Our Caring Pal Nicolas Maduro


Line to exchange money in Caracas, Venezuela.
Line to exchange money in Caracas, Venezuela.

HAVANA TIMES — It’s been a year this month since a great percentage of the Venezuelan people voted in favor of opposition legislators instead of the government.

The government, in order to celebrate this beautiful gesture in their favor, has decided to give Venezuelans an unforgettable Christmas.

People don’t have to worry about trying a get a hold of food, or because they won’t have enough money to buy what appears on the market. Maduro and his advisers have known how to fix Venezuela’s economic crisis once and for all with grace and wisdom. Now, people can’t get money. And given the fact that there isn’t any money, people can’t get stressed to try and buy food.

Since a few months ago, lines at ATM machines have grown, swelled and become permanent. Banks stopped giving out reasonable amounts of money at their counters, and when I say reasonable I mean that the Bank of Venezuela has begun to only hand out 10,000 bolivars per day. In a country where inflation lost its name to become hyperinflation, 10,000 bolivars is like having 10 USD in your pocket, or 100 bolivars three years ago. Pensioners, who received their Christmas bonus this month, weren’t able to take out 100,000 bolivars – approx.- in one go of the aforementioned bonus, but had to go and take out 10,000 everyday until they had the 100,000.

A week ago, retail outlets collapsed. The government accused private companies, its mortal enemy. Without cash on the street, and without the chance of using bank cards, the country became chaos for 24 hours. Well, it didn’t become a chaos, it only aggravated the daily chaos we experience.

The largest note that exists right now is the 100 bolivar note. Until last week, giving somebody smaller notes was sacrilege. Any item here costs at least 2,000 bolivars. Counting this amount in 20 and 10 bolivar notes would make any seller go crazy.

Foreseeing this situation, many people – including myself – decided to stop putting money in the bank. It didn’t make sense to have money in the bank if taking it out was more work and trouble than having it at home. However, there are also a lot of people who don’t have any kind of bank account because they generally require certain things which a lot of people can’t meet.

To celebrate then the anniversary of the government’s great election defeat in grand style this Christmas, Maduro announced last weekend that residents in Venezuela had 72 hours to go to the bank and exchange 100 bolivar notes, seeing as they would go out of circulation.

Let me remind you that the largest note that exists right now is the 100 bolivar note.

On the 15th, the government announced that a new currency would be issued, and of course that they would take old notes out of circulation as new ones would be introduced. However, new mafias in Colombia and Brazil have been robbing 100 bolivar notes and it turns out that this is what has devalued the Venezuelan currency. The most efficient measure? Take all 100 bolivar notes out of circulation in less than 72 hours and to close national borders. Today is already the 16th and nobody has had one of these new notes in their hand. After spending 11 hours inside a bank, a friend went to take money out of an ATM machine – because he needed cash – and to his surprise, the machine gave him the amount he wanted in 100 bolivar notes!

The mustached president has claimed his solidarity with pensioners and in the same speech he reduced the time period for accepting 100 bolivar notes. That is to say, after the 72 hours he initially gave, there were still people who had the chance to travel to Caracas, to the central bank, and had 10 days to fo this, but thanks to Maduro’s generosity, they will now only have 5 days. Can you imagine traveling from Amazonas to Maracaibo, in one of those buses that are constantly being hijacked, or in your own car, with the same risk of theft on the highway where the first robbers might be the Police or National Guard?

I don’t think I should go into all of the details about what is happening with this early Christmas present. Today, I went to take out money at a small bank where I get paid – by the government – and they only had a few 2 bolivar notes. However, more than this situation which might only be temporary, I’m more worried about what is hidden behind this smart measure, beyond the government’s revenge or punishment. This is clearly a smokescreen and I don’t believe that it’s just to make people forget about their Christmas tamales or to close our eyes to the hundreds of people who I see eating from the garbage every day.


Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

Caridad has 204 posts and counting. See all posts by Caridad

21 thoughts on “Our Caring Pal Nicolas Maduro

  • Warm wishes to you as well.

  • Had to respond to the Marxist grok as one of my final comments before going home for Christmas in Cuba Moses. He grok, obviously envies those with power over others and having been unable to achieve it himself, has to resort to expressing his frustration here. What is always noteworthy about people like grok is that they imagine themselves as being one of those in control, not as one of the miserably subjected parts of the ‘mass;.
    Happy Christmas Moses to you, to yours and to those who pursue liberty and freedom of the human mind!

  • Well said.

  • Working class runs society? What does that eve. Mean? I have a small business, my emplyees make good money. I make better money. But, i workd 60 hours a week and stress to make sure I make payroll. Am I not “working class”? Your special form of envy means you will, whatever your goals are, never achieve them.

  • Marxist socialism inevitably ends up in dictatorship. It is promoting a myth to pretend that the ‘working class’ runs socialist society. Cuba is a perfect example of that. Fidel and Raul Castro Ruz were from a privileged family at Belen and attended private schools prior to entering University (Raul dropped out). Dr. Ernesto Guevara de Serna Lynch was from a prosperous Argentinian family and so was able to afford to take his trip around South America on his 500 cc Norton motorbike along with his friend Alberto Granado.
    Fidel Castro lived fairly high on the hog, having his multi-house complex at Siboney, his two island retreat at Cayo Piedra where he kept his yacht Aquarama II. Guevara certainly saw the world at the expense of the Cuban ‘working class’. He in his brief time as a Minister in the Castro regime, became a world tourist visiting:

    Morocco, Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Yugoslavia, Greece, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, North Korea, United Arab Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Dahomey, Congo-Brazzaville, Tanzania, Ireland, Czechoslovakia and Algeria.

    The ‘working class’ of Cuba even paid for his trip to Montevideo on his way in disguise under the false name of Adolfo Mena Gonzalez to La Paz in Bolivia.

    Raul Castro supposedly lives more modestly with a fleet of BMWs and a fantastic wardrobe of military uniforms decorated with the self-awarded medals and ribbons, smart hand-tailored suits and silk ties. His son is a General running Cuba’s interior and exterior spying services and his son-in-law another General runs GAESA the holding company with 57 subsidiaries which between them control over 80% of Cuba’s economy. Additionally, Raul and Fidel were the joint principals of RAFIN SA which owns 27% of ETECSA the monopoly telephonic company.

    So these are three examples of ‘working-class’ folks running a socialist country!

    As far as Venezuela is concerned it is debatable if anyone is “winning”, but there is no doubt that the ‘working-class’ is losing! However, they originally elected Chavez and Maduro, having been fooled into believing that socialism would benefit them.

    But you grok as an avowed Marxist have developed that hardened shell where the grand phrases of Marx and Lenin roll of the tongue and the reality of communist dictatorship and oppression of the citizenry is a joy. But don’t try to fool others into believing that it is for the benefit of the ‘working class’ ! Your envy of the power held by the dictators of Cuba is evident.

  • Socialism MEANS that the working-class runs society.

    Venezuela OTOH is run by capitalist oligarchs, economically — while a corrupt, red-shirted ‘Boliburguesia’ tries to compete with these U.S. Imperialist-backed scum thru their control of the political State.

    Guess who’s winning.

  • Of course not, the thought of each individual having and expressing their own thoughts runs contrary to your beliefs. For Marxists, human beings equate to a herd of swine to be driven and directed. But I expect grok that you fancy yourself as one of the drivers, rather that as one of the herd.

  • Well my analysis that you are a Marxist was correct. Now we all know that you favour dictatorship, moulding the people into a ‘mass’ and eradicating individual thought, action and freedoms.
    As Dr. Ernesto Guevara de Serna Lynch another devout Marxist said:

    ” Youth must learn to think as a mass, to think as an individual is criminal.”

    You and I can never find common ground – nor would I wish to, for I favour freedom of the individual, freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of the media, freedom for citizens to make their choice of political party. In short, I favour opportunity for humanity, something which runs entirely contrary to the goofy concepts of Marx and Lenin.
    There is however grok a contradiction in you even expressing your own individual opinion – or are you speaking on behalf of a committee of the mass?

  • *All* Postwar ‘Welfare State’ measures were essentially a bribe to the (then) recently-armed working-class, to keep communist influence at bay. Pro-capitalist, class-treasonous ‘social-democracy’ (trade unions, et al.) essentially existed (past tense) to *administer* this rotten class-compromise…

    The past four decades of Neoliberal Capitalist class warfare OTOH, is essentially all about clawing-back *all* Postwar ‘Welfare State’ measures — now that ‘Communism’ (really stalinism) has been defeated. *All* so-called ‘socialism’ (canadian or euro or scandinavian) *will* be clawed-back. *Is* being clawed-back. Right now. The process is essentially nearly complete, at this point.

    You people have essentially little-to-no comprehension of what you are talking about. But being liberals… who cares? You (your ideas) still ‘rule’. Here, anyway.

  • We don’t even share the same conceptual categories, fella.

    Believe whatever you want. I’m not EVER ‘voting’ for the bourgeois dictatorship’s Candidate Tweedledum over their Candidate Tweedledumber.

  • As a liberal you speak in abstract, Idealist terms about ‘dictatorship’ (and no doubt much else). As a marxist, I well understand the REAL, concrete, material, *historical* relations behind mere words and concepts.

    You’re not even framing the issue correctly here. Nor as a liberal is it likely you will be capable of doing that, anytime soon.

  • i note grok that you are unwilling to admit that you are opposed to citizens being permitted to vote freely for political parties of their own choice – I guess you envy dictators their power and control.

  • I differ slightly from your view Grok. I am not of the Left. But I urge you to read my response to bjmack below.
    My opposition is to dictatorship which I detest – including both left and right. I believe that citizens ought to be able to vote freely for political parties of their choice.
    Do you?

  • They’re suffering the consequences of defying U.S. Imperialism. Get it right. (oh, wait. you’re already Right).

  • The World working-class has suffered a century of betrayals — including fake bourgeois-nationalist ‘socialism’ — and endured 100 more years of capitalist oppression as a result.

    And all you people can do is overlook the REAL source of all this misery. Pathetic.

  • Carlyle, I consider myself conservative so it was stimulating to have a conversation with my good friend from Toronto last evening. He convinced me that for $400.00 a year, Canada’s health care is quite good. Also, education in Canada is less expensive and or free vs. the US. In my mind, this is a form of socialism but seems to work. Cuba has a long way to go though to achieve what Canada has. Venezuela? More oil than any country in the world and an example where socialism in the extreme is fatal.

  • Fallen angels need recruits, lots of hearts being corrupted herein.

  • Easily described in two words – financial chaos!
    Venezuela is now harvesting the consequences of ‘Chavezismo’ and the grim reaper is Nicholas Maduro much admired by President Raul Castro Ruz, who as recently as March 2016 pinned the Jose Marti Medal upon the ever expanding girth of Maduro. How will Raul reward Nicholas for his endeavors since March 2016, for during that period he has made Venezuela into the world leader in inflation.

  • When people are hungry, revolution soon ensues. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Maduro leaving the country on New Year’s Eve just like Batista did. This cannot continue for long.

  • I arrived back in Mérida, , Venezuela for over 6 weeks now,( just before the election of Trump in the US, a whole country turning stupid and reactionary) the banks in many places have had long lines for 2 weeks as ATM’s run out of money and many platforms for debit/credit card use have had problems for over a week in some places. The new currency is no place to be seen and may not be until after Christmas. I don’t know who is advising this government but they should be dropped in the ocean without floatation devices along with these neo-liberal capitalist policies.

    Many of working class and poor people are being hurt by not being able to get to their money or exchange the old 100’s . The sad thing is this is won’t hurt the mafia’s inside or outside of the country. In 2008 the Chavez government went to a new currency over a 6 month period and it was well organized. This time it is a disaster.

  • Castro-style socialism at work.

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