By Beatrice E. Rangel
Over 2000 years ago, Julius Caesar introduced Leap Years to the Roman empire’s calendar.
The Julian calendar, however, had one leap year too many, as all those evenly divided by four would be a leap year.
The Gregorian Calendar corrected this by tagging leap years every four so as to reflect the time gap in the earths circumvallation around the sun which takes 365 days plus 12 and 1/2 hours.
According to astrological traditions, in leap years the unexpected reigns.
And 2016 is a leap year.
Sudden changes are to be the rule in all domains of life. Weather could not only continue to be extreme but could change from day to day, thereby subjecting mortals to a process of pasteurization that might not fly well on everyone, particularly those that are not in the Millennial age group.
Politics and markets are bound to remain volatile and game changing inventions will rule the day in electronics, consumer products and transportation.
This pattern of continuing alterations will be compounded by the fact that 2016 also is the year of the Monkey according to Chinese tradition.
In such years anything can happen, as the monkey is ingenious, unpredictable and target driven. Monkey years have so far been theaters of change everywhere in the world. And perhaps this would work in the America’s favor, as change is what is needed in significant latitudes of the hemisphere.
The leap-cum-monkey pattern seems to be working with zest.
In a true and definite break with the past, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro jumped into the decomposing Venezuelan situation to alert the government not to resort to institutional gimmicks in order to“distort the voice of the people and its most genuine expression – which is the election results.“
The OAS Secretary General further described the current decision of Venezuela’s Supreme Court as “..schemes of dubious legality.. springing from “..bodies reconstituted ad hoc.”
This sets the stage for two scenarios:
First, the InterAmerican community could demand application of the Democratic Charter to Venezuela.
Second, the government could be deemed as illegitimate, thus not having authority to manage Venezuela’s assets abroad.
Both results could not have been predicted six months ago.
The bad news is that perspectives for Venezuelan government compliance with anything deviating from the Jungle Law look quite dim at this stage.
But perhaps this could change as the economic situation worsens and incumbents realize that a rising tide of popular wrath could wipe them all away faster than Mount Vesuvius’ eruption engulfed Pompeii. Then they could perhaps see the OAS as a life saving device.
In another totally unexpected turn of events, the Venezuelan government announced that it would impose a 35% additional income tax on “the very rich.” This news would be welcomed and elicit world support should the measure encompass the truly very rich, of which the government has made many!
Indeed, statistics by law enforcing agencies in the world including U.S. based FinCen estimate that over the last decade, graft in Venezuela has represented approximately $250 BILLION -- 35% of such amount could surely resolve several current predicaments including imports of foods and medicines and foreign debt payments.
And considering that these “very rich” are all card carrying members of the Bolivarian government to levy and collect such taxation should be rather simple.
Long gone are the days where the task could have been fraught with complexities, as about 5% of the population would represent such fortune.
Sadly, the government will most probably take another path. Stay tuned for news about yet another massive exodus of Venezuelans to any destination in the hemisphere aiming at protecting their life long savings, as the government hides yet another massive wave of expropriations under the cover of tax collection.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.
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