The socialist revolution in Venezuela has… as all socialist revolutions always do… devolved into violent Government repression and endemic poverty. Venezuela is so short on food that tens of thousands are going hungry or even starving. Its murder rate is among the highest in the world. Its economy is so crippled that the average shopper […]
I just spent a week in Panama. Stayed at a decent (i.e., everything you’d expect in the First World) hotel, including a great in-house gym. Multiple Oly 45-pound bars. Full plate racks. One couldn’t ask for more. Okay, one could: They didn’t have any kettlebells, but what’re you going to do?
My usual routine is to wake up at 0500, look at Drudge, and hit the gym. Hotel breakfast starts at 0600, and I wanted to be there when it opens, get my chow done, then have almost two hours to prep for the day before we launched around 0800 for our workday/conference.More
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.More
From the Daily Mail (so, you know, caveat emptor): More
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.
Last month, this was the view a few blocks away from where I teach: Venezuelans wait all day for the chance to get into a price-controlled, government grocery store within Centro Comercial Costa Verde in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
It was rumored that diapers would be available.More
I imagine if you’re a Bernie Sanders supporter (Sandernista), a two-day work week sounds pretty sweet; or maybe like too much effort. (“Two whole days? But my teachers said I was SPECIAL!”) The socialist administration began imposing a four-hour daily blackout around the country this week to save electricity. Then, Maduro announced that millions of […]
Socialism continues to provide economic humor: Venezuela is running out of money to print new money. With inflation nearing 700%, the currency has been debased so much that the highest denomination paper bill (100 Bolivars) is now worth only 9 US cents, and the printing costs are approaching the value of the bill. More
Some recent stories from Venezuela, Brazil, and Nigeria caught my attention; they have some interesting similarities. They are all oil-producing countries–with state-owned oil companies–that have been impacted by falling oil prices. And they are also reaching levels of political maturity where corruption is becoming more scandalous. In Venezuela, the opposition has resolved to oust Chavez’s successor Nicolas […]
The Venezuelan take on Trump: Chávez and Trump:“Incredibly, New Yorker magnate Donald Trump has populist and authoritarian traits that remind us, almost unconsciously, of late-Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.”– ROBERTO GIUSTI | EL UNIVERSAL More
I don’t follow news from Latin America that closely, but recent conversations on Ricochet prompted me to take a look. If the rest of the world is going somewhere in a hand basket, to the point that plans for fortress America start getting dusting off, then it seems worthwhile to be aware of developments on […]
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.More
The 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.More
What is it about toilette paper that makes it so often act as the leading indicator of the health of an economy? Shortages are nothing new in Venezuela. Indeed, a shortage of toilet paper has been the subject of global amusement for quite some time. But recently, the shortages have become much worse. More