Venezuela continues to collapse

Oil platform in Venezuela. A view of what used to be and could have been now. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The bad news from Venezuela just doesn’t stop:

  • Protests have stopped because of lost hope
  • Professionals become prostitutes just to get enough food to keep the family life
  • Elections for state governors finally to be held on Sunday
  • Former executive of Brazilian construction company admits to paying $35 million to Venezuelan president’s election campaign
  • Guess on inflation rate for 2018 is over 2,300%

(Cross post from Outrun Change.)

8/31/17 – Wall Street Journal – “Hope Is Gone” as Venezuelan Protesters Vanish From Streets – The protests have faded away. The ongoing massive arrests, torture of detainees, widespread human-rights abuses, and frequent shootings seem to have broken the protest movement. A number of senior leaders of the opposition have fled the country in fear for their life. Reports indicate 125 people have been killed and somewhere around 2000 have been wounded, with many of those people with permanent injuries.

One outside observer, who is safe because he is an American living in the United States, observers the president has gained effective control of the entire government. I think if we look at the typical definitions that makes him a dictator.

In the meantime the oppressed people of the country continue to scramble for food, trying to find enough so they don’t starve to death.

9/22/17 – Miami Herald – In Venezuela, they were teachers and doctors. To buy food, they became prostitutes. – A large portion of the prostitutes in Columbia are women who escaped Venezuela. Before transitioning to the world’s oldest profession, many of them were teachers, doctors, professional women. One brothel even has a petroleum engineer.

One interviewed woman says she buys bags of groceries with proceeds of her work hands it over to a sister who travels 18 hours by bus to pick up the groceries. The sister then gets back on the bus to go home.

Getting a legal work permit is difficult but prostitution is both legal and does not require a work permit. Therefore even professional women who want to keep the family alive are faced with the options of their family starving or them entering prostitution.

Please remind me, what economic system created this disgusting travesty?

10/14/17 – Wall Street Journal – Disgruntled Venezuelans to Vote for Governors – The date for election of state governors has been postponed, but elections will finally be held on Sunday the 15th. Based on polling it is possible the opposition could increase their position from three governorships up to maybe 18 out of the 23 states in the country.

The government is doing everything he can to manipulate the results. About 200 polling stations have been moved from where they have been in the past two new locations in neighborhoods known to be violent. Opposition candidates who were defeated in the primary are still listed on the ballot as a strategy to get opposition votes posted for candidates who actually are not on the ballot. Opposition candidates have not been allowed television time to either campaign or point out who is actually on the ballot.

The president says that even having an election proves he is not running a dictatorship. He goes on to say that it is impossible for that to be such a thing as a socialist dictatorship. He says the only possible dictatorship that could ever exist is capitalism.

What political system created this situation for democracy is being killed step-by-step?

10/13/17 – Wall Street Journal – Former Venezuelan Attorney General Presenting Corruption Evidence to US – The former attorney general, who had to flee the country because of legitimate fear for her life, is providing US authorities evidence of corruption by the Venezuelan president. She asserts a Brazilian executive donated $35M to the 2013 presidential campaign as payment to make sure that construction projects by his company got high priority.

The formal CEO of the construction company told prosecutors in Brazil, while he was under oath, that he made the donation, after receiving a promise that their construction projects would be a priority if president won the election.

Oh, and just in case you thought this was some stray accusation, back in December the company negotiated a settlement with the US Department of Justice. The company admitted they paid $98M to get contracts in Venezuela.

The company is currently owed $1B for completed projects. In addition, the company is in negotiation with the Brazilian government over other corruption allegations.

10/10/17 – Bloomberg – IMF Says Venezuela’s Inflation Rate May Rise Beyond 2,300% in 2018 – Prediction for the inflation rate in 2018 is 2,349%.

Estimates are the GDP will shrink 12% in 2017 and another 6% in 2018.

In terms of the level of human suffering that is quite an astounding accomplishment.

What economic system produced this horrible level of human suffering?

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