Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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Chavez Win Spurs Exodus as Venezuelans Foresee Economic Woes
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Juan Ibarra, a 35-year-old surgeon from Caracas, is preparing to emigrate after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won another six-year term on Oct. 7. “I don’t want to go but on balance every day my profession is at risk from the government,” Ibarra, who worries Chavez may extend state control over clinics and regulate doctors’ salaries, said in an Oct. 8 phone interview. “I don’t have any other option but to pack my bags and have them ready.”

Chavez, who has seized more than 1,000 companies or their assets since first elected in 1998, may now be emboldened by his victory to push for more takeovers and price controls that have scared off investors, said Bret Rosen, a Latin American debt strategist at Standard Chartered Bank. He will also devalue the currency to boost revenue from oil sales and pay for a pre- election spending spree, fueling inflation, Rosen said.

Ibarra isn’t alone in contemplating departure. Traffic to MeQuieroIr.com, a Venezuelan website that provides information to people looking to emigrate, tripled to 180,000 visits the day after Chavez won by a 11-percentage-point margin, said company director Esther Bermudez. Most inquiries come from middle-class professionals, she said.

Les régimes socialistes ont un point commun: tous leurs habitants cherchent à les fuir même s’ils prétendent être un paradis pour les travailleurs… Le Québec de Pauline Marois ne fera pas exception.