Hugo Chavez always had a rather schizophrenic relationship with bankers. During his “Bolivarian revolution” he allowed many to make outrageous fortunes, while others ended up behind bars.
Under his successor Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s acting president, not much has changed yet, with the latest fright taking place on Thursday when a broker that housed the local operations of US-based Oppenheimer & Co was raided by intelligence agents. Continue reading »
Although Venezuelans may be having a good laugh about acting president Nicolás Maduro’s comments this week about being visited by Hugo Chávez in the form of “a very little bird”, he does say more sensible things from time to time.
Take his point made earlier this year about it being odd that used cars in Venezuela should cost more than new cars. He’s quite right – there can’t be many other places in the world where that happens. Continue reading »
Those unfamiliar with Venezuela normally do a double take when they learn about the country’s rather unusual multi-tiered exchange rate system.
But the growing mystery surrounding it is making everything even more confusing than usual. Continue reading »
Whoever Hugo Chávez’s successor is, he will inherit the state oil company, known as PDVSA, in less than optimal conditions.
For all the attempts of Rafael Ramírez, Venezuela’s powerful energy minister, to explain away the negative headlines about PDVSA as slanderous “attacks” on his government, it is not obvious what is especially positive about the fact that its revenues fell last year despite a rise in oil prices. Continue reading »
Once again, the unusual economic management of Venezuela’s socialist government seems to end up benefiting the “evil capitalists” on Wall Street more than ordinary Venezuelans themselves.
Although the introduction of a new foreign exchange mechanism next week doesn’t look like its going to go very far in solving the various problems facing Venezuela’s economy – not least shortages of foreign currency, and therefore of imported goods – it is good news for bondholders. Continue reading »
Somewhat distracted lately with the death of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s government is finally getting around to replacing a system it scrapped well over a month ago that allowed importers to access foreign currency.
With shortages of basic goods worsening by the day as a result and fresh elections just around the corner on April 14, it was clearly prudent to devote some attention to the issue. Continue reading »
“Chocolate” and “shortage” should never appear in the same sentence.
But as the Chinese say, in every crisis, there is opportunity.
And as Chinese taste buds are one of the biggest new drivers of global cocoa demand, it’s apt that a merchant bank focused on trade between China and Latin America has identified cocoa as a “very good bet” for long-term investors. Continue reading »
One of the things Hugo Chavez will be remembered for is his spontaneous, freewheeling style of government. But in his enthusiasm for imitating the late Comandante, down to singing at political rallies despite not quite having the voice for it, his successor Nicolás Maduro might be going a bit too far. Continue reading »
Many businesses in Venezuela flourished during the Chavez era , but there are others that definitively did not. For example, being the only television station that openly criticised the government was clearly not a successful business model, and at last Globovision’s owner has thrown in the towel. Continue reading »
By Roderic Wye of Chatham House
Does the death of Hugo Chávez risk seriously undermining China’s position in Venezuela? China’s apparent obsession with energy security led it to invest heavily in energy and in other sectors in Venezuela in the last decade or so. At a time when other foreign investment in Venezuela was falling rapidly, China’s was growing almost exponentially. But was it committing too much to one relationship, which would be vulnerable to a change in regime and necessitate a rapid change in China’s policy? The answer is probably no. Continue reading »
By Paulo Sotero of the Woodrow Wilson International Center
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff declared three days of official mourning in honour of her late Venezuelan colleague Hugo Chávez Frias, who died on Tuesday in Caracas after a two-year public battle with cancer. “We recognize a great leader, an irreparable loss and above all a friend of Brazil, a friend of the Brazilian people,” she said before leading a minute of silence at a meeting with rural leaders in Brasília carried live on national television.
There was, however, an uncharacteristic twist in Rousseff’s expression of condolences. “On many occasions,” she noted, “the Brazilian government did not agree” with the policies of the Bolivarian leader. Insiders say this was not an extemporaneous remark, but a pre-planned statement calibrated for domestic and international consumption. Continue reading »
The death of Hugo Chávez this week has deprived Venezuela of a controversial and charismatic leader and left it with a mountain of debt to China.
With an election scheduled to be held within a month, many are inevitably wondering whether Venezuela’s Beijing bankers are going to continue to fund El Comandante’s successors. Continue reading »
By Francisco Toro
Hugo Chávez, it was often said, was blessed with wonderful enemies. In particular, during the first half of his 14-years in office, as Chávez consolidated total control of the Venezuelan state, he was aided again and again by a legendarily incompetent opposition. Continue reading »
The 7km queue of Venezuelans hoping to catch one last glimpse of Hugo Chávez resting in his coffin before his funeral tomorrow was a striking measure of the devotion among his adoring supporters.
But even those who didn’t exactly see eye to eye with the revolutionary leader while he was alive rushed to offer their condolences. Thursday’s newspapers were bulging with extra pages to fit in all the messages from private companies that Chávez so often scolded. Continue reading »
It makes sense for the Kremlin to send Igor Sechin to the funeral of Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, who died on Tuesday after a two year battle with cancer.
Rosneft’s boss (pictured left with Chávez in 2011) has played a key role in forging close ties with Venezuela that have landed Russia with lucrative oil and arms deals. But after bidding farewell to the Bolivarian strongman, Sechin will have the much trickier job of ensuring the relationship does not unravel. Continue reading »