The Venezuela socialism death spiral thread


…and right on cue he couldn’t resist but to throw his waste wrapper on the pile.
Arrogant SOB.


Your background story reminds me of our dear friend Finley, but here’s the curious part: whereas he fears himself and has a bit of a modesty reflex when it comes to areas outside his expertise, you seem to take the world on your shoulders. I wonder why that is.


I dunno. Ask him.


I don’t know if it qualifies me for anything, but I lived in Venezuela from 1997 to 2001; so, I got there before Chavez was elected. Venezuela was not perfect Pre-Chavez, but it certainly was not in the mess it is now. Socialism, that is nationalizing Ven’s major industries, was its downfall. Chavez was a terrible manager and so is the bus driver Maduro. What’s worse, Chavez ran out all foreign investment with phony arrest warrants (my dad and his company included).

Chavez never diversified the economy; that’s not socialism but being a dunderhead, though. By this point most of Ven’s upper and upper-middle class had fled, causing brain drain. Last I checked, Venezuela’s average IQ is 85. I don’t think Chavez and Maduro are much higher than that. This is where racism and social mobility hits a strange spot; Pre-Chavez, Venezuela was ruled by a mostly white-ish European basically non-mestizo class. The reason Chavez won was because he promised to end this system and was mestizo. But by running these people out of town, he essentially dropped the entire government’s IQ. Tack on socialism that is extremely poorly run, intelligent opposition leaders thrown in prison, and all eggs put into the oil basket before the bottom dropped out, and you have Ven today.


Well, that’s true for any kind of properly socialist/communist country.


Exactly; Bernie bros are not qualified to seize the means of production and run industries themselves. Chavez and Maduro thought they knew what was best for everyone and fouled up the place big time.


@Icon: I wasn’t joking, not really (gallows humour, though, is a bit of a British tradition, and we did indeed make jokes about, say, Stalin and Hitler).

My point was that Latin American countries have a habit of fucking over their own people, which encourages other unpleasant types to get in on the action. And of course things can only go downhill from there. Where there’s a corpse, the vultures gather.

I don’t often agree with @rowland’s Victor Meldrew view of the world, but it’s a psychological fact that victims tend to seek out people to victimize them. You can argue forever about the underlying causes - colonialism, the CIA, white people - but the objective reality is that some people build their own prisons. People voted for Chavez, and supported his dumbassery for years. Did they honestly expect things to pan out any better than they did?

I think I made a comment somewhere about the food looting: people were (apparently) hauling off sacks of sugar and flour. Which isn’t actually food. Yes, I know, if you’re looking at starvation on the horizon, you’re probably going to go for energy density, but what the hell have these people been doing for the last 50 years? A lot of Latin America is still predominantly rural. Is there some law against keeping backyard chickens or pigs, or growing pumpkins on your lawn?

Of course there are big, oppressive forces in the world, sometimes much bigger than the ordinary man can cope with. But even if political power does issue from the barrel of a gun, there are only so many guns to go around, and only so many psychopathic grunts to wield them.

As @Super_Fire pointed out, since everyone with any smarts or motivation has fled, the country is now populated by (and probably run by) people with the brains of slightly dull 12-year-olds. That’s not likely to end well.


There may well be. But if so, you can blame the voters for that. They get the government they deserve.


Looks like protesters burned down Hugo Chavez’s childhood home.


idiots. They should have done that 50 years ago.


Well, well, well… how could this have POSSIBLY happened… I don’t know…maybe we need to look at the activities of our “best ex president.” TYPICAL! Ask the Iranian people… but hey… I am sure that someone somewhere is recognizing his “efforts” to be “important.”

Last year, in the run-up to what would be Hugo Chávez’s final election, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter provided the ultimate cover for the late caudillo when he called the Venezuelan election process “the best in the world.” Today, as the country roils in the aftermath of a contested election to elect Chávez’s successor, we now know that is not the case.

Who says? Carter’s own election-monitoring organization. Last week, an official at the Carter Center told the Washington Post, “The concerns are not about the [voting] machines and whether they counted accurately. The questions are much more about who voted. Was there double voting? Was there impersonation of voters? And was there coerced voting?”

All good questions, ones which anyone should expect to be assessed before making pronouncements about any electoral process as the “best in the world.” This is no small matter, since the Carter Center, perhaps more than any other organization outside Venezuela, has repeatedly granted legitimacy to Hugo Chávez’s successive reelections, even as the evidence mounted that elections in Venezuela were exceedingly one-sided affairs.

From stacking the electoral council with his loyalists, to his near-monopoly control of the broadcasting media, to his non-transparent spending of Venezuela’s record oil profits for political purposes, to intimidating voters with the public exposure of their votes, Chávez used every tactic, above-board and underhanded, to smother opposition candidates.

But with the rabble-rouser-in-chief no longer among us, it appears chavismo, the movement Chávez created, has run its course. Something went seriously awry in April’s snap election for Chávez’s chosen successor, Nicolas Maduro. Whereas the late president won the October election by eleven percentage points, Maduro barely edged challenger Henrique Capriles, beating him by one percentage point.

What we learned from that election is that Maduro is no Chávez, and not even the obscene collusion between the government, the ruling party, and electoral officials could change that. (My colleague Roger Noriega has exposed the sophisticated chavista vote-getting machine here.) What they failed to account for was that Chávez’s link with his base was not transferrable to the wooden Maduro.

What Chávez’s successors also underestimated this time around is the adamant refusal of the opposition to accept another rigged election. They have demanded a recount, filed a protest with the Supreme Court, and asked for international solidarity with their cause. The Maduro government and its Cuban handlers have responded with the only thing they have left: violence.

Last week, opposition lawmakers were physically attacked on the floor of the National Assembly after they protested a move to silence them. Before that, Venezuelans were attacked in the street by government-armed thugs as they protested the election result.

Given the ongoing turmoil, the Obama administration has taken a principled stand in not recognizing the outcome until the opposition’s grievances are dealt with in some satisfactory way. During his trip to the region this past weekend, President Obama addressed the controversy:

“I think that the entire hemisphere has been watching the violence, the protests, the crackdowns on the opposition. I think our general view has been that it’s up to the people of Venezuela to choose their leaders in legitimate elections. Our approach to the entire hemisphere is not ideological. It’s not rooted back in the Cold War. It’s based on the notion of our basic principles of human rights and democracy and freedom of press and freedom of assembly. Are those being observed? There are reports that they have not been fully observed post-election. I think our only interest at this point is making sure that the people of Venezuela are able to determine their own destiny free from the kinds of practices that the entire hemisphere generally has moved away from.”

Right on the money, Mr. President. Let’s hope someone is listening in Georgia.


The best thing that came out of Carter’s administration was his brother’s promotion of Billy Beer. As Homer Simpson said, “We elected the wrong Carter”.


Say whatever you want about us Latinos, but you can’t deny we are resourceful:


Military uprising in progress.


I assume they’re heading to the countries where socialism is more fully realized.

"Record number of Venezuelans fleeing to other parts of South America"


I hear the climate in northern Europe is a little off-putting this time of year. And first they would need to get there.

Oh, look! More than 10 times as many moved to Colombia this year as to Argentina! This proves that people really want to live in poor countries! :smile: The fact that Colombia is next door has nothing to do with it! :rainbow:


What it proves is that people would rather live in a third world country than one with the world’s largest proven oil reserves being run by a socialist government.

Here are the top countries with the biggest proven oil reserves:

    Proven oil reserves in 2013 (billion barrels): 297.6. Total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 2,489.2
    Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia last year to become the holder of the largest oil reserves in the world. However, annual oil production of the OPEC supplier is considerably less than the Kingdom.


That clearly explains why all those “”“refugees”"" from Afghanistan move to India, Pakistan and Iran to run away from the war, instead of going to Sweden and Germany! It all makes sense now!


How about they just let all the Venezuelans go and live in Colombia, then Colombia can annex an empty tract of land that nobody wants anymore?