Sunday, February 24, 2019

Venezuela’s Elite Restaurants Thrive Amidst Collapsing Economy

Never forget that a key part of socialism is a group around the center of power who live very well.

The Financial Times reports:
While thousands of volunteers plan to spend this weekend distributing food to those hit hardest by Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis, a lucky few in Caracas will be tucking into steak with butter sauce, asparagus and roast potatoes, topped with parmesan cheese, parsley and truffle oil.

That’s one of the signature dishes at La Esquina, one of a handful of restaurants that still function and indeed thrive in a tiny bubble of opulence in the Venezuelan capital...

La Esquina’s leafy terrace is packed. Well-heeled Venezuelans in designer clothes sip vodka tonics and nibble on crayfish tempura and grilled octopus. A soft light glimmers off the ornamental pool. Outside, the street is lined with SUVs, their tinted windows shut tight. Drivers and bodyguards stand by, waiting for their employers to emerge. The steak costs 35,500 bolívares ($11). Throw in a bottle of 2011 Pascal Chatonnet Bordeaux and the bill jumps to $87 — 15 times the monthly minimum wage...

La Esquina is not alone. Up the road, Lola attracts a younger crowd. Both restaurants look like they’ve been plucked from Miami’s South Beach. During the day, well-dressed shoppers flock to the Fresh Fish delicatessen to buy the kind of food most Venezuelans can only dream of. The shelves are packed with German caviar, French champagne and Spanish olive oil. A bijou 300g bag of Carnaroli rice imported from Italy, costs 16,300 bolívars ($5)...

Who are this wealthy elite? How do they make their money? “Some are from old money,” one diplomatic source says. “They made their wealth years ago and invested it wisely — in Miami and elsewhere. They don’t necessarily spend a lot of time in Caracas these days but when they do, they live very well indeed.”

Others are from the new rich, the so-called “boligarchs” who have benefited from their ties to President Nicolás Maduro’s Bolivarian socialist regime and got rich by playing the exchange rate system, which for years allowed them to buy dollars at a vastly discounted rate and sell them at a profit on the black market. Still others are said to have grown rich through good old-fashioned corruption.
It is the dirty little secret of socialism, those in power and near power all live very well. Never forget, Castro, Stalin and Mao all lived very well, while the economies around them collapsed.

-RW

4 comments:

  1. Looks like a great place for Bernie or Occasional Cortex to be right now.

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  2. So perhaps this grocery store in Caracas is a only for the government connected?https://www.rt.com/news/452158-blumenthal-venezuela-supermarket-shelves/

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  3. The wealthiest person in Venezuela is Chavez’s daughter

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  4. As I've said many times, when people say Socialism doesn't work, I ask "works for who?". To bring liberty and economic opportunity to the most number of people it is a miserable failure. But to bring unearned wealth and power to a tiny connected crony class, it "works" very well.

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