It's Official?

 Today we’re going to restart our Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole Segment. It’s important to give us a more detailed look at how we arrived at this disastrous situation with 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism which, hopefully we can learn from and prevent it from happening here in the US. We’ll get to that in a bit but first, a few items from the news feed…

 Our friends at Caracas Chronicles tell us that Nicolas Maduro gave a speech judging Maria Corina Machado’s (MCM) presidential candidacy. “She says she’s launching a campaign she’s going to win by a landslide in the election and the main promise of the oligarchy is privatizing everything (Maduro has already begun dabbling with privatization to repair some of the damage caused by 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism)… This kind of candidate is a threat to the country’s social life, social stability, Maria Corina Machado will privatize everything only for the wealthy.”

 Just so we’re clear here, the best example of an oligarch in Venezuela is Nicolas Maduro himself (one of Venezuela’s wealthiest citizens, along with the daughter of Hugo Chavez…where did they get that money anyway? Uhh, that would be from the people of Venezuela) and what MCM really threatens is Maduro, with his 5% approval rating. Maybe that’s why, with all the other people to choose from, Nicolas Maduro chooses to recognize and attack MCM. I think it’s official! We now have a viable candidate for the opposition in the 2024 presidential election. Oh, and we here at TFT love MCM and have for years! She’s our favorite since Leopoldo Lopez was imprisoned in 2014, was released to house arrest after year in prison, and subsequently fled to Spain.

 Then we have this from Schengen Visa News, “11 Venezuelans Holding Forged Schengen Visas Detained in Panama” After reading the headline, my first question was, “Where the hell is Schengen?” It seems it’s a group of European countries that share borders and don’t require visas for traveling from one to another. Anyway…

 The Venezuelan nationals were detained by Panamanian Immigration authorities. It is believed they were trying to reach Mexico after flying from Caracas. It’s not a big story but it reminded me of another document story involving Venezuelans only the documents weren’t fake. In 2017 employees at the Venezuela Embassy in Iraq were selling valid Venezuela passports to people in various countries in the Middle East where it was difficult to obtain passports. They were suspected of supplying them to Hezbollah. FYI, the terrorist group, Hezbollah, has a training camp on Margarita Island in Venezuela.

 Then we have Caracas Chronicles also telling us that the Colombia/Venezuela border has officially reopened, but there are still no flights between Bogota and Caracas. Wingo was ready but the Venezuela government told them to suspend operations while they resolved some issues. Colombia President, Gustavo Petro, (Notice I didn’t refer to him as “leftist/Marxist) wants Colombia state airline, Satena, to connect Bogota and Caracas but Satena doesn’t operate international routes. So, out of the three airlines that are able to service the Bogota to Caracas route, and have been preparing for months and are ready to go, nobody’s flying.

 And we have Colombia Ombudsman, Carlos Camargo, asking for an institutional solution so Venezuelan minors in Colombia don’t stay indefinitely in shelters and institutions. It makes me wonder why I’ve never heard the Venezuela Ombudsman say anything with all the problems facing the people in Venezuela. Isn’t the Ombudsman supposed to be looking out for “the people”? You know, “the people” the Chavistas claim to care so much about?

 Well, it’s time to head “Down The Rabbit Hole”…

 Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole

How an emerging market democratic country was destroyed by 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism

 Chapter 1/ A Way Too Common Conversation

 As we pulled into the hospital parking lot I was taken aback.It was empty!

 “Just pull up over there at the far end past the morgue” directed Duglimar.

 “Where is everybody Dugs? (pronounced “Doogs”)

 “Didn’t you know? The hospital is closed. We’re going to that small building over there for administration, That’s where we get our yellow cards.”

 “I didn’t see anything in the newspapers or on TV. How can that not be news?”

 “The government controls the distribution of newsprint so the papers don’t report anything that’s too negative or they won’t get any paper and you know what the TV coverage is like.”

 “Yeah, self-censorship or you get yanked off the air.”

 Duglimar shrugged her shoulders. “It’s not like it really matters anyway. In Venezuela you go to the hospital to die.”

 That conversation stayed with me for a while. The real striking thing was Duglimar’s matter of fact attitude toward something that would horrify a non-Venezuelan. In the words of Chris Rock, “I’m not saying I agree with it…but I understand.”

 It’s difficult for Venezuelans to get too upset about any one thing in particular when they are constantly bombarded from all sides in every area of their life. They are too busy trying to survive to worry about something they perceive as beyond their control.

 So what happened to Venezuela’s hospitals? After my conversation with Duglimar I knew I had to do some research. I went back to the beginning of Chavismo to try to get some kind of understanding.

 More tomorrow….


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