新たな和平協定はリビアにおける紛争を終焉できるのか。 先週2人の指導者の会合は予期しない休戦をもたらしたが、この国家の大部分は彼らの管理外だ。

Will the new peace deal end the conflict in Libya?
A meeting between two leaders last week brought an unexpected ceasefire, but much of the country remains beyond their control
Jul 31st 2017by R.M. | CAIRO


IT LONG seemed as if Khalifa Haftar would not stop fighting until the forces under his command controlled all of Libya. He and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) have largely ignored the UN’s efforts to end the conflict there. Nevertheless, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, invited General Haftar (pictured, left) to Paris on July 25th to talk peace with Fayez al-Serraj (pictured, right), a rival who leads the UN-backed government based in Tripoli, the capital. Expectations were low, but the two leaders exceeded them, agreeing to a ceasefire and to hold elections as soon as possible. “The cause of peace has made great progress,” declared Mr Macron. Will the deal at last end the conflict in Libya? 

exceeded :を超える

Libya has looked unstable ever since the revolution that toppled Muammar Qaddafi’s regime in 2011. A disputed election in 2014 tipped the country into civil war. At first the conflict was between rival governments in the east and the west. Now there are so many groups fighting that it is difficult to sort out the sides. The UN tried to reunite the country by establishing the administration led by Mr Serraj, called the “government of national accord” (GNA), after an agreement between politicians on both sides in 2015. But the pact did not have widespread support and Mr Serraj, despite the nominal backing of powerful militias, has struggled to establish the GNA’s authority. General Haftar continues to support the government in the east, while the old government in the west still has the backing of some militias. 

So fractured is Libya that the deal between Mr Serraj and General Haftar is unlikely to end the conflict. The ceasefire only covers the forces aligned with each leader. As it is, they rarely face off. Both sides, though, are free to keep fighting terrorists. According to General Haftar, that includes nearly all of his opponents, so his forces are still fighting Islamists and rebel groups in cities such as Benghazi. Militias aligned with the GNA, meanwhile, are bracing for a counterattack by the jihadists of Islamic State (IS), whom they kicked out of Sirte last year. The country’s powerful militias were left out of the talks in Paris, so the deal has thus far failed to win their support. Many despise General Haftar and even those who support Mr Serraj consider him weak. But someone must convince them to lay down their arms if the deal is to succeed. Even were the fighting to stop, other agreements would be needed before elections could be held. 

face off:対決する

If nothing else, the deal-making has lent legitimacy to General Haftar, who has tightened his grip on the east. In the past year, with support from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, his forces have captured most of Benghazi; territory around Sebha and Jufra; and the crucial ports of Sidra and Ras Lanuf, allowing oil exports to increase. The general’s anti-Islamist and authoritarian style is suddenly in vogue. Russia has embraced him and an increasing number of European officials, concerned about migrants and terrorists streaming out of Libya, see him as an ally. But they risk empowering a would-be strongman. General Haftar has quashed dissent in the areas under his control. His forces are accused of abuses, such as killing prisoners. “I do not care about elections,” he told France24 Arabic, a television network, after the deal. “I care about the future of Libya as a stable and civil state.” 


リビアは2人のリーダーであるベンガジを中心に制圧しているGeneral Haftarと国連が認めている西側のFayez al-Serrajが休戦することになった。とは言ってもリビアは他にも数多くの軍隊があって、この2人だけでは紛争は解決できない。ISISもいる。選挙をしてもいいと言っているが果たしてどうなるのだろうか。マクロンが間に入っている。


swingby_blog at 10:19コメント(0) 



Jul 28, 2017 | 16:20 GMT
Latest North Korean Missile Test Fuels New Concern


This latest missile launch is North Korea's first since its landmark July 4 test of an apparent Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile.
This latest missile launch is North Korea's first since its landmark July 4 test of an apparent Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile.(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea's drumbeat of missile tests remains steady. After days of anticipation, the country appears to have test-fired a missile from Jagang province shortly before midnight July 28. Leaks to the media the week prior indicated that South Korean and U.S. officials were tracking preparations for a new test. Speculation swirled that it would be timed around July 27, the 64th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War. The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that it had detected a ballistic missile launch but is still assessing the situation. The Japanese government said the missile flew for around 45 minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan, inside Japan's exclusive economic zone. In response, South Korean President Moon Jae In and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened emergency meetings. 


Statements and assessments about the test will begin to emerge from the United States, South Korea and Japan in the hours to come. It will be important to monitor early reports evaluating the launch's success, as well as details about the device's range and apogee. But regardless, the new test will lend credence to the United States' calls to take a tougher approach to North Korea. 

apogee:遠地点 月や人工衛星などが軌道上で地球から最も遠ざかる点
lend credence:信憑性を高める

Estimated Range of Select North Korean Missiles
The specific technical requirements of North Korea's weapons program largely dictate the pace and aim of its missile tests. North Korea has been trying to develop a viable heat shield and re-entry vehicle to enable its missile system to deliver a warhead more reliably on target. The latest launch is the country's first since its landmark July 4 test of an apparent Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which, according to high-end estimates of its range, would be able to hit areas of the western United States. 

heat shield:熱シールド、熱遮蔽、遮熱材

In the wake of that test, the United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea, spurring backroom negotiations over how to handle Pyongyang's weapons program. Talks between the United States and China are still in progress three weeks after the U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting. Separately, China is negotiating over the sanctions with Russia as well, since Moscow has signaled it would act as a spoiler in the U.S. confrontation with North Korea. On July 6, the Russian government blocked a U.N. statement calling for stronger measures against Pyongyang, doubtful that North Korea had tested a true ICBM in the first place. 


The latest missile test comes not long after Seoul suggested holding military talks with Pyongyang. The move marked a nascent attempt by the Moon administration to take a softer approach to North Korea, but it has put South Korea at odds with Japan, which advocates a firmer method. The United States, meanwhile, has pushed for a concerted effort by Washington, Seoul and Tokyo to pressure North Korea — along with China and Russia. 

at odds with:〜と不和で、〜と争って、〜と意見が食い違って、〜との関係が悪化して

Now that North Korea has launched yet another missile test, it has vindicated the United States' calls for an approach characterized more by pressure than by dialogue. An unconfirmed report from the week of July 24 indicated that the Pentagon believes North Korea is on track to obtain a nuclear-capable ICBM program by 2018 — two years ahead of previous estimates. And a demonstrable ability to strike the continental United States with a nuclear weapon is a danger that Washington simply cannot accept. 


The differing interests of the United States and North Korea are quickly reaching the point of being irreconcilable. Without much room for compromise, Washington is relying on Beijing and Moscow to further pressure Pyongyang into cooperation. The next step for the United States, then, may be moving forward with additional secondary sanctions against entities — namely in China — that do business with North Korea. 




swingby_blog at 20:24コメント(0) 


ヨーロッパに於ける地中海移民の難局にめどが立っているのか? リビアの指導者たちとの間の合意に疑念が高まっている。

Is an end in sight for Europe’s Mediterranean migrant dilemma?
Doubts surround an agreement between Libyan leaders
The Economist explains
Jul 28th 2017by J.H. | ROME


ON TUESDAY Emmanuel Macron, the French president, hosted talks at which the two most influential players in Libya—Fayez al-Sarraj, the UN-backed prime minister, and Khalifa Haftar, who leads an army in the east of the country—were said to have agreed to a ceasefire and to talks to achieve a “national reconciliation process involving all Libyans”. If that signals the beginning of the end of the chaos that has reigned in Libya since 2011, it could also have profound consequences for the flow of migrants in the central Mediterranean, which has become the busiest, and deadliest, route into Europe for irregular entrants. 

The vast majority of the 94,445 people who had arrived by July 26th this year left from Libyan ports. But whereas the European Union managed last year to seal its eastern frontiers thanks to a controversial deal with Turkey, the anarchy in Libya has prevented it from identifying a counterparty able and willing to intervene there effectively. Could this be about to change? 


The number of people who disembarked at Italian ports is only 7% above last year’s figure. What has given urgency to the situation is that growing numbers of migrants are remaining in Italy, straining to the limit its reception facilities. The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, reckons Italy currently hosts at least 170,000 people in reception centres and accommodation provided by local authorities. Many thousands more, who have been nominally expelled on the grounds that they do not qualify for international protection, are living rough. 

on the grounds:現場で

Under the EU’s Dublin regulation of 2013, the country where asylum-seekers first land is usually the one that should deal with them. But until late 2015 borders in the EU’s passport-free Schengen area were completely open and the Italian authorities lax about fingerprinting migrants on arrival, so in practice they could move on. That is no longer the case. France imposed strict border controls and, under pressure from Brussels, the Italian authorities have tightened up their identification procedures. Italian pleas for help from their EU partners have largely been ignored. 


The vague understanding reached in Paris raises more questions than it answers. Can Mr al-Sarraj and General Haftar really agree on a government for the whole of Libya? And, even if they do, would it be able to bring to heel the various militias that hold sway in large parts of the country, some of which derive funding from migrant smuggling? The Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, said on Wednesday that Mr al-Sarraj had asked for the Italian navy to help combat the smuggling—and was apparently prepared for them to enter Libyan waters. 

hold sway:支配する

But, as Mr al-Sarraj himself noted, it is just as necessary to stop migrants entering Libya over its vast, largely unpoliced Saharan borders. Though most of those now arriving in Italy are economic migrants, a substantial minority have a valid case for humanitarian protection. On July 27th, Mr Macron promised to meet their needs by setting up processing centres in Libya where they could apply for asylum. 

For Italy, Mr Macron’s intervention is both good news and bad: bad if it gives France an enhanced role in Libya, a country that Italy, the former colonial power, has long seen as falling within its sphere of influence; good if it adds weight to the EU’s hitherto clumsy efforts to halt the flow of migrants. Coming after a flurry of Italian diplomatic activity earlier in the month, the French initiative suggests the hunt for a solution is acquiring new momentum. But all concerned need to be aware that in dealing with Libya there are no quick fixes. 

add weight:重みをくわえる


金曜日。今日はEarly Burdsの朝会がある。 ではまた明日。

swingby_blog at 21:03コメント(0) 

Nicolas Maduroはベネズエラを凶漢の国家にしようとしている。 独裁主義にしようとする不人気の体制の試みは悲惨な結果に終わるだろう。(3)

Murmuring in the ranks
An “undercurrent of muttering” among junior officers is checked by a network of political commissars and snoops installed by Chavez, says Jose Machillanda, of Simon Bolivar University in Caracas. At the top, several thousand Cuban security personnel guard Mr Maduro and the 30-40 leaders who form the regime’s core. 


But the assembly has tested the army’s loyalty to Mr Maduro. He twice reshuffled senior ranks in the past two months. Caracas is alive with rumours of an impending pronunciamento, in which the army withdraws its support for the regime.


Another acute threat to Mr Maduro is the economy. The rot has spread to the oil industry, Venezuela’s mainstay. According to OPEC, since 2015 the country’s oil output has fallen by 400,000 barrels per day (or around 17%). This is the long-term price of Chavez’s decision to turn PDVSA, the once efficient state oil company, into an arm of the welfare state. 


Foreign-exchange reserves hover around $10bn, according to the Central Bank. Economists expect the government to make $3.5bn in debt payments due in the autumn, but it will struggle to find the $8.5bn it needs to avoid default next year. China, a big paymaster, is reluctant to lend more. Russia may be Mr Maduro’s best hope, but it worries about getting entangled in possible American sanctions against Venezuela. 


The fourth problem Mr Maduro faces is that the region has become less friendly to him. Chavez enjoyed the solidarity of other left-wing governments in Latin America. Many are no longer there, or have distanced themselves. Venezuela has been suspended from Mercosur, a trade group; it could be expelled if the assembly goes ahead, says Argentina’s foreign minister. The regime showed that it cares about its standing in the region by the big diplomatic effort it made in June to prevent its suspension from the Organisation of American States. 

Organization of American States:米州機構(は、1948年に調印されたボゴタ憲章(米州機構憲章)に基づいて、1951年に発足した国際機関である。本部はアメリカ合衆国のワシントンD.C.。

Many in Caracas assumed that Mr Maduro intended the assembly as a bargaining chip, to be withdrawn in return for concessions by the opposition. If so, he may be trapped by the forces of radicalisation he has unleashed. Diosdado Cabello, a retired army officer who is his chief rival within the regime, appears to see the assembly as his route to power. Back down now, and Mr Maduro risks losing face among his hard-core supporters. 

bargaining chip:交渉の切り札; 取引材料
Back down:降参する, 【主張要求約束などを】(強い反対に遭って)取り消す[下げる]

Venezuela thus stands at a junction. One road involves a negotiation that might either fix a calendar for a free and fair election, or that might see Mr Maduro and other regime leaders depart. The opposition is mistrustful after talks brokered by the Vatican and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a former Spanish prime minister, broke down last year when it quickly became clear that the government was not prepared to restore constitutional rule. Mr Zapatero was a conduit for a move that saw Mr Lopez transferred from prison to house arrest this month. He is in Caracas again this week. 


The city hums with rumours of a new mediation effort led by a shifting kaleidoscope of foreign governments. But conditions do not yet seem ripe. “The government sees the cost of leaving power as very high, that they would be destroyed and persecuted,” reckons Luis Vicente Leon of Datanalisis. The opposition is suspicious, too. “To return to political negotiations we have to have real signs that the government is prepared to change,” observes Freddy Guevara, the deputy leader of Mr Lopez’s party. 


Can anyone stop Mr Maduro?
That probably requires a military pronunciamento. But the army “looks at the opposition and doesn’t see any guarantees that they would be able to run the country”, says a foreign diplomat. The MUD has worked well as an electoral coalition, and its plebiscite was impressive. It has published a programme for a government of national unity. But, crucially, it lacks an agreed leader with a mandate to negotiate. “The opposition is stuck together with chewing gum,” says Mr Leon.


Anomie and anarchy
Barring a negotiation, the other route looks bleak. There is a growing sense of anomie and anarchy. On the opposition side, there is desperation in the self-barricading of its own neighbourhoods, an action which does little to hurt the government. Social media have been vital in undermining the regime’s control of information. But they also spread rumours and undermine moderation. Middle-class caraquenos are reading books on non-violent resistance. But on the streets many protesters express mistrust for the MUD. The “Resistance” is well-organised and trained. It would not be hard for it to take up arms.


For its part, the chavista block is splintering. The National Guard now raids properties in chavista areas at night, because they are being fired on by disgruntled residents. “There’s a growing attitude of ‘don’t mess with me’,” says Mr Machillanda.


Mr Maduro and his core of civilian leftists admire Cuba but they do not command a disciplined revolutionary state, capable of imposing its will across Venezuela’s vast territory. The 100 or so dead in the protests are fewer than are killed each weekend in lawless poor neighbourhoods. The “Bolivarian revolution” has created a state run by rival mafias and undermined from within by corruption. 

disciplined :規律のある
impose one's will on:(人)の意志を押し付ける
from within:内部から

“They could try to Cubanise the country,” says Mr Capriles. “But whether Venezuelans accept that is another matter.” Given the intensity of Venezuela’s confrontation, it has suffered remarkably little political violence. Sadly, that may now change. If Mr Maduro shuts down all hope of political change, it may take many more deaths to break the deadlock. 




swingby_blog at 09:08コメント(0) 


Nicolas Maduroはベネズエラを凶漢の国家にしようとしている。 独裁主義にしようとする不人気の体制の試みは悲惨な結果に終わるだろう。(2)

Generalised price controls had generated widespread shortages and embarrassingly long queues. Instead, the government has put the army in charge of a subsidised food-distribution system, known as CLAP and modelled on Cuba’s ration book. Up to 30% of families get this dole of staple products regularly, reckons Asdrubal Oliveros of Ecoanalitica, an economic consultancy. They are chosen not according to need but according to their political importance to the government. 

reckons :と推測する

On the breadline
At the same time, the government has relaxed price controls (bread is an exception). In Catia’s main market, which spills into the surrounding streets, food is abundant, but pricey. A chicken costs 7,600 bolivares and bananas 1,200 a kilo. Most people don’t have dollars to change on the black market: they must live on the minimum wage of 250,000 bolivares. The result is that four out of five households were poor last year, their income insufficient to cover basic needs, according to a survey by three universities. Medicines remain scarce. Walk down many streets in Caracas and you may be approached by a beggar. 


All this has taken a heavy toll on the government’s support. Mr Maduro won only 50.6% of the vote in a presidential election in 2013, a result questioned by his opponent, Henrique Capriles. In a parliamentary election in December 2015 the opposition won a two-thirds majority—enough to censure ministers and change the constitution. 

take a toll:大きな被害[打撃]を与える

In the government’s eyes, the opposition is bent on overthrowing an elected president—the aim of protests in 2014, after which Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader, was jailed on trumped-up charges. In response, it has resorted to legal chicanery. If Chavez often violated the letter of his own constitution, Mr Maduro tore it up. 


Before the new parliament took over, the government used the old one to preserve its control of the supreme court by replacing justices due to retire. The court then unseated three legislators, eliminating the opposition’s two-thirds majority. Mr Maduro has ruled by decree. The tame electoral tribunal quashed an opposition attempt to trigger a referendum to recall the president—a device Chavez put in the constitution. It postponed regional elections due to take place last December. 

take over:引き継ぐ
by decree:法令で
electoral tribunal:選挙裁判所

In March the court issued decrees stripping the parliament of all powers. That seemed to be because foreign investors take more seriously than the government a constitutional provision under which only the parliament can approve foreign loans. Although partially withdrawn, the decrees were the trigger for a confrontation that continues. They opened up fractures in chavismo—notably the public opposition of Luisa Ortega, the attorney-general since 2007 (who had jailed Mr Lopez). Mr Maduro’s announcement on May 1st that he would convene the constituent assembly intensified both trends.


Chavez’s constitution was drawn up by a democratically elected constituent assembly, convoked by referendum. Mr Maduro is following a script from Mussolini. He has called the assembly by decree. It will have a “citizen, worker, communal and peasant-farmer” character, he said. What this means is that 181 members will be chosen by government-controlled “sectoral” groups such as students, fishermen and unions. Another 364 members will be directly elected, but in gerrymandered fashion: each of Venezuela’s 340 municipalities will choose one. Small towns are under the government’s thumb; cities, where the opposition is a majority, will get only one extra representative. 

under someone's thumb:(人)の言いなりになって

Datanalisis, a reliable pollster, finds that two-thirds of respondents reject the constituent assembly, more than 80% think it unnecessary to change the constitution and only 23% approve of Mr Maduro. At just two weeks’ notice, on July 16th almost 7.5m Venezuelans turned out for an unofficial plebiscite organised by the opposition. Almost all of them voted to reject the assembly, to call on the army to defend the constitution and for a presidential election by next year (when one is due). 


Few doubt that the assembly will be a puppet-body and the vote on July 30th, which the opposition will boycott, will be inflated. The government counts on the 4.5m people who are employed in the public sector or in communal bodies. Those who fail to turn out risk losing not just their job but their CLAP food rations. Additional pressure to vote in chavista neighbourhoods comes from the colectivos—regime-sponsored armed thugs on motorbikes. Officials have said the assembly will not only write a new constitution but will assume supreme power, sacking Ms Ortega and replacing the parliament, whose building it will occupy. It will give Mr Maduro a slightly larger figleaf than the supreme court for a dictatorship of the minority.


Yet the president will find it hard to make this stick. “How do you govern the country with 75% against you?” asks Mr Capriles. “I think he’s trapped.” For the past four months the opposition has held almost daily protests. These have a ritual quality. To prevent demonstrators reaching the city centre, or blocking the main motorway through Caracas, the National Guard fires volleys of tear gas, buckshot—and occasionally bullets. 

make ~ stick:確実にする

Younger radicals, known as the “Resistance”, press forward, throwing stones from behind makeshift shields. Similar scenes take place across the country. Looting is commonplace. In these clashes, over 100 people have died. More than 400 protesters are now prisoners, including several opposition politicians. After the parliament named 33 justices to a rival supreme court on July 21st, the government arrested three of them. 

makeshift :その場しのぎの

Resistance isn’t futile
Mr Maduro has more worries. The first is his own side. Chavista strongholds are wavering. In the bread queue in Catia, several people say they are against the assembly. The opposition managed to set up voting stations for its plebiscite there: at one, a woman died when a colectivo fired on voters. “Some people have left us and gone over to the other side,” admits a local official. “But it’s very difficult for a chavista to support the opposition,” she adds. Chavez is still viewed favourably by 53% of Venezuelans, according to Datanalisis.


Rather, a new movement of “critical” or “democratic” chavistas, including Ms Ortega, several former ministers and recently retired generals, has publicly called for the scrapping of the assembly and the upholding of the constitution. When they held a press conference at a modest hotel on July 21st, some 300 regime supporters outside tried to drown them out with loud music and chants of “traitors”.

drown out:かき消す

Then there is the army. The regime has co-opted it, turning it into a faction-ridden, politicised and top-heavy moneymaking operation, with more than 2,000 generals (where 200 used to suffice). Mr Maduro has given them control over food imports and distribution, ports and airports, a bank and the mining industry. Many generals have grown rich by buying dollars at the lowest official exchange rate of $1=10 bolivares, intended for food imports, and selling them at the black market rate of 9,000. Others smuggle petrol or drugs.




swingby_blog at 22:14コメント(0) 


Nicolas Maduroはベネズエラを凶漢の国家にしようとしている。 独裁主義にしようとする不人気の体制の試みは悲惨な結果に終わるだろう。

Nicolas Maduro tries to make thugocracy permanent in Venezuela
An unpopular regime’s attempt to impose dictatorship could end bloodily
Print edition | Briefing
Jul 29th 2017 | CARACAS

Nicolas Maduroはベネズエラを凶漢の国家にしようとしている。


IT COULD almost be a piece of contemporary art, rather than a tool of political struggle. Overlooked by a mango tree heavy with blushing fruit, a rope is strung across Avenida Sucre as it climbs through a comfortable middle-class area towards the forested slopes of Monte Avila overlooking Caracas. Arranged beneath it are two distressed wooden beams, two pallets placed vertically, a wheel hub, a rusting metal housing for an electric transformer and several tree branches. They form a flimsy barricade watched over by a couple of dozen local residents. 

wooden beam:《a 〜》木の梁
electric transformer:変圧器
tree branch:木の枝

Why are they blockading their own street? “Because we want this government to go,” explained Maria Antonieta Viso, the owner of a catering firm. They were taking part in a 24-hour “civic strike” on July 20th, called by the opposition coalition, Democratic Unity (MUD, from its initials in Spanish). Down the hill, across innumerable such roadblocks, the sting of tear gas signalled clashes between demonstrators and the National Guard, a militarised police force. The strike, repeated this week, was part of “Zero Hour”—a campaign of civil disobedience aimed at blocking a plan by Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, to install a constituent assembly with absolute powers. 

constituent assembly:憲法制定会議

Mr Maduro claims that the assembly is the “only way to achieve peace”, to provide Venezuelans with social welfare and to defend the country against what he claims is an “economic war” launched by America (though he provides no evidence of this). “What they are trying to do is to install the Cuban model in this country,” retorts Ms Viso. “We will all be screwed even if we take to the streets. There won’t be private property, my business will go to the state.” The long battle over power and policy in Venezuela that began when Hugo Chavez was elected president in 1998 has reached a critical point. Both government and opposition believe that they are fighting for survival against a backdrop of a failing economy, rising hunger and anarchy. 

take to the streets:街頭でデモを繰り広げる、街頭で抗議をする
hunger :飢饉

Chavez, a former army officer, proclaimed a “Bolivarian revolution”, named for Simon Bolivar, South America’s Venezuelan-born independence hero. He, too, summoned a constituent assembly, which drew up a new constitution and which he used to take control of the judiciary and the electoral authority. For much of his 14 years in power he had the support of most Venezuelans, thanks partly to his charismatic claim to represent a downtrodden majority and to the flaws of an opposition identified with an uncaring elite. 

uncaring :気配りにかける

But above all the soaring price of oil gave him an unprecedented windfall, some of which he showered on social programmes in the long-neglected ranchos (shantytowns). A consumption boom, magnified by an overvalued currency, kept the middle class quiescent. He governed at first through a broad coalition of army officers, far-left politicians and intellectuals.


Angered by opposition attempts to unseat him and influenced by Fidel Castro, Chavez pushed Venezuela towards state socialism after 2007. Economic distortions accumulated, along with corruption and debt. Before he died of cancer in 2013, Chavez chose Mr Maduro, a former bus driver and pro-Cuban activist, as his successor. 


From Chavez to Maduro
Mr Maduro, however, lacks Chavez’s political skills and popular support. And he has had to grapple with the plunge in the oil price. Years of controls and the takeover of more than 1,500 private businesses and many farms mean that Venezuela now produces little except oil, and imports almost everything else. The government is desperate to avoid defaulting on its debt, since that would lead to creditors seizing oil shipments and assets abroad. 


Rather than reform the economy, Mr Maduro has simply squeezed it, applying a tourniquet to imports (see chart 1). The government has no clear strategy for external financing, and the fiscal deficit, mainly financed by printing money, is out of control, says Efrain Velazquez, the president of the National Economic Council, a quasi-official body. The result: “you can’t have growth and will have a lot of inflation.” Between 2013 and the end of this year, GDP will have contracted by more than 35% (see chart 2). What this means for most Venezuelans is penury. 


Near Plaza Perez Bonalde, a leafy enclave in the gritty district of Catia in western Caracas, 100 or so people, mainly women, queue up outside a bakery. They hope to get a ration of eight bread rolls for the subsidised price of 1,200 bolivares (less than $0.15 at the black-market exchange rate). “At least it’s something, because everything else is so expensive now,” says Sol Cire, a mother of two. She is unemployed, having lost her job at a defunct government hypermarket. Her fate stems from a change of government strategy. 




swingby_blog at 19:23コメント(0) 
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