Monday, April 25, 2016


Just about anybody who reads the newspapers is (or ought to be) aware that Trinidad's closest neighbor has completely collapsed economically. Venezuela is now officially a complete and utter economic basket case with its currency being unofficially devalued on a daily basis on the black market (the official rate of exchange is such a joke that nobody even bothers to quote it any more). Last week the black market rate was in the region of US$1 being able to buy more than Bolivars 1,150!! Inflation is running at around 700 percent and basic things like toilet paper and women's feminine products are scarce. Manufacturing has collapsed ... last week Polar, the country's largest beer manufacturer said that it would stop making beer! Eggs and milk are in short supply. And I mean short supply!!

The electricity supply is now so bad that Government offices are now closing on Fridays in order to conserve the supply. And this is in addition to power cuts averaging 4 hours a day in the capital city Caracas. Many private offices are also closing on Fridays as well. In other words, productivity in this most unfortunate South American country has gone to hell in a basket.

Shopping for groceries can only be done on alternative days and your fingerprints have to be taken before you are let in the store. Crime is completely out of control. Its so bad over there that Venezuelans who come over here are surprised at how much we complain about our own crime rate. 'Yours is nothing', they say with something approaching scorn. 'You should see ours!' And in comparative terms they are right! Most people do not even wear their wedding rings any more when they walk out of the house. Gangs on motor cycles terrorize motorists holding them up and robbing them in traffic jams.

Of course, if you listen to Venezuela's President Maduro (who on a play on words Venezuelans call 'Ma burro' ... 'burro' in Spanish is 'donkey') you will readily understand that the economic woes of his oil rich country have absolutely nothing to do with his and his predecessor's (the erstwhile Hugo Chavez) economic policies but are all the fault of that 'Great Satan', the United States!! (To which you will undoubtedly yawn and say 'what a surprise!') Of course, the total and complete incompetence of the regime not to mention the corruption that pervades the Chavista movement from top to bottom has nothing to do with a country that has been blessed with a plethora of riches from oil to gold and everything in between, being on its economic back!

But this post is not about the idiocies of Chavez and Ma burro (sorry, I mean Maduro). It is about the old Trinidadian adage 'when your neighbor's house is on fire wet your own'. T&T is doing nothing to prepare for the serious possibility of refugees from Venezuela that will occur when the proverbial mud hits the proverbial fan. The situation in Venezuela can't last much longer. Their "sell by" date for serious social unrest has long since passed and the regime can only stay in power by more and more brutal and undemocratic means. How long it will take before the lighted fuse finally hits the dynamite is anybody's guess. But that an explosion is inevitable is beyond question.

So? What are we doing to prepare for the coming explosion? What should we be doing now?  And don't say 'nothing'. We should pay attention and prepare for the coming tsunami. Because, come it will.

P.S. Full disclosure: my wife is Venezuelan.


  1. That's what corruption does to a country when you sit back and allow it to happen and the perpetrators have a field day partying with the country's assets. An we are just around the corner ... literally!!

  2. Hmmm. Only yesterday I told someone that our last regime here In Trinidad shook hands with an obviously failing country. This was at a time when it was brought to our citizens' attention that the people of Venezuela were being denied basic amenities such as toilet paper and it continues to be so.

  3. Since posting this Venezuela yesterday announced a two day week to conserve electricity. See the link below from the BBC

  4. There has been discussion recently about the advice that the experts from the IMF/World Bank officials, currently in the country, would give to the government.

    We should understand that if we do not take their advice and two years down the road the country has to go to those institutions for help we will be in deep trouble. They would say we had not heeded their advice previously therefore the prescribed medication now is doubled to save the patient.

    What do we do then??

    So lets not quibble over the status of these people and their recommendations unless we have a workable plan that does not involve them.


  5. Why is it that in general,the populace support rouges. Where are all the good people who could build an honest party, get the voters on their side (the latter is surprisingly the major difficulty)and install a government that is "by the people and for the people, with total transparency and zero corruption? Is there something inherently flawed with our Westminster system or democracy in general? Iwould have thought that Trinidad would come up with a new party for the last elections having experienced the gross limitations of both the major incumbents; but alas, this did not happen! Where are all the good people?