Saturday, December 19, 2015

I was Googlin' around when I tripped over this article by Mark Weisbrot, economist and Venezuela pundit.  It was from July, 2014 and from Fortune Magazine.  Mark Weisbrot was prescribing how Venezuela could fix it's dysfunctional foreign exchange system. Of course he described the system as it was then, and the Government has tinkered with it since then, but what hit me right between the eyes was where he said that the black market dollar was stabilized at around 79 bolivars to the dollar.  Of course, since those happy days the dollar now fetches around 850 of those same bolivars.  Not too stable at all.

So I went looking for something more recent from Weisbrot,  to see if, perhaps he had something to say about this development. But first, I recalled a very optimistic Weisbrot piece in The Guardian.
This was back in 2013, when oil was around $100 a barrel. 



http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/07/venezuela-not-greece-latin-america-oil-poverty

Okay, let's see,  fast forward to 2015 after the election catastrophe. People are still looking to Weisbrot for wisdom when it comes to Venezuela.
Well, I have a strong interest in Venezuela,  not only because of the importance of the country and the fate of its socialist experiment but because I have family there who are not experiencing good times. I worry about what's next for Venezuela.  So I asked Weisbrot,  through the comments on his recent piece in The Hill, I asked him a question. 
Okay I made a factual error.  The bolivar was 79 to the dollar,  not 73. My comment was posted ten days after Weisbrot posted his article,  it's possible he won't even be aware of it, so I'm posting it here. As is my custom, I'll be spreading it around.
PS I know Weisbrot 's area of specializaton is economics,  but I'm wondering what he, or anyone, thinks the impact the new cocaine smuggling cases will have on Venezuela.