Written by UST – Venezuela
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 19:29
In the midst of great uncertainty, of “announcements” that don’t announce anything, the crisis advances on the economic situation of workers and popular sectors.
The Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) reported something everyone knew: The economy is in recession after decreasing three quarters in a row (from June to December 4.8, 4.9 and 2.3, respectively) and an annualized inflation of above 63%. Meanwhile, Nicolas Maduro announced a “plan to restore the economy,” which nobody knows what it is, but one of the measures would be to turn transparent the exchange controls, which in fact would mean a new devaluation.
The National Assembly approved a budget for 2015 of 741,708 billion bolivars.. The budget, compared with last year, contemplates about 50% less of expenses, for it is estimated that additional credits could reach more than 500 billion bolivars. Most of that income is supported on VAT collection and other taxes (over 500 billion bolivars). Only 20% of the income is from oil exports. To where have gone then the billions of dollars from oil exports? A large portion to fatten the foreign accounts of multinational and “boli-bourgeoisie” banks. Another important part, to the big business of cheap dollar to “import.” And another one, as important as the others, to the very dark deals with governments in the region. Therefore, Venezuela has had to borrow abroad to secure these “businesses.”
Venezuela owes about US$ 167,000 billion in foreign debt, considering the PDVSA and the state debts, of which US$ 11,000 million should be paid this year. 34% of national income is used to pay the debt.
How will we pay such a debt? A clue is provided by the 2015 national budget: there is a reduction in spending on health, education, housing, missions, among other items. Besides this, there is a reduction of staff salaries and state ordinary expenses.
What are the measures taken by the government to “restore the economy?”
The low oil prices, the main source of dollars into the country, is a new ingredient to the already long Venezuelan crisis. But shortages have existed before the fall of oil prices. Low wages, frozen collective labor contracts, inflation are long-standing problems.
Rising gasoline prices have been announced since last year and the prices of some products have already been released; reforms in the exchange regime mean, in practice, successive devaluations and, as mentioned above, a new one is to come; all this under the banner of “adjustment” and of moving towards a “new economy”. It is part of the agreements with FEDECAMARAS, the “Bolivarian bourgeoisie” , banks and vultures such as the Bank of America (buyers of Venezuelan debt) and multinational companies operating in the country.
The right organized mainly in the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) has not a different plan from the Chavista’s adjustment. The “populist” speech of not making the people pay for the crisis is just another electoral deceiving. So, the only demand of their spokesmen, as Capriles and others, is to end to “exchange control” by making a brutal devaluation, putting the dollar in its “fair price” of the free market. They are part of the big bourgeois deal to make us, workers and the people, not them, to pay for the crisis.
These agreements are not made in the interests of the workers and the people of Venezuela
All of them, the “winners”, those who did the big business with cheap dollars deposited in bank accounts abroad, will continue the business now grabbing increasing portions of Venezuelan oil, minerals and economic sectors, producers of basic goods. It’s no other the result of the “tour” made by President Maduro to China and other countries in search of dollars. 20,000 million dollars “invested” by Chinese bourgeoisie in the country will not be used to improve the production of the most important needs of the people, as food. It will be used to corner the oil and minerals market.
In this way, the government is taking us to the dead end of increasing the public debt to pay it, augmented by interests, to benefit the traditional bourgeoisie, the boli-bourgeoisie, banks and multinationals.
Now, some foreign financial analysts talk of a Venezuelan “default” for lack of foreign currency. Given that possibility, there are two paths. Argentina, in 2001 declared a default and negotiated with their creditors a future payment which in fact meant a terrible debt. It paid over 160,000 million and now it owes more than ever before. Instead of continuing an investigation that would show it is a fraudulent debt, produce of corruption, its government chose to continue paying to the “vulture” creditors. The country is now embargoed for generations.
The other way is to suspend the debt payment, investigate which portion is real and which is in the pockets and accounts abroad, proceeds from corruption, and demand the repatriation of such capital. That means in fact the rupture with imperialism, because it is proven that most cheap dollars were taken abroad by multinationals, the same as institutional overbilling. The other step should be the expropriation of all companies that forged invoices, imported overpriced products and stayed with cheap dollars.
The way to pay by any means, borrowing to repay the debt, means greater scarcity, more and more adjustments. It means to increasingly losing sovereignty and selling out to banks and vultures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
The other path, that of suspending the debt payment to recover our dollars, it’s only possible by the struggle of the working class and the people. Actually, it’s the only way if we want a future.
______________________________ – Bolivarian bourgeoisie or Boli-bourgeoisie: the new bourgeois created by the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez and Chavismo, that has developed under their protection.