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Venezuela’s Chavez and the BBVA

By Aleksander Boyd

London 29 Mar. 04 – Sundays in Venezuela come with a common treat, i.e. the presidential allocution. Yesterday’s had its share of insults, prevarications, lies and deceit which I will not elaborate about. However there was a comment that merits attention. True to fashion the pariah said that he would force the Central Bank grant him the differential between a safe level of international reserves [calculated by him at $15 billion] and the present level estimated to be around $21 billion.

You have guessed it the $6 billion will be destined to fund ‘social programmes.’ If we are to believe such a stupid line of reasoning, add the $12 billion internal debt increase and the $2.5 billion earmarked in 2000 for the Bolivar Plan, we must conclude that this government has indeed devoted itself to poverty eradication and development of a sound social base from which growth and prosperity will stem. A total of $20.5 billion, social development plans expenditure to date, would have –in the hands of committed people’s advocates- changed the economic, social and educational landscape of Venezuela, wouldn’t it? Wrong, according to all available data indexes on any of the aforementioned the present scenario is worse today than when Chavez took office.

The interview given recently by Adina Bastidas to the magazine Tiempo Iberoamericano points at the excellent relationship between Venezuela and Spain, special emphasis was made by her in regards to the BBVA. Justice Baltazar Garzon conducted an investigation regarding money laundering and illegal contributions made by the Spanish bank to Hugo Chavez’ campaign which uncover donations that mounted, by 07.07.1999, to $ 1.525.586. “Money well spent” the bankers would think in view of the ensuing juicy deals they got, however how can members of the Venezuelan Central Bank appraise similarly the ‘social profit’ potential of Hugo Chavez taking into account his dismal performance? How come Venezuela’s poor are poorer, after the vast amount of money that Chavez says he has spent in rescuing them?

A notwithstanding Chavez threatened, yet again, to take over the Central Bank. He is convinced that he can dispose of the country’s money at will. Since his popularity ratings are in the substratum and his international image is irremediably damaged he wants to pull a chameleonic trick and emerge unscathed as customary. “I am saving the poor but the evil hands of the US don’t let me!” has become the official mantra. Repeated a million times there will be enough suckers who buy into it. Nevertheless, the non-existence of tangible assets, or benefits for that matter, after such an obscene spending spree demolishes chavista arguments rapidly.

An illustrious Venezuelan used to say “the Europeans reconstructed the continent after WW2 with a tenth of what Venezuelan governments have received since 1.958…” Hugo Chavez is no different from his predecessors in any way; he’s as corrupt, amoral and rotten as the worst for his ever touted social oeuvre is nowhere to be found.

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