All Venezuelans want for Christmas is some toilet paper and good governance

I know I harp on this man like erryday, but seriously. It’s way too easy. At this point I think he’s doing it just to get my attention. Message received Maduro–let’s do this up again. Sigh.

Last week Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro made headlines when he issued an ill-advised statement saying that Christmas was in fact coming to Venezuela early. November 1st is that date he gave. Doesn’t he know how Western that is of him? The day after Halloween, every Wal-Mart in North America is bustling with Christmas shoppers and the songs of Burl Ives on the loudspeakers. The rescheduling of Christmas in Venezuela curiously coincides with elections that will be held on December 8th. Or one week after rescheduled Christmas bonus cheques are to be issued. Maduro’s reasoning for the surprise move is that “we want happiness for all people.” Oooooh I get it now. Wait–no I don’t! What a goddamn jackass.

Another dramatic development in As Maduro’s World Turns has been the war that social media company Twitter has waged against him. In what he terms a “massive attack,” Twitter personally removed 6,600 of Maduro’s followers. Hm…or is it more likely the result of a technical glitch? Or those pesky power outages? Or an overactive imagination? In any event, Maduro has a plan to “liberate” Venezuela from Twitter’s tyranny. He will unite with Mercosur and a handful of other organizations of allies in Latin America to…I don’t know what they will do, but it will be fearsome! These are trade organizations, by the way. It’s the equivalent of Stephen Harper saying he will unite with NAFTA to fight the evil company called Facebook for blocking his friend requests. Because Xi Jinping like totally didn’t get Harper’s request, or he would have totally like accepted it.

Does Maduro really have nothing better to worry about than Twitter followers? Of course he does, but diverting attention away from actual issues is what this guy does best. Though to be fair the bar wasn’t set too high.

There are no words, friend.

Here’s a fun thing that happened this past weekend: Maduro and the Venezuelan National Guard “occupied” an electronics chain, arresting its managers and forcing it to sell products at affordable prices. What? This was actually a measure to combat inflation. Now it makes sense, right? NO!! NO!! NO!! He promised to take similar measure against businesses all across the country, proudly proclaiming that “This robbery of the people has to stop. You’ve not seen anything.” He also announced that communications experts were combing the internet to block any sites containing the black-market price of the dollar.

This is utter lunacy. It shows a complete lack of understanding of even the most basic economic principles. Though more likely, Mr Maduro just doesn’t care, because following economic principles is so bourgeois. And yes, I get it–nations shouldn’t have to follow a system with which they do not agree. But too bad–we do not live in a world where fairies and unicorns roam the emerald hilltops. We live in a world where sometimes, houses fall into sinkholes without warning. So deal with it because you have not the wit nor grit to change the world (nor to stay on a bicycle, for that matter).

Hyperinflation cannot be eradicated by cracking down on vendors who are only trying to break even. It is only combated by sound fiscal and monetary management, which is nowhere to be found in Venezuela. The dollar is expensive on the black market because Venezuelans have lost faith in the government’s ability to keep its shit together. In fact, the only things keeping the country together are trade surpluses from oil exports and currency devaluations–surprise! Another cause of inflation. The National Guard should arrest Maduro’s government, if his line of thinking is to be followed. But it’s not a line of thinking so much as a downward spiral…

But where is Chav-bird in all of this? In case anyone missed it, Chav-bird is my special name for the birdlike form in which Hugo Chavez appears to crazy-pants Maduro. Chav-bird only seems to emerge at moments in which Maduro badly needs a political victory. But it seems Chavez chose a different form this time. He allegedly appeared to a group of workers excavating a Caracas subway tunnel–his face was on the wall. Nah, I’m  bored of this. Moving on…

It’s a wonder that in the business-friendly atmosphere Maduro has created, the shortages of staple items are continuing unabated. The most recent and embarrassing of these was the toilet paper crisis that ravaged the country in late September. A toilet paper factory was seized amid concerns that the country would actually run out. I guess my usual advice to Maduro to get his shit together has taken on a whole new meaning. This is not something that happens in a well-run nation, and Venezuelans deserve better. Their leader must learn that fiery rhetoric and bizarre spectacles can only go so far in distracting citizens and the rest of the world from the damaging poverty and crime that is running rampant in Venezuela. If Capriles was planning on retiring, he should not do it now–his people need an agitator now more than ever. And not the kind of that goes on illogical diatribes against social media sites, but rather the kind that knows his economic ass from elbow.

Even just this much common sense would help.

Maduro has been coasting towards a power grab as well, kinda sorta suggesting that Venezuela should declare a state of emergency so he can do what’s necessary to get the country back on track. I don’t even want to know what he thinks that would entail, and I have a feeling Venezuelans aren’t keen to find out either. I joke a lot about the things Maduro says and does, but when military crackdowns start becoming commonplace, it stops being so funny. Basta ya, Maduro.


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