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Venezuela: The Gremlins’ Rebellion

Venezuela: la rebelión de los gremlins, EFE

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The tickers that cover Caracas have been very active in the last 72 hours in the face of what appears to be a process of decomposition of the Chavista regime that has ruled Venezuela since 1998 with truly catastrophic results from the point of view of economic and social statistics.

Indeed, during the period poverty has increased from 25% to 65% of the population. Inflation from 9% to 235% and the size of the population has been reduced from 30 million to 27 million creating the largest migratory catastrophe in the entire history of the Western Hemisphere.

Finally, PDVSA, the flagship company of the Venezuelan economy, ranked in the last century as one of the world’s leading companies by Fortune magazine, is now bankrupt and under investigation by authorities around the world for allegedly being the nest of the most perverse corruption ever known.

Now we are getting news that the government is investigating the PDVSA authorities for their participation in acts of corruption. It is known that the Oil Minister has resigned and that the arrest warrants against company officials are multiplying every day.

The unwary believe that the end of the regime has arrived. The best informed understand that it is an internal struggle for power between the various factions of Chavismo. The question that arises then is why are the rectors of the Chavista regime fighting?

The answer is simple. The loot has become smaller and therefore is not enough to buy the wills that are required to maintain the stability of the regime and sustain the life of luxury to which the Chavista scaffolding aspires. Sanctions imposed by the international community have made it very difficult to hide the looted proceeds in foreign bank accounts. Tax havens cannot cope. 

Thus, the struggle for power is unleashed because it is clearly necessary to reduce participation in a cake that is getting smaller every day and take control of the strings of power in order to save the accumulated fortunes.

It’s exactly the same thing that happened in the movie “The Gremlins.” The world is destroyed by an invasion of beings that devour everything in their path. In the destructive maelstrom, the Gremlins attack and destroy each other for keeping food from every home, supermarket or warehouse. As destruction prospers, there is less food and this makes the Gremlins become more violent. The same thing happens in Venezuela.

After two and a half decades without accountability and exploiting all the natural resources of the country, the time has come when the size of the looting is not enough for the army of Gremlins that has grown exponentially in the last two decades. And just like in the movie, the only way to kill the Gremlins is by exposing them to sunlight. 

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In the case of Venezuela, sunlight is represented by international organizations for the prevention of money and asset laundering and the fight against the financing of terrorism. The leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution know that the sunlight is coming and for this reason they intend to look for parasols to protect themselves while they open the windows to expose their rivals. 

In short, a sort of internal quarrel that reminds us of the unforgettable horror film of 1984. What we can’t yet know is whether the sunlight will arrive in time to save the aching population of what was two decades ago the most vibrant economy in the region.

This article is part of an agreement between El American and the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Beatrice Rangel es directora del Interamerican Institute for Democracy, Managing Director de AMLA Consulting, responsable de negociar e implementar estrategias y adquisiciones de inversión corporativas en América Latina y el Caribe. Exmiembro ejecutivo de Wharton School de la Universidad de Pennsylvania // Beatrice Rangel is Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy, Managing Director of AMLA Consulting, responsible for negotiating and implementing corporate investment strategies and acquisitions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Former Executive Fellow of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.