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To Overthrow a Government With Beer: Trumpism in Latin America

Yet another multibillionaire wants to run a country: Lorenzo Mendoza. He is a member of one of the most rich and powerful families of Venezuela and is positioning himself to be president – not by votes, but by stealth, by economic warfare against the democratic government of Venezuela.

USA-educated Mendoza is considered the richest man in the country with a fortune of $5 billion and ranked among the 500 richest people in the world by Forbes magazine (2016). He is using the power of the 75- year industry, which his father and grandfather built up through their crooked and intimate link to the previous anti-democratic governments, to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro.

His weapons of preference to discredit and destabilize the government are the foodstuffs he imports, packages and sells, especially the beer.  Very little of what his industry does is actually produced in the country. Polar does not invest its gains in the country just parks it in foreign banks. Polar processes and packs imported corn, rice, tuna, tomato paste so that the government classifies its industry as “necessary” and worthy to receive dollars.  It is a parasitic enterprise.

The item that is key in this economic war is his beer, Polar. It is considered one of the 10 best beers in Latin America. He is threatening to close the production of beer because the government, which controls the exchange, will not GIVE him the dollars he says he need to import barley. Mendoza is threatening to fire 10,000 workers plus the loss of 300 indirect jobs if the government does not hand over the dollars he wants. It is called: blackmail.

This is typical of the so-called Venezuelan “capitalists” who do not like to produce but to import, do not like to create wealth, but to sink parasitic teeth into public funds. A few facts need to be stated:

* In 2014, of the $46.233 million that entered Venezuela, $45,525 million were generated by the State mainly through the state-owned petroleum company. The private sector however, only created $708 million (1.53%) of total dollars;

* Mendoza has shown little or no interest in exporting his beer, which is what a smart capitalist would do: generate his own dollars and not depend on any government.  In the few years that he did, he only managed to export 0.5% of his production. Yet it is through exports that his industry could independently gain dollars.

* Since the year 2003, when currency control was established, the government has given the beer producers more than a billion dollars ($1,359,741,404), the imports of barley went up at that time but in the last 10 years the amount of beer sold was reduced. Just last year, in the middle of the financial crisis, Polar was GIVEN 120.7% more in monthly dollars. From 2003 to 2014, the average price of beer has gone up 1.79% higher than the world prices of beer.

In short, dollars are given to Mendoza, he buys barley at higher prices than the going rate, he ups the price of beer, then holds the government at ransom when, having audited these sums, the government refuses to hand over any more subsidies.

It is curious that a man who has an immense personal fortune (in Swiss banks), plus runs an industry that produces great profit, still cries foul because the State will not give him a subsidy.

Real capitalists would feel shame.

But it is not about the economy.

It is not about making profit, as the elite does not really need it.

It is about overthrowing the Bolivarian Government so that the corrupt and murderous elites can once again control petroleum rich Venezuela.

Reference

“Polar No Produce Alimentos de William Serafino,  publicado en la http://misionverdad.com, el 04/02/2016

“La estafa cervecera de Lorenzo Mendoza al descubierto

http://misionverdad.com/la-guerra-en-venezuela/la-estafa-cervecera-de-lorenzo-mendoza-al-descubierto-graficos

“Polar amenaza con despedir 10,000 trabajadores”

www.radiomundial.com.ve/jarticle/polar-amenaza-con-despedir-trabajadores-si-no-recibe-divisas

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María Páez Victor, Ph.D. is a Venezuelan born sociologist living in Canada. 

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