Saturday, July 08, 2006

While Venezuela booms the opposition suffers a meltdown 

The long economic boom in Venezuela continues seemingly unabated. It was reported today that the unemployment rate has fallen to 9.7% in June 2006 from 11.8% in June 2005. Also in the past 12 months 488,387 new jobs have been created. 275,839 of those new jobs have been in the formal sector (which is defined as working for companies with more than 5 employees or self-employed professionals) while 210,251 were created in the informal sector [note the numbers don't add up but I took this from El Universal newspaper so what can you expect]. So clearly the job market in Venezuela is improving dramatically.

By way of comparison between May of 2005 and May of 2006 the U.S. economy generated only 2.4 million new jobs. Given that the U.S. has 12 times the population that Venezuela has Venezuela's new job growth would be the equivalent of 5.8 million new jobs in the U.S. (488,387 x 12). So Venezuela is creating new jobs at two and a half times the rate of the U.S.

And what are all the Venezuelans who now have jobs doing with their money? In part, they are buying cars. It was announced today that new car sales in June were up 38% over the same month last year. For the first six months of 2006 car sales are up 44.2% over a year ago to a stunning 140,517 cars sold. No wonder traffic jams are starting to get out of hand in Venezuela.

While all of this is of course good news for Venezuela, for the Venezuelan opposition it is bad news. Hence their meltdown yesterday. One of the guiding lights of the opposition, Teodoro Petkoff, announced he wouldn't participate in the primaries being promoted by opposition NGO Sumate. But not just that. He accused Sumate of acting in an arrogant and high handed manner and imposing conditions on would-be candidates. He said their arrogant and dictatorial ways were comparable to the "Dictator for a Day" Pedro Carmona!!!! Gee Teo, welcome to the club. Now maybe you and former CNE president Jorge Rodriguez can go out for drinks and commiserate about what dishonest and arrogant slime Sumate is!! It sure took Petkoff a long time to wake up but I suppose better late than never.

Meanwhile Sumate has announced that it will hold primaries on August 13th for whatever candidates might still be interested in participating in them. Should be interesting to see how many people show up for that! Maybe as a way of getting half way decent turnout Sumate should set up the voting centers in automobile showrooms.


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