La espectacular decepción venezolana

CAMBRIDGE – Si no constituyera una afrenta tan grave a la libertad de expresión, el reciente berrinche del presidente Nicolás Maduro por un comentario de los economistas Ricardo Hausmann y Miguel Angel Santos sería casi divertido. Hace tiempo que Venezuela ataca al Fondo Monetario Internacional por atreverse a sugerir que tal vez sus políticas macroeconómicas no estén funcionando bien, pero ahora su presidente ataca a los académicos.

Maduro, por supuesto, dirige una importante economía exportadora de petróleo, tan pobremente administrada que su PIB per cápita actual real (ajustado por inflación) es un 2 % inferior al de 1970, a pesar de que los precios del petróleo se han multiplicado por 10 desde entonces. Hausmann y Santos tuvieron la audacia de preguntar si, después de incumplir absolutamente todos los compromisos imaginables de su deuda interna, Venezuela debe invitar a los inversores extranjeros a la fiesta y dejar también de pagarles a ellos. ¿Es una pregunta tan disparatada?

No queda claro si Maduro –quien solicitó a las autoridades venezolanas «iniciar acciones» (sin indicar de qué tipo) contra Hausmann y Santos (ambos ciudadanos venezolanos)– se ofendió más porque sugirieron el default de la deuda externa o porque presentaron una lista de todos los incumplimientos ya cometidos. Entre ellos se cuentan las deudas impagas del gobierno por importaciones de productos farmacéuticos (3,5 mil millones de dólares), atrasos en pagos de alimentos (más de 2 mil millones de dólares), y su deuda con las aerolíneas (casi 4 mil millones de dólares). La producción petrolera cayó más de la mitad desde 1997, en gran medida porque la empresa petrolera estatal incumplió reiteradamente sus pagos a proveedores y socios en empresas conjuntas.

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