Here's a Quarter
The editorial pages of Washington Post and the New York Times waxed neurotic today about Venezuela’s plans to buy back telecom and electrical companies sold to the United States in 1991. Of course, they don’t put it in such reasonable terms. “Nationalization!” they cry. “State hegemony!” A giant step toward “diminishing freedom” and “national impoverishment,” yadda yadda yadda.
As we pointed out yesterday, their primary concern is that US companies own huge shares of these Venezuelan industries. Much as the Post and the Times try to frame their arguments as genuine concern for, like, Venezuelans, they only seem to get their knickers in a knot this big when big U.S. biz is involved.
The Times warns: “Whatever Mr. Chávez is planning, he needs to fairly compensate shareholders,” and wonders: “Exactly what form these nationalizations will take”?
Well pick up a phone and ask, guys. Bloomberg did. In a move sure to make his J-school professor proud, reporter Guillermo Parra-Bernal got beyond the frantic speculation by “asking questions.” In an interview with the Venezuelan National Assembly’s Finance Committee Chairman, one Mr. Ricardo Sanguino, it turns out that this is a buyout, not an expropriation. As Sanguino noted, “Confiscation, expropriation are banned words in our dictionary.”
It would nice to see an apology from the editors, but I’m afraid we’re more likely to see a rant about dictionary censorship.