Featured Post

Hiroshima: A Real Decision

My great retirement-from-retirement plan not having worked out, I was idly surfing the net reading about the apparent and "surprising&...

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Better Than Venezuela

Just came up with a thought to give the proper context to just about anything in our political, social, and economic world: Almost no matter what, it's better than in Venezuela.

Have you been following what's going on in that oil-rich, socialist wonderland so beloved by Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Jeremy Corbin, and Bernie Sanders?

Venezuela, about which I wrote before --here and here, for example--has gone into full failed state mode by almost all measures of the classic definition. The slow-motion anti-democratic implosion that began with the Chavez reign has turned into a massive social-political-economic-humanitarian black hole as the Chavez-Maduro "star" collapses, threatening to pull in other nations of the region. The excuses for that collapse are numerous, and you can find them in the standard swampy media. My favorite is, of course, that Venezuela was done in by the "collapse" of oil prices: a stupid, lazy lie. According to OPEC data, the average price of a barrel of oil in 1999, the year Chavez took power, was $17.44; the price of oil today is over $68. Only in prog world can that be a collapse. Furthermore, at no time since 1999, has oil gone below the price it was in 1999. During the entire Chavez-Maduro disaster, oil stayed well above the 1999 price.

Can't blame oil.

What could be the case of the Venezuelan disaster? The cause of the failure is, dare we say it, dare we say the one word of which our increasingly deranged Democrat party has become so enamored? Here goes, it's a shocker, SOCIALISM. Wow! It was hard to carry that secret around by myself.

Chavez-Maduro followed the global socialist playbook literally to a fault. They even wrote new chapters: they not only ran out of other people's money, they ran out of their own oil money, as well. A notable achievement in the annals of Socialism! The Venezuelan Socialist regime undertook the destruction of the private sector; the obliteration of the democratic opposition; fantabulous social programs costing billions upon billions; a foreign policy of hostility to the West, including promotion of and protection for drug trafficking, and of trying to buy influence wherever possible with those ever handy petrodollars, which they continued to receive from . . . the USA! Yes, we continued throughout it all to be Venezuela's biggest market. No Cuban-style embargo. And, of course, in true socialist state fashion it developed a fabulously wealthy cadre around the Dear Leader of the Bolivarian Revolution. The Chavez and the Maduro families have become extremely wealthy, as have favored Generals and bureaucrats--all the while ordinary people experience hunger, lack of medical care, the world's highest homicide rate, and an inflation rate, according to the IMF,  about to hit one million percent. Yes, one million percent! What does that even look like?

Starvation is now a real possibility in Venezuela. We already are seeing massive hunger and, of course, the flight of millions of Venezuelans to safety in Colombia and elsewhere, including Brazil and the USA.  In the last couple of days, we have seen bizarre stories of exploding drones trying to kill Maduro. I am sure soon the CIA will get blamed. I am a big, big critic of the CIA, but let me tell you, drone strikes is something they actually do quite well. They, furthermore, do not buy their drones at Walmart, Big Lots, or off of Amazon or e-Bay. If it were one of our drones going after big boy, there would be a big black hole--this time literally a black hole, not figuratively as above--where Maduro once stood. It's all nonsense and goes to show how fragile and frightened the regime has become.

The insanity in Venezuela is rippling across the region. The spiraling but barely reported violence in Nicaragua, for example, is at least partly a result of the Sandinistas--more Socialist darlings--no longer able to count on receiving cheap Venezuelan oil. Haiti, too, is experiencing unrest for the same reason. I am not sure what is happening on this score with Cuba, but there could be effects there, too. While I will shed no tears for troubles suffered by the Sandinistas or the Castro klan, the instability in Venezuela could have effects in, thus far, more stable places, such as Colombia and Brazil, as the Venezuelan migration river turns into a torrent, and the regime becomes increasingly belligerent.

The solution? Well, the region has been pathetic in responding to the growing in Venezuela. It's time, however, for that apathy to end. I can see at least a partial solution being an offer of asylum to Maduro and key cohorts from some place such as Panama or Ecuador. That might get the ball rolling for a change of regime in Caracas. Rebuilding Venezuela will be an arduous and expensive task even after the Chavez-Maduro bacteria are removed, but it would be a start.

I won't complain about anything ever again . . . well . . . sorta won't . . .

17 comments:

  1. I served a short TDY in Caracas, and came to like the country, but I am not in a hurry for Maduro to fail completely. As long as he limps along, inflation sky-high and Venezuelans fleeing in droves, he remains an abject example of just how bad socialism really is. It's a cruel fate for his countrymen, of course, but things have gotten so bad there it no longer works to blame the country's collapse on the yanquis. Think of it as breaking some eggs to make an omelette. Sad for the eggs, it's true, and for the poor people of Venezuela, but an example that only people like Sean Penn can ignore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You MEAN, it isn't TRUE that the CIA sends operatives the steal food and daily necessities from groaning Venezuelan grocery shelves? [sarc]

      Delete
    2. hey.. sometimes utopia can only be bought with heavy sacrifices (made by *other* people).

      - reader #1482

      Delete
  2. Timely article in the WSJ: With Old Escape Routes Gone, Dictators Hang On - In the past, embattled strongmen would flee to comfortable exiles, but a global crackdown on past crimes now makes it harder for them to surrender power. https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-old-escape-routes-gone-unpopular-dictators-hang-on-1533314734

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hillary ended the best option for dictators with nukes when she killed Gaddafi and bragged about it.

      Delete
  3. It surprises me that the chinese are not there to save the day. They still have a lot of oil. You could probably get it all for a couple of cargo ships of TP and food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are probably trying their best. What kind of roadblocks must they be running up against in order to not be succeeding there?
      Maduro has got to be reaching out to just *anybody* at this point, perhaps even Obama.
      - reader #1482

      Delete
  4. Overshadowed by all the Maduro-concocted melodramatics in Venezuela is the situation in Nicaragua, where Daniel Ortega is taking the country deeper and faster down the drain than even Chavez and Maduro have managed a little farther south.

    According to the Miami Herald, regime thugs have killed more Nicaraguans this year than even Maduro has managed in much larger Venezuela. The Nicaraguan economy is in freefall, tourism has vanished, and thousands are fleeing to Costa Rica.

    If China is going to help any country, it will be Nicaragua, not Venezuela. For China, there’s enough oil to buy elsewhere. But it still wants the cross-Nicaragua canal that it’s helping finance as an alternative to the Panama Canal.

    Meanwhile, where are Ortega’s old U.S. fans from the ‘80s? Or his foes here, for that matter? Maybe they don’t know much about what’s going on there since our news media are in no hurry to report on the situation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Our junior Senator here in Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin, recently gave a speech in Eau Claire, along with Bernie Sanders. How can a rational person take anything that people who will ally themselves with Bernie Sanders seriously? Hopefully, this is the sot of thing that will make Baldwin a singe termer, but, alas, Madison and Milwaukee are solid Democrat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Bernie is a real wise man. he was looking at this country in South America, that was going to be more like what Bernie wanted. I think it was Venezuela. And so Bernie was predicting how wonderful things were going to be there. That was a few years back, you know. I wonder how it turned out? If we had Bernie in charge, the USA could be like that place that does what Bernie wants, and we could be as wonderful as Venezuela too!

      Delete
  6. And nobody mentions the Kennedy clan's contribution to this debacle. Joe Kennedy and his dead brother Michael have been sucking on the Venezualan oil teat for years in exchange for political influence here in the US. Their Massachuttes "charity" Citizen's Energy double and triple dealt with "our good friends in Venezuala" for years and likely still do.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A dear friend who still lives in Venezuela used to say that the solution would be to remove all the European immigrants, drop a neutron bomb on the place and return the immigrants.
    Some things make you weep. The corruption started up again immediately after Perez Jimenez did a runner.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The initial stories about the "drone attack" on Maduro said that the local firefighters were disputing the attack story - they were saying that there was a gas explosion in an apartment across the street.

    If you watch the videos of the scene, you can see one apartment window set that's blown out, with flame-blackened tiles and wall material that looks as if flames came shooting out from inside.

    But that account seems to have gone away. What a great opportunity for Maduro!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I cannot find the story in a brief search of the Daily Mail site, but a couple of days ago, they had a story about a middle-class family who left Venezuela with their three children (and small dog) in an aging SUV and drove to Peru. They had a hell of a time getting an appendectomy for their oldest daughter, and decided to up stakes and leave, as soon as the child recovered. They packed everything in the van, sold what they couldn't take, and bailed. Gee, I wonder why it is now so hard to find that story?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I know a great teacher of applied linguistics from Venezuela who every so often posts a sad story from the land of her birth.

    Still, what can we say about Latin America?

    Five years after Hitler and Mussolini went down in infamy and opprobrium, Argentina, Latin America's best- educated and most economically sound state decides that Fascism is the wave of the future, and falls for Juan Peron.

    A few years after China starts dismantling Mao's economic legacy (if not his political one), a Peruvian university professor launches a Maoist revolutionary group.

    Venezuela goes red after Cuba is left high and dry with the Soviet collapse.

    Large numbers of Latin Americans seek to enter the USA illegally, even though they know it is a benighted, racist country and they could get free education and world class health care by rafting to Cuba (sarc)

    What is wrong with that whole quarter of the globe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. american imperialism... duh...!
      Because there was this guy, Allende, who was going to right all wrongs, turn the tables and make Chile the dominant power in the world through communism...
      seriously... any coffee shop in the SF bay area will have 20-something's tripping all over themselves to tell you the "facts". "Viva Ché!"

      It's our universities and their 'new education' that has failed the country. Producing little other than deliberately misinformed idiots.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
  11. Over a decade ago I had two teenage boys that were interested in wind surfing. I found a package to Margarita Island that seemed ideal. The only problem was one had to spend the night in Caracas before flying on. Even then, probably more like 14 years ago, I declined.
    V is a hell hole that no reasonable person would want to find themselves. As far as I can see the only reasonable solution is for some Western oil company to come in with a small army and right the ship. Does anyone have a better idea? They have eaten the zoo animals and are now working on the wild burro herds.

    ReplyDelete