Translating Corporate Speak: Venezuela and VNT

by Johnny Debacle

Hugo Chávez, CEO of Venezuela, a leading provider of faux-populism and professional nationalization services, said this about CA Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela (NYSE (but not for long!): VNT) and whether it will be nationalized.

Corporate speak:

Have we taken over CANTV yet? Call the bosses and name a new board of directors.

-Hugo Chávez on his weekly TV show, “Hello President”


Yes, we have nationalized CANTV.

Corporate speak:

Don’t come and say the company is worth so much. You guys are crazy. We will pay what the law says and when the government decide

-Chávez on how much should be paid to the current shareholders of the NYSE listed CANTV to compensate them for the nationalization.


Being that I am now both the law and the government, expect céntimos on the dollar compared to the market value. You guys were crazy for having your money in a security with a stated high likelihood risk of being taken by me, Hugo Chávez.

Corporate speak:

The National Assembly, controlled by the president’s political allies, is expected to give final approval this week to what it calls the “enabling law,” which would give Chávez the authority to pass a series of laws by decree during an 18-month period.

-From an AP report


The National Assembly, comprised of people mostly elected with Chávez’s money, thought that the “enabling Hugo Chávez to be dictator law” just didn’t have the right je ne sais quoi, and thus created the abbreviated title.

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  1. Nick
    January 22nd, 2007 | 3:28 pm

    Oh, that Chavez is a character. Here are some more nuggets from his last broadcast (excerpts from The Associated Press):

    Addressing the wealthy, Chavez said: “Oh, you have a yacht? Perfect, give to me, buddy. You have a BMW? Well, that’s fine. You go around Caracas in a tremendous car. You have a house where you live and another one by sea… You have some marvelous art collections — come here, buddy.”

    “Everything that is collected … goes to the communal councils,” he said.

  2. January 22nd, 2007 | 4:00 pm

    For him there is now no distinction between himself and the state. Talking about CANTV he said something along the lines of “Of course, I’m going to pay the shareholders, I am the state.”

    I’m also fascinated by his interest in making sure everything he does is legal. When you make up the rules as you go along, break rules with impunity and now are in control of every part of the legal process, does legal even really exist? Or rather, does what legal is supposed to embody, really exist?

  3. Nick
    January 22nd, 2007 | 5:33 pm

    Yeah, Chavez is really consolidating all the power in that country to himself. And you are right, it is easy to follow the law when you control it and change it accordingly. His rule is becoming a guide on how to create a dictatorship.

    Here are some more excerpts:
    “Some people are saying we have to pay the international price for Cantv. No,” Chavez said on television yesterday. “The state gave that company away. We’re going to take it over first, and pay later.”

    “We sold that company too cheap to investors,” Chavez said yesterday.

    I would love to live in his crazy world where I could steal back anything I sold that later appreciates and promise to pay a below-market value at a later date. Them’s good economics. I would be the world’s greatest investor very quickly, provided I was the only one with that power, like Chavez.

  4. January 22nd, 2007 | 5:50 pm

    Chavez may in fact be the world’s greatest investor. Either he or Putin.

  5. TheUnrepentantGunner
    January 22nd, 2007 | 8:53 pm

    So basically we should be long on Miss Universe models doubling Venezualan Prostitutes since that will clearly be nationalized next?

  6. The Corner
    January 22nd, 2007 | 10:20 pm

    In the current script being written, Putin plays Adam Smith and Chavez plays Putin. Exit stage right!

  7. Hugo Chavez
    January 23rd, 2007 | 7:56 am

    Buddy this crap you write is why i hate you and all the others do too. phones are for people so i give them for the people, then everyone can talk instead of sending money to US devils.