News from Venezuela

In response to my recent post on the situation in Venezuela, a commenter named Adam offers a firsthand account of his recent trip:

I happened to be in Venezuela on vacation for this little speech. My hostess’s grandfather, 80 years old, had his head in his hands after the speech, and echoed the sentiment above: “Aye caramba!”

Sadly, I had already changed all of my US$. After his speech, the black market exchange rate bounced from 3,000 Bolivares for every $1 to 4,000 VEBs for US$1.

Just the day before his speech, I read about an upcoming Venezuelan government bond sale. I can only conclude, given that he and anyone else with even a modicum of a functioning brain would know that such a speech would do serious damage to the country’s bond rating, that he simply does not give a rat’s rear end about the country he presides over.

Other notes: his face is on the side of every one of the massive fleet of government tow trucks on the highways, and driving past a PDVSA (state-run oil company) facility, I most certainly saw a sign that read “Feliz Chavidad.” His campaign material, particularly billboards (and all paid for with state money), was everywhere. I saw campaign materials for his opponent as well(very very sparsely, mostly signs that would make very nice material for, say, a student government election, along with graffiti, which is everywhere), but nothing really railing on Chavez.

I was delighted, however, on the way back to the airport the other day. Just a few miles from the airport, there was a very large billboard with a giant Chavez photo on it. Someone had shot him in the head with a paintball.

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