Friday, 30 August 2013

Moustache man (wasted so much time, but not Cake)

A lot of the Venezuelans with connections are spending so much money as always. Trips to Miami are fully booked. The government has some relief when it comes to its Alpha and Omega: world oil prices. After several months of a local minimum when the price of a barrel went under $100, last month it reached 107 dollars.
And yet we have still 

  • more shortages (the government declared a few months ago that after importing several tons of toilet paper the crisis was over, but people seem to keep doing their business and we do still have shortages of toilet paper, cooking oil, sugar, milk and a lot of other products
  • continuous blackouts outside Caracas (Caracas is kept safe for security reasons: that's where the centre of power is)
  • permanent deterioration of the health system
  • a dramatic crime situation 
The last item is a curious one: it does not affect the voting decision of people who are currently with the government or who are in the middle, the wobbly "nini's". I will venture to say they won't change their voting behaviour even if their children get murdered in front of their eyes. They simply do not seem to link an increase in crime with the government, even if the murder rate has more than tripled sine 1998. For them it's something beyond anyone's control. They also have little clue about the concept of "murder rate". It is not a concept you will read about in the Venezuelan media, anyway.

Talking about the media: few newspapers critical of Chavismo remain and they are threatened with closure as they don't get the dollars to buy paper for their printing (all that is imported)
Almost all criticism of the government has vanished from the TV channels now that Globovisión has been bought by regime people.
Capriles, the opposition leader, does not seem to be able to delegate. There is no shadow government and few opposition deputies seem to be very active touching special topics. The vast majority of deputies seem to be on permanent vacation, actually. And Capriles looks to some like a Jeremiah.

Everybody seems to be preparing for the municipal elections of next December.

The opposition has made several stupid choices, like leaving Maracaibo's opposition candidacy to Eveling Trejo yet again...just because she is the incumbent, because she is the wife of self-exiled UNT leader Rosales and because Zulia State seems to be the domain of UNT. The opposition also decided to let some dinosaurs run for mayor in the Llanos area. There is little chance the opposition will make some progress there. 

A good thing for the opposition is that Valencia, one of Venezuela's main cities, might -just might-- be recovered after 4 years: the Salas-Feo clan, which had monopolized opposition's decision making in Carabobo, had to step back after Feo lost in 2008's state elections. Back then the Salas-Feo sent a second candidate to compete for Valencia and the city was lost to the most incompetent person Valencianos could think about. Now the opposition has one candidate alone for the city. His name is Miguel Cocchiola, an entrepreneur who came from Italy when he was five years old. Unfortunately for the region, all major politicians in Carabobo seem to be businessmen with serious conflicts of interests. That also goes for the government's candidate to the same position, Miguel Flores. Rumours go he is making a fortune in the construction sector through several front men who are contractors for the Carabobo government (now in the hands of former military Ameliach, who sees Flores as his right hand).

Nobody on top will listen to him while there are enough dollars. Those at the bottom won't be able to hear anyway

The Maduro government is behaving more obstreperous than ever. But this does not mean it is so confident. It is, indeed, aflutter. One of the main issues is scarcity. Inflation is also playing a role.

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