Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pushing Venezuela to the brink of civil war. 

Earlier this year the Venezuelan government bought out ("nationalized" in main stream media terms) the main Venezuelan telecommunications provider, CANTV. For various reasons I was not a fan of that decision, but that is what they did.

Of course, in the opposition all sorts of conspiratorial reasons were floated for why the government spent its money this way.

One was to prevent CANTV stock, which was listed in U.S. stock exchanges, as a vehicle to avoid exchange controls and move money out of Venezuela. Another, is that now peoples phones and internet connections would be used to spy on them.

Yesterday, we learned that it wasn't those things at all but something far more sinister - the government plans on jacking up phone rates on the upper classes and use the money to subsidize and add coverage for the poor!

It turns out that 80% of the land phone lines are held by people in social classes A,B, and C, which are the small upper classes (if you need a reminder of who makes them up see here) while the only 20% of land lines belong to people in social classes D and E. Further, the increased rates charged to the upper classes will be used to subsidize phone service to the poor and reduce their rates.

The new president of CANTV, Socorro Hernandez, explained: "We plan to have our rates correspond to the economic level of the customer with those who have more resources being charged more while those who have less being asked to pay less".

Hearing that quasi-Marxist language coming from the president of their phone company must send chills down the spine of any red blooded Venezuelan living in Country Club. Middle class Venezuelans LOVE their cellphones - and now everytime they blab on the phone they are going to be subsidizing those vile, worthless, lazy, red shirted hoards called Chavistas?!?!?!?

I really think this move needs to be thoroughly considered before it is implemented. It strikes at something something well off Venezuelans view as a birth right - low texting rates. In effect taxing the gab of the rich to subsidize the idleness of the poor has the potential to ignite civil war. What is going on in Baghdad could look like childs play once Venezuela errupts over this.


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