The National Assembly estimated the inflation rate for 2017 at 2616%, an unprecedented record in the country. In December, prices rose by 85%, surpassing the cumulative inflation of Latin America as a whole. Hyperinflation is growing due to the severe distortions in our economy, including the plummeting production due to FX controls and the BCV printing bolívares on demand for the Administration (in December, monetary liquidity rose by 38%.) Lawmaker José Guerra, head of the Finance Committee, said that the BCV must stop issuing money and suggested a series of measures to correct distortions, including: lifting FX controls; refinancing the foreign debt (which demands trust in the country and an economic plan for bondholders,) and request international financial assistance, because there are no reserves and we need growth in foreign currency.

Empty promises

As an actor in a commercial, Nicolás met with doctors to start the “military offensive on the white coats.” He spoke of the resources to incorporate 16,500 youths from the plan Chamba Juvenil to the health sector; of activating a Humanized Childbirth bonus next week through the carnet de la patria; he approved Bs. 1.8 billion for the National Surgical plan; Bs. 111,980 million for works in the JM de los Ríos Children’s Hospitals, and another five billion to make repairs in 18 Integral Diagnostic Centers (CDI) in Caracas.

After the U.S. Treasury Dept. sanctions, governor Rodolfo Marco Torres (pictured above) opened a CDI in Aragua, taking the opportunity to talk of the Cuban term, Caumatología (Burn therapy.) He’s already campaigning: Nicolás said that in the next elections, “the people will punish the traitors” and he also claimed that he’ll redistribute the country’s wealth “in the form of health, education and protection.” He called the public health movement to start house-by-house visits on January 13, all over the national territory, “guaranteeing” medicines for everyone through the 0800-salud-ya. He also took the chance to ask the people to reject the National Assembly (through the hate law) because “they’re moving against the Petro, the carnet de la patria and social programs.”

Drop in oil production

PDVSA’s output dropped by 100,000 barrels per day in December, and is down to 1.7 million barrels per day, the lowest record since 1989, according to data from the energy market analysis agency S&P Global Platts. So PDVSA is strapped for cash, with dwindling staff and equipment, in default and affected by United States sanctions; circumstances that won’t be corrected with the anti-corruption show starring the imposed prosecutor general and much less under the leadership of a soldier with no experience in the sector.

By the way, while former PDVSA president Rafael Ramírez threatened to reveal the origin of the money used to buy Últimas Noticias and El Universal, the head of PDVSA’s Vienna Office, Bernard Mommer, sent an open letter addressing Tarek William Saab: “You’re abusing your authority to turn a political confrontation into a fight against corruption,” adding that his accusations are false, vicious, absurd and contradictory.

Nicolás’ destruction

Former Spanish president Felipe González said in an interview that he’s never seen a faster and deeper process of institutional, economic, social and security decay as the one caused by Nicolás, finishing off branch autonomy, overtaking the Judiciary, nullifying the democratic opposition –which he describes as an undeniable majority– controlling the CNE and eliminating all guarantees for electoral processes. According to González, while Nicolás uses justice to arrest and imprison dissidents, the situation continues to decline dramatically. González made an impeccable explanation of how the National Assembly’s authority was usurped and how the ANC has been the final stage of a continued coup, and later stated that dialogue has only helped the government tighten its tyrannical grip, so he urges all involved to comply with the demands presented by the opposition from the start.

CLAP and petros

The Food Ministry reported that the price of the CLAP box rose from Bs. 10,000 to Bs. 25,000, the current price of a Toronto (a chocolate bonbon with a nut inside) in any street vendor, the best summary of the dimension of the subsidy represented by the box. Meanwhile, Economic Vice-President Wilmar Castro Soteldo urged people to trust in the new system of complementary exchange (Dicom), because it’ll be “completely believable” and the private sector will be able to participate openly, allowing natural and legal persons to access foreign currency. Additionally, in order to improve this access, they’ll use various financial methods, including the Petro. The funny thing is that, despite the relevant percentage of Venezuelans who don’t have a bank account, they claim that the Petro “could replace cash in 2018” and urge everyone to save in cryptocurrencies, protecting the huge amount of bolívares that we have under hyperinflation!

Portugal and Venezuela

Representatives of the Portuguese community in the country met in the Portuguese Center with their country’s Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, asking for help after the government’s recent crackdown on their supermarkets, explaining that they were forced to sell everything at a 50% discount, that they were threatened and mistreated, and that some business owners have even been imprisoned during operations against their stores. This Monday, in a meeting with his counterpart Jorge Arreaza, Santos Silva said that his country would appreciate any improvements on the conditions for businesses and distribution networks; he spoke of his willingness to support new projects of cooperation in areas such as food, medicines and other essential goods, and expressed his respect and support for the results of the political negotiation in the Dominican Republic. Santos Silva later met with the National Assembly’s Board, and restated that Portugal and the rest of the countries of the European Union recognize Parliament as the legitimate representation of the Venezuelan people.


  • During his New Year address, pope Francis said that Venezuela “is going through an increasingly dramatic and unprecedented political and humanitarian crisis,” he urged that the conditions be established so that presidential elections “become the start of a solution to the current conflicts” and called for answers to the essential needs of the people.
  • Delcy Rodríguez met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to hand him a letter from Nicolás “regarding the bilateral links of cooperation,” according to her Twitter account. Luisa Ortega Díaz also met, but with Chilean president-elect Sebastián Piñera, to talk about our crisis and assess how Chile could help restore democracy. Later, she spoke of her meeting with Foreign Affairs undersecretary Edgardo Riveros. Sadly, none of them told her about the case of Braulio Jatar, the journalist she accused without evidence and with fake witnesses, only for tweeting that he had more videos of the protests Nicolás suffered in Santa Rosa, Nueva Esparta state.
  • Actor Edgar Ramírez used the red carpet for the Golden Globes and summed up Venezuela’s situation as a country that has been the victim of an institutional takeover, “by criminal organizations that don’t want to understand that their time is up.” Notably, he clarified that Venezuelan democracy has been dismantled and how our circumstance is a warning for the world; alerting about the humanitarian crisis we’re experiencing.

The black market dollar keeps rising.

Previous articleJulio’s Legacy
Next articleAnatomy of a Media War
Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.


  1. “The Food Ministry reported that the price of the CLAP box rose from Bs. 10,000 to Bs. 25,000, the current price of a Toronto”

    Reading this I couldn’t believe it. When I was a kid growing up in Caracas in the 70’s and 80’s the price of a Toronto was 4/Bs 1. At 25,000, that would make it Bs. 25 MILLION FOR ONE at pre Bolivar Fuerte prices!!! That’s hyperinflation for you!

  2. Quico said: Meanwhile, Economic Vice-President Wilmar Castro Soteldo urged people to trust in the new system of complementary exchange (Dicom), because it’ll be “completely believable” and the private sector will be able to participate openly, allowing natural and legal persons to access foreign currency.


    I can understand how the pueblo might be forced into using the Petro as a kind of symbolic money, but by way of what mechanism would the Petro give “natural and legal persons” access to “foreign currency?”

    At some time – unless I am misunderstanding this byzantine process – someone with actual dollars or Euros or Pounds or Francs or whatever – would have to swap said dough for Petros. No matter how many computers are mining in Caracas, none have the ability to create foreign money by way of algorithms. So again, how can the Petro ever be cashed out? Do they send you a barrel of gun oil?

    If Maduro cannot pay down his current bonds – and there is no way he can – how might he ever pay down the Petros when people want to cash them out? What’s more, since they don’t have what they need – that is, foreign capitol, those WITH foreign capitol would have to participate for said funds to be made available for exchange into Petros. No?

    Or am I totally misunderstanding this.

    • I don’t understand cryptocurrency at all. It’s beyond my pay grade.

      One thing I THINK I understood reading is that this one makes no sense, simply because once the oil is “used,” it has zero value.

      Okay, I didn’t really understand it.

      • I read not too long ago (DolarToday?) about Maduro’s lackeys giving him information, and the importance of explaining anything to him in only the simplest of terms. Since I cannot understand the nuance of this type of finance and economics, I can only imagine what a dim bulb like Maduro must think of crypto currency.

        Free money, created by magic?

      • Blockchain basically works as a giant ledger. Everyone is connected to that ledger and cryptocurrencies are transferred between addresses that are on that ledger.

        That’s the simplest way that I could explain how it actually works.

        What gives cryptocurrency value? Trust. Similarly to how the US Dollar’s value is based on how people trust the U.S government/Federal Reserve. People have chosen to place their faith in different types of currency, in their belief, that it will change how we do transaction.

        I believe governments will eventually issue their own blockchain for their currencies and that technology is here to say. I couldn’t comment on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Most of them won’t be there 5 years from now, but a couple will control the industry for sure.

    • Juan – I think you got it right. As I’ve explained here before – and I think I have it right – any currency is a medium of exchange for needed goods and services. Coin (currency) was much easier to carry than live produce. Currencies at one time were redeemable for gold and silver – those metal are shiny, relatively scarce, easy to stamp into coins and weigh, and you can’t counterfeit them by “alchemy”. Paper redeemable for metal was easier to carry and subdivide than coin, so that became the norm. But for various reasons, one of which is the fluctuating availability of those metals, currencies have become “virtual currencies” (backed by the full faith and credit of governments which issue them). Cyber currency is a medium of exchange, as I see it. If you have access to a computer and the worldwide web, you can bypass banks, very sophisticated printing presses, and “physical” currencies, and trade in cyber currencies. The “block chain” method of decentralized accounting (record keeping) is the innovation to look into, apparently, and some people are apparently adapting that – I’m not sure at all how. The fluctuations in value of the cyber currencies seems much greater than the problems with the former metals standards, changing on a daily basis.

    • In the end, it will turn to be like a Ponzi Scheme – when everybody screwed (except for the originator). (They are going to retire tropical island)

    • Something I would also want explained is, why would I be interested in mining petros.

      See, he has said that the petro will be backed by an specific ammount of barrels in an specific oil field.

      Which means that every time I mine a petro, I make all my other petros a bit cheaper.

      It “makes sense” (for values of “make sense” that are equal to “BUBBLE!”) for bitcoins because they arent backed by anything but their value in the market goes “up” (except when it doesnt). But unless you think the petro is going to take the cryptoasset (because currency they arent) by storm and have the same bubble effect as bitcoins, well, all the electricity you waste in generating a new one is just like cutting your money in smaller chunks.

      Dont know if the idea somebody has, assuming there is actually somebody with more idea about it in the whole program… scratch that, assuming there is a real petro project somewhere… is that they will come out with a initial number of petros mined by the state and then offer the network the “great” opportunity to scratch part of that value.

      And yes, for this mental exercise, I’m ignoring the big criticism. Why would I want a petro backed by a failed state that cant meet his current debt compromises, who oversees a oil company that can extract less oil every month, etc…

  3. Reading a bit about this, one writer said: “What is trying to achieve isn’t a cryptocurrency, but a digitized barter system that sidesteps the global financial system.

    The way I see it – perhaps incorrectly – unless an investor (in Petros) can reliably cash out what he or she is bartering for (oil, in this case), the barter “system” can only work one way: You give Maduro hard cash and he gives you back exactly what he is giving existing bond holders: Nothing.

    I have to be seeing this wrong. As is, it sounds absurd.

  4. Just two bits of information concerning the above, have information that the occupants of Pdvsa’s top managerial and professional positions are being retired from their posts and replaced with military appointees with absolutely no previous oil industry expertise . Second that its not altogether impossible that the Petro cybercurrency (if able to cross the initial barriers for the creation of such kinds of currencies ) may be capable of having some initial success in part because it price can be manipulated by interested parties to create artificial booms that make money for a few enchufados and those riding piggy back on their backs for a few months before falling flat and burying the incautious. !!

  5. The key of cryptocurrency is its ability to be secret. If you want to transfer ownership you only need to exchange an electronic token in contrast with bills or bank transfers. This model is a boon for all shady business that wish to remove themselves from the scrutiny of banks or custom agents looking into your briefcases full of cash.

    Another key of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is that no central authority governs it. More importantly, as gold or bills, math gives it a natural scarcity (there are pretty cool relationships between prime numbers at work here!).

    Finally, there is this viral breakout for Bitcoin which has given it wide acceptance, and thus a true market was created, and voila you have a real working currency.

    Petro, backed by the full faith and credit of the Venezuelan government. Cuentame una de vaqueros.

    • Bueno … yo conoci un vaquero que se enfrento con una anaconda de 30 metros con un espesor de un metro! Si! Con sus manos la agarro por los cien colmillos, la volteo p’arriba, y con una sola mordida a la espina, la mato! Y se la comio entera! Un vaquero Venezolana bieeeeeeeeeeeeen arrecho! Si!

  6. it opening comments;;;;;;;;”Lawmaker José Guerra, head of the Finance Committee, said that the BCV must stop issuing money and suggested a series of measures to correct distortions, including: lifting FX controls; refinancing the foreign debt (which demands trust in the country and an economic plan for bondholders,) and request international financial assistance, because there are no reserves and we need growth in foreign currency.”……..Who is send money VZ way. You do not any reserves because it will stolen. (LOL) …duhhh.

  7. Pero lo que Maduro quiere es moneda extranjera. Eso significa que los petros necesitan ser intercambiados, pero ¿por quién?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here