by Lou Binninger
Socialism is deadly. The current international tragedy in Venezuela is the poster child of the chaos and insanity created by the government takeover of the means of production. The outcome is that the wealthiest country in South America has collapsed.
The average Venezuelan has lost 20 lbs. or more, big rigs hauling food are being hijacked by starving citizens. Grocery shelves are empty. Zoo animals and pets have become the family entrée. The nationalized oil industry with the greatest crude oil reserves in the world is in disarray. Venezuela now must import gasoline.
The resulting humanitarian crisis is now the worst in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 4 million refugees and migrants. That's about 10 percent of the country's total population. Four of every 10 people still in Venezuela want to leave.
The United Nations estimates there will be 5.3 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants by the end of 2019, rivaling the scale of the Syrian crisis. By 2020, there will be 8 million Venezuelan refugees, making this crisis the largest such problem in the world.
Nearly 90 percent of the country’s population now lives below the poverty line and more than half of families are unable to meet basic food needs. Newborns in Syria have a better chance of survival than those born in Venezuela today.
Medical facilities in Venezuela are breaking down and losing their electricity at the same time that the cost of medications has become astronomical. There is a shortage of around 85 percent of all medicines in the country.
Meanwhile, 13,000 doctors have left Venezuela in the past four years. The failed infrastructure has led to a resurgence of communicable diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that malaria cases in Venezuela have consistently increased in recent years — from fewer than 36,000 in 2009 to more than 414,000 in 2017.
The desperation, poverty, starvation and resulting chaos have contributed to one of the highest crime rates in the world. In 2017, more than 73 Venezuelans died a violent death each day.
Venezuelan professionals - lawyers, business owners, doctors and nurses, government staff and university students who have relocated to other countries now resort to offering services like manicures or washing windows or peddling small items like candy, bread and coffee on the street just to feed themselves and their children, or to pay for a safe place to sleep at night.
Due to a lack of housing in neighboring countries and a lack of income most refugees sleep on the beach, in parks or in other public areas. If they make enough money through street hustling they rent hammocks in yards or spaces on the floor in private homes.
When people arrive in Colombia, they often beg until they have enough money to buy small items to sell. They are fortunate if they earn between $2 and $5 a day, which they use to scrape by or send back to Venezuela. For those who do get informal jobs, they are subject to low pay, long hours and exploitation.
This is all occurring because Venezuelan politicians and the left believed that the means of production, distribution, and exchange of goods and services should be owned or regulated by the government rather than by individuals. This is a government-created crisis.
Meanwhile, the children of Venezuela’s elite flaunt their wealth as the rest of the nation starves and many turn to prostitution to survive. Among the spoiled socialist ruling class is Maria Gabriela, the oldest daughter of the late President Hugo Chavez, who is said to be Venezuela’s wealthiest woman.
According to a ‘Forbes’ magazine article in 2015, Hugo Chavez was worth an “estimated $2 billion at the time of his death in 2013. “Today, his daughter Maria Gabriela is the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, worth double that.” It is believed that the 38-year-old’s fortune is hidden in European bank accounts.
Maria’s younger sister Rosines Chavez, in her twenties, has been studying at the University of Paris. In 2012, Rosines drew attention to the family’s extreme wealth by posing on social media flaunting a hand full of US currency.
Current President Nicolas Maduro’s stepsons, Yoswal and Walter Gavidia Flores spent $45,000 on accommodations at the Ritz Hotel in Paris — the equivalent of the monthly wages of 2,000 Venezuelans.
Venezuelan socialism should put California on notice.
However, as the socialist left has a firm control of California’s administration, electrical power is already intermittent as Governor Newsom wants to take-over utilities now ruined by government over-regulation.
Healthcare is headed toward state control and a water rationing plan is in place due to a moratorium on creating more water storage. Funds are being withdrawn from road improvements to force people to move to cities and out of cars. The oil industry is being shut down.
The only people benefitting nicely from socialism are those controlling political power.
(Get Lou’s podcast at “No Hostages Radio” and his articles at nohostagesradio.com)