As it turns out, Hugo’s starting the year with a bang – lopping off three zeros off the currency because we all know that’s the most reasonable way to deal with that pesky inflation:
Venezuela cuts three zeros off bolivar currency
Venezuela opened the New Year on Tuesday by revamping its bolivar currency in an effort by the government of President Hugo Chavez to tackle the highest inflation in the Western Hemisphere.
The bolivar’s official exchange rate is now 2.15 bolivars per dollar, compared with the previous official rate of 2,150 per dollar.
You think The Sopranos has magical realism? I’ll give you magical realism:
The change does not constitute a devaluation since the prices of goods in bolivars are expected to be reduced by the same amount.
While Tony was in a coma he had a heart attack that was induced by Paulie’s yammering. Well, that heart attack is what brought him out of a coma. Let’s hope the Venezuelan economy doesn’t have to go through something similar:
Economists said the monetary conversion will cause confusion and even fuel inflation as a result of rounding, and say the government must reduce burgeoning monetary liquidity and slow spending of record oil revenues to control consumer prices.
Not that there isn’t enough to give Silvio an asthma attack:
Venezuela’s 2006 inflation was 17 percent, and reached 18.6 between January and November of 2007.
That, my friends, is almost three times Brazil’s rate of inflation.
I get the feeling that FARC controls Chavez more than the other way around.
It’s not just that they stood him up twice now – with the proof of life and now with the three hostages. Chavez may also be scared to kick out the farc bases on Venezuelan soil, and there are seven of them. So he prefers to make friends with them, they’re what he likes anyway. Farc is one of the few groups who don’t need chavez’s money by the way, they have their own cash stream via drugs. That raises their leverage against chavez, and makes chavez only marginally useful to them anyway. They also are confident that chavez won’t mind losing face each time they gull him, they know they can always gull him again, he is that credulous when it comes to farc. It’s really creepy how much farc has chavez on their string rather than the other way around. Deep down, chavez wishes he had guerrilla credentials like farc, and like castro, he doesn’t, all he has are democracy election credentials. He’d much rather be a guerrilla. Farc must know this. Weird how they can kick him around with no consequences!
In my opinion is also a matter of strategy: the Bolivarian Revolution is extremely expensive to export, and Hugo needs FARC as part of his strategy.
Sort like Tony does when dealing with Johnny Sack.
Hey, even Tony gets to break a sweat every now and then.
UPDATE, Wednesday January 2:
Holy Chavistas! Venezuela Violent Deaths Double Iraq’s Numbers
For the last three months of 2007, a Venezuelan was twice as likely to lose his life to violence as an Iraqi.