By Beatrice E. Rangel
Niobe was a Greek Princess destined for fame, glory and happiness. She however engaged in one of the worst evils affecting human souls: hubris.
This is a weakness anchored in arrogance that blinds human beings, leading them to self-destruction. Power and beauty led Niobe to humiliate the mother of the divine twin gods: Apollo and Artemis. Both killed her fourteen children, leading her husband to commit suicide and Niobe to turn into stone from which the outpouring of tears created a river.
Those same rivers of tears are pouring out of Venezuela as Niobe’s sin is not only committed on a daily basis but has been elevated to constitutional status.
As days pass and the economy sinks into paralysis, policy makers in Venezuela proclaim the exactness of their economic policies while trying to blame oligarchs, the U.S. and other enemies of the self-proclaimed revolution. They seem to forget that the only successful oligarchs left in this world are Russian or Eastern European and that the U.S. is retrenching from world affairs to take care of a very complex situation at home.
And in spite of a GDP free fall to -10%, Mr. Maduro and his adoring clique continue to believe that bullying Venezuelans and trashing market forces is the way to go. Given that countries do not seem to have a bottom, Venezuela could continue to drift into misery and depravation for the remainder of the century.
Or it could confront an ocean of rage that while wiping away the Bolivarian Hubris will also leave the country in total destitution.
Both scenarios lead to Armageddon.
In Argentina where hubris seems to have had the longest career, the government tried to play a charade on bondholders that might prove to be costly to several international banks including JPMorgan, BBVA and Deutsche Bank.
These financial institutions are now facing an investigation by judge Thomas Griesa from the Southern District of New York Federal Court with a view to determining their role in the placement of bonds to compensate the Spanish energy company Repsol.
Sources close to this court indicate that this operation may have been illegal and thus subject to sanctions. Behind this complex financial drama, there simply is a political stand that bases part of its legitimacy on being able to look the U.S. in the eye. Meeting the goal justifies breaking international laws and regulations. The cost ,of course, is by no means low.
Argentina is unable to borrow money anywhere except domestically and in China. And to Beijing was placed a loan request with a view to finance public spending to boost pro-government ballot counts in the upcoming elections.
Unfortunately for the government of Argentina, China is now saving as much income as it can while requesting solid assets to back loans. Missing that, the financial flows from China failed to materialize. Yes the government will win anyway, but the new administration will have to deal with very complex dilemmas the day after the election including long postponed debt payments.
And the U.S. could not be left out in the cold in the hemispheric hubris contest.
Congress seems to be pondering the idea of sacking the just negotiated Transpacific Trade Partnership.
Democrats have become a confederation of special interests and fail to have a holistic or wide vision of the world while Republicans are defined as a party only by their opposition to all things Obama. They seem to have forgotten that the country handed to President Obama by one of their rank and file members was in tatters.
Flash back to 2008: the US government was attempting to parachute a free-falling economy, deal with an already over-bloated budget, and deal with a world raising arms against the United States.
Today the economy has recovered, the budget is on its way toward regaining equilibrium, and terrorists are up in arms against the U.S. The latter challenge alone should give enough work to both Congress and the White House.
Instead we can watch in the horizon the makings of an alignment against the Transpacific Trade Partnership which represents the largest regional trading zone in the world, 40% of world trade and a reduction of 18,000 tariff barriers. This march of folly is already taking a toll on the Republican leadership, as Boehner resigned as Speaker of the House while McCarthy suddenly dropped out of the race when he saw the handwriting on the wall.
The tug-of-war between radical factions within both parties is yet hubris at its best. A small group of zealots who have little or no interest in understanding the world are striving to impose their views on a majority that has other dilemmas to crack and an allergy to hubris. Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet seriesBeatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen
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Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela
Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters
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Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit
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Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???
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Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!
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