Tag Archives: Hugo Chavez

Why don’t young Americans understand the effects of socialist policies?

Supermarket shelves empty thanks to socialist policies
Supermarket shelves empty thanks to socialist policies

Here is an interesting article by Kathryn Blackhurst, writing for LifeZette.com. The article reports on how the mainstream media has covered the situation in Venezuela, which has been under socialist rule for decades.

Kathryn explains:

Out of approximately 50,000 total evening news stories on ABC, CBS and NBC combined in the last four years, just 25 have covered the ongoing crisis in socialist Venezuela, according to a Media Research Center study published Tuesday.

After Venezuela’s former socialist president, Hugo Chávez, passed away in March 2013, the country has spiraled into economic disaster and civil chaos. So far in 2017, more than 50 Venezuelans have been killed during protests against current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his socialist policies. Many Venezuelans are starving due to shortages of food and other essentials. The country’s inflation rate is set to surpass 700 percent and 25 percent of Venezuelans will be unemployed.

“Yet the Big Three evening newscasts have tried to pretend this crisis does not exist, offering virtually no coverage as the situation has deteriorated over the past four years,” MRC Research Analyst Mike Ciandella wrote.

“The networks have also been reluctant to attach the ‘socialist’ label to Venezuela’s government, and have utterly failed to criticize liberal politicians and celebrities who have praised the Chávez and Maduro regimes,” Ciandella added.

Indeed, out of the 50,000 total evening news stories on the three networks, just 25 covered Venezuela, and only seven mentioned “socialism.” In addition, NBC Nightly News only broadcast 13 stories spanning 16 minutes and 54 seconds, ABC’s World News only covered 8 minutes and 34 seconds over seven stories, and CBS Evening News only offered 3 minutes and 11 seconds over five stories.

“The network evening news programs seem allergic to reporting on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela,” Ciandella told LifeZette in an email. “Even worse, the few times they have managed to cover the widespread poverty, starvation and government oppression in that country, they somehow find ways to do that without mentioning the word ‘socialism.’”

That’s why your children can go through public schools and consume mainstream media news without ever understanding what effects follow from left-wing socialist economic policies. There just isn’t anyone intelligent and honest enough in the mainstream media to give the historical context that explains what policies were tried in the past, which resulted in the effects in the present.

Over 100,000 Venezuelans pouring into Colombia from the Venezuela in order to buy food
Over 100,000 Venezuelans pouring into Colombia from the Venezuela in order to buy food

Economist Stephen Moore has more about the situation in Venezuela, in this Investors Business Daily article.

He writes:

Venezuela is a human rights crisis of epic proportions ‎with mass hunger, mass poverty, despair, ghetto upon ghetto, and a mass exodus of private businesses and anyone with money. There are no rich and no evil corporations to loot anymore. The inflation rate is almost 500% as the currency is now about as valuable as Monopoly money.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Venezuela now employs 100,000 security forces — not to repel foreign threats or invaders, but to keep the government leaders like corrupt president Nicolas Maduro safe from their own citizens. Adjusted for population size, this would be the equivalent of one million Americans employed every day to stop riots in the streets. More than 40 protesters have been shot so far this year by the guardsmen.

The average pay has fallen to less than $50 — not per day, or per week, but per month. How’s that for a minimum wage?  ‎The people eat dogs if they can find them and the world was shocked by the story earlier this year of the raid on the municipal zoo to eat the animals. How bad off does a population have to be to start carving up elephant meat?

The burgeoning resistance throws molotov cocktails, rocks and even human feces at the security forces during the nonstop rioting. It’s like a scene out of an HBO movie. “I don’t fear death because this life is crap,” one protester told the WSJ.

[…]What is stunning about this story is that this is a nation that was once one of the wealthiest places in South America. Unlike places such as Subsaharan Africa where extreme poverty is the norm,  there is no excuse for Venezuala’s steep fall into the abyss because this is a resource-rich nation.

Under thug Hugo Chavez the former socialist dictator, Venezuela began its relentless conquest of private wealth and it’s process of nationalizing private enterprises. Chavez was lionized by the American left and the Hollywood elite — Sean Penn and Chavez were BFFs — for his “progressive” policies.

There’s literally no difference between the views of Chavez and Maduro and mainstream Democrat economic policy in the United States. They’re just further along the road to serfdom than we are, because their population is less economically literate than we are. For now.

I’d be willing to bet that many of these starving protestors in Venezuela voted over and over again for the socialists. That’s what happens when people vote with their feelings instead of knowledge of basic economics. But where would ignorant Venezuelans have picked up a knowledge of basic economics? Come to think of it… where would ignorant American millenials, who hold entire conversations in memes, pick up a knowledge of basic economics? They certainly wouldn’t get it from public schools teachers or the mainstream media “journalists”.

Good news: Venezuela and Argentina eject socialist governments

Political Map of South America
Political Map of South America

Investors Business Daily has some good news for us. The Democrat Party of Venezuela has been CRUSHED in a recent election.

Excerpt:

Venezuela’s voters delivered a sledgehammer blow to the country’s ruling Chavista socialists Sunday, winning a likely supermajority in the National Assembly. It’s a great awakening from a 17-year nightmare.

Given the past two decades of near-victories, electoral fraud, chicanery and fractious political opposition mistakes, many Venezuelans are still in disbelief at the scale of the victory in the nation’s legislative elections, which have decisively handed one of Venezuela’s leading governing bodies over to the democratic, pro-free-market opposition.

As this was written, the opposition, known by its Spanish initials MUD, had declared a 112-seat, or two-thirds, supermajority in the National Assembly as a result of Sunday’s vote. The Chavistas won just 46 seats.

It’s total victory in legislative terms and will enable the legislature to throw out politicized Supreme Court justices and appoint honest ones.

The new Congress can also boot corrupt election officials and appoint fair ones. And they will even be able to declare President Nicolas Maduro — the late dictator Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor — mentally unstable and unfit for office, or remove him for incompetence. They can also stop his executive orders dead.

The Congress also will have the power to free the 71 or so political prisoners now rotting in Chavista dungeons without trial, including top opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. And Venezuela’s central bank will stop destroying the country’s money, now nearly worthless.

[…]Most important, the leftist government’s mismanagement of the economy — through currency controls that prevented imports of spare parts, created shortages of basics such as toilet paper and devastated the health care system — and the central bank’s infamous money-printing spree, which has pushed Venezuelan inflation to near 700%, made ordinary life for Venezuelans hellish. There also was corruption, with as much as 1 trillion dollars in oil earnings stolen or misappropriated over the years by high-living Chavista elites, whose lavish lifestyles mocked ordinary, poor Venezuelans.

Top it with the monstrous infiltration of the country by the drug lords, and the likelihood of an electoral housecleaning was perfectly clear.

Still, an element of disbelief remains, given how dirty the Chavista rulers have played their democracy game.

They have broken election rules, violated ballot secrecy, shut voters out and banned popular candidates from running. Many of those dirty tricks were evident in this election, too — the Chavistas illegally extended voting hours and campaigned at polling stations, to cite just a couple of examples.

But the opposition won anyway — with turnout so high, at 74.5%, and margins of victory so wide that the election was impossible to steal.

It helped that the the opposition had the wind at its back with the disastrous result of socialism. But it also helped that MUD had improved its electoral game over the years, learning from each near-miss election.

It also helped that MUD had strong leaders such as Maria Corina Machado and put out strong candidates with a clear, unified message — often summed up as “Down with the left.” And with all the pain of 17 years, it helped most of all that they never lost heart.

There is literally no different between the socialists of Venezuela and the Democrat Party in the United States. They are in lock step on every issue. Should the Democrat Party continue to hold power in America, we can look forward to a reckoning like this one in the future.

Two socialists shake hands: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez
Two socialists shake hands: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez

The Wall Street Journal says that the whole country is basically in the grip of ignorant socialists at every level, so there is lots to do.

Excerpt:

Pulling out of that death spiral, economists say, will require a series of painful and unpopular adjustments, rolling back more than a decade of populist and statist policies. Among the measures needed is raising the price of the world’s cheapest gasoline—which goes for less than one U.S. penny a gallon—overhauling a cumbersome and inefficient foreign-exchange system, and cutting generous social programs on which Venezuela’s poor depend.

[…]The government still controls more than 20 governorships, hundreds of mayors, the judiciary, much of the press and all auditing agencies. It will be up to Mr. Maduro whether to take steps to stabilize the economy, like loosening currency or price controls.

It’s not just Venezuela that has hit bottom under socialism. Recently, the people of Argentina also threw out their socialists after years and years of disastrous leftist policies.

The Chicago Tribune reports on last month’s election in Argentina.

Excerpt:

Under the current president, Cristina Fernandez, Argentina has become an international financial pariah. The country defaulted on debt last year in a long-running feud with hedge funds — remarkably, that was the eighth default in Argentina’s history.

Fernandez refused to settle. That’s left the country to squeak by in isolation, using protectionism and capital controls in a quixotic battle with globalism. The economy is stagnant, foreign currency reserves are dwindling and the inflation rate is around 30 percent. Last week, American Airlines said it stopped accepting pesos for ticket sales because it was tired of collecting revenue it couldn’t convert to dollars.

At times Argentina has embraced trade and economic openness, only to slip back into bad habits thanks to populist Peronistas like Fernandez. Macri, a conservative, wants to re-establish free market principles, but there are a lot of details he didn’t fully explain before his November victory because they will require some short-term pain, and he wanted to win the election.

Everything Macri is talking about makes sense. He says he will lift the capital controls that have wrecked the peso’s credibility. Like other backwaters it shouldn’t resemble, Argentina has a thriving black market because the government insists the peso is worth a lot more than its actual value. Freeing the currency would devalue it, a first step toward making Argentina more competitive.

The next big step would be to negotiate a settlement with the hedge funds that bought up Argentina’s debt after its previous default in 2002 and demand repayment. Fernandez got political mileage from attacking the “vultures,” but Macri seems to understand Argentina can’t get unstuck when it’s essentially shut out of international capital markets. He sounds like he wants to do a deal.

Macri’s got a tremendous balancing act to pull off: He’ll need to cut spending and reduce taxes without destroying the country’s big social safety net, while walking the country through a devaluation.

This is how countries that are ruled for a prolonged period by the political left eventually end up. I know so many of you lose heart and think that there is no hope, but there is hope. Even in countries where the left is running everything from the universities, to the judiciaries, to the mainstream media, there is hope.

Over the last 7 years, Obama added $10 trillion to the national debt. And although few of his Democrat low-information voters know about that, they will be able to tell the difference between prosperity and poverty when the United States reaches the Venezuela / Argentina tipping point. There comes a time when there are no more bailouts for the economics deniers. Reality wins in the end.

How well are Democrat Party economic policies working out in Venezuela?

I think that when we discuss economics, we should try to identify where specific policies have been tried and then we should observe the consequences to the people who tried them. Often, in college and university classrooms, one view of economics is sold to students by professors as the “nice” view. The professors, many of whom have never worked in the private sector in their entire lives, tell the students that socialism is the “nice” point of view, and anyone who disagrees is “mean”. Is that the right approach to teaching young people what to believe about economics?

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

Let’s take a look at this article from Yahoo News about socialist dictator Hugo Chavez’s country of Venezuela, a country much admired by people on the socialist left.

It says:

All the lady wanted was some chicken. But in shortage-plagued Venezuela, she waited in line five hours, only to go home empty-handed.

“I got here at 5:30 am and came away with nothing! It is just not fair that you have to work so hard — and then put up with these lines,” said an exasperated Lileana Diaz, a 49-year-old receptionist at a hospital emergency room.
Venezuelans have been enduring shortages of the most basic goods, such as toilet paper, for more than a year.

In Caracas, a cottage industry has emerged with people who will wait in line for you — at a price.

But things are even worse outside the capital.

The problems are staggering here in Valencia, an industrial city west of the capital of this oil-rich country.

Valencia has big factories that produce food and other essentials. Still, the list of goods in short supply is long.

It includes coffee, cooking oil, cornmeal, soap, detergent, you name it.

Chicken is one of the most coveted.

Frustrated shoppers like Diaz are legion.

One tells the story of people who climbed over a fence to get a good place in line outside a store, prompting police to intervene and stop scuffles that broke out.

Another lady shopper shows off a nasty bruise on her right leg, thanks to a fight she got into as she tried to buy disposable diapers.

In recent weeks, the lines of people waiting hopefully outside supermarkets and stores have grown longer in cities away from the coast, such as Maracaibo, Puerto Ordaz and Cumana.

Venezuelan media have reported situations of nerves running very, very high and shoppers coming close to looting.

At times it has gotten that bad, in fact. In late January, one person died and dozens were arrested in the chaos of a looting outbreak at stores in the town of San Felix in the southern state of Bolivar.

[…]In another supermarket in Valencia, a line 50 meters (yards) long snakes away from the entrance.

“We call these ‘holding out hope lines,’ because once you get inside, there is nothing on the shelves,” said Oscar Oroste, a 53-year-old chef.

Oroste said that until recently, people would wait in line knowing what was available to buy. “Now, people are in line but do not even know what they will be sold.”

Venezuelans go from supermarket to supermarket, and store to store, clamoring for basic necessities which have prices regulated by the leftist government.

But some buy just to resell at a handsome profit, and economists say that is another source of the shortages.

Egne Casano, a 28-year-old homemaker, said things are a bit better in Caracas. “I went there not long ago and saw that there is a better supply,” she said.

[…]In the long lines, people digest their woes with a mix of humor, resignation and anger.

At another supermarket in Valencia, a whopping 600 people stood in line under a blazing sun to buy powdered milk.

Graciela Duran, a retiree, got a kilo of it after waiting for four hours.

“I was lucky today, Sometimes I come and there is nothing,” she said.

“Waiting in huge lines is what we do all day, every day,” said Duran, shielding herself from the sun with an umbrella.

A dozen police were stationed at the entrance of the store and around the parking lot through which the queue moved.

A truck drove by and the driver shouted out sarcastically: “Homeland, homeland, beloved homeland.”

That comes from a song that late president Hugo Chavez used to sing and is heard often on government-run media and at official events.

If you’re interested in real statistics on Venezuela, I recommend this recent article from The Economist, which is as far left as Venezuela is, and endorsed Barack Obama.

In socialism, the main purpose of policies is to make the leftist leaders at the top receive applause. They say things that will get them applause from the people. The policies are not intended to lift people out of poverty, otherwise Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. would all be rich and prosperous. The policies are intended to make the leaders feel good about themselves. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”. “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan”. It’s not true, it’s just meant to make economically-illiterate people applaud.

So why do we keep voting for socialism, when we know it doesn’t work?

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Marco Rubio’s speech exposing the horrors of socialism in Cuba and Venezuela

Here’s an article from the Miami Herald about a recent 15-minute speech by Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

Excerpt:

The U.S. senator from Florida had listened patiently to Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa speak favorably about his recent trip to Cuba, all the while omitting any real references to the oppression of the totalitarian government there.

To Rubio, like many Cuban exiles and their descendants, it was too much to bear.

“Let me tell you what the Cubans are really good at,” Rubio said Monday when he took to the Senate floor. “What they are really good at is repression … They have exported repression in real time, in our hemisphere, right now.”

[…]For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his political career, speaking largely off the top of his head and with only the barest of notes. Rubio sometimes dripped with sarcasm or simmered with indignation as he made the case to Congress that the United States needs to continue Cuba sanctions and punish Venezuela.

That’s what the speech was about.

Here are some of the details from the speech:

As an aide flipped through over-sized photos of Venezuelan protests, Rubio ticked off the struggles of living in the country, the horrors of its citizens dying and being jailed at the hands of its government.

“This gentleman here is the former mayor of a municipality in Caracas. His name is Leopoldo Lopez,” Rubio said. “And this is the National Guard of Venezuela pulling him into an armored truck last week. You know why? Because he’s protesting against the government.”

Then came the next photograph, a picture of a young woman being driven off on a motorcycle.

“This is Genesis Carmona,” Rubio said. “They shot her in the head. She died last week.”

Rubio continued: “Let me show you the next slide. Here’s a demonstrator detained by police. Look how they drag him through the streets. This is in Caracas, Venezuela.”

Rubio also took issue with a recent survey, cited by Harkin, that indicated a thaw in American and Floridian perceptions of relations with Cuba.

“He cited a poll, ‘More Americans want normal relations with Cuba.’ So do I — a democratic and free Cuba,” Rubio said.

“But you want us to reach out and develop friendly relationships with a serial violator of human rights, who supports what’s going on in Venezuela and every other atrocity on the planet? On issue after issue, they are always on the side of the tyrants. Look it up,” Rubio said. “And this is who we should be opening up to? Why don’t they change? Why doesn’t the Cuban government change? Why doesn’t the Venezuelan government change?”

Rubio said that, just as the United States has sanctions against North Korea and Syria — allies of Cuba — it should keep pressuring the governments in Havana and Caracas.

And he disagreed with the notion that the embargo hurts the Cuban people. Instead, he said, it’s the totalitarian-socialist government that’s to blame for problems in Cuba — As well as in “oil-rich” Venezuela.

“We don’t have an embargo against Venezuela,” he said. “They have a shortage of toilet paper and tooth paste. Why? Because they are incompetent. Because communism doesn’t work. They look more and more like Cuba economically and politically every single day.”

Rubio repeated that last line elsewhere in his speech:

“They look more and more like Cuba economically and politically every single day. What’s the first thing the Venezuelan government did when these broke out? They shut off access to Twitter and Facebook and the Internet. They ran CNN out of there. They closed down the only Colombian station. Years before, they had closed down all the independent media outlets that criticized the government.

“Where did they learn that from? From Cuba. And yet we have to listen to what a paradise Cuba is.”

I am not a fan of Marco Rubio anymore as a candidate for VP or President, nor am I a fan of Paul Ryan. Both have made mistakes that rule them out as conservatives. However, this speech should be seen by all, especially by Americans who do not appreciate how different like is in countries that are further along the socialist road to serfdom. But we’re getting there.

Venezuela orders soldiers armed with assault rifles to impose price controls

Venezuela: price controls don't work
Assault weapons vs Amazon and Ebay: socialism in practice

From the left-leaning USA Today.

Excerpt:

 Thousands of Venezuelans lined up outside the country’s equivalent of Best Buy, a chain of electronics stores known as Daka, hoping for a bargain after the socialist government forced the company to charge customers “fair” prices.

President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military “occupation” of the company’s five stores as he continues the government’s crackdown on an “economic war” it says is being waged against the country, with the help of Washington.

Members of Venezuela’s National Guard, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside.

[…]Images circulating online as well as reports by local media appeared to show one Daka store in the country’s central city of Valencia being looted.

“I have no love for this government,” said Gabriela Campo, 33, a businesswoman, hoping to take home a cut-price television and fridge. “They’re doing this for nothing but political reasons, in time for December’s elections.”

Maduro faces municipal elections on Dec. 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper as well as soaring inflation, at 54.3% over the past 12 months.

Economists are expecting a devaluation soon after the election, likely leading to even higher inflation.

This will surely encourage more businesses to come to Venezuela to create jobs, and compete with other businesses in order to lower prices and increase quality for consumers. Oh wait, no it won’t. It’s just going to causes businesses to scale back, expand in other countries, and go out of business entirely – taking jobs with them.

The real face of communism
The real face of communism

Earlier, Venezuela nationalized some oil drilling plants, as well:

Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company, seized about $1 million worth of equipment from Superior Energy Services Inc. (SPN:US), the Houston-based company said.

PDVSA expropriated two hydraulic units that were idled after the Caracas-based company missed payments, Greg Rosenstein, head of corporate development, said by phone from New Orleans. The units operated in eastern Venezuela’s Anzoategui state, Associated Press reported Nov. 1.

[…]Under President Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in March, Venezuela initiated a nationalization process, seizing assets from companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:US) and ConocoPhillips. (COP:US)

Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB:US), the world’s largest oil-services company, said in March it would reduce work in Venezuela because of mounting overdue payments from PDVSA. Schlumberger subsequently reached an agreement and announced on May 24 that it would provide a $1 billion rolling credit for a joint venture in Venezuela.

That will encourage oil companies to come to Venezuela and pay royalties to the government, and give jobs to more Venezuelans. Oh wait, no it won’t. It’s just going to cause companies to scale back their investments, expand in other countries, stop hiring, lay off more people, and pull out of Venezuela. I’m sorry but this is standard leftist economic policy.

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

Remember the last time that Venezuela seized privately-owned oil companies? They eventually had a nice explosion at the oil drilling facility, because the government doesn’t know how to run a business better than the people who created that business. You can see it today here, as Obama nationalizes the health care industry and tries to substitute his own web site. He thinks he knows how to create web sites. The man who has never run so much as a lemonade stand in his entire life, and is an authority on how to read a teleprompter and play golf. You do NOT put people like this is in charge of the economy.

Comparing Chile to Argentina and Venezuela
Comparing Chile to Argentina and Venezuela

The strange thing is that the economies of Chile embraced free market capitalism, free trade, private property, and the rule of law. Unlike Venezuela and Argentina, they are doing vastly better economically. Look at that chart, which I got from libertarian economist Dan Mitchell. You can’t refute that, because economics is real. No one can hide from the facts.

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