty) to people – the value to defend is control by the state, even when faces with the evidence it did not work

  6. The recent ministerial initiatives to attempt to rectify old economic policies that have been ostentatiously proven wrong and replace them with somewhat more pragmatic policies have resulted in the authors of those initiatives getting the sack or being treated as traitors to the cause …….. (e.g. Perez Abad , Eulogio del Pino) ,

    One may reasonably suppose that the short shrift given these initiatives is because they represent a retreat from dogmatic ideological orthodoxy ( as embodied by Serranos tenderly utopian views) , but maybe there is also something in the regimes DNA that makes it too humiliating to admit to their revolutionary beliefs (and practices ) being not only wrong but destructive ……..!!

    Chavez personal posture ( copied by his succesors) is that they (and of course the ideals they embody with such frenzied rethorical devotion ) are always succesful , that they know no failure , that they are infallible ……..

    These are people that feel that if they follow their prejudices they can do no wrong …….!! because they base their bloated ideological pride on the premise that all wrong and failure is blameable on a wicked and heinous enemy be it capitalism , or the right wing oppo fascists or the fiends defending their international business interests!! .

    This is a common enough flaw of the human condition , being so wraped up in the defense of ones ego that one can never admitt to being wrong , in other cases and under more ordinary circumstances this may be understandable , but when the gap between reality and ideological delusion is so great and the consequences so terrible for a whole people , this flaw becomes a CRIME ……almost genocidal in scale..!

  7. Chavista politicians can´t overcome colonial complexes. They need the approval of european “intellectuals”, such as Monedero, Ramonet, Serrano himself, to know they are doing the right thing. On the other hand, these so called “intellectuals” direct our economy to a path that in their own countries would not be tolerated, they only think that the extreme poverty standars of living that they promote, and even celebrate, are only fit to latin american countries that will never reach the heights of development that they enjoy in Europe.


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