The Cat and Mouse Game in Venezuela

By Caridad

HAVANA TIMES – Venezuela’s glorious Boliviarian government has finally taken hold of the reins of the catastrophic situation that the national economy and population have sunken into.

Amidst a landscape that was beginning to get too heated, with a total shortage of fuel and the informal sector coming to an almost complete stop – which is the livelihood of half of Venezuelans – with daily blackouts lasting for six hours in most states, water and gas shortages, with protests and looting picking up again, especially in the eastern region; the government has sacrificed a couple of hours of its precious time to sit down and talk with a powerful sector within Venezuela’s economy.

This is how we have “woken up” with the hopeful news that prices of 27 essential items will be regulated.

Here is a photo with the prices that have been recently agreed upon after a long debate:

On Wednesday, April 29, the US dollar exchange rate is at 180,000 Bolivars, according to

 “These agreed prices should be respected by everyone because they take into account the comprehensive cost from the primary-producer to retail markets, it has an original price and a final price and this price should satisfy the entire chain.” Amen! is the only thing we need to add to Venezuela’s new minister of Oil, Tarek el Aisami’s words.

The Venezolano TV website took great care to place a table of products, the prices of which were defended to satisfy the “chain” (read here: producers and consumers). It also left out an even more important and thought-out detail about this new price adjustment: they are fixed to the dollar.

Let’s forget that story of the petro being our guiding currency. The government has now accepted the facts and Maduro is no longer ranting and raving against the dollar.

If we compare these prices – which are quite similar to prices out on the street today – with the highways robbery of prices the Cuban government imposes on its hard-currency stores, they seem quite affordable. However, the thing here is that Venezuelans don’t earn their wages in dollars; and the minimum wage is between 200,000-400,000 bolivars.

Forgive me, there was a blackout as I was writing this article and the government has just announced new pay-rises. The minimum salary is no longer 400,000 bolivars; it is now 800,000 bolivars. Let me translate that for you… it went up from 2 USD to 4 USD. But as salaries aren’t anywhere close to being fixed to the dollar, they’ll be worth 2 USD again in a couple of weeks, or maybe less; but that’s not the most important thing.

The government is like a cat playing with a mouse: it pushes it with its paw and catches it with the other, it lets it run away a couple of meters and then pounces on it and suffocates it or hits it. The mouse is hopeful it can get far enough away, but it is already confused from the beating over the head and sits still, it can’t go on any further. The cat pretends to ignore it and the mouse gains new hope that it can still escape alive, but its last movement excites the cat’s voracity to the point of no return.