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VENEZUELA - socialism at work!
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Posted 12/28/2016 7:40 AM


Supreme Being
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What a miserable hell-hole the socialists have turned this one vibrant nation into - where is Bernie Sanders on this?

As socialism shattered Venezuela, the useful idiots applauded

When the Cold War ended 25 years ago, the Soviet Union vanished into the ash heap of history. That left the West’s “useful idiots” — Lenin’s term for the ideologues and toadies who could always be relied on to justify or praise whatever Moscow did — in search of other socialist thugs to fawn over. Many found a new heartthrob in Hugo Chavez, the anti-Yanqui rabble-rouser who was elected president of Venezuela in 1998 and in short order had transformed the country from a successful social democracy into a grim and corrupt autocracy.

An avowed Marxist and protégé of Fidel Castro, Chavez gradually seized control of every lever of state power in Venezuela. The constitution was rewritten to strip the legislature and judiciary of their independence, authorize censorship of the press, and allow Chavez to legislate by decree. Before long, the government acquired a stranglehold over the economy, including the huge and profitable energy sector. (Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world.)

With petrodollars pouring in, Chavez had free rein to put his statist prescriptions into effect. The so-called Bolivarian revolution over which he — and later his handpicked successor, Nicolas Maduro — presided, was an unfettered, real-world example of anticapitalist socialism in action. Venezuela since at least the 1970s had been Latin America’s most affluent nation. Now it was a showpiece for command-and-control economics: price and currency controls, wealth redistribution, ramped-up government spending, expropriation of land, and the nationalization of private banks, mines, and oil companies.

And the useful idiots ate it up.

In a Salon piece titled “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle,” David Sirota declared that the Venezuelan ruler, with his “full-throated advocacy of socialism,” had “racked up an economic record that . . . American president[s] could only dream of achieving.” The Guardian offered “Three cheers for Chavez.” Moviemaker Oliver Stone filmed a documentary gushing over “the positive changes that have happened economically in all of South America” because of Venezuela’s socialist government. And when Chavez died in 2013, Jimmy Carter extolled the strongman for “improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.”

In the real world, however, socialism has transformed Venezuela into a Third World dystopia.

Venezuela this Christmas is sunk in misery, as it was last Christmas, and the Christmas before that. Venezuelans, their economy wrecked by statism, face crippling shortages of everything from food and medicine to toilet paper and electricity. Violent crime is out of control. Shoppers are forced to stand in lines for hours outside drugstores and supermarkets — lines that routinely lead to empty shelves, or that break down in fistfights, muggings, and mob looting. Just last week the government deployed 3,000 troops to restore order after frantic rioters rampaged through shops and homes in the southeastern state of Bolivar.

In the beautiful country that used to boast the highest standard of living in Latin America, patients now die in hospitals for lack of basic health care staples: soap, gloves, oxygen, drugs. In some medical wards, there isn’t even water to wash the blood from operating tables.

Socialism invariably kills and impoverishes. Gushing oil revenues amid a global energy boom could temporarily disguise the corrosion caused by a government takeover of market functions. But only temporarily. The Chavez/Maduro “Bolivarian revolution” has been economic poison, just like every other Marxist “revolution” from Lenin’s Russia to Kim Il Sung’s North Korea to the Castros’ Cuba. By shredding property rights, dictating prices, and trying to control supply and demand, socialist regimes eventually make everything worse and virtually everyone poorer. Conversely, when governments protect free markets and allow buyers and sellers to interact freely, prosperity expands.

For three years in a row, Venezuela has ranked No. 1 on the Cato Institute’s “misery index,” which ranks each of the world’s countries according to a formula that adds its unemployment, interest, and inflation rates, then subtracts its annual change in gross domestic product per capita. With Venezuelan currency virtually worthless — hyperinflation this year is estimated at higher than 700 percent — residents have to resort to humiliating workarounds. Reuters reported this month that Venezuelan women have been flocking across the border into Colombia and selling their hair to earn some money with which to buy food, medicine, or diapers.

The government in Caracas, meanwhile, clings tightly to its socialist dogma, blaming the country’s woes on Colombia’s mafia or greedy businessmen. A fortnight ago, government agents raided a toy distributor, confiscating nearly 4 million toys on the grounds that the company was planning to sell them at inflated prices. The regime says it will make the toys available at below-market prices to the poor — thereby ensuring that in Venezuela next Christmas, toys won’t be available at any price. If nothing else, Venezuelan socialism has accomplished this much: It has transformed the Grinch from fiction into reality.


- (This above column was written by Jeff Jacoby for The Boston Globe.)
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Posted 1/16/2017 11:32 AM


Supreme Being
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While the modern-day U.S. Democratic Party & President Obama have all-but-embraced socialist economic solutions to America's problems, that deeply-flawed & oppressive economic system continues to wreak havoc the once-prosperous & oil-rich nation of Venezuela. Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen recently posted this illuminative column in the New York Post...

How Venezuela’s corrupt socialists are looting the country to death

Venezuela is no longer a country with a government, institutions and a civil society. It’s a geographic area terrorized by a criminal enterprise that pretends to govern, with a civil society made up of two sets of people: accomplices and victims.

More than 30 million of the latter.

The Hugo Chavez-led looting spree began in 2000. By “looting,” I mean fraudulent government contracts, a celebration of bribery, phantom payrolls across all government ministries, bogus government grant programs, the sacking of Venezuela’s gold reserves and a massive currency exchange scam.

More than $1 trillion has disappeared — some of it wasted on social programs that produced nothing — and a staggering amount has ended up in bank accounts in Andorra, Panama, New York, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

And the pillaging has turned Venezuela into a dystopian landscape. There are shortages of every imaginable foodstuff and basic necessity; diseases once thought eradicated are back with a vengeance; and a crime wave that has given Caracas the highest murder rate in the world.

Loving parents are putting their children up for adoption because they have nothing to feed them; the elderly are starving; patients with treatable conditions are dying in hospitals that lack basic medicine like insulin and oxygen, where vital equipment has been pilfered and emergency rooms operate without electricity. In a gruesome twist, even the morgues can’t handle the number of unclaimed bodies, so they rot in hallways.

In one city just before Christmas, more than 80 percent of supermarkets, bodegas, and food stores were looted. The ransacking spread to private homes. Meanwhile, the government does little to stop the disorder. The more chaos there is, the less President Nicolas Maduro needs to worry about anti-government protests or marches.

Meanwhile, those in power can focus on what they do best: looting the country’s natural-resource wealth and manufacturing and trafficking illegal narcotics. In fact, Maduro just upped his game by appointing Tareck el-Aissami, a drug kingpin, as vice president.

How did it come to this? Venezuela’s woes begin and end with a complete breakdown in the rule of law. From the presidency to the lowest civil servant, being “on the take” went from scandalous to a way of life.

I sued a group of Venezuelan criminals, accusing them of corruption in a Florida courtroom. The defendants starred in the most notorious case of sleaze inside Venezuela: the Derwick Associates case.

Imagine a group of 20-something American-educated Venezuelans who have never had any experience whatsoever in government contracting, let alone building power plants.

In 14 months, they obtained 12 contracts to build electric power plants for the government. They hired an American company to build nonfunctioning plants and then overbilled Venezuela’s government by more than $1 billion. These “Chavezkids” (Bolichicos) shamelessly bribed government officials.

And what did they do with the stolen money? They used US, Canadian and Andorran banks to launder and conceal the cash.

Then they lived like kings, purchasing real estate all over the world, including a $30 million hunting estate in Spain; renting a Fifth Avenue brownstone at 75th Street; buying an Olympic Tower penthouse across from Rockefeller Center, million-dollar beachfront condos in Miami’s Sunny Isles neighborhood, apartments in Paris, fancy cars and a $20 million passenger jet. Recently, they put $53 million of the stolen Venezuelan money into a sunglass startup in Spain called Hawkers.

According to Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal, federal and New York City prosecutors opened criminal investigations into Derwick principals Alejandro Betancourt and Pedro Trebbau. In Venezuela? Crickets.

The legislature made a big deal of investigating Derwick, but after enough money was spread to the right committee heads, the investigation came to nothing. Furthermore, the outgoing head of the legislature happens to be the brother-in-law of one of Derwick’s shareholders, Francisco D’Agostino.

When I started looking into the case, it wasn’t long before they began offering me bribes, too.

The Derwick case is one of hundreds just like it in Venezuela, a country rotting from the top. And once they’ve gotten the stolen booty, slime like the Derwick boys doesn’t stay in Venezuela. It moves to Miami, Madrid or Manhattan. Florida, Texas and New York are home to thousands of crooked Venezuelans who bear significant responsibility for the current financial crisis there.

Let’s hope that, since there won’t be Venezuelan justice, the US justice system does right by the millions of Venezuelan victims.


- You want to experience government corruption & oppression on a GRAND SCALE? - just take a trip to socialist-ruled Venezuela!
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Posted 1/16/2017 7:37 PM


Supreme Being
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Somehow this basket case of a country has produced some of the best baseball players for Americans consumptuon. No bread in the store but the shortstop is hitting .340
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Posted 2/21/2017 3:03 PM


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Sylvester wrote: "Somehow this basket case of a country has produced some of the best baseball players for Americans consumptuon. No bread in the store but the shortstop is hitting .340"

Anybody who thinks that socialism is one way improve a nation's economic health need only travel across the Caribbean Sea to the once vibrant state of Venezuela to see how to DESTROY a country from within!

Ed Feulner & Ana Quintana are documenting the ongoing & rapid collapse of that nation on RealClearPolitics.com:

Venezuela Is a Ticking Time Bomb

Over the last two decades, the now-deceased Hugo Chavez and his handpicked successor, President Nicolas Maduro, have wreaked havoc in Venezuela. Socialist economic policies and government corruption have destroyed a once-thriving economy sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves.

For the past 21 years, The Heritage Foundation has published its annual Index of Economic Freedom, which looks at the economic freedom of countries throughout the world. In that period of time, Venezuela’s score has declined the most out of any country, going from 59.8 to 27.0 (on a scale of 1-100). It is now in second-to-last place, right behind Cuba and better only than North Korea.

Adding to Venezuela’s economic crisis is its skyrocketing inflation rate. The International Monetary Fund estimates a 2016 inflation rate of 475 percent, an enormous increase from 2015’s already crushing rate of 275 percent. For 2017, the situation is estimated to become much worse, with a sharp rise of 1660 percent.

Mismanagement of the economy has created a humanitarian disaster beyond comprehension. The capital city of Caracas is now the most dangerous non-war zone in the world, with 120 murders for every 100,000 residents. Venezuelans live in fear knowing they are more likely to be kidnapped in their own country than are the citizens of Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.

To combat the epidemic of food scarcity, the government put the military in charge of the country’s food management and distribution systems. Yet that only seems to make matters worse. The AP recently reported that the military is taking advantage of the country’s food shortages by profiting from food trafficking.

The deteriorating conditions in health care show just how serious the crisis is. Chronic shortages of medicine have rendered hospitals essentially useless. The World Health Organization estimates that there are shortages for 75 percent of necessary medications and medical supplies such as antibiotics, vaccines, and scalpels.

Blackouts resulting from a crumbling energy infrastructure are a daily occurrence. The death of newborns has become a common phenomenon, with one doctor saying “the death of a baby is our daily bread.” Infectious diseases once kept under control have surged. Cases of diphtheria and malaria are re-emerging, and the number of Zika infections is estimated to be “nearly 700,000,” according to a Venezuelan health organization.

All the while, Venezuelan government officials have been using oil revenues to line their own pockets. For decades, the anti-Chavez opposition has sounded the alarm about the billions of dollars stolen by corrupt government officials. Senior government officials, including former cabinet members, have been sanctioned by the U.S. government for being international drug traffickers and providing support to Colombia’s terrorist group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Government officials have also been found to support members of Hezbollah. A recent report by CNN found that the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq may have provided Venezuelan passports and visas for individuals connected to terrorism.

While public attention is focused on troubles in the Middle East and beyond, we have a ticking time bomb in our own hemisphere. The situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate and shows no sign of improvement. Venezuela is now the leading country for U.S. asylum requests, ahead of even war-torn countries.

The country’s imminent collapse will have far-reaching implications for the region. In addition to a refugee crisis, there will be a spread of communicable diseases. Moreover, regional criminal organizations such as Colombia’s FARC are sure to exploit the power vacuum. The situation would undermine the United States’ largest foreign aid investment, “Plan Colombia,” valued at more than $10 billion and many U.S. lives.

Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Lilian Tintori, the wife of political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez. This month marks the third year Lopez has spent as a political prisoner. It also marks the second year of incarceration for former opposition Mayor Antonio Ledezma. Both join more than a hundred others as prisoners of Venezuela’s dictatorship, a higher number than even in Castro’s Cuba.

The Trump administration’s efforts to highlight the human rights abuses and criminality of the Venezuelan government send the right message. It’s imperative that the United States mount a comprehensive strategy on alleviating the humanitarian crisis and getting the country back on track.


- Socialism sucks, people - and the anti-American Marxist-Socialism that exists in nations like Venezuela, Cuba, & North Korea sucks the most of all!
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Posted 5/4/2017 5:02 PM


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I have always wondered why so many people in today's U.S. Democratic Party (including Bernie, Hillary, & Barack Obama) think that socialism actually works, when historically it's almost always been an oppressive failure, and it ALWAYS strangles economic growth - everywhere it's EVER been tried!

Have America's Democrats and our college university lefties not been watching Venezuela at all this year? A 60% increase in the minimum wage? Isn't that something that Bernie Sanders deeply longs for? TIME magazine's Ian Bremmer has the story...

Venezuela Nears a Tipping Point, and a Violent Endgame

It's easy to see why huge numbers of furious Venezuelans have hit the streets in recent weeks. Years of mismanagement have left the country's oil-export-dependent economy in a shambles. To appease the angry poor, President Nicolás Maduro announced a 60% increase in the minimum wage on May 1. That won't reverse the decline of a country where production is in free fall, inflation is in the triple digits and hunger is now a common problem. It's hard to find time for work while standing in line for the few remaining staples most of the public can afford.

The latest protests, and government response to them, have pushed Venezuela closer to the brink of collapse. Demonstrations have turned violent, with both protesters and police fueling the fire. There have been deaths, though there are few reliable estimates of how many. Riots have erupted even in working-class Caracas neighborhoods that have been loyal supporters of Maduro and his mentor, the late Hugo Chávez. These people are hungry too, and their continuing loyalty to the government can't be taken for granted.

The nation's political structure is also at risk. Maduro has effectively shut down the opposition-controlled national assembly and banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from seeking office for 15 years. A bid by Pope Francis to broker a deal has gone nowhere.

In the past, the Venezuelan government's main advantages were the strength of its grip on institutions of power, particularly the courts, and the inability of a fractious opposition to unite behind a single idea or candidate. Now that dominance of institutions gives the government full responsibility for a country close to a breakdown, and the opposition is united in desperation. Venezuela's economy isn't going to get better. The price of oil won't move anywhere near the level that can keep this boat afloat anytime soon, and the government is running out of gimmicks.

Maduro remains in power because the leftist Chavista movement has remained almost entirely united around the man Chávez anointed his successor. The police have kept the opposition contained, with help from state-backed gangs. The President hasn't yet had to call in the army, which may not prove loyal enough to open fire on desperate civilians. That would prove the decisive moment. If the military becomes Maduro's last option, he's probably finished.


- Hugo Chavez and his socialist creation has turned that once prosperous nation into an oppressive one-party hell-hole - SOCIALISM SUCKS!
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Posted 5/4/2017 9:45 PM


Supreme Being
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Quote: I have always wondered why so many people in today's U.S. Democratic Party ( including Bernie, Hillary, & Barack Obama ) think that socialism actually works, when historically it's almost always bee...

Remember a few years ago when you had Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, and other celebs singing the praises of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela? I have not heard a word out of any one of them since. In fact, I recall a quote from Penn upon learning of the passing of Chavez 'America lost a great friend it never knew it had, while I lost a dear friend whom I was blessed to have.' Pretty cringe worthy stuff considering what has happened in Venezuela during and following the regime of Chavez.

Incidentally Sean Penn is the only living individual (as far as I am aware) who has met personally with Hugo Chavez, Saddam Hussein, and El Choppo. So I guess that is worth something. What, I am not exactly sure. Lol.

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Posted 5/5/2017 8:01 AM


Supreme Being
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But where do all the Great Venezuelan Shortstops keep coming from ?

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Posted 5/5/2017 8:14 PM


Supreme Being
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Quote: But where do all the Great Venezuelan Shortstops keep coming from ?

I understand that. But this thread is about the political/economic system of Venezuela in the period following Hugo Chavez creating conditions of misery for its people. Not the proliferation of MLB talent coming from Caracas and other areas of the country.

The same could be said of Cuba, which has also been the country of origin for quite a few prominent MLB players over the years, both past and present. From Tony Perez to Tony Oliva to Luis Tiant. And more recently Jose Contreras, Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes, and a whole host of others.

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Posted 5/5/2017 9:42 PM


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Lezfriend wrote: "Remember a few years ago when you had Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, and other celebs singing the praises of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela? I have not heard a word out of any one of them since."

Those Hollywood elites used to do the exact same thing with Fidel Castro, Lezfriend - they'd travel down to Cuba, with Fidel personally showing them around a model farm, or touring the insides of a model hospital, and they'd come back gushing with praise for how great Cuba was - like a bunch of saps!

The same Hollywood-lefties who DESPISE the United States while admiring socialist hell-holes like Cuba & Venezuela never stop to wonder why people risk their very lives to escape from the prison-nations of Marxist-Socialism, while every year thousands try to enter America, legally and/or illegally! NOBODY is trying to sneak into Cuba or Venezuela!

"But this thread is about the political/economic system of Venezuela in the period following Hugo Chavez creating conditions of misery for its people. Not the proliferation of MLB talent coming from Caracas and other areas of the country."

It's funny that you say that, Lezfriend - everytime Cuba's national baseball team used to tour the United States, they'd return with FEWER PLAYERS, as one or more would always defect. Ditto for the old Soviet Union, whenever they'd allow athletes or entertainers to travel abroad. Liberal-progressives IGNORE all that, as they hate anything that reflects negatively on their failed socialist religion and the lies on which it rests!

- Don't expect Bernie Sanders to ever bring up what an oppressive life & intense suffering that socialist economics have inflicted upon this planet!
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Posted 5/6/2017 9:01 AM


Supreme Being
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Quote: Lezfriend wrote: " Remember a few years ago when you had Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, and other celebs singing the praises of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela? I have not heard a word out of an...

'Those Hollywood elites used to do the exact same thing with Fidel Castro, Lezfriend - they'd travel down to Cuba, with Fidel personally showing them around a model farm, or touring the insides of a model hospital, and they'd come back gushing with praise for how great Cuba was - like a bunch of saps!'

What always amazes me Anon is how quickly these celebs move from one cause to another. You would think after they have been disappointed time and time again in their quest to find the next socialist/communist utopia, whether it has been the U.S.S.R., China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, etc., they would question their ideology/belief system. But no, it is on to the next cause.

'Don't expect Bernie Sanders to ever bring up what an oppressive life & intense suffering that socialist economics have inflicted upon this planet!'

The Senator from Vermont will never find fault with any policy or country that centralizes power in the hands of the government, thus expanding its control over the economy, property, and citizenry. It's simply not in his DNA to approach issues any other way.

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