How Low Has Socialism Driven the People of Venezuela?

When you think your mind has reached the depths of desperation that encompass life under Socialist rule, something even more depressing emerges to keep you from growing numb.

The very real and sad facts are that people will do what they must, in order to survive. When their government has resorted to tyranny, and what amounts to theft from their own people, especially under a political regime that leaves them no recourse, some will use the only thing they have in the world that is truly theirs: Their bodies.

Over the past six years, approximately 350,000 desperate Venezuelan refugees have crossed over the border into Colombia, looking for a way to survive.

Many of the women are turning to prostitution, as a means of supporting their families.

In Colombia, the sex-trade industry is legal, so there’s no fear of being arrested. Illegal immigration is frowned upon, but authorities tend to look the other way when it comes to the “red light” districts in their communities.

Some of the women (and men) crossing over to enter the world of prostitution were doctors, teachers, and businessmen and women before Socialism crushed the economy of Venezuela.

They were well educated and had meaningful lives, but abject poverty in a land with very little hope of using that education has made the mind less of a commodity than the body.

The Miami Herald recently featured several stories of Venezuelan refugees who turned to the sex trade in Colombia, as a means of survival.

Dayana, a 30-year-old mother of four, nursed a beer as she watched potential clients walk down the dirt road that runs in front of wooden shacks, bars and bordellos. Dressed for work in brightly-colored spandex, Dayana said she used to be the manager of a food-processing plant on the outskirts of Caracas.

But that job disappeared after the government seized the factory and “looted it,” she said.

Seven months ago, struggling to put food on the table, she came to Colombia looking for work. Without an employment permit, she found herself working as a prostitute in the capital, Bogotá. While the money was better there, she eventually moved to Arauca, a cattle town of 260,000 people along the border with Venezuela, because it was easier to send food back to her children in Caracas.

Dayana goes on to tell of waiting in lines for four to six hours, just to buy flour, or even buying food on the black market, at jacked up prices.

Inflation in Venezuela is over 700 percent. The bolivar currency is crashing, and even the basics are hard to come by.

Still, the man who has set himself up to be the supreme dictator, President Nicolas Maduro, would rather watch his people suffer than give an inch, in what was one of the richest nations in the world, now ravaged by Socialism.

Dayana says that she can make anywhere from $50 to $100 on good nights, selling herself in 20 minute increments.

This is no way to live, but she also says she’s grateful to have some way to earn money and feed her family.

Marta Muñoz runs the Casa de la Mujer, a municipal program that focuses on women’s health and rights. She said that prostitution is something of a blind spot for local authorities who are more focused on blatant crimes, like child trafficking, rape and the abuse of minors.

“I know that some of them are being paid unfairly and being treated very poorly,” Muñoz said of the Venezuelan prostitutes. “But how do we protect them without strong public policies?”

Tragic.

To make that horrible situation even worse, Venezuelans make up the bulk of prostitutes in Colombia, simply because their desperation makes them willing to sell themselves for less.

Marili, a 47-year-old former teacher and grandmother, said there was a time when she would have been ashamed to admit she’s a prostitute. Now she says she’s grateful to have a job that allows her to buy hypertension medication for her mother back in Caracas.

“We’re all just women who are working to support our families,” she said. “I refuse to criticize anyone, including myself. We all have to work.”

Even brothel owners are forced into what they do by the crisis in Venezuela.

Sixty year old Gabriel Sanchez had owned an auto repair shop in Venezuela, but was forced to Colombia to open a brothel with his wife after the nation’s economic collapse.

Marili is one of his workers, and calls he and his wife “humanitarians,” for giving women like her a place to work.

There seems to be no end in sight for Venezuela’s economic pain. Last month, the Trump administration restricted Caracas’ ability to borrow money from American creditors, which will undoubtedly deepen the crisis. And yet, President Nicolás Maduro has been digging in, avoiding the economic reforms that economists say are necessary.

He has dug in because he’d rather be a ruler over ashes, than a representative of a free and prosperous nation.

This is Socialism.

Anti-hate, or anti-opposition? The Sad Tale of Venezuela.

What to do when you’re a public official and get tired of your opposition heckling and deriding you?  You pass a law which will censor that speech under the pretext of combatting “hate.”

This is what the government of Venezuela is attempting to do.  By way of context, Venezuela is a sad example of a failed socialist state.   The current crisis stems from former president Hugo Chavez.  In 1999, Chavez – upon taking power – convened a constitutional convention which produced a new constitution for Venezuela, giving him more power and the ability to pursue what he called the “Bolivarian Revolution” as he sought to transform the Venezuelan state along socialist lines.   After his death in 2013 he was succeeded by Nicolas Maduro, who is attempting to hold onto power and continue the “Revolution,” despite intense opposition by the people of Venezuela.

Prior to Chavez, Venezuela had a fairly strong economy and high standard of living.  However, its over-reliance on oil exports, combined with the disastrous socialist policies of the “Bolivarian Revolution” has led to a collapse of its economic, social, and political systems.  The inflation rate is currently over 700%, 80% of the population is below the poverty line, the unemployment rate is 25%, the economy is contracting at a rate of over 10%, and there is extreme crime and violence.

This explains why the people of Venezuela have turned against the “Revolution.”  Despite this, Maduro and his chavistas (the term used for supporters of the socialist policies of Chavez) are desperately seeking to remain in power.  The legislative National Assembly is held largely by opponents of the chavistas.  Therefore, Maduro called his own constitutional convention to form a new constitution for the country; this convention, the constituyente, is filled completely with chavistas.

It is this constituyente which is proposing an “anti-hate” law to prohibit and police speech with which the chavistas disagree, particularly on social media.  Indeed, given the way that the chavistas have mis-handled the country, protesters have been very vocal in their opposition, calling for Maduro to resign.  The “anti-hate” law is an attempt to suppress these protests and provide legal justification for arresting those who speak out against the government’s policies.

In typical Orwellian fashion, the government of Venezuela is framing the discussion in terms of combatting hate and violence.  Delcy Rodriguez, the president of Maduro’s constituyente constitutional convention, said:

It starts by banging pots and pans around chavistas in a restaurant.  And it finishes by burning chavistas alive.

She also said:

We’re going to regulate and control because, in recent years, Venezuela has been victim of laboratories of [psychological] war that, through messages and social media, promote a fratricidal war between Venezuelans.  We’re not going to allow what happened in Rwanda [to] repeat itself in Venezuela.

Thus, the government’s justification for “regulating and controlling” speech in Venezuela is to remove the opposition to its own failed policies and to ensure that a small, privileged portion of the populace remain in power, namely Maduro and his chavista supporters.

In the United States, Hollywood tends to be very vocal with its political beliefs.  But, where is Hollywood’s opposition to this tyranny?  Where are the tears of outrage from those who say they believe in free speech?  Where are those who once praised Chavez and Maduro?

 

Senator Rubio May Have Been Targeted For Assassination By Venezuelan Leader

While I was no fan of President Trump’s bluster about possible military options in Venezuela, there are instances that would absolutely warrant immediate, decisive consequences.

One of those would be a planned assassination of a U.S. senator.

According to a new report in the Miami Herald, a powerful leader of Venezuela’s Socialist Party may be planning a hit on Florida Senator Marco Rubio, according to intelligence gathered last month.

Senator Rubio has been a leading voice speaking out against the horrors of the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Though federal authorities couldn’t be sure at the time if the uncorroborated threat was real, they took it seriously enough that Rubio has been guarded by a security detail for several weeks in both Washington and Miami.

Believed to be behind the order: Diosdado Cabello, the influential former military chief and lawmaker from the ruling socialist party who has publicly feuded with Rubio.

At a July 19 Senate hearing, the same day he was first spotted with more security, Rubio repeated his line that Cabello — who has long been suspected by U.S. authorities of drug trafficking — is “the Pablo Escobar of Venezuela.” A week ago on Twitter, Cabello dubbed the senator “Narco Rubio.”

The Department of Homeland Security issued a memo to law enforcement agencies, stating that an assassination threat against the senator had been made, but they had no specifics on any plot. Cabello was named for his vocal criticism of Senator Rubio.

According to the memo, Cabello might have gone as far as to contact “unspecified Mexican nationals” in connection with his plan to harm Rubio.

Venezuela is currently in turmoil, as the people have revolted against the Socialist system that is starving them to death.

In July, a new constituent assembly was voted into place, which would consolidate power into the hands of Maduro, cementing his dictatorship. Opposition leaders were rounded up and ousted from their positions.

Senator Rubio is one of many leaders who have condemned this corrupt action.

This threat comes at a time when lawmakers are on edge, worrying about the possibility of violence. The June 14 shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, which landed Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise in the hospital, critically injured, is still fresh on their minds.

And while no one can get a statement from the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, Venezuela’s Ministry of Communication and Information, or Senator Rubio’s people, the added security around him, it has been noted.

Capitol reporters first noticed police officers trailing Rubio almost a month ago. When he was interviewed last week by Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4, Rubio’s security included at least one Miami-Dade County Police officer. MDPD was one of the law-enforcement agencies asked to help protect Rubio.

It’s good that he has extra security. We are living in dangerous days.

Pray for the safety of Senator Rubio.

 

Socialist Utopia Rigs Election Amid Chaos




Venezuela is ablaze!

For all the uproar by American Leftists of stolen elections here, they are strangely quiet about the actual stolen election in their beloved socialist utopia of Venezuela.  I’m sure you will be shocked to hear that the dictatorship there manipulated the recent national referendum results on a new constitutional assembly.  Stunning, right?  Who would ever imagine a totalitarian regime would ever steal an election?  Not the radical Left, that’s for sure.

Venezuela’s El Presidente Nicolas Maduro recently rigged a sham election to oust the National Assembly controlled by his political opponents.  He then claimed his “victory” was “a vote for the revolution”.  His “revolution” is a bald-faced power grab aimed at re-writing Venezuela’s Constitution to give him supreme powers.



There were immediate outcries by the opposition of voter fraud, and now there is confirmation from an outside source.  Smartmatic, the company that has helped run Venezuela’s voting system since 2004, says vote numbers were manipulated by at least 1 million votes.  1 million!

Here’s a statement by the company:

“We know, without any doubt, that the turn out of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated,” Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said at a news briefing in London.

“We estimate the difference between the actual participation and the one announced by authorities is at least one million votes.”

So I guess that makes Maduro’s election success fake news.  But that hasn’t stopped his Socialist thugs from killing protestors and re-arresting opposition leaders, throwing Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma into military prison.

These events follow months of protests, street riots, and military suppression of the populace as Venezuela’s economy has spiraled out of control.  Triple digit inflation, food shortages, and destruction of the country’s healthcare system has wrecked the land that American liberals pointed to as a left-wing utopia.  It is so bad that toilet paper is considered a precious commodity!

The military crackdown has met with warnings from the United States government.  But the Venezuelan régime remains unfazed.  Following the deaths of dozens of opposition protestors, Socialist leadership promised to continue:

“You have not seen anything, squalid ones,” said Diosdado Cabello, a top leader of the Socialist Party, speaking at a separate pro-government protest earlier in the day, and using a popular epithet for the government’s opponents. “What you have seen is just a little scratch.”

And these murderous totalitarians endorsed Bernie Sanders for President!  Let that sink in for a moment.  After all, Bernie did say the American Dream was more likely to exist in Venezuela than America nowadays.  I’m sure we’ll be getting an update from Bernie on that… any minute now.

With the murders and riots, Leftists cannot deny the chaos in their former paradise anymore.  So they are deflecting, claiming that Venezuela isn’t true socialism and it wasn’t implemented properly.  This is the same excuse American liberals used to explain the downfall of the Soviet Union.  If only Leon Trotsky had survived!

They will never accept the idea that their big government worldview is flawed.  The government leadership must have failed instead.

Government becomes god, and their god cannot fail.  So the prophets in charge must be at fault.  They promise to get it right next time, and they aren’t giving up trying.

Oops…

 

Venezuela Pretends to Have An Election




Another day, another report of tyranny from the socialist countries of Latin America. Claims by the government of an “extraordinary turnout” in Sunday’s election in Venezuela are being called fraudulent by the opposition.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro convened a constituent assembly for the purpose of rewriting the Venezuelan constitution, which was passed under Hugo Chavez in 1999. Yesterday, voters were supposed to choose 500 representatives to make up the assembly.

While election officials claims a turnout of around 41 percent (about 8 million votes), the opposition says that turnout was closer to 12 percent (or around 2.5 million votes). Despite the discrepancy, Maduro, in words that could only come from a propagandist, called the results “a vote for the revolution.”



From the BBC:

President Maduro spoke at length on television after the results came out.

It was a victory speech for him and his followers but after a day of violence on the streets it’s a pretty hollow victory – if you can even call it that.

For all the talk of the vote being an example of democracy, critics accuse him of voter fraud and intimidation and many don’t believe the official numbers of voter turnout.

This vote highlights just how polarised the country is with a president who ploughs on regardless of the millions of people who object to it.

Venezuelan elections are not merely untrustworthy nods to nominal democracy — they are also dangerous. In addition to the widespread protests, 10 people were killed, following a pattern of violence that has rocked the country as protests have sprung up for months in response to horrific living conditions.

It is not a monolithic body that is boycotting the constituent assembly. The opposition chose not even to field candidates for the assembly, such is the expectation that the polls are rigged. With no opposition even on the ballot, the legitimacy of the results is in question. On the other side, some Chavistas, who supported Hugo Chavez’s original revolution, are unhappy with Maduro and his decision to have the constitution rewritten. Several million people reportedly voted against the assembly in the first place, knowing it was device from Maduro to consolidate power.

Unsurprisingly, among those elected as representatives were the wife of President Maduro, Cilia Flores, and the president’s close allies Diosdado Cabello, Iris Varela and Delcy Rodríguez, according to the BBC.

The people of Venezuela are not stupid. They want a change, but recognize that there is no hope of it coming from Maduro. This mass murder and suppression on the part of the government, along with the callous indifference toward the suffering of the starving citizens, has hammered home just how oppressive the president is and how little the lives of the people matter.

Fortunately, other countries have not recognized the results as legitimate, among them Colombia, Peru, Panama and Argentina, in South America alone. Nikki Haley, US ambassador the UN, called the election a sham and said the US would not accept the government.

Even Canada, whose president praised Fidel Castro, denounced Maduro’s attempts to create a constituent assembly.

Still, aside from some US-imposed sanctions and meetings among Latin American leaders, little outside pressure has been applied to Venezuela’s despotic regime. The UN has wagged its finger at Maduro’s government, but has otherwise not lifted a finger to alleviate the situation. For now, the president is free to violently oppress enemies of socialist Venezuela without reprisal.

A Tale Of Two Venezuelas: While The Vast Majority Struggle, The Rich Live High

By now we’ve all heard the stories out of Venezuela. Food lines. Basic necessities nowhere to be found. Violent protests. But I bet you don’t know much about the other side of Venezuela’s rusty, barely-chugging socialist machine: a small minority of “socialist millionaires” and other wealthy Venezuelans living high on the hog.

While the mass protests against President Nicolas Maduro show that Venezuelans’ anger at their hardship is boiling over, the well-off are still managing to have fun.

Behind tightly guarded and fortified walls, posh bars and eateries are full. The Buddha Bar opened in 2015, when the economic crisis was already well underway.

Venezuelan party-hoppers and high society diners can plunk down tens of thousands of Bolivars for a night’s entertainment, and, buoyed by their rare wealth, they don’t have to bat an eye.

Some of the rich in Venezuela protest by day and party by night.

One customer, Ahisquel, says she joins in the protests herself but still comes to the bar once a week with her husband, an oil executive. Like most customers interviewed, she declined to give her full name.

“By day we throw stones and by night we come here,” she says.

“After the protests it is good to have a moment to relax — though we’ll never relax until this government is gone.”

Of course, as this bourgeoisie dines and dances the night away, the rank and file Venezuelan can’t make ends meet. How is this phenomenon happening?

Inside the Venezuelan Iron Curtain, most of the wealthy have earned their money working for foreign corporations. One rich man told Yahoo News,”In this country, if you are not paid in foreign currency, it is impossible to live.”

At the same time, there’s a class of “boli-billionaires,” a sort of nouveau riche group that has emerged, having made their fortunes on the back of Hugo Chavez’ revolution. The Venezuelans who have made their money the old-fashioned (read: capitalist) way look down on this new money class.

It’s sad to see that, so many years after the failure of Soviet Communism, we see the same thing happening all over again in South America. Socialism works – as long as you’re on the right side of the socialist system.

Haley’s Ultimatum on UN Human Rights and Israel: Fix It or Else…

Using the strongest words yet, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley issued what could be called an ultimatum to the UN Human Rights Council. In a speech in Geneva, Haley kept a promise she made last week.

She called on the UN to make two key changes:

  • “Act to keep the worst human rights abusers form obtaining seats on the Council.”
  • “Agenda Item Seven must be removed.” This is the permanent item that singles out Israel for condemnation.

On the first item, Haley recited a litany of abuses by sitting members of the Council, including Venezuela and Cuba. She called Cuba’s jaw-dropping hypocrisy “a reversal of the truth that would make George Orwell blush.”

She singled out Russia, Zimbabwe, and North Korea; and accused China, Burundi and Saudi Arabia of failing to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights. “They clearly do not uphold those highest standards,” she said.

Citing former Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s 2005 disbanding of the erstwhile Human Rights Commission, Haley levied the same charges against the new body that was supposed to fix the problems of the discredited body.

These problems were supposed to have been fixed when the new Council was formed. Sadly, the case against the Human Rights Council today looks an awful lot like the case against the discredited Human Rights Commission over a decade ago.

Once again, over half the current member countries fail to meet basic human rights standards as measured by Freedom House.

And she closed with an implied threat.

For our part, the United States will not sit quietly while this body, supposedly dedicated to human rights, continues to damage the cause of human rights.

She called on America’s allies–“likeminded countries”–to join her call for reform.

Let the world be on notice: We will never give up the cause of universal human rights. Whether it’s here, or in other venues, we will continue this fight.

Like the Paris Accords, the Human Rights Council is nothing more than a cover for globalists to seek legitimacy and despots to do as they please; it’s proclamations are without effect, and it statements without power. The U.S. should have nothing to do with it.

In the question and answer session following the speech, however, Haley pulled her punches.

“America does not seek to leave the Human Rights Council,” Ms. Haley said. “We seek to re-establish the council’s legitimacy.” Pressed by the audience, she would not commit to staying or leaving.

Some organizations believe that, even with these egregious problems, the U.S. should stick with the HRC.

Eight rights organizations wrote to Ms. Haley last month highlighting the importance of the United States’ leadership role and its ability to change the council’s practices and its approach toward Israel.

(Source.)

They pointed out that during the Bush years, America’s ability to influence the Council was at its nadir. But former President Obama’s terms helped the Council focus on other issues than Israel. One could argue that the Council didn’t see Israel as a necessary target since Obama’s own policies (and in the Security Council) seemed to take care of that checkbox.

“What is certain is that the departure of the U.S. from the Human Rights Council would only result in worse, and perhaps even pernicious, outcomes,” the rights organizations said in their letter.

Israeli officials are not so convinced. They believe (and I agree) that the structure and form of the HRC are too corrupted to be corrected from within, unless and until Haley’s demands are met.

“The US should present the Council with an ultimatum: Either Item 7 goes or we go,” Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren told The Times of Israel in a recent interview. The organization would still be heavily biased against Israel, he added, “but at least it would not condemn us three times a year automatically.”

However, Oren said at the time that the Council cannot be reformed from the inside, urging the US to leave. “By being there, the US and like-minded countries are only legitimizing an inherently anti-Semitic organization. I don’t want to sound hyperbolic, but wanting to reform the UNHRC is like wanting to reforming the BDS [Boycott, Divest and Sanction] movement from the inside.”

The UN as a whole teeters on the brink of irrelevancy–especially in the Trump era, where multilateral cooperative deals are definitely out of favor. The HRC has zero credibility for the supposed purpose for which it was created. Why should the U.S. continue to lend it legitimacy?

Ambassador Haley, your message should be received as: Get right or America gets out.

Venezualan Creates Youtube Series to Describe His ‘Socialist Hell’

Meet Carlos Gaio. Carlos is a 31-year-old Venezuelan who has undertaken describing his everyday life in a YouTube series unambiguously titled ‘My Socialist Hell.’ Some people might think the horror stories coming out of Venezuela are exaggerated or fake, he acknowledges, but one of his goals is to confirm that the “unappealing” portrayal of the situation in Venezuela by the news is absolutely accurate.

Carlos is an English teacher, but he has been unemployed for a year and a half, since December 2015. Language institutions are having great difficulty hiring language teachers, he explains, because they cannot pay them.  By teaching private lessons here or there, which is not permanent work, and by selling many of his belongings, he has been able “to survive, to eat just a little bit.”

Obviously the recent minimum wage hike doesn’t do any good for someone in Carlos’ position. Should he find a job, the minimum wage is reportedly $47 U.S. dollars a month, but with the out-of-control inflation, there is no telling how valuable the pay really is.

In the short term, Carlos wants to bring attention to his plight and raise money through donations to his bitcoin account. His ultimately goal is to leave the socialist hell in which he lives for Portugal, where some of his extended family resides and where he hopes to have a “normal life.”

Something as simple as a normal life is not possible for most Venezuelans. The political situation there is continually deteriorating. The Maduro regime, which does not govern so much as dictates, claims to embody socialist ideals, but Carlos states the obvious: a simple look at history shows that socialism never lives up to them. The so-called ‘Maduro Diet’ is not a paradisiacal weight loss regimen, but mass starvation derisively dismissed by those in power.

For obvious reasons, the video is unlisted, unviewable except to those who have a link. Fortunately, The Blaze included it in their story on Carlos and you can view Part 1 in its entirety below.