Foreword by The Saker: from time to time I post something which gets people really mad at me.  Today, I am doing “one of those” – a post which will anger all those who support the values of Bolivarian Socialism, of Chavismo and of the anti-colonial, anti-US liberation struggle of the people of Latin America.  Before you get personally mad at me and before you conclude that I am a CIA agent, please consider this: I still support the values of Bolivarian Socialism, of Chavismo and of the anti-colonial, anti-US liberation struggle of the people of Latin America!  But is that a valid reason to make me deaf or blind?  Shall I prefer my comfortable ideological leanings to reality, to facts on the ground?

To those who will say that Catire is making up horror stories and that I am gullible, let me reply this: a very close and good friend of mine, a Left-leaning anarchist, has lived through all the Chavez years in Venezuela and we have been corresponding for all these years.  From an enthusiastic Chavista I have seen him turn into a disgusted and disillusioned Chavismo-hater.  We often had heated debates, even angry ones (I was defending Chavez the best I could), but he never changed his mind.  In fact, totally disgusted, he emigrated to Canada.  So while I cannot vouch for every fact and interpretation given below by Catire, I can confirm that 90% of what he says I have heard from my trusted friend (who, by the way, still is rabidly anti-US & anti-capitalist).

Finally, and just as I have done in past controversial reports, I am hereby offering anyone willing to do so the opportunity for a written rebuttal.  While I am presenting a testimony which I have reasons to believe is absolutely credible, I am not really “taking sides”, and I therefore am inviting anybody to present both a rebuttal and a different analysis of what is happening in Venezuela.

Also, please consider that my “mission” here is not to defend this or that party, personality or movement.  Nor is it to please anybody or to maximize somebody’s comfort zone.  What I have tried hard to create is a community which counter-acts propaganda (any propaganda) and which promotes a free and intelligent exchange of views on many topics, including controversial ones.  I think that Catire’s testimony deserves to be heard and discussed by all of us.

To those inevitable monosynaptic boneheads who will chose to call me – or Catire – names instead of addressing the issues raised by this testimony I would just say this: please take a look at this blog’s “principles page” and understand that I will never sacrifice the truth for the same of any ideology or ideological position: not of the Left, not of the Right.  While I am fully aware of the dangers of the USA re-asserting its colonial domination over Venezuela, I refuse to enter the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” kind of logic or, for that matter, its derivative version “the enemy of my enemy must be right”.  There is a lot of strong evidence that Chavez, Maduro and their supporters committed grievous mistakes in the management of Venezuela.  If that is something you cannot cope with, then this blog is not for you.

While it is with great sadness that I share with you the contents of Catire’s testimony, I want to express my sincere gratitude to him for agreeing to write it upon my request.

The Saker

PS: for whatever it is worth, I personally disagree with Catire that “Socialism” is to blame for what he describes.  Having seen what capitalism has done to many Latin American countries with my own eyes, I am convinced that “Socialism” has little, if anything, to do with that he describes.  I would also add that the internal pro-US 5th column inside the USA never lost it’s influence.  As for Uncle Sam, he never stopped using all his power to try to weaken, subvert and impoverish Venezuela.  But there is only that much that all these elements can explain and I am not willing to pretend like the local authorities did not make the situation even worse.

——-

Caracas September 6, 2015

How I was personally affected by Chavez-Maduro socialism in Venezuela

First, let me clarify that I am an average citizen – working class, born in the 70s when my country Venezuela was called “Little Arabia”, for the flow of money at that time came through oil. Unfortunately this has changed in the last 15 years.

My family are people who work for a living and sacrifice what little they have to achieve home ownership (acquired in those years before the socialists came to power) and even though today we are employed professionals, there is no possibility of getting credit to purchase property.

I was 23 when Chavez arrived in power and already had an independent life and a degree in marketing. I worked, was independent in almost all my needs, had credit cards and I was able to buy vehicle – a 1998 Opel Corsa. In those days if you had a good job you could go to a credit agency and would have credit or cash in 72 hours maximum. After choosing the model, colour, equipment and going through a short administrative formality you could enjoy your vehicle.

To remember that a guy like me with a salary as an editor at a TV channel (I’m a publicist) could have the “luxury” to have new car is now ridiculous. In 1998 the cost of the car was about the same as my yearly salary, with bonuses in December. I cannot dream of buying a car now, because the prices are exorbitant and the currency devaluations of recent years have ended our purchasing power.

There is no market for new vehicles except trucks and a couple of brands that still survive the onslaught of socialism (Toyota which has plant in Venezuela and make lucrative contracts with the government and Ford also has a plant which has crippled its operations on several occasions due to the crisis). Other brands only exist to sell spare parts (what few are available).

Equally, it is almost impossible to travel abroad, one because of the price, two because the Venezuelan government owes foreign airlines at least US$4 billion (here I leave a link to a Venezuelan newspaper to understand this situation regarding air tickets in Venezuela. Sorry if you don’t read Spanish)

http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/infografia—por-que-el-gobierno-le-debe-a-las-aer.aspx

Previously, for example in the 80s when the bolivar was 4.30 per dollar, a trip with my family to the US was no problems. [Ron: this author says he and his family were working class in Venezuela?!].We changed money in the private banking system or in casas de cambio in the street here or in the US. It is very difficult to exchange our bolivars for dollars today because the government controls everything. It is now practically impossible to travel abroad because of cost controls and the raging inflation of the bolivar. Officially the rate is only 12.5Bs per dollar, but it is impossible for normal people to get that rate. The best we can do is change in the black market at around 700Bs per dollar.

When I was a teenager in my residential neighbourhood [Ron: Namely?!] in Caracas, I and my friends could walk at least 30 minutes at night to a party of friends without any problems or insecurity.

Since the time Chavez allowed impunity for the masses, armed groups of civilians that claim to protect areas roam the streets of the barrios. They spy and use fear to impose social control. He also allowed masses of opportunists and criminals to invade land, abandoned houses and buildings in the name of “revolution”. Housing estates like mine became more dangerous and difficult to walk after 8:00 pm, because after that time the criminals operate with almost complete impunity. Police do little due to various deficiencies and political problems and have basically become inoperative.

For example before Chavez was elected, if you were urinating in the street, drinking alcohol in public or playing loud music to name a few misdemeanors, the former Metropolitan Police (eliminated by the Chavez government) came to call and you were taken to a headquarters where could be detained up to 72 hours, and if you continued to offend sentences were increasing. Now none of that works, if I have a problem with a neighbor for something similar or bad business in any way with the neighbor it can very easily end in blood, since there is now no institution to provide public peace.

Something that contributed to the rise in crime in the big cities of Venezuela was the massive imports of Chinese motorcycles at very low cost. This facilitated criminals living in the slums of Caracas to ride a motorcycle into the city and in 10 minutes they were robbing or murdering down town and then quickly back to their neighbourhood undetected. Impunity is also the queen of insecurity. In every 100 murders just 7 are punished, the other 93 are unsolved, unpunished and are just stored in a police file.

When I was younger in Venezuela an average person like me could go to eat with his family in restaurants every weekend of the month, now you get that “luxury” once a month if you are lucky. To put it in context, the salary of my work is triple the minimum wage of 7,400Bs. [Ron: But he's working class?!]. My income today is 22,000Bs and I cover only the basic food basket as meat, poultry , spaghetti, milk and general necessities. Previously I would go to the market and buy groceries for a month, and would pay for the services, condominium fees, telephone, electricity, water, sometimes I could also buy brand name shoes, quality clothing and some luxury items. Today in Venezuela it is difficult to find a place where for example you can buy several kilos of wheat flour or milk even if you can afford it. [Ron: WHY?].

Before Socialism there was never any shortage of goods, we never had to stand in queues to buy food, let alone that you are now rationed to only two litres of cooking oil for example, or only 4 cans of tuna. Things like that every day make life more difficult.[Ron: WHY? Could US sanctions and US organised anti-Venezuelan destabilising activities by wealthy Venezuelans have anything to do with this situation?]

In my case I survive this because I’m first working with a private foreign client who pays me US$100 a month for assistance in my field of work. [Ron: BUT don't forget this author is a working class "TV publicist"] With this changed in the black market I have nearly 70,000 Bs but added to my salary that allows me to live better than 70% of the population. If I only had the salary of my work I could buy only food to survive, no personal care products, or other “luxuries”. For example I have to wait three months to buy a simple shampoo, I have 2 in my house and if I do not get another before they run out I’ll be in trouble to wash my hair. [Ron: really?! I cannot remember ever using a "shampoo" to wash my hair.] It is the same with razors for the face. If I had only my salary, perhaps I could only pay utilities and could not afford a school for my child or health insurance which are exorbitant prices to the average population. Also with my salary I can not go on weekends to the beach, mountain or anywhere because it is just too expensive. [Ron: Being "working class" in Venezuela must be such a hardship! I can only recall going to the beach once as a child and we never went on holidays.].

Something that has struck me personally is the fact that almost every month in recent years, another of my friends or family will go to live abroad, and I fear that many of them will never return. I feel that every day our social circle becomes smaller. At almost every meeting of friends, the topic of conversation is where would you go, something unthinkable 15 years ago.

Venezuela was never a country of emigration – on the contrary, it is a melting pot where people were always coming to work. Today we see whole families are broken, children, brothers, cousins, friends all leave. My sister has left, she went to Panama, a country that gave her the opportunity earn some dollars. Here in Caracas there are almost no decent employment opportunities, no security in businesses or housing, and no opportunity for vehicle purchase or vacations for the family. It is estimated that over 2 million Venezuelans have left the country. I have at least a hundred family members, friends and acquaintances who are gone, just 15 days ago the last of my childhood friends went to Chile and we see today there are large communities of Venezuelans in the US, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Spain, Peru, England, Costa Rica, Canada, Caribbean islands, etc.

This is something that mentally scars you, just another of the things that you inevitably see wrapped in political problems, which never occurred in our lives before. Only since Chavez came to power in 1992 have these problems eventuated and political divisions among the population were never so marked before either. [Ron: Evidence?].Members of the political parties Adeco (AD) and COPEI (COPEI), or MAS (MAS) never had any violent confrontation before Chavez began the division of rich vs. poor, adecos vs left. We saw the same high government headed by Chavez begin a political apartheid and a “hunt” for anyone who was not of the socialist-communist thought group. [Ron: Really?! Evidence?].

Suddenly the problems started becoming more serious every day to a point where neighbours, family and friends began conflicting. Every day, political discussions were creating verbal clashes and fights – creating divisions in all social strata. I saw families quarrelling, parents and children going weeks without speaking, feuding friends and even spouses who divorced for political positions. On the street I got to see and attend anti-government marches as the situation became increasingly difficult, riots, clashes where injuries to both sides resulted in death, wounded people, prisoners.

Ordinary citizens who never thought to live by politics have become violent. I have seen looting and fights in markets for food. I had to run away and hide from the police on several occasions just to protest peacefully and it is why many demonstrations ended in violence as each day the government tries harder to prohibit the rights of citizen protest. I know people who are in prison even today for issuing opinions on Twitter. I was threatened for the same reason by civilian agents doing espionage operations on behalf of the government. A person working for the government knew one of my best friends and I was warned prior to the intimidation. I had to throw my phone into a river and change my twitter account, take some vacation days so as to not go to work because I was being followed everywhere. I did not know or think that this could happen to me or my family. I had to alert my circle of family and friends and make an escape plan for emergencies in case the situation got out of hand. It was only because the person that called to alert me deleted me from the “watch lists” of the government that this situation was diffused for me.[Ron: How unfair! and this "working class" Venezuelan is a mere TV editor and " publicist" getting a hundred USD a month as a supplement to his wages.].

The political police operated from situation rooms operated by the national telephone (Cantv) and from the state oil company (PDVSA) which handle calls for the SEBIN (political police in Venezuela), Collectivos (civil arm of the revolution) and they were also advised by the Cuban Secret Police (G2). Still, I cannot talk about certain things like government policies by phone or send messages to certain family members. In my case have a family member who is in the army and this makes things even more delicate. If I want to talk to him personally it must be very low profile so no one hears because in the country there are thousands of “cooperating patriots” who are nothing but spies. They are led by political authorities and report to police or military. Any time the government wants, they can raise a case against any citizen and the courts are illegal and arbitrary. [Ron: Evidence? IF President Chavas was sooo tryanical WHY were the COUP leaders who deposed and kidnapped him released rather than executed or jailed for life?]. There have even been cases of illegal kidnapping where people are taken and placed in the custody of the state police (SEBIN) or Directorate of Military Intelligence (DIM) without any due process in the courts. [Ron: Evidence?].

Unfortunately, in Venezuela the law does not matter, because the executive is king in this false democracy. [Ron: Venezuela is far more democratic that the US and the people had a direct say in the formulation of the national Constitution. Labelling Venezuela as a false democracy withour a shred of supporting evidence DOES NOT MAKE A CASE! It is typical US Colour Revolutionary CRAP!].

Also, I was placed on the Tascon lists. These were lists proposed by a Chavista deputy against people who had not signed for Chavez in the referendum of 2003. In that poll, people had to sign the referendum, give their name in full and their ID, thus exposing their intention to sign against the government. I was sacked from my job along with 65 other people including a pregnant woman. Across the country lists were applied in ministries, public bodies and even state banks where, after the referendum, thousands were denied credit. This was all handled through websites and in all public bodies they were looking for names on the list. If you were found to be one of the signatories against Chavez, immediately you were fired.

Also I saw hundreds of marches where public employees were (and still are) forced to march in favour of the government under threat of being thrown out of their jobs. They have compulsory attendance lists, in order to facilitate the coercion, abuse and threats which have become part of Venezuelan daily life because in a country without investment and employment, with little work you end up doing without.[Ron: WHY is there NO investment? Is that due to US interference and a strike by wealthy Venezuelans?].

I saw the death, political disease and all the mystery that surrounded the Chavez and Maduro governments which have caused our national disaster. [Ron: WTF does this mean?!].

I could continue for many more pages, but it would be too long to read. What we experienced in recent years (16 to be exact) has been painful, dangerous, sad and traumatic. I’ve seen our people [Ron: Which ones? All of them?] lose freedoms and things that were previously so normal that today we remember jokingly in a phrase that translates to “When we were happy and did not know”. It refers to everything that we did or bought or had and is now impossible to achieve or lost, perhaps forever. The people of Venezuela have lived many things that maybe you there in the world do not understand, we have raised up time and again against the oppression of Chavez and now Maduro (Remembering the uprising that occurred during months from February 12, 2014) and each time have been severely repressed. We have every day lower social and economic freedoms, less political rights.

Fortunately, I feel that the government is on the ropes in terms of popularity. I think the coming election on December 6 there is a light at the end of the tunnel because if we can change the parliament of the National Assembly to the opposition, we can see the beginning of slow changes. [Ron: YEP. With a bit of luck this author and his mates may join an "in" crowd in the first Ukrainian style Ashkenazi fascist government in South America.].

We know all of the pitfalls and risks we have ahead of us, but the country is sick of Chavismo- Madurismo, and as my gray hairs begin to appear I know that if there is not a political-economic change in Venezuela very soon, political violence will certainly return to the streets. [Ron: That threat sounds like a promise!].

Now I have a young child and I want to make a better country. Now I know how important it is to have a proper democracy because of what we lost.

With the dawn we will see.

Thank You,

Catire

166 Comments

  1. Hi
    I think Catire has a very strong case against Chavez-Maduro Bolivarian dream. A whole nation seems to have been impoverished. I am waiting to hear a strong rebuttal. In the meantime I believe Chavez has failed.

    • Zagor The Sprit of the Woods on September 08, 2015 · at 4:28 pm UTC

      Saker must be kidding. I could not see any of the “a lot of strong evidence that Chavez, Maduro and their supporters committed grievous mistakes in the management of Venezuela.

      How does the venezuela situation compare to its very neighbour, Columbia? Rant about crime, police brutality – ahem – anybody wtached the news from USA recently?

      The mistake is perhaps not being able to deal with 5th column, but, hey, even Putin cannot control them, so why blame poor Maduro. If it is so bad in Venezuela, just do what many others did – emigrate, to USA, Mexico, Columbia, or somewhere else, considered better than home.

      I still believe Saker was kidding :-)

      • What you, Saker, and so, so many others just do not get is that the US is a socialist country and has been for over a century. Many people can make a compelling argument that it began during the Civil War or shortly thereafter in 1871. Regardless, public funds are used to further the aims of select private individuals. This is not capitalism. Public funds are used to make whole the losses of select corporations. This is not capitalism. This is socialism. Everyone pays.

        This also exposes the problem with socialism. Any smart criminal will recognize that government is the way to riches and power. Socialism offers the means (the system) and bad actors WILL ALWAYS take advantage.

        There is almost no place on earth that has real capitalism and the rule of [Ron: real divine] law. Capitalism cannot work without the participants freely engaging in commerce. Once you apply state power to take, make, or redistribute you have voided capitalism and turned it into a form of socialism.

        I will take capitalism. If you force socialism (and yes, socialism REQUIRES FORCE) then you better come ready to kill me because I will not bow down to you or your system. I stand for the things I believe in, not pennies for the plebs while the politicians and their cronies suck society dry.

        So yeah. Peace and love and all that.

        • The reason why, as you say, there is no real capitalist country with the rule of law is the fundamental problem of capitalism. In the US/Western-style Capitalism, the few capitalists who manage to gain a disproportionate economic power (wealth) ALWAYS end up using this economic power for political purposes (to protect and preserve their privilege), which destroys the real capitalism.

          One place that is different is the People’s Republic of China (and to smaller extent Russia under Putin). In China, the oligarchs are allowed to run the economy and to get very wealthy in the process, but they have no real political power. The political power rests with the Communist Party of China that sets the direction for the country and carries a big stick called the People’s Liberation Army to keep the oligarchs in line.

          The economic performance of this political model over the past 30 years has been quite impressive. It will be very interesting to see how it does over the next 30 years dealing with the formidable challenges (external and internal) it faces.

        • You have no understanding of what socialism is.

          Start with the word, with a root of ‘social’ or ‘society’, meaning ‘the people’. Read up on it and see what is really is.

        • Martin from Soviet East-Berlin on September 09, 2015 · at 3:52 am UTC

          As somebody who lived in a socialist country (and visited many) I can tell and assure you: The USA is _not_ anything related to what you claim. This is not socialism, it is banksterism TOP500erism, militarism, an evil Mafia state run by thieves and murderers, nothing more.

  2. Dear The Saker,

    at first I hesitated to read it, but wanted to know what he wrote. Because if you are forwarding something, then it certainly has a reason.

    Ok, Catire is a marketing guy (as he stated) and in my view focuses a bit too much on material aspects like buying new cars, buying a house or land, getting loans, high $$$ nominated salaries or going on vacation to the US.

    That he feels uncomfortable being followed by secret service personnel is understandable.
    But this made me laugh out loud:

    > migrated to Canada.
    > …
    > Now I have a young child and I want to make a better country. Now I know how important it is to > have a proper democracy because of what we lost.

    Does he really believe he is now living in the holy land of “a true democracy”?
    Does he really not know that he is being followed now much more, where ever he goes, what ever he does??!
    Only not in such a foolish outdated manner anymore.
    But by NSA via google, facebook, each time he uses his credit card etc. In the past he could throw his cell phone into a river and hide somewhere. But in his new paradise Canada there is absolutely and totally ZERO escape anymore! And that his new friends send him a drone if he has the “wrong” views?

    NSA – The WW3 already started through your backdoor
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TAg_lO5g70

    I regret this man, because he still has all the sad tragic new learning procedures, findings and experiences to grasp in front of him, that I lived through since Soviet East-Germany was annexed 25 years ago (we were not in the communist party and were at first extremely happy like being in heaven in 1989).

    His views are to some extend understandable, but that doesn’t make them less superficial.
    Plus one last thing: Of course there are mistakes on all sides. But that has more to do with the nature of human beings, rather than with communism. *1

    *1
    Stanford Prison Experiment 1971 (Full Documentary)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8A6JhU8VFc

    Ah, one further addition: Now he can go on vacation, get bank loans for buying a fancy expensive SUV and by doing so drive a vehicle that wastes 25 litres per 100 kilometres.
    But is he really so naive?

    Does he think this comes from “true democracy”?
    Did he forget who pays the price for his high standard of living, in the 3. and 4. worlds …. ?

    This only so far from me, from somebody who has no personal experiences with Venrzuela itself (but instead tons of personal experience with Eastern Europe).

    Cheers,
    %martin

      • Is neocon “capitalism” feeding you? Are the “free” (non)”markets” feeding you?

        How many people were jobless, homeless and hungry in communist East-Germany compared to West-Germany (dispite West-Germany being such a “rich” country)?

    • Martin, you nailed, dude. I also lived in communism (Cuba, USSR, Poland) and can tell you that it wasn’t as bad as they told. I also emigrated, and my new country has much more control over me than anyone ever had. Now, my country of 30 years can even deport me if I am deemed to be a “terrorist”. Yet there is no legislation defining “terrorism”. In “communism” you could be labelled a enemy of the state and be sent to a “camp”..so where is the difference?

    • Yes, same question here. I guess Catire is middle class, and that Chavez was good for lower class ppl.That being said Maduro is loosing ground, so that kind of support Catire’s claims. Now where does he forgot to factor oil price drop ?

    • By that logic, one can ask why is Benja-mean Nutty-yahoo, Mao, Bush Jr., Regan, Cheney, Clintons, Bolsheviks, Neo-Cons ( the newer Bolsheviks), Zionists, Thatcher, Golda Meir, Kahane, so popular in that/this time and majority of people support/ed them? There must be a reason.

      Carmel by the Sea

      PS. Chavez was no Putin. Putin really cares for Russia, Russians and other human beings.
      In fact, he is the best thing that happened to Russia and to the world.
      The man is our only buffer between benevolent sanity and criminal insanity.

    • @ Joy: WTF, if that’s true, thank you for letting me know.
      At the time I was already half asleep and now I’m only awake for some minutes because I needed to fix a problem in Metaspace (I’m a night-owl).

      After some hours of rest I will re-read the text.
      Nevertheless: All my other statements stand.

      rgds.

  3. The biggest acute problem in Venezuela today revolves around currency, control over it, exchange rates and so forth. This is causing a lot of major dislocations, including things like this writer’s problem purchasing imported cars and travelling abroad.
    There are two major underlying problems. One is the still-powerful wealthy rentier class and their American backers. Part, but only part, of the problems with currency, black markets and so forth can be laid at their door. Most of the violence traces back to them.
    The other major problem is the clientelist bureaucratic institutions of government which resist, retard and push back against attempts to create more egalitarian institutions which might genuinely give the people power. So for instance, while some companies have been nationalized, movements towards making them worker-managed have been resisted by relevant ministries and have stalled. The clientelist bureaucrats have not been completely successful by any means, the communal councils and communes have accomplished a good deal and claimed quite a bit of populist space. But they have gradually slowed the efforts of “el proceso” a good deal, and may arguably now have brought it to a standstill, infesting well intentioned beginnings with the tentacles of corrupt business-as-usual.

    These are significant problems, and they may yet break the Chavista project. But this article on the other hand, I find hard to take seriously. Indeed, I find it hard to read through completely, it’s so full of “tells”–it’s very much an “opposition”, upper class perspective. He opens by saying he’s an “average citizen”, “working class”. Except apparently he’s an editor at a TV channel who had a degree in marketing before Chavez came to power and could afford to buy a brand new car at 23 years old. But hang on, before Chavez came to power, the poverty rate was close to 60%. Clearly he was not an average working class citizen, but someone unusually well off. Heck, I’m Canadian, very middle class, and I couldn’t afford a brand new car at 23.

    Now I won’t say he’s lying–he may genuinely consider himself an average working class citizen. But that is because he doesn’t appear to consider the poor genuine people. Note how half of his problems seem to revolve around “the masses”–he’s upset about “impunity for the masses”, he’s upset about them getting control of their neighbourhoods, he’s upset that the cops can’t haul them in for 72 hours (and probably beat them up some) for playing loud music or having a beer in public, he’s upset that they can afford to buy motorcycles. Above all, he’s upset about political polarization of rich vs poor, because in the good old days the poor just shut up and took it and nobody went around telling them there might be another option. One thing I find kind of amusing is that on one hand, he’s complaining how it’s so hard and expensive now to import a car, and on the other he’s complaining that these poor folk from the barrios can now afford to import a motorcycle where before they couldn’t. Apparently exchange rates work differently for the poor? But nowhere in any of this does it occur to him what the perspective of those poor might be–that they might not like having the cops haul them away for having a beer, that they might want to control their own neighbourhoods instead of having predatory, corrupt police terrorizing them, that they might want to be able to afford a motorcycle, that they might want to have a voice and be able to tell off the rich.

    Now, there is one part that I do consider to be basically a pack of lies. That would be the whole police state wheeze. Oh, sure, I expect plotting the overthrow of the government really is less convenient when you can’t count on the servants to keep their mouths shut. So hard to find good help these days. But this is a card they’ve been playing since day one, and with incredibly little plausibility. I mean, these are people who regularly go on big-network TV or publish in major newspapers, to call for the overthrow of the government and complain that the government censors all dissent out of the TV and newspapers. Often in the very same piece. Can anyone spot the inconsistency here? Yes, got it in one, how do you complain and call for government overthrow in a medium that the government censors of complaint? Similarly, they yack and rant massively on social media and blogs about how silenced they feel and how they don’t dare say anything. What-ev-er. It’s shameless.
    I would further point out that when I read articles about violence and suppression of dissent in Colombia, the writers talk about actual people–dead people with names, imprisoned people with names, courageous people under threat with names, organizations and villages with names. Indeed, when I read articles about ranchers assassinating aboriginal leaders and peasant movement leaders in Venezuela itself, the victims have names. Real people with stories of courage and tragedy. This guy is all, this stuff happens to “people”, to “thousands”, to “some un-fact-checkable entity”.
    The writer even has the gall to describe the well-funded “guarimba” color revolution attempt, the violent blockades that hung around for months while the national guard gave them rope to hang themselves with in a display of almost ridiculous forbearance, as an “uprising”. Uprising my left nostril. Not that it’s particularly legitimate to stage an “uprising” against a democratically elected president, particularly one subject to being democratically recalled. But if there’s one thing that set of events does, it is to deeply undercut any complaints about a police state in Venezuela. The United States, Canada, England, France . . . virtually no country in the world would have allowed the level of lawlessness, violence and disregard for human life displayed in those foreign-funded pseudo-protests, despite the shooting of multiple national guard members, the way Venezuela did. The Venezuelan government bent over backward to allow the “protest” component of these thugs in the name of democratic rights to expression, only intervening to contain the worst violent excesses. Anywhere else, those guys would have gone down in a tide of thousands of soldiers as soon as someone pulled a gun.

    Don’t get me wrong. An excellent article could be written about the problems, contradictions and failures of the PSUV government and even of the social movements supporting it. This is not that article.

    • I think you get the problem right. Indeed, this guy is obviously a privileged one. Plus, if him, well payed, have trouble to make a living, what could it be for the poors ? It is probably worst, but they still vote for PSUV so far ! And the verse about the medias, please, it’s a jock ! So Venezuela is the only country where the dissidents can go on national TV channels (mostly private and opposed to the government) to call for the overthrow of the Gvt ! It is indeed a poorely managed dictatorship… For the futur, yes it may changes at the next elections, maduro being not particulary brilliant I give him that, but frankly, if the alternative is the same previous bunch of crooks that used to run this country, it will not be an amelioration, just back to the good ol’ business of the 10 percenter oppressing the masses, and all that under the comprehensive watch of the Yankees…

      And as you say, there is a lot to tell about the problems in Venezuela, for example the recent expulsions of Columbian citizen, or even the managment of the coruption problem (which is for me the main reason of the problems this guy underline) but clearly this guy is blinded by his hatred of Chavism, which I can understand, but he’s not rationnal and what he says has to be processed by taking this fact into account

      • Thanks to Martin from SEB, Bob and DLG, elsi and others

        who have clearly identified Catire for what he is. Just another

        elitist afraid of losing his privileged perch. A mirror image of

        the Cubans in Florida. Many of the plantation owners in

        Venezuela, prior to Chavez migrated to Venezuela from Cuba.

        Elsi I have saved your links for translation [later] but very

        grateful.

        The below documentary has been seriously obfuscated by

        Google which primarily brings up scores of Links to a song

        instead of the magnificent documentary by that name:

        The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Chavez: Inside the

        Coup

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id–ZFtjR5c

        Uploaded on Nov 5, 2009

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Revo
        2002 documentary about the April 2002 Venezuelan coup

        attempt which briefly deposed Venezuelan President Hugo

        Chávez. A television crew from Ireland’s national broadcaster,

        RTÉ happened to be recording a documentary about Chávez

        during the events of April 11, 2002. Shifting focus, they

        followed the events as they occurred. During their filming, the

        crew recorded images of the events that they say contradict

        explanations given by Chávez’s opposition, the private media,

        the US State Department, and then White House Press

        Secretary Ari Fleischer. The documentary says that the coup

        was the result of a conspiracy between various old guard and

        anti-Chávez factions within Venezuela and the United States.

        John Pilger’s documentary: The War on Democracy

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeHzc1h8k7o

        I highly recommend Eva Gollinger’s Blog: Postcards From the

        Revolution

        http://www.chavezcode.com/

        Another excellent source for truthseekers:

        http://venezuelanalysis.com/

        Let us hope and pray that the AngloZionist do not succeed in

        their plans for Venezuela, all of Latin America, Ukraine, AND

        Russia, Serbia, Syria, all of Middle East Europe AND

        China….

        Love to all

        Christine

        • “A mirror image of the Cubans in Florida”..you say

          Many of the Cubans in Florida were/are not rich. People have thrown themselves in “bathtubs” and “trucks” ( yes! with floaty things) in the middle of the ocean with their children and elderly parents trying to get away from Fidel’s and Raul’s oppressive policies and crimes against the Cuban people. Many drowned.
          Video of Cubans escaping:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvNuxTM19Dk

          My mother was a pharmacist, my father a barber. We were not rich.
          My family owned a home where my uncles, grandparents and children ( I was one of those children) lived. The Castro government took over the house and never paid for it. Under Cuba’s communism, you owned nothing as all was owned by the “Revolución”.
          There are many Cubans still holding their house keys that Castro’s govt stole. Just like the Palestinians still have their keys from their homes, that the evil Zionist Jews stole from them. Granted! the Palestinians have it much, much worse than the Cubans, thanks to the Israeli-Jews and the USA and Europeans governments’ blind eye and evil policies.

          I can tell you so many things I and my family lived under Castro but I feel you have already made up your mind about it and will not believe me or the other Cubans and much less the Balseros.
          However, unless, you are a Cuban that lived under Castro & Co. you know not what you speak of. Neither do the rest of the starry eyed Americans and Europeans that think Castro was the best thing ever after chocolate.

          Btw.. no doubt we Cubans jumped from a frying pan to another frying pan (Zionist AIPAC-Israel controlled USA)

          See Chavez and family’s “anti-capitalism”. In this video Chavez voice is heard saying things like what Venezuela people suffer he too suffers.
          On the left you see his family living the high life in USA and Europe and on the right of video you see the poverty/struggle of the people of Venezuela.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5kKcq7hLoY

          Carmel by the Sea

          • So castro stole your house and made you get into a tub and escape to the US?

            How about the banks throwing old people out onto the streets and selling their homes? Or cities selling old peoples houses because they did not pay a few hundred bucks in taxes?

            They took my car for being less than week late in my payments. I owed less than $200 on a $12000 car and paid out close to 20K at the time for it. It was my last payment so it was less than my usual monthly payment. They used to send me defer monthly payments all the time, couple of times an year.. But for being a WEEK late, they made me pay over $3000.. This was when I was going hungry, trying not to live on the streets. I found work again but I had to wait another couple of days to get paid.

            How about that.. When you are down, they kick you.. Now remember, on over 5 years I was never late with even a single payment on this. Yea I lived on bread and eggs for the next 6 months because of this. Should I blame the US government for letting a bunch of asshole banksters do things like this to people? The chic I talked to at the bank told me I should just let them sell the car and they would send me some money after they recoup their costs.. So for less than $200, I would get back less than $1000 for something that was worth like $8000.. It opened my eyes to lot of things going through that. Made me realize what the blacks were going through. I always wondered before why they could not make anything of themselves. If the darn Cubans who came and lived off welfare can buy beach front property, then why cant people born there do the same, they have the support, the means and the opportunity..

            Yes things happen.. There are scum everywhere.. Gadhafi had his haters because he gave people without homes, other peoples homes who had more than one home. But he also took Libya a hell hole in WW2 to the richest most modern African state. Look at it now.. I wish all those people who were going to get their lost riches back good luck.. Make sure to lock and bar it in case some terrorists come looking..

            • Did you read the part I wrote:
              “no doubt we Cubans jumped from a frying pan to another frying pan (Zionist AIPAC-Israel controlled USA)”.

              Btw…My parents, not my immediate family nor I EVER lived on welfare. Not all Cubans and Hispanics live on welfare as most white Americans think. And I’m not a “Balsera”.
              Nor do I know anyone who lived/lives on welfare and bought beach front property. You must know a lot of savvy people.

              And yes! Castro policies made us and many Cubans escape the island. You as many Americans and Europeans have no idea what living under real communism is. Wearing a t -shirt of Che’s face does not make anyone expert on communism and much less a person that knows what it was to live under the boot of the Revolución de Cuba.

              By your post sounds to me you inferring that most “darn” ( your word) Cubans live on welfare. Well, too many darn white Americans are too lazy to pay their bills and to study hard like the Asians do when they arrive in the “exceptional” country .

              And last but not least, you ou asked me this question:
              “Should I blame the US government for letting a bunch of asshole banksters do things like this to people?”

              Answer: Yes! they US government bailed the banksters out.

              And no, you do not know what Blacks go through because you are not a black living in white America.

          • Carmen, I lived there, in Cuba, under Castro.

            95% of the Cubans that “swim” to FL do it because the rewards of a better life by far outweigh the risks. I know that for a fact. I live among them today.

            I was born under the “revolution” and I have fond memories of my childhood, plus an education that I wish my kid had access to, here in the north. True, if your protests were too strident, you tended to be ostracized and if you insisted, life could become a bit harsher for you.

            My grandpa had a lot of land. He lost 70% of it to the “revolution” but he was able to work on what was left until he retired and died. He didn’t complain much about it.

            Dont get me wrong, Castro was a net loss to the country over the span of his movement. But he did do many, many very good things, worth studying and even following. He didn’t bowed to the Americans…that was his undoing.

            • Vitikin,

              It’s not “Carmen” it’s Carmel but it’s okay. I understand how you could have made the mistake,

              What bothered me is that many white Americans think they know what being black or hispanic is in white America.That we all live on welfare. This is the same mentality they have for the “Other”.

              As to anyone that does not bow to the Americans, that’s a good thing always! however, I have my doubts that Castro did not bow privately to the USA. Cuba is a small island, half- hour away in plane from Florida, no way it can fight the USA. Why didn’t the USA ever do an “Iraq, Lybia”, ect to Cuba?

              Think about it.

              Regards,
              Carmel by the Sea

              • Dear Carmel,

                So sorry if I offended you. Yes, I know there were many poor “boat people” who escaped from Cuba……but

                where did all the rich plantation owners escape to? And the owners of the gambling casinos…the gangsters? I remember watching an interview of a plantation owner in Venezuela who admitted he emigrated from Cuba to start over in Venezuela. How did he find enough money to invest in a new plantation?

                Your family appear to have been victimized, but it’s not all black and white…..The ordinary Cuban was living in poverty…..just like the ordinary Venezuelans and I am proud for the Cubans that they got rid of their oppressors. So you [your family] were not one of the oppressors?

                The ordinary Cuban who remained in Cuba might not have lived in high style, but at least they shared the resources of their island together…..like I said there is no way that all can be happy with the results, but I believe they had the right and the duty to kick out the oppressors. They proved their capabilities to live free from the Empire in many ways. Medicine, education etc.

                Why can’t you concede that much?

                All the best to you

                Christine

              • Carmel, I am sorry, it was a typo…

                I am not privy to whether Castro bowed to Sam or not, but your question on why there was no Operation Palma Real is an interesting one. Perhaps the Soviet Union was too powerful and declared Cuba a “red line”? Perhaps there was an unwritten agreement as the result of the Missile Crisis?
                As to what white americans think of others…it goes to the heart of the question of american “exceptionalism”.
                There was another guy that wrote a book about the superiority of his race and how they were better and chosen…the whole affair ended badly.

    • Purple Library Guy :Very good comments ! . If you write the article , please don’t omit the incidents of “the Caracazo” years before Chaves or the created incidents for the brief coup that ousted Chaves for 24 hours .Please also mention all the corruption and exploitation from the time of Perez Jimenez and before until the election of Chaves.Catire’s screed can be easily refuted byreading the achives of Global Research and Information Clearinghouse for the past six years.

    • Purple Library Guy, I only have to say AMÉN.

      Here in Spain we have far right-wing government and many people have not enough to eat and rummage among the garbage cans.

      Me, somehow privileged here, but maybe because I’ve always tried not live beyond my means and save something, I bought my first car at 27, but paying for it in installments over four years and, if I could travel, was depriving me of going to eat at restaurants as often as the author longs. On the other hand, that of not having shampoo for hair is not a tragedy. When I was a child, in Spain, bath gel and shampoo were luxury items available only to the rentier class of ever. Mom bathed us and washed our hair with natural soap, which was used to clean the dishes too, and we never had a dermatitis and on the street she was asked how she washed our hair to be so bright. I suggest Catire to learn how to make soap with used oil. Here it is fashionable, as a leisure activity in the new environmental trends …..

      When I go to the beach or the countryside, most of the time I took my own drinks bought at the supermarket and my homemade sandwich, which, after all, always is much better than that of the beach bar. Sometimes I go to the beach with coffee and ice cream taken at home and, occasionally, took coffee with a cream cake out. My brother, who is unemployed for long time in the neoliberal Europe of the euro, go to the beach every day because of a skin problem, but he walks, and if ever a beer is taken is when someone gives him something and then he buys it in the grocery.
      So I do not accept that because of the very narrowness of a constituent project to a structural change of the country boycotted from outside by the Anglozionist Empire and its minions, and from within by the rentier class of always, Mr. Catire says that he can not go to the beach or to the mountain.

      Here in Spain we neither can not say anything on Twitter and the television broadcast the same uniform message delivered from the US despite the arrival of the private channels……all in hands of multinational capital.

      Product shortages in Venezuela, including the vaunted to the four winds of toilet paper shortage, is not a side effect of applied Socialism but the blockade and seizure of commercial supplies by the rentier class in order to bring down the democratically chosen by the majority of citizens. The same for the streets´ violence.

      But better than to me, let´s read someone who knows the Bolivarian system from within, since helped to create it, Professor Juan Carlos Monedero, former adviser to Bolivarian Govern of Venezuela. The closest thing to an objective and dispassionate criticism:

      http://www.juancarlosmonedero.org/2011/07/monedero-europa-y-ee-uu-no-quieren-que-venezuela-derribe-el-mito-del-modelo-liberal/

      http://www.juancarlosmonedero.org/2010/04/venezuela-cronica-desapasionada-para-democratas-laicos-i/#more-1359

      http://www.juancarlosmonedero.org/2010/04/venezuela-cronica-desapasionada-para-democratas-laicos-y-ii/

        • Who in the earth has said that professor Monedero was advisor to economic policies?
          The worst with neoliberal mind in that only affords itself to think in money/economics…..but not only of economics is that a state can live…..

          I am afraid that you have not bothered reading any of the articles I have linked, and, probably, and unfortunately, you could not hear and understand those lectures also linked.

          For your information, Juan Carlos Monedero is not an economist, despite having taken part in the team for the creation of the Euro, but an ideologue, a thinker. He is a professor in Political Science, and his advises go more in the lane of state management and organization. He is a great admirer of the Paris Commune and he is keen on people coming into politics, adding not only ideas but also criticism and control, in order to adjust the old ideological patterns to the new times and special characteristics of each country.
          All that, of course, from the left side and anticapitalist approach.

          While I admire and consider him an expert in the Bolivarian Revolution and many other topics, also he sometimes is wrong, as everyone, and has no problem on recognize it. He is his fiercest critic. A person in any way allergic to the resignation, something so rare in Spain, even when scandal surrounds several actual officials. For example, with Russia and Putin he is very wrong, from my point of view, as you can find some references in some of the linked articles and conferences.

          • @ elsi

            You wrote it yourself : ” let´s read someone who knows the Bolivarian system from within, since helped to create it, Professor Juan Carlos Monedero, former adviser to Bolivarian Govern of Venezuela. ”

            So was he a former advisor or not?

            • I have explained the issue and that question is answered as well above.
              What do not you understand in “former adviser to Bolivarian Government of Venezuela”?.
              Do not play the fool with me, serbian girl.
              It is clear that you have no intention on reading anything written or linked by me.
              So, continue following your neoliberal agenda. This is my last word to you.

              Ladran, luego cabalgamos.

              • Hi elsi,

                don’t waste your time with her (or him?)
                From “Serbia” or not?

                Over the span of weeks I read some odd statements by “Serbian girl” that make me use these double quotes. If it is really a girl from Serbia, then she has some views about communism that really make me wonder in that context (I was in Serbia often enough to say that.).

                • I actually LIVED through all socialism and panslavism so don’t lecture me, ok? I saw the terrible results first hand and am living today with the aftermath of all that rubbish.

                  Your and elsi’s high handed and disdainful reaction confirm everything I know (and dislike) about communists & socialists.

    • @ Purple Library Guy:

      Yours is the best comment here, but I must say Uncle Bob and others [too many to mention individually] did an excellent job too :)

      Thanks, to all of you.

      -TL2Q

  4. There are better ways to move away from U.S. neo-colonialism, in democracy. Argentina is a good example. Of course, U.S. does not stop creating incidents in Argentina too, but the country and the majority knows where the enemy is.

  5. I understand Catire’s nostalgia for the times when he was “the fortunate son”. But no society on this planet can provide standard of living to all it’s citizens that will allow them to buy brand new Opels, travel abroad and buy luxury items! That’s simply not realistic. It’s impossible that all citizens have life like they are capitalists. Who would be workers than? For the fortunate ones inequality will always equal “democracy”. In reality rich people will never give up their privileges voluntarily. To achieve some approximation of equality some force must be used. Those who lose in the process will always be dissatisfied.

    But fortunately the quality of life does not depend on ownership of any kind. When my passport expired I decided not to apply for the renewal. What would I achieve by traveling to the West? Pilgrimage to the temples of Mammon is not my idea of “good life”. I don’t have money to travel to the East, so I do not need passport. There is so many places in my own country that I have not visited yet! The quality of life depends on good interaction with family and friends, and for that you don’t need money at all.

    • @Ivan

      > But fortunately the quality of life does not depend on ownership of any kind.

      Yep, 100% agreed.
      I have a 24 years old Renault 19 running on Autogas (for half the price), while it looks like complete scrap it is very reliable and cheap. That’s the only important aspect in this regard. I’m happy with it.
      (written by somebody from the alleged country of milk and honey)

      But quality of life: As you say: Material stuff has nothing to do with that. Plus: Being poor prevents a human being from having dishonest “friends”.

  6. When a country follows strong course of idenpendence (from imperialism) that is usually what happens. While it is true that the current government might be trying to cover it’s inefficiencies and failures behind subversive attacks (in whatever form) of the imperialism and it’s right-wing puppets, it does not mean that Chavismo-Madurismo is the sole responsible for the economic crisis. Saying that chavismo is to blame is the same as saying it’s the anti-fascist fault that so many people died in WW2 when they could just have surrendered and live peacefully.

    This reminds me slightly about the sanctioning Russia in a way, when a number of the similar people worried about their personal living standard were more worried about the import of the Greek strawberries rather then caring about the imperial aggression on their country.

    This guy clearly put his marketing skills to work. Take the story out of the context and polish it so that average Western liberal can identify with it, and there you go.

  7. this story is like the one a friend who married a Cuban told me. It must be partly the sanctions that have caused this so its Sanctioned Terrorism. But yes, I met a Venezuelan where I live who tried to convince me that Chavez was not as good as I thought. Of course I was sure that this guy didn’t know better than me, and was a victim of MSM>

  8. sounds bolshevik.

    Opposite but same as capitalism…one is too big gov…other too big econ….where is culture ? t

    Three fold….
    Equality in gov.
    Fraternity in economic
    Liberty in culture…- Rudolf Steiner.

  9. As a south-american(Brazilian) citizen, I think you guys misunderstand many things here…
    I can say most of central american countries are american colonies, but South America is different somehow… Ûnited States doesnt have so much power and influence as it used to have, I can say nowadays there are 3 sources of power in South America: 1- The Biggest countries(Like Brazil, Colombia) 2: China and 3: United States
    The left is losing ground in South America, people are tired of socialism, socialism makes people lazy, instead of working they ask for public handouts, at the same time the Left is liberal and besides what the media describes us, south american population is conservative, they hate proposals like same-sex marriage, legalization of abortion, marihuana, etc… The Left is always defending such measures…
    More and more the Right is gaining ground here, probably the next elections you will see Maduro, Dilma and others leaving the power…

    • Hi,

      though not South American I have lived quite a few years there, both in Brazil and the Spanish-speaking part of SA, amongst others Colombia. You’re probbaly right about the possible power-shift to come from left to right in SA in the years to come. It’s like Brazil where you certainly know that before Lula there were litterally millions who did no have enough to eat. While everything he did was not perfect, he did introduce a lot of social measures aimed at reducing social injustice and extracted millions from utter misery. Of course not only did such measures have a cost, which the well-off have never accepted (imagine, spending $$$ on the poor!) but, perhaps even more interesting, the previously poorest have gotten used to their increased standard of living and would like more, so they too are not happy. What an irony right?!

      I now live in one of the richest countries in Europe and know a lot of friends from SA. These guys have been living here for years and they have all enjoyed the progressist values in place in this country. Yet, you know what 99% of them miss most? La muchachita. The maid. They are all adorable but gosh how much they miss the little maid hwo has been working in the house since they wore diappers, who’s part of the family… well part and part, you got me. As long as the poorest know how to keep their place, it’s all good.

      To conclude, I agree with you that SA is essentially very conservative (catholicism has done its job well in explaining to people that it’s good for them to suffer in this life because the next one is surely going to be awesome, right…), regrettably too conservative. The power-shift you mention will probably take place and the poor are going to notice it… and regret it. Of course for the middle and upper class, it’s going to be all good but THEY have not the most remote interest in reducing poverty.

      Cheers

  10. This is a ludicrous article to the extreme, and I am not even willing to defend Chavez and Madura too much, or at all for that matter.

    As others have noted, there are extreme inconsistencies in the article, and also an obvious hatred for the masses (the people that support Chavismo in any case)

    What kind of average working-class Latin American can afford a brand new car when 23? The average working-class westerner cannot afford that. Or a a trip to the US for that matter!

    Moreover, the criticisms are all based on how many trips/cars/restaurant visits one could afford before and after Chavismo, if we are to believe what is being claimed.

    As for the obvious bias against the masses. Sure it is awful if either the poor or the rich engage in anti-social behavior, but the upper-class snobbishness just oozes from every sentence of this article.

    The poor make noise, the poor have motorbikes now (all the fault of those darned Chinese commies who provide the planet with affordable goods) etc etc etc.

    Sure the situation has deteriorated recently (as in every single commodity exporting country on the planet for that matter) but the man is blowing everything out of proportion.

    He is also trying to convince us that Venezuela has been turned into a communist/socialist totalitarian state (the ultimate bogey-man for people well marinated in western democratic liberalism) but by the end of his tirade reveals to us that he harbors serious hopes for an election victory for the opposition in the upcoming elections!!! How’s that for a totalitarian dictatorship for ya! If only the people of Ukraine could have such hopes! Or the people of the Gulf states for that matter!

    He also forgot to mention the attempted coup against Chavez in 2002, or the US-funded NGOs of upper-class students, or that all the media are in still in the hands of the Venezuelan capitalists who spread lies and propaganda every day (this was the case in the early years of Chavez, I am not sure about now) He also forgets to mention the several lock-outs and sabotage on the part of the capitalists etc etc

    As for the post-apocalyptic picture of the Venezuelan economy that is painted above, it is not really corroborated by the facts.

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/venezuela/indicators

    In the link above, one can check all the important indicators of that economy. From a first glance, I would say that the performance of the Venezuelan economy has been mediocre since Chavez took power which is to be expected due to clumsy policies on the part of the government and of course extreme sabotage on the part of local oligarchic and western interests. The failure of Chavismo to genuinely take full control of the country’s economy is allowing the capitalists to compromise the nation’s economy and sovereignty.

    • Venezuela requires to control the issue of its currency, if it is to control its economy and raise the living standards of its population. The majority of politicians have no understanding of Economics or a Monetary system.
      An independent Sovereign country can issue as much currency as it wishes. The only proviso is that this money investment is used in PRODUCTIVE industry,such as agriculture, forestry,minerals.manufacturing etc.
      This investment can create 100% employment.

      Capital investment is the efficient use of a Nations natural resources, the greatest of which is the labour and ingenuity of its people.
      Unemployed labour is a under utilisation of capital. Money is but a tool for efficient use of capital.It is not wealth, but a token, a means of exchange and a weapon of extortion when issued as debt by the private banking system.
      For more detailed information ,check out Modern Monetary Theory and the blogs of Bill Mitchell,Michael Hudson and Randall Wray.

      • The creation of money by government infrastructure spending is the sure way to prosperity. I have to wonder why it is not practiced anywhere. I have a sneaking suspicion its time is coming.

  11. All socialist countries have come under intense attack from the US, owner of the world reserve currency. Financial, information, and subversion. How can any country thrive under such conditions?

    • Peter,
      The countries, the average people can NOT survive, thrive, progress.
      The leaders of those countries do very well though, as most are in cahoots one way or another with the USA and American and European corporations. These so called “leaders” publicly complain about imperialism, capitalism, but they are the same.

      It’s very simple, they all eat at the same table.

      Regards,
      Carmel by the Sea

  12. When discussing about Cuba,I wrote about the dangers in Latin America from the “Americanization” the US pushes there.This writer is the perfect example of that danger.He has been de-nationalized and Americanized over the years.His perception of a society is based on US society.If the standards aren’t as good.Then the reason is “obvious”,they aren’t following the US system.While I don’t know as much about Venezuela as I do about Cuba.There are striking similarities in the two.And for Latin America in general.Lets set the stage a bit on Venezuela’s past.After Independence from Spain,Venezuela was a bit of a backwater area.It wasn’t as rich or populous as some of the other countries.And quickly fell under military dictators.Off and on, that lasted until 1945,and then again from 1948 to 1958.By then the vast amounts of oil found made Venezuela a very rich country for Latin America.Or,more correctly,it made the wealthy classes,corrupt government,and US oil interests,very,very,rich.Some of that money seeped down to the small middle class (such as the article’s author).But little of it improved the lives of the mass of the population.For years Venezuela operated as a “democracy” in which the established parties traded positions.All of them getting rich,swelling from the public trough of the oil wealth.Venezuela had the highest per capita income in Latin America (just little of that got to the poor masses).The author talks about the benefits he got from it.Did you notice,other than buying a house,all the “benefits” he mentioned came from foreign sources or companies.And he was oh,so happy,with family trips to the mecca of “civilization”,the US.Not vacationing in his own country,or anywhere in Latin America.To do that would be “declasse” for those wanting to ape their “betters”.

    All the governments Venezuela had ever had were either men of the upper classes,or military men from the middle or lower classes that seized power and then became part of the upper class themselves.All of them only cared about getting wealthy themselves,or getting wealthier.But by 1998 the “people” had had enough of rule by the oligarchical classes. And then came Chavez,a military man from the lower classes himself.And in a free election he became President.But unlike the ones from the past.This one wanted to change the society.He wanted to bring the masses of the people into society as equal citizens in Venezuela.To change a system that favored the few,to one that favored the many.He ran on a platform of reform.And as many other leaders of “revolutions” (even peaceful ones) have found you can’t reform an oligarchical system without hurting that class,and usually the classes associated with them.It just isn’t possible to do.The US has many levers of control in the World (as we see with the attacks on Russia).In Latin America,especially the countries most tied to them.One of those levers is the economy.The author again is an example of that.He bought US products,worked in businesses tied to US concerns,and now his side-business is involving US clients.When the US wants to destroy a country,they start by hindering trade (Russia and Iran lately come to mind).And get their 5th column assets in that country to help them.Because its another era,they haven’t been as successful as they were against Cuba in the 1960’s (yet).But the methods are still the same.Make sure there are shortages,drive up the price,and harm the countries source of wealth.Hoping that their stooges in the 5th column will benefit from that to stir “color revolutions”.

    The author talked about people of the upper class,and middle classes leaving Venezuela (that happened in Cuba as well).But forgot to mention the hundreds of thousands of Colombians that have crossed their border for a better life in Venezuela (sound familiar to today’s migrants flocking to Europe).Coming from a “non-Socialist” stooge of the US.In other words “a democracy Western style”.Coming to the “Socialist” Venezuela the author so hates.I suppose since those are “poor” people they don’t count in his thinking.

    Is there inefficiency in the Venezuelan system,yes I don’t doubt it.When the majority of the Americanized, educated higher classes,betray the country,and can’t be trusted in positions.That means you must rely on the smaller numbers that stayed loyal.And new people in positions,that are at least loyal.Does,that led to mistakes being made,and inefficiency.It most likely does.But what is the real cause then.The government’s failure’s,or the treason of the 5th column.It will take a while to retrain and build new cadres to a level of efficiency.That’s just the way it is.Cuba experienced the same thing.Half of her doctors as an example, moved to the US.Hoping a lack of medical care would give the Cuban Revolution a black eye.But they trained and educated a new generation of medical professionals and are a World leader in basic medicine.And even send doctors to aid people all over the World.

    Venezuela suffers from a couple of problems that Cuba didn’t have to deal with.Venezuela has a democratic electoral system.The articles author calls Venezuela a dictatorship on one hand.And then on the other says the 5th column hopes to win the December 6th elections.It seems he wants it both ways.When condemning it, its a “dictatorship”.While if his side can gain power,its then a “democracy”.He talks about being hounded by the “secret police” and yet in the same article talks about being involved with the anti-government protests.The secret police must be different or more “inefficient” than most (maybe the inefficiency he bemoans is good for him). In Cuba they realized that to make systemic changes to society,you can’t allow the power of wealth to prevent that.Venezuela is somewhere in the middle between Allende’s Chile,and Castro’s Cuba.We all know that using the 5th column the US overthrew (and killed) Allende.But Venezuela hasn’t gone to the needed changes Cuba was forced to.That also is the reasons for the increase in crime the author rightly complains about.Though I figure if the government did crack down on conditions that increase crime the most .The author would then condemn that as more “proof” of a “dictatorship”. In Cuba almost the entire oligarchical class,and half the middle class betrayed the Revolution.And were fairly quickly eliminated from influence (most of them by self-elimination).I suspect the percentages of traitors would be similar to Cuba’s.But the government hasn’t moved correctly to deal with that problem yet.It is a fact that when playing the power game with the “Empire” you play for keeps.Venezuela hasn’t grasped that fact fully yet (neither has Russia and China,sadly).Cuba also benefited by aid from the USSR and the “Socialist Camp” during the most difficult early period of the Revolution.Venezuela can’t count on that level of aid.Neither Russia nor China seems willing to fully commit to support (yet).That’s an error on their part.The more countries in Latin America that are free of US control benefit the multi-polar World.It really is a “numbers” game.The more multi-polar supporters,the less countries the Empire has on their side.

    It would have been nice if the middle class elements like the author had chosen to work to building his own country.And not chosen to side with the Empire.But that wasn’t to be I suppose.He isn’t the first 5th columnist the Empire has recruited in the World,nor will he be the last.

    • I knew a girl, married to a Cuban who is a post graduate PhD in electrical engineering…and received part of his degree anyways in Cuba…for free…

      But he and his family – father a psychiatrist – left Cuba and now live in Canada….because of the poverty of Cuba. And there was also in Cuba, strong government action against conspiracies.

      Perhaps Chavez and Maduro have ‘copied’ Cuba. And now its really not time for that much control of the population anymore….but its disgusting about the police and the violence and danger there now. Pathetic…and sad.

      The old order fadeth giving place to new, and God fulfills Himself in many ways,
      Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

      Anyway, its time for a change in surveillance world wide…

      This article is mostly about poverty..not about Chavez or Obama or anything else…its a cry in the wilderness

      When there’s poverty, there’s crime.

        • “History shows the reverse to be more true.
          Usually, when there’s crime, there’s poverty.”

          I’ve seen what you done there, Peter, and if by ‘crime’ you mean ‘social injustice’ I think I can totally agree with you [social injustice is a crime] But yeah, ultimately it’s all a matter of ‘potato – potahto.’ We’re all talking about the same thing only in different ways.

          However, overall, I have to stick with Ann on this one; “When there’s poverty, there’s crime”

          I can confirm that crime and insecurity in Latin America is very real indeed, in some countries worse than others, in some places much much worse then others.
          This is no joke. And it’s a very real, everyday fear for the people living in or near-by rough areas, but it’s not new either…
          This has been ongoing for years and years, to pin the blame on one particular form of government, as our ‘friend’ Catire implied is ridiculous though, since this is a continent-wide problem and you can’t really compare Mexico or Colombia governments to Venezuela’s, Ecuador, or Brazil for that matter.

          Solution? Curb inequality (hence; cut down the root reasons that push people to commit crimes) invest massively in good quality education and better policing.

          The tricky part with ‘better policing’ is not to allow it to degenerate into a Police State of total surveillance. That’s the one thing about Latin America a lot of westerners probably don’t understand; yes, crime – and by “crime” I mean: violent, heinous acts of depravity, not just someone stealing a Mars bar at a 7/11is a very real and terrifying problem. But on the flip side of that coin you don’t have the government breathing down your neck every waking hour of your life, like I can also confirm happens here in Europe. Yet, they still have violent crime though; I wouldn’t recommend a woman to go out at three in the morning walking alone in certain areas, just because she’s in ‘well policed’ Europe.

          They need to get rid of the undesirable element (crime), while preserving the amount of liberties people enjoy. Unfortunately, if we are realistic about it, some liberties will have to be sacrificed, but which ones? And who gets to decide?
          Aah! Not as simple as it seems, is it?

          Sound and honest forward planning can sort – before implementation, of course – the totalitarian leaning ideas from the sensible ones. But for that, you’ll also need officials [planners] with some level of integrity. Again; easier said than done and not just in Latin America, anywhere! Really…

          -TL2Q

  13. The author completely lost me when in the end he promised political violence. I would have prefered it if the Saker had published a more balanced article. I can get it if the author doesn’t like Chavez. But is it really too much asked to pay at least some attention to the question why a majority of the population votes for him?

    Venezuela is a classical case of economic mismanagement. The labyrinth of special exchange rates, subsidized products and import restrictions resembles that of the Soviet Union in its latter days and produces similar results. And of course Venezuela – that already had borrowed too much money – is now facing the consequences of the falling oil prices.

    However, it would be too much to blame it all of Chavez and Maduro. I recommend the following article (“The Money-Losing Machine in Caracas“). I shows that many of these economic distortions were already in place under previous – right-wing – regimes.

    It is not unlikely that Maduro will loose the next elections. Venezuela needs someone who cleans up at least some of the economic mess and he seems incapable to do it.

  14. Whit all do respects for the author of the text I will not go in to further detail if this is true or not? I have absolutely no what so ever knowledge about the current political climate in Venezuela, and if those views presented by the author is shared by the majority of other Venezuelans, it would be interesting to here them? But what I did notice in the text, which I must say is almost identical in form to text’s written by NED ( NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY ), Chatham House Think Tank, Brookings Institute and various other NGO:s sponsored OTPOR (“Serbian” NGO main driving force against ousted late president Slobodan Milosevic) in Serbia. The similarities are striking since it appears that buying a new car or branded shoes and luxury items are of “greater” importance then the latter, “political oppression”. Maybe the author is longing for a political change ala Ukraine style, to invite IMF to overwhelm you whit loans that you will never be able to repay, fill your stores and dealerships whit Loréal shampoos, GM vehicles and your main Media outlets will be bought for pocket change by George Soros, which will later brainwash the nation how good you are doing in every field and the tremendous progress you’ve maid in the economy since transition to Liberal style economy of the Wall-Street. As I said above, all do respects to the author, but if I’ve haven’t gone thru the same scam in the 90’s in Serbia whit the bought of politicians who promised the people honey and milk and golden valleys (I didn’t’t believe it even then) just if we get rid of the “dictator” Slobodan Milosevic that our country would have the same living standard as Austria in just 15-20 years. Almost 15 years have passed since “we” disposed the “dictator” and the cold fact is that not only did we not make even one inch closer to the living standards of Austria, but quit opposite, we are nearing us very fast he Albanian one, which is by the way one of the poorest countries in South-East Europe. At the same time our new real dictator, is not surprisingly called a “democrat” by the very same West whom he has sold his soul to, is required to go to Berlin or Brussels every once in a while to get his opinion. By the way, I don’t have to explain to you that we (Serbia) are progressing in every field for each passing day, according to “our” dictator. The truth of the day is that, it will take us at least 30 years to get back to the same standard of living, that our previous “dictator” left us in. Sorry broe, but I must say, i don’t buy your story. But I will at the same time ad, that this is my personnel opinion and I might be totally wrong about it, and willing to change if presented whit more of the same opinion by other Venezuelans.

  15. Since the article listed what the author considered wrong in Venezuela.Its only fair to list what is right.And to explain some of what is happening there.I found this report,that does that.It is dated,to Chavez’s final days.And with the Empire’s malice things have gotten worse since.But as the author condemned the whole Chavez era.We should understand the achievements of that era to see if his condemnation is correct.Here are highlights from the article:

    “The Achievements of Hugo Chavez”

    With regard to these social determinants of health indicators, Venezuela is now the country in the region with the lowest inequality level (measured by the Gini Coefficient) having reduced inequality by 54%, poverty by 44%. Poverty has been reduced from 70.8% (1996) to 21% (2010). And extreme poverty reduced from 40% (1996) to a very low level of 7.3% (2010). About 20 million people have benefited from anti-poverty programs, called “Misiones” (Up to now, 2.1 million elderly people have received old-age pensions – that is 66% of the population while only 387,000 received pensions before the current government.

    Education is a key determinant of both health and poverty and the Bolivarian government has placed a particular emphasis on education allotting it more than 6% of GDP. UNESCO has recognized that illiteracy been eliminated furthermore, Venezuela is the 3rd county in the region whose population reads the most. There is tuition free education from daycare to university; 72% of children attend public daycares and 85% of school age children attend school. There are thousands of new or refurbished schools, including 10 new universities. The country places 2nd in Latin America and 5th in the world with the greatest proportions of university students. In fact, 1 out of every 3 Venezuelans are enrolled in some educational program. . It is also a great achievement that Venezuela is now tied with Finland as the 5th country with the happiest population in the world .

    Before the Chavez government in 1998, 21% of the population was malnourished. Venezuela now has established a network of subsidized food distribution including grocery stores and supermarkets. While 90% of the food was imported in 1980, today this is less than 30%. Misión Agro-Venezuela has given out 454,238 credits to rural producers and 39,000 rural producers have received credit in 2012 alone. Five million Venezuelan receive free food, four million of them are children in schools and 6,000 food kitchens feed 900,000 people. The agrarian reform and policies to help agricultural producers have increased domestic food supply. The results of all these food security measures is that today malnourishment is only 5%, and child malnutrition which was 7.7% in 1990 today is at 2.9%. This is an impressive health achievement by any standards.

    Some of the most important available data on health care and public health are as following

    *infant mortality dropped from 25 per 1000 (1990) to only 13/1000 (2010);

    *An outstanding 96% of the population has now access to clean water (one of the goals of the revolution);

    *In 1998, there were 18 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, currently there are 58, and the public health system has about 95,000 physicians;

    *It took four decades for previous governments to build 5,081 clinics, but in just 13 years the Bolivarian government built 13,721 (a 169.6% increase);

    *Barrio Adentro (i.e., primary care program with the help of more than 8,300 Cuban doctors) has approximately saved 1,4 million lives in 7,000 clinics and has given 500 million consultations;

    *In 2011 alone, 67,000 Venezuelans received free high cost medicines for 139 pathologies conditions including cancer, hepatitis, osteoporosis, schizophrenia, and others; there are now 34 centres for addictions,

    *In 6 years 19,840 homeless have been attended through a special program; and there are practically no children living on the streets.

    *Venezuela now has the largest intensive care unit in the region.

    *A network of public drugstores sell subsidized medicines in 127 stores with savings of 34-40%.

    *51,000 people have been treated in Cuba for specialized eye treatment and the eye care program “Mision Milagro”; has restored sight to 1.5 million Venezuelans

    An example of how the government has tried to respond in a timely fashion to the real needs of its people is the situation that occurred in 2011 when heavy tropical rains left 100,000 people homeless. They were right away sheltered temporarily in all manner of public buildings and hotels and, in one and a half years, the government built 250,000 houses. The government has obviously not eradicated all social ills, but its people do recognize that, despite any shortcomings and mistakes, it is a government that is on their side, trying to use its resources to meet their needs. Part of this equation is the intense political participation that the Venezuelan democracy stands for, that includes 30,000 communal councils, which determine local social needs and oversee their satisfaction and allows the people to be protagonists of the changes they demand.

    Hugo Chavez’s victory had an impact around the world as he is recognized as having spearheaded radical change not only in his own country but in all Latin America where progressive governments have also been elected, thereby reshaping the global order. The victory was even more significant considering the enormous financial and strategic help that the USA agencies and allies gave to the opposition parties and media. Since 2002, Washington channeled $100 million to opposition groups in Venezuela and this election year alone, distributed US$ 40-50 million there. But the Venezuelan people disregarded the barrage of propaganda unleashed against the president by the media that is 95% privately owned and anti-Chavez. The tide of progressive change in the region has started to build the infrastructure for the first truly independent South America with political integration organizations such as Bank of the South, CELAC, ALBA, PETROSUR, PETROCARIBE, UNASUR, MERCOSUR, TELESUR and thus have demonstrated to the rest of the world that there are, after all, economic and social alternatives in the 21st century. Following a different model of development from that of global capitalism in sharp contrast to Europe, debt levels across Latin America are low and falling.

    The changes in Venezuela are not abstract. The government of President Chávez has significantly improved the living conditions of Venezuelans and engaged them in dynamic political participation to achieve it. This new model of socialist development has had a phenomenal impact all over Latin America, including Colombia of late, and the progressive left of centre governments that are now the majority in the region see in Venezuela the catalyst that that has brought more democracy, national sovereignty and economic and social progress to the region. No amount of neoliberal rhetoric can dispute these facts. Dozens of opinionated experts can go on forever on whether the Bolivarian Revolution is or is not socialist, whether it is revolutionary or reformist (it is likely to be both ), yet at the end of the day these substantial achievements remain. This is what infuriates its opponents the most both inside Venezuela and most notable, from neocolonialist countries. The “objective” and “empiricist” The Economist will not publicize this data, preferring to predict once again the imminent collapse of the Venezuelan economy and El Pais, in Spain, would rather have one of the architects of the Caracazo (the slaughter of 3000 people in Caracas protesting the austerity measures of 1989), the minister of finance of the former government Moises Naim, go on with his anti-Chávez obsession. But none of them can dispute that the UN Human Development Index situates Venezuela in place #61 out of 176 countries having increased 7 places in 10 years.

    And that is one more reason why Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution will survive Venezuela’s Socialist leader.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/#_edn3

    • Thanks Much Uncle Bob, unfortunately the
      West and it’s sycophants rarely let facts stand in the way of their political agenda-which is to turn us all into serfs if they “allow us” to survive at all. Researchers have stated that by 2050 one out of every two children in America will be autistic…..what is wrong with that society? This is what happens when science is suborned to the profit motive under capitalism.

  16. I would not write in favor or against Chavez/Maduro since I do not live in Venezuela. I will write a comment about Mexico since the author mentions it as a place where venezuelans move to and I have first hand knowledege of the situation there since I have relatives and travel there about 2 yearly. I would not recommend anybody to move to Mexico any longer. Mexico is in tailspin towards destruction. Mexico is number one in kidnappings and at least number 2 in murders (I say at least) because since murders are so common they very often remain unreported. Kidnapping are alsa very unreported since relatives are afraid to go to police (since they are often involved with the organizad crime). One thing that I experience now there is a feeling of general fear in the population. You can not trust authorities, you can not trust unknown people. Journalists (the honest ones uncovering corruption, criminal gangs) are killed like flies government does nothing of course. The problem of organized crime is widespread but some areas are worst, in that case people out of despair organize themselves in self-defense local community organizations to try to protect themselves from the criminals since they have no help of authorities, what happens? Well the authorities go and fight these community self-defense organizations not the criminals! Why do not we heard more about this in the MSM? Because Mexico´s (president, elite, etc) are servants, assets of the US/West. Mexicos current president has for instance inserted changes on the contitution to allow foreign companies to exploit (plunder) the country´s natural resources. Mexicos ruling elite is there to serve foreign interests not the people. A couple of times has happened that the independant candidate to presidency has rumored to have won elections but for some strange circumstance the oficial ruling parties (PRI/PAN) became “victorious” even with a small margin so many Mexicans wonder whether there is any real democracy in the country, majority think NO! The candidate that usaully wins is the one ready to serve the Big Capital and destroy the country even more.

  17. I would add to my previous comment that if one tenth of the bad things that happen in Mexico occurred in Venezuela, or Bolivia, Argentina or, etc these countries would be considered “failed states” by the MSM.

  18. Like several other commentators, I would say the author is hardly “working class”, given his concerns with financial well-being and his buying a brand new expensive European car at age 23. Working class people can’t afford to do that even in Canada or the US, never mind Latin America.

    The real issue is not mis-management by the Bolivarian “socialists”, but a combination of US economic sabotage, the artificially inflated value of the US dollar which is basically worthless paper propped up by it’s position as a de-facto international reserve currency courtesy of the invalid Breton Woods agreement that Nixon defaulted on decades ago, and by the again artificially depressed price of oil, again courtesy of US/Saudi manipulations.

    As other commentators have noted, whatever internal spying or quasi police state activities are going on in Venezuela are trivial compared to the US police state and it’s 17 major federal spy agencies (NSA, CIA, DIA, FBI, DEA, IRA, etc), not to mention all the state and local police spy networks, cell phone tracking, credit card tracking, etc.

    Some years ago I was in Cuba visiting a small town and just for the heck of it I wandered into the local police station and back into the cell block area, which was empty. The duty cop scuttled in to see who I was and what the hell I thought I was doing. I told him that back in Canada we always hear that Cuban prisons are full of political prisoners, so I though I would have a look for myself. He said “Well, you can be the first one if you want. Get lost.”

    I’m trying to imagine a similar size town in the US where the jail wouldn’t be full of prisoners, and I wouldn’t be shot or at least tasered and arrested for wandering back into the cell block. I’ve been in Cuba several times, and found it to be a very relaxed, friendly, and safe place to visit, something I can’t say for the US anymore.

  19. Purple Library Guy : If you decide to write the article , please don’t forget to mention the “Caracazo” massacre of the people , a few years before Chaves was elected . Don’t forget either to mention the educational achievements , from the wiping out of illiteracy to the hundreds of thousands finishing High School that before could not have finished Grammar School to the tens of thousands graduating from University that before Chaves could not have done it , to the millions now receiving free medical care,etc,etc.
    Catire’s rant is in the same style and as accurate and honest as the complaints of the Cubans that left the Island after Castro.

    • Unfortunately, for Chavez he was not able to wipe off, his own illiteracy, nor to remove his total lack of manners ( speaking in front of cameras about his diarrhea ) for a man leading a country this is fatal.

      Of course, I include Bush Jr. a buffoon, not capable of leading a country and the others wanting to be presidents as Palin, or Trump that says Hispanics speak “Mexican”. IMO…after Jimmy Carter, the only that came close to deserving the job of president was Dr. Ron Paul.

      As I always say about these new world “leaders”, none could come near Putin– an articulate refined gentleman, perfectly mannered, extremely intelligent, compassionate, and a man that truly cares for his Russian people. To sum it up, the best statesman in the world.

      Carmel by the Sea

  20. Dear saker,

    Well done . This shows you as a smart, free-minded , independent and very trustworthy person .
    As to Venezuela , I just don’t know . Haven’t been there .
    The important thing is that your site is open to debate .
    Best wishes
    Mikel

  21. I think Mr. John Pilger has already answer that.
    One’s says that blockade means invasion, and invasion means war.
    The Russia’s toys, sent there, cooled down things a little; but US is in a rush;
    ask Colombia President.

  22. “But fortunately the quality of life does not depend on ownership of any kind.”

    ???

    If the state is debasing the currency, they’re basically stealing the work of their citizens. It’s outrageous!

    What’s so wrong about wanting to provide a home for your child? Food on the table?

    I have a Venezuelan friend who confirms everything Catire has said. Chavez had great entertainment value, (his sulphur – devil speech at the UN was priceless) but I would not want him as my president.

    By the way, I was not aware that owning an OPEL Corsa- a small, functional car- was a sign of “wealth”. It’s not like he’s driving around in Porsche. Comment like this just show how impoverished our society has become.

    Soon if you have clothes on your back and 10 USD in your pocket you considered “rich” and ripe for plunder…

    • Your comment made me laugh, it’s so true, these value judgements as to what people should have at what age and so on. It appears this site has a much higher ratio of ‘take from thy neighbour’ socialists than it does independent entrepreneurs. The socialism built by Chavez was a radical response to a form of capitalism that is in no way free market, it is an IMF, World Bank imposed regime of privatization. The response however lacked nuance, the burden on state budgets created by a vast social system organized to alleviate poverty creates a society of dependence, one that becomes prone to currency devaluation as a rule. Outside trading partners may appreciate the domestic production of currency as necessary for social programs, but they will hardly recognize it as a viable international trade currency.

      The Venezuelan governments attempts to control the price of goods is pure unadulterated folly, and whoever enacts these policies is simply inept. Price controls may appear attractive to the brute force military junta, but they never work, EVER. It’s just plain stupidity and it acts as a frontal attack on legitimate business that require profit for growth, development and expansion. It is a sign of sheer desperation and little else.

      The only solution to avoiding complete destruction at the hands of the currency vultures and western oligarchs is to have a diversified economy, and that takes decades to develop, it requires education and investment in technology and a culture of entrepreneurship. Russia is being forced to diversify for the same reasons, except Russia has decades of scientific and educational know how, Venezuela has been little more than a resource extraction site for the developed world; they have invested literally nothing in their own progress. When I was in Venezuela about 20 years ago it was a crime infested backward nation, the British oil companies had security protected compounds for their workers and shuttles from the airport direct to the compounds. The poverty was palpable.

      Perhaps Chavez has implemented programs for the alleviation of suffering, but these programs are not productive, they are not developmental, they are movements of money from one thing in the budget to another. The old parable of teaching a man to fish is apt here, and the Venezuelan government in all its naivete has created a state of economic stagnancy, has failed to teach its population to grow their independence, and is now suffering the consequences. Yes it has been under pressure in what is a full on economic war, but they have not conducted the war well, not well at all.

      • Human capital is our most vital resource. Early childhood education is one of the best investments a state can make in it’s citizen’s. You seem to think people need the lash or threat of destitution to make them work rather than the natural curiosity of the human mind looking to discover the truth about the world they live in and how to make it better.

        • I seem to think what? You’re telling me that I don’t value human capital because I don’t believe in social welfare for the masses?

          I believe that humans left to their own, without too much hindrance from government get along just fine, where the idea came from that we need to be taken care of is beyond me. Poverty in most cases is the imposition of a way of life that is unnatural, destitution exists only when humans no longer have a place. Were the aboriginal peoples prior to the imposition of the Europeans and Catholic Church living in poverty? Maybe they needed to be told they lived in poverty, but I suspect they had no idea.

          The notion of what constitutes poverty is cultural, however with the spreading of the empire of homogeneity everyone now wants the same things, and this gives rise to poverty as we now know it. Farmers are displaced, resources are polluted, hunter gatherers cannot subsist and fisheries are depleted. Empire has changed the landscape, and so to keep the masses within the hallucination which is empire they are kept fed, and in most cases medicated.

          I understand the concept of not letting other humans suffer, but the system as it now stands is monolithic, its bureaucratic, its not really people helping people, but an administrative set-up that funnels money from one place to another. There are cases of people helping people, such as churches, community groups, co-ops, etc, but these make up only a fraction of the social welfare landscape. The bulk of the assistance comes from illegally siphoned labour tax, which in all too many cases goes to recipients who have no intention of working, and may never work or accomplish anything of value in their entire lives. This is the foundation of the empire of apathy. A lethargic, fed and medicated population, confused into consumption, kept on support by a growing minority of working class people who struggle under the burden of ever higher taxes.

          The current system may appear humane, and even just, but it is not. It is coercive, illegal, and morally bankrupt. Human beings if allowed to manage their own lives, with minimal oversight (beyond the protection of the commons) would create support groups, wherein human interaction would be the cornerstone, rather than some EBT payment card that is remote and unproductive.

          The biggest problem is human thinking, the collective hallucination of being state dependent, of being helpless and needing a big brother to guard us. I hear the overtones of this thought process, its an unnatural state of affairs for humans to be so enamoured of their comfort that they give everything away to gain what appears to be safety. Of course we don’t want war zones, or famine, and these things can be brought to heel, but it is this very system of empire, of apathy, of something for nothing that causes the destruction around us, yet so few recognize it.

          What Chavez attempted to do was alleviate poverty as he saw it, what he failed to do was create self sufficiency. Where are the public works? The role of government is to create and maintain basic common infrastructure. Why was that not done? Instead money was funneled from one place to another, a shell game of sorts, but nothing was CREATED to truly help end poverty. His was a populist dream that ends in tears, because he cared, but he transferred too much, and created too little.

          • I posted a study to make my point but it has not shown up as of yet. MINCOME

            From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

            (Redirected from Mincome)

            Jump to: navigation, search

            MINCOME was an experimental Canadian basic income project that was held in Dauphin, Manitoba during the 1970s. The project, funded jointly by the Manitoba provincial government and the Canadian federal government, began with a news release on February 22, 1974, and was closed down in 1979. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether a guaranteed, unconditional annual income caused disincentive to work for the recipients, and how great such a disincentive would be.

            It allowed every family unit to receive a minimum cash benefit. Participants who worked had their mincome supplement reduced by 50 cents for every dollar they earned by working.[1] The results showed an impact on labor markets, with working hours dropping one percent for men, three percent for married women, and five percent for unmarried women.[2] However, some have argued these drops may be artificially low because participants knew the guaranteed income was temporary.[3] These decreases in hours worked may be seen as offset by the opportunity cost of more time for family and education. Mothers spent more time rearing newborns, and the educational impacts are regarded as a success. Students in these families showed higher test scores and lower dropout rates. There was also an increase in adults continuing education.[4][5]

            A final report was never issued, but Manitoban economist Evelyn Forget (/fɔrˈʒeɪ/) conducted an analysis of the program in 2009 which was published in 2011.[5][6] She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked substantially less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating. In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. Forget found that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 percent, with fewer incidents of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse.[7] Additionally, the period saw a reduction in rates of psychiatric hospitalization, and in the number of mental illness-related consultations with health professionals.[8][9]

            In 2015, the Dutch city of Utrecht was reported to be about to perform a similar experiment.[10]
            Here it is again-I think this little diddy destroys all your prejudices wouldn’t you? And a socialist democracy isn’t rule by government at least according to Marx the state will eventually wither and die. Only administrative needs will be left and with today’s technology bar codes etc that would be a cinch.

              • A final report was never issued, but Manitoban economist Evelyn Forget (/fɔrˈʒeɪ/) conducted an analysis of the program in 2009 which was published in 2011.[5][6] They stopped the program and wouldn’t publish results because it was successful. I wouldn’t go to Vice if they threatened to cut off my right arm. They are nothing but cointel operation.
                RR

                • And to add the program didn’t lead to stagflation-that happened in the macro-economy-read the pdf instead of relying on Vice to report anything. I poses as a left liberal outfit but it is a cointel program. Savings in health care and children going further on in school would make up for any short term investment long term. That is investing in HUMAN CAPITAL.

  23. Many of the problems mentioned in the article, are a sad reality in many capitalist countries around the world. It is not always because of socialist policies as many of these issues (e.g slums, crime) are specific to Venezuela. Without socialistic policies, it is possible that Venezuela would be even worse. Nevertheless, it is also possible that Chavez and Maduro have made mistakes.

    I am from Greece, a country with a “capitalist” economy that is part of EU and Eurozone.
    Many of the aforementioned problems, are also evident in Greece. This is how life in greece evolved during the last decades. The current situation is a disaster and it would be unthinkable 5 or 10 years ago.

    1950-1970s

    Life was very hard during the 1950 -1960s and many people emigrated to USA, Germany, Australia etc. From the 1950s till the oil crisis of the 1970s, the economy was growing at the second highest rate in the world after Japan. Nevertheless, people had very few consumer goods and the wages were very small compared to Germans, French etc. Family relations were very strong and only one person per family to work was enough to sustain a family with 2-3 children. Home ownership became very common. Food was plenty and cheap. Life in countryside was harsh, and many greek villages got electricity for the first time in late 1960s.

    Travelling abroad was only possible for upper middle income people and sailors. People either emigrated and sent remittances, worked as sailors, were employed in agriculture and industry. There was almost no crime in the cities and people did not even lock their doors.

    Only people of middle to higher level income could study at university. There were very high tuition fees and limited access.

    People with communist affiliations were excluded from economic and political life and there was persecution to people who hold any left-wing ideas.

    1980s

    Up until the1980s Greece was self sufficient in agriculture with a surplus and had a significant (mainly small to medium scale) local industrial base that was protected with tariffs. Then in the 1981, Greece joined EU (known then as the European Economic Community) and abolished protective tariffs. At the same time, there Socialist Party PASOK was elected and even though they did not withdraw Greece from EU and NATO (as they had promised), they nationalised significant parts of the economy and a large portion of the population found employment in the public sector. They established a nationwide free public healthcare system and increased access to higher education with free public education for all citizens.

    The abolition of tariffs caused a significant decline in agriculture and industry as the greek market flooded with more competitive German/Dutch/french consumer and industrial products. Many students went abroad in eastern bloc countries and Italy to study as it was relative cheap.

    1990s

    Eastern bloc collapsed and waves of albanian and caucasian illegal immigrants came to Greece. Crime increased significantly. Unemployment had risen. Greece still had the drachma as a national currency. It was expensive to go abroad for holidays but food and vegetables were very cheap compared to abroad.

    2000s

    Greece adopts the euro as a currency. Consumer and electronic products get cheaper (but remain a lot more expensive compared to Western and northern Europe). Every day life becomes very expensive. Food prices become 3-4 times more expensive with the euro. Unemployment at about 10%.

    In the 2000s, the economy had transformed mainly into services and tourism. Industry was gone. Agriculture was still a major force but in severe decline because of EU policies (COMMON AGRICULTURE POLICY). Mass importation of low quality cheap chinese products.

    The work force becomes better educated, but for many unskilled jobs there is widespread use of (illegal) immigrants.
    Part time and casual work became the norm. People employed in the public sector enjoyed far better working relations and a lot higher wages. In the private sector, meagre wages and insecurity was the norm. Many greek people are self employed and have their own shops and businesses. People with multiple university degrees usually get miserable wages in private sector jobs.

    Even if a family had two working parents, it was more and more difficult to support a family. Public universities are free and there was a huge increase in university students. High school students had to pay a lot on private tuition so as to get prepared for entry exams and get access to Uni as teaching in public high schools is of lower quality. Many greeks go and study abroad in England.

    Rising inequality. Rise in drug addiction. Family relations deteriorated and divorces increased. No more close friendly relations between neighbours as in the past as people become more self absorbed. Social status becomes very important and is determined by type of job, how much money you earn and where you live. Women no longer traditional, most emulate american standards and focus on career, not family.

    The greek elites spend a huge amount of public money in construction projects for the olympic games. They promote an image of a “powerful Greece” to the populace. All these buildings are now rotten and under utilised…..

    There was a wide availability and affordability on western consumer products. Many greek people spent quite a lot on consumer products (TVs, mobile phones, fashion and clothes etc) entertainment, modern cars, and holidays in Europe and Asia (Bali etc). But another part of the population still lives in misery.

    All this consumer spending was mainly fueled by cheap credit and consumer loans by private banks, as the wages were not sufficient to sustain it.

    Rising illegal immigration and violent crime, burglaries, robberies on the rise.

    2010s – present CRISIS

    Because of the debt crisis, Greece transforms into a debt colony and there is a huge deterioration in living standards with levels of poverty unthinkable since the WW2 era.

    The economy has 30% unemployment (2 million people), 70% youth unemployment, 6 mil below the poverty line. Wages are reduced between 30% and 50%. Many people rely on their parents income or grandparents pensions in order to survive. Many small businesses bankrupt because of low demand, higher taxes etc

    Thousands are homeless, hundreds of thousands emigrate (including me). Half the population cannot afford to pay for gas and they have no heating during winter time. A lot of people burn firewood and the air quality has rapidly deteriorated.

    Public healthcare collapses as funding is very limited. Unemployed people do not have any health cover and are susceptible to disease. Death rates increase significantly and Birth rates decrease.

    Imposition of capital controls with a daily limit of 60 euros a day.

    Bankruptcy of the pension funds as the Syriza government uses all pension money to repay iMF. The government agrees to reduce pensions and Pensions are projected to decrease to 300 – 500 euros from an average of 1000 euros.

    The illegal immigration problem explodes out of proportion. Crime is rife.

    The old established political parties have collapsed. The rivalries between Conservatives and Socialists have vanished. There is a sharp division now between supporters of EU and opponents of EU.

  24. George Pierce

    The present political discourse is a bottomless rabbit hole of false dichotomy.

    Communism vs capitalism; tweedle dumb and tweedle dumberer.

    What would you like sir?

    A government oligarchy that exploits you to protect you from private oligarchy, or a private oligarchy that exploits you to protect you from government oligarchy? Both work fine in principle, until they inevitably ossify and are corrupted by the iron laws of oligarchy, bureaucracy, and kakistocracy.

    All power must be transparent and accountable to the people all the way down to the local level.
    Political architecture, and communication / surveillance technology, competence testing, drug testing, and biometrics are all used to control us little people. When someone become interested in forcing these tools and mechanisms on those who govern us and make financial and media decisions on our behalf, I’ll pay attention.

    Here is a start. http://my.bookbaby.com/book/unified-separatism

  25. It is interesting that a high degree of street crime can coexist side-by-side with an authoritarian repressive police force as described in this article. I find it difficult to wrap my head around such an arrangement.

    I think it would be interesting to compare/contrast what is happening in Bolivia (Evo Morales) and Ecuador (Rafael Correa) with what is happening in Venezuela.

  26. Venezuela: You go Saker…keep the grey cells challenged for all of us. Thanks. There are those who say regardless of social system that the planet is about to enter a heavy period of world wide dictatorship. And the Venezuelans were advised by the Cubans, he said? Well, the Cubans are Stalinists so go figure. And they wiped out their upper and middle classes also by immigration and in defense of their revolution. Looks as if perhaps the dichotomy of 1%/masses is the paradyme of the future. However, a friend of mine once remarked that Cuba was the best place in the world to live if you were poor. Sounds like Venezuela is getting a pounding by the world market as well as the world hegemon. It is so much nicer to live in a wealthier society where one can enjoy the compassionate face of fascism mostly….and those car loans, of course.

    • There are many things that Cuba has it wrong, but hey, their suffering is make much worse by You-know-who embargo and sanctions.
      To be honest, Cuba at least has one thing that is much better than USA citizens : excellent low-cost health care. They are so good at it they have been helping many poor countries with it (perhaps the Saker knows someone who can write on this topic). You wanna compare that with people in US who either
      a. have no job and so no healthcare becuase they are not 65 and dont qualify for medicare
      b. go bankrupt just because some serious illness strikes, leaving them with nothing after their savings been totally wiped out.

  27. A great Italian writer, Pierpaolo Pasolini, said about terror attacks and coup attempts in Italy during the 1970s: “I know. I don’t have proofs. I don’t even have clues. But I know the names of the perpetrators”.
    I’ve never been in Venezuela, but I have been in Canada, fortunately a few weeks only. As an Italian, I am used (but not proud) to Western way of life, but Canada is Extreme West, and to me it’s too much. Canada, US, to me they are the same. Some could object this, I don’t care: I saw so-called Italian restaurants proudly showing “gazpacho” in the menu. To them Italians and Spaniards are the same, North Americans are the same to me. Period.
    When your friend left Venezuela, he could have gone to lots of places: less “socialist” Latin American countries, or even Spain. He chose the Extreme West, like many who feel “Westerners Inside”, and this qualifies him. Best wishes for his next supercar, and beware of Chinese motorbikes!
    Back to Venezuela, if a great writer can say “I know without proofs”, it can also be done by a nonentity like me.
    So, I know that the majority of Venezuelan people, who before Chavez had no right at all, now have instruction, health and dignity. And could have much more if Western Democracies leave them alone.
    I know that the growth of crime, assuming that it’s higher than “before”, is highly due to “instructions” and wages to criminal organizations from their northern friends.
    I know that the terroristic attacks throughout 2014, romantically called by your friend “uprising”, were nothing more than a foreign-sponsored coup attempt, foiled by the real Venezuelan people’s love for their county and sovereignty.
    I know that any government can make mistakes, but a guy who, willingly, goes to live in Canada, has no right to judge a government which, under continuous aggression and siege, tries to restore dignity to its country after decades of colonial decay.

  28. Saker,

    I have not yet read your analysis because I’m busy looking for info on Syria– so grim Tony Cartalucci’s news that the invasion of Syria has begun. But I would like to applaud your opening remarks about the necessity of pursuing the truth even when it leads you to criticize friends– or at least enenies of our enemy.

    Those of us who applaud Russia and China & Iran & the BRICS sometimes imitate the behavior of the still-sleeping masses by believing what we wish instead of what’s true. Only the truth can arm us– not blinded cheerleading.

    I thank you in advance for this article, and for your general good sense.

    Regards,

    Penelope

  29. As Ivan Lukic reminds, “In reality rich people will never give up their privileges voluntarily.”

    Furthermore, few rich people realize they have privileges. Very difficult, nearly impossible, to give up what one doesn’t know one has.

  30. Saker: You have done it again!!! Many Thanks!

    Lovely topical article with excellent responses. Much learning accomplished. I hope your friend Catire is able to self examine and learn from this discussion.

    As a student in Mexico a few centuries ago, rooming with a working class family (they also operated a tortilleria), this discussion/debate brought back memories.

    My companeros built their own car -piece by piece including motor from junkyard parts – Volkswagen bug. I remember the day we started it up.

    We listened to speech of Fidel (Declaration of Havana 1st, or 2nd); they taught me guitar; did I mention the girls?

    I was introduced to an old Zapatista, later, to Siquieros, just after he was let out of prison. We visited Trotsky’s home, full of bullet holes. And the Casa Frida Kahlo – al lado. Those were the days my friend…

    En Méjico, estabamos cerca a los estados unidos y lejos de dios.

    But I digress.

    I was listening to some Lyndon Larouche today, he believes that Obomber is a legitimate ass and that Putin and his Russia will save the planet from a nuclear holocaust by standing up to Obomber and the American Oligarchy, in Syria.

    I deny the legitimacy of Hollywood Obomber and his government (who is Larouche??).

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has been very helpful to humanity these last 25 years, however, unlike Mighty Mouse, he cannot save the Day all by himself. He could use some help from The Great Unwashed, (that’s us).

    We The People!

    The Rabble in Arms!

    For The Democratic Republics!

    IMAGINE

  31. He was one of the 10% in pre Chavez Venezuela who had reasonable lives a member of the salariat which wasa very small component of the working economy. He would not have gained from chavismo as that constituency is the poor who will obviously gain. The issues raised by U.S. Economic aggression and a very imperfect mixed economy are liable to reflect negatively on Maduro’s popularity. However this guy articulates no alternative and the opposition to Chavez have a history of murder and awe inspiring venality.

  32. Catire, thank you for the article and your personal point of view. Naturally, you will be castigated by people who disagree. Some will sound off personally. Let it roll off your back like water on a duck.
    There is truth in what you say and truth is hard for ideologues to confront. So they attack.

    Saker,
    You are the best at opening the Vineyard forum to important, often critically important issues, whatever the fallout with various types of ‘true believers’.

    My two cents: Socialism is nice in a text book, a failed ideology in practice, crippling when in reaction to outside pressure like sanctions or destabilization.

    We see high noble ideals and think we can construct a system from them. It has never worked.
    Mankind is flawed. If it could construct paradise, then the story of the fall of Adam and Eve is false. Heaven would be here on Earth, God would be unnecessary.

    Life is tough. A good lesson to look at is China. Socialist to its core. Abandoned it as an economic system. It uses Socialist ideas like a condiment. It lifted 400 million out of dire poverty by abandoning Socialism. It has a hybrid capitalist system. (Horrors!).

    In life sometimes it is best to abandon what fails and adapt to what works.

    The point of poverty and masses of poor people is to lift them out of the mire. Education, training, a modicum of health benefits, freedom to become someone, mobility, access to capital and credit, a solid stable currency, rule of law are the tools of good society.

    Match those up to the social system you want to defend or criticize.

    Point of fact: the US is losing most of these features. The tyranny of government is taking America backwards. Why and how? Socialism.

  33. @The Saker,
    Yes, this is a very good post. It is all too easy for us to fall into the trap of “hey, A is bad, and B is enemy of B and must be good” type of thinking.
    Venezuela is going bankrupt, just like Ukraine and Greece. They are all different, and in someways, even opposite, but they will go bankrupt for different reasons/causes.
    When politics/ideology takes over instead of common sense in managing the economy, it’s only a matter of time before disaster happens.
    Look at it this way, in any human problem, there are infinite number of WRONG solutions, but very few RIGHT solutions – it’s almost like Math.

    Probably lots of angry readers will reply to this post…, it’s a shame, just because one side is wrong on something, it does not mean doing something different automatically makes it right or beneficial…

    • Going bankrupt… maybe; or maybe not.

      The interesting thing, however, is to see how a government acts in difficult times.
      When there is economical problems, for example.

      On some places, very harsh “austerity” measures are imposed on the majority, but not on the wealthy and the big banks.
      On some other places, a lot is done to help the least fortunate members of the society and help them overcome the crisis.

      For me the later is a more interesting, human, and correct behaviour.
      I don’t care about an “economically successful” country where children are forced to eat the tomatoes that where judged unfit for the consumption of the pigs, by the owners of the pigs (if you don’t understand the allusion, search on youtube for “ilha das flores” with english subtitles. It’s only 12min, but it changes your life).
      I don’t care either about “economical failure” if that “failure” is however able to fulfil all real and basic needs of human beings (feeding, health, housing, cultural, pride,…).

      For me human life (and I mean real Life, nor mere biological functions) is far superior to money. If Life has to be “subsidied”; so be it! I prefer it that way, than doing human sacrifices to Money-God.

  34. All those bad situations described are not caused by the venezuelian government; but the results of the economic war waged against the country.

    The sin of the government however is of being too clement, too democratic; unable to reply with war to the war waged against the country.

    It seems, however, that things are changing.
    Recently the border with Colombia has been closed, and all of a sudden, a lot of products that were almost impossible to find in Venezuela (but were sold illegally in Colombia) started to re-appear, and at decent prices with that!

    So, the forces of imperial subversion getting currently a very strong blow, it is not surprising to see a surge in the propaganda activity.

    Some points on that text may be true, but they grossly lack perspective. Yes, a lot of people have individual pains in a war, in any war — and there is a war there. But one loses any capacity to understand the events when focusing only on a signle (or a few) individual (and oriented) examples.
    Similarly it would be easy to find some testimonies of pains (and even real tragedies) on the ransk of the Kiev army or among israelian citizens. But would that mean that Novorossia and Hezbollag, for example, are the bad ones, the ones that need to changed and dissapear and stop resisting the aggression?

    There are also in the text presented here some absolute lies.
    For example about the “uprising” of 2014 in Venezuela.
    Those events were absolutely not genuine nor full of love. They were created and spinned by the same masters of “colourful revolutions” that created Maidan. And the participants in those events were in big part as plenty of hate as the banderites. They (and NOT the elected government) killed a lot of people during those days. And the “repression” was not such. In almost any other country on Earth you would face very severe legal consequences if you start a riot, burn hospitals and kill policemen.

    The fact that the Saker felt for that narrative, however, is interesting. It reminds us how easy it is to be fooled when we lack proper knowledge of the situation; and it helps us understand why so much people believes in the official ukrainian narrative.

    That’s also why, for the many cases where I don’t have enough knowledge of the facts, I prefer to be very cautous, and NEVER EVER be quick to condemn.

    Two things however help me to find a path.
    One of them, and actually the main light to see the path, is the attitude of the enemy: What is the position of the Empire? Which side does it pushed, which side does it wants to destroy?
    That helps a lot.

    Then, there is also the light given by the few cases of moral and rightous I know; of which I’m absolutely sure of their rightness. They are very few however, and often don’t take strong positions (maybe also because of desire not to wrongly condemn). When they take sides, it helps to know which side they take.

    For me the position of the US officials and undercover agents helps me to be correctly positioned in 99% of the cases (and in the case of Venezuela it is very clear. Whatever could be the sins and errors of the currently democratically elected government of Venezuela; the very fact that the US w

    • (I sent previous message before finishing it :) )

      […]
      Whatever could be the sins and errors of the currently democratically elected government of Venezuela; the very fact that the US wants to destroy it is a clear indication, to me, of what to do and how to act.

      I cannot act in a way that will help the empire to destroy that country and her people. That would be a great sin.

      It seems some man once said, even when the Law prescribed lapidation for sinners, that he wouldn’t enact the sentence. And even said: “the one that never sinned, it is up to him to launch the first stone” (or something like that; it was previous to the invention of the microphone).

      It’s easy, too easy, to condemn, to threw stones.
      But could you, in the depth or your soul, be ABSOLUTELY SURE that those stones, and the death of the one receiving them are ABSOLUTELY earned?

      Once Venezuela is destroyed, and devastated, like Lybia or Iraq; or like Paraguay was after the “triple alliance” war; then it would be too late to lament.

      Even if all what the article describes were true (and a lot of people wrote to point out the inconsistencies); even then, remember what the alternative would be; what the goal of the Empire is.
      Some people could still say, at the end of WW2 (and note, btw, that the empire and its allies choose not to honour the victors on that eschatological sacred war against the Evil) that they “didn’t knew”, that they “weren’t aware” of all the implicacies of supporting the “european axis”. But not nowadays, not now that the empire does its crimes in the open.

      I’m not afraid of the errors or even sins of the Men.
      But I’m very afraid of the zelotry and pseudo-rightness of the Evil inspired.

      Very often the Evil is represented as an ugly beast, smelling bad and with bad manners, instilling fear. Big error!
      To the contrary, the Evil is very beautiful, extremely courteous, and with an exquisite fragrance; that is how it corrupts people. While some adorators of madness exist that like to knowingly do bad things, there are a very thing minority. The plans of the Evil are not done by such people, but by normal people that think they are doing the right thing. People that will tell you they want to bring democracy, to combat corruption and authoritarianism. They are not hypocrites, they actually believe that. They just only see the nice face of the Evil, and don’t see the consequences of their own actions.

      The reason I’m strongly opposed to the views expressed on this article are not “ideological”. I don’t care at all about whether the venezuelian state is “socialist” or not. My reasons are very pragmatic, very far away from any ideology.
      It just happen that: 1. I remember. 2. I saw the Evil right in the face (and even did so twice; oh my, what a pain it has been when I saw it AGAIN in Ukraine).
      I know that this article doesn’t exist in vacuum, but it is an element in a chain, with a “before” and an “after”. I already saw it, and I know what comes next. And I don’t want it to come. Because I feel for the children of Venezuela.

  35. OP’s too-long-didn’t-read [tl;dr] synopsis:

    With the aid of the world’s smallest violin playing in the background; whiny middle class git – with no understanding of politics (let alone world-politics) whatsoever – complains he’s not an upper middle class tool-bag anymore. Then he proceeds to blame it all on ‘Socialism’ and the great unwashed masses running riot all over the place thanks to their Chinese-made cheap mopheads.

    The horror! The horror!

    How can I send this guy some tissues to wipe-off all those privileged tears? Or maybe I can send him a silver spoon or two to replace the one he was born with and he later lost due to evil Chavez and his ludicrous crusade to help the poor.
    Somebody, please! I’m begging you! Point me in the right direction.

    Oh, I know!

    Quick, we should all get an online Kickstarter fundraising going to help this “working class” poor soul.
    The appeal should read something like; random Venezuelan guy is in desperate need of a brand new car (hey, who doesn’t enjoy that new car smell? Have a heart, will ya!? Jeez…), and a house – for his child, you understand… shame he didn’t specify sq footage, number of stories/bathrooms, maybe a swimming pool or a tennis court, or both?
    Oh! And let’s not forget the all-important vacations to the US and branded shoes….

    -TL2Q

    • No need for blubbering here, TL2Q. I’m absolutely convinced Catire would make an astonishing career as an imported crook in Ukro politics. Saker, could you please pass on my humble little piece of advice?

  36. I stated reading this and skimmed it a little, but frankly I don’t have the time and energy to waste on this ‘poor little rich boy’ story.

    I, an American, could never afford a new car (the one I drive now is 25 years old), or a college degree, or could ever get a job with a living wage, but I’ve lawys been much better off than the poor in Venezuela, and many other places.

    Here, in the belly of the beast, I am well aware of the class war on the working class on poor here, much less those in the nations attacked by the imperialists. I spent much time following the issues a few years ago (reading Eva Golinger, among others, on both ‘sides’) and I’m fed up with the empire and am just about out of energy to deal with the daily garbage, or play the game of ‘let’s consider the fascist opinion too’. I have to deal with the problems of living in poverty, which is very hard work. Those who have not lived in poverty have no clue what it’s like or the obstacles involved.

    That’s all I have to say, and all the time I’ll spend on this propagandist claptrap.

    Whatever …

  37. This supports the critique of socialism offered by the libertarians or anarcho-capitalists. I am not an economist, and remain independent politically, but I do believe the left is incredibly naive in not understanding the corrupt nightmare the elite often (and will) create under conditions of socialism. I can easily imagine what kind of tyrannical horror show US elite would bring to a socialist system. Many believe this is what they are aiming for now with their overthrow of our constitution and judicial system. It won’t be pretty and could even be worse than the conditions in which we currently find ourselves as human liberty will play no role in their social/political drama and what are now considered normal activities (such as home gardening, homeschooling, refusing toxic vaccines, etc.) will be fully criminalized and harshly punished. I believe the elite are the problem and no change in in the economic system will bring improvements until they have been disempowered.

    Bravo, Saker, for your commitment to truth, however uncomfortable.

    • In a socialist revolution the elite either join and support the revolution or they are eliminated…..it is WAR, class war but war just the same. And it is NOT the revolutionaries that want death and destruction it is the ruling elite counter revolutionary forces which includes the state that attacks the people who are trying to achieve social justice for all. It is the POLICE on behalf of the capitalist state and if need be the military that breaks strikes, the state that legislates back to work rules and do every thing they can to destroy “organized labour” Warren Buffet gets it and said, “There is a CLASS WAR going on and MY SIDE is winning” So people better get ideological and develop a political consciousness or we are in deep doo doo. If capitalism was declared dead every time it had a crisis the way socialism is we would have moved on to a post capitalist society long ago. Shheeshh. Since when has capitalism ever delivered the goods? When? NEVER! NOT without rape plunder exploitation primitive accumulation genocide and all manner of crimes against humanity far worse than anything Stalin ever dreamed of and I have no respect for Stalin the way so many on these pro Russian blogs do.

  38. Typical reactionary whining of the petty bourgeoisie yearning for their middle class lifestyles in times of ever harsher confrontation with Western imperialism.

    Well, Catire: I think you’re a bit lazy or should I say footdragging. Colombia is not too far away and should be much more to your liking socially, economically and, above all, politically. Like Kosovo in Europe, it’s a narco state with strong ties to the Empire’s military and intelligence agencies. And Colombia’s poor are being dealt with in no uncertain terms. You do look quite unconvincing if your hinted “exodus” is conditioned upon driving a posh car. Get off your lazy feet, will you. Just imagine what a heart-breaking story you could submit to the Western MSM from across the border afterwards.

    Slightly off topic but on a more serious note: the rage behind Catire’s entire reactionary diatribe is precisely what Tsipras and Syriza would have had to confront head-on, had they been serious about their “no to austerity”. Like Catire, Syriza’s electorate was determined to hang on to their middle class privileges.

    As for Saker’s buddy who left Venezuela for Canada: Watch your step. You have literally nothing to hide. Surveillance is total. The Empire does not even trust the middle classes anymore.

  39. The author has reason to be bitter about losing his standard of living. His story is awful! Is he simply displaying his personal greed by wanting it back while dismissing the bottom 80% whose lives have improved? Yes and ok, so?

    Why has Chavismo failed his segment of society? It’s not brushed off by calling him a selfish person. Surely Chavez’s resistance to the Empire was/is a costly/deadly endeavor, bearing a bitter harvest especially now. But internal corruption and fiscal mismanagement bears much of the blame. I have not been able to learn how involved Chavez was with the corruption. Realpolitik and perfidy are surely a part of this story we Leftists don’t want to read either.

    Greed is like gravity. It is not going away, it needs to be reckoned with and even understood as a necessary part of how life functions. (where is the line between survival and greed?) I think it is a clue when the OP says “the division of rich vs. poor, adecos vs left.”, it is a huge step for a human being to put society ahead of oneself, it cannot be done unless you truly feel you are one with this society and it is possible that Chavez’s class warfare rhetoric exacerbated many of these problems.

    As Leftists fighting against the predations of the .01%, there may be a lesson in remembering that all of the arch-Capitalists are also human beings just like us, their interests and actions aren’t all-evil (or all-knowing) by definition and we may make similar decisions were we in the same position. Negotiation and compromise always seems to work out better than war.

  40. The author of the article certainly does appear to come from a relatively privileged background. However, his description of economic mismanagement and corruption is supported by numerous other anecdotal information. I suspect that much of his criticism, though not his analyses, are accurate.

    Since Chavez’s death, the Opposition and the United States have stepped up attempts to overturn the socialist government. Madero, elected by a slim margin, has had to deal with increased economic and political pressures. Oil prices have dropped precipitously due to Saudi Arabian policies and U.S. fracking. This has exacerbated the economic crisis, further aggravated by the violent tactics of the Opposition. Hoarding of imported goods by vested interests within Venezuela, aimed at thwarting price controls, has produced runaway inflation. Food, priced at relatively low prices, has been transported over the border, to Colombia, and sold for higher prices. Seeing Venezuela as increasing vulnerable, the U.S. has introduced visa sanctions and has frozen assets of various government officials. In February of this year, a coup against the government was thwarted.

    To Madero’s credit, he has attempted to move vigorously forward with an aim of reorganizing the economic and social basis of Venezuelan society (the Commune Initiative). The goal is not just creating a communal state but a communal economy as well: democratizing property, generating new forms of social property is necessary for strengthening partiicipative democracy. Madero has been following in Chavez, his mentor’s footsteps, using as his guide,István Mészáros’s “Beyond Capital”, a book which I strongly recommend to those interested in the political direction which Chavez was leading his country.

  41. “The “new” threat to Venezuela. Part I”. by Mikel Itulaín

    http://miguel-esposiblelapaz.blogspot.com.es/2015/03/la-nueva-amenaza-sobre-venezuela.html

    “The “new” threat to Venezuela. Part II”. by Mikel Itulaín.

    http://miguel-esposiblelapaz.blogspot.com.es/2015/03/la-nueva-amenaza-sobre-venezuela-parte.html

    “The “new” threat to Venezuela. Part III” by Mikel Itulaín.

    http://miguel-esposiblelapaz.blogspot.com.es/2015/03/la-nueva-amenaza-venezuela-parte-iii.html

    “The case of Guatemala” by Mikel Itulaín.

    http://miguel-esposiblelapaz.blogspot.com.es/2015/03/el-caso-de-guatemala.html

  42. Should I feel sorry for a member of the coordinator class in Venezuela who can no longer afford a vacation in the U.S.? For decades, this coordinator class ran Venezuela on behalf of the U.S.-supported dictators who were perfectly content to let millions of Venezuelans rot in slums for generations.

    These slum dwellers re-elected Chavez over and over again because he was the first leader of Venezuela who gave a damn about them and actually improved their lives (as in providing schools, decent housing, and health care).

    Now the same coordinator class is trying to turn the population against Maduro by sabotaging the economy (hoarding of basic goods, disrupting electricity supply, etc.), when they are taking a break from plotting the next coup-d’état attempt. (I wonder how long the U.S. government would tolerate a political opposition’s attempt to disrupt basic services to change the outcome of an election in the U.S.)

    I am sure everything Catire says is true. But it is only one, very carefully selected, half of the whole truth. For those interested in the other half, I suggest

    http://www.telesurtv.net/english/
    http://venezuelanalysis.com/

  43. Venezuela has a democratic political system, and international election observers have consistently declared the elections as free and fair. The Chavez bloc has consistently won these elections. The political opposition has been unable to develop a platform which appeals to a plurality of the voters.
    In frustration, the political opposition has resorted to other means – such as the short-lived 2002 coup, during which all democratic institutions in the country were declared null and void (this decision was actually filmed by a documentary crew and can be observed in the film “Chavez: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”). Economic sabotage, much like that used in Chile in the 1970s, has been occurring since. The 2014 protests consisted largely of vandalism and arson, coupled with demands that the recently elected Marduro government “must go.” It is the responsibility of the opposition parties to develop policies which would appeal to the voters, instead of stamping their feet and longing for a return to dictatorship and vast inequality.

  44. An anarchist will never be happy with a socialist or socialism: a rationally planned economy democratically administered by the direct producers themselves. They, like environmentalists, are the poison in the well. Both are a big distraction pushed on Western Academies around the globe.

    • Unless he is an anarchosocialist – social anarchist, (or ‘left libertarian’).

      I don’t know what sort of environmentalist you are talking about but there’s nothing at all contradictory about anarchism, meaning without bosses, and democratic socialism.

      • First comes the Socialist then comes the Democracy….a socialist democracy…..Democratic Socialism you mean those guys that let the capitalist class reap the bounty of what they have not sown through the parliamentary talk shops? NOPE sorry cannot agree.

        • Democratic socialism is not social democracy — in the former the people run the nation democratically, in the latter an elite rule the country and give some of the wealth to the people (who produce it in the first place) while keeping themselves elite by rigging the system and ony calling democracy. The critical difference is who owns and controls the means of production.

          Sadly, very few people now understand what socialism or anarchism is supposed to be — not surprising since there has been such massive propaganda from the elite against them both.

          As for organization, talking about ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal, is just the beginning of understanding how distributed leadership and consensus works in both theory and practice. Most people think think ‘leadership, is some characteristic of a ‘leader’ for example, rather than a quality of a group and system — if a group (or nation) has ‘leadership’ it means that the structures and norms of the group can work effectively as an integrated whole (cybernetically) much as a computer works well not because there is just a smart CPU but becuase the system is set up well — and putting a faster upgraded CPU in it, or overclocking it, makes the system work faster and better but not significantly differently than it did before. If it was slow because of I/O bottlenecks or slow RAM, or bad software, then it will still be slow. It’s important to look at the entire system, not just who the ‘leader’ is.

          A good system will put good leaders into the top management positions, with effective and accountable control mechanisms, and support their functioning well. Why does the US always get lousy leaders? Because the system puts them there and those who could and would perform better are weeded out — and US citizens are too dumbed down to see how it works and know what to do about it.

          No one thinks they could understand how a car, computer, NC milling machine or robot, or HVAC system works without some studying and learning, but many people think they understand how management systems, politics, economics, and governments work with just listening to the mystifying corporate media or soaking up the propaganda and obscurantism of the corporate state ‘educational’ system, for a while. They are not as they are portrayed to be, and to understand them the first thing is to unlearn a lot of the nonsense they have told.

        1. Estimado Saker,gracias de verdad por tus mensajes,tu honestidad intelectual,y la investigacionseria y profunda de tus articulos,en especial los de Ucrania,Siria entre otros…
          ahora bien,quiero decirte que sinceramente la vision sesgada y miserable de tu “amigo”es tan injusta como vulgar y supeficial desde cualquier angulo que se la mire…
          mira,…aqui en latinoamerica tenemos FELIZMENTE algunos gobiernos como los de la Venezuela de Chavez y Maduro, el Ecuador de Rafael Correa,la Bolivia de Evo Morales,el Brasil de Lula y Dilma Rusef…y la Argentina de Nestor y Cristina Kirchner…y por ahora para de contar.Todos estos gobiernos,son gobiernos dignos,genuinos,y que, aun con sus errores aman a sus pueblos y que “se parecen a sus pueblos”,y si , se los tilda de “populistas “,por parte ,¡ cuando no de la izquierda “esclarecida”,y “vanguardista”,que en TODOS NUESTROS GOBIERNOS POPULARES…siempre estan aliados a la derecha oligarquica mas pro imperialista…asi que sinceramente lamento profundamente que tengas como “amigo “,a este personaje tan equivocado…y ademas tan traidor y sobre todo tan mediocre !

          cordiales saludos
          J.F.A.

          • Juan Carlos Monedero says that Venezuela is the first place where people have prevented the coup leaders get away with it . It is for this and many more things that they have to end the Bolivarian Revolution, to put the people in place, and if they resist ….. old-style social prophylaxis.

            As an illustration of the dirty dealings of US in South and Central America, how their poison is introduced into the bowels of the states to prevent any hint of change in the system that might prevent the looting, I leave the link to the film “The Siege” by Costa Gavras, based on the events that led to the execution of Dan Mitrione at the hands of MLN Tupamaros in Uruguay. As shown in the film, Mr. Mitrione ( who in the movie has another fictional Italian name), have passed earlier by Brazil and Santo Domingo. Other “officials” as him has been and still go through all of South and Central America and worldwide.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuIM3fD4rB8

            Specially dedicated to people like Serbian girl who says Venezuela’s problems are not due to US pressures.

        2. Whether or not Chavismo is good or bad is up for debate.

          But this article, I assume, is a bad example of an argument against chavismo. Cant you find a better one to show us Saker? This is a pro-capitalist, pro-american hit piece.

        3. One of the best and to the point summaries of Hugo Chavez legacy that you will find anywhere:

          “The Sins of Hugo Chavez”
          http://xymphora.blogspot.ca/2013/03/the-sins-of-hugo-chavez.html

          “The leader of a Country you are told to hate, speaking the truth about US and Israel”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=24&v=vGf47o5Ov40

          Would a leader who was corrupt and ‘hated by his people’ bring out these kind of crowds and emotions at his funeral?
          http://www.photographer-in-seattle.com/photos-hugo-chavez-funeral/

        4. Latin American revolutionaries think that European revolutionaries are worse than worthless because the are so Eurocentric and so ignorant of Latin American realities. The Saker says the Venezuelan leadership has made some serious mistakes, and perhaps they have. But they are still a target for the Empire and that should tell us something. All those new schools, hospitals, and old-age pensions must be worth something. I think perhaps the Saker should elaborate on his criticisms so we can determine how Euro-centric they are.

          • Looking at contemporary Europe, one is tempted to ask: What European “revolutionaries” ? Tsipras? Le Pen? Yatsenyuk? Our unsurpassed little HBTQ heroes?

            As the EU crumbles — and turns ever more brown in the process — the depravity of its entire political spectrum becomes almost surreal.

        5. Thanks for questioning something vital with an open mind. I learned much from the article and more from the comments. It’s an inductive method. There’s also the deductive method, also known pejoratively as the ivory tower approach. I use both methods and try to see the forest and the trees. Towers are quite helpful to see the forest but as comments stated, facts on the ground in this case are where the poor reside. Love for the poor separates lovers from killers, looters and lusters. My heart is with the poor who choose to live simply voluntarily, not the poor who choose to be rich if given half the chance. The bible said “blessed are the poor in spirit (mind?),” not “blessed are the destitute.” The rich are generally assigned to hell fire. I’m playing it safe. I live simply and do not take interest on my money.

        6. Hallo Saker, I appreciate a lot of what you write but at times you come across too easily convinced by poor argumentation as in this article from an “average citizen – working class” who just happens to work as an “editor at a TV channel”. Maybe you just didn’t read it too closely, but to me, it comes straight out of the Langley psyops room. And didn’t you know that the private tv channels were/are at the forefront of stirring up dissent against the Bolivarian governments of Chavez and Maduro?

          Giving credence to this Venezuelan 1%-er posing as a working class hero has fooled some of your readers but thankfully not the majority who have more eloquently rebutted this piece. You of all people should understand the myriad forces ranged against those choosing to stand against the evil empire, the least of which is to sow confusion.

          Nevertheless, your’s is one of the few blogs I trust. Another is: http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.co.uk/ by a very astute Armenian also covering geopolitical events.

          Keep strong, keep alert!

        7. Dear Saker,

          I would call this article a resounding success. What do you think?

          Enabling a vigorous debate is what good journalism is about, yes??

          I read many of the comments and the most negative seemed to come from people who had not read (or absorbed) the article.

          They collectively seemed to think that being able to borrow money to buy a small car two years after graduating college is evidence of privilege.

          Also that the author had moved to Canada.

          Please check your facts before you draw your sword!

        8. Socialism makes people dependent. I think NOT! MINCOME

          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

          Jump to: navigation, search

          MINCOME was an experimental Canadian basic income project that was held in Dauphin, Manitoba during the 1970s. The project, funded jointly by the Manitoba provincial government and the Canadian federal government, began with a news release on February 22, 1974, and was closed down in 1979. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether a guaranteed, unconditional annual income caused disincentive to work for the recipients, and how great such a disincentive would be.

          It allowed every family unit to receive a minimum cash benefit. Participants who worked had their mincome supplement reduced by 50 cents for every dollar they earned by working.[1] The results showed an impact on labor markets, with working hours dropping one percent for men, three percent for married women, and five percent for unmarried women.[2] However, some have argued these drops may be artificially low because participants knew the guaranteed income was temporary.[3] These decreases in hours worked may be seen as offset by the opportunity cost of more time for family and education. Mothers spent more time rearing newborns, and the educational impacts are regarded as a success. Students in these families showed higher test scores and lower dropout rates. There was also an increase in adults continuing education.[4][5]

          A final report was never issued, but Manitoban economist Evelyn Forget (/fɔrˈʒeɪ/) conducted an analysis of the program in 2009 which was published in 2011.[5][6] She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked substantially less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating. In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. Forget found that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 percent, with fewer incidents of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse.[7] Additionally, the period saw a reduction in rates of psychiatric hospitalization, and in the number of mental illness-related consultations with health professionals.[8][9]

          In 2015, the Dutch city of Utrecht was reported to be about to perform a similar experiment.[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MINCOME

        9. I don’t really know why people disparage capitalism. After all, they’ve never seen it. Nor I, in my 81 years. Fascistic capitalism, sure, with FDR’s ideas. And added to this later on, crony capitalism, as we see it today in the US.

          Socialism? Where and how does that system promote individual ambition to be the best at what one does on a daily basis? And where has it ever succeeded?

          From what I’ve seen in my own travels around the world, and what I read in numerous news sources, there is no government anywhere which does not unendingly seek to increase its control of the citizenry. Sure, governments are needed, but unfortunately those who seek public office are the controlling type–and buy votes to ensure re-election. Thus comes crony capitalism or crony socialism.

          In the used to be, mostly-capitalistic systems had it that vast fortunes enabled political power. In mostly-socialistic systems, political power enabled large fortunes. (I’ve read that Chavez’ daughter has some $4 billion tucked away.)

          I note that now, in the US, political power enables large fortunes. A point to ponder.

          Best regards, Saker. You do good work.

          ‘Rat

          • Try reading about the history of Cuba’s well trained doctor corps which has helped out in crises all over the globe and think about why they help people even though they dont have the financial incentives western doctors do. Or at least they didnt: Cuba is changing now, for better or worse.

            Why do you need to be paid to do good things for other people? If it doesnt benefit you you dont do it even if you youre helping many other people? That doesnt make a whole lot of sense man.

        10. There is a name for those such as this poster; it is comprador. Here is a dictionary definition of this term:

          “A person within a country who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation.” An agent for foreign organizations engaged in…economic or political exploitation. My, how very respectable.

          Sorry, but the stench rolls off of this self-involved fellow in waves. He has no evident loyalty to the well-being of those with whom he shares his nationality and its society, merely self-pity for the consequences on him personally of the decades-long brutalization of his fellow countrymen, a brutalization in which he and, undoubtedly, his forebears collaborated. No “brother’s keeper” nonsense for this one.

          Venezuela had the good fortune to be graced with an opportunity to raise up its citizenry due to its wealth in petroleum, but rather than do so, its rulers decided to instead restrict the benefits to those who already enjoyed power and wealth, along with some crumbs granted to those craven enough – the compradors- to assist the greedy ones at the top to withhold any widespread assistance to the impoverished and benighted masses.

          I’m afraid that I can conjure no sympathy for his apologia. Mistakes in governance? Corruption? Resentment of past injustices, and resistance to anyone who seems to argue for a restoration of the palpably evil status quo ante? We are dealing with people here, subject to all manner of individual weaknesses of character. But we are also dealing with people who have had the boot heels of oppressors grinding down on the necks of their families for generations. And you, Mr. Comprador, someone who has benefited from this state of affairs, cannot see any of this, and recognize your current discomfiture as the ripened poison fruit of a poison tree? Well, pitiable you may be, but not immune from censure. Your country is an unhappy land because, as all the prophets have lamented from time immemorial, injustice was permitted to flourish. Your safety is imperiled? That is truly a worry. But over the decades, did the poor and downtrodden, deprived of food, livelihood, access to healthcare and education have their safety imperiled every day, every hour? Where was your concern then? Apparently, nowhere to be found.

        11. Saker, at least think about this for a minute: Would Maduro’s opposition have visited Russia and China recently for their WW2 memorials?

          If your answer is something other than ‘almost certainly not’, youre not being honest with yourself.

          Im pretty sure youre already aware that the TV stations that were at the forefront of the movement to attack the Chavez and now Maduro presidency, which this man worked at, were essentially neoliberal/pro-american mouthpieces.

          There legitimate problems with Maduro. Very legitimate problems. But as always the Anglo-Zionists aim to coopt these grievances with the government for their own ends.

        12. I have never set foot in Venezuela. Nor have most of the arrogant leftists who have disparaged the author of the above piece. So I don’t pretend to know exactly how successful(or not) ‘bolivarianism’ has been in terms of improving the country.
          I really liked Chavez, basically bc of his clear speech against zusan imperialism, the man had balls of steel. Very few leaders like him in the world these days…
          He must have done a few things right, at least for the very poor, otherwise he would not have been re-elected so many times.
          On the other hand, it is a fact that even Chavez was losing the popular vote as of the last elections he took part in. Not knowing anything about Venezuelan economic policies, i ask; is the chavista model sustainable in the long run?
          The author of the article seems to be from the middle class, if he is being truthful. I bet the house that the venezuelan elite, the real elite, not the middle class, is still pretty damn rich. Perhaps the middle class may be the one paying the price for financial redistribution and that would be a mistake. Every developed country has a strong middle class. Also, a government cannot simply rule for the poorest and ignore the rest. It just does not work.
          I also wonder, since ‘uncle bob 1′ is so certain venezuelans are so happy bc of some poll, why is it they kill each other at such horrific rates?
          Since extreme poverty is said to have been diminished, why is crime, including violent crime, so high?
          Venezuela’s homicide rate somehow manages to be more than double the already horrific homicide rates of countries such as Brazil or Mexico.
          I laughed reading comments that went something like; oh, during the siege of Stalingrad, i had to do without shampoo and shaving cream and it was alright.’ duh.
          What about the Canadian guy lecturing Catire on how he should not be dissatisfied living in a highly dysfunctional society; i been to Canada, nice place, clean, things work, most canadians would not trade it to live the day to day niceties of a latin american country.
          That is a fact.
          With all that being said, the problem may me, as it is all over the world, that possibly there are no alternatives to chavismo. I mean, if the old pro-zusa oligarchy returns to power, this is clearly no solution to Venezuelas woes.
          One should not underestimate the corrupting power of the Zamerican empire and its ever meddling qualities.
          But the problems are also, oftentimes, partly self inflicted. Even if in conjunction with zamerican meddling.

          As a Brazilian, I can say that a lot, not a few, a lot of the troubles, afflicting the workers party government in Brazil(PT) are self-inflicted, the result of cowardice, mismanagement, lack of structural reforms.
          Many think, including brazilians, that Rousseff is now in trouble bc of the new corruption scandals.
          Lula underwent similar corruption scandals but not only survived but managed to remain a popular president. But the lack of creativity and balls towards meaninful structural reforms have meant the party’s economic model has exhausted itself. Of the serious structural problems which were in place when PT won the presidency for the first time, they have basically solved none of them. Now, with the economic downturn, many of the people who had been included into the low middle class, or those poor who had had the chance to purchase goods for the first time, are seeing their own gains slowly reversed. And they are getting pissed off. Sure, there are all the traitors, media, and members of the comprador elite waiting at the ailes, blowing things out of proportions economic wise, constantly hammering down on the corruption thing, but if it were not for the worsening of economic conditions, people would not care so much.

          One of the very few intellectuals in Brazil who goes beyond the left/right BS, is the Economist and former diplomat and professor, Adriano Benayon. He has been talking about the serious structural problems afflicting Brazil since the death of Getúlio in the 50s. Governments have come and gone, things have not changed. Development remains elusive. I haave crudely translated from portuguese into english parts of Benayons article, “Thrive or Perish”.

          11. You can not compare the size, nor the endowments of natural resources in Brazil and Greece. Brazil could even benefit from the sanctions that it might be subject to, in the case of following the clause of independence, obviously higher than the Constitution itself (which also proclaims it, although ignored in practice).

          12. First, it must be clear that without national autonomy, there is no chance to avoid ruin, which is advancing by leaps and bounds in our country.

          13. The sovereignty has been, for decades, overlooked at the expense of having “good relations” with the imperial powers and the subordination of Brazilian economic policy to the financial system, led by the London-New York axis and operated in these squares and offshores, under their control.

          14. It should be noted, moreover, the amazing degree of this subordination, which exceeds, by far, the subordination existing even in smaller countries and seemingly more fragile than Brazil.

          15. Let there be noted, among the most notable examples, the stratospheric interest rates practiced here:

          a) those compounded, are leading the Brazilian public debt to more crises leading to even more shameful loss of sovereignty and the loss of economic substance;

          b) those imposed on domestic companies active in the productive sectors and on natural persons
          who depend on their work. Rates, of course, large multiples of those, more than absurd.

          16. Two assumptions must hold a realistic analysis:

          1) the truculent debt system does not make concessions to those who are caught in it: the threats, pressures and sanctions are manipulated in order to force them to sign the “agreements”, almost entirely;

          2) Therefore, attempts to alleviate the difficult conditions that the “debtors” are subjected to, are suppressed just as would measures which at the midle and long terms, could release them(debtors) from the chronic weaknessing that has been forced upon them.

          17. Despite the fact that the president(Dilma Rousseff) has reduced the already depressed federal investments and increased the already unacceptably high earnings of the financial concentrators, these and their mentors of the Anglo-American oligarchy are not satisfied and use its various tools for political pressure to destabilize and overthrow the government.

          18. It is clear that the imperial powers and their Brazilian vassals do not tolerate changes in economic policy in the last 61 years, however modest they may be.
          On the contrary, they only admit to radicalize it, which entails leading the country to poverty, intensifying the denationalization and deindustrialization of the economy.

          19. So if you want to have any chance of one day finding
          development, Brazil will have to adopt, hereafter, policies
          which are completely different from those that have since prevailed.

          20. For example, reducing the interest rate of government bonds
          by 2 percentage points, already would scandalize the mainstream media and academics who parrot economic doctrines inapplicable to real contexts.

          21. What should be done, instead, is to reduce these rates by
          15 percentage points (from about 17% per year. To 2% per year).
          On the internal public debt of R $ 3.3 trillion, this means saving $ 500 billion annually, an amount equivalent to 10% of the GDP.

          22. Remember that the defenders of the austerity program managed by the Minister of Finance(that Rousseff appointed) and Central Bank claim that it will save between US $ 70 billion and R $ 80 billion.

          23. Furthermore, these cuts have a negative multiplier effect,
          because it implies reduction of investment and expenses while
          the money saved through the sterile finance expense of
          public debt could be invested productively, with significant
          generation of additional revenues.

          24. A significant reduction in interest rates is also essential because it is the only way to avoid capitalizing them, which is the determining factor of the exponential growth of public debt.

          25. But to complete the job in this area, it is necessary to suppress harmful items to the country’s fake “citizen” Constitution of 1988, starting with the # 164, which robs the National Treasury of the right to issue currency and confers it exclusively to the Central Bank. Worse, by prohibiting it to fund the government, submits it to the
          usury of private banks.

          26. It is also amazing that the Law 4,595 of 12/31/1964,
          has been accepted into the Constitution, as a complementary
          law and remains the country’s financial system framework,
          having been drafted to tailor the interests of concentrating banks.
          It is necessary to draft another under very different principles.

          27. These are some of the measures that the country needs in order to make decent macroeconomic policies, and the microeconomic structures must also be completely redesigned, without which the macroeconomic policies are of little worth.

          28. In other words, new industrial, technological policies, services and markets, apart from economic and social infrastructure compatible with such structures, free from the clutches of the cartels and open to competition from producers.

          29. Of course, national defense must be a priority, in coordination with the industry geared to the welfare and technical progress. All this requires civil and military authorities -inspired by high values and aware that national solidarity must prevail over financial and power ambitions.[my comment, so forget about it]

          30. In such a system, merit, not only intellectual, is measured
          from the first letters, and the important state sector must
          be administered so that equipment and state-owned enterprises
          are in the service of society as a whole and therefore
          are not trade objects.

        13. At the end of this July, Attlio Foliero, a professor teaching in Caracas, wrote an interesting article about the shortage (in Venezuela) of toilet paper. The article is long, illuminating but in Italian. It illustrates all the methods used by the opposition to create malcontent at all costs. Shaken by that information, I wrote to Prof. Folliero and he replied. I translate my message and his reply, because, I think, they may serve better than a critique or a criticism of the unhappy complainer from Venezuela. Apologies for errors due to shortage of “time, the ceaseless lackey of eternity.”
          My message.
          Prof. Folliero, All clear and logical. However, I have an unresolved question. A factory for the production of paper does not require impossible technologies. The process is well-known and is studied even in the schools. Why Venezuela does not organize an exchange of resources (oil) in exchange for machinery, for example with Germany, or Finland? An establishment of medium proportions could go online in a month or two and fix the problem. Clearly there must be a mistake in my reasoning, but I would like to know where the mistake is’. I am an engineer and I offer myself as a government employee at minimum wage to organize the project. Quixotic idea, clearly, but my blood boils when I read of attempts by the empire and its comprador servants to destroy the humanitarian governments of other countries.
          Jimmie M.
          Answer. Dear Jimmie the problem is not so simple; the state intervenes in the economy (and probably the best example is Italy, where the state was present in almost all sectors, from banks to the railways, the post office, to cars, to food companies), but does not intervene in all sectors; generally intervenes in products of first necessity or in areas where private enterprise does not reach not arrive or cannot afford the large investments required (such as railways, or phones … sectors that in most countries were developed thanks to state investments. But a state cannot intervene in all sectors and in no country has invested in factories for the production of shampoo or toilet paper, and in practice in those sectors that, though sensitive, are still in private ownership. The oligarchy makes them disappear exactly because they have these products in their hands. The Venezuelan government has intervened, for example, building factories for the production of corn flour (the product more sensitive in Venezuela, problems with corn could really bring down a government, for it is the basis of Venezuelan cuisine). In the case of toilet paper the state intervened by purchasing on the international market millions of rolls; building a factory requires technical time anyway. But the problem is that the state can not ‘intervene in all areas. Now, for example, in Venezuela, the oligarchy is organizing the disappearance of beer or still there or is spreading the rumor that beer will disappear. And beer is a product widely used in Venezuela. Should the state start brewing beer? There will always be a product sensitive or critical. This attack or sabotage has been taking place in Venezuela for 15 years and every time the government has attemped to adopt remedies. It created factories for this or that product, set up state importers (where it was not possible to produce locally, certain types of grain for example, while remove the import private monopoly. It has created three supermarket chains … but it is never enough. Keep in mind that the resources of a government are always limited and there were priorities … for example in Venezuela 80% dela population lived in poverty ‘, did not go to school, or to university, had no right to health care. … there was not even one km of railway, 10 million Venezuelans were living in shacks, out of 30 million Venezuelans had a pension, there were no subways for mass transit. The government has been built over the past three years 600,000 apartments (Germany and France with 150 million inhabitants build less apartments (than Venezuela). Today just Caracas has the subway kilometers the whole of Italy. Railways were built from scratch, there are universities in every province (Venezuela today has double the number of university students than Italy, despite having a population that’ less than half) … The health service was completely private and there are now large hospitals, pensioners are now 3,000,000 and so on. Three supermarket chains are state owned (in one the majority owner is Carrefur) and the other two are completely state owmed. There are state factories of sugar, coffee, cement, corn meal … but there will always be some areas that will remain ‘open … if not the toilet paper will be deodorant, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher liquid etc. .. The oligarchy has always ways to create discontent. 100 years of US domination (in which they imposed on Venezuela only the production of oil; the rest to be imported; and the politics of colonialism: that is, one single-product. And 10, 15, 20 years of democracy may be not enough to correct ALL the imbalances. But this has occurred throughout all Latin American countries. Brazil, for example, however now a giant, is still very sensitive to US attacks.

        14. “I was 23 when Chavez arrived in power and already had an independent life and a degree in marketing. I worked, was independent in almost all my needs, had credit cards and I was able to buy vehicle – a 1998 Opel Corsa. In those days if you had a good job you could go to a credit agency and would have credit or cash in 72 hours maximum. After choosing the model, colour, equipment and going through a short administrative formality you could enjoy your vehicle”.

          That’s all, A foreign car and Caracazo, who need other things? The great democracy that the demoniac ‘communist’ couple Chavez-Maduro had suppressed by referendum and regularly won elections. The little white ultramericanized ‘working class’ (or middle class) who want latinamerican old style police and paras (oh Gorilla from SoA!! Bust back!!)

        15. Nice read! Hearing the other side of the story! Im born and raised from Manila Philippines and now working abroad for the past 12 years of my life. Up to this day we will never know what true “democracy” means, after the colored revolutions in my country of 1986 and 2001 everybody dreamed of a better life but where has this lead “Us” Filipinos? Still under US dictate & Oligarchic families running the politics! The hardships in Venezuela is caused by US pressure and connivance of the 5th column to turn the people against the government! I have seen and first hand experienced this tactics myself! They do have a good PR machine to twist reality to what they see fit their agenda! Most of the writers complain are “materialistic” like getting a loan to buy a car, travel abroad etc… Seem to me his missing his “American Dream” of lifestyle and can not sacrifice for the better good of the majority!

          • Better yet he should move to the US and work at a job he is qualified for such as a school janitor.

            Most people never realize how good they have it. And this goes for most countries. Always blame everyone else who are trying to do some good because they cant have the life style of a mansion , cars, planes and servants after graduating high school as part of the no child left behind.

        16. Well, first of all I will be directing this response to as if I am speaking to this anarcho-socialist myself, althoguht in all likelyhood he will not read any of my comments.

          You’re not an “average” person. You were part of a third world countries upper class or at least the higher professional middle class.You never experienced the slums of Caracas that since Chavez came to power have goten electricity and running water actually running most of the time.

          Crime always existed. It’s just that with the bikes it is now more spread out and not confined to the barrios.

          Look, I am of the same position like the Saker. I wished so much for this to work and it failed. They went downhill as Chavez and his government were overthrown and grew ever more paranoid of private large corporations and the oppositions that to an extent was funded by foreign intelligence services. Their corruption started to rival that of previous governments and their insensitivity to capitalist enterprises created confusion and chaos.

          In addition they never managed to organize enough popular initiatives or cooperatives to take over what private capital left behind (in comparison to Argentina where workers managed to keep the factories going).

          But I would at least think that you as a supposed anarchist would be the lively political discussions.
          That POLITICS is finally on the table for people that as you say were not interested at all before.
          That PEOPLE do take a STAND and do JUDGE others based on their stance. That it actually MATTERS who rules you or if you have something to say about anything.

          I would think that this would interest an anarchist. Perhaps even create some chaos that could be exploited for moving the country into an anarchist path. But in the end, and I do not blame you here, it seems that your ordinary comfortability was more important than your political ideals.
          It’s quite common.

        17. I work in a restaurant in South Florida. Whenever Venezuelans come in, we cringe and take a deep breath. They treat us like dirt. Our fellow Venezuelan employees also tell us how much they can’t stand the Venezuelan guests. Venezuelans are super educated, well spoken, good looking and many have plenty of money or try to act like it. They are like spoiled children. If you are black or mestizo like me, to this particular class of Venezuelan you are subhuman. When the author mentions his social circle, me means his SOCIAL CLASS. The rich wealthy elite class that now live in Weston and Doral are the one’s he is crying about. Maybe Venezuela is a hell hole, however I’m sure that these problems are also the fault of HIS SOCIAL CIRCLE. I feel bad for Venezuelans, but there are always 2 sides to every story. Ok Moderator is this PC enough for you? Like I wrote before, I have met and encountered Venezuelans in many parts of the world, the attitude is almost always the same, ARROGANCE. If this is the attitude that was displayed for so long, then it’s not difficult to see why the situation has gotten so bad. Blacks and Mestizos treated like sub-humans, untermenschen? Not a good recipe for a healthy society.

        18. Saker: you are often sneering, dismissive and nasty in your writing. How sensitive you are, though, when folks give you the same back! Many nasty writers are that way. Why don’t you see how it works if you change your act? I think you have made a good start here by explaining your position at length for those who might get upset. You showed some respect and courtesy by doing that, and with – for you – a minimum of putdownery/clownery. Keep going in that direction and you might find that it encourages an elevated level of discourse on your site. That could be very valuable for all.

        19. Ok, I gave this a read and I have to say that this person does not sound at all like a socialist. In fact, he sounds like a caricature of someone in the right wing opposition. Life was absolutely great before Chavez, we are told(despite brutal military dictatorship, extreme poverty, etc.), and life is absolutely horrific since Chavez (despite tremendously decreased poverty, etc.). It seems at best a bizarrely one-sided telling of the tale. Really, this is testimony from someone who seems to measure ‘the good old days’ by the fact that in the good times, someone urinating in the street would quickly be snapped up and dragged off to jail!! People urinate in the street quite openly in Paris, I hear. I think street urination is a global phenomenon.

          As someone else pointed out in comments, let’s compare Venezuela to Colombia, to Mexico, or really, to Canada, or the US, if we are to be in the business of longing for right wing takeovers, or for a return to the supposed glory days when the Right Wing ruled! You want a prison state, buddy? Come to America where you can enjoy the biggest and in some ways baddest prison system in the world!

          I don’t think anyone sees Chavez as a perfect model. We know that a lot of strong arm methods have been used in VZ. It’s good to be critical, very critical. We want and need to propose a better model. The same is true about Syria. It was true in Libya. It’s true in Russia, I believe. I believe it’s true in NovoRussia. God knows it was true in Iraq. But let’s recognize this – a truly healthy combination of socialism-democacy-capitalism will be hard to achieve as long as the US and Nato and their allies continue to ravage any nation that stands up against the brutal rule of the Hegemon and its vision of a global predatory bankster empire.

        20. Sarker you are not to be trusted from a sincere left perspective. this presentation seems quite insincere despite your protestation of even handedness in presenting a Venezuela case

          Venezuela has been under distorting pressure from day 1 of Chavismo. the empire was bound to respond by trying to make nationalist efforts fail. and such efforts would create conditions that would affect people like our protagonist claims he is affected.

          if our protagonist is committed he should be fighting for real change in the opportunity at hand, in the mess Chavista policies would have contributed to, along with targeted pressures by the empire.

          I would wage that the solution to the problems would be to deepen socialism but not the bureaucratic socialism which is hardly different from the old Soviet state Capitalism. the popular democracy is what must be expanded into the state itself at the expense of the bureaucracy which already should have been to its last legs in Venezuela

          the popular democracy should be encouraged, expanded, the people fully involved in the development and effecting of solutions to the needs of the nation..not the bureaucracy. it is the peoples nation and by now socialism should have been the way as created by the people in their full tide. but that is impeded I am sure by polices of Maduro himself who is surely retarding popular expansion of social control by siding with the bureaucracy

          it is not going to get better any time soon for our protagonist, looking for the american dream in Venezuelan reality. but that is not the fault of the Chavistas..at least not mainly. it is from the empire itself squeezing the ball out of Venezuelan society to induce social collapse and the return to right wing social control

        21. “Bolivarian Venezuela: present reinvention and past persistence” by Juan Carlos Monedero.

          http://www.juancarlosmonedero.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Venezuela-bolivariana-reinvenci%C3%B3n-del-presente-y-persistencia-del-pasado.pdf

          A more comprehensive study with data and facts.

          We must consider that the Bolivarian Revolution started from a people with high illiteracy rates. Professor Monedero says that the aim of the training has been achieved, but for other pending tasks will take at least a generation.

        22. Thank you for sharing this article with those who follow your writings. It is a heart breaking account of someone who, like many other Venezuelans, are suffering the consequences of decades of really bad government. However, I feel the need to digress on the rosy picture given of the period that preceded the Chavez era, one that off course fails to answer one very important question: if things were so good, why on hearth did we elect a paratrooper whose only political record was an earlier failed coup against the “infamous” president Carlos Andres Perez? The answer is clear, people were tired of corrupted governments and the bi-partisan sharing of the Nation’s resources. Chavez was the hope that many of us were looking for of a more just and democratic society. I am 51 years old and voluntarily left Venezuela at the tender age of 25, because I could not bear to live in a country where the legal system belonged to the few haves that had strong government ties, and the politicians were used to share the spoils of the national treasure. At the tender age of 12, on my Bday, I was robbed at gun point, a simple wrist watch that my dad had given me. I was with my 10 year old friend in our apartment building (in a middle-upper middle class neighborhood in Caracas). A few years earlier, my mother was imprisoned for not agreeing with the government in office’s modus operandi – far from being a dangerous terrorist, my mom, a librarian, was a woman of convictions and followed her heart. She was a lucky one as she survived the ordeal, but I am only mentioning this to illustrate that we have a long history of abusive governments and high crime rates. I am not trying to be apologetic of what has happened since Chavez took power, as I personally feel quite disgusted with how things have turned out. But unless we understand how we got to this mess, we will never be able to overcome it. We might be able to change governments and perhaps improve a few things. But we will never be the mature truly democratic nation that I believe many Venezuelans yearn.

          Just another interesting fact. In the 1970s, then President Carlos Andres Perez invited Prof. Michael Chossudovsky, a Canadian economist, to write about the Venezuelan miracle (the result of the oil boom). The name of his resulting research was “La pobreza in Venezuela”, sadly not the rosy picture that the government wanted to show. Prof. Chossudovsky had to publish his research independently and the government distanced itself from his research. I know this story because he was my economics professor in Canada (country that I adopted as my own) and because I also later met the professors at the Universidad Central de Venezuela who assisted him with the research. All this happened in the late 1970s and the ’80s were no different. So lets remember how we got to where we are now and perhaps we can begin to find a better future. Respectfully, Anna Lopez

        23. It seems that Saker doesn’t know how work the empire around the world to impose his view about the economy and politics. There are many examples of different ways of how he do it. The last one have been in Guatemala where they obliged the corrupt president Otto Perez Molina to renounce just some days ago. Let’s go Saker, everything that is happening in Venezuela is organized, payee and orchestrated by the Empire, The USA and is using the evil Alvaraco Uribalas, the bandit ex-president of Colombia.

        24. This article reminds me of other articles I read that seem to try to critique Chavismo in a way that, to the uninformed, would appear reasonable.

          First, Chavismo came into power 99, not 92. I spent 5 months in Venezuela recently (within last 3 years) and I will give my impression. The Bolivar govt. (cabinet level) is competent. The govt. does do a thorough job keeping up with the events in the country. The Bolivar govt. does appear to be genuinely concerned for the people.

          There is a fierce and unrelenting opposition that will stoop to any low level to fight the govt. in anything and everything. This opposition does regularly shoot themselves in the foot, also. This opposition made the artificial food shortages and do everything in thier power to discredit the policies of the Bolivar govt. Maduro has his hands full, and his govt. does a good job considering this.

          The opposition seems to start to embrace some of Chavismo as time goes by. I even detected some anti-americanism from white right-wingers in Caracas, to my surprise.

          God speed Maduro and the Bolivar govt. It is best for everybody the govt. get things under control and the opposition stops making all these problems.

        25. “There is a lot of strong evidence that Chavez, Maduro and their supporters committed grievous mistakes in the management of Venezuela”

          No problem, this simply means that there is no limit to perfection: while being far above the Wall Street mafia and the imperialistic USA, Venezuela can do even better than what it did.

        26. In order to gain some perspective on Catire´s story, one might watch the documentary by John Pilger. I watched it recently with my daughter, for whom it was a school assignment here in México. Catire has one person´s view, which conveniently leaves out most of the citizens of Venezuela. The 99.99% of Venezuelans did not live upper middle class lives, travel abroad, etc. This was the cause of the Bolivarian Revolution. They were disenfranchised, illiterate, hungry, and if their skin color was dark, extremely excluded from any access to a decent life.
          The socialist revolution taught literacy, using the constitution, so people could know their rights, and participate in civil life. Many people were given the means to empowerment and invested in their communities. During this time, the US government has waged a dirty war, using media, supposedly nongovernmental agencies, and USAID, and many many dirty tricks. There still rages a huge propaganda war and ongoing subversion.
          Any country has a tough time reacting to continuous covert subversion. How to keep civil freedoms and rights intact (like a free media) when there are thousands of paid liars spouting a false narrative and stirring up dissent? Especially among those of the upper classes who find their privileged positions threatened? My first reaction, honestly to the humble, sincere narrative of Catire was boo hoo! What have you contributed to your country? How have you helped others? We obviously have different values.
          I also grew up in privilege, in California. My dad worked in aerospace, on classified military projects, had a number of patents in rocketry before I was 10. I had an excellent education, swim lessons with an Olympic teacher, tennis lessons, Caribbean vacations. My country has also changed. Things change, get it? That is the one characteristic of life one must accept. Even with a number of degrees at good colleges, I found myself teaching at 3 jobs and doing volunteer work in my 40s and 50s. I lived from month to month. I watched my country go from a `democracy´ to a surveillance state. Any complaints Catire has pale before the surveillance Americans are under.
          I worked for Bobby Kennedy, McGovern, Ralph Nader, signed people up to vote, taught literacy to immigrants. I´v worked at community centers, built a school in the barrio with other parent volunteers, built a spiritual retreat center with my sangha. I´v worked on the human rights commission, to see that people with disabilities get services. Most of my work was done for free. I feel an obligation to repay my society for my education, my good fortune. I have, and continue to educated myself. Somehow I managed to study in Spain and Dharamsala. I have, and continue to have a vital, joyous and wonderful life. I care for people. I have chosen to live abroad, because there is no way I can live a middle class lifestyle in California, what with the banks jiggering the cost of housing. I don´t sit around and do the wail-y wail-y. I do my prayers, dedicate myself to justice and enlightenment, sweep the floor, and get on with it. I have discovered so much beauty and joy through service to others. I highly recommend it.

        27. Here are some key phrases that indicate PART of what this person is complaining about:

          We changed money in the private banking system or in casas de cambio in the street here or in the US

          Before Socialism there was never any shortage of goods, we never had to stand in queues to buy food.

          .. whole families are broken, children, brothers, cousins, friends all leave. (All???)

          “When we were happy and did not know”. It refers to everything that we did or bought or had and is now impossible to achieve or lost.

          —-

          Chavez began the division of rich vs. poor, adecos vs left. We saw the same high government headed by Chavez begin a political apartheid (because there were never any divisions before?)

          Only since Chavez came to power in 1992 have these problems eventuated and political divisions among the population were never so marked before either.

          They spy and use fear to impose social control.

          … are thousands of “cooperating patriots” who are nothing but spies. They are led by political authorities and report to police or military

          This facilitated criminals living in the slums of Caracas to ride a motorcycle into the city and in 10 minutes they were robbing or murdering down town and then quickly back to their neighbourhood undetected (I suppose this is ONE division that Chavez didn’t cause!)

          ——

          The author clearly never knew his own country, or his own people. The only “we” that existed were people like him: middle class, happy, and mostly unaware of the poverty and crime that existed outside of his comfortable circle. And he STILL divides Venezueal into “we” and “they”, and “they” clearly are awful people who shouldn’t even be in “his” country.

          He brings up good points: The failure of the government to improve production, so that the average person doesn’t have to depend on imports which are hostage to exchange rates. The failure to find a productive place for everyone who can work, and the inability to control crime. Those are clear failures. But most of the post seems to be a complaint about the loss of status and comfort, by a person who feels no solidarity at all with “them”.

        28. amen for this testimonial,
          I have been living for months in Venezuela, and I recognize totally the reality.
          but the true question is to know if the people of Venezuela has Genius or not : can it face its destiny ? is it doomed to vanish, for bing too stupid ?
          we gonna see the 6th of december
          Geoffrey – Belgium
          and no, socialism is not responsible, only pseudo-socialists (everyone can wear a red shirt !!!)


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Operation Destabilize Venezuela and the Secret US Embassy Cables: Infiltrate, “Divide Chavismo”, “Isolate Chavez Internationally”. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Operation-Destabilize-Venezuela-and-the-Secret-US-Embassy-Cables-Infiltrate-Divide-Chavismo-Isolate-Chavez-Internationally.shtml

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Chavez: Inside the Coup. See http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/The-Revolution-Will-Not-Be-Televised---Chavez-Inside-the-Coup.shtml

From “For Now” to “Forever More”: How Venezuelans Said Goodbye to Hugo Chavez. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/From-For-Now-to-Forever-More-How-Venezuelans-Said-Goodbye-to-Hugo-Chavez.shtml

Post Chavez Latin America – Beware The Imperialists. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Post-Chavez-Latin-America-Beware-The-Imperialists.shtml

Yo soy Chavez... See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/German_49/Yo-soy-Chavez.shtml

Your Anti-Chavez Corporate Media Decoder Ring. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Your-Anti-Chavez-Corporate-Media-Decoder-Ring.shtml

Upholding the Imperial Order: The Mass Media’s Defamation of Hugo Chavez. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Upholding-the-Imperial-Order-The-Mass-Media-s-Defamation-of-Hugo-Chavez.shtml

Nicolas Maduro: the man who went from bus driver to Acting President of Venezuela. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Nicolas-Maduro-the-man-who-went-from-bus-driver-to-Acting-President-of-Venezuela.shtml

Bolivia’s president says US planning coup in Venezuela. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Bolivia-s-president-says-US-planning-coup-in-Venezuela.shtml

The President Of Venezuela Damns The State Of Israel | Chavez Exposing Israel & the U.S. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/The-President-Of-Venezuela-Damns-The-State-Of-Israel-Chavez-Exposing-Israel-the-U-S.shtml

US-backed soft coup fails in Venezuela. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/US-backed-soft-coup-fails-in-Venezuela.shtml

The death of Hugo Chavez, and the trend of hi-tech assassinations in global politics. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Health_and_Nutrition_37/The-death-of-Hugo-Chavez-and-the-trend-of-hi-tech-assassinations-in-global-politics.shtml

“Overwhelming” Evidence of Plot to Assassinate Venezuela’s Maduro. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Overwhelming-Evidence-of-Plot-to-Assassinate-Venezuela-s-Maduro.shtml

Western silence on Maduro’s victory in Venezuela is hypocritical. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Western-silence-on-Maduro-s-victory-in-Venezuela-is-hypocritical.shtml

Venezuela to Auction Dollars to Fight Black Market Rate. See: abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Venezuela-to-Auction-Dollars-to-Fight-Black-Market-Rate.shtml

President Hugo Chavez: A 21st Century Renaissance Man. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/President-Hugo-Chavez-A-21st-Century-Renaissance-Man.shtml

AP: Chavez Wasted His Money on Healthcare When He Could Have Built Gigantic Skyscrapers. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/AP-Chavez-Wasted-His-Money-on-Healthcare-When-He-Could-Have-Built-Gigantic-Skyscrapers.shtml

Public opinion”. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Public-opinion.shtml

Why Venezuelan people will miss Hugo Chavez. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Why-Venezuelan-people-will-miss-Hugo-Chavez.shtml

Venezuela: ‘We spend more, in order to gain more’. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Venezuela-We-spend-more-in-order-to-gain-more.shtml

People with disabilities want Venezuelan revolution to continue: 'We need even more of a voice'. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/People-with-disabilities-want-Venezuelan-revolution-to-continue-We-need-even-more-of-a-voice.shtml

“Media restrictions” in Venezuela. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Media-restrictions-in-Venezuela.shtml

Venezuela ends rapprochement talks with Washington over US ‘meddling’. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Venezuela-ends-rapprochement-talks-with-Washington-over-US-meddling.shtml

Playing The Venezuelan Anti-Semitism Card. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Playing-The-Venezuelan-Anti-Semitism-Card.shtml

Venezuela Goes for Ban on GM Seeds. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Venezuela-Goes-for-Ban-on-GM.shtml

Venezuela’s Maduro Reaches Out To Big Business And Washington. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Venezuela-s-Maduro-Reaches-Out-To-Big-Business-And-Washington.shtml

The deeds of Hugo Chavez live and prosper. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/The-deeds-of-Hugo-Chavez-live-and-prosper.shtml

Venezuela without Chavez, Argentina next? See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Venezuela-without-Chavez-Argentina-next.shtml

Venezuela receives $5 billion credit line from China. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Venezuela-receives-5-billion-credit-line-from-China.shtml

Ofel Albano Sanchez, aged 30, born in Caracas. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Ofel-Albano-Sanchez-aged-30-born-in-Caracas.shtml

The Traitor is the Plague (Thai/ไทย). See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/The-Traitor-is-the-Plague-Thai.shtml

US Prepares for Overthrow of Venezuela. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/US-Prepares-for-Overthrow-of-Venezuela.shtml

Attacking Democracy: Chavez, the US, and the Destabilization of Venezuela. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Attacking-Democracy-Chavez-the-US-and-the-Destabilization-of-Venezuela.shtml

Unknown Snipers and Western backed "Regime Change" A Historical Review and Analysis. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Unknown-Snipers-and-Western-backed-Regime-Change-A-Historical-Review-and-Analysis.shtml

Chavez & Thaksin: A Tale of Two Socialists and Western Hypocrisy. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/Political_Information_43/Chavez-Thaksin-A-Tale-of-Two-Socialists-and-Western-Hypocrisy.shtml

NGOs Promote Wars for Profit. See:http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/NGOs-Promote-Wars-for-Profit.shtml