Tag Archives: Venezuela

Venezuela’s new bitcoin: an ingenious plan or worthless cryptocurrency?

Is Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency an ingenious plan to evade U.S. sanctions? Or will it turn out to be a South American shitcoin?

That is the question facing Venezuela as it prepares for the pre-sale of its new bitcoin-like digital currency called the petro.

The launch on Tuesday comes amid a deep economic crisis and a crackdown on democratic freedoms that have left President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government politically isolated and cut off from most international financing.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 25, 2018 in South America



The Petro-Yuan Bombshell

The new 55-page “America First” National Security Strategy

(NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as “revisionist” powers, “rivals”, and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States.

The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an “attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries”. Still, Beijing qualified it as “reckless” and “irrational.” The Kremlin noted its “imperialist character” and “disregard for a multipolar world”. Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.”

Russia, China and Iran happen to be the three key movers and shakers in the ongoing geopolitical and geoeconomic process of Eurasia integration.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Asia, Economy, Europe


Tags: , , , , ,

Nicolás Maduro’s Accelerating Revolution

One afternoon this August, at the Venezuelan Presidential palace of Miraflores, a crowd waited for President Nicolás Maduro to set out the country’s political future. The palace is in downtown Caracas, where it is overlooked by slum-covered hills and by the Cuartel de la Montaña, a former fortress where Hugo Chávez, Maduro’s mentor and predecessor, is buried. The speech was taking place in the Salón Ayacucho, a beige-walled room enlivened by a huge expanse of red carpet and, on this day, by clusters of people wearing red. During Chávez’s tenure, his partisans—the chavistas—had adopted red as their preferred color, and so red T-shirts and baseball caps (Venezuela is obsessed with baseball) are as common at chavista gatherings as cowboy boots are at the Austin statehouse.

Maduro favors flowing red guayaberas, but he entered the room wearing a collarless black suit, in the style of Nehru or Mao. He is a bear of a man, standing some six feet five inches and weighing perhaps two hundred and seventy pounds, with dark hair, a mustache, and a swath of scar tissue on the left side of his face, from a motorcycle accident. Looking over the heads of security guards, he spotted a group of excited supporters, who had been invited to the palace from the countryside, and crossed the room to greet them. For several minutes, Maduro kissed the women, embraced the men, and posed for selfies. At last, he sat down at a desk facing the audience, flanked by a Venezuelan flag and a large portrait of Simón Bolívar, the nineteenth-century freedom fighter, for whom the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is named.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 20, 2017 in South America



Estamos en default?

Nos referimos a un default en el contexto financiero y se refiere al incumplimiento de pagos de capital, intereses o tiempo de una deuda. Es irrelevante la razón del impago. Puede que el deudor no tenga cómo pagar o el banco que lo representa no tenga la capacidad operativa para llegar a los acreedores o que haya sanciones que compliquen el pago. El resultado es el mismo: default. Esto ocurrió en Venezuela la semana pasada, pues dos bonos no fueron pagados en el tiempo de la prórroga. La pregunta es: ¿Qué viene ahora?

Hemos señalado que las consecuencias de un default podrían ser demoledoras. Siendo un país hiperdependiente de su actividad petrolera, el impago de la deuda de PDVSA puede desencadenar una serie de demandas y embargos que afecten aún mas el flujo de caja de la nación. Pero debo aclarar que todavía no estamos en situación de enfrentar las consecuencias descritas. ¿Por qué? Porque no todos los default son iguales, ni desencadenan las mismas acciones posteriores.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2017 in South America



Venezuela no es una isla

Aunque no hay nada más deprimente que escribir de Venezuela, voy a volverlo a hacer. Pocas personas en Colombia conocen este nombre: Danilo Diazgranados Manglano. Se trata de un hombre de negocios neoyorkino crecido en Venezuela, amigo del presidente Chávez y muy cercano a la oscura camarilla que gira alrededor de Diosdado Cabello y otros miembros del gobierno bolivariano. De Diazgranados se empezó a hablar hace poco por ser la cabeza visible de RON, una firma de nombre muy venezolano, con inversionistas también venezolanos, pero con sede legal en la isla de Jersey, Gran Bretaña.RON compró una buena tajada de la compañía de Anthony Scaramucci, SkyBridge, que fue vendida por la no despreciable suma de 180 millones de dólares. Scaramucci, alias the Mooch, tuvo que vender su empresa para evitar conflictos de intereses y poder aceptar el puesto de asesor que le había ofrecido el presidente Trump. Su incontinencia verbal hizo que el encargo le durara apenas siete días hábiles, pero su empresa ya había sido vendida, en parte, a los venezolanos. ¿Quiénes son los inversionistas detrás de RON y de Diazgranados? Nadie lo sabe con seguridad, pero hay indicios de que este tipo es el presta-nombre o testaferro de una de las muchas tramas de corrupción con las que los boliburgueses han arruinado a Venezuela al tiempo que ellos se vuelven multimillonarios.

Source: Venezuela no es una isla | ELESPECTADOR.COM

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 7, 2017 in South America



Venezuela : une opposition écrasée et divisée

Dans la cascade de rebondissements qui accompagnent la crise au Venezuela, certains faits majeurs passent quasiment inaperçus. Ce fut le cas le 31 juillet, quand l’un des ténors de l’opposition, Antonio Ledezma, se livrait à une critique publique de son propre camp, la MUD (Table de l’Unité démocratique), coalition de 28 partis opposés au gouvernement socialiste. Une première depuis 2012, quand les adversaires du chavisme avaient désigné un candidat unique à l’élection présidentielle face à Hugo Chávez.Maire du Grand Caracas et fondateur d’Alianza Bravo Pueblo, une formation sociale-démocrate, Ledezma reprochait à ses alliés un manque de sincérité et de dialogue, et une absence de stratégie après les élections législatives de décembre 2015, où la MUD est devenue majoritaire à l’Assemblée nationale.

Source: Venezuela : une opposition écrasée et divisée – Libération

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 21, 2017 in South America



The problem with Venezuela’s revolution is that it didn’t go far enough

Back in the early 1970s, in a note to the CIA advising them how to undermine the democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende, Henry Kissinger wrote succinctly: “Make the economy scream.”

High US representatives are openly admitting that today the same strategy is applied in Venezuela: former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said on Fox News that Chavez’s appeal to the Venezuelan people “only works so long as the population of Venezuela sees some ability for a better standard of living. If at some point the economy really gets bad, Chavez’s popularity within the country will certainly decrease and it’s the one weapon we have against him to begin with and which we should be using, namely the economic tools of trying to make the economy even worse so that his appeal in the country and the region goes down … Anything we can do to make their economy more difficult for them at this moment is a good thing, but let’s do it in ways that do not get us into direct conflict with Venezuela if we can get away with it.”

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 10, 2017 in South America


Tags: ,

Venezuela, a Failing State

The medical student told me to use his name. He said he didn’t care. “Maduro is a donkey,” he said. “An asshole.” He meant Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela. We were passing through the wards of a large public hospital in Valencia, a city of roughly a million people, a hundred miles west of Caracas. The hallways were dim and stifling, thick with a frightening stench. Some were full of patients waiting silently in long lines outside exam rooms. Others were dark and deserted, with the overhead lighting ripped out. The medical student, lithe and light-haired, kept us moving, peering through swinging doors, conferring with colleagues in blue scrubs.We ducked into a room stuffed with rusted bed frames and dirty plastic barrels, where in a corner a thin young man was propped on a bed without sheets. He watched us weakly. A young woman in a pink T-shirt stood beside him, rigid with surprise. The medical student gently asked if they would answer my questions. The young man nodded. His name was Nestor. He was twenty-one. This was his wife, Grace. Three weeks earlier, he had been ambushed on his motorbike and shot three times, in the chest and the left arm. “They were going to shoot me again, but one of the malandros”—bad guys—“said I was already dead. They took my motorbike.” Nestor spoke slowly, his voice uninflected. His skin was waxy. The wounds to his arm and chest were uncovered, half healed, dark with dried blood. There was a saline drip in his right arm and, at the foot of his bed, an improvised contraption, made from twine and an old one-litre plastic bottle, whose purpose I couldn’t figure out.Did the hospital provide the saline?No. Grace brought it. She also brought food, water, and, when she could find them, bandages, pain medication, antibiotics. These things were available only on the black market, at high prices, and Grace’s job, in a warehouse, paid less than a dollar a day.“The hospital doesn’t even give water,” the medical student said. He was watching the hallway. He studied Nestor briefly. “The lungs fill with liquid after someone is shot in the thorax,” he told me. “We usually take the bullet out if we can. But, either way, the wounds need to be drained.”Were the police investigating the robbery?Nestor looked down. The naïveté of the question left it beneath reply. Venezuela has, by various measures, the world’s highest violent-crime rate. Less than two per cent of reported crimes are prosecuted.We had to go, the medical student said. Grace and Nestor thanked us, though we had done nothing for them. The medical student was worried about what he called “spies.” He had smuggled me into the hospital through a broken back door. The regular entrances to the hospital were all manned by uniformed personnel with rifles—National Guard, mostly, but also police, both local and national, and other, less identifiable militia. Hospitals in Caracas were even more tightly secured. Why were hospitals so heavily guarded? Nobody threatened to invade them. The guards had orders, it was said, to keep out journalists. Exposés had embarrassed the government.

Source: Venezuela, a Failing State – The New Yorker

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 14, 2017 in South America



The Secret, Dangerous World of Venezuelan Bitcoin Mining 

Four years ago, Alberto’s career prospects were bleak. The 23-year-old Venezuelan had just graduated from college with a degree in computer science, but his nation’s economy was already shredded by 13 years of socialism.

“There were job opportunities, but they paid like $20 a month, and we were used to traveling and buying things from abroad so we couldn’t settle for that,” his friend Luis recalls. Alberto and Luis—whose names have been changed for their own safety—teamed up to start a clothing business, but the venture floundered.

Then Alberto discovered bitcoin mining.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 25, 2017 in South America



Hungry Venezuelans Flee in Boats to Escape Economic Collapse

The dark outlines of land had just come into view when the smuggler forced everyone into the sea.Roymar Bello screamed. She was one of 17 passengers who had climbed onto the overloaded fishing boat with aging motors in July, hoping to escape Venezuela’s economic disaster for a new life on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.Afraid of the authorities, the smuggler refused to land. Ms. Bello said he gruffly ordered her and the others into the water, pointing toward the distant shore. In the panic, she was tossed overboard, tumbling into the predawn blackness.But Ms. Bello could not swim.As she began to sink under the waves, a fellow migrant grabbed her by the hair and towed her toward the island. They washed up on a rocky cliff battered by waves. Bruised and bleeding, they climbed, praying for a lifeline: jobs, money, something to eat.“It was worth the risk,” said Ms. Bello, 30, adding that Venezuelans like her “are going after one thing: food.”

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 7, 2016 in South America