Tag Archives: Hugo Chavez

Let them eat cake: Venezuela gov’t celebrates dead Hugo Chavez’s birthday with $100,000 cake while the people starve

While Venezuelans are desperate to find food (see links at the end of this post), their president, Nicolás Maduro, saw fit to spend $100,000 on a cake to celebrate the birthday of a dead man — his predecessor in criminal government and actor Sean Penn’s best bud, Hugo Chavez.

Maduro eats cake

ZeroHedge reports, July 30, 2016:

Nothing describes socialism more aptly than baking a 4 feet tall cake weighing 90 kilos for Hugo Chavez’s birthday (a dead man) while the rest of the country starves, cannot find basic necessities

The cake is a recreation of the “Cuartel de la Montana”, the palace that Chavez famously stormed in 1992 as an army commander to protest Carlos Andres Perez’s government.

Cuartel de la MontanaAccording to a local newspaper, the following ingredients were used to make the cake — all in short supply in Venezuela’s supermarkets:

  1. 720 eggs
  2. 23 kilos of butter
  3. 90 kilos of flour
  4. 90 kilos of sugar
  5. 44 gallons of milk

Meanwhile, hungry Venezuelans cry at the sight of food, as the country’s economic crisis deepens.

While it is true that it was the Venezuelan people who had bought into the socialist pipe-dream and elected Hugo Chavez and his successor Maduro, even fools don’t deserve to starve while their president, who can lose a few pounds, and the political élite eat cake.

And still not a peep from Sean Penn.

Sean Penn and BFF Hugo Chavez

Sean Penn and BFF Hugo Chavez

See also:

~Eowyn

Venezuela is shutting down

We are witnessing someting unprecedented in our life time: An entire country, Venezuela, is shutting down before our eyes.

Here’s the latest on the increasingly desperate situation in Venezuela, from The New York Times, May 28, 2016:

(1) Electric blackouts: Electricity is being rationed. To save electricity:

  • Courts and other government offices operate for only two half-days a week, the equivalence of one full day.
  • Public schools are closed on Fridays.

(2) Water shortage: Water is also being rationed. As an example, water arrives just once a week, on Thursdays, to the neighborhood of San Antonio de los Altos. But the water is a brownish color and is making people sick. Many Venezuelans say they have gotten skin irritations from showering or from the inability to bathe and wash their sheets and towels.

(3) Food shortages:

  • Last week, protests turned violent in parts of the country where demonstrators demanded empty supermarkets be resupplied.
  • Coca-Cola Femsa, the Mexican company that bottles Coke in Venezuela, said it’s halting production of sugary soft drinks because it ran out of sugar.

(4) Many people cannot make international calls from their phones because of a dispute between the government and phone companies over currency regulations and rates.

(5) There is little traffic in the capital, Caracas, because so few people, either for lack of money or work, are going out. Buildings downtown, including government buildings, are empty.

Scene in a Venezuelan hospital

Scene in a Venezuelan hospital

(6) Public health crisis: People are dying in hospitals, from electric blackouts, broken medical machines (X-ray, dialysis, scanning, incubators), and chronic shortages of medicine (antibiotics, intravenous solutions), bandages, soap, gloves, beds, water (doctors preparing for surgery at the University of the Andes Hospital in Mérida clean their hands with bottles of seltzer water), and even food. Whatever supplies there are are stolen by hospital staff to sell on the black market. The government can no longer afford to buy imported medicine. Patients are asked to bring their own blankets, sheets, pillows and toilet paper. The result: the rate of death among babies under a month old increased more than a hundredfold in public hospitals run by the Health Ministry, from 0.02% in 2012 to to over 2% in 2015; the rate of death among new mothers in those hospitals increased by almost five times in the same period.(Source)

Venezuela’s socialist government blames the problems on an “economic war” being waged by elites who are hoarding supplies, as well as the U.S. government’s efforts to destabilize the country.

President Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chávez, rejected the political opposition’s call for accepting international aid and described the move as a bid to undermine him and privatize the hospital system. Instead, Maduro insisted that “I doubt that anywhere in the world, except in Cuba, there exists a better health system than this one.”

But most economists agree that Venezuela is suffering from years of economic mismanagement, including over-dependence on oil and price controls that led many businesses to stop making products. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, yet when oil prices were high, the government saved little money for hard times. Now, oil prices have collapsed — they are around a third what they were in 2014.

sean_penn_hugo_chavez_not_a_dictato
Meanwhile, Sean Penn, buddy of the late Hugo Chavez, is still no where to be seen in Venezuela. He’s in France, screening his new movie, The Last Face, at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie, directed by Penn, has been booed by audiences and savaged by critics.

See also:

~Eowyn

Advice for Venezuela & U.S. from survivor of Argentina economic collapse

Fernando Aguirre is a survivor of the hyperinflationary destruction of Argentina’s economy in 2001, who managed to get himself and his family out and now lives in Spain.

Aguirre sees many parallels between the ruinous path that led to Argentina’s decline and that of Venezuela and most countries in the West, including the U.S. He has dedicated his professional life — via his books (Surviving the Economic Collapse and Bugging Out and Relocating) and his blog (Surviving in Argentina) — to educating the public about his experiences and to caution other countries.

Desperation in Venezuela: 5,000 Venezuelans loot supermarket

Desperation in Venezuela: 5,000 Venezuelans loot supermarket

Recently, Aguirre spoke to Chris Martenson of PeakProsperity and gave his survivor’s perspective on the current meltdown of Venezuela, as well as the situation in Brazil. Here are his thoughts and advice, beginning with his response to being asked what the similarities are between Venezuela and what he had experienced in Argentina:

“The greatest points to keep in mind is overwhelming corruption. People get lost on what exactly went wrong in Argentina, in Venezuela, or what’s happening right now in Brazil. What they all have in common is that the people in charge had no real interest in doing things right; they really didn’t care about destroying the country. They just cared about filling their pockets as much as possible.

Think of Venezuela this way: you have a country where water is more expensive than gasoline. What sense does that make? I mean, you had Hugo Chavez walking down the street pointing with his finger saying “Nationalize this. Nationalize that”. And when he was saying “nationalize”, he was saying “Steal this“. He didn’t have any great plans or political grandeur going on in his mind. He just wanted to steal as much as he could.”

See “Socialist Hugo Chavez died with a family fortune worth $2 billion.”

“I know for a fact that they’re slaughtering one another in the streets right now in Venezuela. For at least three years it’s been a case of out-of-control crime and corruption over there. It’s not getting better any time soon unless something changes on a deeper level.

For the average ‘middle class’ person in Venezuela — educated and still holding on to a good job — he needs two years of wages to buy a single plane ticket . . . he’s stuck there. The problem is that he waited too long to leave. That’s something important that I write about often: You have to know when to leave. You needed to leave Venezuela at least three or four years ago; now you’re getting to the point where you’re stuck there. The official exchange rate between the USD and Bolivar is 1 to 10, but unofficially which is the real one you experience,  is more like 1 to 1,000. So they basically are starving you to death through a completely devaluated currency which is what you’re getting paid in.

Basically need to find ways of leaving the country by any means possible. What I would do if I was in Venezuela right now is I would leave on foot. I would leave any way I could, because it’s not safe. I know people that have killed people surviving Venezuela, I actually know guys that had to do that to live. You can’t even find some land and grow your own food. You cannot do that when you have the government stealing it from you. It’s a no win situation.”

Here’s the entire interview:

“You have to know when to leave.”

More than a year ago, in January 2015, Michael Snyder of End of the American Dream wrote that “a lot of ultra-rich people are quietly” buying survival properties, deep underground bunkers, and farms and airstrips in far away places like New Zealand.”

Snyder quoted what Robert Johnson, president of the Institute of New Economic Thinking and a former hedge fund director, told a packed audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”

Johnson’s comment was echoed by Stewart Wallis, executive director of the New Economics Foundation, who told CNBC Africa: “Getaway cars, the airstrips in New Zealand and all that sort of thing, so basically a way to get off.  If they can get off, onto another planet, some of them would.”

Snyder asks: “So why are all of these wealthy people so alarmed?”

His answer:

“Well, the truth is that they can see what is happening.

They can see that millions of people [in America] are falling out of the middle class. They can see that society is breaking down in thousands of different ways. They can see that anger and frustration are rising to unprecedented levels. And they can see that things are likely to boil over once the next major economic crisis strikes.”

See also:

~Eowyn

This is Venezuela: Mob burns a man alive over $5

Ain’t socialism grand?

Desperation in Venezuela: 5,000 Venezuelans loot supermarket

Desperation in Venezuela: 5,000 Venezuelans loot supermarket

Things are bad in Venezuela. Dr. Eowyn reported about 5,000 looting a  supermarket and the president declaring a state-of-emergency and how people are killing pets for food.

Now this.

Via NY Post: The mob didn’t know at first what Roberto Bernal had done, but he was running and that was enough. Dozens of men loitering on the sidewalk next to a supermarket kicked and punched the 42-year-old until he was bloodied and semi-conscious. After all, they had been robbed of cellphones, wallets and motorcycles over the years, and thought Bernal had a criminal’s face.

Then a stooped, white-haired man trailing behind told them he’d been mugged. The mob went through Bernal’s pockets and handed a wad of bills to the old man: the equivalent of $5. They doused Bernal’s head and chest in gasoline and flicked a lighter. And they stood back as he burned alive.

“We wanted to teach this man a lesson,” said Eduardo Mijares, 29. “We’re tired of being robbed every time we go into the street, and the police do nothing.”

Vigilante violence against people accused of stealing has become commonplace in this crime-ridden country of 30 million, once one of the richest and safest in Latin America.

Reports of group beatings now surface weekly in local media. The public prosecutor opened 74 investigations into vigilante killings in the first four months of this year, compared to two all of last year. And a majority of the country supports mob retribution as a form of self-protection, according to polling from the independent Venezuelan Violence Observatory.

The revenge attacks underscore how far Venezuela has fallen, with the lights flickering out daily, and food shortages fueling supermarket lines that snake around for blocks. As the plunging price of oil has laid bare years of mismanagement, the economy has come apart, and with it, the social fabric.

Venezuela now has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and it’s hard to find a person who hasn’t been mugged. In the general haze of violence, Bernal’s killing didn’t stand out enough to make the front pages or provoke comment from local politicians.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro

“Life here has become a misery. You walk around always stressed, always scared, and lynching offers a collective catharsis,” Violence Observatory director Roberto Briceno-Leon said. “You can’t do anything about the lines or inflation, but for one moment, at least, the mob feels like it’s making a difference.”

Bernal lived his whole life in a maze of narrow staircases and cheerfully painted cinder-block shacks built into the hills above Caracas. This kind of slum is home for about half of Venezuelans, who are bearing the brunt of the country’s collapsing economy.

The shantytowns draped over Caracas have not seen running water for months, and residents have begun raiding passing trucks for food. Bernal had been out of work, and recently confided in his siblings that he and his wife were struggling to feed their three children. He wanted to find a way to move to Panama.

A quiet man with a muscular build from his time in the army, Bernal spent the days before his death presiding over his sister’s kitchen, preparing Easter stews and candied passion fruit. He chuckled softly when he won at dominos.

His six siblings thought of him as the one who made it, attending a cooking school and becoming a professional chef. He liked to turn on the TV as soon as he got home from work, and would leave the room at the first sign of an argument. Many people who grow up deep in the slums assimilate some parts of street culture, sporting tattoos or cocked baseball caps, but not Roberto.

“He was so on the straight and narrow, he didn’t even have a nickname,” his aunt Teresa Bernal said.

A regular church-goer who often sent around religious text messages, Bernal set his relatives’ phones dinging the night before the burning with a series of prayers for God to fill their day with blessings.

That morning, he left the family’s windowless shack before dawn and walked into an acrid smog that had descended over the city from grass fires in the mountains above. He took a twisting bus ride out of the slum, dropped his daughter at school, then boarded the metro.

By the time he emerged next to a bustling thoroughfare near the center of town, fat blue and gold macaws were crisscrossing overhead. He walked past security guards sitting outside sparsely stocked shops and apartment buildings protected by the electric fencing that denotes a middle-class Caracas neighborhood.

Bernal had told his wife he was on his way to a new job at a restaurant. But he stopped near a bank beneath a billboard advertising door-to-door delivery of scarce goods from Miami, a three-hour flight away.

A man in his 70s walked out, tucking a stack of bills worth $5 into a hat that he then hid in his jacket.

It would have been a lot of money for Bernal. It could have bought his family a week’s worth of food. Or a plastic dining table. Or a proper school uniform for his daughter, whom the other kids were calling “stinky.”

Bernal grabbed the cash and started running toward a taxi line where dozens of motorcycles were parked, the robbery victim later told investigators. The man pursued him, crying “Thief!” People watching from a distance assumed they were racing to get in line to buy groceries.

In the meantime, the motorcycle drivers were sitting on a low wall in front of the supermarket, fiddling with cracked cellphones and drinking coffee from small plastic cups. They watched the pair come toward them.

When the beating began, workers at the curbside candy stalls and hot dog stands left their booths, not wanting to see what was coming. Other people stayed to watch and cheer.

Someone had the idea to siphon gasoline from a motorcycle tank into a soda bottle. As the smell of burning flesh filled the air, the crowd’s shouting turned to silence. Some onlookers took cellphone video of Bernal trying to stand as tall flames consumed his head.

He would likely have died there, begging for water to quench the fire in the middle of some two dozen onlookers, if not for Alejandro Delgado. The youth pastor arrived for his part-time job as a motorcycle taxi driver just as the frenzy was reaching its peak. Horrified, Delgado whipped off his dusty black jacket and smothered the flames.

“These guys I work with every day had turned into demons,” he said. “I could hear the man’s flesh crackling and popping. When I put the fire out, they threw bottles at my head.”

Bernal was taken away in an ambulance on a cross-city quest to find a hospital with enough medical supplies to deal with his injuries. The videos spread across social media, but they drew curiously little condemnation. Even the trauma nurse who attended to Bernal thought a form of justice had been carried out.

“If the people grabbed him and lynched him, it’s because he was a thug,” said nurse Juan Perez, who has himself been robbed too many times to count.

When Bernal’s wife got the call, she assumed he had been burned at work. Arriving at the hospital, she walked right past his charred body, and then doubled back to ask, “Are you Roberto?”

His eyes had been seared shut, and his trachea was so scorched that he could only speak in whispers. He told her that the old man had mistaken him for the real thief, and his accusers had not given him time to explain. He died two days later.

Read the whole depressing story here.

socialism kills

DCG

Apocalyptic Venezuela: 5,000 loot supermarket; president declares state-of-emergency

The socialist utopia of Venezuela, with more oil than Saudi Arabia, is unraveling before our eyes.

The country is running out of water, electricity, and food.

Over the last two weeks, several provinces have hosted scenes of looting in pharmacies, shopping malls, supermarkets, and food delivery trucks. In several markets, the people shouted “we are hungry!”.

People are hunting dogs, cats, and pigeons for food in urban streets.

On April 27, the Venezuelan Chamber of Food reported that the country’s food producers only had 15 days left of inventory.

As reported by PanAmPost, on the morning of May 11, 2016, some 5,000 Venezuelans converged on a supermarket in central Venezuela because there were rumors that some products not found anywhere else would be sold there.

5,000 Venezuelans loot supermarketWhat resulted was a scene out of the Apocalypse.

According to the testimonies of merchants, people started jumping over the gates of the Maracay Wholesale Market. One eye witness told El Estímulo, “They took milk, pasta, flour, oil, and milk powder. There were 5,000 people.” Another witness said, “There were 250 people for each National Guard officer . . . lots of people and few soldiers. At least one officer was beat up because he tried to stop the crowd.”

An entrance gate collapsed under the weight of the crowd. The looting and mayhem resulted in at least two deaths, countless wounded, and millions of dolars in losses and damages.

Here’s the horrifying video:

It will get worse.

Oscar Meza, Director of the Documentation Center for Social Analysis, told Web Noticias Venezuela, “We are officially declaring May as the month that [widespread] hunger began in Venezuela.

Meza explains that in March, Venezuela’s hyperinflation led to a 582.9% increase in food prices, at the same time as basic products became increasingly scarce — “Prices are so high that you can’t buy anything, so people don’t buy bread, they don’t buy flour. You get porridge, you see the price of chicken go up and families struggle … lunch is around 1,500 bolivars… People used to take food from home to work, but now you can’t anymore because you don’t have food at home.”

On May 13 in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, riot police faced off a hungry mob of protesters.

Caracas on May 13, 2016As reported by Reuters, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency. Shifting the blame from his failed government and without providing specifics, he justified the state of emergency as a counter-measure against a plot to subvert him by Venezuela’s “fascist right” and the United States. According to a recent poll, nearly 70% of Venezuelans now say Maduro must go this year.

Meanwhile, as Venezuela circles down the drain, self-styled humanitarian Sean Penn — who was BFF with Maduro’s predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez — was busy having sushi in balmy Malibu, California.

Looking like a homeless bum, 55-year-old multimillionaire Sean Penn goes out for sushi in Malibu, May 14, 2016.

Looking like a homeless bum, 55-year-old multimillionaire Sean Penn goes out for sushi in Malibu, May 14, 2016.

~Eowyn

Venezuela into the abyss: people are killing pets for food

This is Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, on May 13, 2016:

Caracas on May 13, 2016 As AgainstCronyCapitalism reports, the pic above is of hungry Venezuelans protesting that they do not have enough water or electricity, and that their children are dying from lack of food and medicine — in a country with more oil than Saudi Arabia, after years of two-cent gasoline and free housing socialism. The government has stolen all the money and now threatens peaceful protesters with bombs, or hauls them to prison and tortures them.

Venezuela3½ months ago, FOTM posted on Venezuela’s crippling 720% inflation and how the country’s supermarket shelves are bare and people must wait in long lines for rations.

Since then, the situation has only worsened further — people in city streets are hunting down dogs, cats, and pigeons for food. According to the PanAm Post:

Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food.

Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a “painful reality” that people “hunt cats, dogs and pigeons” to ease their hunger. People are also reportedly gathering vegetables from the ground and trash to eat as well.

The crisis in Venezuela is worsening everyday due in part to shortages reaching 70 percent […] six Venezuelan military officials were arrested for stealing goats to ease their hunger, as there was no food at the Fort Manaure military base.

And as desperate people increasingly turn to crime, their victims are exacting vigilante mob justice.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Roberto Fuentes Bernal, 42, was caught trying to mug passersby in the streets of Caracas. Before police arrived at the scene, the crowd took the law into their hands by surrounding Bernal, taking turns beating and kicking him, then burning him alive. Bernal was taken to a nearby hospital and is receiving treatment for burns covering 70% of his body.

H/t ZeroHedge

sean_penn_hugo_chavez_not_a_dictatoMeanwhile, not a peep from Sean Penn, BFF of Venezuela’s late socialist ruler Hugo Chavez.

I wonder what happened to the $2 billion “family fortune” Chavez had amassed looted?

Just remember that this is the socialism that good ol’ Bernie Sanders wants for America.

~Eowyn

Venezuela is imploding from years of socialism

Venezuela, an oil-rich country of more than 33.22 million in South America, is on the brink of economic collapse.

The culprit? Years of socialism, especially the 15-year presidency (1998-2013) of Hugo Chávez — the dictator who was Sean Penn’s best bud.

sean_penn_hugo_chavez_not_a_dictato

How bad is it in Venezuela?

Here are some bullets I’ve compiled from the Washington Post:

  • Instead of growing, Venezula’s economy shrank 10% in 2015 and is expected to shrink an additional 6% in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund.
  • Inflation is now 720%.
  • Venezuela is expected to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.

What brought Venezuela’s economy to near-collapse, despite having the largest oil reserves in the world, is a combination of bad luck and worse policies:

  1. Under Hugo Chávez, the government was generous with welfare, from two-cent gasoline to free housing.
  2. But the spending was not matched by government revenue. Chávez turned the state-owned oil company from being professionally run to being barely run. People who knew what they were doing were replaced with people who were loyal to the regime. The state extracted profits from the oil company but skimped on investments to maintain the infrastructure and to blend or refine Venezuela’s extra-heavy crude — neither of which is cheap — before it can be sold. As a result, Venezuela could not churn out as much oil as it used to — its oil production fell 25% between 1999 and 2013.
  3. When the government ran out of money, it resorted to printing more money.
  4. Then in mid-2014, oil prices started collapsing, which meant even less revenue.
  5. So the government printed more money, which simply cheapened or devalued Venezuela’s currency by 93% in the past two years.

Source: dolartoday.com

Source: dolartoday.com

The results are hyper-inflation (720%!), scarcity and rationing of food and goods, and long lines for even basic commodities. Lines are so bad the government has even started rationing those, kicking people out of line based on the last digit of their national ID card.

Venezuelans line up in state-run supermarket

Beginning in February 2014, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have protested over high levels of criminal violence, inflation, and chronic scarcity of basic goods due to federal government policies. Those demonstrations and riots have resulted in 40 fatalities.

And it will only get worse, because Chávez’s successor, socialist president Nicolás Maduro, has changed the law so the opposition-controlled National Assembly can’t remove the central bank governor or appoint a new one. Maduro also picked someone who doesn’t even believe there’s such a thing as inflation to be the country’s economic czar. New economic minister, the far-left Luis Salas, said: “When a person goes to a shop and finds that prices have gone up, they are not in the presence of ‘inflation’.” Instead, Salas insists, it’s those “parasitic” capitalist businesses that are trying to push up profits as much as possible.

Matt O’Brien of the Washington Post dolefully concludes, “The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first. The key word there is ‘completely.’ Both are well into their death throes.”

Given the country’s proximity to the United States, I predict that in addition to Cubans and Puerto Ricans, America’s next swarm of illegal migrants and ‘refugees’ will come from Venezuela.

map of Venezuela in South America

A quote attributed to Albert Einstein says that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.

By that definition, liberals/Progressive/socialists are insane because they keep advocating and doing the same thing, while expecting socialist policies to work. Venezuela is simply the latest example of that lunacy.

~Eowyn