In economic matters, 2014 particularly looks like a widened and worsened extension of 2013. And such statement is no capricious at all. If we look into the immediate future in light of the most recent past, which is the year we just left behind, what we see is more of the same, or even worse, without making us think there is a possibility of a change on the part of the Government that may raise our hopes for what is to come could be better than what already happened in the past.
In economic policy matters, key to understand what may come, what we can see is an extension of a no-policy that President Nicolás Maduro has put into orbit since he took office last year.
The country is torn between the claws of a paradox. It is literally being strangled by a flurry of petrodollars spilled all over it, which leads us to guess there is an abundant supply of goods and yet, at the same time, a significant shortage of food products in particular.
It is something inexplicable, in light of reason. If there is enough money to buy stuff, as much locally as abroad, why toilet paper, for example, as indispensable as food, has suddenly become nearly a luxury item? When travelling abroad, Venezuelans come back home fully loaded with packs of toilet paper. But the toilet paper shortage is not limited to that very particular sphere: The paper to make newspapers also seems it won’t last long in this country.
The Monday edition of VEA (a government-biased newspaper) ran on its front page the reason why it was forced to reduce the number of pages: Due to a paper shortage. Other newspapers are starting to do the same.
If we want to speculate about the reasons of this peculiar and bleak situation, we could try out an explanation that must not be very far from the reality.
That is nothing else but pure incompetence, incapacity to make the simplest things such as tying up one’s shoe laces, for example. Mr. Maduro, president of the Republic, called on producers “to produce.”
This does not stop being a bloody irony. First, the Government proceeds to damage the country’s productive apparatus with all kinds of nonsense measures and allegations of “sabotage,” and then it asks what is left of that apparatus comprised by alleged saboteurs to “start producing.”
In any case, perhaps something can be saved from this outlandish kind of behavior which, for now, is just an intention, one quite sincere because of the shock produced when watching all those empty shelves everywhere, and to do so producers must be left alone so they can work in peace doing what they do best.
We hope the Government wants to do things right this time and not what chavismo, in both of its original and succession versions, has usually done in the past fifteen years: Blowing it. It won’t take long for us to see the results.