Here We Go Again

 We’ll get started with Down The Rabbit Hole, “It’s A Wrap” in a few, but first there’s this. We told you last week that schools we reopening in Venezuela but there were a lot of concerns including lack of water, power, transportation, and Covid-19 safety protocols. Classes began Monday with about 40% of students in attendance. Here we go again.The kids need to get back to school but we have to hope the Chavistas can keep the lights on, keep the water running, and keep ’em safe. Resuming the school food program wouldn’t hurt either.

 In another “Here We Go Again” moment we have NBC News reporting that near the border town of San Cristobal a reporter sighted dozens on migrants heading to Colombia now that the bridge has reopened. If this is emblematic of the other border crossings it looks like the number of almost 6 million migrants may start climbing again.

 Oh,and I almost forgot…There is one other issue regarding the school reopening, a lack of teachers. The teachers are demanding that Maduro,or the Education Minister, or somebody do something about their pay. They are asking for a minimum of $35 per month. I know it doesn’t sound like much but they’re currently making less than 8 bucks a month.

 Telesur (government media) reports that Venezuela has appointed a new ambassador to Bolivia and made some cabinet shifts. Maduro keeps moving these Cabinet Ministers around and the only constant is that nothing changes. Maybe he should change a policy or two instead of a minister or two.

 NBC News also reports that Maduro wants to normalize relations with neighboring Colombia now that he has reopened the borders. The fly in the ointment is that Colombia’s president Duque won’t recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

 And speaking of Maduro (if you’re talking Venezuela you’re pretty much always speaking of Maduro) he has another great new brainstorm. He is threatening to build a communal city in El Avila National Park. The park has been protected since 1958 so his project is legally not possible. So……? had a great headline, “Venezuela’s Crumbling Oil Infrastructure Is An Environmental Time Bomb.” In Venezuela, between January and September there were 53 oil spills. To put that number in perspective, there were only 131 in the US in the same time frame yet the US produces 20 times as much oil. The Maduro regime doesn’t make environmental incidents public so it’s possible the number is much higher. The Cardon refinery hasn’t had any required scheduled maintenance since 2016. Lake Maracaibo is already a disaster. Fishing is no longer possible which removes one of the few options to make a living now that the oil business has collapsed. Much of the oil infrastructure is so decrepit it can’t be overhauled or repaired. It will have to be replaced and the estimate to address the problems is in the neighborhood of $220 billion!

 And then we have the Washington Examiner reporting that over 7,000 Venezuelans and Brazilians have crossed the border in Yuma, Arizona in August with a presumed increase in September. All had airline tickets and cash so these are not the penniless refugees we hear about on the news. It’s more like the early refugees of years ago fleeing Chavismo. I didn’t know there were still people in Venezuela with cash or the ability to buy plane tickets.

 Now let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 18/ It’s A Wrap

 “There are only four things…what people want to hear…what they are willing to believe…everything else…and then there is the truth.” The International

 I wanted to begin our wrap-up session with that quote from “The International” because I think of it all the time.If you haven’t figured it out yet,I am,if nothing else, a cynic and that quote is perfect for me.It’s a constant reminder not to “drink the kool-aid.”

 In my (not so humble) opinion, we tend to get into trouble when ideology trumps, no pun intended, reality. Everything and everyone are not always as they appear to be.I find that I am usually better served when I slow down, stop and think, look beneath the surface, peel back the layers of the onion, all that good stuff.If I take the time, am willing to ask the questions,and honestly evaluate the answers (those based on facts) I at least have a chance to reach some kind of understanding. I may still get it wrong but at least I have a chance.

 So why am I saying this? If you haven’t guessed already, I’m not a big fan of socialism.It seems to go against both human nature and what I learned from my parents and grand parents, specifically another good old saying, “there is no free lunch.” I think of socialism as “wouldn’t it be great if?…” The USA got an early look at socialism/communism with the Pilgrims. When they arrived in the New World they took a communal approach to planting, tending the crops, and harvesting. It would have been great if everyone had the same sense of responsibility.It would have been great if everyone was equally motivated and had the same work ethic. They almost didn’t survive “wouldn’t it be great if?…” and did so only through magnanimous treatment by the indigenous people. The following season they went the private property, personal responsibility route and they prospered.

 While I could go on and on about the failures of socialism there’s plenty of good, well-researched work out there regarding the consequences of socialist policies. My goal was to try to understand what happened in Venezuela through a lot of hard work, research, and personal experience. I believe I accomplished my goal and have a much better understanding of what happened than I did before I started my “Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole” project (and before I lived there).

 To be continued….

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