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Η Mythbuster της Βενεζουέλας

Η οικονομολόγος Πασκουαλίνα Κούρτσιο έχει περάσει τα τελευταία χρόνια της ζωής της καταρρίπτοντας τους μύθους που κυκλοφορούν στα διεθνή μέσα ενημέρωσης για την οικονομία της Βενεζουέλας. Τη βρήκαμε στο Καράκας… δίπλα στα γυαλιά του Σαλβαδόρ Αλιέντε.

του Άρη Χατζηστεφάνου

Τη συνάντησα στην είσοδο του υπουργείου Εξωτερικών, όπου ετοιμαζόταν να δώσει μια διάλεξη για τις επιπτώσεις του αμερικανικού εμπάργκο στην οικονομία της Βενεζουέλας.

Με περίμενε δίπλα σε ένα γλυπτό που αναπαριστά τα σπασμένα γυαλιά οράσεως του Σαλβαδόρ Αλιέντε –από την «11η Σεπτεμβρίου της Χιλής», όταν ο Πινοσέτ βομβάρδισε το προεδρικό μέγαρο στο Σαντιάγκο. Στο μυαλό μου ηχούσε η διαβόητη εντολή που είχε δώσει ο πρόεδρος Νίξον στη CIA, μόλις ο Αλιέντε ανέλαβε τα καθήκοντά του: «Κάντε την οικονομία να ουρλιάξει». Και η οικονομία ουρλιάζει σήμερα στη Βενεζουέλα.

Μπορεί τα ράφια των σούπερ μάρκετ να μην είναι άδεια, όπως συνηθίζουν να τα παρουσιάζουν τα διεθνή ΜΜΕ, αλλά ορισμένες ελλείψεις τροφίμων και φαρμάκων παραμένουν. Παράλληλα η ανεπάρκεια χαρτονομισμάτων και ο υπερπληθωρισμός μετατρέπουν καθημερινές δραστηριότητες σε μια καφκική δοκιμασία για εκατοντάδες χιλιάδες Βενεζουελάνους.

Η Πασκουαλίνα Κούρτσιο δεν επιχειρεί να κρύψει ούτε να εξωραΐσει την πραγματικότητα. Δεν αρνείται επίσης τις καταστροφικές επιπτώσεις που είχε η σχεδόν καθολική εξάρτηση της εθνικής οικονομίας από το πετρέλαιο.

Το βασικό της επιχείρημα όμως, το οποίο αναλύει με εξαντλητική παράθεση επιχειρημάτων στο τελευταίο της βιβλίο («The visible hand of the market»), είναι ότι ξένες χώρες αλλά και τμήματα της δεξιάς αντιπολίτευσης έχουν κηρύξει ανηλεή οικονομικό πόλεμο που θυμίζει τις κινήσεις της Ουάσινγκτον πριν από την ανατροπή του Αλιέντε το 1973.

«Το εμπάργκο» μου εξηγεί «ξεκίνησε άτυπα εδώ και τέσσερα χρόνια και όχι στις 25 Αυγούστου, όταν υπογράφτηκε από τον Τραμπ το σχετικό εκτελεστικό διάταγμα. Οι επιπτώσεις του είναι ήδη εμφανείς στον πληθυσμό, καθώς δυσχεραίνει την εισαγωγή τροφίμων και φαρμάκων που εξαρτώνται από λογαριασμούς οι οποίοι συνδέονται με το διεθνές χρηματοπιστωτικό σύστημα».

Το πιο πρόσφατο πρόβλημα όμως είναι η αδυναμία της χώρας να προχωρήσει σε αναδιάρθρωση του χρέους, αφού οι κυρώσεις απαγορεύουν στα μεγάλα χρηματοπιστωτικά ιδρύματα της Δύσης να έρθουν σε επαφή με τη Βενεζουέλα.

Καθώς συζητάμε παρατηρώ ορισμένα διαγράμματα που έχει ετοιμάσει για την παρουσίασή της. Μου δείχνει πως από το 2007 οι σημαντικότερες ελλείψεις ειδών πρώτης ανάγκης συμπίπτουν χρονικά με τις περιόδους εκλογικών αναμετρήσεων.

«Παρατηρήσαμε ότι, χωρίς να έχει μειωθεί η παραγωγή αυτών των αγαθών, αρχίζουν να σπανίζουν στην αγορά… Δημιουργούνται έτσι μεγάλες ουρές και ο κόσμος δυσανασχετεί» εξηγεί η Κούρτσιο, που θεωρεί ότι αυτός είναι ένας από τους σημαντικότερους μηχανισμούς επηρεασμού των εκλογών. Η ίδια μου θυμίζει ότι οι ίδιες ακριβώς ελλείψεις είχαν παρατηρηθεί και στη Χιλή του Αλιέντε, παρά το γεγονός ότι η παραγωγή των προϊόντων που παρουσίαζαν έλλειψη είχε αυξηθεί.

Αν και δηλώνει ότι δεν έχει ασχοληθεί ιδιαίτερα με την ελληνική περίπτωση, η Κούρτσιο υποστηρίζει ότι θα πρέπει να μελετηθούν σε βάθος οι ελλείψεις φαρμάκων, που παρατηρήθηκαν σχεδόν από την αρχή της κρίσης, αλλά και οι ουρές στα ΑΤΜ την εβδομάδα του δημοψηφίσματος.

«Σε πολλές χώρες χρησιμοποιούνται οι ίδιοι μηχανισμοί» μου εξηγεί, θυμίζοντάς μου ένα κοινό μοτίβο που παρατηρήθηκε σε πολλές χώρες της Λατινικής Αμερικής: ελλείψεις τροφίμων, χρηματισμός μέσων ενημέρωσης και ενίσχυση ακροδεξιών ομάδων.

Το δεύτερο γράφημα που μου δείχνει φαίνεται να διαλύει μία από τις «βεβαιότητες» με τις οποίες μεγάλωσαν γενιές ανθρώπων στις ΗΠΑ και στην Ευρώπη: ότι η αύξηση του πληθωρισμού συνεπάγεται αναγκαστικά αύξηση της φτώχειας για τον πληθυσμό. Αυτό ακριβώς συνέβαινε στη Βενεζουέλα μέχρι την ανάληψη της εξουσίας από τον Τσάβες.
 

Ο δείκτης του πληθωρισμού και αυτός της φτώχειας κινούνταν κυριολεκτικά παράλληλα. Στα χρόνια που ακολούθησαν όμως η προστασία των αγαθών πρώτης ανάγκης μέσω του ελέγχου τιμών σήμαινε ότι οι επιπτώσεις του πληθωρισμού σταμάτησαν να περνάνε στην κοινωνία. Η Βενεζουέλα, με πολλές παλινωδίες και αποτυχίες, αποδείκνυε ότι το ποιος θα πληρώσει τον λογαριασμό του πληθωρισμού είναι εν τέλει μια απόφαση πολιτική και όχι οικονομική.

Στην ερώτησή μου αν η Βενεζουέλα αντιμετωπίζει ανθρωπιστική κρίση, η απάντησή της είναι κατηγορηματικά «όχι». Για την Κούρτσιο η Βενεζουέλα περνά μια ιδιαίτερα δύσκολη περίοδο, η αναφορά όμως στον όρο «ανθρωπιστική κρίση» εντάσσεται σε αυτό που χαρακτηρίζει «υβριδικό πόλεμο» ή «πόλεμο τέταρτης γενιάς» –την προσπάθεια επέμβασης, δηλαδή, στο εσωτερικό της χώρας με πρόσχημα την προστασία του πληθυσμού.

Η άποψή της θυμίζει εκ πρώτης όψεως ένα παιχνίδι λέξεων, το οποίο θα ανέμενε κανείς από κάθε οικονομολόγο που βρίσκεται τόσο κοντά στα κέντρα λήψης οικονομικών αποφάσεων στο Καράκας.

Τις τελευταίες εβδομάδες όμως η Κούρτσιο απέκτησε έναν απροσδόκητο σύμμαχο. Ο ανεξάρτητος εμπειρογνώμονας του Οργανισμού Ηνωμένων Εθνών, Άλφρεντ ντε Ζάγιας, που επισκέφτηκε τη χώρα, επιβεβαίωσε ότι η Βενεζουέλα αντιμετωπίζει μια ιδιαίτερα δύσκολη οικονομική κατάσταση, η οποία όμως δεν μπορεί να χαρακτηριστεί «ανθρωπιστική κρίση».

Η Βενεζουέλα δεν αντιμετωπίζει ανθρωπιστική κρίση. Αντιμετωπίζει οικονομικό πόλεμο.

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