Ricardo Hausmann, a Venezuelan economist who was head of economic planning in Venezuela from 1992 and 1993 and is currently the Director of the Center for International Development at Harvard university, spoke to Argentina’s El Clarin about Venezuela’s prospects for the future.
Hausmann told the newspaper that Venezuela has accumulated approximately $178 billion dollars in debt, which he points out makes Venezuela the most indebted country in the world. When asked how much money Venezuela will need to “get moving” in a post-PSUV world, Hausmann said:
We think that we will need $100 billion, half through a liquidity shock and half through postponing and restructuring debt payments. Unfortunately, Venezuela has been razed, and when the time comes to begin the reconstruction, it will be a terribly poor country.
When asked about the role that Russia and China are playing in relation to the Venezuelan crisis, Hausmann said:
Russia supported the dictatorship until recently, and since April and May it’s shown a certain level of distance. There are all kinds of rumours about China. What we do know is that it restructured the debt and accepted the postponement of payments, and there are [rumours] that it is giving out now loans. But I imagine that they must be displeased, because they have loaned to Venezuela irresponsibly, almost $56 billion during the middle of the oil boom. These are loans that are outside of the budget and outside parliamentary oversight. We don’t know where that money went, but we do know that the public works that [the regime] promised did not materialize.
Hausmann was also asked about his support for the opposition to participate in the regional elections scheduled for October. Hausmann explained:
As the opposition, we have a problem: we prepared to fight within the rules of democracy. Having said that, we cannot tell political parties to not participate, because we would be playing into the dictatorship’s hands. It is [better] for us to participate and to force them to steal the election, because that will weaken them and make them more fragile in front of the international community.
When asked, “Do you think that the end [of the dictatorship] is near”, Hausmann said:
I’m too emotionally involved to think that I can make good predictions. The economic situation is catastrophic, and [the economy] is heading down a perverse path. The country isn’t going anywhere, but the government has demonstrated the ability to remain in power through massive repression. Normal mechanisms no longer work.
Hausman wrote an article last month called “Venezuela’s Unprecedented Collapse” which you can find here.
Venezuelan Confronts Diplomatic Delegation in New York’s Central Park
A Venezuelan woman confronted the Venezuelan diplomatic delegation in New York City’s Central Park yesterday and shared the video on social media. In the video, the woman calls out Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza and Samuel Moncada, a top diplomat, for their role in the ongoing crisis.
In the video, the woman approaches Moncada, Arreaza and another man. The three are accompanied by two women, presumably their relatives. The woman speaks to Moncada in Spanish, while Arreaza remains silent. Towards the end of the video, the woman begins speaking English, and a man–likely a passerby who realized what was going on–becomes involved, and calls Maduro “a fucking dictator”.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Woman: It’s so cool being here, isn’t it? Let me ask you something: aren’t you ashamed…
Samuel Moncada: Who is paying you to do this?
Woman: No one is paying me. I live here. Look at the little princesses that we have here visiting the Empire. Central Park, New York.
Moncada: I work here!
Woman: You work here? I don’t care. You can work wherever you want. Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves?
Moncada: I’m not ashamed because I’m here defending my country. I’m defending my country!
Woman: Defending your country? So many people have died! There’s people dying of hunger. There’s no medicine. People are dying. You’re all murderers! All Venezuelan people are suffering. You are criminals!
Man: … dictator.
Moncada: No, no…
Man: Yes he is! Maduro is a fucking dictator!
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