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Cape Verde: Crisis? What crisis?

After questioning the reasons for a recent wave of prices rises in Cape Verde, bloggers were surprised last week at the news that the country is immune to the economic crisis into which the world beyond the archipelago is sinking. The claim was reportedly made by Cape Verdean Stock Market President, Veríssimo Pinto, in a debate at the national radio station. Now local bloggers want to know how this small nation can be crisis-proof and are asking: could God be Cape Verdean?

Retalhos [pt] listened to the debate about the international crisis hosted by the National Radio (RCV) in which the local Stock Exchange President claimed Cape Verde would not be affected by the worldwide crisis. She felt very confused towards the end and doubts what she heard:

Eu que não sou especialista quando comecei a pensar na crise disse logo: Demora… mas chegará!!!!…afinal nossos bancos são mais que ramificações dos bancos portugueses que estão inseridos no sistema financeiro europeu…que deu o berro… nossas empresas recorrem à bancos estrangeiros para financiamentos…vivemos “à custa” das remessas dos emigrantes (aperta-se o cinto na diáspora…aperta-se por aqui também). O mercado imobiliário está dependente dos investidores externos, na sua maioria europeus, o Turismo idem…A nossa moeda está ligada ao Euro…como acham que fiquei com a declaração? Sem dentes claro e muito confusa…

Even when I, who am not a specialist, started to think about the crisis, I immediately thought: it will be a while but it will be here!!! After all, our banks are nothing more than Portuguese banks’ ramifications and these are involved in the European financial system… which is in crisis… our companies rely on foreign banks for financing, we “live on” money sent by emigrants (if they tighten their belts in the diaspora, we tighten our belts here too). The housing market relies on investors from abroad, the majority European, it is the same for tourism…our currency is linked to the Euro… how do you think I felt after this claim? All of a muddle, indeed and very confused…

In the 40's, when the country was much smaller, the economic crisis which came after the war nearly wiped the Cape Verde out. Redy Wilson Lima [pt] reminds us of this piece of history and the news that the Cape Verdean economy is now so strong raised some questions for him:

A crise existe, os EUA, a Europa e a Ásia estão a tremer e muito, o mundo está globalizado e a nossa economia depende do turismo, da remessa dos imigrantes e dos investidores estrangeiros, para não falar da nossa banca que é 50% de portugueses. Alguêm me explica como podemos estar imunes? Ou será que Deus é mesmo cabo-verdiano?

The crisis exists, the US, Europe and Asia are shaking, and shaking a lot, the world is globalized and our economy relies heavily on tourism, on money from the diaspora, not to mention that 50% of our banks belong to Portuguese. Can anybody explain how we are immune? Or does it mean that God is indeed Cape Verdean?

A few days before the debate, Edy [pt] had already sensed a feeling of immunity and demanded that the authorities make public their plans for dealing with an eventual crisis:

Talvez seja oportuno o 1º Ministro e a Ministra das Finanças virem a praça informar o que o Governo pensa sobre essa crise e quais mecanismos económicos poderão ser apresentados como garantia para facer face a essa crise na nossa pequena economia.È também nessas horas que se deve demonstrar a face responsável da oposição preparada para governar.Todos,juntos ou cada um à sua maneira,deveriam e devem apresentar ideias.Antes que a crise financeira se tranforme em crise económica.

Perhaps it is appropriate for the Primer Minister and Minister of Finance to inform people what the government thinks about this crisis and the economic mechanisms which could be presented as a guarantee, in the face of this crisis, to our small economy. It is also at times like this that the character of the opposition, prepared to govern, should be demonstrated. All, together or everyone in their own individual way, should and must submit ideas. Before the financial crisis becomes an economic crisis.

Whereas Tide [pt], at Pedrabika blog, says it seems that they live on another planet and wants to know when this tranquil situation will finish:

Enquanto nas grandes economias tá tudo entrando na espiral negativa que suga e derruba os grandes, nós continuamos a viver uma acalmia de pax financeira. Ninguém parou de investir/gastar, ninguem tirou dinheiro do banco para colocar debaixo do colchão, quem tem dinheiro rendendo não tá nem aí pra falência dos bancos americanos. Tudo continua na mesma. Me explica porque eu quero saber quanto tempo dura essa pax.

While all the major economies are entering a negative spiral that knocks even big ones down, we continue to live an easy financial peace. Nobody has stopped investing/spending, nobody has taken money from the banks to put under their mattresses, those who have invested money don't give a damn about American banks’ bankruptcy. Everything remains the same. Please explain to me why, I want to know how long this peace lasts.

João Branco [pt] brings the news that as of today the prices for petrol are at last going down locally, with a 5% reduction at the pumps. He says it is still not enough, considering the actual price of crude oil worldwide:

Resta dizer que esta redução é ridícula, sabendo-se que o preço do petróleo já diminuiu para metade em relação ao mesmo período do ano transacto. Mas seja como for, agradecemos a esmola.

I can only say that this reduction is ridiculous, knowing that the price of oil has gone down to half the price of the same period last year. But, nevertheless, we are thankful for the alms.

SOS Cape Verde. Flag of Cape Verde, hoisted in a yacht of the ditch “The Solitaire du Figaro”, in its scale in the port of Vigo (Galicia, Spain). Curiously, the crew members of the yacht have hoisted the flag upside-down, which in vexilology is interpreted as a request of aid.” Photo and caption by Flickr user Contando Estrelas, used under a Creative Commons licence.

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