Laundering With Gold

For Monday, August 27, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Prensa Presidencial

From the Military Museum, in another plenary of the government party’s ongoing congress, Nicolás announced a savings plan in gold with lingots that will be freely accessible in sovereign bolivars in two formats: 1.5 grams will cost Bs.S 3,780 and 2.5 grams for Bs.S 6,300. A population that’s fleeing because they have nothing to eat, can’t save money in gold.

The plan will have other beneficiaries. More announcements:

  • Pensions will be paid through digital wallet; in other words, pensioners will have to register in the “patria” system.
  • He repeated the threat of setting at least two prices for gasoline: the international price (or “far above that”) at the border and another price for the rest of the country.
  • They’ll try a direct gasoline subsidy through the carnet de la patria. The trial’s so improvised that they’ll start training 8,000 young workers now (one per gas pump) from the Chamba Juvenil plan “to regulate and eradicate gas trafficking for good.”
  • He created the Ministry of Interior Commerce to “articulate the national market” and announced that he’ll create the Vice-Presidency of Productive Economy.
  • Additionally, Nicolás spoke of a 72% approval rating for the recovery plan, seven million workers who have registered for the government to pay them the new wage, a little under four million vehicles registered in the transport census; 12 million carnet holders who will benefit from the reconversion bonus and another restructuring in Minerven, because “it has many internal vices, so it can produce all the gold.”

More from the amazing chavismo

The Venezuelan Association of Public Health announced in a communiqué that there are measles cases all over the country, adding the states that had been unaffected up until May this year and keeping Delta Amacuro, Capital District, Vargas and Miranda among the most affected. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the number of suspect cases notified in 2018 is close to 5,300, and there are 3,545 confirmed cases; both numbers experienced a significant increase compared to those accumulated during 2017. Remember that according to PAHO, Venezuela has a 95% death rate due to the virus, with 115 out of 121 deaths notified to the organization; there’s been 35 measles deaths in Delta Amacuro; seven in Miranda, two in the Capital District and 53 yanomami natives in Amazonas between January and July 2018 alone. From the six deaths reported in Brazil, two were Venezuelans. Last Friday, Nicolás had the gall of claiming in front of his community “doctors” that they already had the diseases under control, but he lied as usual. The National Vaccination Campaign will end in September 15.

Harassing trade

The National Bureau for the Defense of Socio-economic Rights (Sundde) announced that 200 people have been arrested and 500 stores have been fined “for crimes such as price retagging, speculation, hoarding and boycotting the economy,” according to their bulletin, as if that was an achievement. Government harassment against stores returned with the imposition of prices on 25 already scarce food products and Nicolás’s obsessive demand of turning each citizen into an informer and each authority into an executioner, whatever necessary in order to deny the normal course of the economy; that’s why Sundde also claims having received “more than 50,000 complaints.” The point is that we haven’t even reached the D Day, when the first payment of the colossal minimum wage is made and with millions of this bolivar -depreciated since launch- circulating, nobody’s going to regulate the storm. Price controls, extortion, the harassment against producers, distributors and shop owners won’t solve the drama of a collapsed production.

We, migrants

Peru’s strategy of demanding passports to enter their territory worked: the flow of Venezuelans declined, while some requested asylum from the Peruvian government in order to enter legally, since they didn’t arrive on time to avoid the demand for this requisite. Peruvian immigration authorities allowed children accompanied with their parents, pregnant women or elderly citizens to enter without a passport. While the Vice-minister on Human Rights announced the need to start a campaign against any form of discrimination against Venezuelans, a sensible solidarity campaign was developed on social networks with the powerful hashtag #YoSoyVenezolano; advantages that bureaucracy lacks. President Michel Temer announced in Brasilia the creation of a humanitarian mission whose goal will be providing medical attention for a week to Venezuelan immigrants living in Roraima shelters; discarding any possibility of closing the border. In view of the tremendous drama, yesterday the Venezuelan government celebrated that some 100 Venezuelans will return this Monday, August 27 from Peru in a flight booked by Conviasa.

“The real tragedy is that there’s a kind of natural selection in the mass exodus of Venezuelans: only the strongest, the fittest can travel by foot. The most vulnerable stay behind: the elderly, the children, the sick, at the mercy of the murderous revolution.” – Omar Zambrano.

We go on.

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  1. The point is that we haven’t even reached the D Day, when the first payment of the colossal minimum wage is made and with millions of this bolivar -depreciated since launch- circulating, nobody’s going to regulate the storm. Price controls, extortion, the harassment against producers, distributors and shop owners won’t solve the drama of a collapsed production.

    Perhaps someone more fluent with the economic fine points can explain how the mierda will hit the
    ventilador once this pay out is made. People will have some form of dinerao, howevrer contrived, but where are the goods supposed to come from, the purchase of which requires actual money that few retailers have in any quantity. And if retailers are being paid in play money (B’s and Petros), how are supposed to replentish their stores?

    I’m totally lost here…

    • Juan, the BCV just prints more money. Just add a few extra zeros on their balance sheets and then pay everybody out. As we all now, this is a recipe for disaster. And then they think that their gold savings plan will keep some of that money in reserve. NOPE. People will blow it all on consumption (i.e. a few bags of pasta and a bottle of rum)

      So printing money is the easy part, but as you pointed out “where will the goods come from”. Good question. Without any foreign reserves left and thus no reliable forex exchange, coupled with the fact that the rojo rojitos are out to destroy the public sector: why reinvest in your business???? (Furthermore, why waste your actual dollars on bringing stuff in, when you could actually hold onto those dollars to save up for the zombie apocalypse or to leave the country??)

      So lots of money on the streets with nothing to buy is a classic example of hyperinflation. They want to control it through regulated prices, but nobody wants to sell at regulated prices because nobody wants to sell at a loss.

      Really these monkeys need to learn the hard way (i.e. this is what happens when you destroy the private sector: welcome to communism mother trucker!!) and a well timed huelga general will get the ball rolling. Wait till all of their funny money is gone (say October/November), where most stores have already closed up shop, and then the remainder of the private sector goes on indefinite strike (with empty stores and therefore nothing to loot) and then let the monkeys come down from the hills and make life hell for the GNB. When that happens, and the situation is out of control, then it is time for the middle classes to rise up again and take this country back. But again, the Chavistas in the barrio have to eat more shit before things will change and that is the bottom line. I pray we are almost there.

  2. “1.5 grams will cost Bs.S 3,780 and 2.5 grams for Bs.S 6,300.” Is that price floating or fixed. I can imagine this could be a gold rush for the enchufados, just like CADIVI. Once the BSS goes to 120 on the blackmarket, BUY GOLD ENCHUFADOS!!!! Rob all your country’s resources like you always have!!!!

    But then it is “savings in gold” is that a scam just like at the casas de cambio where you can sell dollars for BSS but you cannot buy dollars. That is you can save in gold, but the gold still is not yours.

    If the gold is yours, and you buy at a regulated price, the enchufado gold rush is on. If it is “savings in gold” and the gold is the governments gold, at what price is this determined. Sounds like more “amazing chavismo.”

    Really these guys just pull everything out of their ass, and know the stupid pueblo people will fall for this hook line and sinker.

    Also, speculating on the parallel dollar, with demand from the private sector to restock shelves and buy imports, I am thinking most of the demand for the black market dollar is for people leaving the country or personal savings. The amount of forex going through DICOM is peanuts right now. Would be very curious to see how much goods are coming into the country now. In other words, prepare yourself Venezuela for a Feliz Chavidad where there is literally nothing on the shelves and half of your family has left.

    • Someone in another comment thread asked what happened to the gold reserves — now we know. The stated price grossly overvalues the free rate VES. No doubt the price will slide, but it will not catch up to the free valuation. It’s an enchufado grab bag.

      Enchufado with a dollar, exchange for VES, buy some gold, sell the gold for two dollars, repeat.

      • Hey, that was me, i had a feeling this was what they were doing.

        I just caught a glimpse while i was eating but i heard that 2.5 grams of gold were being sold at about 6300 BsF, is that correct?

        If that’s the case, i may be seriously tempted to go down there in person, even if i don’t have the carnet and all that other shit, i’ll just get in touch with someone who has them and split the loot 60-40.

        I’ve always wanted to be a gold digger. Hah.

        • Good timing — I was beginning to wonder the same thing over the past month or two. There’s very little else left to steal.

          Pretty sure you’d have to have an enchufado buy the gold for you (know any Cubans?). More likely once you move your dollars into Vz, they’ll just have a collectivo hit you over the head and steal them before any gold comes into the question. Good luck. 😉

    • Go to Aporrea and read all the glorious tomes to Maduro and how his “plan” is going to turn things around, especially when they start throwing all the profiteers into jail. Because putting people in jail who are responsible for selling you things at the retail level has no downside. (There is an old axiom that has been passed down in my family… “never piss off the person who cooks your food”. The same can be said to any person who offers you a good/service.

      • Yep. Today the chant is, “open, or we’ll open for you”, to those businesses that are still closed. I forget the government group’s name, but saw pics of them cutting padlocks on businesses. Nice eh? Sell your product or we’ll do it for you.

        “There is an old axiom that has been passed down in my family… “never piss off the person who cooks your food”.”

        A buddy of mine who enjoys cooking for everyone at the deer camp has an apron that reads, “don’t fuck with the chef”. LOL He’s 6’4″ and about 300 lbs so no one gives him much shit anyway.

        John, Crystal and her mom leave for Caracas tomorrow. She should have the contact numbers she needs, but just in case something’s changed, please let your contact, V, know that they’ll be contacting her later this week.

      • The authors of the Aporrean articles you refer to (there are many) believe in the economic war, accept at face value that the petro thing actual “anchors” the new Bs to the USD to thereby checkmate the USD. The merchants and shopkeepers are sworn enemies of the revolution. The shelves must be full, and the prices must be fixed, or everyone goes to jail. Other than the “petro” part, this has not changed during the few years I have followed that site. Lenin was more direct – shopkeeper corpses hanging from trees and lamp posts. They may get there.

        Some Aporreans see through all this economic war BS, but they are a small minority. A larger minority sees through it, but still virtue signals El Imperio and economic war, just like it is important to slam racist shit lord Nazi greedy capitalist Trump and also mention that Trump-made climate change is destroying the planet in the first two sentences in a story about antique dinner plates in the Sunday NYT.

        Pertinent to the US news cycle for today, one of the recent Aporrean posts I read in the “Hugo” forum maps out how John McCain was personally assassinating Hugo by injecting him with cancer.

        But in the US press, McCain is been transformed from “literally Hitler and a super racist bigot warmonger that wants to destroy the world and left his wife when she lost her looks” when he ran for president in 2008, to “war hero, family man and decent, moderate statesman who exemplified leadership, virtue and bipartisanship, and who stood up to that dastardly Orange menace Drumpf, who happens to be literally Hitler” in 2018. Maybe they will have him mummified like Lenin and Hugo.

  3. Would be very curious to see how much goods are coming into the country now.
    And who is paying for said goods, and with what money?

    By the way, Guacuracha, back in the 1980s I was on an expedition to explore the Cueva de Guacharo, nearby Caripitu. Memories of the old (pre-Chavez) Venezuela are painful, knowing how things are now. We so enjoyed life back then, though I drank too much. Raton, pues!

    • I’m currious to see what Lorenzo Mendoza is going to do. It looks to me like a lose/lose situation for Polar. If they try to continue operating under these conditions, they will lose $millions every month and, if they don’t, Maduro will expropriate.

      • “If they try to continue operating under these conditions, they will lose $millions every month and, if they don’t, Maduro will expropriate.”

        True. And this is the same regime that says they are business friendly and want more foreign investment.

    • Really about 1m direct employees, another 4m at distributors, operating at 7% capacity, no imported raw materials, can’t pay even unionized employee cafeteria/transportation, let alone severance/new higher salaries. Most of the many independent Chinese shop owners left 6 mos. ago for destinations where family located/business good, including Peru/P.R./even U.S.

      • Net, I made the trip to Furrial today and, you’re right, most of chinese merchants there are now gone, their shops closed permanently. Same thing in Punta de Mata, only a few out of the dozen or more that operated there previously. And those that are still there, operate like bodegas with the long aisles now closed off and everyone herded up front, if they’re even allowed to enter the store.

        Those that are able to move to the US will have learned the language and have thriving businesses within 6 months or so.

      • Pirelli is owned By Chem China. I believe Chem China is controlled by the Communist government.
        I doubt the regime has enough balls to seize the Pirelli plant.

        • Back when people were riding motorbikes here, we sold a lot Pirelli bike tires. Good product, lots of buyers wanted on the Pirelli. Today they’re mostly looking for shoes for their burros, or just walking. LOL

          • They were great tires. Expensive also. It has been a while since I had a bike. About 20 years ago I remember paying over $500 for one of my Pirreli tires.
            They were great for grabbing the road. I used to have a 750 La Verda cafe racer. I don’t think my back could take any time on that today.
            It was a great bike though.

        • They’ll just take it over to make it work better for the Pueblo–like Ceramicas Carabobo/Kimberly-Clark/other paper products producers/sugar producers/ coffee roasters/etc. etc.

    • “It was acquired in 2015 by China National Chemical, known as ChemChina, which is owned by the Chinese government.”

      Will Maduro have the stones to expropriate a company owed by the PRC? Or maybe the PRC could work it into one of their loan packages.

      • What’s the point of expropriating at THIS point?

        Even NM knows they’ll never turn it into a productive plant, and the optics wouldn’t matter.

  4. That guy in the picture wearing blue and some people around him seem to be snoozing while the brilliant, dramatic solutions to the country’s financial difficulties are being announced. Me, I’d be frantically dialing my smartphone trying to buy gold with all of the millions of strong, sovereign, or fortified-with-Vitamin-D bolivars that I happen to have available.

  5. For those wanting their gold “ingot” (lingote of 1.5/2.5 grs.)–you’ll get a written certificate that your SOB-purchased gold is in good faith safe deposit at the BCV, which certificate can be used as needed on a time-scheduled basis to buy goods– mentioned house/car/etc.). MR, prepare yourself to exchange your food/dry goods for fraccionated “lingote” paper certificates, as will undoubtedly be required by law–oh, yes, there will also be paper certificates backed by Petros–you, too, can own a piece of Venezuelan oil, in addition to Venezuelan gold, all backed by pieces of paper which you received in exchange for your hard-earned SOB’s.

  6. The nuances of the latest media cycle in the states is getting interesting:

    All signals point to an embargo of selling dilutants to VZ starting next month.

    They’re just doing the math to figure out how this will affect oil prices in the states…and how to help domestic refiners absorb the hit.

    The politics of fully crippling PDVSA and hurting Venezuelans has nothing to do with it at this stage of this catastrophe.


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