In recent days, and in a rather surprising way, the BCV (Central Bank of Venezuela) issued, for the first time in four years, some figures regarding the behavior of the Venezuelan economy. Such figures, issued after a careful and thorough tweaking and massaging process; however, they could not hide the dimensions of maduro’s failure in steering the Venezuelan economy.
The belated figures were issued only upon the demand of the companies and countries that partake in the pillaging of our resources. In the midst of the permanent contradictions existing within the government and its profound weakness, the faction in charge of somehow shaping the brutal and outdated capitalist model imposed on our country have convinced maduro of publishing the BCV figures, whichever they be, to allow them to “wash their hands” before the world, comply with the procedures, and finally “be unnoticed”.
The desperate negotiations of the government with the transnational companies, whether Russian, Chinese, Turkish, or American, need to show some kind of formality; not even the most speculative and adventurous are willing to continue participating in the strange transactions with the government without figures to show to their parent companies. While another of the government factions is bent on giving “signals”, and ride the small bus of negotiation in which they hope to leave the disaster they created themselves before the devil realizes they are dead.
I clearly recall that at the end of 2013, beginnings of 2014, while the ministers from President Chávez’ government were committed to achieving stability and governability in the country that was still traumatized by the death of President Chávez, and in the midst of the escalation of violence carried out by the opposition, the madurismo was determined to displace the Chavismo from the government and take control of the State institutions.
Maduro thinks more like a unionist than a president. Back in those difficult days, where urgent measures needed to be taken in the economic sphere, his commitment was not to rule but to control the fundamental economic institutions of the State: PDVSA, the Ministry of Finance, BANDES, the public bank, and the BCV. Maduro started placing “his own”, his unconditional, in important positions to control these basic industries. Neither the risk this would pose for the country, those which we warned about in due time and in every agency, mattered to him, nor the evident incompetence of the team he imposed. Maduro wanted full control and so he obtained it.
The sad sacudón from 2014 finally allowed him to seize the strongest institution, PDVSA, and from then on, all the other entities toppled like houses of cards: the BCV, the Ministry of Finance, and the entire economic sector. Once again, maduro finally got what he wanted: control the economy, manage the money freely, and with it, have power.
Maduro took over this power, which was the power of the State, of an entire country, the one that Chávez called “homeland, squandered it and destroyed it. In this point, we experienced a colossal and unjustifiable failure of the political institutions, of the Chavismo. For the sake of “unity” and “discipline”, the assault of the madurismo to the State institutions was allowed, without anyone raising their voices or doing anything about it, with very few exceptions, such as Giordani or Toby Valderrama. This situation condemned the economy and the nation to its destruction.
Back in 2014, maduro ordered the then president of the BCV not to disclose any more figures of the country’s economy. He began to dismiss the members of the Board and to place people of his absolute confidence. Maduro’s cronies then joined the Board of the BCV, once the seat of the Venezuelan economic knowledge, without any abilities or experience. Their only task was to watch, accuse, destroy and start doing “what maduro says.” In this process, the role of the vice-president arreaza as executor of the “whims of nicolás”, was disastrous: with its typical sly and provoking attitude, in the best fashion of the IV, the madurismo progressively undermined the foundations of the essential institutions for our economy. We, those of Chávez, did not know about it, we did not want to participate in that world, nor were we willing to satisfy the “whims of maduro”. That is the reason why the violence and the persecution against us began.
The government has always believed that they can do as they please, thus the lack of transparency and accountability has been a constant in the administration; they bluntly bypassed every legal mechanism of inter-institutional and constitutional control, as well as the separation of powers and the public, popular, and institutional interpellation. Maduro banned the BCV from issuing figures or reports, there are no national accounts or balances of any kind; everything is concealed in a shadow of secrecy. He also forced PDVSA to follow suit, so the company does not issue any audited report since 2016; neither does the National Statistics Office, nor the Ministry of Health, nor that of Education; not a single one! The scoundrelism of the country happens in secret. Nobody knows anything about what is happening; only the tip of the iceberg of disaster is visible.
The fact that over 3.7 million Venezuelans have fled the homeland has been repeatedly refused by the government, but we know the figures thanks to the UN reports. PDVSA has been totally destroyed, no one knows the real magnitude, but the OPEC reports show what is undeniable, since 2013 to this day, we have failed to produce 2.3 million barrels of oil per day, which represents over 40 billion dollars each year. But it is till now, with the lack of gasoline, diesel and cooking gas that the population realizes the disaster that maduro cannot keep hiding.
The last minister who reported the figures of child mortality in the country was immediately removed. It is uncertain how many children die, not only at birth but also victims of the humanitarian crisis. Only the heartbreaking stories and absurd news about the children who die because the government stopped paying the treatments for bone marrow transplants truly reveal how criminal and immoral this government is; more so when it simultaneously announces that it will spend 50 million dollars in military uniforms, but the debt with the Italian hospitals for all bone marrow transplants is 10 million euros.
Maduro continuously denies the existence of political prisoners, but the truth is undeniable: the last oral report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, is a denunciation that should raise awareness in the country. In our last work session, on May 27th, we presented the Office of the High Commissioner, a list with over one hundred PDVSA workers and FANB officers, who are political hostages of the government, in addition to a series of unobjectionable evidence and letters of the relatives of these people denouncing the flagrant violations of all their fundamental rights.
And so, the madurismo is the same in all areas, everything is silence, lies, and fear.
The figures published by the BCV, although manipulated to try to conceal the reality, show shocking numbers of the government’s economic disaster. The depth of the damage inflicted on our economy is unprecedented in our contemporary history and it is difficult for any country that had not faced a cruel war to be in such state. Once again, these figures, despite being massaged by the government, show an unequivocal reality: the failure in every aspect of maduro’s government. It has been the worst government in our history, and it has to end.
If the madurismo had even a slight sense of shame, it should do two things: first of all, renounce, step aside, and hand the leadership of the country to a Patriotic Government Junta, so as not to end up giving it to the extreme right; the second thing is to address the country and say something like “this is my doing, Chávez had nothing to do with this, it was me and my team. It is my responsibility”.
The only interesting thing about maduro’s interview with Jorge Ramos, an interview that one does not know how it is produced or for what purpose, much less how it returns to Univisión, is that it shows maduro’s true nature: violent, uncontrolled, authoritarian, liar. He treats citizens not as such, but as subjects. That is the way he is, and so he will never leave power, nor will he recognize that the disaster of the economy is his fault, that he is solely responsible for the National Public Treasury, as the Constitution indicates. Therefore, we want to compare the BCV figures in hand with what the country was like at the end of 2012, the last year of President Chávez’s government, and what the country is like in the last year of maduro’s government.
Let us consider the numbers issued by the BCV as true, now let us look at some indicators of why the Venezuelans’ daily life is a tragedy:
Why is there no money? Why are we so poor?
• Because the oil production plummeted from 3.01 million barrels of oil per day in 2013 to 700 thousand barrels of oil per day today. We have lost more than 2.3 million barrels of oil per day in only five years, a drop of -76.7%. We stopped earning over 40 billion dollars per year at current prices.
• Because maduro devoted himself to persecuting PDVSA workers and managers, accusing us of anything, removing the patriotic workers, who had plenty of experience and knowledge, and placing his “unconditional” and cronies in the Executive Board. They destroyed the company by militarizing it, and now they privatize it.
• Because the oil exports fell from 93,569 million dollars in 2012 to 29,810 million dollars in 2018, a drop of -68.14%
Why is there no gasoline, diesel or cooking gas? Why are PDVSA’s facilities and areas abandoned and the drills and barges stopped?
• Because the oil GDP, in other words, the oil activity, during 2013–2018 has experienced a fall of -47.7%. What this means is that the oil industry is practically paralyzed as well as the refineries.
• Because contraband is worse than ever before because the gasoline is sold in dollars.
Why is the salary not enough to cover needs?
• Because there is unprecedented hyperinflation in the country, never before seen in our history or in the world. The BCV admits a percentage variance of the cumulative inflation between April 2012 and the same month in 2019 of 475,617,934%. The index corresponding to April 2012 was 277.2 and that of the same month of 2019 is 1,268,517,190.9, which indicates an exponential increase in prices. During the entire term of President Chávez’s government, inflation averaged around 20%.
Why is everything so expensive and hard to find?
• Because the minimum wage is only 7.6 dollars per month, the lowest in Latin America, lower than Cuba and Haiti. During the government of President Chávez, in 2012, the minimum wage was 414 dollars per month, one of the highest in the region.
• Because the government maintained an exchange policy that favored its friends and power groups, who support it by manipulating the exchange rate, expropriating the oil income. In May 2012, the “parallel” dollar was at 9.56 bolivars / dollar, while in May of this year, 2019, the “parallel” dollar reached 6,347 bolivars/dollar, despite the fact that maduro removed five zeros from the bolívar and turned it into “sovereign bolívar”, and created the petro scam.
• Because the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) for 2018 was 130,060.20, an increase of 646965.7% compared to 20.1 in 2012. Because the economy is dollarized.
Why is food so expensive? Why is the pension not enough to buy a dozen eggs and the minimum wage is only enough to buy flour?
• Because the food NCPI for 2018 was 143,786.9, a 606,595.7% increase when compared with 23.7% for 2012. Prices released by the government upon “agreement” with businessmen.
Why are there no Venezuelan products?
• Because the manufacturing GDP, that is to say, the domestic production, has fell -46.10%. In other words, the national production equipment is completely paralyzed for lack of inputs, electricity, and because the government only uses imported products in the Clap boxes.
Why is there no work in the country?
• Because all the productive activities have been destroyed, not only the oil, manufacturing and agricultural ones, but also those activities that employ a great number of workers, such as construction, reflected a plummeting of the GDP of -67.9% in 2018, when in 2012, final year of the Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela (Great Venezuelan Housing Mission) the GDP was of 11.20%. additionally, the direct investment in the country has fallen in -85.20%
Why does poverty reach 81% of Venezuelan homes today?
• Because the salary is not only the lowest in Latin America, there is no work, the formal unemployment rate is 35%, which represents half of the active labor force; there is no oil income, no domestic production. We have the highest hyperinflation rate in history and the little money Venezuelans have access to is spent on basic needs, on surviving. Studies have shown that Venezuelans spend 85% of their income in food and the remaining 15% in services, whose inflation levels are higher than the general index.
• By compiling the NCPI of the factors with the highest incidence in poverty, we can find the following:
Food and non-alcoholic beverages: 24.8 in 2012 / 75,468 in 2018.
. Clothing and Footwear: 35.7 in 2012 / 38,440 in 2018.
. Health: 24.7 in 2012 / 68,613 in 2018.
. Transportation: 39.4 in 2012 / 56,118 in 2018.
. Education: 23.9 in 2012 / 40,745 in 2018.
. Goods and Services: 22 in 2012 / 91,384 in 2018.
• Between January and April 2019, the NCPI in these sectors has gone from 1,344,190,128.9 to 4,993,636,297, an increase of 293%.
This is the snapshot of a deeply anti-popular, authoritarian government that imposes through repression an impoverishing paquetazo (policies) on the people, maduro’s paquetazo, which has reversed all the economic and social advances achieved during the Bolivarian Revolution, during the government of President Chávez.
A neoliberal, anti-worker paquetazo has been imposed on the country, through an unprecedented shock policy, one where the rights of workers are scamped, their benefits and pensions robbed. This government is the envy of Macri or any other right-wing government. It did not take a Pinochet to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution; maduro did the work for the right.
Now the handover of a country in ruins is being negotiated, he is getting ready to serve it in a silver platter for the extreme right to take it, for them to finish destroying the homeland. The maduristas and their machinery insist on denying this reality. It does not matter; they will be reduced to a minority despised by the entire country.
Some figures are still missing: those of PDVSA, of basic industries, of the State; as well as the numbers of the social sector: poverty, extreme poverty, child mortality, and many more that we once proudly exhibited to the world.
The damages on the human soul cannot be calculated, but it has been deep. They have turned the people of April 13th into a people that flee from the homeland, a people that chases a box of food. They have humiliated our Venezuelan nature and nurtured the worst of society in a country where the pran (gangster) is a hero, a minister.
Maduro’s time is up. He is a dead man who walks and destroys everything in his path, trying to hold onto something to prevent his dramatic fall. The dumpster of history awaits him and his team of sellouts, destroyers of the homeland.
To the Chavistas, the Bolivarians, the popular, progressive and honest sectors of the homeland, it is our task, our responsibility, to make amends and compensate our people for this scam that originated in our own movement, one which has been able to act like Herod against the dreams and the future of an entire kind people.
For much less than this, Commander Chávez took up arms on February 4th, 1992. It is our duty to stand up against it; defeat the madurismo must be our priority and we have to make our biggest effort to recover from the dark night of the madurismo.