Tag: Venezuela

Why Every Liberal Should Favor Small Government

 

Being a conservative who likes art, music, film, theater, new foods and cultural celebrations isn’t a stretch. That makes up the majority of conservatives I personally know. And while our preferences in those arenas may be different, we all share a near universal belief that government that is small is government that works best — streamlined, efficient, not trying to be an expert in areas that it is not. And, most importantly, a government that doesn’t think its interference makes things better.

But, for so many in liberal media and those moving narrative over facts, the conservative in America hates the arts (see: Meryl Streep), despises culture, and universally is an evil demagogue who hates brown people, wishes to live back in the ’50s, is desperate to eradicate all levels of government, and can’t stand the Commies.

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Venezuela’s Nationalized Misery

 
Oliver Sanchez
Oliver Sanchez, age 8, was diagnosed with lymphoma, gained fame in February 2016 when he joined anti-government demonstrations in Venezuela. Unable to find the needed medicine to treat his condition, Oliver passed away on May 24, 2016.

For the past seven years I have had the opportunity to travel the world, teaching for various international schools. For three years, I have lived in Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second-largest city. I have seen first-hand the collapse of what was once a vibrant and thriving country. In a previous post on the trouble of the country, several members requested personal reports about daily life in Venezuela. ‘V’ is a friend whose experience is all to common as the country’s economy continues to collapse. I hope her story and others will help all better understand the tragedy that is Venezuela.

I’m V, a 23-year-old Venezuelan. My family has always been middle class. I went to private school and had lots of opportunities. In December 2002, Hugo Chavez’s Socialist government further nationalized PDVSA, the largest oil company in Venezuela, and began hiring only pro-Chavista workers. The resulting backlash took the form of the largest employment strike in Venezuela’s history. As a nationalized company, the government responded by firing all PDVSA workers, then hiring back only those who could prove their loyalty to the Socialist party. Existing agreements between PDVSA and contractors were also subsequently canceled. Only businesses that could show proper deference to the government could do business with the oil giant. Within a matter of weeks, the largest company in Venezuela became a tool to reward political loyalties.

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The Real Security Threat to Venezuela

 
Nicolas Maduro Moros, via Wikimedia Commons.

According to El País, 50 newborn babies died this past month in a public hospital in the northern coastal town of Barcelona, Venezuela, and the cause of death is attributed to bacteria from an opossum that was spotted in the neonatal unit. Sadly, sanitary conditions like these are the norm in public hospitals across Venezuela, which also suffer from a 93% shortage in basic medical materials. Venezuela’s healthcare scarcity doesn’t stop there. Since former president Hugo Chávez’s election in 1998, more than 12,000 doctors, surgeons, and various other medical practitioners have left the public health system, 60% of them fleeing the the country to continue their careers elsewhere. Cuban “medical missions” have partially filled the void, but many of these physicians are treating the mission as an escape route. Just last week El Colombiano reported that at least 720 Cuban doctors have abandoned their Venezuelan medical posts and escaped to Colombia, in hopes of reaching the United States.

The healthcare crisis is only part of Venezuela’s woes. With inflation rising towards 200%, the national currency, the bolívar, is often used as a napkin to hold street foods such as empanadas. Lines often form around supermarkets throughout the country for basic goods. In July, Pepsi and Nestle shut down operations. Sovereign debt yields approach 30%, and odds of a default were estimated at 93% at the end of 2014. ¡Bienvenido a la Revolución Bolivariana! These are the fruits of failed, socialist polices copied from Cuba, implemented by Chávez, and now doubled-down upon by President Nicolás Maduro.

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The Strategika Podcast: Kori Schake on the Mixed Blessings of Energy Abundance

 

Schake current hi-resThe energy boom has been great for the United States. But in other parts of the world? Not so much. In this final installment of the Strategika series on the international implications of new energy development, I talk with the Hoover Institution’s Kori Schake about the fallout for nations that have traditionally relied on energy resources to prop up their governments. Are places like Venezuela and Russia heading for dramatic upheavals thanks to changes in global markets? Should growing American energy production cause us to rethink our role in the Middle East? Are natural resources just as much a curse as a blessing? You can hear the answers below or by subscribing to the Strategika podcast through iTunes or your favorite podcast player.

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