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Montevideo, September 18th 2018 - 13:53 UTC

Venezuela scarce gasoline will be sold only to the politically loyal

Tuesday, July 31st 2018 - 07:00 UTC
Full article 11 comments

Venezuela is taking steps to direct dwindling motor fuel to politically loyal vehicle owners. President Nicolas Maduro ordered a national census on 3-5 August to determine how many vehicle owners possess a homeland identity card, a document created in first quarter 2017 to strengthen the government's social and political surveillance capabilities. Read full article

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  • Jack Bauer

    “Venezuela scarce gasoline will be sold only to the politically loyal”

    Isn't that what is usually known as blackmail in civilized countries ?

    so if you want gasoline, you need to be politically 'oil'....lol...(or 'loil' ?)

    Jul 31st, 2018 - 05:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • chronic

    All Madurorites are equal.

    Some Madurorites more equal than others.

    Aug 01st, 2018 - 01:23 pm - Link - Report abuse -1
  • DemonTree

    @JB
    RE your comment on “Want to beat me?”
    If the mensalão started in 2004 and Jefferson revealed it in 2005 then it really wasn't going for long. And amazing that they started a new scheme while the previous one was still being investigated. What made them think they would get away with it the second time, after already being caught once?

    I didn't know Brazil's agribusiness wasn't that strong before the 90s, I though coffee and sugar cane had always been big exports, don't know what else. Was inflation high even since the 50s? I know a lot of countries in Latin America have had problem with, but Brazil's seemed especially. Even so I'm surprised it made such a different to trade, since I thought society had more or less adapted to cope with it. The economy really grew a lot under Cardoso and then Lula, I guess it's a big reason the latter was so popular.

    1/6th sentence for murderers is crazy, but you're right about lawyers in congress (Temer, for example). Even so, you'd think they'd only allow such big reductions for 'white-collar' crime, they're unlikely to be murdering anyone directly.

    “Prez/VPs all fm different parties”

    Is that the case in the current election, or don't you know yet? I had a look at the candidates in the last election, and most seemed to have a running mate from the same party.

    “By social justice I mean the system treating everyone 'equally' or, 'according' to what you put into it.”

    I'm not sure those are the same thing. In the UK you get the same amount if you worked the same number of years, regardless of how much you pay in. So that's one way of treating people equally. Or if you need to cut pensions, do you cut current or future ones? Current pensions were already promised, but if you only cut the future ones, you're treating people differently based on age. It seems complicated. How old are you now, if you don't mind me asking?

    Aug 05th, 2018 - 04:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    All parties have always vied for Ministries, high-posts in State-run Cos., so, to be honest, this was not exclusive to Lula…and wouldn’t be surprised if the foundation for the ‘mensalão’ wasn’t laid years before - in the 90s, when BZL started reaping the benefits of low inflation/ low unemployment / increasing exports (75% of which in 70s/80s was ind’l production) but back then, “bribery” usually occurred by the release of huge amounts of public funds for projects in strongholds of allies (of course, part disappeared along the way), and not a systematic, monthly payout to obtain permanent support.

    In Mar 2005, the A.G.s office denounced a corruption scheme in the (federal) post office to the STF, accusing 40 prominent politicians (mainly PT, & PP - PT’s then ally) who, along with Lula, became known as Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. 3 months later, Jefferson threw sh*t in the fan. José Dirceu, Lula’s top aide, was accused of being the mastermind, with his boss’s approval. Lula never put anything in his name, so it was hard to catch him (thus the nickname ‘teflon’ prez), and he avoided impeachment in 2007 by sucking up to Temer . As the ‘mensalão’ trial convicted very few, they became even more confident.

    Coffee /sugar were always relatively large export items, but exports only really took off with the commodities.
    Annual Inflation in the 50’s was abt 12%; 60s=30%; ’64=90%; ‘65=34%; ‘70=19%; ‘80=110% (oil crisis); ‘84=223%; ‘89=1,780%; ’94= 10% (plano Real). Erratic/high inflation made planning /competition difficult. To cope with it, the govt created monetary correction - helped, but didn’t reduce inflation.

    There are very few running mates fm the same perties.

    Re pensions, if you abide by the rules, pay in etc, you’ll receive a pension proportionate to what you put in – identical to private pension plans, AFAIC, pure logic. Eventual cuts will ‘gradually’ affect the future pensions, of those who have not yet acquired full rights.
    I'm a young 70.

    Aug 06th, 2018 - 06:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    ““bribery” usually occurred by the release of huge amounts of public funds for projects in strongholds of allies”

    Ah, the more respectable version of bribery. I've heard the US used to do this kind of thing a lot, up until a few years ago, and banning it is a major reason their congress is now totally unable to cooperate on anything.

    I suppose you are right that the Brazilian ministers remained confident due to only a few getting convicted. Was this post office corruption scheme more along the traditional lines?

    Your inflation sounds crazy, and crazy variable. How do you have any of idea of what is a good price for anything, or what kind of salary to ask for, when it's changing all the time? And don't you end up with stupidly huge value banknotes after a while? According to Wikipedia one real now is equivalent to 2 750 000 000 000 000 000 (2.75 quintillion) of the original reals Brazil had when it became independent! Also, what happened in 1989?

    “Re pensions, if you abide by the rules, pay in etc, you’ll receive a pension proportionate to what you put in – identical to private pension plans”

    That's not what I get. The money I pay into my employer pension plan is invested, and I get whatever the stock market gives me at the end of it. And even if you abide by the rules, you have to hope the government does too. Did Temer etc actually publish plans on reforming the pension system, or are you just guessing?

    And you're about the same age as one of my aunts. My parents are a bit younger, both 64, but one is semi and the other fully retired.

    Aug 06th, 2018 - 11:45 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    “…the more respectable version”…yep. Not sure how PO corruption started - traditionally : opportunistic stealing, or as a planned strategy - but looks like the latter. A PO Dept mgr was filmed taking a USD 1000 bribe, prompting a parliamentary commission of inquiry…it faced resistance from within, but was eventually installed. He claimed he’d been acting under instructions fm Roberto Jefferson, who later spilled the beans. As investigations progressed, they uncovered J.Dirceu’s (Lula’s top-aide) participation, that of the then PT treasurer (Delubio Soares) ‘n other ‘petistas’; The 1800 page report concluded the scheme had started in the PO 'n had spread all over govt, ‘n that it paid USD 10,000/month to members of Congress for their unconditional support. Seems that’s where the transition occurred (fm traditional, occasional, to planned, systematic corruption).

    To protect yr money, you’d buy yr month’s groceries asa you got your salary, then put the rest in inflation-protected investments ; When buying more durable, expensive goods, you’d negotiate big discounts, offering cash at sight.

    In Brazil contrary to the US (401K accounts), ‘n the UK too by the look it it, social security funds (contributions) aren’t invested in the stock market, but rather in safer government bonds…stock market is too volatile.

    Temer’s reform proposal, published, later watered down – but still not voted – maintained the mechanics, mainly trying to do away with waste, fraud, immoral public sector privileges, and adjusted the changes (gradually, scaled) to cause minimum impact on future pensioners.
    In ’87/88/89, Brazil introduced various (failed) plans to control inflation, such as trying to freeze prices etc, causing distrust /bad expectations, 'n accelerating inflation. Was rather more compex, but that’s it in a nutshell.
    In ’94, FHC created the Plano Real, pegging prices to the URV, a value which started on Jan 1st ’94, reaching 2,750 URV’s, equal to US$ 1 on Jun 30th ’94.

    Aug 07th, 2018 - 06:54 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Corruption joke about the EU:

    http://www.eamonn.com/2015/01/26/greek-eu-joke/

    Back on topic, sounds like Lula let Dirceu take the fall for him, and took good care not to know anything about it himself. Perhaps why he's so indignant at being convicted over the triplex.

    Jefferson sounds like a bad lot (and nothing like his namesake) but then who doesn't? Makes me wonder if politics corrupts everyone who goes into it, or if only corrupt people go into politics.

    And did Lula really have the unconditional support of Congress? Was he able to pass whatever he wanted back then? The fact the post office thing did get investigated kind of suggests that he didn't.

    The inflation sounds like a right pain; the only other people I have heard buy their food like that are people on food stamps in America. What did you do about fresh food like milk, bread and vegetables? And what if you just wanted to buy a coffee or something? Did you have to arrange to pay your rent and bills right after getting paid, too? It must have been a nightmare to budget if those went up every month. (Back when we were renting, our landlady never raised our rent for inflation, and we were there for like 6 years. Pretty sweet deal.)

    I don't think our government invests anything at all, they just pay pensions from current contributions. Are you talking about private and employer pension schemes? Mine has a mixture, the idea is to invest in the stock market when you are young, to get higher returns, then switch to bonds later to reduce the risk of losing it all in a crash. Can't wait for the stock market to recover if you want to retire today.

    I do agree the pensions need reforming, but not convinced Temer was the man to do it. Much better to get buy in from the people by electing someone who includes it in their manifesto - but I don't know if any of the candidates have, yet.

    Something I've been wondering, does the name of your currency mean real, or royal?

    Aug 07th, 2018 - 09:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Looks like the Greek learned the lesson...

    Lula's famous for letting others take the fall for him, 'n has no qualms about throwing his 'friends' under the bus...a 'nice' guy.....are you finally accepting the fact that he is indeed capable of all the crimes attributed to him ?

    Politics here attracts the bad eggs, and the few who enter poltics with good intentions, either eventually succumb, or leave.

    Lula had Congress in his hand after being elected....no one wanted to get on the wrong side of such a 'popular' president....he could've used this to push through (all) the reforms (he'd promised)...but he ignored them; later, after the initial relative 'good-will' wore off, he resorted to pocket-money to ensure support...Regarding the ”PCoI', seems to have been enough Congressmen not involved (at least) in the PO corruption in order to get it approved.

    You'd buy daily groceries as you needed them or enough to last until the expiry date; the price of a“ cafezinho” (small cup of black coffee or 'espresso') went up every 2 days, but contracts, like rent, were adjusted every 12 months, by full inflation (or more). Cost of energy went up every month. You simply got used to it, and used all the tools at your disposal to minimize the effect. To avoid high taxes on payroll, several companies paid part of one's salary under the counter in USD...this part was protected from inflation.
    Funds fm both private pensions plans 'n the INSS are invested 'safely'...if you want to risk your own money, there are plenty of funds linked to shares, currency, futures etc, with varying risks.

    When Temer took over, his reforms were (not only essential, but) good news...all the quibbling back 'n forth in Congress slowed it down until the corruption charges corroded his support...anyone who had the balls to try it is the right man. Indirectly it was in his manifesto - inherited from the PT in 2003, and on the PT ticket as VP in 2010 & 2014.
    “Real” can mean both, but here it means “royal”

    Aug 07th, 2018 - 10:11 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “Indirectly it was in [Temer's] manifesto”

    I suppose that's true, at least the pension reform (well, it was in Lula's manifesto, was it in Dilma's, too?) Did Lula say he'd reform the labour laws also? I can't imagine he would ever have taken money from the unions, since they were his main support.

    Funds from INSS... does that mean the government invests pension contributions, rather than simply spending them? I thought it worked like the UK system. And I hope my pension is in relatively safe investments, but the really safe ones don't pay much interest right now. I just looked up UK Gilts, the two year ones have under 1% yield and even the 30 year one is under 2%.

    If rent only went up once a year, did that mean you'd struggle to afford it for the first few months, and then it would become negligible by the end? I'm assuming salaries went up more often than once per year. As for the salary paid under the counter, that's just more corruption and bad for the country. It's similar to what was happening in Greece, when tax evasion was so common the government couldn't raise enough money and resorted to borrowing cheaply in Euros after they were (despite the rules) allowed to join. Has this stopped now inflation is down to reasonable levels?

    Aug 08th, 2018 - 06:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Promises to reform the pension system go back 30 years...back then, although no where near the problem it is now, the signs were there, and everyone knew it would only get worse...all prez candidates used it to get votes, but none did anymore than scratch the surface.
    Lula promised to reform the pension system, the tax system, labour laws, political system, the penal code (from 1943)...IF lula had tried to reform the Labour laws, be sure he would guarantee the unions kept receiving their (immoral) contributions....used to finance his political rallys and PT protests...
    The INSS funds are invested to not lose value against inflation, nothing more, and in secure, conservative investments. It does not invest in the stock market, too risky....if the stock mkt goes to hell, what would happen to people's retirement ?
    The sustainability of the system also depends on more people contributing - with updated values - than those receiving...but with the relatively high unemployment, or people gradually migrating to the informal market, contributions decreased and the number of pensioners increased.
    The adjustment of rent contracts, every 12 months, does not necessarily coincide with the beginning of the year, when salaries are increased based on prior inflation..so yes, you might get screwed if you don't earn enough.
    Some companies would adjust salaries every 6 months, and one that I worked for (probably 1 in a million), every month, based on “projected” inflation, always correcting the numbers the following month.
    Part salary under the counter (by no means common) was a way to counteract ridiculously high taxes (between 100-120% on payroll), and was rather seen as putting less money in the hands of politicians, to steal.
    Some companies I know carry on with the practise, because taxes haven't gotten any lower, the returns are less and less, and stealing just increases. It's one way of surviving, as any business that pays all taxes correctly, will probably fail

    Aug 09th, 2018 - 05:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    So each President just left the problem for the next one to deal with? Cowardly, but not too surprising. I wonder if Lula wishes he'd reformed the labour laws now? If he had Temer probably wouldn't have done it, and unions would still have their money. Reforming all those things would have been way too ambitious, did he do any of them?

    “The INSS funds are invested to not lose value against inflation, nothing more, and in secure, conservative investments.”

    That makes sense I guess, but then you don't gain anything either. I think it's a bit different with private pension funds, although they still usually stick to safer investments.

    “with the relatively high unemployment, or people gradually migrating to the informal market, contributions decreased and the number of pensioners increased”

    That's certainly a problem. Have Temer's reforms done anything to get more people into the formal sector? And do those people who presumably made no contributions get any kind of pension?

    RE the rent, that must have sucked. And how on earth did anyone survive on their salary the year inflation reached 1,780%? You'd be working for pocket money by the end of the year. Also, the interest on mortgages must have been something horrendous or the banks would have gone out of business in no time.

    As for the taxes, sounds like the disconnect between making laws and enforcing laws again. Reduce the taxes to something reasonable, and then make sure people and businesses pay them. They'd get the same amount of money, and without encouraging people to break the law, or rewarding the most corrupt instead of the most competitive.

    I can sympathise with not wanting to give money to politicians, but it's all part of the same attitude that allows them to get away with stealing so much. It also occurs to me that employees paid this way would be losing out on their future pension, since their contributions would be lower. But perhaps they are happy to have more money in the present?

    Aug 09th, 2018 - 09:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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