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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

Mostrando postagens com marcador Venezuela. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Venezuela. Mostrar todas as postagens

quinta-feira, 6 de julho de 2017

Venezuela: um Estado falido - Paulo Paranagua

Analyse 
Imposture populiste au Venezuela 


Paulo A. Paranagua10/05/2017
Service International 
Au Venezuela, les manifestations contre le régime se ­succèdent, malgré une répression brutale. Il y a une ­vingtaine d'années, un lieutenant-colonel parachutiste, Hugo Chavez, arrivait au pouvoir par les urnes, après avoir échoué à le faire par les armes. Il avait promis de combattre la corruption. Pendant sa longue présidence (1999-2013), le cours du pétrole est passé de 8 dollars le baril à 150 dollars. La manne pétrolière dont il a bénéficié a dépassé les 1 100 milliards de dollars. La moitié de cette somme ne figurait pas dans le budget de l'Etat, basé sur un cours du brut systématiquement sous-évalué, ni dans les comptes publics. C'est le hold-up du siècle.
Cette fortune a été versée à des cagnottes opaques, utilisées de manière discrétionnaire. Elle a alimenté le clientélisme chaviste et arrosé les soutiens du régime des deux ­côtés de l'Atlantique, qu'ils soient hommes politiques ou affairistes, journalistes ou universitaires. Les pétrodollars n'ont pas d'odeur. ­Légende noire ? En Argentine, une douanière zélée a découvert une valise provenant de ­Caracas avec 800 000 dollars, en pleine campagne pour la réélection de la présidente Cristina Kirchner. Et en Espagne, le fisc a coincé des dirigeants de Podemos (gauche radicale) qui avaient omis de déclarer des sommes ­reçues du Venezuela. Ces revenus pétroliers siphonnés ne sont pas inscrits dans les livres de comptabilité, contrairement aux pots-de-vin de l'entreprise brésilienne Odebrecht : une chance pour les propagandistes du ­chavisme invités au Cayena, luxueux hôtel de Caracas, aux frais de la princesse. Le ­Venezuela est un Etat corrompu et corrupteur.
Après quarante ans de démocratie civile, Hugo Chavez a remis en selle la tradition militariste du pays. Les militaires, qui n'ont ­jamais gagné une guerre, se posent en sauveurs de la patrie. Avec le chavisme, ils se sont enrichis, ils ont trempé dans les trafics d'armes, de drogues et de denrées alimentaires, alors que les Vénézuéliens subissent des ­pénuries. Ils ont leur propre entreprise pour l'exploitation pétrolière et minière. Le tiers des ministres, de nombreux gouverneurs et chefs d'entreprises publiques sont des gradés. Le ­Venezuela est un Etat militaire.
La nouvelle bourgeoisie « bolivarienne » a stimulé les appétits du crime organisé. Au lieu de le combattre, le populisme s'est appuyé sur la pègre, qui tient les prisons et contrôle des territoires. Les « collectifs » chavistes armés, chargés des basses oeuvres du régime, sont à la frontière de la politique et de la délinquance. L'explosion du nombre d'homicides - 21 752 en 2016, selon la procureure générale de la République, beaucoup plus selon des ONG - est le symptôme des déchirements du tissu social et d'une déliquescence des institutions. La plupart des juges sont soumis au pouvoir. Le président de la Cour suprême a un ­casier judiciaire, avec deux homicides. Le ­Venezuela est un Etat mafieux. Hugo Chavez a respecté les résultats électoraux tant qu'ils lui étaient favorables. Ce n'est plus le cas de son successeur, Nicolas Maduro. D'aucuns ont cru voir dans le bricolage institutionnel d'Hugo Chavez une forme de ­démocratie participative, capable de rééquilibrer la démocratie représentative. En fait, il a vidé de leur substance l'une et l'autre. Il n'était pas un bâtisseur, juste un démolisseur, qui faisait le vide autour de son leadership charismatique.
UN éTAT FAILLI
Sa Constitution stipule l'existence de cinq pouvoirs au lieu de trois : les autorités électorales sont censées être autonomes, tandis qu'un « pouvoir moral » regroupe le parquet, le médiateur et la Cour des comptes. Or la séparation des pouvoirs n'existe pas : l'exécutif commande au nom de la « révolution ­bolivarienne » et de « l'unité civico-militaire ». Le Venezuela n'est pas un Etat de droit, ni une République, mais un Etat failli.
Par ordre d'Hugo Chavez, l'ambassade vénézuélienne à Paris devait s'assurer que la vie du terroriste Carlos en prison soit la plus confortable possible. Cela va bien au-delà du devoir d'assistance consulaire. Ce mercenaire vénézuélien du terrorisme palestinien, trois fois condamné à la prison à perpétuité en France, est un héros national pour les chavistes. Base arrière de la guérilla des Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie, plate-forme du trafic de stupéfiants vers l'Europe, le Venezuela est impliqué dans un trafic de passeports au Moyen-Orient. Caracas est complaisant, si ce n'est complice, avec « narcos » et terroristes.
Hugo Chavez prétendait aider les pauvres avec ses programmes sociaux. Le populisme, la gabegie et les malversations ont plongé dans la pauvreté les trois quarts des Vénézuéliens, privés d'aliments, de médicaments et désormais du droit de vote, puisque les élections sont renvoyées aux calendes grecques. Depuis début avril, on assiste à un printemps vénézuélien. Le régime réprime et ses « collectifs » tuent par balles les opposants ou les mécontents qui manifestent dans la rue.
Hugo Chavez et Nicolas Maduro ont cherché une légitimité révolutionnaire du côté de Cuba. Fidel Castro a joué son rôle de mentor en échange de pétrole à prix d'ami et de devises pour ses services de santé. Ainsi, même le castrisme crépusculaire s'est fait rétribuer son soutien. Le « socialisme du XXIe siècle » de Chavez s'est donc construit sur les vestiges mal digérés du stalinisme du XXe siècle et une régression nostalgique vers le nationalisme du XIXe. Le chavisme a ruiné le Venezuela en moitié moins de temps que Castro l'a fait à Cuba, alors que l'économie cubaine avait pour seul carburant le sucre. Le populisme est l'imposture idéologique du XXIe siècle.

Venezuela: uma ditadura aberta, e assassina - Paulo Paranagua (Le Monde)

A matéria precede o ataque criminoso das milícias fascistas do chavismo contra a Assembleia venezuelana.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Au Venezuela, esquisse de convergence entre chavisme dissident et opposition
Paulo Paranaguá,
Le Monde, 6/07/2017
 
Les anti-Maduro organisent un référendum, le 16 juillet, pour déjouer la convocation d'une Assemblée constituante par le président

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La procureure générale de la République du Venezuela, Luisa Ortega, devenue l'égérie des chavistes dissidents, ne s'est pas présentée devant la Cour suprême où elle était convoquée mardi 4  juillet. Cette audience publique devait examiner la plainte du député chaviste Pedro Carreño, qui accuse la magistrate de " fautes graves dans l'exercice de sa fonction ". La Cour, soumise au pouvoir, lui avait interdit de quitter le territoire et avait saisi ses biens. Des perquisitions ont été menées au siège du ministère public. Le gouver-nement du président Nicolas -Maduro veut se débarrasser de la procureure.
Mme  Ortega ne s'est pas laissée démonter. Elle a récusé les dix-sept juges de la Cour suprême qui doivent statuer sur son cas, désignés sans respecter les normes constitutionnelles. Elle a contre-attaqué en demandant aux Etats-Unis des informations sur les deux neveux de Cilia Flores, l'épouse du président Maduro, jugés par un tribunal de New York pour trafic de stupéfiants. Au cours d'une conférence de presse, à Caracas, elle a réaffirmé sa position : " La décision de -Nicolas Maduro de convoquer une Assemblée constituante est contraire à la Constitution. " A son avis, le Venezuela connaît un " coup d'Etat " perpétré par le pouvoir contre les institutions indépendantes, comme le ministère public ou le Parlement.
Lundi, Mme  Ortega avait donné une preuve de son indépendance en se présentant devant le Parlement, contrôlé par l'opposition. Les députés chavistes avaient déserté l'hémicycle, à l'exception de son époux, German Ferrer, unchaviste et ancien guérillero réputé. Pour la première fois, le chavisme dissident, représenté par la procureure générale, et les opposants au régime de M.  Maduro joignaient leurs voix. Jusqu'alors, les uns et les autres hésitaient à se montrer ensemble et à avouer la moindre convergence. D'après l'analyste Luis Vicente Leon, " la massification de la protestation de la rue " et l'élargissement de la " fracture du chavisme " sont les deux conditions pour envisager une solution démocratique à la crise vénézuélienne.
Pouvoir d'achat ravagé
Depuis trois mois, les manifestations se succèdent quasiment tous les jours. La répression brutale, critiquée par les défenseurs des droits de l'homme mais aussi par Mme  Ortega, a provoqué au moins 90 morts, la plupart d'entre eux tués par balles. Les pénuries, le pouvoir d'achat ravagé par l'hyperinflation et l'effondrement du système de santé provoquent des explosions sociales localisées et des saccages. Le gouvernement refuse l'aide humanitaire internationale pour ne pas avouer son échec.
" Je ne suis responsable ni de la famine ni des pénuries ", a déclaré la procureure générale, pour mieux souligner les responsabilités gouvernementales. La conférence des évêques vénézuéliens s'est exprimée dans le même sens, mardi : le peuple a besoin de " nourriture, de médicaments et de liberté ", pas d'une nouvelle -Constitution. Forte du soutien du pape François, l'Eglise catholique qualifie la convocation d'une Assemblée constituante de " formule communiste d'organisation de la société ".
L'élection de la Constituante a été fixée au 30  juillet. Lundi, l'opposition a décidé d'organiser un référendum, le 16  juillet, sur l'opportunité de l'action du gouvernement : " Que ce soit le peuple qui décide s'il rejette ou refuse la Constituante convoquée de manière -inconstitutionnelle par Nicolas Maduro ", a justifié le président du Parlement, Julio Borges. Sans compter sur le Conseil national électoral, aux ordres du pouvoir, les opposants veulent placer des urnes dans " chaque paroisse ", sans doute avec la collaboration de l'Eglise. Selon M.  Leon, cette initiative " vise à montrer la différence entre la gigantesque abstention " prévisible le jour de l'élection de la Constituante et la " participation massive " au référendum organisé par les opposants, à deux semaines d'intervalle.
A Caracas, des observateurs souhaitent la formation d'un gouvernement de transition d'union nationale, avec des opposants et des chavistes critiques à l'égard de M.  Maduro. Une telle solution négociée de la crise dépend de l'attitude des militaires. Le projet de référendum appelle d'ailleurs les forces armées à défendre la Constitution. " L'obscurité ne dure pas toujours ", assure Luisa Ortega.
Paulo A. Paranagua

terça-feira, 6 de junho de 2017

Por uma Venezuela novamente democratica - Aloysio Nunes


 
Defendemos o respeito aos princípios democráticos para que o povo venezuelano possa voltar a ser senhor do próprio destino.
Participei, no dia 31, da 29.ª Reunião dos Ministros das Relações Exteriores da Organização dos Estados Americanos (OEA), convocada para tratar da crise política e humanitária na Venezuela.
O que motivou a Reunião de Chanceleres foi a constatação de que o estado democrático de direito deixou de vigorar na Venezuela.
O que vemos diariamente naquele país é a arbitrariedade de um governo que cerceia as liberdades fundamentais de seus cidadãos, destrói a independência do Judiciário, ignora a voz do Legislativo, sufoca a oposição e se nega a organizar eleições. 
Prisioneiros políticos e de consciência lotam os porões do regime. O saldo crescente de mortos e feridos, resultante dos confrontos entre oposicionistas e forças governamentais nas ruas, é um verdadeiro escândalo em uma região que fez uma escolha decidida pela paz, pela democracia, pelos direitos humanos e pela busca do desenvolvimento.
Podemos ter opiniões diversas, do ponto de vista político ou ideológico, sobre o governo venezuelano, mas o fato inegável é que, a cada dia, aumenta o número de cidadãos venezuelanos vitimados por uma impiedosa repressão governamental. Até quando isso vai continuar?
Não podemos deixar o povo venezuelano desamparado. Nosso continente já sofreu demais o flagelo do autoritarismo, por isso qualquer ameaça de retrocesso nos toca profundamente e exige nossa ação.
O governo brasileiro está firmemente comprometido com a criação das condições para uma saída política e pacífica para a Venezuela, que deve ser encontrada pelos próprios venezuelanos com o apoio e a facilitação de um grupo representativo de países e da OEA.
Entre os países-membros da OEA, há reconhecimento generalizado da gravidade da crise, da urgência de um fim imediato para a violência e da necessidade de um diálogo efetivo, real, entre o governo e a oposição, com vistas à definição de um cronograma de transição política pacífica.
O grupo de países composto por Argentina, Brasil, Canadá, Chile, Colômbia, Costa Rica, Estados Unidos, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Paraguai, Panamá, Peru e Uruguai já apresentou uma proposta sólida para avançar nesse sentido.
Preocupa-nos, em especial, a convocação pelo governo venezuelano de uma Assembleia Constituinte segundo procedimento que está à revelia do princípio do sufrágio universal inscrito na própria Constituição bolivariana.
Trata-se de medida que, além de alijar ainda mais o Poder Legislativo legítimo, provocará seguramente, se não for revertida, a radicalização cada vez maior da crise política e o alastramento da violência.
Estamos trabalhando com os países caribenhos da OEA para aproximar a proposta deles da nossa e, assim, fortalecer nossa atuação conjunta em defesa da democracia e da paz na Venezuela. A Reunião de Chanceleres em Washington demonstrou que estamos unidos no firme propósito de ajudar os venezuelanos a alcançar uma solução para a crise o mais rápido possível.
Não posso deixar de enfatizar a trágica dimensão humanitária da crise. Milhares de cidadãos venezuelanos atravessam todos os dias a fronteira com o Brasil. Vêm ao nosso País compelidos pela escassez na Venezuela de gêneros indispensáveis à sobrevivência.
O governo da Venezuela não pode restringir mais a entrada no país e a distribuição, sem discriminações, de alimentos e medicamentos para socorrer sua população.
A crise humanitária é consequência direta da privação de direitos sofrida pelos venezuelanos. Defendemos o respeito aos princípios democráticos para que o povo da Venezuela possa voltar a ser senhor do próprio destino. A soberania e a autodeterminação na Venezuela precisam emanar de um povo capaz de participar ativamente da vida da nação, em ambiente democrático verdadeiramente livre. Somente na democracia é possível trilhar o caminho da paz social e da prosperidade, que é o que nós brasileiros desejamos aos irmãos venezuelanos.

quinta-feira, 18 de maio de 2017

Venezuela: a construção do desastre - José Nino (Mises)

Home | Blog | Venezuela Before Chavez: A Prelude to Socialist Failure
Venezuela Before Chavez: A Prelude to Socialist Failure
05/04/2017José Niño
This is Part One of a two-part series. Part Two is here.

Venezuela’s current economic catastrophe is well documented. Conventional narratives point to Hugo Chávez’s regime as the primary architect behind Venezuela’s economic tragedy. While Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro deserve the brunt of the blame for Venezuela’s current economic calamity, the underlying flaws of Venezuela’s political economy point to much more systemic problems.
Observers must look beyond stage one, and understand Venezuela’s overall history over the past 50 years in order to get a more thorough understanding of how the country has currently fallen to such lows.

Socialism Before Chávez
Analysts like to point to rosier pictures of Pre-Chávez Venezuela, but what these “experts” conveniently ignore is that the seeds of Venezuela’s destruction were sowed during those “glory years.” Years of gradual economic interventionism took what was once a country bound to join the ranks of the First World to a middle-tier developing country. This steady decline eventually created an environment where a demagogue like Chávez would completely exploit for his political gain.

The Once-Prosperous Venezuela
To comprehend Venezuela’s long-term decline, one must look back at what made it so prosperous in the first place. Before the completion of its first oil field on April 15, 1914, Venezuela was essentially a Banana Republic marked by political instability. This was largely a consequence of its colonial past and the period following its independence from Spain. Despite gaining independence from Spain, Venezuela maintained many of its primitive political and economic practices, above all, its exclusionary mercantilist and regulatory policies that kept it in an impoverished state.
However, the discovery of oil in the early twentieth century completely changed the entire ballgame. The powerful agricultural aristocracy would be supplanted by an industrialist class that sought to open its oil markets to multinational exploitation and foreign investment. For the first time in its history, Venezuela had a relatively liberal, free market economy and it would reap countless benefits in the decades to come.
From the 1910s to the 1930s, the much-maligned dictator Juan Vicente Gómez helped consolidate the Venezuelan state and modernized an otherwise neocolonial backwater by allowing market actors, domestic and foreign, to freely exploit newly discovered oil deposits. Venezuela would experience substantial economic growth and quickly establish itself as one of Latin America’s most prosperous countries by the 1950s.
In the 1950s, General Marcos Pérez Jiménez would continue Gómez’s legacy. At this juncture, Venezuela was at its peak, with a fourth place ranking in terms of per capita GDP worldwide.

More Than Just Oil
While oil exploitation did play a considerable role in Venezuela’s meteoric ascent from the 1920s to 1970s, this only scratches the surface in explaining how Venezuela became so prosperous during this period. A combination of a relatively free economy, an immigration system that attracted and assimilated laborers from Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and a system of strong property rights, allowed Venezuela to experience unprecedented levels of economic development from the 1940s up until the 1970s.
As mentioned earlier, Venezuela was at the height of its prosperity during the military dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s regime. Like Juan Vicente Gómez’s regime, Pérez Jiménez’s stewardship of Venezuela was characterized by heavy political repression.
Venezuela’s capitalist structure remained largely intact during Pérez Jiménez’s tenure, albeit with creeping degrees of state involvement. Pérez Jiménez did introduce some elements of crony capitalism, pharaonic public works projects, and increased state involvement in “strategic industries” like the steel industry. Nevertheless, the Pérez Jiménez regime was open to foreign investment, let the price system function normally in most sectors of the economy, and did not embark on creating a profligate welfare state.

The Road to Social Democracy
Despite the prosperity brought about by Venezuela’s booming economy in the 1950s, Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s government drew the ire of many left-leaning activists due its heavy-handed measures. The tipping point came in 1958, when these leftist activists, working in tandem with a sympathetic military, successfully overthrew Pérez Jiménez in a coup. Pérez Jiménez would live the rest of his life in exile and would be a figure of derision among Venezuelan intellectual and political elites, despite the unprecedented economic and social development under his watch.
Following the 1958 coup, naval officer Wolfgang Larrázabal occupied the presidency briefly until general elections were held later that year. Notable social democrat political leader Rómulo Betancourt would come out on top in these elections and assume the presidency from 1959 to 1964. The Fourth Republic of Venezuela — Venezuela’s longest lasting period of democratic rule, was established under Betancourt’s administration. In 1961, a constitution was introduced, dividing the government into 3 branches — executive, legislative, and judicial — and establishing an activist role for the Venezuelan state in economic affairs.
This political order was further consolidated by the establishment of the Punto Fijo Pact. The Punto Fijo Pact consisted of a bipartisan agreement between two political parties — Acción Democratica (Democratic Action) and COPEI (Christian Democrats) — that laid the foundation for a social democratic political order and alternation of power between the two parties.
What seemed like a genuine move toward democratic stability, Venezuela’s Fourth Republic marked the beginning of a process of creeping socialism that gradually whittled away at Venezuela’s economic and institutional foundations.

The Socialist Origins of Venezuela’s Pro-Democracy Advocates
Venezuela’s current collapse did not happen overnight. It was part of a drawn out process of economic and institutional decay that began decades before.
When Venezuela returned to democracy in 1958, it looked like it was poised to begin an era of unprecedented prosperity and political stability.
However, Venezuela’s democratic experiment was doomed from the start, and one needn’t look any further at the political background of its very own founder, Rómulo Betancourt, to understand why it’s entire political system was built on a house of cards.
Rómulo Betancourt was an ex-communist who renounced his Marxist ways in favor of a more gradualist approach of establishing socialism. Despite evolving into more of a social democrat, Betancourt still believed in a very activist role for the State in economic matters.
Betancourt was part of a generation of intellectuals and student activists that aimed to fully nationalize Venezuela’s petroleum sector and use petroleum rents to establish a welfare state of sorts. These political figures firmly believed that for Venezuela to become a truly independent country and free itself from the influence of foreign interests, the government must have complete dominion over the oil sector.
Under this premise, a nationalized oil industry would finance cheap gasoline, “free” education at all levels, healthcare, and a wide array of other public services.
This rhetoric strongly resonated among the lower and middle classes, which would form the bulwark of Betancourt’s party, Acción Democrática, voter base for years to come.
At its core, this vision of economic organization assumed that the government must manage the economy through central planning. Oil would be produced, managed, and administered by the state, while the government would try to phase out the private sector.
Interventionism from the Start
Betancourt’s administration, while not as interventionist as succeeding 4th Republic governments, capped off several worrisome policies, which included:
  1. Devaluation of the Venezuelan currency, the Bolívar.
  2. Failed land reform that encouraged squatting and undermined the property rights of landowners.
  3. The establishment of a Constitutional order based on positive rights and an active role for the Venezuelan state in economic affairs
Betancourt’s government followed-up with considerable tax hikes that saw income tax rates triple to 36%. In typical fashion, spending increases would be accompanied with these increases, as the Venezuelan government started to generate fiscal deficits because of its out of control social programs. These growing deficits would become a fixture in Venezuelan public finance during the pre-Chávez era.

The Nationalization of the Oil Industry
While Betancourt did not achieve his end goal of nationalizing the Venezuelan oil industry, his government laid the foundation for subsequent interventions in that sector.
Thanks to the large oil boom of the 1970s, the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez capitalized on the unprecedented flow of petroleum rents brought about by the 1970s energy crisis where oil-producing countries like Venezuela benefited handsomely from high oil prices.
Betancourt’s vision was finally achieved in 1975, when Carlos Andrés Pérez’s government nationalized the petroleum sector. The nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry fundamentally altered the nature of the Venezuelan state. Venezuela morphed into a petrostate, in which the concept of the consent of the governed was effectively turned on its head.
Instead of Venezuelans paying taxes to the government in exchange for the protection of property and similar freedoms, the Venezuelan state would play a patrimonial role by bribing its citizens with all sorts of handouts to maintain its dominion over them. 
On the other hand, countries based on more liberal frameworks of governance have citizens paying taxes, and in return, these governments provide services that nominally protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens. The state is not the owner, thus giving the citizens a strong check against the Leviathan should the government overstep its boundaries.

Oil Nationalization: A Pig Trough for Politicians
Pérez would take advantage of this state power-grab to finance a profligate welfare state and a cornucopia of social welfare programs that resonated strongly with the populace. As a result, deficit spending became embraced by the political class and increasing levels of foreign and public debt would become the norm in Venezuelan fiscal affairs.
At this juncture, Venezuela’s economy became overwhelmingly politicized. Oil boom periods were characterized by an inflow of petrodollars that the state used for pharaonic public works and social projects as a means to pacify the populace.
In reality, no real wealth creation took place during these boom periods, as the state redistributed the rents according to political whims and usurped functions traditionally held by civil society and private economic actors. When politicians and bureaucrats oversee businesses, decision-making is based on partisan and state interests rather than efficiency and consumer preferences.
Although the nationalization of the petroleum industry did not result in an immediate economic downturn, it laid the groundwork for institutional decay that would clearly manifest itself during the 80s and 90s.

Venezuela: Forty Years of Economic Decline
This is Part Two of a two-part series. Part One is here.

The brunt of the blame for Venezuela’s current economic catastrophe should fall on Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro. However, this does not mean that all was well in Venezuela before Chávez arrived on the scene. The ideological and institutional seeds of the current crises were sown decades earlier. A rising tide of government interventions in the marketplace during the 1960s and 1970s would soon lead to a host of new problems for Venezuela.

The Oil Boom Party Ends
The 1970s looked like a never-ending boom period for Venezuela thanks to high oil prices. The then-President Carlos Andrés Pérez took full advantage of this boom to implement his lavish social spending program. Eventually, the boom period came to a crashing halt by the early 80s, and Venezuela had to face a harsh economic downturn.
Luis Herrera Campins would succeed Carlos Andrés Pérez’s government. From the start, he came to the realization that Pérez’s spending bonanza was unsustainable. In fact, Herrera had choice words for Pérez's policies, claiming that Pérez left him a "mortgaged" country.
Although Herrera was correct in his assessment of the Pérez administration’s fiscal irresponsibility, he would ironically continue more of the same cronyist policies as his predecessor. The chickens eventually came to roost as Venezuela experienced its very own “Black Friday.”
What once was one of the world’s most stable currencies, the Bolívar, experienced it’s most significant devaluation to date. Unfortunately, Herrera’s administration responded with heavy-handed exchange controls to stem capital flight. These controls would be administered by an agency called the “Differential Exchange Rate Regime” (RECADI), effectively creating a multi-tiered system of exchange rates.
Considerable corruption scandals emerged during the succeeding government of Jaime Lusinchi, as countless members of the political class would exploit the multi-tiered exchange rate system for their own gain.
Despite its abolition in 1989, RECADI would serve as a precursor to the byzantine exchange rate systems that the Commission for the Administration of Currency Exchange (CADIVI) and its successor, the National Center for Foreign Commerce (CENCOEX), would later preside over during the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s period of dominance throughout the 2000s.
All in all, Venezuela’s Black Friday devaluation marked the beginning of a lost decade of sorts for Venezuela throughout the 1980s that set the stage for subsequent devaluations, currency controls, and irresponsible fiscal policy further down the line.

IMF to the Rescue?
Rising poverty rates, increased foreign and public debt, corrupt state enterprises, and burdensome regulations contributed to an environment of growing social tension and economic malaise throughout the 1980s. Venezuela’s previous growth miracle became an afterthought at this point. And it’s golden goose, oil, could not bail it out thanks to the low oil prices of the 1980s.
For Venezuela to right its ship, it would have to undergo painful fiscal reforms.
Ironically, it was Carlos Andrés Pérez that was entrusted with reigning in the excessive government largesse; the very same leader that established Venezuela’s profligate welfare state and laid the foundations for its collapse in the 1980s.
In 1988, Pérez campaigned on a platform that promised to bring back the splendor and prosperity of the 1970s. But once he assumed the presidency, Pérez realized that the Venezuela before him was on the verge of bankruptcy and crippled by excessive state intervention in the economy.
Under the auspices of the IMF, Pérez made a half-hearted attempt in reforming Venezuela’s broken petrostate. When broken down and analyzed, these reforms consisted of tariff reductions, tax hikes, flawed privatizations, and marginal spending cuts that ultimately did not address the underlying problems with the Venezuelan political economy — its flawed monetary policy, burdensome regulatory framework, and entrenched crony capitalist policies.
However, these reforms were too much for Pérez’s very own party, Acción Democrática (AD). AD was incensed by these reforms that hacked away at certain facets of the cronyist petrostate that it depended on to maintain its political power.
Of note, the phasing out of gas subsidies by the Pérez government — a popular social program that artificially kept gas prices low for the impoverished sectors of Venezuelan society — was used by the AD to channel discontent among the general populace.

Enter Hugo Chávez
Countless individuals would then take to the streets and protest the so-called “austerity” policies of the Pérez government. This eventually led to the infamous “Caracazo” incident in 1989, where the capital city of Caracas was engulfed in a series of protests, lootings, and riots. The government responded in a heavy-handed manner, leaving hundreds dead.
In the midst of the political chaos, radical groups took advantage of Venezuela’s political turmoil to advance their agenda. One of the most famous was then Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez´s group, Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200).
Chávez took advantage of the political disarray by consolidating an anti-government movement within the ranks of the Venezuelan military. This culminated in the failed coup attempts of 1992.
Even though Chávez was imprisoned for his coup attempt, Chavez’s agitation was enough to put the whole bipartisan Punto Fijo model into question. Eventually, corruption scandals and rising degrees of social unrest would whittle away at the Pérez administration’s legitimacy. The final nail in the coffin came when Pérez was impeached for corruption charges in 1992, thus putting the Punto Fjio model on the ropes.

Collapse of the Punto Fijo Model
Two coup attempts and the impeachment of Carl Andrés Pérez, marked the beginning of a tumultuous 1990s for Venezuela. The Venezuela of the 50s to 70s — characterized by its unprecedented economic prosperity and political stability — was starting to become a distant memory.
By 1994, the Punto Fijo model was in shambles as Rafael Caldera assumed the presidency under a new coalition, Convergencia (Convergence), of disaffected political parties.
Policywise, Rafael Caldera did not rock the boat. He pursued several of the IMF’s half measures, while not addressing structural problems such as the privatization of the oil industry, Venezuela’s downward spiraling monetary policy, and big business’s cozy relationship with the state. In addition, Caldera pardoned Hugo Chávez in 1994, rehabilitating him politically.
Thanks to the failed land reforms and housing subsidization polices pursued by the two major social democrat parties (AD and COPEI) during previous decades, major metropolitan areas like Caracas, Maracaibo, Maracay, and Valencia began to be populated by a growing subsect of impoverished Venezuelans. Chávez would tap into this low stratum of Venezuelan society and effectively turn them into shock troops for his campaign to radically transform Venezuela into a full-blown socialist state.

The Failure of the Social Democratic Era
It is undeniable that Venezuela’s social democratic consensus delivered sub-optimal results. From 1958 to 1998, Venezuela’s per capita GDP growth was a paltry -0.13 % indicating that the Venezuelan populace grew faster than the wealth produced in that time frame. In his book, Introduction to Economic Growth, Charles I. Jones classified the Venezuelan case as an example of a “growth disaster.” Venezuela was one of two countries in Latin America that suffered negative growth during this 40-year period, the other being Nicaragua, a country that suffered a costly civil war and was under the rule of a socialist government.
Chávez capitalized on this stagnation by launching a campaign against the bipartisan political consensus that ruled Venezuela at the time. Branding himself as a “Third Way” candidate, Chávez sought to provide an alternative to the perceived corruption of the Punto Fijo political order.
Despite the rosy rhetoric, Chávez was surrounding himself with hardened Marxists and other collectivist figures that were hell-bent on subverting Venezuela’s already fragile political order. Little did the disillusioned voters that cast a ballot for Chávez know what they were about to get themselves into.
Chavismo: Interventionism on Steroids
While Chávez may have been correct in pointing out the corruption of the old Punto Fijo order, he would ironically continue many of its failed policies throughout his regime, amplifying their disastrous effects and implementing them in a tyrannical fashion.
Currency controls, expropriations, price controls, and the use of the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, to finance lavish social spending programs were fixtures of Hugo Chávez’s socialist economic policy.
In addition, Venezuelan political institutions were completely eviscerated, media outlets were suppressed, and political activists were subject to numerous human rights violations under Chávez’s heavy-handed rule.
Chávez had the luxury of high oil prices from 2003 to 2010 to finance his socialist schemes and channel the petroleum rents to consolidate political support in the short term. But once oil prices plummeted, the laws of economics reared their ugly head and the system began to unravel in no time.
Even with Chávez’s death in 2013, his brand of tyrannical socialism has continued unabated under the rule of his successor, Nicolás Maduro.
The Venezuela that stands before us is a failed state. In an atavistic sense, Venezuela has returned to its 19th century state as an increasingly fragmented, political backwater.
Time will tell if the Venezuelan nation will continue to exist as a cohesive whole, or if certain sectors of Venezuelan society decide to blaze their own trail and start to break up the country.

Lessons Learned
If Venezuelans want to restore Venezuela to its once prosperous state, they must look back and understand the genesis of Venezuela’s current crisis.
It is myopic to pit the blame solely on demagogues and believe that things will be perfectly fine once the “right people” are put in charge. Political events like the rise of Hugo Chávez do not occur in a vacuum. Astute observers of political economy must analyze the overarching institutions and policies that create the type of political environment that enables authoritarians like Hugo Chávez to come into power.
The Venezuelan case serves as a strong warning to many a European country with crumbling welfare states and growing social discontent. Sooner or later, unsustainable transfer systems are bound to collapse and social disorder ensues.
Left unchecked, socialism only creates a vicious cycle of interventionism that leads to more chaos and misery. To reach the light at the end of the tunnel, Venezuela must completely abandon socialism and embrace the capitalist path to prosperity.

sábado, 18 de março de 2017

Venezuela bolivariana: literalmente no lixo (AFP)

Coisas que o Brasil apresenta muito marginalmente:


Comer do lixo, o drama da fome dos venezuelanos mais pobres

AFP/O Estado de S. Paulo, 16/03/2017


Diante da escassez que atinge 68% dos produtos básicos no país, é cada vez maior o número de pessoas que vivem na miséria e percorrem as ruas de zonas ricas para buscar comida no lixo

CARACAS - O caminhão de lixo freia e Rebeca corre até o contêiner para fuçar os sacos. É a sua luta diária contra a fome, que leva muitos venezuelanos a viverem de restos de comida. Antes que os resíduos sejam triturados, ela vasculha avidamente e encontra um pouco de macarrão. Rebeca León tem 18 anos, está terminando o ensino médio e vive no bairro popular de Petare, em uma casa que, apesar da miséria, conta com os serviços básicos.

Um filho de dois anos desnutrido, uma mãe com deficiência e semanas "à base de água" a levaram, há seis meses, a percorrer as ruas de zonas ricas para buscar comida no lixo. "Minha mãe não aceitava, mas o que mais se pode fazer com a situação ruim do país? Ia morrer de fome, dava para ver os ossos dela", conta Rebeca.

Sua rotina é angustiante. Estuda à tarde, e depois do colégio vai direto caçar caminhões coletores de lixo e revirar sobras em restaurantes, de onde tira restos de frango, pão, peixe ou queijo. Dorme na rua e volta à casa de manhã para limpar o que recolheu e descansar, para depois continuar fazendo a roda girar. "Vivemos de lixo". Esta jovem deixou a vergonha de lado para sobreviver a uma crise onde a escassez atinge 68% dos produtos básicos no país e a inflação cresce descontroladamente - segundo o FMI, chegará a 1.660% em 2017.

"Chorava, porque me sentia humilhada. Já não me importo, porque se você não trabalha nem procura algo no lixo, você não come", disse, enquanto aguardava um caminhão que nunca chegou.

Cerca de 70 pessoas, entre elas várias crianças, esperam com Rebeca os caminhões coletores, e repartem o controle das lixeiras de restaurantes. Rebeca revira as sobras de uma marisqueira de Altamira. Perto dali, em um estabelecimento de fast food, um homem foi esfaqueado recentemente em uma briga por um saco de lixo, conta um funcionário.

Nesse lugar, José Godoy, pedreiro desempregado de 53 anos, lambe ansioso um prato descartável. Suas duas filhas, de seis e nove anos, bebem suco retirado de um pote. Estão anêmicas, e comem apenas bananas ou iúca uma vez por dia.

"Uma noite fomos dormir sem comer. Não desejo isso a ninguém. As crianças choravam e diziam: 'tenho fome'. Vendi as ferramentas, tudo, e por último saí às ruas. Milhares de nós vivemos de lixo", relata José.

Cerca de 9,6 milhões de venezuelanos - quase um terço da população - comem duas ou menos vezes por dia. A pobreza aumentou quase nove pontos percentuais entre 2015 e 2016, atingindo 81,8% dos lares, enquanto 51,51% estão em situação de pobreza extrema, segundo a Pesquisa sobre Condições de Vida.

O estudo, realizado por um grupo de universidades, revelou também que 93,3% das famílias não têm renda suficiente para comprar alimentos, enquanto 7 em cada 10 pessoas perdeu em média 8,7 kg de peso no último ano.

"Eu era gordo, e olhe só agora, estou magrinho. Tive que tirá-la do colégio porque não podia dar comida para ela levar", disse Godoy, apontando para uma das filhas.

Desmaiar de fome. A nutricionista Maritza Landaeta, coautora da pesquisa, afirma que 10% das pessoas em situação de pobreza extrema (cerca de 1,5 milhão) comem alimentos doados por familiares, do lixo ou de sobras de restaurantes, expondo-se a doenças.

O presidente venezuelano, Nicolás Maduro, assegura que em 2016 a pobreza no país caiu de 19,7% para 18,3%, e a miséria de 4,9% para 4,4%, apesar da queda do preço do petróleo, que é praticamente a única fonte de renda do país.

O governo chavista, que atribui a escassez a uma "guerra econômica", lembra que as Nações Unidas reconheceu, em 2015, seus esforços no combate à fome, e seu programa de venda de produtos subsidiados em zonas populares - criado há um ano - beneficiará seis milhões de lares em 2017.

No entanto, essas sacolas de alimentos só chegaram duas vezes à casa de Rebeca, onde uma geladeira quebrada serve de dispensa para proteger a comida dos ratos.

Abatida pela noite mal dormida, pela fome e pela preocupação por não ter encontrado nada, Rebeca volta ao seu bairro - o mais perigoso de Caracas. De lá, deve caminhar uma hora até a escola, "onde alguns colegas chegam a desmaiar de fome", conta.

"Não quero ficar assim", diz a jovem, que pretende estudar turismo após concluir o ensino médio. Por enquanto, se prepara para outra jornada desta luta, cujo fim está distante demais para ser vislumbrado.

segunda-feira, 23 de janeiro de 2017

Venezuela: o novo Secretario de Estado EUA faz o que os vizinhos nao fazem, dizer a verdade


 NUEVO SECRETARIO DE ESTADO EE.UU TILLERSON:
“CALAMIDAD EN VENEZUELA ES PRODUCTO DE SU INCOMPETENTE GOBIERNO”


“Creo que estamos totalmente de acuerdo en cuanto a la calamidad que ha sucedido a Venezuela, en gran medida producto de su incompetente y disfuncional gobierno -primero bajo Hugo Chávez, y ahora bajo su sucesor designado, Nicolás Maduro. De confirmarse (mi designación como Secretario de Estado) insto a una estrecha cooperación con nuestros amigos del hemisferio, en particular con los países vecinos de Venezuela, Brasil y Colombia, así como con organismos multilaterales como la OEA, para buscar una transición negociada a un gobierno democrático en Venezuela.
Al final, se reconstruirán las instituciones políticas, encabezadas por valientes defensores de la democracia y de los derechos humanos, que allanarán el camino para el tipo de reformas necesarias para poner a Venezuela en el camino de la recuperación económica”
A su juicio, “se reconstruirían las instituciones políticas” con “valientes defensores de la democracia y los derechos humanos”, lo que “abrirá el camino para el tipo de reformas necesarias para poner a Venezuela en el camino de la recuperación económica”, de acuerdo con la Agencia EFE.
Por otra parte, Tillerson sostuvo que “buscaría revisar los detalles del reciente acuerdo de paz” en Colombia y “determinar hasta qué punto Estados Unidos debería seguir apoyándolo”.
También prometió hacer “todo lo posible” para continuar con la “estrecha cooperación” de EE.UU. con el Gobierno colombiano, para que mantengan “sus compromisos de controlar la producción y el tráfico de drogas”.

quarta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2017

Venezuela: relacoes "carnais" com o governo lulopetista? - Valor (telegramas do Itamaraty)

07/01/2017 às 11h43 5 
Brasil pressionava Venezuela por dívida bilionária com a Odebrecht 

SÃO PAULO  -  Em meio a dívidas bilionárias da Venezuela com a Odebrecht, o governo do Brasil pressionou autoridades do país vizinho a honrar os compromissos e quitar suas obrigações com a empresa. As informações constam em relatórios do Itamaraty produzidos durante o governo Dilma Rousseff, obtidos pela reportagem.
Os documentos afirmam que os atrasos, que vinham desde o governo de Hugo Chávez, chegaram a US$ 2 bilhões em 2014, já sob a Presidência de Nicolás Maduro. Outras empreiteiras, como Andrade Gutierrez e Camargo Corrêa, e a Petrobras também viviam rotinas de atraso, de acordo com os despachos do Itamaraty, mas a Odebrecht era a mais afetada.
De acordo com o Departamento de Justiça dos Estados Unidos, o grupo baiano pagou US$ 98 milhões em propina na Venezuela desde 2006 -o maior valor em um país depois dos pagos no Brasil. Os documentos afirmam que empresas brasileiras tinham vantagens de dispensa de licitação no regime chavista em casos envolvendo "nações amigas".
Um dos despachos dizia que o governo local buscava, em uma "diplomacia do petróleo", fortalecer o apoio externo ao bolivarianismo com alianças comerciais.
A embaixada ressalta a importância da aproximação política entre Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva e Hugo Chávez, que morreu em 2013, para a concretização desses negócios.
Mas relata o clima de "insegurança jurídica" para o comércio com o país e o medo das empresas brasileiras de estatização de operações pelo governo local, como ocorreu com multinacionais de outros países.
"Não obstante Chávez ter dito, diversas vezes, que as empresas brasileiras estariam a salvo de expropriações, casos como a estatização da Techint argentina reforçam a conveniência de manter sempre fortes os laços políticos entre os dois países", diz documento de 2011.
Criatividade
Também em 2011, em um relatório enviado a Dilma, com informações prévias para um encontro dela com Chávez, a embaixada reforça a necessidade de cobrar do venezuelano "atitude mais assertiva com relação a dívidas e interesses de empresas e investidores brasileiros". "A parte venezuelana tem sido, via de regra, evasiva sobre o pagamento de tais obrigações, o que recomendaria uma intervenção presidencial objetiva", diz o documento.
Semanas depois, um despacho que descreve detalhes da reunião de Dilma e Chávez não traz informações sobre a questão. Na transcrição dos principais trechos da conversa, há um pedido do venezuelano por um teto mais alto de financiamento Brasil pressionava Venezuela por dívida bilionária com a Odebrecht do BNDES em projetos em seu país. Ele fala em "acelerar o cronograma de obras".
Dilma, segundo o despacho, sugere ir a Caracas com uma delegação de empresários e diz que a Odebrecht "pode ajudar muito com habitação". Ainda de acordo com a transcrição, Chávez diz à então presidente que a Odebrecht aceitou adotar um outro "mecanismo de
remuneração". Ele se referia a uma solução encontrada pela empresa para ser paga no país vizinho, chamada de "criativa" em um despacho: compensaria créditos detidos na área de construção civil com compras de nafta da Venezuela pela Braskem, braço petroquímico do grupo. Com os atrasos, a Odebrecht acabou retirando funcionários e parando projetos, como a construção da hidrelétrica Tocoma, em 2014.
Outro documento do Itamaraty, de 2011, relata cobrança de dívidas em encontro da diplomacia com Maduro, que então chanceler da Venezuela. O relato da reunião cita que foi dito ao venezuelano que, para continuar com uma boa relação bilateral, seria preciso "não criar dificuldades", mencionando as dívidas com a Odebrecht e subsidiárias da Petrobras. Maduro disse, segundo o documento, que Chávez ordenara a quitação da dívida. O diplomata pede "discrição, sem alto-falantes" ao venezuelano na negociação.
Além da hidrelétrica, a Odebrecht mantinha projetos em diversas áreas, como o metrô de Caracas, um monotrilho chamado "Cabletren Bolivariano" e um polo agrícola de soja intitulado "projeto agrário socialista Abreu e Lima".
Procurada, a empreiteira disse apenas que mantém compromisso de colaborar com a Justiça e que está implantando práticas de controle internas.
(Folhapress)