Venezuela Megathread - Mercenaries 2 references galore! Cubanodun is MVP

Glad I couldn't help

Now with edge anime avatar
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The Grauniad has an interesting article on the informal dollarization of the Venezuelan economy. I think it is correct in predicting that whatever regieme comes out of the crisis, it will have to make such a change official.

Barter and dollars the new reality as Venezuela battles hyperinflation

As inflation soars, Venezuelans have been forced to find new ways to pay for essentials – when the power supply allows

Emma Graham-Harrison and Patricia Torres in Cupira and Joe Parkin Daniels in Caracas
Thu 14 Mar 2019 06.00 GMT Last modified on Thu 14 Mar 2019 15.45 GMT


“Barter” reads a simple sign on Angelica Monasterios’s stall in Cupira, a town on the main road east from Caracas. Her niece painted the sign for her in early February, after spiralling inflation and vanishing reserves of hard cash made it hard to do business.

“We accept dollars and euros as well,” she said with a grin, sitting beside rows of handmade yucca wafers, the town’s speciality, balls of pure cacao farmed nearby and hand-carved toys.

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, and was once one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America, but its economy has been ravaged by years of runaway inflation. The devastating blackout that struck last week has pushed it to the verge of collapse.

Venezuela officially entered hyperinflation at the end of 2016, and has now endured one of the longest runs of warp-speed price rises in the world, according to Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University and one of the world’s leading experts on the phenomenon.

Hanke has logged 58 historical episodes of hyperinflation around the world, and says Venezuela’s is the fourth longest, though nearer the median for rate of price rises. That does not mean an end is in sight. The longest episode Hanke has recorded, in Nicaragua about three decades ago, lasted nearly five years.

The cliched image of hyperinflation is of people rushing to the shops with cash in wheelbarrows. In Venezuela, however, while the value of money crashes, so does the ability to get your hands on it.

Bolívar banknotes are increasingly scarce, probably because cash itself is one of the many things Venezuela is struggling to pay for. The government’s mint no longer works, so it gets banknotes from abroad, and manufacturers expect to be paid in something other than the fast-devaluing notes they produce.

There are a few things in Venezuela for which cash is indispensable, such as bus fares and supplies in very remote areas, but for almost everything else people have found a workaround.

Venezuelans are using barter, dollars and – when the power supply allows – online transfers, debit cards and even cryptocurrencies to scrape together what they need to survive. They can sometimes go for weeks without touching banknotes.

Before the power cut, most people in urban areas relied on online transfers and debit cards to make payments, leaving anyone without a card or internet banking dangerously vulnerable.

Gindel Delgado spent two months excluded from the system, spending all his spare time on Kafkaesque efforts to be able to use money again. He needed a new bank card to access his account, but a shortage of plastic meant his bank refused to issue one.

His salary was paid into his father’s bank account, and the pair sat down every evening to make a list of online transfers to people he owed money to.

“I gave up until I had a week off work,” Delgado said of his long quest to get a new card. He spent that week trekking from branch to branch to find someone who could finally issue him a new card.

Thursday’s devastating blackout – which still afflicts much of the country – has only accelerated Venezuela’s creeping unofficial dollarisation.

With ATMs and card-readers rendered useless, many hotels and shops now only accept dollars. At a supermarket in the wealthy Chacao district, security guards turned away customers without US currency to pay with.

“All this government talk of American imperialism and now we have to use dollars,” said Celina Bareto, whose daughter was inside buying vegetables with the few dollar bills she had lying around the house.

Others without dollars were not so lucky. “I have some dollars saved at home,” said Trina Cedeño, a publicist looking to buy food for her husband and their toddler. “But I was saving them for emergencies, not to buy groceries.”

One butcher in central Caracas said he now makes up to 10% of his sales in dollars, even though they are not technically legal tender. Much of that is from bulk purchases by Venezuelans abroad supporting family back home, but some is cash.

Inflation has made it hard to break even, even with dollars. “Sometimes I will buy a kilo of meat at 10,000 bolívars, sell it in the shop for 14,000, then go back to restock and the wholesale cost is 15,000,” he said. “You can’t keep going like that.”

The scale of price increases is a problem even for economists who want to study them, because systems for measuring inflation in a normal economy stop working as costs spiral, Hanke said.

People’s spending priorities shift toward food and other basic necessities as their salaries lose value, so the basket of goods used to calculate inflation, which in the UK includes everything from quiche to sports leggings, becomes less relevant.

Economists would also conventionally spend several days putting together an index of prices, but in Venezuela these are creeping up every day.

“In the normal environment it doesn’t matter if they measure the prices of bread in the beginning, middle or end of the month. With hyperinflation, you’d have to measure them all simultaneously on the same day,” Hanke said. “It becomes almost unfeasible to do it.”

He believes the best way to measure the true level of inflation is to look at the foreign exchange rate, because that now is the basis of the economy. Even prices quoted in bolívars are based on an assessment of the black market exchange rate, he said.

Hanke said: “The measuring rod has already been changed to the US dollar.” The only way out for Venezuela, whether under the government of Nicolas Maduro or his challenger Juan Guaidó, will be making that unofficial measuring rod official, he said.

That could either be by overt dollarisation, or pegging the bolívar securely to another country’s money with hard currency reserves backing every note issued.

“There usually is some end point [to hyperinflation] because one of two things happens. You get a political change, and then you get a currency reform. Or you get the same guy in power and you get a currency reform.”
 
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kcbbq

No controlling legal authority
kiwifarms.net
With respect to transformer stations exploding, "the grid" is exactly like your house, only at a meta level. There are electrical lines going through it, and shunted through key nodes. Like your fuse box. If you plug your computer, your TV, coffee maker and Stove into one single electrical socket you know what will happen. Everyone knows what will happen. Either the safety breaker blows, or the socket catches fire.

An electrical grid functions under the same principles. In the United States, we have three separate grids, (necessitated by the physical speed of light and the need for Texas to Special) That are supported by primary power stations all over America and Canada. In the event of an Emergency (i.e, a power station shutting down) the other power stations within the grid or in an adjacent grid can pick up the slack. And this is done in much the same way you throw a circuit breaker in your house. They are already running, but the power is not flowing until the breaker is engaged and the electrons can flow. This is done automatically by computer in America which is why you almost never see random black outs that are the norm in the third world who do not have redundancy built into the system or computers running emergency algorithms.

So what happens with a grid like Venezuelas where 80% of their power is reliant on a single location? Well if something happens at that location the system hard crashes. There is no redundancy. Worse, after it crashes it cannot be restarted without power flowing through the system. The US has three separate grids for this reason. If one of the three goes down it can rely on the other two to jump start the system that crashed, or even better, mitigate the spread of the blackout by throwing emergency breakers to isolate the emergency and rerouting power through the hard line to the separate grids. Which is what we did in 2003.

Venezuela does not have a diffusion of power supply. Its self contained with no links to any other power grids. So when their primary power supply went down, their auxillary plants blew as well. Much like how your own circuit breaker would blow if you plugged 6 items into the same socket. After those plants hard crashed Maduro, in his infinite wisdom demanded that his state owned power company get the power back on RIGHT FUCKING NOW!. So they tried to do just that. But due to the blackout, Everybody in Venezuela had turned all their electrical shit on. Their fridges, computers, air conditioners, coffee makers, lights, etc etc etc. So as the system was attempted to be brought back online ALL AT ONCE, the power surge got fed through a few key nodes and immediately exceeded their tolerance levels for the amount of electrons flowing and KABOOM. This also helps to crash the system AGAIN, only with dramatic twitter videos this time.
If Maduro says the US secretly hacked his power plant, it must be true. He's an ex-bus driver high school dropout, for God's sake. He knows these things.
 

Imnus

Extreme Far-Right Individualist Asshole
kiwifarms.net
I've got a question that, maybe, our friends in Venezuela can answer.

My curiosity about Venezuela has made me notice a certain trend. Venezuelan YouTubers are often traveling all around the world, one, in particular, is even showing off eating food in other countries. But, right now, they are making videos exposing the current crisis with their iPhones and somehow able to afford mobile internet, with these blackouts, to upload data heavy youtube videos. It's expensive to manage videos with cellphone data, isn't it?

So, how can they afford to do this in the middle of this crisis?

I mean yeah, I get, it's obvious they're from middle-class families. But, if I were them, even if had the money to travel around the world, I wouldn't be using the money to move the hell out to another country. Or if I decided to stay in Venezuela, I would be saving as much money as possible to, you know? survive?

You would think that times were your country isn't even able to properly provide food and clean water, and with a huge risk of a civil war or of having a military intervention, it would be the worst time for wasting money like that.

What am I missing?

Well, for starters are you sure they're living in Venezuela? Expatriates, specially the ones living in the US follow the situation in Venezuela even more than people actually still living in Venezuela, basically because for the people actually living in the country it's just too depressing to follow the news and they have to worry about actually surviving. Then Venezuela still has plenty of rich people that live part time in other countries like let's say they live 6 months in the US and 6 months in Venezuela, remember that you can't stay more than 6 months in the US as a tourist.

Now the problem is that like 80% of Venezuela's population and by poor I mean starving poor, like they have 1 maybe 2 meals a day and not very good meals (very little protein) a day. But even then go abroad but to Colombia and Brazil, like for example the parents leave their children with the grandparents and go to Colombia to work shitty jobs or sell crap on buses.

When it comes to data it's actually super cheap, like nothing. When I was still in Venezuela I payed like 5 cents (USD) for my Internet connection, it's not very reliable or fast but super cheap. Mobile Internet is not that much expensive either maybe like 20 cents.
 

Ghostse

Waffle SS Untergroupenfurher
kiwifarms.net
Also, because of the blackout, we haven't heard back from @Cubanodun since last sunday... feels bad, man. Hope he's doing okay :/
Agreed. I told him a while back that I hoped he had a bolthole or an exit strategy. :(
With impending reform of the Venezeulan justice system to reflect the reality of the country, I hope that when two men enter, @Cubanodun is the one man who leaves.
 

Ghostse

Waffle SS Untergroupenfurher
kiwifarms.net
The bills probably make okay toilet paper if nothing else, especially considering that actual toilet paper is probably expensive assuming you can find any of it the stores there.
There is non-negliable amounts of precious metals in sewage. If silver were to hit $30/oz, you would be able to refine shit to profitably extract silver, as well a small amount of gold.

So what I'm saying is that Bolivars that have been used as asswipe will contain minute specs of silver and gold, making it worth about double the value of a non-asswiped Bolivar.
 

Cubanodun

White PlayStation Supremacist
kiwifarms.net
Agreed. I told him a while back that I hoped he had a bolthole or an exit strategy. :(
Yeah im fine, thanks for all the messages, i got hit by the worst part of the big blackout because it was so terrible that also nuked the signal of two of the mobile companies in my state (Movilnet and Movistar i have Movistar), and CANTV got nuked too, all the phones did not connect so besides the internet dying no one could buy anything because everything is with debit cards, i did not have any way to connect to the internet until a hour ago that they decide to finally repair it because people were preparing to riot because there was no way to buy food

I took it as vacations and cleaned my vidya backlog, could not even work because almost 70% of the my clients could not pay me and the rest paid in $ that is practically the official currency in this place even when Maduro try to deny it
 

JosephTX

kiwifarms.net

“You arrived with vitamins and some pills for blood pressure," said Ramírez, who defected to Ecuador. “And when you started to gain their trust, you started the questions: ‘Do you know where your voting place is? Are you going to vote?

:With [late President Hugo] Chavez it had been hard, but with Maduro, starting in 2013, it was worse,” another Cuban doctor told the paper.“It became a form of blackmail: ‘You’re not going to have medicine. You’re not going to have free health care. You’re not going to have prenatal care if you’re a pregnant woman.’ ”

Venezuelan authorities kept close watch over the Cuban doctors to ensure they were complying with the mandate, the Times reported.
This is enraging
 

Coleslaw

kiwifarms.net
Yeah im fine, thanks for all the messages, i got hit by the worst part of the big blackout because it was so terrible that also nuked the signal of two of the mobile companies in my state (Movilnet and Movistar i have Movistar), and CANTV got nuked too, all the phones did not connect so besides the internet dying no one could buy anything because everything is with debit cards, i did not have any way to connect to the internet until a hour ago that they decide to finally repair it because people were preparing to riot because there was no way to buy food

I took it as vacations and cleaned my vidya backlog, could not even work because almost 70% of the my clients could not pay me and the rest paid in $ that is practically the official currency in this place even when Maduro try to deny it
Do you have any friends you could speak with?
 

Cubanodun

White PlayStation Supremacist
kiwifarms.net
Do you have any friends you could speak with?
Yes but almost all of them dont live in this state, they also told me when i managed to communicate with them that they had the same problem, no internet and no cell phone so they were bored as hell it did not help that Maduro was so much of a jackass that said in TV that the super blackout was a good thing that was "Uniting families now that they cant use their fancy cell phones", he forgot to mention that more than 100 people died in the 103 hours of the blackout because the hospitals did not have any kind of backup power generator and the ones that had it a) dont work or b) did not have fuel

Funny thing they vowed to fix the problem in 3 hours and still today there are places that dont have power
 

Capsaicin Addict

Just a fellow who loves spicy food.
kiwifarms.net
Yeah im fine, thanks for all the messages, i got hit by the worst part of the big blackout because it was so terrible that also nuked the signal of two of the mobile companies in my state (Movilnet and Movistar i have Movistar), and CANTV got nuked too, all the phones did not connect so besides the internet dying no one could buy anything because everything is with debit cards, i did not have any way to connect to the internet until a hour ago that they decide to finally repair it because people were preparing to riot because there was no way to buy food

I took it as vacations and cleaned my vidya backlog, could not even work because almost 70% of the my clients could not pay me and the rest paid in $ that is practically the official currency in this place even when Maduro try to deny it
Glad to hear it, man. While I take the news with a grain of salt, it looks like Venezuela's about to go full on Mad Max at this rate.
 

AlexJonesGotMePregnant

and gave me aids
kiwifarms.net
Yes but almost all of them dont live in this state, they also told me when i managed to communicate with them that they had the same problem, no internet and no cell phone so they were bored as hell it did not help that Maduro was so much of a jackass that said in TV that the super blackout was a good thing that was "Uniting families now that they cant use their fancy cell phones", he forgot to mention that more than 100 people died in the 103 hours of the blackout because the hospitals did not have any kind of backup power generator and the ones that had it a) dont work or b) did not have fuel

Funny thing they vowed to fix the problem in 3 hours and still today there are places that dont have power
In 2008 hurricane Ike hit the florida coast so damn hard that it blew out chunks of the power grid as far north as Ohio. Downed power lines and some general substation damage left parts of the rural areas of the midwest without grid power for up to a week.

Ie, it's not surprising that grid power is still spotty but I'm glad to see you back and hope that you continue to stay safe.
 
Reactions: Ghostse

Tasty Tatty

kiwifarms.net


This is enraging
When Chavez was alive, this was common in South America. They donated food and services whenever a natural disaster happened, but his people also made propaganda for the Bolivarian Revolution.

Funny how most Americans who support Maduro do so because they're anti-Imperialism but they don't mind Cuban imperialism. Soft-key racism believing Cuba can't be Imperialist maybe, but IICR, they have meddle in the politics and governments of 78 countries. That's how Che died, trying to start a revolution in Bolivia after the current president won by 60%. They were mad it wasn't their guy.
 

Cubanodun

White PlayStation Supremacist
kiwifarms.net
In 2008 hurricane Ike hit the florida coast so damn hard that it blew out chunks of the power grid as far north as Ohio. Downed power lines and some general substation damage left parts of the rural areas of the midwest without grid power for up to a week.

Ie, it's not surprising that grid power is still spotty but I'm glad to see you back and hope that you continue to stay safe.
Yeah but that like you said required a hurricane, here it was more that they refused to make repairs and stole the money that was assigned for it, the collapse of the Guri was foretold for MONTHS by people that worked there, apparently the main cause is that they forgot to clean the big ass cables used to send power to the main grid, they were full of tree branchs and grass when the thing went down it was apparently because a short circuit happened and immediately shut down everything, not the "lel that hacker called 4chan hacked the dam and fucked us woe is me"



This is enraging
I knew a few of them, is weird that they are still here, when Chavez died the first ones that bailed from here were them because they were paid in $, they did whatever they could with the meager supplies the government provided so no one blamed them for being Chavez shills, far as i know they are only in Caracas now because the rest of the pseudo mini hospitals that chavez created are closed or were destroyed when the doctor leaved
 
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