Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Pretty darn good 

Well, the Venezuelan central bank finally released the first quarter (January - March 2004) GDP numbers. And while it was widely expected that the numbers would be very good the actual results were truly astounding. The Venezuelan economy grew a spectacular 29.8% compared to the same quarter a year earlier. The growth both in the public and private sectors of the economy. The output of the oil sector grew by 72.5%, manufacturing by 48%, construction by 19.5%, commerce by 27.9% and transportation by 25.3%.

Between December 2002 and February 2003 the opposition to President Hugo Chavez tried to bring the countries economy to its knees in an effort to unseat him. To this end the called a nationwide "strike" wherein many employers closed their doors and locked out employees who wished to work. Further approximately 40% of the workers in the state oil company (primarily executive, administrative, and some technical workers) went out on strike. Before going on strike they damaged and sabotaged equipment and computer systems to make it difficult to restart oil production.

However, the "strike" never had enough support to succeed as most Venezuelans continued to work. Further, the performance of the non-striking oil workers was exemplary as they managed to re-start production and gradually ramp it up over a number of months. The "strike" did cause an estimated $10 billion in damage to the Venezuelan economy and caused a very severe recession. The opposition then played the cynical game of blaming the faltering economy not on their own actions but on supposed mismanagement by the Chavez administration.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Once the strike ended the Venezuelan economy started to rebound rapidly. This rebound culminated in today's statistics which show an almost complete recovery from the sabotage of the opposition.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?