Posted tagged ‘Venezuelan economy’

Venezuela 2017: Socialist Policies Take Humanitarian Toll as Country Enters Dictatorship

December 24, 2017

Venezuela 2017: Socialist Policies Take Humanitarian Toll as Country Enters Dictatorship, BreitbartBen Kew, December 24, 2017

(Venezuelans who despise the Marudo regime and have the means to do so have probably left already.  One of the first things Chavez did when thousands of oil workers went on strike was to fire them all and replace them with others who knew nothing about working at an oil refinery. Chavez was bad and Maduro is worse. — DM)

Emigration has also become a major issue, with the outflux of Venezuelan migrants reaching unprecedented levels. Venezuela has surpassed Syria as the number one source of asylum requests into the United States, while the neighboring country of Colombia has begun drawing up plans for refugee camps should the country’s humanitarian crisis continue to worsen.

“2017 was the year when the international community finally accepted that the Venezuelan regime has morphed into a real narco-state with dangerous implications for the region,” former Venezuelan Ambassador to the U.N. Diego Arria told Breitbart News.

“2018 will mark the implosion of the crumbling Venezuela economy, the spread of massive poverty and hunger, becoming the worst humanitarian tragedy of any country in the region,” he continued. “Altogether this should lead to an increasing popular revolt that might convince the military to stop supporting this a bankrupt narco-state, under the increasing pressure of international sanctions.

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Although Venezuela’s problems began with the election of the authoritarian left-wing revolutionary Hugo Chávez in 1998, 2017 was the year that the country’s problems became too catastrophic for even the world’s most ardent socialists to defend.

Politically, the year has been defined by Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government’s increasingly blatant efforts to rule the country decree, while an embattled and disunified opposition continue to fail in their attempts to unify the country to bring down the government.

In January, Maduro appointed Aragua state governor Tareck El Aissami as the nation’s new vice president, a figure with strong links to major drugs trafficking outlet across Latin America and the jihadi terror organization Hezbollah. Together, the pair has schemed to turn the country into a one-party state.

The country’s crisis came to a head in April after opposition leaders called for daily protests that would rock the nation to its core. Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets every day to fight for their freedom and were met with shocking levels of brutality by security forces, which included the use of rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons, that led to the deaths of 125.

The protests were primarily a response to increasing political persecution by the Maduro regime, as well as plans to rewrite the country’s constitution by creating an illegal lawmaking body known as the “national constituent assembly” that usurped the power of elected lawmakers and replaced them with government-approved cronies.

The Maduro regime eventually prevailed in their attempts to install the lawmaking body, which they legitimized through an election marred by violence which was later found to have been fraudulent. The body has since moved to pass laws to increase the regime’s authority, which include a law “against hatred and fascism” and bringing charges against political opponents.

Despite widespread unpopularity, Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has also had considerable electoral success in both mayoral and regional elections, boycotted by many opposition parties. The State Department later confirmed that both elections were plagued by a number of irregularities, including the banning of international observers, voter intimidation, and the closing of polling stations in opposition-controlled areas.

Maduro has also ruled that main opposition parties can no longer stand in next year’s presidential election, declaring that they will “disappear from the political map.”

The government has also ratcheted up political persecution. Thousands of political dissidents remain in prison, including opposition leader Leopoldo López. Meanwhile, figures such as Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma and Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz, a former government loyalist, have also fled the country.

Economic turmoil has also plagued the regime, amid skyrocketing rates of inflation that have rendered the Bolivar currency practically worthless as well as a failure to meet a number of debt payments amounting to around $200 billion.

Two of the regime’s main creditors are China and Russia. Despite managing to agree on a debt restructuring package with Russia, China appears to have lost patience, and last month filed a lawsuit filed a lawsuit against the country’s state-run oil firm Petroleum of Venezuela (PDSVA) over a series of missed payments.

Yet amid all the political and economic turmoil, Venezuela is also facing the worst humanitarian crisisin its history. With a monthly minimum wage of around $1.50, millions of families can no longer afford enough food to eat, basic medical necessities, or power in their homes.

Shocking cases include teenage girls turning to prostitution, the butchering of zoo animals for food, and even cases of cannibalism as people struggle to feed themselves.

2017 has also seen the value of the Venezuelan bolivar collapse to levels comparable to Zimbabwe or the Weimar Republic, with one American dollar now worth 112,000 bolivares, as Maduro continues to hike the country’s minimum wage to fight against what he claims is an “economic war” led by the United States.

The crisis has attracted worldwide attention, particularly in the United States. The White House imposed multiple economic sanctions against the regime, as well as personal sanctions against Maduro and other government officials.

President Donald Trump has also become a prominent voice on the crisis, claiming that America “will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles,” and has even mulled the possibility of military action as a solution.

Maduro has since urged his country’s military to prepare for war with the U.S, urging them to have “rifles, missiles, and well-oiled tanks at the ready … to defend every inch of the territory if need be.” He has also ordered civilians to join in “civic-military exercises” at government-run boot camps to prepare for a potential invasion.

LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Image

Emigration has also become a major issue, with the outflux of Venezuelan migrants reaching unprecedented levels. Venezuela has surpassed Syria as the number one source of asylum requests into the United States, while the neighboring country of Colombia has begun drawing up plans for refugee camps should the country’s humanitarian crisis continue to worsen.

“2017 was the year when the international community finally accepted that the Venezuelan regime has morphed into a real narco-state with dangerous implications for the region,” former Venezuelan Ambassador to the U.N. Diego Arria told Breitbart News.

“2018 will mark the implosion of the crumbling Venezuela economy, the spread of massive poverty and hunger, becoming the worst humanitarian tragedy of any country in the region,” he continued. “Altogether this should lead to an increasing popular revolt that might convince the military to stop supporting this a bankrupt narco-state, under the increasing pressure of international sanctions.”

Children are Starving Under Socialism

December 17, 2017

Children are Starving Under Socialism, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, December 17, 2017

(Socialist dictatorship or a Communist Kleptocracy? — Not that it makes much difference. My wife and I were in Venezuela, off and on, for a couple of years just before and after Chavez took over. Back then, food was plentiful, the country was prosperous, health care was good and the people seemed to be happy.– DM)

Today’s New York Times has a long article, replete with photographs, on starving children in Venezuela. The situation is grim:

Hunger has stalked Venezuela for years. Now, it is killing the nation’s children at an alarming rate, doctors in the country’s public hospitals say.

Venezuela has been shuddering since its economy began to collapse in 2014. Riots and protests over the lack of affordable food, excruciating long lines for basic provisions, soldiers posted outside bakeries and angry crowds ransacking grocery stores have rattled cities, providing a telling, public display of the depths of the crisis.

But deaths from malnutrition have remained a closely guarded secret by the Venezuelan government. In a five-month investigation by The New York Times, doctors at 21 public hospitals in 17 states across the country said that their emergency rooms were being overwhelmed by children with severe malnutrition — a condition they had rarely encountered before the economic crisis began.

The article goes on to describe how infants are dying of starvation, young children are leaving their homes to forage for food in dumpsters, adults are shriveling to the size of children, and so on. All of this despite Venezuela supposedly having the “largest proven oil reserves in the world.” The Times says Venezuela’s “economy has collapsed.” It refers to the country’s “economic crisis” at least seven times by my count, but the origin of that crisis remains a mystery. This is as close as the Times wants to come:

President Nicolás Maduro has acknowledged that people are hungry in Venezuela, but he has refused to accept international aid, often saying that Venezuela’s economic problems are caused by foreign adversaries like the United States, which he says is waging an economic war against his country.

The article moves on without comment.

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But many economists contend that years of economic mismanagement set the stage for the current disaster.

Socialism by definition is economic mismanagement. But the Times never does finger the real culprit, although it does briefly mention the fact that Venezuela’s government is Socialist:

The Venezuelan government has used food to keep the Socialists in power, critics say. Before recent elections, people living in government housing projects said they were visited by representatives of their local Socialist community councils — the government-aligned groups that organize the delivery of boxes of cheap food — and threatened with being cut off if they did not vote for the government.

The Democrats should try that, if they aren’t doing it already.

The Times’s coverage of Socialist Bernie Sanders has been almost entirely positive, and it reports gleefully on the growing number of millennials who describe themselves as Socialists. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the paper’s editorial board endorse Elizabeth Warren in 2020. I suppose it would be too much cognitive dissonance for the Times to acknowledge that the end point of Socialism, always and everywhere, is empty zoos and vanishing pets; dumpsters scoured for food scraps; rats hunted as a protein source; police violence against the hungry; a disappearing health care system; populations fleeing to neighboring countries; and, as in Venezuela, starving children, while the Socialists in charge of the scam make off with billions of dollars.

Haley Calls Venezuela a Global Threat: It Is ‘An Increasingly Violent Narco-State’

November 15, 2017

Haley Calls Venezuela a Global Threat: It Is ‘An Increasingly Violent Narco-State’, Washington Free Beacon, November 15, 2017

(The UN has neither the time nor the energy to consider Venezuela. Doing so would allow less time to focus on the Israel, well known by most UN member states to be the main if not only cause of all evil. Please see also, The UN – here we go again. — DM)

Nikki Haley / Getty Images

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday that Venezuela is “an increasingly violent narco-state” and a threat to the world during an informal Security Council meeting boycotted by four countries.

The Security Council meeting, boycotted by Russia, China, Egypt and Bolivia, included strong condemnation from Haley about Venezuela using pressure to keep council members from attending the meeting, according to the Associated Press:

Venezuela’s U.N. ambassador, Rafael Ramirez, denounced the session, telling reporters: “This is a hostile act from the United States and an interference that violates the sovereignty principles of a country that is a member of the United Nations.”

The situation in Venezuela is not on the Security Council’s official agenda — a point stressed by Ramirez and Bolivia’s U.N. ambassador — but Haley said she will continue “to use the convening power of the United Nations to draw attention to this crisis.”

The informal meeting sharply divided the 15 members on the U.N.’s most powerful body. In addition to the four countries that boycotted, diplomats noted that Ethiopia and Uruguay indicated the meeting shouldn’t have been held and Senegal didn’t speak.

Italy and the United States organized the meeting by circulating a note to other council members about hearing first-hand accounts of the deteriorating political and economic situation in oil-rich Venezuela. The note also said the meeting would discuss the international community’s role in finding political solutions.

“The situation unfolding in Venezuela is more than a human tragedy,” Haley said. “The crisis in Venezuela today poses a direct threat to international peace and security. Venezuela is an increasingly violent narco-state that threatens the region, the hemisphere and the world.”

Haley also addressed the Venezuelan people and said that President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government has caused them to suffer high inflation rates after previously having the highest GDP-per-capita in the region.

“[Venezuela] cares only for preserving its own power, rather than promoting the freedom and welfare of its people,” Haley said.

“Today, families struggle to live on just about eight dollars a month,” Haley added. “The result is that Venezuela’s neighbors are paying the bill for the violence and poverty the corrupt Maduro regime has inflicted on its people.”

A Venezuelan drug dealer secures another bailout from Russia

November 11, 2017

A Venezuelan drug dealer secures another bailout from Russia, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, November 11, 2017

(Please see also, Socialism: Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Crashes to Under Four Dollars a Month. — DM)

For the umpteenth time, Venezuela has clawed back from the brink of near sovereign default, making a $1.2-billion payment on a PDVSA state oil company bond Friday, which was its absolute last chance before the ISDA’s repo men, who rule on whether a type of bond insurance known as credit default swaps should be invoked, moved in.

Riding to its rescue was Russia, which has an enormous stake in Venezuela’s oil production, including even its Citgo refineries.  Russia agreed to renegotiate $3 billion of the straight sovereign debt Venezuela owes it, in what is believed to have been from arms sales to then-living Hugo Chávez’s government.

That $3 billion gave Venezuela enough wiggle-room liquidity to shell out for the PDVSA bonds this one last time…until the next.  This is Russia’s third bailout of the socialist hellhole, for what it’s worth.  There will be more.

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times both report that Venezuela will now seek to restructure $150 billion in debt – and those negotiations will be led by Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck el-Aissami, who is on the U.S. sanctions list as a drug dealer.  That’s some fine company the other creditors of Venezuela, such as Goldman Sachs, will find themselves in.  The Times notes that due to the sanctions, the creditors can’t legally do business with him, or even be in the same room with him.

This won’t bother the Russians.  Russia, after all, has at least $17 billion in investment in Venezuela’s oil industry, a greater amount than the $11 billion in arms sales.  The arms sales just made some factory in Russia richer.  The oil, on the other hand, not only represents commodity wealth, but means petro-power and Russia’s capacity to control natural resources and project global influence.  That’s a bigger deal to Russia’s leaders, who played the same game with Hillary Clinton’s Uranium One deal, than a few rifle and aircraft sales.  Venezuela has probably allowed the equipment to go to seed anyway.

All the same, it shows the extent to which Russia will defend its crummy little cat’s-paw in the Western Hemisphere.  China has an even greater stake in Venezuela’s bond market health, given that it has $63 billion in loans outstanding in Venezuela.  It refuses renegotiation of the debt even as it encourages default to Western creditors, and after a period of providing bailouts, it just quit giving them.

Russia hasn’t.  And it’s costing and costing, not the least in terms of goodwill, as this piece by Foreign Policy notes.  Yet it doesn’t want to let go of this costly strategy.  It will probably bail Venezuela out ’til kingdom come.  And why is it?  Not just to be the big dog on the global block, but to tweak Uncle Sam as payback for U.S. involvement in what it sees as its backyard in the Baltics, the former Soviet republics, and Eastern Europe.  The U.S. has no such burden of having to bail out socialist hellholes for the purpose of manipulating them or getting back at a superpower rival.  That Russia would assume this burden for an increasingly untenable regime shows the extent to which it values leverage against the U.S.

 

Socialism: Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Crashes to Under Four Dollars a Month

November 11, 2017

Socialism: Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Crashes to Under Four Dollars a Month, BreitbartBen Kew, November 10, 2017

FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images

As part of his socialist economic program, the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez would boast that Venezuela had the highest minimum wage in Latin America, equivalent to $372 a month. However, inflation began to soar as early as 2007 and has now reached levels comparable to Germany’s Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation crisis, which saw people using wheelbarrows to buy products and the introduction of a 100 trillion dollar banknote.

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The monthly minimum wage in the socialist country of Venezuela has crashed to under four dollars a month as hyperinflation continues to crush the country’s shattered economy.

Despite dictator Nicolás Maduro’s five minimum wage hikes over the course of 2017, the monthly minimum wage of 177,507 bolivares is equivalent to $3.41, working out at just over two cents an hour, according to latest real value exchange rates.

Venezuelans also receive a monthly food ticket of 279,000 bolivares a month, bringing people’s total monthly income to around approximately nine dollars a month.

Maduro confirmed last week that the government would debut a new 100,000 Bolivar bill, making it the highest denomination note released in modern Venezuelan history. The move comes less than a year after he tried to relieve pressure on consumers by releasing 500, 1000, 2000, 10,000, and 20,000 bolivar notes, although all of these notes now all have a value of well under half a dollar.

While, ten years ago, a 100 Bolivar note could buy a television, it is now worth just over one cent, with the currency having lost over 99.99 percent of its value since 2010. Yet rates of inflation continue to accelerate amid fears of a default on the country’s colossal debt.

On Wednesday, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed that Russia would offer Maduro a restructuring package on Venezuela’s $3 billion debt, although analystsbelieve this will do little to ease the overall debt burden, which currently stands at around $120 billion.

The unprecedented levels of inflation have now led the country into the worst humanitarian crisis in its history, leaving millions living in abject poverty amid chronic shortages of basic resources such as food, electricity, medicine, and sanitary products.

The country’s government also faces further pressure from the United States, with the Trump administration signing off on a range of sanctions primarily targeting the country’s state-run oil company following the socialist government’s installation of a “national constituency assembly,” a fraudulent lawmaking body which has effectively rendered the country a dictatorship.

As part of his socialist economic program, the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez would boast that Venezuela had the highest minimum wage in Latin America, equivalent to $372 a month. However, inflation began to soar as early as 2007 and has now reached levels comparable to Germany’s Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation crisis, which saw people using wheelbarrows to buy products and the introduction of a 100 trillion dollar banknote.

It is unanimous [Venezuela]

September 1, 2017

It is unanimous, Venezuela News and ViewsDaniel Duquenal, August 31, 2017

My point here is that decisions are unanimous, hand raised, so even if you were not to raise your hand, among 500+ seats who would see you?  And that is the problem because when you follow the time lines on Twitter of some of these guys they are all unreconstructed Marxists, and often violent in tone.

For those who will be summoned to the assembly and decide to go anyway, I have these words from Dante: “All hope abandon, ye who enter here”

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I am not talking much about the fraudulent constitutional assembly because, to begin with, I do not recognize it (1). Not that it matters, just to make it clear that it is a waste of time to discuss its activities since it is there merely to give cover for any dictatorial abuse.

But a little summary here and there may be useful, if anything for people to have a sense of what it is like to live under a one party dictatorship.

The assembly spent its first month on nothing related to writing a new constitution. Nothing that I know of anyway.  On the other hand it wasted little time in removing constitutional rights protections from the still valid 1999 document. Thus the republic’s prosecutor was forced into exile and the National Assembly was stripped of its attributions.  For starters, that is.

The next step was to vote a “peace law” which is nothing but the imposition of peace through elimination of one of the parties in the conflict. It is not “la paix des tombeaux” yet, but that some have called for the establishment of the death penalty in Venezuela tells you which way we are headed.  I have even heard words like “we are going to teach them to love”…..  a.k.a. reeducation camps. No?

But the transformation of the constituent fraud into a stalinist court has to spill over other areas. Today a new decree was approved “by unanimity” over how to take on Venezuelan economic problems.  Interestingly the assembly decree offers no sign of any measure that may improve store shelves. Its interest is focused on oil industry, here and world wide (?). The other aspects of economy will be directed by the “jefatura politica” of the assembly and the government (“political direction”, as ominous as it goes) .  Oh, and people will be summoned to the assembly to dialogue and expose their economic criteria. Like everything else with the dictatorship, dialogue means “come here so I can tell you what you are supposed to do”. Never mind who the assembly will summon, certainly not those it ought to listen to.

But all are mere details. My point here is that decisions are unanimous, hand raised, so even if you were not to raise your hand, among 500+ seats who would see you?  And that is the problem because when you follow the time lines on Twitter of some of these guys they are all unreconstructed Marxists, and often violent in tone.

For those who will be summoned to the assembly and decide to go anyway, I have these words from Dante: “All hope abandon, ye who enter here”

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1) Just for memory, there is a rather complete explanation about all the reasons that makes it impossible for a democrat to recognize the constitutional assembly. Not to mention the electoral fraud that went along.

Right Angle – A Self Inflicted Tragedy in Venezuela

August 15, 2017

Right Angle, BillWhittleChannel via YouTube, August 9, 2017

(Is it Socialism or Communism, and does it matter? — DM)