Contrary to the media portrayal of Venezuela as a military dictatorship where all dissent is banned, the country is home to a lively and wide-ranging debate on all aspects of policy and life. The New Cold War website will try to provide its readers with access to this debate by featuring different viewpoints. As always, we post articles ‘as is’ without interfering with their content, and when we post something, it doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with it.
In this interview, VA talks with a young researcher and writer about the Bolivarian Government’s economic program, critiquing what he calls a policy of “monetary lobotomy” rolled out in early 2019.
Former Venezuelan Vice President for Productive Economy Luis Salas is part of the 15 y Ultimo collective. A committed researcher and prolific writer, Salas teaches political economy at the Bolivarian University in Caracas.
In part one of this two‐part interview with Venezuelanalysis, Salas analyzes the economic measures that the government has implemented since August 2018, describing how they morphed into an orthodox adjustment package.
Click here to read part two of the interview, which will address the current tendency towards dollarization of the Venezuelan economy and the way out of the economic crisis.
For our previous September 2018 interview with Professor Salas, click here.
Apr 26, 2019
You are part of 15 y Ultimo, a website and research collective that investigates the Venezuelan situation from a left-wing Chavista perspective. To a great degree, the focus of the site is on economic issues, although you also address other issues related to quotidian life.
The Venezuelan economy is a rather complex subject due to the multiplicity of contradictory agents and actors, the government’s restricted control of information, and the mainstream media’s persistent misrepresentation of Venezuela’s problems. In light of this complexity, how do you go about analyzing the country’s economic life? What is your methodology?
In 15 y Ultimo, we decided a while ago that to analyze the situation in Venezuela, especially with regards to economic policy, several particularities had to be taken into account.
Traditionally, an economic policy is examined with one eye on its objectives and another on its results. In Venezuela’s case, the relationship between objectives and results is often very tenuous – it is true that this happens elsewhere, but it is more exaggerated here. And the failure to meet the objectives can have its roots in both internal and external phenomena.
So I believe that the traditional method for analysis is not viable for us, at least not in our circumstances.
The question is, then, what is the most objective method to analyze our economy and the policies implemented by the Bolivarian Government? We go about our analysis not so much by looking at the stated objectives, but by examining the instruments that are put in place, how they work as a whole, how they interact with each other (or counteract each other), etc.
In other words, economic policies have goals and instruments. Here we propose to examine the relationship between the instrument and the goal, because it may be stated that the objective is to finish off hyperinflation, or fight speculation in the foreign exchange market, but objectives and results are mediated by the instruments. So we have opted for analyzing the instruments.