Tag Archives: Nicolás Maduro

Not gonna happen: Venezuelan politician challenges Bernie Sanders go to Venezuela without bodyguards for a week

Don’t hold your breath.

Read all about the interview with Venezuelan assemblyman Jose Guerra here.

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Chicago Teachers Union group take trip to Venezuela, praise socialist leader

The American public education system at work: Teachers crowdfunding a trip to Venezuela only to come back and teach your children about the greatness of socialism.

From MSN: The recent trip to Venezuela by a group calling itself a Chicago Teachers Union delegation has upset some union members and expats who question the point of the tour and take issue with the group’s praise of the country’s disputed government.

The four travelers, who crowdfunded the July trip under the banner of the CTU, met with Venezuelan government officials and educators, visited a commune and were featured in local media.

They wrote online about wanting to connect with Venezuelan teachers, students and unionists, criticized U.S. economic sanctions against the South American nation and wrote admiringly of its socialism, its communes and high literacy rates.

Critics say the group glossed over Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic crises and were excessively complimentary of President Nicolas Maduro, whose administration has been accused in recent United Nations reports of “grave” human rights violations and violence against dissenters.

“I am appalled a delegation representing themselves as CTU went to Venezuela, not to support striking teachers, not to object to human rights violations, but to go on what appears to be a state-chaperoned propaganda tour,” said Karen Moody, a teacher and union member.

And though the four travelers regularly called themselves a “CTU delegation” online, the union representing close to 25,000 people has sought to distance itself from the trip, stating the CTU did not endorse, sponsor or fund the trip.

Asked on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” last week about “some controversy” surrounding the excursion, union President Jesse Sharkey said: “Members go all kinds of places in the summer. This was neither an official trip nor something that was funded by the union. This is a group of people who are members of the CTU who decided to go to Venezuela.

Yet, the official CTU Twitter account retweeted some of the group’s updates, including a blog post titled “Introduction to CTU Delegation to Venezuela.”

CTU also retweeted another post by teacher Sarah Chambers, one of the travelers and a member of the CTU executive board, which read: “While staying in #Venezuela, we didn’t see a single homeless person. USA is the richest country in the world; yet, there are homeless people everywhere. Over 17k CPS students are homeless … This is why @CTULocal1 is fighting for fair housing #CTUAgainstVezIntervention.”

Not a homeless person in Venezuela…

That prompted a rebuke from another Twitter user: “What the Delegation fails to acknowledge is they used the CTU name to raise the funds, to set up meetings, to blog their ‘findings.’ This was never voted on. They don’t get it. Irresponsible and reckless.”

Chambers, who appears to have made her Twitter account private, responded by referencing a resolution passed by CTU’s House of Delegates to “oppose the invasion of Venezuela.”

She added in her tweet: “Have you visited Venezuela & spoke to 100s there? As a teacher, I teach my students to be critical thinkers, to get primary sources, listen to ppl’s stories & do research before just believing any news. I suggest you do the same.”

Blackout in Venezuela

When contacted by the Tribune, Chambers deferred to the group’s blog, Radical Educator Collective. The three who traveled with her – two other educators and a union organizer – did not respond to interview requests. Online, the group was clear the union wasn’t helping pay for the trip. At least 55 people donated to a GoFundMe campaign titled “Send CTU Strikers to Venezuela,” an apparent reference to their involvement in the CPS charter school strikes last school year.

In the photo accompanying the campaign, the three educators are wearing CTU hats. In comments, some donors expressed solidarity. One $50 donor wrote of admiration for his colleagues: “Proud of the CTU for their brave and visionary anti-imperialist resolution and enactment of ‘teacher-to-teacher’ solidarity between Chicago and Venezuelan teachers!”

A July 9 blog post titled “Introduction to CTU Delegation to Venezuela” states, “This blog represents the members delegation of the Chicago Teacher’s Union that are currently in Venezuela to learn from educators and activists on the ground. We are three rank and file charter school teachers and one CTU organizer. We organized this delegation ourselves and fundraised for the trip independent of the CTU.”

In the latest post, one member of the group wrote that she’d wanted to observe a method for teaching reading that combines numeracy and literacy skills. She was also curious about if and how educators incorporated the country’s social movements into their curriculum, she wrote.

They visited a commune and talked to educators involved with Mision Robinson, a social welfare program to improve literacy started under former President Hugo Chavez.

Though the group was inspired by the resolution, the opinions on the blog are their own, they wrote.

Ana Gil-Garcia, who co-founded the Illinois Venezuelan Alliance and teaches in the College of Education at Northeastern Illinois University, said the trip was unacceptable, though it would be different if they’d gone on their own, without using the CTU brand.

“Once you go there as a delegation of a very powerful union like the Chicago Teachers Union, it’s questionable,” Gil-Garcia said, adding the trip could come off as the union endorsing the Maduro regime, which she said has killed and imprisoned opponents and contributed to widespread food shortages in the country.

“That’s what makes me really upset about it,” she said. “The Chicago Teachers Union should be very objective because the membership is formed by people with different ways of thinking.”

Read the whole story here.

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Socialist Venezuela in 5th day of nationwide blackout
Chaos in Venezuela: Death toll rises and protests rage on amid blackout
Paging Sean Penn: Venezuelan women sell hair, breast milk & sex to survive as country crumbles
Venezuela socialist nightmare: Dead buried in plastic wrap because family can’t afford a casket

DCG

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Socialist Venezuela in 5th day of nationwide blackout

Venezuelans are in their fifth day of a blackout that began last Thursday, plunging most of the country — 23 of Venezuela’s 24 states — into darkness.

The blackout in the capital, Caracas, was total, beginning at 4:50 pm on March 7, just before nightfall. People set out for home early, well before the sun went down, because Caracas is one of the world’s most crime-ridden cities. Traffic lights went out and the subway system ground to a halt, triggering gridlock in the streets and huge streams of angry people trekking long distances to get home from work.

Forced to walk 12 km (7 miles) from her office in eastern Caracas to her home across town, Estefania Pacheco, a mother of two and a sales executive, said: “We are tired. Exhausted.”

Caracas’ international airport was hit, according to social media posts from would-be travelers. Telephone services and access to the internet were knocked out.  Commerce, including the buying of food, was shut down because most transactions are done with debit or credit cards, although hyperinflation has rendered the local currency, the bolivar, almost worthless. Inflation will hit 10,000,000% this year, the IMF estimates.

A shocking viral image shows a severely malnourished 19-year-old girl dying in her mother’s arms. Doctors at the Integral Diagnostic Centre in the northern city of Valencia were forced to turn her away due to the power outage. The mother, Elizabeth Diaz, was told to take her daughter, who suffered from cerebral palsy and chronic malnourishment and weighed just 10kg (22 lbs.), to another medical facility where she was assured they would treat the daughter. But the girl died in her mother’s arms shortly after they arrived.

The socialist government of Nicolas Maduro first blamed the blackout on sabotage of the state-owned Guri hydroelectic dam in Bolivar state — one of the biggest in Latin America — by “right-wing fascists”, but gave no details. A year ago, Maduro had asked the armed forces to provide security to protect the country’s hydroelectric facilities.

Then Maduro blamed the blackout on U.S. imperialism. With typical bombast, he said U.S. machinations will fail and that “Nothing and no one can defeat the people of Bolivar and Chavez,” referring to the liberation hero Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez, the late socialist icon and buddy of Hollyweirdo Sean Penn.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Maduro is wrong to blame the U.S .or any other country for Venezuela’s woes. He tweeted: “Power shortages and starvation are the result of the Maduro regime’s incompetence.”

Venezuelan critics blame the government for failing to invest in upkeep of the electrical grid. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, 35, tweeted that Venezuela has plenty of hydroelectric plants and more: “We have water, oil and gas. But unfortunately we have an usurper in Miraflores.”

Guaidó, a National Assembly leader, said the blackout had claimed “dozens” of lives since it began 5 days ago. He describes the situation in Venezuela as a “catastrophe” and is calling on the opposition-dominated assembly to decree a “state of alarm” in the country. Backed by some 50 countries led by the United States, Guaidó has declared himself interim president, calling Maduro’s rule illegitimate because his re-election win last year was fraudulent. The opposition leader wants Maduro to resign from the Miraflores Palace and make way for new elections.

Even before the nationwide blackout, Maduro’s regime has been systematically blacking out the country’s internet and social media. Platforms including YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook were blocked during the exact time Guaidó made important speeches, the NGO NetBlocks said. Blacking out the internet is especially bad for Guaidó’s popularity as Maduro’s government controls most of the country’s TV and radio outlets.

Sources: Breitbart; Business Insider; Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, back in swanky Malibu, California, Hugo Chavez’s best bud Sean Penn — with a net worth of $150 million — was seen (with Julia Roberts) arriving for Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s 42nd birthday party on March 2, a day before most of Venezuela was plunged into darkness. (Just Jared)

Sean Penn at Chris Martin’s birthday, Malibu, CA, March 2, 2019.

See Kelleigh Nelson’s “Venezuela’s Road to Disaster is Littered with Chinese Debt“.

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~Eowyn

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Chaos in Venezuela: Death toll rises and protests rage on amid blackout

Ain’t socialism grand? And today’s demorats want this model for our great country. INSANITY.

From NY Post: Demonstrations roiled Venezuela’s capital Caracas on Saturday as a near total blackout continued in the country.

Supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaidó vented their anger over a major electricity outage and lack of other basics as Venezuelans backing President Nicolás Maduro held a rival demonstration.

“This is chaos,” said Jorge Jaimes, a physician who joined opposition protesters on Avenida Victoria. “We are at the end of this road.”

Since the outage started Thursday, at least 13 people have died in hospitals without electricity, according to reports.

Tensions remain high as Maduro keeps struggling to assert his authority in the face of calls by Guaidó and many foreign leaders for new balloting.

Addressing protesters, Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January, promised to embark on a tour of the country before leading a nationwide march on the capital. “All the options are on the table,” he said, using a phrase employed by President Trump, who has refused to rule out a military intervention in Venezuela.

Guaidó was speaking from the back of a pick-up truck after security services prevented the opposition from setting up a stage at their original protest site. Three people were arrested.

Communication with the interior of the country was largely shut off by the outage. Sporadic power failures are common in Venezuela, but the latest one has been far more widespread than usual.

Maduro claimed the outage was caused by US sabotage of the national electrical system and accused Guaidó of collaborating. Local news outlets said regional authorities attributed the failures to problems at the country’s main power plants.

Maduro stepped up verbal attacks on Guaidó, calling him “a clown and puppet” in a speech to supporters outside Miraflores, the presidential palace.

The US and about 50 other countries have voiced support for Guaidó’s campaign to oust Maduro and hold new elections. But the ruler has retained the support of the military and allies including Russia and China.

Guaidó—who has the support of around 60 percent of Venezuelans, according to a recent poll—and the United States have tried a variety of approaches to lure the military away from Maduro. They range from private talks to a proposed Venezuelan amnesty law that would shield officers from future prosecution.

DCG

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Venezuela socialist nightmare: Dead buried in plastic wrap because family can’t afford a casket

Hollie McKay reports for FoxNews, Dec. 13, 2018, that as the crisis in Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship deepens with mass hunger, starvation and a lack of medical supplies, there is no comfort even for the dead.

Venezuelan opposition leader Julio Borges, who has been living in exile in the Colombian capital of Bogota for the past nine months, told Fox News: “What is happening is medieval. People are ‘renting’ caskets for a service, but giving them back. The same casket is being used over and over again because people cannot afford to buy one. And then they have to wrap the body in plastic bags for the burial. Others don’t have money for a land plot, so they are burying loved ones in their back garden.

Other Venezuelans concur. They say the use of “common graves,” along with backyard burials, is becoming standard.

According to Julett Pineda, a Caracas health journalist, funerals in Venezuela cost more than 132 times the average minimum wage earned per month of around six dollars per person – making a final farewell far out of reach for most who would need years of savings to cover costs. Pineda told FoxNews: “Funeral services are too expensive. Coffins are expensive, as well as paying for a place in the cemetery and everything that comes with it: the chapel for the service, the plate. People cannot have a decent funeral.”

Many resort to cremating the dead because cremation costs roughly a third of burial costs. Guillermo Aveledo, a political science professor at the University of Caracas, explained: “In poorer areas, plywood coffins are sometimes being used. Former middle classes can rent a proper coffin for the wake, but prefer cremation, which is cheaper.”

But even the process of cremation has become problematic because of the acute lack of natural gas to properly incinerate the bodies, despite the fact Venezuela has some of the largest energy reserves in the world. “In some very isolated places, people get used lots for burial, which creates sanitary problems,” Aveledo said.

The shortage of hearses is also an issue. There are fewer and fewer of them available, and the acute fuel shortage – wait times at some gas stations can be as long as 24 hours – makes it harder to keep them running. In some extreme cases, impoverished Venezuelans drag their dead for days in the sweltering sun to reach the Colombian border, where locals assist them with some kind of burial.

Alexander Lopez is a disabled Venezuelan who injured his right leg three years ago in a motorcycle accident. His wounded leg became infected a year later and had to be amputated because of the lack of affordable medicines and medical professionals. Lopez fled Venezuela six months ago to find work to support his son, 19, and daughter, 11, because he could no longer sit by as his family was forced to scour through trash for food. Lopez now sells keychains, incense, and trash bags for a few cents each in Cuenca, Ecaudor.

Two months ago, Lopez’s son was killed in a motorcycle accident. For weeks, the body languished at the morgue as family members were unable to afford the bus fare and boat to collect the remains. Lopez’s former wife and mother of their son, used her law enforcement connections to cobble together some money. But when she got to the morgue, the owners would not release the body – demanding the standard morgue fee plus a bribe, totaling $150, an amount that far surpasses an average month’s earning. “Everyone in Venezuela is so desperate for money, even the morgue will manipulate the people,” Lopez wept, holding up his son’s photograph.

After days, Lopez’ family finally put together enough money to pay the morgue, and a further $88 to pay a local gravedigger, but there were no funds for a service, no memorial plaque or tombstone. Lopez said softly: “Even with all that, “the dead in Venezuela are still worth more than the living. I am worth nothing to that government.”

Lack of medical attention and resources has fueled a spiking death rate in Venezuela. People are dying from the most common and treatable infections and diseases, like the common flu.

Violent crime is also on the rise. Last week, two ex-major league baseball players – free agent Luis Valbuena and former player Jose Castillo – were killed in a crash after their car collided with a rock. Authorities believe the rock may have been deliberately placed in the road, as part of a robbery scheme. A Venezuelan humanitarian worker explained: “People throw rocks in the hope of stopping the car so they can steal it. In this case, it ended horribly… Even if these men had survived, there are not adequate means in the hospital to save them.”

Then there is the looting of cemeteries. Most cemeteries are public municipal lots, but the dearth of public safety exposes the tombs to looting, and mourners and visitors being mugged.

Venezuela has descended into such chaos that no one knows how many people have died because the government doesn’t have the resources to keep track of the dead. So the people are trying to do that. In Caracas, a group of journalists visit the morgues at the end of each week to count the dead, trying to determine how many died from organized crime and from “other” causes like disease or malnutrition.

There’s no indication the situation will improve any time soon. Despite once-brimming oil wealth that had Venezuela as the richest country in Latin America, the Nicolás Maduro-led government – which  continues the socialist policies of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez – has pushed the nation’s economy into dire freefall, upended by massive hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages. More than three million Venezuelans have fled the country since their country began spiraling out of control three years ago.

But the government continues to deny Venezuela is in crisis, and instead blames its economic woes on domestic political opponents and the United States.

Here’s the FoxNews video:

Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez’s best bud and faux humanitarian Sean Penn is still no where to be seen in Venezuela.

Instead, he was spotted dining with disgraced PBS-CBS host Charlie Rose, whom Penn continues to defend, in the swanky Frenchette restaurant in Tribeca, NYC, where the menu is in French and a rib-eye steak (“Cote de Boeuf”) costs $134 per serving.

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~Eowyn

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Venezuelan women flock to Colombia border town to sell hair

Aint’ socialism grand?
socialism
From Yahoo: LA PARADA, Colombia (Reuters) – Women from crisis-hit Venezuela are crossing the border in droves and selling their hair in a Colombian border town in order to afford scarce basic necessities such as food, diapers or medicines.
The trend, which has taken off in recent weeks, is another sign of the oil-rich country’s deepening crisis amid shortages and spiraling inflation that have millions skipping meals and forgoing costly medical treatment.
Dozens of middlemen, known as “draggers,” stand on a bridge linking San Antonio, Venezuela, to Colombia’s La Parada, calling out: “We buy hair!”
Some 200 women a day are taking up their offer at one of seven makeshift stands dotting La Parada, according to estimates from five middlemen. The locks are then sold as extensions in the western Colombian city of Cali.
Celina Gonzales, a 45-year-old street vendor, stood in line for an hour to sell her mid-length brown hair for 60,000 Colombian pesos, or about $20 – the equivalent of a monthly minimum wage and food tickets back home. “I suffer arthritis and I need to buy medicine. This won’t be much, but at least I can buy painkillers,” said Gonzales, who had not told her family what she was doing.
Venezuela’s leftist government blames the crisis on businessmen waging an “economic war” to sabotage it. The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
As the economy teeters under a third year of recession, Venezuelans are increasingly ending up empty-handed despite long lines for heavily-subsidized food. Non-subsidized food is far too expensive, with a bag of rice sometimes costing around a tenth of monthly earnings.
Many are forced to survive on starches or forage through garbage for scraps. In recent months, hundreds have drifted across to Colombia to buy groceries.
In the border towns, the hair business is booming. “I can take off volume, cut strands here and there or make a ponytail and cut all the hair,” explained Jenifer Nino, 31, a so-called dragger, as she stood next to informal hair salons housed on street corners, sidewalks and even a tire store. “Most of the women come here with little kids and after cutting their hair they go buy food,” Nino added.
Some women complain the haircuts are sloppy and end up regretting the decision, while others are turned away. Maribel, a poor woman from Venezuela’s Tachira state traveled to Colombia after her brother told her about the hair business. “I’m here because I have nothing to eat,” she said, but was later rebuffed because her hair was too short and thin.
DCG

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Venezuela has come to this: Cannibalism in prisons

Venezuela is a failed state from years of socialism.
There are reports of interminable long lines in supermarkets, although many shelves are empty; of food riots; and of people killing pets and zoo animals for food.
There are shortages of drinking water and of hospital supplies as basic as bandages, as well as massive power outages.
On Sept. 1, 2016, half a million people swarmed the streets of Venezuela’s capital to demand the recall of President Maduro — to no avail.
The South American country is literally falling apart.
Now comes even more horrifying news: Prisoners are being cannibalized by fellow inmates.
juan-carlos-herrera-and-tachira-detention-center

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Hollyweird Jaime Foxx visits with President Maduro in crumbling Venezuela

Another useful idiot to put on my list of do-no-see-actors and their movies. FYI: Foxx is worth a purported $100 MILLION.
jamie-fox-visits-venezuela
From Fox News: Amid widespread unrest, massive shortages of food and basic supplies and a crumbling economy, on Tuesday Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro took the time to rub shoulders with two visiting Hollywood luminaries.
Jamie Foxx and actor/musician Lukas Haas paid a visit to the embattled head of state at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas. Maduro reportedly invited the pair so they could visit the government-funded film and TV studio, Fundación Villa del Cine, and other tourist attractions in the socialist nation.
Neither Foxx nor Haas spoke to the media during their visit, but Venezuelan media reported that the movie stars were in the country to “show support for the policies of the Bolivarian Government, in particular its social missions,” and “to learn about Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission,” a project which has purportedly built more than a million government-funded homes.
The actors were also invited by Maduro to attend the signing of an agreement between Venezuela and Jordan, Dubai and Italy for the construction of 13,912 homes in the central state of Aragua.
“We have given a warm welcome to two actors who are very admired by our people … Thank you for supporting this project, and its vision to add housing as a benefit for the people of the world,” Maduro said on state-owned VTV.
The high-profile visit didn’t sit well with members of the opposition, who could only speculate as to how the pricey bill was paid — as the country’s continues along in financial dire straits.
Venezuelan congressman Carlos Berrizbeitia told Fox News Latino that it would be very hard to know whether the government spent public money to make this visit possible.
“If they financed it using intermediaries it would be really hard to find out,” said Berrizbeitia, a member of the National Assembly’s finance committee. “They typically say that the actors pay for their trips, but we don’t really know if that’s true.”
Berrizbeitia also speculated that the real intention for Foxx and Haas’ visit to the socialist nation was to prepare a new TV production about the life of late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez to compete with the Telemundo’s “El Comandante,” also based on Chavez’s life.
Photos circulating on social media show Maduro posing for photos with Foxx and Haas, escorting them on a tour of the Miraflores palace and holding a meeting with them alongside first lady, Cilia Flores; the country’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez; the governor of Aragua, Tarek El Aissami; and the Minister of the Interior, Carmen Meléndez.
“We have been chatting and in these two actors I see two extraordinary people – really, very human, very sensitive – taking part in these projects that seek the well-being of the peoples of the world,” Maduro said.
jamie-fox-opposes-venezuela
The visit to Venezuela appears to be an abrupt change of face for Foxx, who two years ago was photographed alongside a group of opposition activists while holding a sign that read, “#IMYOURVOICEVENEZUELA #SOSVENEZUELA VENEZUELA.”
The photo appeared on March of 2014 around the time when Venezuela was rocked by a wave of anti-government protests following the arrest and imprisonment of opposition leader Leopoldo López.
Foxx isn’t the first Hollywood A-lister to visit the socialist nation – Sean Penn, Danny Glover and director Oliver Stone have all made trips to the country – but his visit comes at a time when Maduro’s rule is being heavily challenged.

Sean Penn and BFF Hugo Chavez

Sean Penn and BFF Hugo Chavez


DCG

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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


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~Eowyn

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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.
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~Eowyn

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