March 5, 2013

ONE OF W'S FAILURES:

Hugo Chavez leaves Venezuela in economic muddle (Robert Plummer, 3/05/13, BBC News)

Time and again, the president would make major decisions on an ad hoc basis, often during the course of his rambling and unscripted weekly TV broadcast to the nation, known as Alo Presidente.

He was particularly prone to quick-fix solutions in economic policy, resorting to regular currency devaluations, expropriations of private firms and inflation-busting public-sector pay rises rather than tackling the economy's underlying structural problems.

This fire-fighting approach continued even as Mr Chavez lingered on his Cuban sickbed, with Vice-President Nicolas Maduro implementing a 32% devaluation of the bolivar in February.

As a result, Mr Chavez bequeaths a nation beset by crumbling infrastructure, unsustainable public spending and underperforming industry.

Thanks to his social programmes, poorer Venezuelans have certainly benefited from the country's oil wealth more than they did under what he called the rotten elites that used to be in charge.

But there are strong suspicions that much money has been wasted - not just through corruption, but also sheer incompetence.

Posted by at March 5, 2013 8:52 PM
  

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