Let’s be crystal clear about one thing: when a government hides official data it’s meant to publish, it violates your rights. I know we’re not used to discussing it in those terms. I know we’ve gotten so used to opacity it feels like a waste of time to bang on this drum. But your rights don’t stop being so because they’ve been violated; they’re still your rights, and those who breach them should be held accountable.

It won’t happen at home. The Supreme Court is as reliable as a dog babysitting sausages, so it’s about freakin’ time the international community said (and did) something.

Reuters just reported:


But could it happen in Washington?

Maybe. According to Article VIII, Section 5, International Monetary Fund (IMF) members must provide information “necessary for the Fund to discharge its duties effectively,” such as:

  • Reserve, or base money;
  • Broad money;
  • Interest rates, both market-based and official, including discount rates, money market rates, treasury bills rates, notes and bonds;
  • Revenue, expenditure, balance and composition of financing (foreign financing and domestic bank and nonbank financ­ing);
  • The stocks of central government and central government-guaranteed debt, including currency and maturity composition and, if the debt data are amenable to classification on the basis of the residency or non residency of the holder, the extent to which the debt is held by residents or nonresidents;
  • Balance sheet of the Central Bank;
  • External current account balance;
  • Exports and imports of goods and services;
  • International reserve assets for monetary authorities, specifying any reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered, reserve liabilities, short-term liabilities linked to a foreign currency but settled by other means, and the notional values of financial derivatives to pay and to receive foreign currency (including those linked to a foreign currency but settled by other means);
  • Gross domestic product (GDP), or gross national product (GNP);
  • Consumer price index (CPI);
  • Gross external debt and;
  • Consolidated balance sheet of the banking system.

Venezuela’s Central Bank (BCV) and the National Institute of Statistics (INE) have a rather long list of overdue data. For example, the last official available inflation and GDP numbers were published in December 2015.

The IMF has censured governments in the past for this kind of misbehavior.

On February 1st,  2013, the IMF issued a motion of censure against Argentina because the country didn’t implement enough measures to address the quality of official data reported for the Consumer Price Index for Greater Buenos Aires (CPI-GBA), and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The censure was lifted on November 9th, 2016.

Maduro and his cronies will most likely say that this potential declaration of censure is yet another attack from la derecha imperial, part of the guerra económica. It doesn’t matter. Our rights are our rights — and we have a right to this data, and any heat the government gets for obstructing it is welcome.

We don’t have many hopes for the BCV or INE to catch up on all they owe us. Until they face actual costs for hiding it, there’s no prospect for change.

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  1. Constitution of Venezuela:

    Article 28
    Anyone has the right of access to the information and data concerning him or her or his or her goods which are contained in official or private records, with such exceptions as may be established by law, as well as what use is being made of the same and the purpose thereof, and to petition the court of competent competence for the updating, correction or destruction of any records that are erroneous or unlawfully affect the petitioner’s right.

    He or she may, as well, access documents of any nature containing information of interest to communities or group of persons. The foregoing is without prejudice to the confidentiality of sources from which information is received by journalist, or secrecy in other professions as may be determined by law.

  2. The IMF had better not withdraw Venezuela’s membership, since its SDR’s, at probably less than $ 2 bill., or so, are likely a good part of the insufficient international reserves the Country has left.


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