This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 19, 2018:
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s line about socialism always got a laugh: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Marxist dictator Nicolas Maduro isn’t laughing now that the lenders of other people’s money to his failed socialist experiment in Venezuela have stopped lending. Now they want it back.
Good luck with that.
Nearly 50 major lending institutions have loaned Maduro $150 billion over the years, and they have been patient. They thought they saw light at the end of the tunnel when Maduro made a final payment of $90 million to Goldman Sachs in May on their “hunger loan.” They thought they saw more light when Maduro somehow made a $1 billion loan payment in October to some of his lenders.
And they thought they saw still more light in November when Maduro came to terms with a Canadian gold mining company that had been stiffed by Venezuela to the tune of $1.4 billion. He made a $500 million down payment, and promised to pay the balance quarterly until it was paid off.
Reality checked in in December when Maduro defaulted on that agreement. The Canadian gold mining company Crystallex moved to sell shares of Citgo, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maduro’s state-controlled oil company PdVSA. Citgo, worth $8 billion, is Maduro’s oxygen hose.
This prompted a profound change of heart and strategy among other lenders who had been hoping, praying, that somehow they might get back some, most, or maybe all of their money. On Monday, five investment firms holding $380 million of one of Maduro’s $1.5 billion debt issues moved to accelerate the payment of both back interest and principal on their money.
Think of a 10-year slow-motion game of musical chairs: that’s how long a similar process took in settling Argentina’s $80 billion debt crisis in the late 1990s.
Liberals live in la-la land. That’s the only place their mindset makes sense. They say that socialism’s long, extensive, and catastrophic record was generated because every liberal before them has done it wrong. In total contrast, every liberal they vote for will do it right. This is pathological. No rational person could believe it. Just look at what they’ve done to our medical system.
Mitu Guilati, a Duke University professor who has been closely following the accelerating collapse of the country, said Monday’s move will prompt other debt holders to move from patience to legal action to protect their interests: “In a world in which you have limited assets, [the winner is] whoever grabs the assets first.”
For most, it’s probably too late. Maduro’s only source of income is the state-owned oil company PdVSA, which owns Citgo. When oil prices were high and government control of the country’s economy was in its early stages, revenues from PdVSA allowed first Hugo Chavez and then Nicolas Maduro to provide all manner of state-provided services to the poor. Socialists from around the world applauded the Marxists’ success in raising them from poverty with their “new brand of socialism.”
Consider for example the plaudits poured out onto the Marxist regime back in 2013 by David Sirota in his article in Salon titled “Hugo Chavez’s Economic Miracle.” Wrote Sirota: “Chavez’s … full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism … delivered some indisputably positive results…. Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president [Obama] could only dream of achieving.”
The dream in Venezuela has turned into a nightmare for those citizens who haven’t been able to escape. One searches Sirota’s website in vain for his apology to them.
Thatcher was right.
The Wall Street Journal: Investors Push Venezuela for Payment on $1.5 Billion Defaulted Bond
The Wall Street Journal: Bankers Hired for Citgo Auction Following Scrapped Deal With Venezuela
The Wall Street Journal: Venezuela Strikes Deal to Save Citgo From Seizure
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Judge Authorizes Seizure of Venezuela’s Citgo
The Wall Street Journal: Venezuela Is in Default, but Goldman Sachs Just Got Paid
Salon.com: Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle