Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chavez’

Venezuela: Lynching, Riots, General Collapse

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Time for an update on everyone’s favorite socialist paradise, where the collapse of the economy (and civil society) continues apace:

  • Things have degenerated enough that lynching has made a comeback:

    The public-safety infrastructure in Venezuela has been degraded to such a degree that citizens now take justice into their own hands. Agence France Presse reported that lynchings have risen sharply over the last year and a half as political and economic instability in the crumbling socialist republic has worsened. Witnesses who spoke to AFP said a 22-year-old man who was set on fire at an anti-government demonstration in May was actually lynched after being accused of stealing by the crowd – not because he was a government sympathizer, as President Nicolas Maduro had suggested at the time.

  • Protestors set fire to the Venezuela Supreme Court. “The incident comes after the Supreme Court voted to reject a motion blocking Maduro from rewriting the country’s constitution, despite recent polls showing that up to 85 percent of Venezuelans oppose the reforms.”
  • Tearing down a statue of Hugo Chavez doesn’t get you sent before a civilian judge, it lands you before a military tribunal:

    Maduro is following the playbook of other tyrants facing the collapse of socialism page by page. The anger in the streets against his failed regime is so intense that protesters might not be convicted in a jury trial handled through the regular order of civilian law enforcement. So instead, the troublemakers are being rounded up and taken off to face a court martial in an environment which the government can closely control.

  • Brazil has suspended tear gas sales to Venezuela.
  • Venezuela’s collapsing oil industry is also screwing over Cuba.
  • Venezuela in 20 pictures. Including a really sad one of a starving elephant. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Are the government’s Twitter accounts suspended?
  • There’s also a Washington Post piece that asks if Civil War is imminent I’m not linking to because the words “starvation” and “hyperinflation” are conspicuously absent. As the Hot Air piece on military tribunals states, “the citizens are effectively in a state of war with their own government” already…

    Venezuela Boils

    Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

    The problem with reporting on the slow-motion trainwreck that is Venezuela is the “slow-motion” part. Things fall apart, children die, people starve, but it’s hard to gauge the rate at which the ship of state is slipping under the iceberg of reality due that giant gash of socialism in its side.

    The crisis has now reached the “regular riots and soldiers shooting protesters in the street” phase:

    An economy in shambles, lethal street crime, dungeons packed with political prisoners, and South America’s worst refugee crisis — it’s hard to find a misery that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government hasn’t visited on his compatriots in his four years in office. But by calling for a new constitution (Venezuela has had 26) as he did this week, Latin America’s ranking strongman may well have trumped his own dismal record.

    On May 1, with the streets of Caracas and other major cities teeming with anti-government protests, Maduro announced a plan to convoke a constituent assembly to write a new constitution. As anti-climactic as that sounds, this was an autocratic milestone even for the country that has turned political and economic fiat into a science. In a single flourish, the Venezuelan leader proposed not just to bend the rules, as he has done repeatedly since coming to power in 2013, but also to junk the latest constitution — which his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, fashioned into a tyrant’s toolbox — and cherry-pick a Bolivarian dream team to deliver what will presumably be an even more authoritarian one.

    If the proposal stands, as virtually all of Maduro’s decrees have stood to now, the new law in turn would bury the cherished trope among contemporary Latin American strongmen that their word, no matter how arbitrary, is still anchored in democratic process. “Maduro’s proposal was not just flagrantly unconstitutional. It was the most radical move in more than 17 years of Chavismo,” said Diego Moya-Ocampos, chief political risk analyst at IHS Markit, a London-based business consultancy.

    Brazilian foreign minister Aloysio Nunes went further, labelling Maduro’s proposal a “coup” and a breach of democratic civility. “Maduro chose to radicalize,” Nunes told me in an interview. “This proposal is incompatible with the democratic process, slams the door on dialogue, and is a slap in the face to the Pope’s appeal for a negotiated solution.”

    Even the Secretary General of the Organization of American States has recognized that Venezuela no longer even pretends to be a democracy:

    There are elements of dictatorships that are unmistakable. Today I must refer to one more in Venezuela: the passing of civilians to military justice.

    Venezuela´s civic-military regime represents the worst of every dictatorship. That includes tyrannical control over political freedoms and the basic guarantees of the people, the elimination of the powers of the branches of government of popular representation, political prisoners and torture, starting with the armed collectives, a kind of fascist blackshirts, with orders to attack civilians during protests.

    The accusations of military prosecutors to civilians is absolute nonsense in juridical terms.

    In Venezuela, the rule of law does not exist even in appearance.

    The accusations of crimes of vilification and instigation to rebellion, as well as other categories of a similar nature, are part of a reactionary discourse devoid of legal grounds applied against demonstrators. The reality is that they simply serve the purpose of depriving peaceful protesters of their freedom.

    When a government considers that its people are a threat to its continuity it is because it is a government whose strategy is to continue without the people and on the basis of the use of force.

    This constitutes a new violation of the Constitution, which in its article 261 says clearly that:

    “The commission of common crimes, human rights violations and crimes against humanity shall be judged by the courts of the ordinary jurisdiction. Military courts jurisdiction is limited to offenses of a military nature.”

    More scenes from the disintegration of Venezuelan society over the last few months:

  • More classic commie moves: arrest opposition leaders and charge them with plotting a coup, in this case Gilber Caro.
  • They also banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding political office for 15 years.
  • Another opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has just disappeared in prison. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Though his wife Lilian Tintori has evidently seen him, and says that he wants the opposition to continue protesting. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Last year, the average Venezuelan living in extreme poverty lost 19 pounds amid mass food shortages largely created and then exacerbated by government price controls—60 percent of Venezuelans said they had to skip at least one meal a day. Maduro joked that the ‘Maduro diet,’ as the government-induced starvation has been called, was leading to better sex, to the applause of government workers and party loyalists but few others. There have been shortages of food as well as goods like toilet paper, deodorants, condoms, and even beer.”
  • “Venezuela military trafficking food as country goes hungry.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.”
  • Eight Venezuelans were actually electrocuted trying to loot a bakery.
  • Venezuelans are fleeing to Brazil for medical care…A spiraling economic crisis and hyperinflation have cleaned Venezuelan hospitals of needles, bandages and medicine. Desperate for care and often undocumented, patients are overwhelming Brazilian emergency rooms as they turn up by the thousands.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Consumer prices in Venezuela soared by 741% year-over-year in February 2017.”
  • That hyperinflation was so bad that Venezuela outlawed their own currency. “In mid-December, the Venezuelan government surprised its citizens by withdrawing from circulation the 100-bolívar note, its largest and most used bill, with only 72 hours’ warning.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Statue of Hugo Chavez torn down by protesters.
  • “The Venezuelan government is investigating alleged corruption in a $1.3 billion contract between the state oil company and a private contractor co-founded by a Saudi prince, according to law-enforcement officials and related documents.” Usual WSJ hoops apply.
  • In Venezuela, the prisoners are literally running the prisons. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Why is it that reporters keep scratching their heads about Venezuela’s descent into extreme poverty and chaos? The cause is simple. Socialism. End it and you will end the misery.”
  • Chavista Socialism Has Destroyed 570,000 Businesses in Venezuela.”
  • Fracking means Venezuela will run out of money sooner rather than later. “A country like Venezuela, which was on the edge even before prices fell from $100 a barrel, well they’re running out of foreign exchange reserves, they’ve fallen from $66 to about $15 billion. And they’re collapsing and they’re running out of the ability to import food and other materials, and so there you’re dealing with almost societal instability, and order is being maintained by folks with guns.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Venezuela’s oil tankers are too dirty to be allowed to dock in foreign ports.
  • The regime’s useful idiots among the American left remain strangely silent as the country they once held up as a shining example of the success of socialism collapses:

  • Venezuelan Socialism Out-Grinches Itself

    Monday, December 26th, 2016

    The ongoing failure of socialism in Venezuela is one of those continuing stories that always threaten to turn post-worthy. This week’s Christmas season hook: the government’s Grinch-like seizure of toys:

    Caracas, Venezuela (CNN)Venezuelan officials have confiscated nearly 4 million toys from a toy distributor, accusing the company of planning to sell them at inflated prices during the Christmas season.

    On Saturday, the government initially said it had confiscated 4.8 million toys. It revised the figure Sunday, putting it at 3.821 million.

    Critics say the consumer protection agency, which targeted the toy warehouse this week, has become “the Grinch that stole Christmas” because many families won’t be able to buy the confiscated toys for the holiday.

    Agency head William Contreras disputed that, saying executives at toy distributor Kreisel-Venezuela, the largest of its kind in the country, “don’t care about our children’s right to have a merry Christmas.”

    Lack of toys are not the biggest problem for children in Venezuela. Thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism™, a child’s scrapped knee can mean death. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

    Last month’s death of Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro shouldn’t eclipse the ongoing collapse of Venezuela, Latin America’s other failed socialist state:

    Except for Nicaragua in the 1980s, Venezuela has more wholly adopted Castro’s economic and ideological model than any other Latin American nation. The late Hugo Chávez took his cues from Castro on everything from his fondness for army fatigues to his 10-hour speeches. Chávez also adopted the Castro model of seizing private property, suppressing the independent media, hounding political opponents and making cause with rogues in Damascus and Tehran.

    For a while Venezuela escaped some of the inevitable consequences thanks to a flood of petrodollars. That’s over. Inflation is forecast to reach 1,640% next year. Caracas is the world’s most violent city. Hospitals have run out of basic medicines, including antibiotics, leading to skyrocketing infant mortality. There are chronic and severe shortages of electricity, food and water, as well as ordinary consumer goods like diapers or beer. Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s handpicked successor, has put his leading political opponents in jail.

    And there’s hunger. An estimated 120,000 Venezuelans flooded into neighboring Colombia to buy food when Mr. Maduro briefly opened the border in July. Desperate Venezuelans are trekking through the Amazon hinterlands to make it to Brazil. And, like Cubans, they are taking to boats, risking their lives to make it to the nearby Dutch colony of Curaçao. Where there’s socialism there are boat people.

    Zero Hedge has been keeping track of the twists and turns of Venezuela’s ongoing hyperinflation:

  • First Maduro’s idiot socialist government threw in the towel and announced they were printing currency with denominations 200x larger than the previous currency.
  • The results were swift: The bolivar crashed 22% in one week.
  • Then, following the moronic lead of Narendra Modi’s India, Venezuela announced that they were pulling 100 boliver notes from circulation, ahead of larger bills being available.
  • Then they closed the borders to prevent “currency smuggling.”
  • And yet, despite all this, despite children starving to death in the street, opposition parties cannot get their act together to oppose Maduro’s socialists. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    As long as the government keeps failed socialist policies and printing money, the economic nightmare plaguing the people of Venezuela will continue.

    Venezuela Says “No Mas” To Socialism

    Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

    It turns out that 100% inflation, widespread repression and corruption and endemic shortages of basic consumer goods are not a recipe for electoral success:

    Electoral authorities in Venezuela say the opposition coalition won a key two-thirds majority in the National Assembly in legislative voting.

    The National Electoral Council has published on its website the final tally of results from Sunday’s elections showing that two previously undecided races had broken in favor of the opposition, giving them 112 out of 167 seats in the incoming National Assembly. The ruling socialist party and its allies got 55 seats.

    The supermajority gives the opposition a strong hand in trying to wrest power from President Nicolas Maduro after 17 years of socialist rule. It now has the potential votes to sack Supreme Court justices, initiate a referendum to revoke Maduro’s mandate and even convoke an assembly to rewrite Hugo Chavez’s 1999 constitution.

    Sooner or later, socialists always run out of other people’s money.

    Though Maduro is still President, there are a lot of things the new government can do to improve the lives of their citizens:

    To end food shortages, the new congress can immediately lift price controls so entrepreneurs have an incentive to produce or import. The only way to strengthen the “strong bolivar,” as the late Hugo Chávez named the currency, is to make it valuable enough for people to hold. That means lifting capital controls and ending the central bank’s multiple exchange-rate system so business can get access to dollars. On current course Venezuela will run out of international reserves and face default in 2017. Restructuring debt now with creditors would make that prospect less painful.

    Which brings us to oil. Chávez used the country’s energy wealth to buy permission in Latin America—and Massachusetts; remember Joseph Kennedy’s Citgo PR campaign—for his many human-rights violations. As long as governments in the Caribbean were getting low-priced petroleum from Venezuela, they voted with the military government in Caracas at the Organization of American States.

    Chávez and Mr. Maduro have also traded oil for security help from Cuba’s intelligence apparatus. Putting an end to these trades would retain more resources inside Venezuela and send a signal that the days of government repression are numbered. Meanwhile, rejoice that one of this hemisphere’s lost countries has a chance at revival.

    Hugo Chavez Now Deader Than the Fifth International

    Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

    Venezuela’s leftist dictator Hugo Chavez dead of cancer.

    All the usual leftists are talking about how “his people” loved him. Well, not the political prisoners or the ones whacked in extrajudicial killings, but, you know, eggs, omelets, death squads. Stuff happens when you’re building a people’s republic.

    Which might explain why he was the least popular leader in Latin America. (Though I doubt they do polling in Cuba. Is it too much to ask that Fidel Castro now die of a broken heart?)

    But what I want to know is: Now that Hugo Chavez is dead, who will lead the Farm Workers Union?

    Delahunt to Checkmate Self Over Bishop?

    Sunday, February 14th, 2010

    So, let’s see if we can detect a pattern in the following events:

    1. On Friday, Biology professor Amy Bishop goes on a shooting spree over being denied tenure at University of Alabama in Huntsville, killing three people and wounding three others. (It’s interesting to note that spree killers (or, as the police call them now, “active shooters”) are almost never women.)
    2. On Saturday, it comes out that Bishop had shot and killed her own brother in 1986, but had been released even before facing charges. Why? The police received a phone call from then-district attorney William Delahunt telling them to let her go. That would be the same William Delahunt who is currently a U.S. congressman from Massachusetts. Oh, and did I mention that all the files on the case are now mysteriously missing?
    3. Later that same Saturday, Congressmen Delahunt says he’s considering retiring. Strangely, the article announcing this in the Boston Globe makes absolutely no mention of Delahunt’s role in the still-hot Bishop case. As the Church lady would put it, “How con-ven-ient.” And did I mention that congressmen Delahunt gets an F from the NRA and a 100% rating from the gun control enthusiasts at the Brady Campaign? Not to mention his penchant for palling around with Hugo Chavez.

    Following Scott Brown’s campaign victory, Delahunt was already considered vulnerable, but the timing on this seems just a little too convenient, don’t you think?

    Then there’s this paragraph from that LA Times story about Bishop and her husband: “They were outspoken Northeastern liberals whose political yard signs stood out a little on their suburban lot.” If we were just discussing the Alabama shooting itself, i would call it dirty pool to bring that information up; I don’t think being a liberal makes you any more or less likely to become a spree killer; some people just snap, and politics has nothing to do with it. But I can’t help wondering whether politics may have played a role in her not being charged in 1986. Was she not charged because she, or more likely her relatives or friends, were somehow politically connected to Delahunt? Why is the case file missing, and who took it?

    Why did William Delahunt let Amy Bishop get away with murder?

    Updated: Belmont Club has more on the story, including links to the DA report in the comments sections, and critiques of same.