Losing value

For Saturday, March 24, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Globovision

Central Bank chairman Ramón Lobo announced that he’ll meet with the heads of public and private banks to develop the technological adequation of platforms and ATMs to the new monetary tender, which he claimed would “simplify transactions and operations.” Lobo guaranteed the application of a plan to avoid the extraction of the current tender, even without solving the extraction of the previous one, but don’t worry, because they’re already developing “the solutions and appropriate technological adequations.” The most serious part of his statement was the claim that the new banknotes will be valid “after demonetizing the current bills”; omitting the months it took to achieve that with the previous reconversion, when we weren’t in hyperinflation and we didn’t have a debt of such magnitude; when dollars abounded, we had open credits and there was no shortage of cash. The costs of this reform will be lost and the three zeroes will soon return, just like Nicolás’ increasingly poorly dyed grey hair.

Red protests

PDVSA La Campiña employees protested in the dining room due to unpaid debts. Employees demanded the resignation of Manuel Quevedo, the soldier who knows nothing about oil yet chairs the company. The National Guard, profoundly efficient for repression, was the center of a video that went viral on social media.

Meanwhile, Rodolfo Rojas, secretary of the workers union of the National Bureau for the Defense of Socio-Economic Rights (SUNDDE), denounced before the Labour Ministry that 2,000 employees were arbitrarily laid off, without justification. According to Rojas, SUNDDE is “paralyzed, shut down; because the State is not protecting socio-economic rights,” and despite that, he demanded that (sanctioned) superintendent William Contreras rehire all those who were fired, although most of them held posts that could be freely appointed and removed. Rojas asked Labour minister Néstor Ovalles to facilitate the rehiring process, since he’s sent notices to Nicolás, Tareck El Aissami and ANC members, but none of them has answered.

Walid’s Instagram account

Raúl Isaías Baduel has been isolated for weeks. Yesterday, lawmaker Gilber Caro’s family was again denied the possibility to visit him. There are several political prisoners who have been issued release warrants ignored by their executioners, but Walid Makled, sentenced in 2015 for drug trafficking and money laundering, can freely use and feed his Instagram account with pictures, videos and texts, making accusations and threats at leisure, and no authority interferes with his creativity.

His most recent video was meant to threaten Clíver Alcalá, the soldier who put him in jail in 2014, accusing him of “terrorism and drug trafficking,” promising him a cell with his name. But a few weeks ago, Makled accused former PDVSA chairman Rafael Ramírez of trafficking drugs in oil tankers, claiming that Ramírez pocketed $20 billion for this activity, so he demands the U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments to arrest him. Enlightening!

A poor villain

Jorge Rodríguez travelled to Spain to defend the legitimacy and transparency of May 20 elections. The interview he granted to newspaper El País proved that he’s lost the touch to surf foreseeable questions, which he answered with more disdain than information. Rodríguez thinks that the government has been a success and “that it’s faced the most important challenges of the late 20th century and early 21th”; sadly, he forgot to mention that they’ve done it while dragging us to live in 19th century conditions. He resolved the shortage of food and medicines by claiming that he doesn’t deny they have difficulties, so cute! The dependency on CLAP boxes isn’t a patronage system and claimed that people can buy whatever they want but “induced inflation” is the true obstacle. He explained the highest inflation in the world with the political maneuvering of private economic sectors and smuggling to Colombia; and he blamed PDVSA’s dwindling output on corruption, ridding chavismo of any responsibility in appointing corrupt officials in posts of authority. He denied the existence of political prisoners, insulted Luis Almagro, claimed that May 20 voter turnouts will break records, disregarded how they’ve attacked the National Assembly and remarked that peace arrived to the country with the ANC’s election. He dismissed the mass exodus of Venezuelans, explaining it as an effect of the psychological war, but relax, the minister said: “we’re already working on a plan to invite those Venezuelans back into the country.”

The HHRR of HHRR abusers

Larry Devoe, Jorge Arreaza and Delcy Rodríguez said on Twitter that the UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution in favor of Venezuela, condemning all coercitive, unilateral measures (sanctions) imposed against Venezuelan officials.


The text with which they back up this “achievement” of the Non Aligned Countries Movement only contains the decision’s recitals; they didn’t share the decision itself, but they did include a list of votes that leaves us at least with a couple of questions about the consistency of the Lima Group’s work: why did Brazil and Mexico abstain from voting? Why did Chile and Peru voted in favor? It’s absurd for the Human Rights Council to say that individual sanctions against corrupt officials and/or human rights abusers “prevent the full attainment of economic and social development,” much less if they took note of the report issued by the Office of the High Commission of the United Nations regarding Venezuela.


  • According to foreign minister Jorge Arreaza, Nicolás and Vladimir Putin are interested in meeting soon to strengthen bilateral relations; an interest they expressed this Friday over a phone call.
  • Martín Vizcarra was sworn in as President of Peru and set the main goals for his government: recovering governability and the trust in institutions, and reach economic stability.
  • Jamaica’s government formally offered to buy 49% of PDVSA’s shares in Petrojam, according to Energy minister Andrew Wheatley.
  • U.S. chargé d’affaires Todd Robinson said that it would be Venezuelans who decide whether May 20 elections are credible or not. He expressed his willingness to meet with Nicolás.
  • Colombia’s Defense minister Luis Carlos Villegas told Venezuelan authorities that the ELN guerrilla and the niche of EPL are operating in our territory and that they expect that a “great reaction will allow for greater peace.”
  • Julio Borges and Carlos Vecchio met with senator Marco Rubio, who ratified his ongoing effort “to restore freedom and democracy.”
  • Last night, North Korea accepted to participate in an inter-Korean dialogue next week.

The exchange rate resulting from the 7th DICOM auction was Bs. 49,545.63 per dollar, a 12.81% variation in a week, and the bolívar’s depreciation was estimated at 11.36%. This Saturday, March 24, the CNE will choose the location of political parties on the ballot, an activity that should’ve been done on March 21, according to the schedule.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. “Makled accused former PDVSA chairman Rafael Ramírez of trafficking drugs in oil tankers, claiming that Ramírez pocketed $20 billion for this activity, so he demands the U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments to arrest him.”

    No honor among thieves. But $20B!?

  2. It’s clear that the writer has no idea of what this incompetent government is doing, which proves she only has a nice cute face, excellent writing skills but is unable or unwilling to explain the cause-effect ”mysteries” of inflation and hyperinflation. In other words, this is too much ado about absolutely nothing.

    Bolivar, the liberator, created the first currency: El Peso Venezolano.

    Bolivar the liberator like Chavez/Maduro wasn’t an economist and was simply a dictator after his Gran Colombia liberation incredible venture. After his death, another ”mas burro” than Maduro came in, Paez and all the caudillos following.

    In 1879 the currency Bolivar was created replacing El Venezolano after many tumultuous years of ultra-liberal and hyper-inflationary actions.

    You see? Not yet.

    In 1879 the Bolivar was pegged to the silver value (I had silver Bolivar coins subject to almost zero inflation because of the government’s inability to print more Bolivars than the reserves in silver they had)

    Thereafter in 1887 Gold was the master and as Venezuela had good gold reserves, they could print Bolivars enough to keep the miserable Venezuelans alive until the end of the 19th century when loans from Europe permitted to print more Bolivars and Venezuelans did what they love doing forever and ever, in the same shithole, spending more then they produce, and especially getting money without hard work.

    Beginning of 20th century, and here you go with the first credit default of this country. BOOM, Brits, and Frenchies embargoed the shithole. Their battleships were sent to Venezuela, soon after replaced by great Teo’s Navy.

    On 1934 the Bolivar was ”disconnected” from the gold standard and was pegged to the US DOLLAR at a rate of 3.914 Bs/$. A few years later with the oil boom, not BOOM, the government reappraised the Bolivar to a rate of 3.18. Who was the con of that time? Gomez, illiterate, completely irrelevant, just one more dictator like Bolivar in the past of like Maduro today – something in common to all? they have been completely ignorant of micro and macroeconomic best practices. They’d use the magician on duty. ”Ah, la idea es cheverísima”

    Stealing became the main skill of government reps, like in many places today and in the past (Please watch ”VIVA ZAPATA” with Marlon Brandon – sorry it’s B&W, not good for this bunch of SOB)

    Little by little this bad behavior trickled down to the populace and today you first teach children how to steal before they learn how to read.

    PS: An avalanche of illiterate Venezuelan kids is coming to the USA, all from ”favor-made-middle-class-private schools” generation that can hardly spell ”Papá” but know all the other bad tricks.

    Sorry for the intermission.

    Democracy came rolling in 1958 and the most extreme economical expressions of liberalism along with it. Like incentives for everything, remember one litter (actually one quart of a gallon) was Bs 1.

    Gasoline prices were set almost forever notwithstanding the real inflation was largely superior to the USA Dollar inflation.

    I can’t remember the exact date, in the period prior to 1980 the ROE (rate of exchange) was stable but clearly too strong at 4,30 Bs/$ (VEB/USD). But you could almost justify, using the proper fiscal policies, to keep it that way as long as inflation was under control and wages were increased proportionally with one digit rate of inflation (ROI) per year. But only the stupid paid taxes, gasoline, air travel, tourism (outside Venezuela), telecom, food, all eventually became subsidized or literally free.

    I was in Paris working like a negro and every Venezuelan passing by would take me to La Tour d’Argent, Maxim, Le Lido, Moulin Rouge, you name it. And they will still leave with me the unused Francs, sometimes in the hundred because it was a burden to take back home and the Guardia Nacional could confiscate illegally upon arrival to Maiquetía Airport.

    In September 1982, Mexico defaulted billion of dollars loans, a few months later, in February 1983, BAM! BOOM! BAM! ”Viernes Negro” in Venezuela. And the black market was born for the populace.
    But Venezuelan are either stupid or too clever. The banks subsidized by the government started to pay unsustainable high-interest rates that even the average citizen could live from the monthly repayment of a small initial deposit. I remember people retiring at 40, 45. Less than 50 years old. My father had to retire and took on another job, in full disclosure but eventually was forced to retire-retire and to live from a humongous pension. He was crazy, he said to me, ”this will explode on my face”. Imagine the corrupt, they started to become ”nuevo rico” in a few weeks. I remember in my work travels to Venezuela to argue this point with my clients who didn’t believe me why reinsurance had become so expensive in Venezuela. I mean, I worked for a solid London based reinsurer.

    Who cared, corruption was rampant and Venezuelans were waiting for this MESSIAH (they have always been very catholic and would believe in witchcraft like no other)

    BATAPINOPAMBOOM: The Messiah arrived in late 1998: Hugo Chavez. Yes, that Chavez that your fathers all voted (and you too) for in the last transparent free elections of Venezuela. took an even weaker currency, took 3 zeroes off, created the Bolivar Fuerte on 1/1/2008. And he was so cute, LIKE THESE REPORTERS, and smart LIKE THESE REPORTERS, to help the poor, eventually invented the double official ROE 2.15 and 4,30 VEF/USD. The currency BOLIVAR (VBF) that saw the light in 1879 had lasted 128 YEARS!!! Incredible. So was the creation of the BOLIVAR FUERTE ”strong” like the paper it was printed on. The financial crisis was nothing to the average Venezuelan, poor it rich. The oil prices went to the roof and no Venezuelan, INCLUDING THIS REPORTER AND HER ASSOCIATES, could believe it would fall back to 40 dollars a barrel.

    While in TEXAS, I was participating in a corrupt Venezuelan party and commented the new technology developed in the LONE STAR, starting in the unused land of DFW airport since 2001: Fracking. I predicted the oil price would come down sharply and it would hurt Venezuela more than anyone. I had predicted to my family relatives to have a plan B. Think about emigration. Prepare for the worse to come. They couldn’t believe me again!!! Unfortunately, reality caught fantasy and even the most social-liberal minds had to abandon ship like rats. However, many mysteriously keep living as if nothing is happening, like this reporter. HOW DOES SHE COPE WITH IT?

    Conclusion. The VBE lasted 128 years. The VEF lasted 9.2 years. Now the Bolivar Soberano (VES according to ISO standard) will last

    To the readers and Naky: She discusses the taking three zeroes out the Bolivar Fuerte to call it Soberano as if it was the permanent cure for hyperinflation.

    Please answer this simple question or anyone for Christ sake: With the current rate of inflation (+1.5%/day) how long will you need to remove three additional zeroes, nine in total since 1879), and subsequently bet on a new name fir the next Bolivar? Let me guess: Bolivar Real or something like that, no, Bolivar Petro, no, Bolivar Maduro!!! HAHAHA

    • Soto seems to understand that re-conversion will do nothing for inflation (re: “Sovereign disaster”). It will only facilitate transactions which are now broken. Unfortunately it has a cost and will have to be repeated in a year, and somehow in the switch a fat vigorish will be collected.

      Not so all the world’s infotainment pseudo-journos who say the shaved zeroes come off the hyper rate. Their masters love chavismo.

    • Thank You for history lesson. As a gringo who worked for PDVSA (for engineering contractor) for six years (1995 to 2001) I got exposed to too many sides Venezuela’s thought process (LOL), especially their need for taken (by God, Chavez, Castro, et. al). I always noticed, of too many of the citizens, the of penchant for taking advanced of the “system”, to top to bottom – drug dealing, kidnapping, money laundering, extortion, etc. (this on everywhere but Venezuela more obvious. I particularity noticed the lack fundamental knowledge of economics and how the world around behaves (like math and physical laws). My uncle (and his family) lived in Chile (an engineer too) for five before and sevens years after Pinochet took the over the country. They got to witness first hand the changes there (it was not pretty, but it had be done). One of the first Pinochet did was to hire the “Boys fro Chicago” to completely change their economic system. The “Boys fro Chicago” (from University of Chicago – eventually Nobel Prize winners) instituted an economic system built around laws the thermodynamics (physics shit) – especially the second law that involves entropy (wasted energy that you allow for – including maintenance) (I won’t put to asleep by staying much more). Look at the results. (I wish that U.S. politicians would learn and stop giving everything away also ).

    • a daily briefing article is hardly the place to have a deep discussion about the nature of hyperinflation, you’re incoherently rambling at the wrong tree. I get why you are bitter, I just think you’re bitter at the wrong people.

      PS: My family did not vote for Chavez, and neither did many of our friends. Maybe you were duped and that’s the reason why you are so bitter.

    • Yeah dude, bájale dos. There’s no need to attack writers personally, and even less if you can’t understand what they are doing in this site. Naky Soto writes a daily Briefing on her Facebook page, which then gets translated for us CC readers. How she lives in Venezuela amid hyperinflation is NONE of your business.

      If you want to ramble, you’re free to open your own Lapuremerde Chronicles on Blogspot.

    • Where the hell did you read that?

      In this article there was never a hint of being in favor of that measure it hint that it was going to be useful.

    • Let’s see Jose, you see to be the kind of person that:

      *is very, very resentful, particularly against people who are better off
      *accuses everyone of having voted for chavez
      *mingled with bolichicos and enchufados
      *kind of sexist

      I’d dare say we have an ex-chavista coping (not too well) with his past right here.

      • But at least we got to read interesting tidbits like ROI stood for “rate of inflation”. No credibility issues there! lol.

    • “The costs of this reform will be lost, and the three zeroes will soon return.” states Naky, which LPM believes Naky understanding, “…as if it was the permanent cure for hyperinflation.” ‘Nuff said….

  3. At the current Dolar Today rate of 235,000 Bs to 1 USD, 20 billion bs = about $85,000 US. If that just buys a sugar cube, must be really good stuff

  4. Since there’s some gold near the center of the earth around Kleptozuela:

    “Según Maduro se está tomando la experiencia que aplicó Turquía, para que la gente pueda tener sus ahorros en mini lingotes de Oro.

    “Yo he ido creando una nueva modalidad, dado al creciente producción de oro, para que nuestro pueblo pueda guardar sus ahorro y los inversionistas pueda garantizar su ahorros con nuevos sistemas. Un nuevo sistema que alcance a lo pequeño, a lo micro, a lo mediano y a lo grande. Y usted como Venezuela, a través del Petro Oro pueda ahorrar en lingotes”, subrayó.”

    Expect el ‘bravo pueblo’ to start saving lots of gold and bury it under their Ranchos is petare, while they eat the neighbor’s family dog for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here