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  • Trouble in Worker’s Paradise – South American Edition

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on December 15th, 2015 (All posts by )

    Nicolas Maduro threatened Venezuelans before the recent elections. Asked how he would respond to an opposition victory in Parliament, he responded,

    “Venezuela would go through the most shady and poignant times of its political history, and we would defend the revolution, we wouldn’t surrender and the revolution would move into a new stage. Whoever has ears to hear, let them understand. Whoever has eyes to see, let them see the history clearly. The revolution will never surrender.”

    “You should start praying, oligarch from the right, because the revolution will win on Dec 6th. Start Praying from now. For peace and tranquility, so you have no responsibility. And if not, we will take to the streets, and in the streets we are very dangerous, ok? It’s better if we stay here governing for the people. Everybody happy.”

    The first thing that strikes me about all this is how much his rhetoric, albeit a little more plainly stated, resembles the rhetoric and riots of the American left. Give us what we want or there will be violence.

    As background, from Wiki:

    On 14 April 2013, Maduro was elected President of Venezuela, narrowly defeating opposition candidate Henrique Capriles with just 1.5% of the vote separating the two candidates. Capriles immediately demanded a recount, refusing to recognize the outcome as valid. Maduro was later formally inaugurated as President on 19 April, after the election commission had promised a full audit of the election results. On 24 October 2013, he announced the creation of a new agency, the Vice Ministry of Supreme Happiness, to coordinate all the social programmes.
    .
    Rule by decree 19 November 2013 through 19 November 2014
    In October 2013, Maduro requested an enabling law to rule by decree in order to fight corruption and to also fight what he called an “economic war”.
    .
    Rule by decree 15 March 2015 through 31 December 2015
    On 10 March 2015, Maduro asked to rule by decree for a second time following the sanctioning of seven Venezuelan officials by the United States, requesting the Enabling Law to be used to “confront” what Maduro called “the aggression of the most powerful country in the world, the United States”.
    .
    In 2014, a series of protests, political demonstrations, and civil insurrection began in Venezuela due to the country’s high levels of violence, inflation, and chronic shortages of basic goods attributed to economic policies such as strict price controls. Maduro’s government saw the protests as an undemocratic coup d’etat attempt orchestrated by “fascist opposition leaders and the United States”.

    And this from The Independent Sentinel:

    The United Social Party of Venezuela (PSUV) lost the latest congressional elections by a substantial margin. The opposition won 112 of 167 congressional seats to gain a two-thirds supermajority but it’s only the first battle. The war has just begun.
    .
    Maybe the people want to have toilet paper, diapers and beer again after 16 years of Socialist rule and ruination.
    .
    The opposition will be able to pass laws, release political prisoners, and reverse appointments to senior legal positions made by the current government, the bbc reported. They could call for a new election as early as next April.
    .
    There was a 74.3%, voter participation rate and it’s obvious a large portion of the population has had enough. The Socialists still control many municipalities, however. This comes two weeks after Argentina voted out the Socialist president.
    .
    Socialism has driven Venezuela into nightmarish poverty and with the help of people like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, George Soros, we can have their system imported here.
    .
    Their inflation rate is over 100%. The healthcare system is crumbling, drugs are scarce for the most serious illnesses and diseases exposing tens of thousands to disease. The people are using animal medications.
    .
    The value of their currency has plunged and store shelves are stripped bare. Their command and control financial system has led to severe shortages of all basics. That’s Socialism’s legacy.
    .
    Hungry people stampeded supermarkets with some regularity and they have to be guarded by police. Tampons are so scarce, one package eats up a third of Venezuelan’s salaries. The government sets the “fair” prices. The cost went from 15 cents for a package to three dollars which is a lot on a Venezuelans paltry salary. Other personal hygiene products are priced out about the same by the government.
    .
    All companies in Venezuela are governed by onerous foreign exchange and price controls. No company manages or keeps their own assets. Oil used to pour the ground but now the socialists are in charge. They have gone from an oil-rich, average income country into a wasteland not even as productive as Ethiopia. The Socialists did it in only 16 years.

    John Stossel, “…Leftists all over say this is gonna work. The Guardian newspaper, a leftist newspaper in Britain, “No one can explain why a rich country has no food.”
    PanAm Post editor Fergus Hodgson, “No can explain it? That’s a crazy statement. There are economists all over the place explaining it!”

    This is why history and economics are not taught in American secondary schools.

     

    11 Responses to “Trouble in Worker’s Paradise – South American Edition”

    1. Bill Brandt Says:

      There was a recent article on this in, I believe, The Economist. All they have to do now is recall Maduro.

    2. Mike K Says:

      They need Pinochet but probably won’t get anything like him. A benign dictator who restored economic freedom and then went away.

      We will have riots here if it looks like the GOP, and especially Trump, is going to win the election next November.

    3. Joe Wooten Says:

      Mike, given the normal Latin American way, it will probably be a Somoza, not a Pinochet.

    4. Mike K Says:

      “it will probably be a Somoza, not a Pinochet.”

      Or a Peron with a whiff of grapeshot.

    5. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Can you hear it? That scratching sound of a pen on paper?

      It is note-taking in the White House.

    6. Gringo Says:

      Here is some more wit and wisdom from Chairman Maduro.

      “I wanted to build 500 thousand houses next year, but I’m not so sure anymore. Not because I’m not capable, because I am. But because I asked for your support and you didn’t give it to me.”

      The irony here is that housing construction per capita per year during 16 years of Chavismo is about 60% of what it was during the last 20 years of the Fourth Republic [1979-1998.]

      Are ChicagoBoyz readers aware that not only will cocaine traffic charges be unsealed against Néstor Reverol,head of Venezuela’s National Guard, but that relatives of Venezuela’s First Family were arrested last month in Haiti for cocaine trafficing?. From the NYT:

      And in November, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged two nephews of Cilia Flores, the wife of President Nicolás Maduro, with conspiring to transport 800 kilograms of cocaine to the United States.

      They were arrested in Haiti.

      The Chavista government budgeted everything assuming $100+ oil. With the price of oil falling to the neighborhood of $30, there won’t be any money left to steal.Unfortunately,that will be small compensation for the people of Venezuela,because Chavismo has regulated free enterprise to death- including agriculture. Food will be scarce next year.

      If the GOV would free price controls and the exchange rate,a lot could turn around. But this government doesn’t have the sense that God gave geese. Or rather there are a lot of people who are profiting from the current set of regulations. A lot of insiders make out like a a bandit with access to the official exchange rate. They purchase dollars @ 6.3 Bolivares, and sell them @ the black market rate, which last I checked was 800 Bolivares/$. While it would appear insanity to sell gasoline at 10 cents US/gallon at the pump, when smugglers can sell it for ~$2.00/gallon in Colombia, a lot of Army and National Guard people make a pretty good living off the bribes involved in smuggling the gasoline to Colombia and to other countries.

      As other commenters have noted, military governments in Latin America do not have a good record overall for good governance.

    7. Gringo Says:

      There is an interesting tale regarding Maduro’s threat to unleash violence on the streets if Chavismo lost the December elections. By the end of polling, it was clear to Chavismo that they were headed for a loss. To turn that around, they tried an old trick: keep the polls open after the official end of polling, and bus in more voters. This was stopped by 1)Oppo poll watchers who raised a stink about keeping the polls open after closing time [some of whom got jailed for their troubles] and 2) the head of the Armed Forces told Maduro and Diosdado Cabello [translation: Godgiven Hair. Really!] to close the polls. The head of the Armed Forces also told Maduro and Cabello to keep their “motorizados” off the streets. The “motorizados” are Chavista goons on motorcycles who provide muscle against Oppo people. The “motorizados” would have unleashed violence on the streets had Maduro and Cabello so ordered. Fortunately, the streets were quiet after the election.

      Many were surprised at this move by the head of the Armed Forces, who had up to then appeared to be a lapdog of Chavismo- there is a photo of him w Fidel. A lot of cocaine and smuggling money has ended up with the military. Guess the military can only be rented, not bought.

    8. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      A bit more history from 2003:
      16 U.S. congressmen voiced their approval for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Representatives Barney Frank, John Conyers, Chaka Fattah, Jan Schakowsky, Jose Serrano, and others complained in a letter to President Bush that the United States was not adequately protecting Chavez against a groundswell of internal opposition to his increasingly authoritarian rule–an upsurge that might lead to his ouster. Elected to power in 1998, Lt. Col. Chavez has hijacked democracy in Venezuela and is openly moving the country toward totalitarianism. Beyond Venezuela’s borders, he celebrates, protects, and does business with terrorists.
      http://www.weeklystandard.com/comandante-chavezs-friends/article/3606

      I assume everyone is aware: Hugo Chávez daughter is the richest individual in Venezuela:
      http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2015/08/10/hugo-chavez-daughter-is-richest-individual-in-venezuela-report-claims/

      Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) praise Chavez after his death:
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2013/03/05/congressman-praises-hugo-chavez-in-death/

    9. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Gringo, thanks for the article in Caracas Chronicles. It’s good insight into how repression is carried out on the ground level. It also reads like a journal of practices of the Democratic Party. I don’t know if they learned from each other or they both learned from the Bolsheviks or if thugs just think alike.

    10. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      The American and European left are slier than that. They don’t threaten to be violent, they just ominously note that perhaps _someone_ will. Then they work to excuse whatever violence those _someones_ commit.

    11. Christopher B Says:

      To expand on AVI’s point, if they don’t like the perpatrator they won’t provide excuses but will warn in ominous tones about continuing violence if their policies aren’t enacted. Win-win.