Respect Your Elders

 We’ll get started with this week’s segment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole, “The Real War” shortly but first…Caracas Chronicles had a piece titled “Aging Venezuelans Need Empathy And Protection Now”. That pretty much says it all.

 Due to the work of the United Nations Independent International FFM (Fact Finding Mission), NGOs, and The ICC (International Criminal Court) investigation into Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity, the world is slowly waking up to the humanitarian crisis caused by 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. However, the specific situation of older Venezuelans deserves more attention.

 A 2022 survey by NGO, Convite, found that 90% of older Venezuelans endure regular electricity service interruptions and 86% face inconsistencies in their water supply. Furthermore, over 1/3 of older Venezuelans act as caregivers to a child or another person (a consequence of people left behind by migration ?)

 Even before the pandemic, 75% reported medicine shortages and over 90% don’t have a health policy.

 77% buy CLAP bags (the Maduro regime’s totally fraudulent, government subsidized food program) and the same percentage had to reduce their food portions.

 Article 80 of Venezuela’s Constitution (rewritten by Hugo Chavez) guarantees “older adults” rights to dignity, autonomy, full care, and social security benefits.

 Pensioners currently survive on a pension equal to the minimum wage which is under $14 a month.

 Nothing says “dignity” like looking through garbage for food. 48% need help from relatives to survive. There are certainly many problems to focus on in Venezuela (pretty much everything) but everyone should get an “aging lens” and pay attention to this travesty.

 Then we have Rio Times telling us that Guyana could see GDP growth this year of 52%, compared to Venezuela’s 6% current GDP growth (the only year of GDP growth since Maduro took power in 2018…8 consecutive years of recession equaling an 80% economic contraction) Journalist Marcos Salgado expects conflict between the two countries to escalate. (The Chavistas will want some of that money)

 And we have Merco Press reporting that Nicolas Maduro announced Venezuela’s return to the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) after leaving in 2006 (There weren’t enough leftist nations in the group at the time to suit Hugo Chavez)… “with all our productive capacity, with our commercial capacity, and a growing economy”. (Venezuela’s productive capacity and commercial capacity, outside of narco-trafficking and money laundering, is almost zero and their “growing economy” has had a few quarters of positive growth after 8 years of contraction)

 Then we have Tehran Times telling us that we can add medicinal plants and natural remedies to the items included in the Venezuela/Iran love fest.Every week we we seem to add another area or sector of the economy that the Maduro regime is asking Iran to help develop or restore since they’ve proven time and again that they’re incapable of doing anything on their own (except cocaine trafficking).

 First it was help with oil production (Iran now provides the condensate Venezuela needs to process it’s heavy crude as well as crude oil itself. It begs the question, “Is Venezuela really an oil producer?” Then it was natural gas, pharmaceuticals, technology, the auto industry, agriculture, and on and on.

 Now we have representatives from both countries meeting in Tehran at the 6th National Festival and Exhibition of Medicinal Plants, Natural Products, and Iranian Traditional Medicine. Their goal is to expand cooperation and technological interaction. That is “Chavista- speak” for Venezuela has another under-utilized resource it needs help with.

 The Maduro regime has already shown it is willing to become, more or less, a satellite of another country as they did with China if it means they get a little money or in some way facilitate extending their longevity in power…Nicolas Maduro, honorary Ayatollah?

 And we have World Crunch telling us that reports from Tehran’s airport show some senior officials in the government are seeking refuge in Venezuela and a limited number of other countries as anti-regime protests continue in Iran. It must be worse than I thought in Iran if people are seeking to flee to Venezuela.

 Now let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole….

 Chapter 7/ The Real War…

 Almost from day one of Maduro’s tenure as president (dictator) 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 bipartisanship with the Chavistas. I totally agree that there has been an economic war being waged against Venezuela. Unfortunately it’s the war Chavismo has been waging against the people of Venezuela.

 Many people like to, more or less, give Hugo Chavez a pass when it comes to the horrific situation in Venezuela. I am not one of those people. Chavez planted the seeds of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism and was the beneficiary of historically high oil prices and unprecedented (and unnecessary) 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 food or trying to scrape a little money together 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 for years.

 Pre- Chavismo, Venezuela produced 70% of it’s food and imported 30%. Over the years of “The Revolution” the 70/30 split reversed to 30/70 a few years ago and today produces just a fraction of it’s needs. It was easy enough to see 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 over two decades of 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism they have reduced the number of private companies in Venezuela by 80%. Now, all those 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 raising a lot of 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. Uhh…Hugo…ever heard of crop rotation so the soil can rejuvenate? I guess not.

 More tomorrow….

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