Emphasis in bold is mine. ~CW
“It’s nothing less than the collapse of a large, wealthy, seemingly modern, seemingly democratic nation just a few hours’ flight from the United States.” ~ Moisés Naím and Francisco Toro, The Atlantic
The article continues:
“In the last two years Venezuela has experienced the kind of implosion that hardly ever occurs in a middle-income country like it outside of war. Mortality rates are skyrocketing; one public service after another is collapsing; triple-digit inflation has left more than 70 percent of the population in poverty; an unmanageable crime wave keeps people locked indoors at night; shoppers have to stand in line for hours to buy food; babies die in large numbers for lack of simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment in hospitals, as do the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses.”
Reporters for the leftwing journal The Guardian paint a similar picture:
“Venezuela is suffering the worst economic crisis in its history. Ordinary people in the oil-rich country are regularly going without food. Three-quarter empty supermarkets are being ransacked by angry, hungry mobs. The government has declared a state of emergency, food is now being transported under armed guard, and basic necessities are being rationed. People have to queue for hours and sometimes overnight on their assigned days to receive staples like rice and cooking oil.”
“By IMF figures, it has the world’s worst negative growth rate (-8%), and the worst inflation rate (482%). The unemployment rate is 17% but is expected to climb to near 30% in the coming few years.”
“The shadow of hunger, the desperation of the crowds and the spread of unrest and criminality threaten the government of Nicolás Maduro, three years after he was bequeathed power by the dying revolutionary strongman, Hugo Chávez.”
Venezuela’s socialist government has also brought devastation to its healthcare system, as reported by The Guardian:
“For years, among the proudest boasts of the Bolivarian Socialist administration was that it eradicated hunger, reduced poverty and improved healthcare for the poor.”
“But the trend is now appears to be moving in the opposite direction at an alarming speed. [That’s the funny thing about socialism] Reliable data is hard to find. The government has acknowledged that maternal mortality – a key healthcare indicator – has doubled in the past year. The opposition says the deterioration is five fold – and that death of newborns increased 100 fold.”
“We are seeing a collapse in the public health system.” said Maritza Landaeta, a senior member of the Health Observatory. “Venezuela is witnessing a miracle, a miracle of destruction.”
“Earlier this year, the president of the Venezuelan Association of Clinics and Hospitals in the state of Carabobo, was detained by police and questioned for three hours after he went on TV to complain about medical shortages.”
“Doctors have also accused the government of downplaying the threat of the Zika virus.”
“Diphtheria is making a comeback….”
““Nine thousands doctors have left the country and the exodus is continuing,” says one of those who stayed, Yamila Battaguni.”
“His hope is for political change. ‘We have two options: leave or be part of the change,’ he said. ‘I hope this bad stimulus can make us want something better.’”
So what happened that caused the citizens of Venezuela to be cast into hell on Earth?
Per The Atlantic:
“The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).”
In other words, the socialist policies of Hugo Chavez and his successors brought this ruination upon Venezuela, and though it’s not mentioned (it never is) the greed and complacency of the Venezuelan people are also responsible.
Here’s how The Guardian explains it:
“The government’s tendency to subsidise many products below the cost of production is a major reason why the economy is in such a mess. It is a habit formed by oil, which warps price perceptions like a pyschotropic drug.”
Oil is the culprit? I think not, but let’s read on:
“Historically, abundant supplies have made Venezuelans regard cheap petrol as a birthright, so for political reasons – and despite hyperinflation, collapsing government revenues, global markets and climate change – the current price for a litre of high-grade gasoline is just 6 bolivars (less than a penny or a cent) – more than 100 times cheaper than the same volume of mineral water. This meant the fuel bill for the entire 1,400km journey was less than a pound or dollar.”
“When Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999, he took this way of thinking a step further and used petrol dollars to subsidise essential products such as rice, sugar, toilet paper, sanitary towels and medicine. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has tried to continue and even extend this policy, despite a 60% fall in crude prices since 2014. Even in the midst of crisis, the government still hands out free or massively discounted homes, cars, DVD players and microwave ovens.”
“It was an altruistic, populist move that allowed the poor to finally share in the nation’s oil wealth. But it also stifled incentives for producers and created a system of dependency and black-marketing that was already causing economic problems before Chávez died in 2013 and the global crude market collapsed the following year.”
Altruistic? There’s nothing altruistic about a power-hungry socialist buying the loyalty of the public by squandering the country’s resources, but there you go, folks. Venezuela is on the verge of suicide by socialism, a consequence of greed and stupidity. Over time the country may survive if the adults can wrestle control back from the children who’ve been in charge, but what of the people who are suffering today? I’m guessing the possibility of a turnaround in the way distant future is not much consolation to the mother who is watching her children go hungry today, or who is watching her child die for lack of medicines that are readily available in other countries. How tragic is it that they did this to themselves? Hugo Chavez, leftwing socialist revolutionary and father of these destructive policies, was democratically elected by Venezuelans and then re-elected multiple times, and I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Venezuelans were attracted to his promises of free stuff. Sound familiar? Those who propelled him to power are responsible for the terrible suffering that is happening right now, though they will never be made to answer to their children or their fellow citizens for their part in this man-made disaster. This is what happens to a society that allows itself to be enticed by promises of something for nothing. Hope those free DVD players were worth it.
Are you listening, Hillary and Bernie supporters?