Two “Cuentos Cubanos”

# 1

Caracas Gringo’s wife and mother-in-law have been trying unsuccessfully for six months to transfer the property title of an apartment in eastern Caracas from wife to mom-in-law.

It’s a simple, no-cash transaction in which title to the only dwelling owned in Venezuela by this blogger’s wife is being transferred to her mother.

Wife, mother-in-law and their attorney have made, to date, exactly 38 visits to the registry in Caracas to complete the title transfer.

But every time they visit the registry, the ‘burrocrats’ demand more documents including many that are not legally within the scope of paperwork required by law for transactions of this nature.

The file is now approximately 20 centimeters thick.

Recently, the attorney handling the matter for wife and mom-in-law was asked by the registry’s senior official for a “small contribution to the revolution” equivalent to 15% of the apartment’s appraised value of BsF 600,000 (600 million of the old bolivars).

But corruption isn’t the main reason why the registry refuses to complete the transaction.

Caracas Gringo asked a “compadre” in the Bolivarian armed forces to please look into the problem.

Our “compadre” reported back today that Cuban regime officials now in control of the country’s registries, where all property transactions by law must be registered legally, are systematically and deliberately blocking many property transactions.

Our question: Have any of this blog’s readers experienced anything similar?

# 2

A Cuban friend of the family who works in Venezuela on an official mission in the government construction sector recently visited his children in Havana.

While in Havana, our Cuban friend was shown some education texts and food ration cards that are being printed in Havana for the Chavez regime.

The person who showed our friend these things works in a government-controlled printing shop.

The educational text books reportedly already are being used in Venezuelan public schools at the level of elementary and high school (basico y bachillerato).

The food ration cards are not being used yet in Venezuela, but our Cuban friend says that they are “casi identicos” (almost identical) to the food ration cards used in Cuba.

Regrettably, our Cuban friend could not transport any of these materials back to Caracas because every Cuban national who travels between Venezuela and Cuba undergoes thorough inspections of their luggage and persons at Jose Marti International Airport.

We discussed this with a Venezuelan businessman. His take: “Likely not ration cards, at least not immediately. More likely that the cards seen by your Cuban friend in Havana could be food discount cards that the Chavez regime may be preparing to introduce in Venezuela among the poor.”

Mercal has been a huge political mistake for the regime, this businessman says. His explanation:

“When Chavez claims that the shortages at Mercal are caused by rich people buying everything they can, he’s telling the truth. Mercal is a perfect example of a regressive subsidy. Many people who own their own vehicles, and can afford to hire maids and drivers, do a lot of their food shopping at Mercal outlets. They have the means to send their maids and drivers to Mercal in their vehicles, and mobilize quickly from one Mercal outlet to another looking for food. But poor Venezuelans without vehicles, and this is the majority, are stuck with their local Mercal outlet.”

The businessman adds that the apparent food cards our Cuban friend saw in Havana recently may be part of a Chavez regime effort, yet to be enforced, to ensure that middle and upper class Venezuelans are barred from Mercal and other government-owned food outlets.

“The cards could be a way of identifying the consumer as a legitimate poor person entitled to buy basic staples at a discount, sort of like the membership cards required by the Makro stores from everyone who shops there,” he says.

Perhaps it’s only a coincidence that this week the regime opened an “investigation” of Makro in response to allegations from the National Guard’s CORE 5 (Caracas) commander that Makro stores refuse to accept food tickets.

Our forecast: Makro soon will be nationalized as Chavez continues building a national network of government-owned food warehousing and transportation companies, food processors and food stores.


About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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2 Responses to Two “Cuentos Cubanos”

  1. Carakistan says:

    About story #1: Hugo is indeed a great manipulator and blackmailer, definitively among history´s best. Giving away national sovereignity and not getting shot in the back of the head for doing so, requires tremendous amounts of talent… Unless it has just been pure luck, and the final day could come anytime…

    About story #2: An alternative hypothesis would be that the VEF 2,6 exchange rate (which is an INDIRECT subsidy) will soon be scrapped and the cards (which are a DIRECT subsidy) will take its place. The exchange controls would remain, but perhaps at the VEF 4,3 exchange rate. There simply are not enough dollars and the call on the foreign reserves is absurd, so the whole Fiscalia/CICPC/Giordani circus is just a diversion to buy a little precious time.


  2. olibaron says:

    It is getting really scary really fast. I just saw that chavez took over 31 of the 107 brokerages in Venezuela. It is probably going to be very cuban very soon there


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