Saturday, January 09, 2010

Give credit where credit is due. 

It's great to have Chavez read my blog and agree with what I've been saying about Venezuela's currency for the past few years.

But damn, couldn't he at least give me some credit?


It is awesome to hear Chavez speaking like this today. Everything he said here is true:

Well, I would only say oil isn't necessarily a curse for Venezuela - it could be something that would benefit the country tremendously. But it is a curse if used improperly and Venezuelans, including the Chavez government, have almost always used it improperly.

Anyways, as awesome as it is to hear these very true and very necessary words coming from his mouth the question still does remain - why wasn't he saying this 6 months ago, a year ago, three years ago, ten years ago? It was just as true then as it is now. And he has definitely acted for the past several years as if he didn't know these things or they weren't true.

I won't speculate on exactly why the change has come - there could be many reasons. But I can only hope he sincerely believes all this and will continue to act upon it.

Here is another video of Chavez speaking (at the inauguration of some new subway stations on the number 3 line in Caracas - another very welcomed but very late development):

Here again, a lot of what he said was very accurate, though there were some things that were incorrect. Further, the incorrect statements along with the off the cuff nature of these comments make his statements not as coherent as they should be. I bet a lot of people who don't already understand these issues - which would be the vast majority of his audience - were more confused by this than educated.

That is why he and his government should have been saying the truth all along. Some of these points are complex, subtle and not easy to understand. It is only by thinking about them and hearing about them over an extended period of time that many people will understand them. Now, the Venezuelan government will have to deal with the fact that many/most Venezuelans don't understand these issues and think they just got screwed and will believe the stupidities now said by the opposition media and political leadership.

Finally, it was interesting to see the comments on the textile industry and how they need to build it up. Sadly, I actually was quite familiar with a small clothing factory in the Antimano section of Caracas that in 2001 had between 20 and 30 employees. The recent economic "boom" and overvaluation of the Bolivar wiped it out. When I was last there, in 2007, they were down to five employees, had sold off much of their machinery, and have probably long since sold off all their machinery and entirely closed down.

Unfortunatley, the government being very belated in recognizing this problem and doing something to fix it probably makes it way too late to help many manufacturers.


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