Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Venezuela Failing?

First, the story of the toilet paper shortage.  CNN article by Marilia Brochetto and Greg Botelho:
On Saturday, Vice President Jorge Arreaza announced the "temporary occupation" of the Paper Manufacturing Company's plant in the state of Aragua. The aim, he explained, is to review the "production, marketing and distribution (of) toilet paper." 
"The ... People's Defense from the Economy will not allow hoarding or failures in the production and distribution of essential commodities," the vice president said.  
By the "People's Defense," Arreaza was referring to a government agency created on September 13 by President Nicolas Maduro to "defeat the economic war that has been declared in the country," according to a report from state-run ATV. This group is charged with looking at inefficiencies across various industries in the nation, including foods and other products, and taking action presumably in the South American nation's best interests.  
Toilet paper is very much a part of the war.
 Now comes a more recent story of government sponsored looting of electronic stores.  The Guardian article by Virginia Lopez:
"Living here is like a cartoon," Becerra says. "Most of us can't find milk to drink, let alone to produce, and the president's best plan is to lower the prices of TVs."  
She was referring to president Nicol├ís Maduro's recent moves to get shopkeepers to slash their prices. Maduro has spoken of jailing retailers, criticising the "speculation and usury" that he blames for Venezuela's economic woes.  
But concerns are mounting that his actions are just treating the symptoms, not the causes of Venezuela's sudden financial lurch, and that although it might give his citizens a nice cheap early Christmas, the new year hangover threatens to be painful.
Toilet paper factories taken over by the government.  But the currency is still good?
You cannot buy milk but you can buy a fridge to store it in.

More to follow.

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