Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I've been rather focused on the US elections that take place seven days from today, so I've been a little out of the loop with the details of stuff going on in Venezuela. However, honestly, it doesn't look like to much new or unexpected.
I think the most worrisome news is the decline in oil prices, remember all those PSF that said oil wouldn't decline. I've lost count how many times they have been wrong.
This from The Economist:
For each $10 drop in the oil price, the government gets $5 billion (1.4% of GDP) less in revenue, according to LatinSource, a consultancy. Mr Chávez said this month that an oil price no lower than $80 was “sufficient”. But the economy is already deteriorating. Oil-dependency has risen; nationalisation, bullying and meddling have deterred private investment; a fixed and overvalued exchange rate has stoked imports. In 2006 growth was 10.3% and inflation 17%; the latest growth figure is a 7.1%; inflation is 36%. Foreign debt is up from $30 billion to $44 billion. The cost of credit has risen. Opaque statistics make it hard to gauge Mr Chávez’s room for manoeuvre. Fonden may contain some $15 billion; central bank reserves are about $27 billion. But the underlying trend is clear.
A devaluation risks setting off a downward spiral of inflation and rising poverty. As Mr Chávez scales back spending he will have to choose between losing influence abroad or losing popularity at home. Already he has quietly cancelled a promise to build an oil refinery in Nicaragua.
In light of 50% drop in oil prices and the possibility of the opposition making inroads with the upcoming elections, Chavez has been aggressively campaigning. What does a Chavez campaign look like? Oh... lets see, first you illegally record telephone conversation of your opponents, then you release them to be broadcast on the state (Chavez controled) news station, then you accuse your biggest rival of corruption and have the National Assembly, which you control,to open an investigation.
Don't forget that you prevent other candidates from running for office on trumped up charges. But it isn't just the candidates that are on the receiving end of Chavez's threats but also the voters by stating that in places where opposition candidates win he will withhold funds to local governments
National Electoral Board (CNE) member Vicente Diaz is calling for his colleagues to look into the Chavez violating article 145 of the constitution, 210 and 18. don't hold your breath.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
The Economist has been running a poll, its not scientific and only open to subscribers so you know it's biased towards the pointy headed elitists of the world :) .
It's pretty evident that Obama wins hands down, the only countries where McCain show's strength is Georgia (winning), Macedonia (winning), and Slovakia (Obama up slightly).
The vote breakdown in Latin America is rather interesting McCain and Obama run the closest in El Salvador (48% to 52%), I'm unsure how to explain this considering Obama has such a strong lead in the rest of America.
Venezuela and Colombia show the smallest difference (besides El Salvador) McCain (~37%), Obama (~62%). My feeling is that there is a fear that Obama might not support Colombia militarily or with free trade as a McCain presidency might. As for Venezuelans I think there is fear that Obama is the Chavez of the north. Most other countries support Obama by about 70-80%.
Click here for a more up to date map
Read into it as much as you want, I just found it fun.