Protecting The People
We’ll conclude this week’s Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a minute but let’s first check the recent developments in “Socialist Paradise.” We here at talesfromteodoro have mentioned before that it always seems that those who say they’re doing something “for the people” have something else in mind just as when they say they’re doing something to “defend democracy.” Also previously mentioned was the Maduro regime’s parallel government position “protector of the people”, created unconstitutionally to divert power away from any opposition politician that managed to win an election. Today we have a good example of what “protecting the people” is really all about. The state of Merida has been one of those hardest hit by the recent rains and flooding. The Governor was asked about the state government’s efforts to help those stricken by this natural disaster to which he replied “All resources for aid after the rains/flooding was sent to ‘the protector’ .” The governor’s office is trying to find funds through other budgetary maneuvers. ” The Protector” has yet to comment on the lack of aid “for the people”.
In another move to “protect the people” Hugo Chavez brought back almost all of Venezuela’s gold reserves back to Caracas from banks around the world so Chavismo could protect “the people’s gold.” At the time Venezuela’s gold reserves stood at around $32 billion. As the gold arrived there were parades celebrating the Chavistas unprecedented move. Fast forward to today…Scrap Monster reports Venezuela’s Central Bank gold reserves just hit a 50 year low and are currently under $5 billion. We have reported several times on suspicious gold shipments leaving Venezuela. It was always unclear exactly what the ultimate destination was and exactly who the recipient was. There are still no answers as to what happened to the $28 billion of “the people’s gold”. The only thing that’s clear is the people don’t have it.
Caracas Chronicles reports that in person learning is in drastic need of improvement in the areas of public transportation,gas supply, utilities, vaccines,etc. This comes on the heels of an article in Esquire that informed us that there are only two countries in the world without face to face in person learning. Is it any surprise Venezuela is one of them?
In keeping with our “Voting With Their Feet” Down The Rabbit Hole” segment we have the Jesuit Refugee Service reporting that in the first half of 2021 17,914 Venezuelans have entered Chile illegally. The migrant crisis isn’t front and center in the news these days but although the Coronavirus pandemic has slowed migration it hasn’t gone away and won’t end any time soon.
But we do have signs that just as migration has slowed so has hyperinflation. It doesn’t get much coverage but Venezuela is now in it’s 45th month of hyperinflation second only to Nicaragua’s all time record of 58 months. To put it in perspective almost all recorded instances of hyperinflation last only a few months and a year is very rare. However we have indications that if the current trend continues this period of hyperinflation in Venezuela may end in early 2022. The only problem with this prediction is that in two of the five years we have seen this same trend followed by a resurgence in November and December, including last year. We’ll keep you posted. Remember, we have elections in November so there may be some money printed for vote buying as well as the usual holiday bonuses for holders of the Carnet de la Patria.
Let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole….
….So let’s say you’ve avoided the other numerous pitfalls and although you have nothing your life and your family are still more or less intact.What do you do? Unfortunately for “the walkers” the Venezuela migrant/refugee crisis gets nowhere near the media coverage as migration related issues in Africa and the Middle East. While I have enormous respect for the various aid groups around the world trying to keep their fingers in the dyke the reality is help will always arrive slowly.It’s much easier to jump on the news and pledge millions of dollars for relief here or there than it is to deal with the logistics of actually getting the help where it is needed. That said, the, the Venezuelans aren’t just getting less media coverage, they’re getting less money. According to NGOs, aid groups in Africa and the Middle East typically operate on 50% of needs. Yes, it sucks, but that’s the reality.As bad as that is the groups dealing with the Venezuela crisis are operating on 21% of needs!
The reasons for the disparity go beyond just news coverage. While all refugees are needy,well, there’s needy …and there’s NEEDY! As we discussed earlier, the Venezuelan people are literally wasting away, many existing on 700 calories a day (that’s if they spend every penny they earn on food). The 85% medicine shortage of a few years ago has inched up over 90% and vaccines (I’m not talking Coronavirus) are almost non-existent.Add to that a population that use to get contraception from the government,which is no longer the case, and they can’t afford to eat much less buy condoms so despite the horrible circumstances pregnancies are on the rise.It’s a real head scratcher that with infant mortality and maternal mortality skyrocketing people are still cranking out babies.(Good human nature lesson, people are going to do whatever they’re going to do regardless of circumstances)
So what effect is this having on support services, you know,a million extra people that are malnourished,unvaccinated, carrying diseases thought to be erradicated and/or are pregnant? Last things first,in the border area of Colombia there were 1,457 emergency room visits in 2015.in 2018 there were 131,958. The fiscal burden on these hospitals has increased 8,800%. 20% of these emergency room visits are pregnant women with a variety of diseases and neonatal problems that can’t be treated in Venezuela.As of 2018 over 900,000 vaccinations (non-Coronavirus) had been given and the number just keeps rising. All school classrooms are above maximum levels. 62,000 Venezuelan children are on Colombia Government Welfare and the numbers keep going up.
With all support services overloaded and no jobs available for latecomers most people are using border areas as a rest stop on the way to Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. They sleep where they can, scrape together whatever money they can (prostitution is a popular choice due to the uncommonly beautiful physical attributes of Venezuelan women),and resume their journey onward.Unfortunately for many, they arrive at the next border and are confronted with the same issues they faced crossing into Colombia not to mention the hardships of their cross country travel.
The outlook is bleak for the near term.Various NGOs are predicting famine conditions for Venezuela. What a travesty for a country that produced 70% of it’s food pre-Chavismo and now imports 95%. We already know the oil business is falling apart. Oil exports are in the 500-600,000 bpd range. Almost all of that (it actually isn’t enough to cover their obligations) goes to China,Russia, and Cuba, none of whom pay for it.Caracas Capital estimates that between drug trafficking and gold sales the government takes in about a billion dollars a month.The Chavistas/Military will get almost all of that and the Venezuelan people will continue to starve.
Summary : As the numbers mount every day the protests continue and the government calls for more dialogue. With each call for dialogue the stampede continues,as do the protests although not on as grand a scale due to repression. Lather,rinse,repeat.We have progressed (regressed) from taking flights out to taking cars/buses out to walking out. Oh, did I forget to mention there have been shipwrecks of overloaded boats trying to reach nearby island nations? Who knows how many are missing and/or presumed dead?
The nations surrounding Venezuela, and those not quite so close, are waking up to the realization that open borders sound good until you have an extra 4-8 million people you have to take care of. Systems are collapsing,xenophobia is rising, crime is rising (everywhere but Venezuela where there is nothing left to steal and murders are down due to the high cost of bullets),and now we’re seeing immigration restrictions and deportation of Venezuelans rising.
Perhaps one day the international media will catch on to this story although they don’t seem interested that one tenth of aid money is spent per Venezuelan refugee as compared with Syrian refugees. The problem is that with civil war or natural disasters you get some juicy photos. This is just a slow motion train wreck that many are all too ready to blame on “Gringo sanctions” when the truth, the reality is …. cue the mantra…this is a man made disaster…a Chavista made disaster.
We’ll be back for more on Monday so have a great weekend everybody!
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