Archive for ‘The Economist’

August 13, 2007

Argentina and Venezuela, Business partners

Aug 9th 2007 | BUENOS AIRES

From The Economist print edition

An alternative Dracula makes a buck

SUDDENLY the economic outlook has turned a bit stormy for Argentina’s president, Néstor Kirchner. Rationing of gas and electricity has become routine. Investors have lost confidence in the officially-massaged inflation numbers and credit markets are queasy. While yields on Brazil’s bonds rose by only 53 basis points in the month to August 6th, those of Argentine bonds rose by 166 points—just when the government must roll over $3 billion in maturing debt.

 

AFP The bond between Chávez and Kirchner

 

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August 13, 2007

The rise of the “Boligarchs” – Under Hugo Chávez, the right political connections are a passport to wealth, whisky and a Hummer

Aug 9th 2007 | CARACAS

From The Economist print edition

Illustration by Claudio Munoz

“PETROLEUM socialism” is how Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president, recently dubbed the blend of military populism and neo-Marxist statism to which he is subjecting his country. Its prime objective, he insists, is to improve the lot of the country’s poor majority. Mr Chávez proclaims that “being rich is bad”. He frequently lashes out at what he calls “the oligarchy”. Strange, then, that the streets of Caracas are clogged with big new 4x4s (Hummers are especially favoured), it is hard to get a table at the best restaurants, and art dealers and whisky importers have never had it so good. A new oligarchy seems to be rising in Venezuela on the back of the “Bolivarian Revolution”, named for the country’s independence hero.

 

“Some of Chávez’s speeches are for the gallery,” says Alberto Muller Rojas, a retired army general who was until recently the president’s chief of staff. “And I’ll give you an example: the attack on the bourgeoisie.” As evidence, General Muller singles out the banks: “the most extreme expression of the bourgeoisie” but “the most favoured sector” of the economy since Mr Chávez came to power in 1999.

 

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