The Worst

 Just a few quick items and we’ll be caught up so we can get Down The Rabbit Hole. First up is The Worst. You may be wondering,in light of my attempts to enlighten you, what could this be about? Almost anything and everything Venezuela related seems to be The Worst. Well, it’s about Nicolas Maduro who any rational person would have to say is The Worst president/dictator in the history of Venezuela and perhaps Latin America. But we now have a new Worst for him. Merco Press in an international consulting firm survey says that Uruguayan President Lacalle has been the best in Latin America at handling the coronavirus pandemic. And who would be The Worst? Why,of course, it’s Nicolas Maduro! Survey says….90% disapproval!!

 For the uninitiated, Maduro has the craziest lock down scheme anywhere and there have been,and are, some doozies.For most of the time people have been dealing with this coronavirus Maduro has had Venezuela under his 7 + 7 plan, seven days of lock down followed by seven days of easing of restrictions. Lather,rinse,repeat… for more than a year and counting. Why the 7 + 7 plan? Nobody really knows although in the early days of the pandemic Maduro gave his plan credit for low case numbers. The reality was Venezuela is so isolated from the international community that the virus was just slow in arriving. In case you’re wondering, even now that Venezuela is besieged by the coronavirus, the 7 + 7 plan is still active. Can you imagine how much this complicated our escape from Venezuela? When Maduro opened the air routes on a limited basis you could get a flight out of Caracas to leave Venezuela but you couldn’t travel to Caracas except for every other week (and on occasion Maduro changed his mind and re-closed air routes). So there you have it. We can now add handling of the pandemic to the long list of “Worsts) for Nicolas Maduro.

 Eurasia Review reports that The Vatican sent a letter to the president of Venezuela business group Fedecamaras encouraging dialogue between all parties affected by the crisis(es) in Venezuela. Maduro responded by saying the letter was full of hatred and cynicism. This is more cover for Maduro when the upcoming negotiations in Mexico break down. Oh, and Nicolas says he’s happy about the upcoming talks and also happy that all opposition parties will participate in the November elections. (all of his hand picked opposition parties,that is)

 In the easiest prediction ever, I predict the Mexico negotiations will break down and Maduro will say they were poisoned from the beginning and blame everyone from The Vatican to the US to all the usual suspects (you know,imperialists,colonialists,oligarchs,and don’t for get the Colombians). Pretty much everyone but himself.

 Now lets go Down The Rabbit Hole for a little bit of “The Real War”…..

 Almost from day one of Maduro’s tenure he has continually referred to “la guerra economica”,the economic war being waged against Venezuela. I would like to take this opportunity to demonstrate my bi-partisanship with the Chavistas. I totally agree that there has been an economic war being waged against Venezuela. Unfortunately, it’s the economic war being waged by Chavismo against the people of Venezuela.

 Many people like to give Hugo Chavez,more or less, a pass a pass when it comes to the horrific situation in Venezuela. I am not one of them! Chavez planted the seeds of “21st Century Bolivarian Socialism” and was the beneficiary of historically high oil prices and unprecedented borrowing which enabled him to delay the consequences of his disastrous policies. Chew on this:

 There is no better means to control a population than food insecurity. It’s hard to focus on pretty much anything when you’re busy scrounging for something to eat or trying to scrape together a little money to buy some food.It’s certainly a challenge to find the energy to protest when you’re weak from missing meals so your children can eat.That is the situation in Venezuela and has been so for years (and years).

 Pre-Chavismo Venezuela produced 70% of it’s food and imported 30%. Over the years of “The Revolution” the 70/30 split reversed course and Venezuela produced 30% of it’s food and imported 70% and the split has continued to worsen.Today they produce almost nothing.It was easy enough to see signs of what was coming. I remember seeing a video of a Chavez rally at a square in Caracas.He pointed to a building and shouted to his supporters ” Who owns that building? We’re taking it for ‘The Revolution’!” Remember Margaret Thatcher saying that the problem with socialism is that sooner or later they run out of other people’s money? Chavez got it cranked up early taking from everyone to the cheers of his supporters. In the first 20 years of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism they reduced the number of private companies in Venezuela by 80% and it’s even worse today. Now,of course, all those companies were not food related but many of them were.And one area he went after was all food related, agriculture.Those cheering crowds would soon disappear…… along with their food.

 Venezuela has an abundance of arable land so it has always produced a sizeable quantity of fruits,vegetables,and grains as well as livestock.That is, until The Revolution came along.An easy target for him to please his cheering throngs was dormant farmland.Early on Chavez went after the farmers saying he was going to free the people from the oppression of those greedy elitists.They had so much land they couldn’t even use it all! Uh,Hugo, have you ever heard of crop rotation so the soil can rejuvenate? I guess not.

 Anyway, he expropriated (doesn’t that sound better than stole) 3 and 1/2 million hectares (a hectare is about 2 and 1/2 acres) of farmland. He divided it into plots with some livestock for each and gave it (without title) to poor families from the barrios (mostly the slums of Caracas).Aside from the fact that my ancestral family were farmers, I think most people know it’s not an easy way to make a living. Families with generations of accumulated knowledge or corporate farms run by people with agricultural degrees have a rough go of it. What would be the chance of success if you took a family from the South Bronx and dropped them in Nebraska saying “Here’s your farm. Good luck!”

 You can imagine what happened. 35,000 hectares out of the 3 and 1/2 million actually produced. Not exactly a testament to societal experimentation. Try getting a drug approved with a 1% success rate. I do have to tip my hat to the 1% that succeeded,though. Good on ya’! You defied the odds!

 To be continued …..






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