Monday, October 23, 2006

Quite some piggy bank 

Today the governments Planning Minister, Jorge Giordani, pointed out that the Venezuelan government has about $55 billion in the bank. This is made up of aproximately $35 billion in the foriegn reserves, $17 billion in the development fund, FONDEN, and about $3 billion more in various other funds. This doesn't count the billions and billions of bolivares that the government has in banks inside Venezuela. I had heard numbers like these from other sources but wasn't sure if they were accurate so it is good to have them confirmed.

When Chavez came to office the amount of foriegn currency holdings didn't even reach $15 billion. They have now gone up by a whopping $40 billion - and that is after tens of billions have been spent raising peoples standard of living, after billions more have been spent on public works projects and after the country's debt levels have been reduced.

It has always struck me as a little bit ironic that in the United States it has been Republicans that have run up large deficits while it has been Democratic presidents that have reduced them. But given that maybe we shouldn't be so surprised that it takes a quasi-socialist populist like Hugo Chavez to put Venezuela's financial house in order.


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