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Subject:  Venezuela’s Collapse Date:  5/19/2019  2:52 AM
Author:  captainccs Number:  114419 of 116989

From a publication that even lefties can trust, The New York Times...

Venezuela’s Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say

Butchers have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal, fat shavings and cow hooves, the only animal protein many of their customers can afford.

MARACAIBO, Venezuela — Zimbabwe’s collapse under Robert Mugabe. The fall of the Soviet Union. Cuba’s disastrous unraveling in the 1990s.

The crumbling of Venezuela’s economy has now outpaced them all.

Venezuela’s fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say.

“It’s really hard to think of a human tragedy of this scale outside civil war,” said Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard University and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. “This will be a touchstone of disastrous policies for decades to come.”

To find similar levels of economic devastation, economists at the I.M.F. pointed to countries that were ripped apart by war, like Libya earlier this decade or Lebanon in the 1970s.

The good news... Why good? Think what happens when Maduro can no longer pay off the military and pay the Cuban for their support.

Venezuela Accelerates Gold Selling as Petro Dollar Fades

Venezuela has sold about $570 million worth of gold from its central bank reserves over the past two weeks. This was done in an attempt to circumvent U.S. Treasury sanctions designed to freeze assets of the Nicolas Maduro’s administration.

The central bank sold about 14 tons of gold recently, driving its reserves down to a 29-year low of only $7.9 billion. This brings the total to 23 tons of gold that has been sold since the beginning of April.

The petro would make sense if Venezuela had a vibrant oil economy but crude production is down below 800 K barrels a month from 3.5 million when Chavez took over. Only one refinery is still operational.

Venezuela Sells $570 Million From Gold Reserve Despite Sanctions

Venezuela sold about $570 million in gold from central bank reserves over the past two weeks, skirting U.S. Treasury sanctions designed to freeze assets of the Nicolas Maduro’s administration, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The central bank sold about 9.7 tons of gold on May 10 and an additional 4 tons three days after, the people said, driving its reserves down to a 29-year low of $7.9 billion. The proceeds will be partly used to fund imports through the country’s foreign trade office, according to one of the people.

A central bank press official didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the sales.

Venezuela has sold 23 tons of gold since the beginning of April, defying an economic blockade meant to stop the lucrative trading Maduro has been using to keep the military loyal to his regime. Last month, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control included the Venezuelan central bank its list of sanctioned entities.

Maduro has been selling gold to firms in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, as sanctions increasingly cut off his authoritarian regime from the global financial system. While he maintains a stranglehold on power on the ground -- including the military and government bureaucracy -- opposition leader Juan Guaido is using support from dozens of countries to slowly seize Venezuela’s financial assets abroad.

Denny Schlesinger
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