But yeah, you already knew that…
But yeah, you already knew that…
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.
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)
See Kelleigh Nelson’s “Venezuela’s Road to Disaster is Littered with Chinese Debt“.
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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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Things are so bad in the socialist paradise of Venezuela that children have formed machete-wielding gangs to fight for “quality” garbage for food.
Eduard Freisler reports for the Miami Herald, March 27, 2018, that in crumbling, shortage-plagued Venezuela, children and young adults have formed gangs using knives, sticks and machetes to fight for “quality” garbage good enough to eat.
One such gang in the capital of Caracas is the Chacao, a gang of 15 ranging in age from 10 to 23 named after the neighborhood they’ve claimed as their territory.
16-year-old Liliana is Chacao’s mother figure and goes by the nickname Caramelo. She takes charge of each day for the group, deciding how much food her “family” will consume and how much they will stash away for another day. She settles conflicts that flare up and gives a hug, a kiss or a pat on the back as needed.
Another gang member is a 10-year-old girl named Danianyeliz, who left home because there was not enough food to go around. She joined the gang about a month ago and calls Caramelo her mummy.
A year ago, the gang was “stationed” around a supermarket at a mall called Centro Comercial Ciudad Tamanaco that generates tons of garbage. But a feared rival gang also wanted the garbage. Caramelo’s gang was attacked and chased out of the zone. So they took their weapons — knives, slingshots, broken glass and machetes — and seized the nearby neighborhood, Chacao where the many restaurants offer a better chance to find food in the garbage.
Sometimes the Chacao gang ventures into the more affluent neighborhoods of Caracas, such as Las Mercedes with high-end restaurants that attract rich Venezuelans, to look through what they call “quality” garbage bags that often contain leftovers and even untouched food.
There are at least 10 gangs in the capital, social workers and police estimate. Experts estimate that in Caracas alone, there are hundreds, if not thousands of street children and young adults.
Beatriz Tirado, who leads the non-governmental charity “Angeles de Calle” (Street Angels), says, “There were always children on the street in Venezuela, but now we are seeing a new phenomenon — kids who get more food on the street than at their homes.” Tirado said she sees the results of the gang clashes: “Every week we have first aid ready to treat cuts and bruises they might have suffered over the week in their fights.”
Social worker Roberto Patino explains, “Our kids are finding ways to survive because neither in their homes nor in their communities is there enough food.” Patino has established 29 public diners all over Venezuela to feed hungry children. From Monday to Friday, the diners provide food for 1,000 kids every week. But Patino said he isn’t coming close to feeding all the children who need the help, given the overwhelming number he sees on the streets. Many have turned to trash bags as a source of nutrition.
It’s not hunger alone that’s sending children onto the streets. Domestic violence is also often cited. “I left because I got beaten badly,” Caramelo says about her mother, a drug addict.
Sat, 17 Mar 2018 11:30:44 +0000
From Daily Mail: Actor Sean Penn’s debut novel’s main character calls for the assassination of the president and dares the commander in chief to ‘Tweet me, b****’, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The two-time Oscar winner’s 176-page fiction, titled Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, is about a ‘modern American man, entrepreneur, and part-time assassin’.
The main character, septic tank cleaner Bob Honey, tells tales of working with military contractors in Iraq, being employed by the government to kill the nation’s resource-draining elderly, and meeting an El Chapo-esque drug lord who had just escaped prison.
Penn first released the gonzo journalism-style novel as an audiobook in 2016 under the pseudonym ‘Pappy Pariah’.
During appearance at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at the time, Penn said he had close bond with Pariah, but also called him a sociopath. Penn didn’t publicly acknowledge that he wrote the book until months later when he said he wanted to expand on the story and publish it in paper form.
He said in a news release: ‘It was soon after I finished narrating the short audio of ‘Bob Honey’ that I began to feel I had only scratched the surface of this story I wanted to tell. Expanding that original idea into a fully-realized novel has been an exciting challenge.’
The book’s main character, Bob Honey, is painted as a 55-year-old Southern Californian who gets angry at the news, despite not fully understanding it.
Baby Boomer Honey tells readers of his neighbor’s death by an out-of-control helicopter, his imaginary young girlfriend and a ‘yellow lives matter’ march – referring to Aryan blonds – at the Republican National Convention.
Throughout the novel, Honey is followed around by an investigative reporter, who he seems skeptical of. The reporter tells Honey he wanted to do a story after neighbors raised concerns about his odd behavior and strange work hours.
Toward the end of the novel, Honey admits himself into a hospital and writes a letter to the president of the United States, who is eerily similar to Donald Trump but goes by the name, Mr. Landlord.
He writes: ‘Many wonderful American people in pain and rage elected you. Many Russians did too. Your position is an asterisk accepted as literally as your alternative facts.
‘Though the office will remain real, you never were nor will be. A million women so dwarfed your penis-edency on the streets of Washington and around the world on the day of your piddly inauguration – unprecedented (spelling ok?).’
The character says that those against Mr. Landlord ‘own the most powerful weapons on earth’ which include ‘dreams, the science of physics, seismology, geology, topography, and typhoons’.
Honey continues: ‘Your gasconade and cache of catchphrases, so limiting and reflexive, escalate the emasculation of you by a world whose patience is in nuclear peril. These sciences and sensibilities are our guns your narcissism neglects.
‘Weapons your NRA masters are incapable of proffering for profit, and outside your dutiful military’s might, mandate or mission. So to your attempt to posthumously assassinate our Founding Fathers, and bait and switch your core, I say I will eat where the fish are glowing.
‘You are not simply a president of impeachment, you are a man in need of an intervention. We are not simply a people in need of an intervention, we are a nation in need of an assassin. I am God’s squared-away man. I am Bob Honey. That’s who I am. Sir, I challenge you to a duel. Tweet me, b****. I dare you.’
Read the rest of the story here.
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.
“One of those who were with him [Herrara’s son] when he was murdered saw everything that happened. My son and two others were taken by 40 people, stabbed, hanged to bleed, and then Dorancel butchered them to feed all detainees. The [inmate] with whom I spoke to told me that he was beaten with a hammer [in order] to force him to eat the remains of the two boys.”
Dorancel Vargas, nicknamed “people eater,” has been in prison since 1999 for cannibalism.
Herrera’s son, Juan Carlos Herrera Jr., and one other inmate were unaccounted for when prison guards re-entered the facility after the mutiny was suppressed.
The Táchira mutiny is not unusual. There have been hundreds of mutinies in Venezuelan prisons every year, including 200 riots thus far in 2016, according to the non-governmental organization Una Ventana a la Libertad (A Window to Freedom).
The Minister of Correctional Affairs Iris Varela confirmed the disappearance of Herrera Jr. and the other prisoner, but denied the cannibalism allegations. She said while she “understands the father’s pain,” she regretted that he’s being used to channel lies that can be “easily debunked.”
But a police source who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News Latino the claims of murder and cannibalism are true: “Two [inmates] are missing. They cut them up and fed them to several [of the fellow inmates], they made the bones disappear. Dorancel cut the flesh.”
For his part, Humberto Prado, coordinator of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP), said the alleged cannibalism would be nothing new in Venezuela’s prisons. Prado told FNL:
“Prisoners have been dismembered before and some inmates have forced other prisoners eat their [own] fingers. That happened in a detention center in El Tigre. But inmates die not only from that [kind of violence], there are many prisoners who die of hepatitis, cirrhosis or famine.”
Prado said the OVP will ask the Attorney’s General Office to start an investigation and will submit the case to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Grieving dad Herrera said:
“What hurts me most is that I cannot bury my son, I can’t give him a Christian burial. I beg you to give me at least one bone so we can bury him and relieve some of this pain.”
Here’s Herrera’s press conference in Spanish:
Meanwhile, as Venezuela spirals into the abyss, still not a word or even donations to help starving Venezuelans from actor Sean Penn, who was BFF with the country’s late president Hugo Chavez.
Early this October, actors Jamie Foxx and Lukas Haas even paid a touristy visit to Venezuela, complete with photo ops with President Maduro. Maduro had invited the actors to visit the government-funded film and TV studio, Fundación Villa del Cine, and other tourist attractions.
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.
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.
According to a local newspaper, the following ingredients were used to make the cake — all in short supply in Venezuela’s supermarkets:
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.
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:
(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:
(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.