Tag Archives: Venezuela

Medicare for All

They already have it in Venezuela.

As the food shortages deepened, nearly three-quarters of Venezuelans polled said they had lost at least 19 pounds last year, one poll found.

Shortages of basic medicine and proper medical equipment – as in Deivis’ case – are common. More than 750 women died during or shortly after childbirth in 2016, a 66% increase from 2015, according to the Venezuelan health ministry. Nearly 11,500 infants died, a 30% jump. Malaria cases soared to 240,000, a staggering 76% increase. That last one is especially telling: Venezuela had already eradicated malaria more than 50 years ago. I met three paramedics in a week who all said they’re low or out of gauze, gloves and bandages.

Galindez, Deivis’ mother, found a matching kidney to replace one of her son’s failing ones. But it was a temporary victory: Doctors stopped performing kidney operations in April because they didn’t have the resources needed for the operation, according to Dr. Belen Arteaga, the head of the nephrology unit at Hospital de Niños Dr. J.M. de los Ríos, where Deivis was treated.

Show Trials Begin in Venezuela

The purges are coming.

Venezuela’s new constituent assembly has unanimously voted to put opposition leaders on trial for treason.

The assembly said it would pursue those it accuses of supporting US economic sanctions against the country.

Washington approved the measures last week in response to what it called the “dictatorship” of President Nicolás Maduro.

President Maduro has accused the US of trying to cripple Venezuela’s economy amid an ongoing economic crisis.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on 25 August to ban trade in Venezuelan debt or the sale of bonds from its state oil company.

His reasons included “serious abuses of human rights” as well as the creation of the “illegitimate” constituent assembly, which the US accuses of usurping the democratically elected parliament.

Venezuelan Tyrant Tightens Fist

Tyrants doing what tyrants do.

On Thursday, the opposition accused the government Thursday of persecution after the supreme court this week sentenced two of its mayors to 15 months in prison for not preventing anti-government protests. Both were also barred from holding public office.

The verdict brought to 23 the number of mayors targeted by legal action, according to the opposition.

“Is this the peace that Maduro is talking about?” said Gerardo Blyde, another mayor who is the target of a legal investigation.

The Constituent Assembly has already sacked the attorney general, a Maduro appointee-turned-critic who opposed its creation as unconstitutional.

The developments fuelled tensions that have been flaring in Venezuela for the past four months. Nearly 130 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces.

The protests have lost steam in the past week as security forces have stepped up repression and demonstrators have grown discouraged by the opposition’s failure to bring about change.

Tyranny Wins (as expected) in Venezuela

It doesn’t matter what the turnout in a sham election was.

Electoral officials in Venezuela say turnout in the controversial election for a constituent assembly was 41.5%, a figure disputed by the opposition.

The opposition coalition said 88% of voters abstained and it refused to recognise the election. It also called for more protests on Monday.

Sunday’s election was marred by violence, with widespread protests and at least 10 people killed.

President Nicolás Maduro hailed the poll as a “vote for the revolution”.

Venezuelan Dictator Consolidates Power with Another Sham Vote

Socialism in action.

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN)After weeks of street clashes and tension, Venezuelans started casting ballots Sunday in a poll that could mark a stark turning point for the country.

The vote would allow President Nicolás Maduro to replace the current legislative body, the National Assembly, with an entirely new institution known as the Constituent Assembly.
Experts say the outcome is a foregone conclusion: Maduro will be able to consolidate political power.
Polls opened at 6 a.m. ET Sunday, with nearly 380,000 troops guarding voting stations, and close at 6 p.m., according to a government release.
Maduro’s administration has deemed any protests illegal, threatening anyone who defies the no-protest order with up to 10 years in prison.

Government Thugs Crack Down on Opposition

Looks like the dictatorship is cracking down on the last vestiges of representative government.

About 100 government supporters have burst into Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, where they beat up several lawmakers.

Witnesses said the confrontation came after an assembly session to mark the country’s Independence Day.

Military police guarding the site stood by as intruders brandishing sticks and pipes broke through the gate, AFP said. The government vowed to investigate.

Lifeline

How sad.

Each day the bridge to Colombia sees a steady stream of people — a mix of young and old, alone and in family groups — cross back and forth looking for basic supplies. Most are carrying empty suitcases or a handful of plastic bags as they cross into Colombia. On the return trip, the bags brim with goods they can’t get at home.
The air is humid and dusty at the same time. The bridge is flanked by lush palm trees as it leads to a patch of land teeming with makeshift storefronts, mini supermarkets and currency conversion shops.
As the road opens into the border town of Cucuta, young women pass out yellow sale fliers to entering Venezuelans. A man raises his voice to yell into a microphone about goods on offer at a large supermarket. “Welcome, friends from Venezuela, we have chocolate milk and toilet paper for a good price,” he shouts.
Enrique Sanchez, wind beaten and darkened by the sun, is thankful to Colombia, he said, “Because they have enough for themselves and us.”
This time, he has come over to buy flour, oil, rice and sugar with his depreciating Venezuelan Bolivars. He makes the hour-long journey from
San Cristobal every two days to keep is family of eight fed during the crisis.
“Unfortunately, in Venezuela, there is no food. That’s the reality,” he said, before walking back towards the crossing.

Socialism is Starving Venezuelans

Tragic.

Three in four Venezuelans said they had lost weight last year, an average of 19 pounds, according to the National Poll of Living Conditions, an annual study by social scientists. People here, in a mix of rage and humor, call it the Maduro diet after President Nicolás Maduro.

For more than a month, Venezuelans have protested against the increasingly authoritarian government of Mr. Maduro; by Friday, more than 35 people had been reported killed in the unrest. The country’s Food Ministry, the president’s office, the Communications Ministry and the Foreign Ministry didn’t return calls or emails requesting comment for this article.

Venezuela Seizes GM Plant

Socialists gonna be socialists

GM (GM) described the takeover as an “illegal judicial seizure of its assets.”

The automaker said the seizure showed a “total disregard” of its legal rights. It said that authorities had removed assets including cars from company facilities.

“[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights,” it said in a statement.

GM’s subsidiary in the country — General Motors Venezolana — has operated in Venezuela for nearly 70 years. It employs nearly 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country. GM said it would make “separation payments” to its workers.

Bloodless Coup in Venezuela

First, take over private industry and property to make things more “fair.” Second, strip away individual rights. Third, starve the people. Fourth, consolidate power. The formula works.

(CNN)In a surprising move the Venezuelan opposition is calling a coup, the Venezuelan Supreme Court has stripped the country’s National Assembly of its powers. The court ruled that all powers vested under the legislative body will be transferred to the Supreme Court, which is stacked with government loyalists.

The ruling effectively means the three branches of the Venezuelan government will be controlled by the ruling United Socialist Party. The opposition has been taken out of the picture.

Venezuela Asks UN for Help with Healthcare

This headline is a bit more chilling today than it was a few days ago. America faces a long future with socialized medicine. This is where it leads.

(CNN)President Nicolas Maduro said he has asked the United Nations for help in dealing with Venezuela’s medicine shortages, which have grown severe as the country grapples with a crippling economic crisis.

[…]

The country is lacking roughly 80% of the basic medical supplies, according to the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela.
Hundreds of health care workers and other Venezuelans staged protests this month demanding better access to medicine and health treatment. Many of the protesters brought prescriptions for medicines that they said they can’t buy at local pharmacies.
Last year, the opposition-led National Assembly in Venezuela declared a “humanitarian crisis” in the health care system.
CNN visited a hospital in Caracas and found that health care workers believed medicine was being swiped to be sold on the black market. Government rationing of medications has made even basics, such as pain relievers, hard to come by.
For years, Venezuelans have had to hunt for penicillin and other remedies at pharmacies, often without success. Public hospitals are in no better shape, with people dying due to the scarcity of basic medical care.

Venezuela Delays Issuing Passports

Meanwhile, in Venezuela

EVERY weekday morning, a queue of several dozen forlorn people forms outside the dingy headquarters of SAIME, Venezuela’s passport agency. As shortages and violence have made life in the country less bearable, more people are applying for passports so they can go somewhere else. Most will be turned away. The government ran out of plastic for laminating new passports in September. “I’ve just been told I might need to wait eight months!” says Martín, a frustrated applicant. A $250 bribe would shorten the wait.

As desperation rises, so does the intransigence of Venezuela’s “Bolivarian” regime, whose policies have ruined the economy and sabotaged democracy. The economy shrank by 18.6% last year, according to an estimate by the central bank, leaked this month to Reuters, a news agency (see chart). Inflation was 800%.

Venezuela’s Slide Into Totalitarianism

Sad to see what this once great country has become.

Today has been a day of sober reckoning in Caracas, as Venezuelans process the death of the recall process and its implications. It’s easy to overdramatize these things, I realize, but it’s also important not to lose the forest for the trees: a relatively large, relatively sophisticated major oil producer just three hours’ flying time from the United States has just become the second all-out, no-more-elections dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.

It is a heady lesson for Americans as we choose between two of the most autocratic, unscrupulous people ever to run for president. Our liberties are granted by God, but they are preserved by people. The decline to totalitarianism can happen quickly, and often comes n the guise of a helping hand.

Venezuelans Liquidate Savings to Buy Food

It’s so sad watching this once great nation devolve.

SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (AP) — Tebie Gonzalez and Ramiro Ramirez still have their sleek apartment, a fridge covered with souvenir magnets from vacations abroard, and closets full of name brand clothes. But they feel hunger drawing close.

So when the Venezuelan government opened the long-closed border with Colombia this weekend, the couple decided to drain what remained of the savings they put away before the country spun into economic crisis and stocked up on food. They left their two young sons with relatives and joined more than 100,000 other Venezuelans trudging across what Colombian officials are calling a “humanitarian corridor” to buy as many basic goods as possible.

“This is money we had been saving for an emergency, and this is an emergency,” Ramirez said. “It’s scary to spend it, but we’re finding less food each day and we need to prepare for what’s coming.”

Gonzalez, 36, earns several times the minimum wage with her job as a sales manager for a chain of furniture stores in the western mountain town of San Cristobal. But lately, her salary is no match for Venezuela’s 700-percent inflation. Ramirez’s auto parts shop went bust after President Nicolas Maduro closed the border with Colombia a year ago, citing uncontrolled smuggling, and cut off the region’s best avenue for imported goods.

The couple stopped eating out this year, abandoned plans to buy a house and put a “for sale” sign on their second car. There is no more sugar for coffee, no more butter for bread and no more infant formula for their 1-year-old son.

Venezuelans Turn to Looting

Still collapsing.

CARACAS (Reuters) – The recent wave of lootings and food riots in crisis-hit Venezuela has left three people dead in the last week, authorities and a rights group said.

The state prosecutor’s office is investigating the deaths of a 21-year-old man in eastern Sucre state on Saturday, another 21-year-old man in the Caracas slum of Petare on Thursday, and a 42-year-old woman in the western state of Tachira last Monday.

All three suffered gunshot wounds during chaotic scenes outside supermarkets, which have become a flashpoint for violence and looting amid scarcities of basics across the South American OPEC member country, according to local rights group Provea.

Bernie Doesn’t Want to Talk About End Game

This is too rich. Bernie Sanders is asked about a country that is seeing the end result of the implementation of many of the policies that he is advocating, but he doesn’t want to talk about it.

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: I am sure that you know about this topic: various leftist governments, especially the populists, are in serious trouble in Latin America. The socialist model in Venezuela has the country near collapse. Argentina, also Brazil, how do you explain that failure?

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: You are asking me questions…

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: I am sure you’re interested in that.

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: I am very interested, but right now I’m running for President of the United States.

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: So you don’t have an opinion about the crisis in Venezuela?

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Of course I have an opinion, but as I said, I’m focused on my campaign.

Venezuela Continues to Crash

So sad

No more Coca-Cola for Venezuela–there’s not enough sugar. Diet Coke is still around–until the country runs out of aspartame–but the disappearance from store shelves of an icon of globalization is the latest blow for an economy on the edge. In April, the country’s largest private company, Empresas Polar SA, which makes 80% of the beer that Venezuelans consume, closed its doors. The government now rations water, so Venezuelans have begun stealing it from tanker trucks and swimming pools.

Electricity is also in short supply, and President Nicolás Maduro has ordered public offices to conserve energy by remaining open just two days a week. An ongoing drought only makes matters worse. About 65% of the country’s electricity is generated by a single hydroelectric dam that’s now in serious trouble. Blackouts, scheduled and otherwise, have become common.

This isn’t just bad luck. Supermarket shelves are often empty, in part because price controls have discouraged production of staples, and Maduro is threatening to seize closed factories and nationalize them.

Then there is the government’s oil addiction. Venezuela depends on oil for about 96% of export earnings and nearly half its federal budget. When prices were high, policymakers could have created a rainy-day fund. Some of that money went toward lifting poor people from poverty, but much was stolen: Venezuela is the most corrupt country in the Americas and the ninth most corrupt in the world, according to Transparency International. To balance its budget, Venezuela would need to sell oil for $121 per barrel, more than twice the current price. The inflation rate is expected to hit 481% by year’s end and 1,642% by next year.

Health Crisis in Venezuela

It’s incredibly sad to watch Venezuela crumble. It was once one of the most prosperous and advanced nations in our hemisphere – rich with abundant natural resources and creative people. Now, the ravages of socialism have ground it down into another third world craphole ruled by a despot who clings to power while blaming America for his country’s woes. It is a timely lesson for Americans who look to socialists like Bernie Sanders to solve our nation’s ills.

The economic crisis in this country has exploded into a public health emergency, claiming the lives of untold numbers of Venezuelans. It is just part of a larger unraveling here that has become so severe it has prompted President Nicolás Maduro to impose a state of emergency and has raised fears of a government collapse.

Hospital wards have become crucibles where the forces tearing Venezuela apart have converged. Gloves and soap have vanished from some hospitals. Often, cancer medicines are found only on the black market. There is so little electricity that the government works only two days a week to save what energy is left.

At the University of the Andes Hospital in the mountain city of Mérida, there was not enough water to wash blood from the operating table. Doctors preparing for surgery cleaned their hands with bottles of seltzer water.

“It is like something from the 19th century,” said Dr. Christian Pino, a surgeon at the hospital.

The figures are devastating. The rate of death among babies under a month old increased more than a hundredfold in public hospitals run by the Health Ministry, to just over 2 percent in 2015 from 0.02 percent in 2012, according to a government report provided by lawmakers.

The rate of death among new mothers in those hospitals increased by almost five times in the same period, according to the report.

I also note that Venezuela has the kind of socialized healthcare system that America is moving toward with the enthusiastic cheers of the Left. This is where it leads.

White House Urges Dialogue in Venezuela

One might suggest that this president take some of his own advice.

Washington (AFP) – The White House expressed concern about Venezuela’s rapidly worsening political situation Monday, urging President Nicolas Maduro to listen to critics inside the country or risk deepening the crisis.

Treading carefully to avoid making Washington a foil for the country’s populist leaders, White House spokesman Josh Earnest described recent reports from Venezuela as “breathtaking.”

“The conditions for the Venezuelan population are terrible,” he said as the country braced for more upheaval.

President Nicolas Maduro is preparing to unveil the scope of a new emergency decree as the opposition readies protests against what it calls a bid to cling to power.

Venezuela Flexes Military

Of course.

Caracas (AFP) – Rolling out tanks, missiles and 100,000 men, Venezuela launched 10 days of military exercises Saturday, amid sky-high tensions over US sanctions slapped on officials accused of an opposition crackdown.

President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist, Cuban-allied government — struggling with sliding oil prices, the region’s highest inflation, desperate shortages and rising discontent — threw the spotlight on its Chinese armored amphibian tanks, Russian-built missiles and other military hardware.

“Congratulations to the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, and to the people, for the joint exercises,” tweeted Maduro, who in two years time has alleged over a dozen coup bids against him and his government by the United States or local opposition members.

“Civilian-military union to keep having a Fatherland,” Maduro added. “And may our sacred fatherland never have a (US) imperial boot set foot on it. Long live Venezuela!”

Let’s see… fixate attention of phony foreign threats… flex military prowess for domestic consumption… they seem to be following the old soviet playbook to a tee.