Some Venezuelans have not had a full meal in days

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hungry-venezuelans-turn-colombia-plate-food-49206924

Hungry Venezuelans turn to Colombia for a plate of food

Associated Press

CUCUTA, Colombia — Aug 14, 2017

Under a scorching sun just a short walk from Colombia’s border with Venezuela, hundreds of hungry men, women and children line up for bowls of chicken and rice — the first full meal some have eaten in days.

An estimated 25,000 Venezuelans make the trek across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into Colombia each day. Many come for a few hours to work or trade goods on the black market, looking for household supplies they cannot find back home.

But increasingly, they are coming to eat in one of a half-dozen facilities offering struggling Venezuelans a free plate of food.

“I never thought I’d say this,” said Erick Oropeza, 29, a former worker with Venezuela’s Ministry of Education who recently began crossing the bridge each day. “But I’m more grateful for what Colombia has offered me in this short time than what I ever received from Venezuela my entire life.”

As Venezuela’s economy verges on collapse and its political upheaval worsens, cities like Cucuta along Colombia’s porous, 1,370-mile (2,200-kilometer) border with Venezuela have become firsthand witnesses to the neighboring South American nation’s escalating humanitarian crisis.

According to one recent survey, about 75 percent of Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds (8.7 kilograms) last year.

The Colombian government has crafted contingency plans in the event of a sudden, mass exodus, but already church groups and nonprofit organizations are stepping in, moved by images of mothers carrying starving babies and skinny men trying to make a few bucks on Cucuta’s streets to bring back home.

Paulina Toledo, 47, a Colombian hairstylist who recently helped feed lunch to 900 Venezuelans, said seeing how hungry they were “hurt my soul.”

“Those of us here on the border are seeing their pain,” she said.

People living on either side of the Colombia-Venezuela border have long had a foot in both countries: A Colombian who lives in Cucuta might cross to visit relatives in San Cristobal; a Venezuelan might make the reverse trip to work or go to school.

In the years when Venezuela’s oil industry was booming and Colombia entangled in a half-century armed conflict, an estimated 4 million Colombians migrated to Venezuela. Many started coming back as Venezuela’s economy began to implode and after President Nicolas Maduro closed the border in 2015 and expelled 20,000 Colombians overnight.

Oropeza said he earned about $70 a month working at the Ministry of Education and selling hamburgers on the side — twice Venezuela’s minimum wage but still not enough to feed a family of four. Once a month his family receives a bundle of food provided by the government, but it only lasts a week.

“So the other three weeks, like most Venezuelans, we have to make magic happen,” he said on a recent afternoon.

Desperate for money to feed his family, he left his job and traveled to the Venezuelan border town of San Antonio. He wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning to be among the first crossing the bridge into Cucuta, where he earns money selling soft drinks on the street.

He goes straight to the “Casa de Paso,” a church-run shelter that has served 60,000 meals to Venezuelans since opening two months ago. On an average day, 2,000 Venezuelans line up for meals, getting a ticket to reserve their spot and then waiting four hours for a meal served at outdoor plastic tables.

Workers stir gigantic metal pots filled with chicken and rice set on the bare dirt floor. Volunteers hand out boxes of juice to tired-looking children. Adults sit quietly, savoring their bowl of food as chickens waddle between them.

“Every day I have to remind myself why I am here,” said Oropeza, dressed in a faded striped collared shirt. “I try to repeat it to myself so that I won’t, you know, so those moments of weakness don’t affect you so much.”

When he’s not helping out or waiting in line at the shelter kitchen, Oropeza sells malted soft drinks for about 50 cents each. He’s been able to bring money back to his family and has earned enough to buy a cellphone, which he’d lacked for two years.

Jose David Canas, a priest, said his church will continue to serve food “as long as God allows.”

“Until they close the border,” he said. “Until everything is eaten or until the province tells us that they no longer have lunches to give out. And then it’s the end.”

August 16, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

A woman who was raised by Nigerian immigrants explains why so many American blacks live in poverty

This is the best commentary on black poverty that I have heard or read in my life.

The speaker in this video is a child of Nigerian immigrants.

She spends the entire seven minutes saying one politically incorrect thing after another.

Her basic point is that black poverty is caused by bad behavior, not by racism.

And she cites numerous statistics to back this up.

For example, she points out that Nigerian-Americans have higher average incomes than whites, and she attributes this to their behavior, including strong commitments to marriage, education, and obeying the law.

She says that if Black Lives Matter truly cared about black people, it would tell them to stop having babies out of wedlock.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru4SVUlNfMY

August 3, 2017. Tags: , , , . Black lives matter, Economics, Politics, Racism. 1 comment.

Hypocrite liberals have rejected my challenge for them to buy a McDonald’s franchise and pay the workers $15 an hour

It’s been more than three years since I wrote the following:

I dare liberals to buy a McDonald’s franchise, and pay the workers $15 an hour

Liberals are always talking about how easy it would be for McDonald’s to pay its workers $15 an hour.

However, so far, no liberal has actually bought a McDonald’s franchise and paid those wages.

So, I dare liberals to prove that it’s as easy as they claim it is. I dare liberals to buy a McDonald’s franchise, and pay the workers $15 an hour.

Unfortunately, liberals have rejected my challenge.

 

May 24, 2017. Tags: , , , , , . Economics, Unions. 3 comments.

There is no gender wage gap

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcDrE5YvqTs

March 6, 2017. Tags: , , , . Economics, Sexism. 1 comment.

Here’s how most Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2017

(more…)

February 21, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Food, Military, Police state, Politics, Social justice warriors, Venezuela, War against achievement. 3 comments.

Libertarian doctors start their own clinic, post all their prices online, and charge way, way, way less than everyone else

Can you imagine what would happen to the price of gasoline, if you couldn’t see the price until after you put it into your car? The price would skyrocket like crazy.

Same thing with groceries, clothing, and well, pretty much anything.

Right now, health care is the only industry where most customers don’t get to see the prices until after the service has already been provided. This is why prices are so absurdly high.

The health care clinic in this article and video is completely different. They list all of their prices online, so customers can see how much everything costs before they actually get the service. As a result, the prices charged by this clinic are way, way, way less than what everyone else charges.

This is a wonderful policy.

In my opinion, the government should require all health care providers to post all of their prices online.

Here’s an article and a video about this particular clinic:

http://reason.com/blog/2017/01/27/what-happens-when-doctors-only-take-cash

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uPdkhMVdMQ

January 31, 2017. Tags: , . Economics, Health care. Leave a comment.

Economically illiterate Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney, who signed a soda tax, says it is “wrong” and “misleading” for businesses to pass the tax on to their customers

This idiot has just proven that he knows absolutely nothing about economics or how to run a business:

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/01/10/retailers-blame-soda-tax-mayor-kenney-responds-with-harsh-words/

Retailers Blame Soda Tax; Mayor Kenney Responds With Harsh Words

January 10, 2017

Philadelphia shoppers have been finding steep surcharges on grocery bills since the sweetened beverage tax kicked in, but Mayor Jim Kenney describes some of it as “gouging” by retailers who want to make customers angry about the tax.

Signs went up in stores and on vending machines telling customers price hikes were part of the beverage tax, receipts were programmed to charge the tax as a separate line item, it was applied to items that weren’t taxed and retailers blamed the complex process of passing the tax along.

All of it, said Mayor Kenney, is “wrong” and “misleading.”

“This is what they do. They spent 10 1/2 Million dollars in an advertising campaign to beat the tax, they lost,” he said. “They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and they lost. And they’ll continue to lose because their legal case is not sound and their public case is not sound.”

Kenney said he believes most customers understand the reason for the tax and he believes it doesn’t need to impact them as much as it has.

“They’re gouging their own customers.”

Among retailers, only Shop Rite has responded, saying they are passing the tax along because it greatly increases sweetened beverage prices and it wants customers to know.

January 13, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economics. 1 comment.

I agree with Sarah Palin’s criticism of Trump’s actions regarding Carrier

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-carrier-swindle-setting-scary-170000444.html

“When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail. Politicians picking and choosing recipients of corporate welfare is railed against by fiscal conservatives, for it’s a hallmark of corruption.”

– Sarah Palin

December 6, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Donald Trump, Economics. Leave a comment.

Why trophy hunting can be good for animals

A trophy hunter pays $350,000 to legally kill a specific male rhinoceros which is old and has stopped breeding, and which has been harassing the younger males and preventing them from breeding. The money is used to pay to care for the living rhinos. Under this kind of policy, one population of rhinos increased from 100 to 18,000.

I myself am a vegetarian, but I have to admit that the logic in this video is quite sound. This is a good lesson in economics and the benefits of property rights.

I do understand why some people might have emotional objections to this, but even they can’t argue against the real world results of this kind of policy.

If the opponents of trophy hunting wanted to bring an end to it, all they would have to do would be to outbid the trophy hunters. As of yet, I don’t see any examples of them having done so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUA8i5S0YMU

 

October 14, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Animals, Economics. 1 comment.

Venezuelans wait in line for five hours for one pound of bread

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/world/americas/venezuela-oil-economy.html

September 20, 2016

One hundred people waited in line for five hours in June to buy a ration of about a pound of bread from a small bakery in Cumaná.

five-hours

September 20, 2016. Tags: , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Venezuelan government arrests people because they were waiting in line for food

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/in-a-hungry-venezuela-buying-too-much-food-can-get-you-arrested/2016/09/14/b20276d6-755f-11e6-9781-49e591781754_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

In a hungry Venezuela, buying too much food can get you arrested

September 15, 2016

BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela – The hunt for food started at 4 a.m., when Alexis Camascaro woke up to get in line outside the supermarket. By the time he arrived, there were already 100 people ahead of him.

Camascaro never made it inside. Truckloads of Venezuelan troops arrived in the darkness, arresting him and nearly 30 others seemingly pulled from the queue at random, according to his lawyer. Camascaro, 50, was charged with violating laws against interfering “directly or indirectly” with the production, transportation or sale of food. He has been in jail for three months, awaiting a hearing.

“I went to see the prosecutors and explained that he was just buying some food for his family. He’s not a bachaquero,” said Lucía Mata, Camascaro’s attorney, using the Venezuelan term for someone who buys scarce, price-capped or government-subsidized goods to resell on the black market.

Camascaro was snared in a new crackdown on Venezuelan shoppers, part of President Nicolás Maduro’s attempt to assert greater control over food distribution and consumption. Maduro blames this oil-rich country’s chronic scarcities on an “economic war” against his government waged by foreign enemies, opposition leaders, business owners and smuggling gangs.

Many economists attribute the shortages to simpler, less conspiratorial factors. Price controls and excessive regulation, they say, have discouraged domestic production, making Venezuelans ever more dependent on imported food. With petroleum prices slumping, though, hard currency for imports is lacking, leaving supermarket shelves bare.

Deadly food riots have exploded in several Venezuelan cities this year, and Maduro in recent weeks has faced rowdy pot-banging protests. In July, he gave Venezuela’s defense minister extraordinary powers to oversee the government’s elaborate system of price controls and consumer regulations, including the fingerprint scanners used to ensure that Venezuelan shoppers don’t exceed their purchase limits.

The enforcement campaign appears to be sweeping up a significant number of ordinary shoppers, many of them poor, while achieving a kind of vertical integration of economic blame.

‘Dracula’s Bus’

In a country with one of the world’s highest homicide rates, and where carjackings, muggings and kidnappings often go unpunished, the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained at least 9,400 people this year for allegedly breaking laws against hoarding, reselling goods or attempting to stand in line outside normal store hours, according to the Venezuelan human rights organization Movimiento Vinotinto. Many were taken into custody by the Venezuelan troops assigned to police the checkout aisles and the long lines snaking from supermarkets.

Ismary Quiros, a deputy director at Movimiento Vinotinto, said the law doesn’t define exactly what constitutes illegal hoarding, smuggling, or reselling goods. She said the government’s real goal is to find scapegoats for the scarcities.

The queues typically materialize whenever high-demand, government-subsidized items arrive, such as corn meal or sugar. Those goods are among the few basics that remain affordable to ordinary Venezuelans who are paid in bolivares, the country’s increasingly worthless currency. Other supermarket items that aren’t price-capped are typically better stocked but out of reach to most families.

According to the Caracas-based rights group Provea, national guard troops have periodically carried out a mass-arrest operation nicknamed “Dracula’s Bus” to round up Venezuelans trying to wait in line overnight for groceries, now a banned practice. More than 1,000 people were loaded onto buses in such sweeps last year and accused of being black marketeers, Provea researcher Intis Rodríguez said.

The operations appear to be expanding. Over one weekend in June, more than 3,800 people were detained in Barquisimeto, a city west of Caracas, for attempting to spend the night outside supermarkets, according to news reports.

Officials at Venezuela’s justice ministry did not respond to requests for information about the crackdown.

In other Venezuelan cities, pro-government mayors have ordered alleged bachaqueros — named after a jungle ant that can carry loads many times its weight — to perform community service or clean the streets. “These people were not only denied their due process rights, but also they were also given punishments that aren’t even established under Venezuelan law,” said Rodríguez, whose organization has documented 60 such cases in the state of Yaracuy.

‘All of them normal people’

The crackdown began with Maduro’s 2014 decree, the Law of Fair Prices, which was aimed at punishing businesses he said were “destabilizing” the Venezuelan economy. But few expected the government to apply the law broadly to ordinary consumers.

Clara Ramírez, an attorney in the state of Táchira along the border with Colombia, said since the beginning of the year she has represented six clients arrested after allegedly buying goods for resale on the black market. “All of them were normal people, men and women with families who were just looking for food to feed their children,” she said.

Ramírez said her clients were typically released after a few days. But in a country where people who are awaiting a court hearing account for more than half of the prison population, many of the accused get stuck in jail for weeks or even months.

Some of those arrested in the crackdown were caught in possession of goods without receipts, or proof of how they obtained excess quantities of items such as rice, toilet paper or deodorant. Others had what soldiers deemed suspicious amounts of cash. Some, like Camascaro, aren’t even sure exactly what they are accused of doing.

Raymar Tona, 34, was arrested on a Friday in May while waiting to buy diapers for her baby.

A national guardsman pulled her out of the supermarket line, burrowed into her purse and found 10,000 Venezuelan bolivares, she said. In the past, it would have been a lot of cash, but in today’s Venezuela, which has the world’s highest inflation rate, her bank notes added up to about $10.

“It was my salary for two weeks,” said Tona, a receptionist at a medical clinic. She was accused of selling spots in line, a common practice.

After spending the weekend in jail, Tona said, she decided to plead guilty and was released.

Maduro’s decrees establish prison terms of up to 14 years for the worst black-marketeers. In June, he announced that he was creating a special jail “where we will imprison all those who are responsible for bachaquero crimes.”

According to Venezuelan economist Sary Levy, as much as half of the country’s workforce has come to depend on black market income to survive — selling food, moonlighting at second jobs, or hawking goods on the street. With annual inflation running at more than 700 percent, “it’s normal that formal jobs become unattractive,” she said, and people try to sell whatever they can to get by.

With prescription drugs and hospital supplies also running low, Venezuelans in desperate straits have found themselves accused of hoarding medicine.

Isaura Pérez, 66, said she traveled three hours to Barquisimeto in July to deliver hard-to-find drugs for her 38-year-old diabetic cousin, Georgina Delgado, who was in intensive care. National guard troops arrested Pérez at the hospital entrance for allegedly trafficking medical supplies, she said.

The drugs were confiscated by the soldiers, Pérez said. Her cousin died three days later.

 

 

September 15, 2016. Tags: , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. 1 comment.

A growing, catastrophic food crisis sows unrest in Venezuela

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJApHJAkGG8

September 14, 2016. Tags: , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Venezuela Food Shortages Claim Lives of Malnourished Children

https://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2016/08/26/in-venezuela-scarcity-comes-between-mothers-and-their-children/

Venezuela Food Shortages Claim Lives of Malnourished Children

August 26, 2016

When 18-month-old Royer Machado died from malnutrition in Zulia, Venezuela, the authorities did not arrest his mother.

The child had gone more than 72 hours without eating, but his mother lived in extreme poverty and couldn’t get the resources she needed; that was just the nature of Venezuela today.

The boy’s mother told officers she ran out of money, and then out of food. The baby continued to cry, so she wrapped him in a rag, gave him water and rocked him to sleep. After several days, the crying stopped. He was no longer breathing.

Officers interrogated the boy’s mother, looking for any sign of violence or mistreatment, but there was none.

“She really had no food,” one officer said.

This isn’t the only case of malnutrition taking the life of a small child over the last two months.

Ligia González, 8 months, and Elver González, 2, died from critical malnutrition in Guajira, on the west side of the country.

Hospitals in Venezuela are struggling to handle the amount of malnutrition cases coming through their doors.

At least every four days, a malnourished child arrives unconscious to the Central Hospital in San Felipe. Others tell doctors they no longer eat three times a day.

A survey conducted earlier this year by Venebarómetro showed that almost 90 percent of Venezuelans buy less food than before, and 29 percent of them are fed less than three times a day.

The study also revealed 70 percent of Venezuelans assess their economic situation as “bad,” while 89.7 percent do not have enough money to dress themselves. Seventy-nine said their income is insufficient for buying food and medicine.

Seven protests for food took place just this last July, adding to the 209 for the year. That’s an increase of 70 percent compared to July 2015, according to a study of the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict.

September 14, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Hypocrisy alert! Most environmental groups OPPOSE Washington state’s carbon tax initiative

Well, well, well. Even though pretty much every economist agrees that the most effective and efficient way to reduce carbon emissions is by placing a tax on each ton of carbon emissions, most environmental groups are actually against such a proposal in Washington state because the revenue from the tax would be used to lower other taxes.

In other words, protecting the environment is not the primary goal of these environmentalists.

Instead, their primary goal is to make the government bigger.

And this proves it:

 

https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/most-environmental-groups-oppose-washington-states-carbon-tax-initiative

Most environmental groups oppose Washington state’s carbon tax initiative

August 19, 2016

Many environmental groups have come out against an initiative in Washington state that would impose the first carbon tax in the nation because it is revenue neutral.

Environmental activists in Washington State running a campaign called “Carbon Washington“ successfully obtained the required number of signatures to get ballot initiative 732 (I-732) on the November ballot.

I-732 would impose a carbon-dioxide tax of $25 per metric ton on fossil fuels consumed in Washington State. If the voters approve the initiative, Washington would become the first state in the nation to impose a tax on carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.

The initiative aims to be revenue neutral, reducing the state sales tax a full percentage point and providing up to $1,500 per year for 400,000 low-income working households. In addition, in a nod to the fact the carbon-dioxide tax will increase the cost of manufacturing in Washington State, relative to competing states, the initiative effectively eliminates the state’s Business and Occupation tax for manufacturers.

Most environmental groups—including the Sierra Club, the Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy—say they oppose I-732. They say rather than using the revenues generated by the tax to fund programs they support, the referendum returns the money to taxpayers.

“Revenues from its carbon tax would not be invested in ramping up jobs in clean fuels infrastructure or energy efficiency,” says the Sierra Club on its website.

Fox News reports the Audubon Society is nearly alone among national and state environmental organizations in supporting the measure. Speaking with Fox News, Gail Gatton, executive director of Audubon Society-Washington State, said, “I think for us, I-732 isn’t about money. It really is about what are the market-based incentives that will drive people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Gatton also told Fox News, it’s the first time that she can remember in which the Audubon Society was at odds with the Sierra Club and other green groups in the state.

Battle Is for Revenue, Not Carbon Cuts

Some believe the rift exposes a secret about the environmental movement: Many regulations and green programs are about money, not protecting people or the environment.

“Are left-wing environmental activists more afraid of climate change or tax cuts?” said Todd Myers, environmental director at the Washington Policy Center. “Their opposition to this initiative makes it clear they fear tax cuts more.

“The same people who say ‘we can’t wait’ to fight climate change are willing to wait if the policy doesn’t increase taxes and expand government,” said Myers. “It is the type of hypocrisy we see again and again from the Seattle environmental community.

Robert Bradley Jr., CEO of the Institute for Energy Research, says the fact environmental groups are fighting the I-732 in Washington State shows they are against consumer choice.

“The anti-fossil-fuel Left is playing some strange new cards,” said Bradley. “Some now want nuclear no matter what the cost, and the latest is any carbon tax must add to existing taxes for new tax-and-spend programs.

“A clearer example of anti-consumerism could not be given,” Bradley said.

August 30, 2016. Tags: , , , , . Economics, Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

How sad. This guy from Milwaukee doesn’t seem familiar with the concept of earning money.

A guy who has lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin his entire life complains that rich people aren’t giving money to poor people.

I feel so sad for this guy. Apparently, it never occurred to him that a person could obtain money by obtaining education and job skills and earning the money.

Who taught him to think the way he does? Was it his parents? Was it his teachers? Whoever it was that taught him to think like this, they were wrong.

I hope for this young man’s sake that he will eventually come to realize that what these people taught him was wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1Ex5NZKvCg

August 15, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Black lives matter, Economics, Racism. 6 comments.

Venezuelans make 36 hour round trip to Brazil just to go grocery shopping

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-venezuela-brazil-idUKKCN10L1KE

Venezuelans flood Brazil border in 36-hour grocery run

August 10, 2016

Government employee Jose Lara this month used some vacation days to take a long scenic bus ride through the verdant plateaus and sweeping savannas of southern Venezuela, but the trip was anything but a holiday.

It was a 36-hour grocery run.

Lara took an overnight bus and then a pick-up truck to get across the border to neighboring Brazil to buy food staples that have gone scarce in Venezuela’s crisis-stricken economy.

“Workers can’t even enjoy vacation anymore. Look where I am! Buying food for my children,” said Lara, 40, who was preparing to load 30-kilo (66-pound) packages of rice and flour onto a bus to complete a journey that takes close to 36 hours.

Venezuelans seeking to escape their socialist economy’s dysfunction are flooding into the remote Brazilian town of Pacaraima in search of basic goods that are prohibitively expensive or only available after hours in line.

Shoppers have been coming for months, primarily from the industrial city of Puerto Ordaz – already a 12-hour bus ride – but lately they’re also arriving from even more far flung regions across the country.

Venezuelans spend hours in supermarket lines. Many increasingly complain that they cannot get enough food to eat three meals per day.

Low oil prices and massive debt-servicing costs have left the country without foreign exchange to import goods, while price and currency controls have crippled domestic companies’ capacity to produce locally.

President Nicolas Maduro says the government is the victim of an “economic war” led by the United States.

‘THE LINE’

Under pressure from local residents after Maduro shut the western border with Colombian border in 2015, Venezuelan authorities allowed several temporary openings for similar shopping excursions in July. Colombia last month halted those trips after more than 100,000 people crossed in a single weekend.

The more remote Brazilian border was never closed.

In the Pacaraima, known to Venezuelans as “La Linea” or “The Line” because it is immediately across the border, cramped shops are now piled high with sacks of rice, sugar, and flour.

Products piled to waist height stand at the entrance of convenience stores, auto parts shops and even a farm supply store.

“It’s good business, but the price of everything is going up in Boa Vista,” said Mauricio Macedo, 26, who works at a family business that sells artisanal decorations such as clay figurines but for three months has been primarily focused on food items.

Venezuelan regulations require that staple products be sold for a pittance – a kilo of rice is set at the equivalent of $0.12. But obtaining goods at those prices requires waiting in long lines that are increasingly the site of robberies or lootings. That leaves Venezuelans reliant on the black market, where the same bag of rice fetches the equivalent of $2.20.

In Pacaraima, sugar and rice sell for about 40 percent to 45 percent less than what they would cost on Venezuela’s black market. The discount is worth it despite the cost of the trip.

Shoppers usually take a 12-hour overnight bus ride from Puerto Ordaz to the town of Santa Elena de Uairen. They then travel roughly 15 minutes by van or pick-up truck to La Linea. They spend the morning and much of the afternoon shopping, then head back across the border to catch another overnight bus.

“We’re in an economic crisis and I have to come to another country to buy food,” said Juan Sansonetti, 31, standing under the sun with a large sack of flour on his shoulder. “There isn’t much more to say, is there?”

 

August 10, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. 1 comment.

Venezuelan police threaten to put BBC reporter in jail if he doesn’t delete video footage of customers waiting in line for 12 hours at a supermarket

The BBC reports:

Thrown out of a Venezuelan supermarket by police

July 28, 2016

Shortages and the failure of systems to distribute goods make shopping for the essentials of daily life a huge challenge for many Venezuelans.

In one supermarket, where shoppers have been queuing for up to 12 hours to buy food, BBC reporter Vladimir Hernandez is surrounded by police and told to leave.

The crowd of shoppers shouts, “Let them film!” but the police threaten to hold the crew overnight in a police cell unless they delete their footage.

Here is the video footage in question:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-bef4NkNP8

August 4, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , . Economics, Venezuela. 1 comment.

Black Fathers Matter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FszQelEQ2KY

August 1, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Black lives matter, Economics, Politics, Racism. Leave a comment.

Two minute video shows empty shelves at a Venezuelan supermarket

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtMODsO2NZ4

 

May 28, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

What Seven Hours of Waiting Will Get You in Venezuela

Hugo Chavez referred to his policies as “21st century socialism.” But I don’t see how this is any different from “20th century communism.”

In a capitalist society, a person would spend these same seven hours working at a job, creating real wealth, and getting paid real money, and then after work they would make a quick stop at the supermarket to buy far more food than the scrawny amount that these people are getting for their ridiculous seven hour wait.

Communism has a lot of bad things going for it, and one of the worst is that it causes people to waste so much of their valuable time waiting in very long lines for things that people in capitalist countries can get in just a tiny fraction of that amount of time. Time is one of people’s most valuable resources, and communists don’t seem to care about it at all.

 

https://panampost.com/valerie-marsman/2015/08/19/what-seven-hours-of-waiting-will-get-you-in-venezuela/

What Seven Hours of Waiting Will Get You in Venezuela

August 19, 2015

Take a Walk Down the Atrocity Covered in Wallpaper

“The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.” ~ Occam’s razor

“Why can’t you get things? It is very difficult to explain. I understand you are upset, but you can’t give the oligarchy the upper hand. It’s a matter of being united … another economy is an option, the community economy, the one stemming from small producers … do not give these racketeers (the entrepreneurs) resources. You have to wait in line with us as well, but at least in the end you don’t pay as much.”

The above message is meant for Venezuelans, who — though bogged down by out-of-hand inflation, alarming scarcity, and despair over what might come next — choose to attend “community provision” days.

On Saturday morning, my sister-in-law decided to go to one of these events in a poor neighborhood in the heart of Caracas. She did it because organizers had announced that meat, fish, deli meats, and chicken would be available. She arrived at 6 in the morning, was given number 250, and waited in line for seven hours.

To appease my curiosity, I joined her for the final two-hour stretch.

The following is an attempt to describe what the common Venezuelan experiences at this type of event nowadays. I say it’s an “attempt,” because finding the precise words is no easy task. And I haven’t been able to find a better description, a better title, than one that pretty much works for nearly all — if not all — Chavista initiatives: an atrocity wallpapered in propaganda.

The intentions behind the community provision day are clear at the door. Placards with photos of presidents Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro posted at the entrance say: “If it wasn’t for them, this sale would not have been possible.”

The same is going on inside. There is not a single square meter in the crumbling warehouse that doesn’t show either a picture of Chávez and Maduro, a quote from Chávez, or a picture of Chávez with Fidel Castro. The latter perhaps is an attempt to justify the photos of Maduro sitting with Castro in Havana on the 89th birthday of the caudillo, amid the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

Maduro didn’t go on his own; his wife and other officials went with him. Presumably, he charged the expenses to taxpayer funds from the country in which cancer patients — children — have to leave the hospital to protest in the street because they don’t have access to chemotherapy.

“You will be able to buy fish; the meat truck did not come, since it overturned on the way here … inside you will find corvina, white snapper, sardine, mackerel,” says one of the organizers. Here’s the first disappointment: there’s no meat, or sausage, or chicken, and no corvina or snapper, the only good white fish. Instead we must settle for mackerel and sardines, and at not much of a discount (half price relative to regular supermarkets).

The second disappointment: once you enter the warehouse there is no direct access to shopping. Instead there is a new group of chairs. Here, people are made to hear the monologue you have read at the top of the page.

Applause comes only from those who organized the operation, a community council from the area. Apathy reigns among the rest of the audience, and animosity clearly sets in among most, when they see what they can buy: ugly, green potatoes (one kilo per person, hand picked by the person handing them to you); carrots (about the same); some tomatoes that cause a reaction somewhere between repulsion and shame — while boxes of beautiful red tomatoes remain stacked against a wall.

“When will you sell those?” I ask. “Later,” they reply. I suspect they’ll sell those on the side, on the black market, and I’m not alone in my suspicion. The peppers are shamefully small. I get three micro-peppers, no more.

I can also get juices and oatmeal drinks (not milk, which is scarce), which Los Andes produces. The government has expropriated this previously ubiquitous brand, so now you can only find their products at this type of operation. Please click the link, so you can see what this dairy company’s website is for: propaganda again.

At that moment, a woman with a megaphone yells: “these are the achievements of the communal economy. We are growing.”

Raúl Castro used to say “each day, Venezuela and Cuba are becoming more and more the same.” That was in 2010, and even the most feverish mind could not have imagined an experience like the one I had on a Saturday morning. But he was telling the truth. If this is what socialism can offer, we are going to starve.

People begin to show their anger, but in a low grumble: “this is no good,” “I can’t have lost a morning for this.”

Nobody revolts, though. They know that such a person would be an “enemy of the nation,” and therefore subject to being thrown in jail, just like in any other good old fascist state. Complaining in the queue is rebellion, and the government, though inefficient in everything else, is plenty efficient at repression.

Notwithstanding, the country’s general disposition is prone to an impending uprising. Human-rights NGO Provea has been warning about it for a while; President Maduro knows. Even the community council know, though they said, as if to excuse themselves: “No one can despair. It is time to be united. We are facing an economic war. It is very difficult to explain.”

Of course it’s difficult to explain. It is very difficult to explain how the largest petrol boom in the nation’s history ended up in this shipwreck; this “Haiti” sans the earthquake. How does one explain the riches of the Chavista nomenklatura? How could anyone explain to the people waiting in line for six hours that the meat and chicken didn’t arrive, and that they will have to settle for a very few, rotten vegetables?

How long can this go on? It seems uncertain, but I don’t think the people will take it for much longer. It’s clear there is no food.

It is very difficult to explain socialism, simply because it has never worked anywhere. On the other hand, capitalism can explain itself. It’s as easy as what a certain lady said to me: “30 years ago, there was a supermarket here, and you could choose what you wanted and pay cheap for it.”

Mind you, the Venezuela back then wasn’t paradise. Yet this one, compared to that one, is definitely hell on earth. They are trying, in the most miserable, despicable way possible to tie hunger to votes, but using such bad food that the propaganda becomes anything but. It’s anti-propaganda.

Editor’s note: the author of this article expressly asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.

May 27, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Politics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

In Venezuela, parents make their children skip school so they can spend all day waiting in line for food at the supermarket

In the real world, there is a tradeoff between time and money. But Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro never seemed to understand this.

Sure, price controls mean that families save money on their grocery bills. But if that means they have to pull their kids out of school so they can spend all day waiting in line at the supermarket, then this monetary savings from lower food prices is more than negated by the fact that the kids are skipping school.

And according to this article from the Atlantic, that is exactly what is happening in Venezuela.

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/05/venezuela-is-falling-apart/481755/

Venezuela Is Falling Apart

Scenes from daily life in the failing state

May 12, 2016

In poorer communities, parents often respond to this by taking their kids out of school: They’re more useful standing in line outside a grocery store than sitting in a classroom.

May 23, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Education, Venezuela. 1 comment.

Venezuela arrests business owner because he somehow managed to acquire enough toilet paper to properly stock his employees’ bathrooms

According to this article from the Atlantic, in Venezuela, a labor union at a private business has a clause in its contract which says that the bathrooms must always have toilet paper. I agree with the union on this.

Since price controls caused a shortage of toilet paper, the only way the employer could get enough toilet paper was to illegally buy it on the black market for a price that was higher than the government controlled price.

Now the government is accusing the business owner of “hoarding,” and he could end up going to jail for it.

Interestingly, the article also says that the government might have seized his business if he had not properly stocked the employees’ bathrooms with toilet paper. Darned if you do, and darned if you don’t!

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/05/venezuela-is-falling-apart/481755/

Venezuela Is Falling Apart

Scenes from daily life in the failing state

May 12, 2016

When a Venezuelan entrepreneur we know launched a manufacturing company in western Venezuela two decades ago, he never imagined he’d one day find himself facing jail time over the toilet paper in the factory’s restrooms. But Venezuela has a way of turning yesterday’s unimaginable into today’s normal.

The entrepreneur’s ordeal started about a year ago, when the factory union began to insist on enforcing an obscure clause in its collective-bargaining agreement requiring the factory’s restrooms to be stocked with toilet paper at all times. The problem was that, amid deepening shortages of virtually all basic products (from rice and milk to deodorant and condoms) finding even one roll of toilet paper was nearly impossible in Venezuela—let alone finding enough for hundreds of workers. When the entrepreneur did manage to find some TP, his workers, understandably, took it home: It was just as hard for them to find it as it was for him.

Toilet-paper theft may sound like a farce, but it’s a serious matter for the entrepreneur: Failing to stock the restrooms puts him in violation of his agreement with the union, and that puts his factory at risk of a prolonged strike, which in turn could lead to its being seized by the socialist government under the increasingly unpopular President Nicolas Maduro. So the entrepreneur turned to the black market, where he found an apparent solution: a supplier able to deliver, all at once, enough TP to last a few months. (We’re not naming the entrepreneur lest the government retaliate against him.) The price was steep but he had no other option—his company was at risk.

But the problem wasn’t solved.

No sooner had the TP delivery reached the factory than the secret police swept in. Seizing the toilet paper, they claimed they had busted a major hoarding operation, part of a U.S.-backed “economic war” the Maduro government holds responsible for creating Venezuela’s shortages in the first place. The entrepreneur and three of his top managers faced criminal prosecution and possible jail time.

All of this over toilet paper.

 

May 22, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Police state, Venezuela. 3 comments.

Photographs from Venezuela show that price controls on food are being enforced by a military police state

Here are some photographs from a Wall St. Journal article from last year. Hugo Chavez and his hand picked successor Nicolas Maduro have certainly turned the country into a police state. Chavez called this “socialism.” This is what happens when the government owns the means of production and controls the distribution of resources. In the long run, it must result in a police state. By comparison, in the Scandanavian countries, the farms and supermarkets are owned and operated by the private sector.

I’d be curious to see if Bernie Sanders, Dolores Huerta, Barack Obama, Sean Penn, Michael Moore, or Oliver Stone have ever said anything specifically against what Chavez and Maduro have done in regard to the kinds of things that are in these photographs. All six of those people have either praised Chavez, given an award to someone who praised Chavez, or called themselves a “socialist.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/venezuelas-food-shortages-trigger-long-lines-hunger-and-looting-1440581400

Venezuela’s Food Shortages Trigger Long Lines, Hunger and Looting

Violent clashes flare in pockets of the country as citizens wait for hours for basics, such as milk and rice

August 26, 2015

WSJ August 26, 2015 1


Shoppers wait in a long line to enter the “Latino supermarket” in the Dr. Portillo area of Maracaibo, Venezuela, on August 12.

WSJ August 26, 2015 2


Shoppers have their fingerprints scanned while buying government-controlled corn flour at the “Latino Supermarket” in Maracaibo to prevent them from coming back for another ration.

WSJ August 26, 2015 3


National Guard soldiers stand guard in Maracaibo over bags of food confiscated from people who illegally sought to contraband state-controlled food goods for higher prices.

WSJ August 26, 2015 4


National Guard soldiers guard food confiscated from people who sought to sell it for more than the government-set prices.

WSJ August 26, 2015 5


A National Guard soldier leads detainees accused of illegally selling contraband state-controlled food goods in Maracaibo on Aug. 13.

May 19, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Police state, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Venezuela’s Chaos: Every day is like Insane Black Friday

This video is called “Venezuela’s Chaos: Every day is like Insane Black Friday.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isO52VeBUaQ

To see how it got to be that way, see this post that I wrote last year: Venezuelan military tells supermarket customers not to take pictures of empty shelves

 

May 13, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Politics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Attention CNN! It’s not McDonald’s fault that Safiyyah Cotton chose to have a baby out of wedlock. Plus, here’s a rare news article that actually mentions the concept of personal responsibility.

In this seven minute video, CNN talks about a single mother who is struggling to raise her child on the small salary that she earns at McDonald’s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SCB1t28nDU

As is always the case with news articles from the mainstream media about struggling single mothers trying to raise their children, the article says absolutely nothing about the baby’s father.

The article doesn’t say that the father has a responsibility to provide for the baby that he chose to create.

The article doesn’t say that the mother has a responsibility to choose a responsible mate to make her baby with.

The article doesn’t say that if they got married, they would only have to pay rent for one apartment instead of two, and so things would be a lot easier.

The article doesn’t say anything about the mother ever having made any attempt to acquire better education and job skills as a way to get a bigger salary.

By comparison, this news article by Inside Edition fully understands the concept of personal responsibility. The article is called “Mom Cries On Dock As Cruise Ship Leaves With Her Kids Still On Board,” and includes the following brilliant quote, the kind of quote that is completely missing in the CNN article about the McDonald’s worker:

Travel expert Mark Murphy told IE: “It is the woman’s fault for not getting back on time. It is not the cruise ship’s fault. It is not the captain’s fault. It is not the cruise line’s fault. Everybody knows the posted time to get back and that ship is on a schedule, it is going to go.”

I absolutely love that quote. I praise Mr. Murphy for saying it. And I praise Inside Edition for including it in the article.

CNN, and all the other mainstream news organizations that write about struggling single mothers without ever mentioning the children’s fathers, should learn a lesson from Inside Edition about how to write a proper news story.

April 28, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Media bias, Politics. 14 comments.

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