About That Budget...
Let’s get this week wrapped up…Reuters reports that Venezuela’s government expects oil exports to finance 63% of it’s 2023 budget, a document seen by Reuters shows. (For perspective, back before 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism destroyed Venezuela’s oil business, oil exports financed 96% of government spending.) Nicolas Maduro says the national budget (in bolivares, the local currency) is equivalent to $14.7 billion.
A couple of observations here…One is that I think the Chavistas make up budget numbers as they go along (and everything else). Remember the story from last week? The budget was presented to the National Assembly (Venezuela legislative body)… and it was blank pages! No figures, nothing. It was a “simulated budget”, whatever that is, not that it really matters since 60% of government spending (under a structure set up by Hugo Chavez) is through FONDEN which has no government oversight.
Another observation is that 63% of the aforementioned $14.7 billion is under 10 billion bucks. That is roughly the estimated profit for the Maduro regime from their trafficking operations. Why not just say “Next year we expect to make as much from oil as we do from cocaine”?
Then we have Vietnam Plus telling us that the Vietnam Ambassador to Venezuela, Le Viet Duyen, said trade between Vietnam and Venezuela is up 700% year on year. No actual numbers were reported so we don’t know what a 700% increase means, you know, a 700% increase from a dollar is 7 bucks, if you catch my drift. Oh, and in their 15 year economic relationship the two countries have signed 50 bilateral cooperative agreements. Those Chavistas are really big on things like “historic, strategic agreements” which are, in effect, meaningless.
And we have IMF telling us that Venezuela’s economic contraction under the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism is the largest economic contraction in 50 years by a country not at war. (Quick reminder…Maduro constantly refers to “La guerra economica” or “economic war” against Venezuela. The only economic war going on is the economic war being waged by Chavismo against the Venezuelan people) They referenced Venezuela recently coming out of an over four year bout of hyperinflation, the 2nd longest occurrence in recorded history.
The over 7 million Venezuelan migrants translates to a loss of 23% of Venezuela’s population. The breakdown of Venezuelan migrants in select South American countries is : Colombia- 2,200,000, Peru- 1,300,000, Ecuador/Chile/Argentina- each with over 500,000, Brazil- 345,000 (the lower number is primarily due to border crossings from Venezuela into Brazil are in very remote regions).
Migration predictions for 2025 range from 7.4 million to 8.4 million Venezuelans having fled the Maduro regime. The largest expense to host countries will be, and has been, education for the children of Venezuelan migrants, accounting for 1/3 of the total cost.
The number of countries requiring visas for Venezuelan migrants has grown from 5 in 2015 to 17 in 2022. It’s worth remembering that many of these countries criticized the US for not having an open border policy…then they were overwhelmed by Venezuelan migrants and scrapped the idea of open borders.
They also mentioned Nicaragua as an interesting case study. Nicaragua, whose dictator, Daniel Ortega, is one of Maduro’s BFFs, guarantees access to health and education services for migrants but has no regulations nor provisions for their inclusion.
Then we have Canadian Dimension telling us something you don’t hear much about and that is Venezuela’s almost 50,000 communes, central to Marxist Hugo Chavez’s vision for Venezuela. They have particularly suffered in the area of food production and distribution.
The National Network of Comuneros handed over a proposal to Maduro for the creation of a nationwide communal enterprise for food production and distribution. (remember, the Chavista’s solution to the food production and distribution disaster that they created was for people to create roof-top gardens for produce and to view their pet rabbits, which are very popular in Venezuela, not as cute little bunnies but as two kilos of meat) The idea was that the communes and campesinos (farmers) could distribute their produce bypassing private intermediaries (the corrupt Chavistas) to ensure food reached those who needed it.
Instead, Maduro initiated the CLAP government food program (riddled with fraud and corruption,as are all the Maduro regime’s government programs). Commune activist, Atenea Jimenez, notes that the “P” in the acronym CLAP stands for production only the communes and compesinos weren’t included. Everything distributed through the CLAP program is imported.
According to Julian, a member of the ruling PSUV (Chavista) party, the tensions between centralized authority (the Chavistas) and the decentralized communes (the people) have been present since the Chavez days and dictated the creation of CLAP.
As we have always known, Chavismo doesn’t like anything they don’t control (and profit from through their corruption networks), even if it’s for the benefit of the people. Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism exists solely for the enrichment of the Chavistas and has nothing to do with the betterment of life for the Venezuelan people.
Then we have Rio Times reporting that Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador are under alert for Bird Flu…Jesus! Besides all the previously eradicated diseases making a comeback in Venezuela under the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, we have the discovery of the world’s largest spider, the invasion of Giant African Snails, and now it’s Bird Flu! Up next…raining frogs?
Rio Times also reports that according to the Venezuela Observatory of Finance, accumulated inflation in Venezuela now stands at 197% with year on year inflation at 213%. It sounds incredibly high, and it is, but as we always say, the Venezuelan people have seen far worse under the Maduro regime.
We’ll close with a cautionary note…Be careful what you wish for. Before Hugo Chavez came on the scene Venezuela was an emerging market on the verge of climbing out of “third world” status. With issues like 50% of the population living in poverty there were certainly problems that needed to be addressed. The Venezuelan people opted for Hugo Chavez and his 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism…and it sounded so good. The entire global community, governments, celebrities, economists,…pretty much everybody were enamored with Chavez and proclaimed 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism as “The new way forward”. Now, with 95% of the country living in poverty, 75% in extreme poverty and basically every aspect of life and society destroyed by the Chavistas, maybe, in hindsight, the socialist solution wasn’t the answer?
That will do it for the week. We’ll be back Monday with the next installment of Venezuela :Down The Rabbit Hole as well as the usual third world dispatches. Until then…Have a great weekend everybody!!!!
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