Saturday, 5 December 2015

Revolutions and coups are not so much about freedom but about money

This chart shows the GDP growth of five Latin American countries and Norway since 1962. Notice a couple of things:

  • Costa Rica and Norway seem to be the countries that have a steadier growth and no big drops
  • Venezuela has the most dramatic rises and drops
  • Argentina follows with regards to variation

Now let's consider political turmoil.

Chile: Pinochet carried out his coup in 1973, when the GDP growth of Chile was of less than -4.

Argentina: there were coups in 66 and 76. The GDP growth of 66 was -0.66 and that of 76 -2.02.

Venezuela: there were two coups in 1992 and the coupster arrived to power in late 1998. There was a short-lived coup against him in 2002.

We don't have real figures about Venezuela's GDP growth for this year, only conjectures as the government stopped publishing most economic data since last year. Last year's GDP rate was -4% or worse and the one of this year is bound to be much worse than that. We don't know exactly how much but we know how desperate people are.

Will there be a coup? Unlikely. The military echelons have gone through several purges since 2002. A lot of the military personnel now, not only at the very top, are deeply involved in gangster activities. There can't be a coup as coups used to come. Still: the Chavista regime is aflutter. Tomorrow Venezuela has elections. The National Electoral Council has done and will continue doing anything it can to help the government and reduce the number of votes and, above all, of seats, the opposition can get. Still...

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