Venezuela is facing what is now probably its deepest economic crisis since the Federal Wars of the 1860s: an economic cataclysm of hard-to-overstate proportions. 78% of Venezuelans now say they themselves or someone close to them has lost weight due to being unable to source enough food. Now more than ever, the country needs — and I mean needs — a superstar economics team: the kind of far-sighted leadership up to the daunting task of stabilizing the nation’s badly beaten economy.

Instead, we’re getting Ramón Lobo.

Ramón who?! Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of him. Nobody had. A bush leagues chavista apparatchik whose most demanding previous post was as mayor of La Azulita — a town of 15,000 in Mérida State — the closest he’d come to the limelight until now was the time Henry Ramos Allup put him on the receiving end of one of his famous zingers (“¡de inteligencia no te vas a morir!”)

But that’s by the by. What concerns us here tonight is that Ramón Lobo has no discernable ideas on economic matters of any sort. He did study economics at ULA (an eternity ago), and he does now sit in the National Assembly’s Finance Committee (where he has failed to make any sort of impact at all). But his writings betray no trace of economic reasoning, much less a semi-reasonable approximation to an understanding of the scale of the economic berenjenal the nation is in. Instead, we get the kind of slogan-strewn, contentless propaganda pablum that’s at the heart of rhetorical chavismo. Crap like:

Complementándose al Sucre y con el objetivo de apalancar el desarrollo económico y social de la región, impulsar proyectos de carácter estructural para avanzar en la superación de la pobreza y promover una distribución equitativa y estratégica de las inversiones, que potencien sectores clave en la economía de nuestros países, se propone la creación del Banco del Sur, Banco del Alba y el Banco de Petrocaribe. El primero parte de la iniciativa de Unasur con su acta fundacional, suscrita el 9 de diciembre de 2007 por Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay y Venezuela. El segundo, fundado en noviembre del 2008 es impulsado por el ALBA-TCP y en aras de concretarse encontramos el Banco de Petrocaribe, el cual se plantea desde la Celac sobre las bases y principios cimentados en los convenios energéticos.

Dichas instituciones se conciben como bancos de desarrollo y entes de financiamiento regional independientes de organismos multilaterales como el FMI y el Banco Mundial , que prestaban dinero bajo el recetario neoliberal donde se excluye la implementación de políticas sociales que pudieran corregir las distorsiones del libre mercado.

Lo que hemos descrito en las líneas precedentes, marca el rumbo de la nueva Arquitectura Financiera de la Región, que tiene como eje transversal apuntalar la integración de los países latinoamericanos y la creación de proyectos conjuntos basados en la complementariedad, cooperación, solidaridad y combate a las asimetrías, pasando por el delicado proceso de la supervisión y verificación del comercio justo, a fin de alcanzar los niveles de desarrollo deseado con respeto de la soberanía y total independencia de los centros financieros del imperialismo.

I could’ve copy-pasted just about any passage from Lobo’s Aporrea oeuvre and it would’ve been much the same: a torrent of bureaucratic gobbledygood, inflated in style, hollow as the guy’s head, with no trace of reasoning anywhere. Par for the course, given the guy’s trajectory…and yet, this is the guy who’s going to be negotiating extensions of our line of credit with the Chinese from now on! This fucking guy is going to be on the receiving end of the conference calls with Wall Street investors! This is the guy meant to get our ducks in a row so we can avoid default, maintain some form of access with international goods markets, and forestall an even worse collapse than we’ve already seen. This guy!

It’s impossible to be surprised by this kind of thing anymore, but it’s necessary to remain appalled. And fucking angry. People are going hungry, nojoda, Venezuela can’t afford the luxury of a Finance Minister (and Economics VP) who has no fucking clue what he’s doing.

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  1. It has been evident for years that they have no intention of fixing the economy into something minimally rational, they only care about stealing what’s left while feeding us minimal calories on a day to day basis, this appointment must serve those purposes somehow, I can’t possibly imagine exactly how.
    By this point, they probably celebrate each venezuelan that leaves the country as one mouth less to insanely subsidize

  2. Really Quico? These bozos have no intention of digging out of the muck. If they did, Maduro would have been long gone.

  3. The new oil minister is part of Cilias Catia circle of favourites and was supposed to replace Ramirez when he was ousted but somehow was put in the back burner for a while longer ….!! now is his turn . He is better as a profesional than most regime managers , very smart and ambitious and has a bit of hidden history which few people know about , also believe he made great friends with Correas vicepresident when he was Pdvsa rep in Ecuador ……!!

    I believe he had something to do with Citgo not being sold but rather made into a vehicle to raise funds for Pdvsa and the govt……!!

    Lobo is another of the clowns which poor old Nicolas prefers to surround himself with , people who dont challenge his evidently low intellectual self esteem !!

  4. “Lobo is another of the clowns which poor old Nicolas prefers to surround himself with , people who dont challenge his evidently low intellectual self esteem !!”

    Well put, Mr. Bass.

    Venezuela has already progressed past a slave plantation straight into a living hell. This government wants to mentally and physically destroy everyone. Please someone buy Maduro a one way ticket out of the country. At least 25 million Venezuelans will contribute to the ticket.

  5. Well, there is a small problem.

    Is there anyone on the Chavista side that can fullfill the requirements? Is not like they have a deep bench of world-class economists ready to tackle the disaster.

    This guy sounds to me like another “fuse minister”. You put them in, then you take them out when they burn and put another. So, makes sense – nobody with any aspirations at all would want to be on that position.

  6. I don’t trust my skills in macroeconomic analysis, but this 5 billion dollar sale of debt to state owned Banco de Venezuela ( looks like a possible important step in the downward spiral. They find no external lenders, not even chinese. So now they started to pay their debt against foreign providers by dumping toxic assets in the banking system. If I remember right the last attempts of the Alan Garcías Government during the crisis in Peru back in the 80ties were along those lines. From which accounts does Banco de Venezuela take those $5 Billion? From Dollar deposits of their customers, be them private or companies, possibly even foreign companies? And what happens if one sunny morning those people show up at the counter and ask to withdraw the dollars from their accounts?
    To me it looks like beyond raspar la olla.
    What happens under the current circumstances, if Banco de Venezuela becomes iliquid in Dollars?

    Could be that any not completly clueless economic “expert” anywhere near the Government just does not want to take over the job, so now Don Ramón Lobo commands the jib.

  7. You people are talking like the government cares about who warms the chair of the country finances.

    They just put “El Lobo” to take the fall out of the new currency fiasco and the hyperinflation of 2017. Merentes and the other cronies will continue to manage the squander unchecked.

    I give him three months…


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