Tag Archives: South America

Mexico elects Marxist President, what does it mean for America?

Mexico, number of murders by state, 2017
Mexico, number of murders by state, 2017 (Source: Geopolitical Futures)

Mexico has held an election, and they decided to elect someone with the policies of Hugo Chavez (Venezuela). His name is Andrés Manuel López Obrador. What does it mean for America? It means we need to build a wall on our Southern border, and quickly, too. There were a couple of great articles about the election in The Federalist.

Let’s start with the first one, which emphasizes what the new government could do.

Excerpt:

True to his left wing beliefs, his economic plan is all about taxing and spending. He calls for universal access to public colleges, raising the minimum wage and increasing spending for welfare.

Yes, he wants to raise taxes and possibly clamp down on corruption to pay for these government handouts. Rather than encouraging competition, he wants to reverse the energy reforms that ended state owned Pemex’s monopoly in the oil industry. He calls for an end to crude oil exports and instead, he wants to build more oil refineries to help Mexico achieve energy independence while guaranteeing employment of Pemex union workers. Rather than moving Mexico’s economy forward by encouraging free trade, he wants to take Mexico backward by incentivizing agriculture, so Mexico will be self-sufficient in food production. His nationalistic economic policy suggests he’s unwilling to compromise on the NAFTA negotiation with the U.S.

So, let’s see what’s in the list:

  • raise taxes,  which harms economic growth and job creation
  • make higher education a state-owned monopoly
  • make oil production a state-owned monopoly
  • strengthen labor unions
  • reduce free trade
  • raise the minimum wage, which raises unemployment

We don’t have to guess at how this will work out, because it’s already been tried by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The latest news from Venezuela this week is that the military took over distribution of clean water. They’re eating dogs, cats and zoo animals, and selling their bodies for something to eat. Mexico’s not going to reach that point right away, but they’re not special. Bad policies produce bad effects.

The article continues:

Even if López Obrador is somehow able to keep Mexico’s economy stumbling along, he has already made it clear that Mexicans and all other migrants are entitled to come to the U.S.

“Very soon, with the triumph of our movement, we will defend migrants from Mexico, Central America and the whole continent and all migrants from around the world who need to leave their towns to go and make their life in the U.S.,” he said at a recent campaign rally. “It’s a human right we are going to defend.”

[…]He didn’t give any details on how he will “defend” all migrants’ supposed human right to be in the U.S., but one reasonable guess is that he probably won’t stop any migrants, whether they are Mexicans or not, from reaching the U.S. So we may see a surge of illegal crossings at our southern borders if he wins the presidency.

More illegal immigrants in the U.S. may also mean higher welfare expenditures at both the state and the federal level. As Victor D. Hanson wrote, “many of the millions of Mexican expatriates in the United States who send remittances home to Mexico are themselves beneficiaries of some sort of U.S. federal, state, or local support that allows them to free up cash to send back to Mexico.”

A more recent Federalist article has more, says that the real threat is not the socialist government, but the drug cartels:

Last week, the Associated Press reported on the rise of “mass crimes” throughout Mexico, in which “whole neighborhoods [defy] police and military personnel,” stealing freight trains full of merchandise or illegally tapping fuel pipelines. Much of the crime is reportedly driven by widespread despair and disgust for the government among common people, which powerful criminal syndicates are exploiting…

[…]Cartels across the country no longer limit their activities to drug smuggling or human trafficking, but have branched out into fuel theft, illegal fishing, mining, and logging. Ordinary Mexicans, especially those in rural areas, are often left with few options except to work for cartels, sometimes growing opium poppies or working as lookouts and drug mules. In some parts of the country, the “social controls” that might prevent mass crimes are simply gone, drawing comparisons to places like Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Somalia.

Meanwhile, violence is rampant across the country and on track for a record number of homicides this year. In the state of Guanajuato, an agricultural and manufacturing hub northwest of Mexico City that had one of the lowest murder rates in 2010, there were more than 2,000 execution-style killings last year and more than 1,000 in the first four months of this year. In 2007, there were only 51.

Whether socialism or drug cartels, the take-away lesson for America is the same:

If we continue to ignore the collapse of our southern neighbors and maintain our longstanding—and misbegotten—policy of benign neglect, we should expect the flow of illegal immigrants and families seeking amnesty to number not in the tens of thousands but in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps the millions. At that point, U.S. policymakers and American voters must regard the crisis for what it is: a foreign policy and national security matter, not a proxy for domestic political disputes and our never-ending culture war.

So, we’re definitely going to need that wall sooner than later.

Letting the cancer reach the healthy tissue does nothing constructive. We need to let Mexico and South America get clear on what works and what doesn’t work. If they don’t want to do the right thing in their elections, it can only mean that they haven’t hit rock bottom yet. When people want to follow their hearts, the sensible thing to do is to let them go until they destroy themselves. Unless they are willing to listen to reason, it’s a mistake to make their path to destruction more comfortable for them. Also, we need to fear the panicked grasping of the drowning person who doesn’t want the life-jacket, but instead just wants to drag us down with him. When Mexico is ready to get their lives in order, they can ask us politely to rescue them ON OUR TERMS.

Image source: geopoliticalfutures.com/mexicos-drug-war-no-closer-end/

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.

National Review and Weekly Standard agree: kill the immigration bill

Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard) and Rich Lowry (National Review) write about immigration reform in National Review.

Excerpt:

We are conservatives who have differed in the past on immigration reform, with Kristol favorably disposed toward it and Lowry skeptical. But the Gang of Eight has brought us into full agreement: Their bill, passed out of the Senate, is a comprehensive mistake. House Republicans should kill it without reservation.

[…]The bill’s first fatal deficiency is that it doesn’t solve the illegal-immigration problem. The enforcement provisions are riddled with exceptions, loopholes, and waivers. Every indication is that they are for show and will be disregarded, just as prior notional requirements to build a fence or an entry/exit visa system have been – and just as President Obama has recently announced he’s ignoring aspects of Obamacare that are inconvenient to enforce on schedule. Why won’t he waive a requirement for the use of E-Verify just as he’s unilaterally delayed the employer mandate? The fact that the legalization of illegal immigrants comes first makes it all the more likely that enforcement provisions will be ignored the same way they were after passage of the 1986 amnesty.

Marco Rubio says he doesn’t want to have to come back ten years from now and deal with the same illegal-immigration problem. But that’s exactly what the CBO says will happen under his own bill. According to the CBO analysis of the bill, it will reduce illegal immigration by as little as a third or by half at most. By one estimate, this means there will be about 7.5 million illegal immigrants here in ten years. And this is under the implausible assumption that the Obama administration would administer the law as written.

The bill’s changes in legal immigration are just as ill considered. Everyone professes to agree that our system should be tilted toward high-skilled immigration, but the Gang of Eight bill unleashes a flood of additional low-skilled immigration. The last thing low-skilled native and immigrant workers already here should have to deal with is wage-depressing competition from newly arriving workers. Nor is the new immigration under the bill a panacea for the long-term fiscal ills of entitlements, as often argued, because those programs are redistributive and most of the immigrants will be low-income workers.

Finally, there is the sheer size of the bill and the hasty manner in which it was amended and passed. Conservatives have eloquently and convincingly made the case against bills like this during the Obama years. Such bills reflect a mistaken belief in central planning and in practice become a stew of deals, payoffs, waivers, and special-interest breaks. Why would House Republicans now sign off on this kind of lawmaking? If you think Obamacare and Dodd-Frank are going swimmingly, you’ll love the Gang of Eight bill. It’s the opposite of conservative reform, which simplifies and limits government, strengthens the rule of law, and empowers citizens.

My position on immigration is simple. Build the fence first. Implement e-verify for employers and harsh penalties for hiring anyone without a work permit. Automatic green cards for skilled workers who prove they can work here, pay taxes, obey the law, and not collect federal benefits of any kind, for a period of six years (cumulative). A robust program to allow temporary low-skilled workers to work here temporarily, with no path to permanent residency or citizenship. No permanent residency for illegal immigrants. No path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Explosion at government-run Amuay refinery, nationalized by Venezuela in 1976

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

In the United States, we’ve been seeing some efforts by the Marxist Obama administration to nationalize the auto industry and health care, too. This is what communists favor as the alternative to the free-market system. It makes sense, then, to look at how well the nationalization of assets, especially those owned by foreign-owned private companies, works out in the real world.

Let’s see:

The Creole Petroleum Corporation was an American oil company, formed in 1920 to produce fields on Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela.[1] The company was acquired by Standard Oil of New Jerseyin 1928. Until 1951 Creole Petroleum was the world’s number one oil producer.[2]

In 1950, Creole opened its refinery at Amuay.[3] This is now a part of the Paraguaná Refinery Complex.

The Venezuelan assets of Creole Petroleum Corporation were nationalized along with those of other foreign oil firms on January 1, 1976, becoming part of Lagoven, a Venezuelan government-owned operating company.[4]

And here is the latest triumph of Marxist economics in Venezuela:

A huge explosion rocked Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery early Saturday, killing at least 24 people and injuring more than 80 others in the deadliest disaster in memory for the country’s key oil industry.

Balls of fire rose over the Amuay refinery, one of the largest in the world, in video posted on the Internet by people who were nearby at the time.

At least 86 people were injured, nine of them seriously, Health Minister Eugenia Sader said at a hospital where the wounded were taken. She said 77 people suffered light injuries and were released from the hospital.

Officials said those killed included a 10-year-old boy, but that most of the victims were National Guard troops stationed at the refinery.

Filthy capitalist dogs! Making money on the backs of the poor workers! Making them work in filthy, unsafe – oh, wait. When workers are left free to take their skills to a number of private employers, then those employers are pressured to provide them with better working conditions, wages and benefits. Otherwise the employees leave for better companies. The only problem is that it doesn’t work if all the industries are state-run monopolies. Then, you just get KA-BOOM!

All you have to do to understand economic systems is to compare capitalist Chile with communist Venezuela. The people are the same, and both started out poor. One embraced free trade and privatization, and now that one is rich. The other one gets Chernobyl explosions because they elected a Marxist.

Venezuela’s economic policy is the same economic policy that Barack Obama wants to force on us with his takeover of General Motors, his frequent bailouts, his give-aways to campaign fundraisers, his blocking of free trade deals, his heavy-handed anti-business regulations, and his other intrusions into the private sector. Our entire economy is going KA-BOOM right now because of Marxism.

Related posts

Iran launches Spanish-language TV channel in Venezuela

Political Map of South America
Political Map of South America

From the NY Daily News.

Excerpt:

As tensions with the United States continue to heat up, Iran is looking for some new allies — with Spanish speakers.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Tuesday that the country had launched a Spanish-language TV network meant to deal a blow to “dominance seekers” — which apparently means the U.S. and other Western countries, the Associated Press reported.

The Spanish-language channel, Hispan TV, will run 24 hours a day with Iranian movies, news and documentaries.

The channel is most likely targeted at countries that are friendly with Iran in Latin America, including Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.

Ahmadinejad said the channel had already been on the air on a trial basis since October.

“The new channel will limit the ground for supremacy of dominance seekers,” Ahmadinejad said during a Tehran ceremony marking the inauguration, according to the AP. “It will be a means for better ties between people and governments of Iran and Spanish-speaking nations.”

This is the kind of thing that we should have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of pulling our forces out and handing Egypt and Libya to the Islamofascists. You don’t have to fight a war to project power and influence, you just have to have ideas and convictions.