Dispatches from the end of civilization

 

Sotiri Dimpinoudis is a journalist in Venezuela, posting video of events in Maracaibo, a northwestern city known as the center of the oil industry. It’s harrowing. (I’d embed, but it doesn’t seem to work.) His feed has pictures of a normal Western mall gutted by looting, as well as shops and restaurants emptied and ruined by the mobs.

The wikipedia page paints a picture of a civilized place. Proud of its university. Nothing about this is foreign to us Yanks:

Culture in Maracaibo is very indigenous and unique, is recognized in every state and city in Venezuela, and is very influential with its gaitas, desserts, style, living, and customs. Most major houses of advertising in Venezuela acknowledge how opposite the culture of Maracaibo is from that of Caracas. Studies of both prove, for example, that Caracas’ leading soft drink brand is Coke, while in Maracaibo it is Pepsi. This has made many brands create special localised advertising of their products (including several Pepsi commercials spoken by local celebrities).

Think NYC vs. Dallas, LA vs. Chicago. The journalist’s feed, by the way, includes video of the looting of the Pepsi distribution center, and the destruction of the fleet of trucks that deliver the soda. They took the tires; they took the engines. 

Marabinos are extremely proud of their city, their culture, and all of Zulia. They usually claim that Venezuela wouldn’t be the country it actually is without Zulia.

Just as Texans note – correctly – that the US wouldn’t be the country it is without Texas. Now imagine Dallas looted. 

You scroll through the account of the last few days, and wonder exactly how they come back from this. 

 

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There are 15 comments.

  1. Member

    Coming soon to a Lefist enclave near you.

    • #1
    • March 13, 2019 at 1:00 am
    • 3 likes
  2. Member

    James Lileks:

    You scroll through the account of the last few days, and wonder exactly how they come back from this.

     

    They don’t. Unfortunately at some levels of socialism you can’t recover. Venezuela just becomes a failed state ruled by warlords. Basically like Somalia or Syria only closer to home. If it starts spilling across into Colombia and Brazil then it may cause some kind of occupation depending on if the local neighbor state is stronger than the warlords. If the warlords are stronger it just spreads chaos to another county. I don’t think we would tolerate another great power establishing a puppet regime in Venezuela so that is probably not a way out for them. I am actually not sure that another great power could. Logistically Russia and China are pretty far away and this is something that would require troops which I don’t think either could or would provide at least not in the numbers necessary to do any good.

    • #2
    • March 13, 2019 at 1:37 am
    • 9 likes
  3. Member

    If the United States starts going socialist, Republic of Texas, baby!

    • #3
    • March 13, 2019 at 3:04 am
    • 8 likes
  4. Thatcher

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    James Lileks:

    You scroll through the account of the last few days, and wonder exactly how they come back from this.

     

    They don’t. Unfortunately at some levels of socialism you can’t recover. Venezuela just becomes a failed state ruled by warlords. Basically like Somalia or Syria only closer to home. If it starts spilling across into Colombia and Brazil then it may cause some kind of occupation depending on if the local neighbor state is stronger than the warlords. If the warlords are stronger it just spreads chaos to another county. I don’t think we would tolerate another great power establishing a puppet regime in Venezuela so that is probably not a way out for them. I am actually not sure that another great power could. Logistically Russia and China are pretty far away and this is something that would require troops which I don’t think either could or would provide at least not in the numbers necessary to do any good.

    This seems most likely .

    • #4
    • March 13, 2019 at 3:26 am
    • 4 likes
  5. Member

    James Lileks: Dispatches from the end of civilization

    And by “end of civilization” we mean socialist paradise. No more class warfare, everyone starves together.

    • #5
    • March 13, 2019 at 3:52 am
    • 5 likes
  6. Member

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Dispatches from the end of civilization

    And by “end of civilization” we mean socialist paradise. No more class warfare, everyone starves together.

    Would that were so. Unfortunately Maduro is making out quite well assuming of course he survives. I can’t remember who said it first but it is a truism “In Capitalism the rich become powerful. In Socialism the powerful become rich” 

    • #6
    • March 13, 2019 at 4:22 am
    • 3 likes
  7. Member

    I am not smart enough to know what happens, but it seems like it takes longer to build something than to destroy it. Re-building should be a little shorter than the original, but with so many elements that would have to work toward that goal, it seems that another strong man type would be required.

    • #7
    • March 13, 2019 at 5:27 am
    • 2 likes
  8. Member

    The Road to Hell.

    • #8
    • March 13, 2019 at 6:35 am
    • 2 likes
  9. Member

    Maduro won’t last long if we help the Colombian’s with the promise of air support, the Brazilians and Peruvians led by the Colombians have to kick him out. He’d depart for Cuba quickly along with senior military leaders. The rest of the military will sue for peace, because a new government will need those who can help round up the collectives and restore some order. All we have to do is promise air support and the neighbors to say they will invade and show themselves ready to do so, it will collapse into total chaos. There may be real humanitarian reasons to speed the process but first the Maduro government has to try to round up some of the collectivo gangs he’s been using but are showing that even chaos doesn’t have a bottom, it can always get worse. Some of the collectives may actually join the invasion if promised something. It’s not at all clear. At some point the Colombian’s and other neighbors have to use force. The Venezuelan opposition government has to decide but it will continue to decay into chaos until Maduro is sent packing. He won’t go unless it’s obvious that the Colombian military will invade and they probably won’t without US air support and full support of the opposition government. 

    • #9
    • March 13, 2019 at 7:02 am
    • 4 likes
  10. Member

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Maduro won’t last long if we help the Colombian’s with the promise of air support, the Brazilians and Peruvians led by the Colombians have to kick him out. He’d depart for Cuba quickly along with senior military leaders. The rest of the military will sue for peace, because a new government will need those who can help round up the collectives and restore some order. All we have to do is promise air support and the neighbors to say they will invade and show themselves ready to do so, it will collapse into total chaos. There may be real humanitarian reasons to speed the process but first the Maduro government has to try to round up some of the collectivo gangs he’s been using but are showing that even chaos doesn’t have a bottom, it can always get worse. Some of the collectives may actually join the invasion if promised something. It’s not at all clear. At some point the Colombian’s and other neighbors have to use force. The Venezuelan opposition government has to decide but it will continue to decay into chaos until Maduro is sent packing. He won’t go unless it’s obvious that the Colombian military will invade and they probably won’t without US air support and full support of the opposition government.

    I don’t know that like is exactly the right term here; however, I think I agree this could happen. I don’t know enough about the terrain between northern Brazil and southern Venezuela. If it is thick jungle then Brazil may not be worried about chaos spilling across that border because it really would be contained by terrain. Colombia certainly has an incentive to contain the chaos since they don’t have a natural buffer at least not an obvious one; however, I don’t know what their military capabilities are or if the political situation in Colombia is stable enough to handle that kind of intervention. I think it would be a hard thing for either Colombia or Brazil to do even with US air support. I also don’t know if they trust each other enough to work together on something like that.

    • #10
    • March 13, 2019 at 9:15 am
    • 1 like
  11. Member

    Colombia is the most vulnerable and they have the only real military in the region. It deteriorated under Santos’s but it’s still real and the Venezuelans know it. It is also the most stable country in the region in spite of the leftist press and our own prejudices because of the leftist bias everywhere. But they’re deeply Latino and need sound U S behind the scenes guidance.

    • #11
    • March 13, 2019 at 10:17 am
    • 1 like
  12. Member

    We forget Colombia chased the drug cartels to Mexico, Central America, Venezuela and Cuba until the nonsense peace process of the previous government. The current government remains an unknown and they’ll need our support but so far so do good. We simply lump all Latinos in the same basket. Colombia is different for a lot of reasons but they need us because they’re usually alone precisely because they are so different.

    • #12
    • March 13, 2019 at 10:39 am
    • 1 like
  13. Member

    I should also remind folks that the Cubans are running Maduro and we may have to make our intervention real so they know they’re at risk. I think real means air support but we have to have some real troops ready and some embedded but the Colombians will be the main force.

    • #13
    • March 13, 2019 at 10:51 am
    • 3 likes
  14. Member

    Then there’s the oil…..something Russia always has its eye on..

    • #14
    • March 13, 2019 at 1:33 pm
    • 1 like
  15. Member

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Then there’s the oil…..something Russia always has its eye on..

    Exactly and the Chinese. This is serious business and most Americans, especially those with no personal knowledge of the region, want to write it off as Latino’s being Latino’s.

    • #15
    • March 13, 2019 at 2:02 pm
    • 1 like