There is no one word that I know of.
Anyway, the big news from Venezuela is that President Maduro has announced that he will grant asylum to Edward Snowden. I think that calling the move “illegal” is too much: there is nothing wrong with a government pre-emptively announcing that it will give asylum to somebody once they legally qualify for it. More problematic is that Mr. Snowden is a terrible candidate for asylum.
Some seem to think the action is a reaction to the way American allies stopped Evo Morales’ jet, but I doubt that. I have been waiting for Cuba or Venezuela to make a move ever since President Correa decided that there was no gain in tweaking the United States. My guess is that Putin is sick of the problem and asked Maduro to announce.
Of course, the question now is: how does Mr. Snowden get to Caracas?
And what does this have to do with goldbuggery?
Well, back in 2011 the Venezuelan government decided to transfer 211 tons of gold reserves from outside the country (47% was held in London). The move did not really make much sense. Central bank reserves are immune under international law, so there was no reason to fear foreign legal actions. But hey, it sounded good and on January 31, 2012, the central bank declared “Mission Accomplished.” (They only moved about 150 tons, but close enough.)
It was pretty stupid to physically move the gold to Caracas. After all, if you wanted to use it to pay for something you would now have to either move it out or trust that your counterparty would accept a paper claim to gold located in Venezuela.
But Chávez did not seem to be playing an economic game. The move was for show. President Chávez wanted the central bank to go long on gold. So it moved gold to Venezuela and moved more than 70% of reserves to the metal.
Unfortunately, economics comes back to bite you. The recent slide in gold prices is creating major headaches for the government. It comes at a bad time. As predicted here, the major threat to the Venezuelan economy is a sudden stop of foreign capital inflows. With reserves both illiquid and falling in value, that is becoming ever more likely.
Taking Snowden feels similar. A political move, intended purely for show, but with serious logistical issues, no practical current gain and a potential future liability. The revolution continues in form, I guess.