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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Venezuela Implodes

I have written quite a bit about Venezuela, for example, herehereherehere, and here.

In one of those posts, I referred to,
a "slow motion coup" underway in oil-rich Venezuela by which Chavez/Maduro take apart the institutions of democracy bit by bit in the name of fighting "imperialism" and giving a level playing field to the poor (Bernie Sanders, are you there?) Opposition leaders who were too pesky suddenly found themselves afoul of the tax authorities, or accused of participating in vague gringo-backed plots against The Revolution. The opposition had a hard time getting its act together: first, because of the oppression aimed against it; second, because of the lack of international support--especially from the US--for democracy in Venezuela; and third, of course, because of its own bad strategy and tactics. It seems this time the opposition got its act together just as the regime implodes along with oil prices. Maduro simply does not have the loyalty of the "revolutionary" elites--e.g., in the military, in Hollywood, in Cuba--in the same way as did the much more charismatic, smart, and devious Chavez. The Congressional elections held yesterday have produced a sweeping victory for the opposition which has taken at least 99 of the 167 seats in the legislature. Pre-election polls had shown some 85% of the population fed up with the direction of Venezuela and dissatisfied with Maduro.
The phrase "slow motion coup" (golpe a camara lenta) I used quite a bit in my speeches at the OAS in clashes with Chavez's representatives (one bout is partly reported here and here, and a complete text of one of my remarks is here). I noted at various times, on this blog and when I was at State, the difference between Venezuela and other dictatorships, such as Castro's, was that Chavez took his time building the dictatorship, slowly and carefully taking apart the institutions, but keeping the facade--oh, and playing the Hollywood dolts and other progressives to perfection. While the path there was slightly different, the end result, of course, has proven the same as in Cuba, USSR, Romania, etc.

There are many stories you can find describing that end result, and I won't repeat it all.

Simply put, however, the Venezuelan economy has disappeared. There is not even enough money to pay for the printing of money--the ultimate triumph of socialism. Mass starvation and riots loom as it is now apparent to all but the most fanatical chavista, that Venezuela's fabulous oil wealth has been squandered by corruption, mismanagement, and, above all, by the consequences of the belief that trust in government is the solution to life's problems. The Venezuelans are discovering what millions of others have: let your liberty get taken away in exchange for promises of safety and porridge, and you will end up with neither liberty, safety nor porridge.

Can the looney socialists on the rampage in America and Europe learn the lesson? Nah. Why should yet another example of socialism's failure deter them . . . ? Feel the Bern . . .

BTW, for the best commentary on Latin America, including Venezuela, go to the excellent Faustas Blog.

UPDATE: Interview by Australia's ABC of the last US Ambassador to Venezuela, my good friend Patrick Duddy.


28 comments:

  1. Seems like the lesson is that all failed coup plotters should be executed immediately. If they'd shot him after the 1992 coup attempt, Venezuela might be intact today. If they'd shot Hitler after his 1923 coup attempt, we'd have avoided many horrors.

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    1. He was treated with astonishing delicacy. I think he served two years. The author of the 1981 coup in Spain received a 30 year sentence.

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  2. Of course leftist thinkers won't take the example of Venezuela. They just will brush it off and say, "If it was only run by an honest politician like Bernie Sanders, then the worker's paradise could be achieved. Besides Bernie advocates for 'Democratic Socialism', and that is so different". Of course those who believe in Socialism, never consider that it is not the Lenin that kills you, it's who comes after, for example Stalin, and Maduro. Everything is peachy as long as the socialist is robbing the upper class of their wealth, but once that runs out, and they destroy the economy, look out, gulags and famine are just around the corner, it happens every time, and they still don't get it.

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    1. The message is sort of getting through to SOME lefties. The British newspaper The Guardian (that would be too left wing for Bernie Sanders)has this article which is astonishing (for the Guardian) and gives a different insight into the mentality of the lefties:

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/22/radical-leftwing-tourists-pimps-dictatorship-hugo-chavez-venezuela-sex-tourism

      Phil B

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    2. Then there's Huffington Post, where the crisis in Venezuela is reported as basically some sort of Act of God.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kicker/why-venezuela-is-on-the-v_b_10068346.html

      "Oh.. the murder rate is high, there's a lot of gang activity, and that's going to make people scared and affect the economy!"
      -- uhhh maybe socialist policies are *behind* that?

      "Low oil prices!! Those are killing the socialist utopia!"
      -- so your socialist system can't survive without an infinitely replenishable cash cow????

      "Inflation is through the roof.."
      -- Though we wont even acknowledge that the government might be involved in *that*.

      It goes on and on, reporting on what are almost certainly manmade problems in Vz as though they were no different than a heat wave... unfortunate, but as a natural force, unavoidable!

      Maybe others are learning, but huffpo is being pretty consistent about making sure they, nor anybody else, learns lessons here.

      - reader #1482

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    3. Huff Po is trying to win the Walter Duranty award for quality journalism.

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  3. Sanders ran for Mayor of Burlington on a platform of a more limited property tax hike than was being promoted by the Paquette machine he replaced. He was capable enough in the Mayor's chair to make him a seminal figure in local politics. I do not think the Sanders-Chavez analogy is all that explicative.

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  4. I would like to know more about that decision to go soft on his coup attempt. I suspect it was because those in power at the time knew something was very wrong with their system.
    Yes, perhaps not as wrong as the Chavez/Maduro disaster, but considering pre-Chavez' vast oil wealth mixed with high poverty rates, there was definitely something wrong prior to the Chavez disaster.

    I talked to someone in the mid 90's from VZ who was lamenting how difficult life was in America. I asked why, and it was because you had to do your own laundry and meals. "In Venezuela, everybody has servants to do that stuff."

    There *was* something wrong, and Chavez, Venezuela's Mr. Hopey Changey, offered a solution that was worse than the problem.

    Obviously we're no better in that we accepted our Mr. Hopey Changey *without* having a serious problem in the first place.

    - reader #1482

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  5. We had and have our share of progressive dolts here in Boston. Ted Kennedy and many of the Kennedy boys tapped Venezurla for free and low cost oil which they then sold for low cost to the poor here ... but still for a profit. The scam was called Citizen's Energy and it posed as a charity but was really an oil trading company (remember Enron?). For the longest time they sucked up to Chavez and crew with the slogan "Our friends in Venezuela." Its latest CEO scammer is Joe Kennedy who pulls down close to a million dollars a year. He took over after his brother, Michael, skied into a tree. Joe left his political career when he realized what a gravy train Michael had been on. Somehow we haven't many Citizen's Energy ads on TV lately ... they usually featured Joe getting ready to deliver oil to some grateful poor Bostonian.

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    1. The founder of Citizens' Energy was Joseph Kennedy II. It was turned over to family members when JK II entered Congress. Michael Kinsley wrote an amusing critique of Citizens' Energy about 30 years ago. Evidently they were actually nonprofit. Kinsley's view was the same as yours, that they were abritrageurs and got low cost oil due to political connections.

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  6. The Diplomad is too, (well there is no better word than) diplomatic.
    Let us remember that while this disaster unfolded the halfrican ignored it. When Cuba's secret police were enlisted in Venezuela to brutally quell the popular unrest-absolute silence. Meanwhile a nation with generally pretty well functioning government (for an African state) needed to be destroyed-I allude to Libya, Egypt was also subjected to massive disruption by the halfrican. The halfrican is very selective in who can be disrupted, socialist/communist/islamist wannabes are always assured of his non-intervention.
    The halfricans resume is full of domestic disasters, add Venezuela to his bulging international disaster dossier, alongside Iran-does anybody even remember the student revolt, half of North Africa, Syria, Georgia and the Ukraine.
    As to Bernie his candidacy is surely a reminder of how desperate the condition of the USA is, hope and change was not enough dispossession and redistribution is the now the clarion call, but let's face facts Hilliary is even worse.
    I fear for your country, as I do for my own,the dimbulbs are in the ascendant, for clarity, I refer to Turdeau in Canada as our very own dimbulb who is and will be terribly damaging.

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    1. But he's so *brash* and *charismatic*... what more could one want in a politician??? And don't say *responsibility*, because only a "Debbie Downer" would say that!
      :)

      - reader #1482

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    2. Remember the Ben Rhodes revelation-most of the "news" these days is written by 26 year-olds many are single females. To say that their output is trash is being kind, when they not reporting on Turdeau they are tweeting about Kardashian and other non-entities. Hence the halfrican is considered "smart". We are in serious trouble

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    3. Uhmmm Cascadian?

      Not meaning to be a party-pooper but, and solely in the interests of accuracy mind ... Georgia actually oughtn't be included in your list.

      At least if the Georgia on the Black Sea is the one you mean - now if the Georgia that has a city known as Atlanta is the one you meant ...

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    4. "I refer to Turdeau in Canada as our very own dimbulb who is and will be terribly damaging."

      Dimwit or nitwit Cas? Apparently the pug engaged his feminine constituency with an elbow strike! Expect the the northern gals, and their families, will suffer more tough love, before the basturd gets what's owed him! Unless of course Sgt. Preston gets back from the Yukon! Sic'em King!
      On Watch~~~
      "Let's Roll"

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    5. I groan at what has become of us. But I also pray that our two parts of the North American continent will ultimately pull through and return to common sense.

      @Cascadian--we in the States can at least retort, "How come the only secret this country can keep is the academic record of its supposedly most intelligent president ever?" It's Schadenfreude, I know.

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    6. AnonMay19-thank you for the correction.
      AnonMay20-that was just theatre amongst socialist MP's, we are not a serious country any longer.
      Kepha-that is my hope too, but replacing a perfectly capable prime minister with a university dropout (twice), drama teacher, speaks volumes of the electorate.

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    7. "... with a university dropout (twice), drama teacher," ... who very wrongly seems to believe he has some modicum of understanding of quantum computing... no less. Pretty obvious he didn't even fully read a wikipedia page related to it. But idiot reporters don't know the difference, and that's all that matters...

      - reader #1482

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    8. The journalist corps in Canaduh is if anything worse than the USA. Goebbels would be proud.

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  7. Never mind. No doubt the USA can be trusted to make things even worse for the poor, foolish Venezuelans. An invasion, a spot of nation-building, ...

    Or a covey of Harvard "advisors" to organise the looting, as happened in post-communist Russia .....

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  8. Oh how *we* yearn for the good old days!

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-09-01-chavez-katrina-aid_x.htm

    ***

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  9. And, if the general rule of thumb was ever applicable, "Buy low, sell ..." now'd be about as applicable as it gets.

    http://thestockmarketwatch.com/stock/?stock=CITGO

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  10. Thank you for yo ur kind words and the link! Over 100 unique visitors have come from here, which means The Diplomad outperforms PowerLine.

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  11. Yeah what is the traffic on this blog BTW. And when is diplomad going to figure out a way to make some well-deserved cash for his work?

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    1. 3.4M visitors in 5 years according to the stat on the side of the page. That's averaging ~2000/day?

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    2. It's been up to about 3000/day last few months

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  12. Could you do an article about the panama papers?
    leaperman

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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