Francisco Rodriguez answers some questions I asked about Venezuela

Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodriguez, formerly of Torino Economics, answered a few questions of mine about his country. He was the economic adviser to Henri Falcon, the second place finisher in the May 2018 presidential election.

His updated estimate for 2019 is that Venezuela’s real GDP will contract by 25% . That’s horrific, but less severe than earlier forecasts thanks to an upturn in the last quarter of 2019. He suspects the fourth quarter of 2019 could be the first (after seasonally adjustments to the data) to show positive growth since the third quarter of 2014. In fact, he says the economy could grow by 4% in 2020.

He said recent reports in the Wall Street Journal showing an increase in oil exports are probably right. However, he cautioned that increased exports are not the same as increased production. The state oil company, he says, sold off inventories it accumulated in August and September after John Bolton threatened secondary sanctions.

I asked if, besides him, any other opposition figure in Venezuela has denounced the crimes of the Añez dictatorship in Bolivia. “Not that I am aware of” he replied.

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