Socialism's Big Problem: Venezuela

When Chavez came to power in Venezuela, it was a foregone conclusion the country would collapse. And it has. Inflation off the charts and shortages everywhere. I'd argue anyone who didn't predict the collapse of Venezuela should be ignored in political matters, but certainly anyone who is looking at the situation today and doesn't understand why the country collapsed should be kept 10,000 feet away from any form of political power. Either sheer stupidity or more likely, an ideological devotion that turns evil when the truth reveals reality: socialism is an utter failure.

Whether or not there should be U.S. intervention is an entirely separate question.

ZH: "Guaido Is The Most-Hated Man In Venezuela" - On-The-Ground In Caracas Versus The Media Spectacle
PC: How did being in Venezuela compare to what you were seeing in Western media?

Carolina Graterol (CG): I am a journalist, I have family in Venezuela, and I knew the reality was very different from what the media is portraying, but still I was surprised. The first thing we noticed was the lack of poverty. Alan wanted to film homeless and poor people on the streets. I saw three people sleeping rough just this morning in London, but in Venezuela, we couldn’t find any, in big cities or towns. We wanted to interview them, but we couldn’t find them. It is because of multi disciplinary programmes run by the government, with social services working to get children off the streets, or returned to their families. The programme has been going on for a long time but I hadn’t realized how effective it was.
Hey, look how effective these authoritarians are at cleaning up the streets!
PC: Alan, what surprised you?

AG: We have to be realistic. Things look worn down and tired. There is food, there are private restaurants and cafes open, and you could feel the economic crisis kicking in but poverty is not as bad as what I’ve seen in Brazil or Colombia, where there are lots of street children. Venezuela doesn’t seem to have a homeless problem, and the favelas have running water and electricity. The extreme poverty didn’t seem as bad as in other South American countries. People told me before going I should be worried about crime, but we worked with a lady from El Salvador, and she said Venezuela was easy compared to her country, where there are security guards with machine guns outside coffee shops. They also say a lot of Venezuelan criminals left as there’s not that much to rob, with better pickings in Argentina, Chile or wherever.
Again, the authoritarian government supposedly has the streets safer than we've heard, but the economy is so bad that even the criminals have emigrated.
PC: How have the US sanctions impacted Venezuelans?

CG: Food is expensive, but people are buying things, even at ten times their salary. Due to inflation, you have to make multiple card payments as the machine wouldn’t take such a high transaction all at once. The government has created a system, Local Committees for Production and Supply (known by its Spanish acronym CLAP) that feeds people, 6 million families, every month via a box of food. The idea of the government was to bypass private distribution networks, hoarding and scarcity. Our assistant was from a middle class area in Caracas, and she was the only Chavista there, but people got together and created a CLAP system, with the box containing 19 products. Unless you have a huge salary, or money from outside, you have to use other ways to feed yourself. People’s larders were full, as they started building up supplies for emergencies. People have lost weight, I reckon many adults 10 to 15 kilos. Last time I was in Venezuela three years ago, I found a lot of obese people, like in the US, due to excessive eating, but this time people were a good size, and nobody is dying from hunger or malnutrition.

PC: So what are Venezuelans eating?

CG: A vegetarian diet. People apologized as they couldn’t offer us meat, instead vegetables, lentils, and black beans. So everyone has been forced to have a vegetarian diet, and maybe the main complaint was that people couldn’t eat meat like they used to do. The situation is not that serious. Before Hugo Chavez came to power, Venezuela had 40% critical poverty out of 80% poverty, but that rate went down to 27%, and before the crisis was just 6 or 7% critical poverty. Everyone is receiving help from the government.

PC: So food is the main concern?

CG: The real attack on the economy is on food. When you have hyperinflation everything goes up in price, but food has become the main source of spending because this is the variable going up in price at exorbitant levels. Bills like water, electricity, public transport haven’t gone up that much and represent a small percentage of any family spending. This is why the distortions in the economy are not intrinsic, but caused by external factors, otherwise everything should have gone up, no matter what it is.
Leftists will never learn, or if they do, they cease being leftists. Anyone with a basic understanding of economics predicted doom and hyperinflation for Venezuela long before any sanctions showed up. Now that the U.S. is starting to pressure them, progressives and leftists are blaming nearly 2 decades of economic mismanagement on the United States. It's as it ever was, going back to the Cold War. If you give these people power, they will destroy your country and salt the Earth. They will never admit or understand why they are solely responsible for the destruction, instead they will always blame some third party. The response to failure will always be more socialism and repressive crackdowns on the remaining "capitalists" or whoever is the regime enemy of the day.

Countries that go full socialist end up with mass graves or mass starvation. Western journalists stand right behind the graves and film the lovely wildlife scene in back, while reporting accounts of harmony and peace and progress. Fake News is real. It has been going on for 100 years in service of communist and socialist revolutions, and also picking up new agendas such as stopping Trump. The root of the lies always goes back to a communist/socialist/progressive agenda based on lies and in opposition to the Truth and reality.

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