Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category
Venezuela, where gasoline is almost free but the cars are lousy.
Jesus Silvia’s report on Press TV:
Iran’s car industry has shown signs of enhancing its share in Venezuelan market. The sale of US cars in Venezuela’s market has decreased dramatically since President Nicolas Maduro banned American automakers from using dollars for transactions. Iranian vehicles made by Venirauto group seem to be an alternative to Venezuelans in times of a troubled market.
VENezuela + IRan + AUTO = Venirauto, which is also a handy pun for “coming by car” (venir en auto)
At the 0:40 mark, Francisco Espinoza, president of Venirauto group, “Our achievement is based on inspiration given by our late commander, Hugo Chavez. He wanted Venezuela to ally with Iran, and we’re doing so.”
Compare and contrast the very low-tech plant shown in the video with a Hyundai assembly plant at Kancheepuram district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu October 4, 2012,
or the Volvo trucks assembly plant in South Carolina
One of the reasons Iran is willing to build cars in Venezuela when foreign automakers are leaving is that, as early as 2007, Iran agreed to build platforms in a US$4 billion development of Orinoco delta oil deposits in exchange for Venezuelan investments.
As you would expect from a government-forced monopoly, the cars don’t look jazzy (emphasis added),
The company Venirauto, which is 51% Iranian and 49% Venezuelan, is producing two different models. The first model, the Turpial at a price of Bs. 17 million (US$7,906), is a 4-door sedan based on the old Kia Pride model. The second is the Centauro, at a price of Bs. 23 million (US$11,069), and is based on the Peugeot 405 given that the French firm is the main supplier of engines and technology to the Iranian company. Both models are exempt from Venezuela’s sales tax IVA (Value-added tax), due to a government program to subsidize cars that include Venezuelan production.
The goal is to eventually produce 100% of the cars in Venezuela.
The Peugeot 405 was introduced on 1987 and, according to Wikipedia, is still produced under license in Iran and Egypt but ceased production in France in 1997. The old Kia Pride (not to be confused with the Kia New Pride) was in production from 1987 to 2000.
Don’t expect to find those in Kelley’s Blue Book Top 10 anytime soon.
Can the Venirautos be bullet-proofed?
Lucio Gutiérrez, ex-Presidente de Ecuador,
Emili J. Blasco, corresponsal de ABC y autor del libro Bumerán Chávez: Los fraudes que llevaron al colapso de Venezuela (Amazon.com #1 Best Sellerin Caribbean & Latin American Politics)
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today
She is sorry to be delayed
– Cole Porter
Unlike Miss Otis, Nicolas Maduro didn’t stray down Lover’s Lane. Instead, the Venezuelan dictator cancelled a previously-scheduled and well-publicized audience with Pope Francis due to flu and otitis, which is what brought Miss Otis to mind.
Of course, Maduro had to say it in a cadena (which is broadcast on all licensed TV and radio stations in the country).
The news report states that the cancellation
comes as the Catholic Church in Venezuela has been stepping up criticism of human rights abuses in the country.
The Venezuelan Catholics are stepping up the pressure; however, Pope Francis has yet to speak in behalf of Leopoldo Lopez, who is still rotting in jail and killing himself with a hunger strike,
Good evening. It’s Lillian [Lopez’s wife]. Leopoldo sent me an important message. Today is his 12th day in hunger strike. Please RT.
Buenas noches. Es Lilian. Leopoldo me hizo llegar un mensaje importante. Hoy cumple 12 días en huelga de hambre. Por favor RT
— Leopoldo López (@leopoldolopez) June 6, 2015
Considering how Pope Francis’s own-brokered Cuba/U.S. deal left Cuban dissidents flapping in the wind, and how chummy Raul and Francis got along, perhaps Maduro could have claimed a miraculous cure and gone on his Vatican junket with no adverse side effects.
The latest trend: Peoples of Latin America are increasingly favoring the U.S. dollar in monetary transactions.
In other news, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter was shot down or forced to initiate an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas due to receiving gunfire from the Mexican side of the border.
Alberto Nisman’s computer ‘accessed more than 60 times after his death’Mystery surrounding death of Argentine prosecutor deepens as judicial sources say his computer was accessed after his death and detectives accused of contaminating crime scene
Bolivia’s government on Friday handed over fugitive businessman Martin Belaunde Lossio, who was captured the day before in Bolivia’s Amazon region after escaping house arrest last weekend.
Belaunde, a former adviser to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, is wanted in his homeland on corruption charges.
Lt Col Moises da Silva Fuchs and Cpt Alex da Rocha Camillo were found guilty at a military court of making a false declaration in the licence for Kiss nightclub in the university town of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul.
Fuchs was also convicted of misconduct for not sanctioning an officer, who also managed a company responsible for renovations at the club.
Six other firefighters were cleared over inspection failures before the fire after a two-day hearing.
Video of Mexican Prison Riot Highlights a Crisis as Elections NearThe footage of a deadly melee illustrated the difficulty the government has in controlling inmates in its overcrowded and violent prison system.
Mexico’s Midterm Elections Likely to Reflect President’s WoesSunday’s vote is shaping up as a referendum on President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose early popularity has been undercut by a resurgence in gang violence and corruption scandals.
Thank God this was not a trend when I lived there, Dead man standing: Macabre wakes of Puerto Rico prop up the dead
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee weds Muslim convert in UruguayAdel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi, a 50-year-old Tunisian, married Roma Blanco, a 24-year-old Uruguayan; Omar Abdelhadi Faraj’s wedding was postponed to next week.
Good luck with that: Pope asked to intercede in Venezuelan hunger strike
Pope and President Maduro are due to meet in Rome on Sunday amid concerns that jailed opposition figures beginning to develop serious health problems as a result of their fast. As you can see above, Maduro’s not going.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Uruguay: De facto dollarization
Podcasting live on US-Latin America stories of the week w Silvio Canto Jr http://t.co/5VN2akCOhx
— Fausta (@Fausta) June 4, 2015
Before we get to Maradona, this:
Venezuela’s currency isn’t worth a penny
Just a month ago, $1 was worth 279 bolivars. That was already pretty dismal for Venezuela. Now $1 equals 408 bolivars, according to the unofficial exchange rate, which most Venezuelans get when they try to trade currency.
Put another way, one bolivar equals $0.002 — less than a penny. The country’s currency has lost nearly half its value since the beginning of May, according to dolartoday.com, a website that tracks the unofficial exchange rate.
It’s another sign that Venezuela is arguably the world’s worst economy.
Elsewhere in the nuthouse,
Diego Maradona backed for FIFA presidency by Venezuela’s Maduro
Speaking on his national television program, Maduro said Argentine football legend Maradona had been calling out FIFA for decades, only to be laughed at. Maradona has been a high-profile supporter of the 16-year-old socialist revolution launched in Venezuela by late President Hugo Chavez.
Just weeks ago, the 1986 World Cup winner wrote a column in The Telegraphnewspaper in England blasting Blatter as a “dictator for life,” while calling FIFA “a disgrace.”
Heck, things are so crazy Maradona may even get the job.
We’ll talk about this in tonight’s podcast at 8PM Eastern.
What Nisman knew: The Iranian connection,
Jorge Lanata reporta.
The week’s big news: Pres. Obama removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror, as part of a deal brokered by the Vatican, in exchange for which Cuba had to do nothing.
The top headlines in the hemisphere: FIFA corruption; as expected, its re-elected president blames the U.S. and England.
Cristina’s not running: ‘CFK will not be candidate in the upcoming elections’ . . . maybe.
China mulls air route to Bahamas
“Refugio de corruptos”
Former Petrobras Executive Sentenced to Five Years
Nestor Cerveró, Petrobras’ former director of international operations, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison.
Brazil Dangles Leniency to Spur Energy Industry
Brazil’s government is preparing to offer U.S.-like leniency deals to several private companies linked to the Petrobras corruption scandal to lessen its drag on the nation’s economy
How the Cayman Islands Became a FIFA Power
One reason for the talks’ resilience is that both sides are used to negotiating during bouts of violence, which did not end even during the quietest periods. Military action by the FARC fell by 85% during its ceasefire and civilian deaths fell by 73%, according to the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre (CERAC), a think-tank in Bogotá. Even so, CERAC recorded 21 attacks by the FARC (and suspects it was responsible for another 75). Mr Santos has staked his reputation on concluding a peace agreement (by the end of this year, he hopes). For the FARC, the alternative to peace is further pounding by the armed forces; it no longer hopes for victory.
Farc peace negotiator killed in Colombia bombingPedro Nel Daza Martínez, the Farc leader better known as “Jairo Martínez”, had returned from peace talks in Havana when he was killed by a government bombing raid
Carlos Eire writes on how “they hate it so much when we refuse to be the caricatures they want us to be:” Okay, that’s it. Se acabó la pachanga. The party’s over. Time to say “Hell is my homeland.”
Bye-bye, dollarization: Ecuador Moves Toward Electronic Currency
Ecuador’s Monetary Council has published a resolution making it mandatory for private and public banks to deal with transactions in electronic currency.
Depending on their size, banks will have between 120 and 360 days to register as Macro Agents of the electronic currency system in the central bank.
The resolution reiterated that the central bank is the only entity authorized to issue electronic currency, and that the electronic currency must be backed up by liquid assets of the central bank.
The money will be used for “undetermined” projects in Haiti.
U.S. Soccer Probe Brings Adulation From AbroadUnexpectedly, the FBI’s case is garnering plaudits even in regions like Latin America that are traditionally suspicious of Washington’s motives
Mexico Shelves Key Part of Education OverhaulThe Mexican government suspended its planned teacher evaluations that were a cornerstone of the country’s education overhaul, in a decision ahead of midterm elections that dissident teacher groups threatened to boycott.
LIFE AND DEATH ON THE AVOCADO TRAIL
A fearless Mexican-American cook routinely travels 2,000 miles, driving through a drug war and slipping out of kidnappers’ fingers, all in the name of a decent mole poblano for her New York customers. Inexplicably, they let her go.
Fat lot of good that’s going to do: Puerto Rico Governor Signs Law Raising Sales Tax to 11.5 Pct. To cover its $1.2 billion in debt service due this year from sales tax alone, it would have to raise over $10 trillion in sales – absurd.
June brides: Ex-Guantanamo Prisoners to Marry Uruguayan Women
Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj [a.k.a. Abd al Hadi Faraj], 40, from Syria and Tunisian Abdul Bin Mohammed Ourgy [a.k.a. Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy], 50, will marry Muslim women at a mosque in Montevideo.
— CDN Network (@CaribbeanDN) May 30, 2015
Diosdado is now reading members of NGOs Provea and Public Forum emails on TV.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba: Willfull blindness
US-Latin America stories of the week
Officially, they won’t, but in practice, yes:
From real estate to cars to even some cheaper goods like health-care products, an increasing number of vendors demand dollars—or its black market equivalent in bolivars, now about 350, several times the official rate. That prices out most Venezuelans, who can’t get greenbacks because of complex currency controls the government uses to prevent capital flight.
Those controls have helped exacerbate class divisions between those who hold only bolivars and those with access to dollars, undermining Mr. Chávez’s so-called Bolivarian Revolution, the social movement embraced by his successor, President Nicolás Maduro, which aims to equitably distribute wealth.
Steve Hanke saw it coming.
Worthless bolivar, replaced by hard currency, ought to not surprise anyone, or, as Capt. Louie said, “I’m shocked, shocked, there’s gambling going on in here.”
I wonder what became of my former friend, the liberal, who told me that Chávez had improved the economy. She’ll blame Maduro for not getting Communism straight, unlike Hugo.
Additionally, just because you have dollars doesn’t mean you can get necessities.
For example, buying car tires: A contrast between a command economy, and a consumer-oriented economy.
At the command economy: Where gasoline is almost free, but two months go by and you can’t get tires for your car.
Gustavo Hernandez Acevedo describes Chavismo on wheels,
In early April, a close relative of mine was looking everywhere for new tires. He hasn’t found anything yet.
. . .
The root of the problem is (as expected) the fall in domestic production and the lack of currency to either reactivate local factories or bring enough imports to satisfy demand. Representatives of three major tire brands have met with government representatives, but they didn’t get any specifics about when they will get the resources to keep working.
But another factor is affecting the vehicle tire market: Proveeduria (Procurement)
It’s a state-led initiative thought up the central government back in 2013 to directly provide spare parts and tires to public and cargo transportation drivers, under the control of the Transportation Ministry. At the beginning, those State procurement stores got their tires from illegal units that were seized by the authorities.
But in March of this year, Land Transportation Minister Haiman El Troudi published an administrative order in which tiremakers are forced to sell 20% of production to proveedurias in order to keep public transportation up and running.
At the consumer-oriented economy: Tires replaced, car serviced, in less than three hours.
The other day I needed tires. I drove to the local service station, talked to the gentleman at the desk, and dropped off my car.
About an hour later, they called me back, we discussed price and what was needed.
Two hours later, the car was ready, I went, paid, and happily drove off.
According to this official website of the Venezuelan government (link in Spanish), the Tower of David has been evacuated and its squatters placed in government housing. The structure will be used as an Emergency Coordination Center – hopefully after a great deal of refurbishing.
For the first time in more than a year, Leopoldo Lopez spoke to Venezuelans in a video smuggled out of Ramo Verde prison. In it, he announced the beginning of a hunger strike, calling Venezuelans to take to the streets this coming Saturday.
Transcript in English at the link above; here’s the subtitled YouTube,
Also at Caracas Chronicles, Juan Cristóbal Nagel compares the danger you face for deciding to go out into the streets and marching vs. the danger you face for deciding to inhabit Venezuela for a year doing nothing political.
. . . there is a bigger challenge. This one is to the citizens. Be you chavista or non chavista if you are tired of lines, crime, corruption and lack of future it is time for you, el pueblo, to express it, in unison.
Venezuela: Running on Fumes?
Venezuela: No Rule of Law, Bad Money and a 335% inflation rate:
Facing this inflationary theft, Venezuelan’s have voted with their wallets. Indeed, they have unofficially begun to dollarize the economy. But, the only way to establish the rule of law in the monetary sphere is to officially dollarize the economy by officially dumping the hapless bolivar and replacing it with the U.S. dollar.