October 21, 2016

VENEZULA: Corpses 'Exploding' In Decrepit Venezulan Hospitals. Foreshadowing Marxist Socialism's Final Days. Super-Rich Marxist Socialists Drink Champagne, While Middle-Class And Poor Venezuelans Turn To Trash For Food.

THIS IS WHAT AMERICANS WILL GET IF THEY VOTE FOR 4 MORE YEARS OF MARXISM  with Hillary Clinton AFTER 8 YEARS OF Obama's Marxist failed economic policies. And don't tell me Venezuela is an exception. NAME ONE SUCCESSFUL Marxist Socialist Nation ON THIS PLANET throughout history. ANSWER: THERE IS NONE.

Venezuelans voted for Maduro simply because he supported the same damn failed policies his Marxist Socialist predecessor believed in. They didn't give a damn that the only real experience Maduro has ever had was driving a fricken bus and leading a labor union protest against his employer. Yeah, that makes sense. Let's vote for more of the same crap sandwich please. Because it tastes so damn good. NOT. :/ Now the Venezuelan people are living in hell and people, mainly Chavistas, still have THE NERVE to defend the Marxist Socialist inept government and blame the US for Venezuela's nightmare. Yeah. Okay. Whatever.

Front Page Magazine, USA
Foreshadowing socialism's final days.
written by David Paulin
Wednesday October 19, 2016

It was one of the more macabre stories to emerge out of socialist Venezuela -- and served as a metaphor for the final days of the rotting regime.

In a hospital morgue, a bloated corpse exploded.

The morgue's barely functioning cooling system was to blame – hardly a surprise in the oil-rich yet impoverished nation whose health-care system has collapsed under the socialist government. Decomposing for two days in the tropical heat, the corpse finally exploded in a spray of toxic fluids and gasses. The ghastly incident earlier this month necessitated the partial evacuation of the hospital, University Hospital Antonio Patricio de Alcalá, located in Cumaná -- a city of 825,000 in eastern Venezuela. Patients in nearby rooms and corridors were sickened to their stomachs by the stench.

“It’s not the first time that a body exploded,” a hospital employee told a Venezuelan media outlet. “It has already occurred two times since the middle of September.”

The hospital certainly was not always a house of horrors. It was once regarded as one of Venezuela's best public hospitals -- a standard-bearer for health care, according to the Venezuela news site La Patilla. Recently, La Patilla sent a reporter with a hidden camera through the facility: it revealed patients unattended in hallways and the emergency room, shortages of essential equipment, and a lack of air conditioning in wards. The hospital is yet another example of economic decay under “21st Century Socialism" – what Venezuela's late firebrand president, Hugo Chávez, had pledged would turn the South American nation into a workers paradise. Socialism, however, has turned Venezuela into a workers hell.

To be sure, the collapse of Venezuela's health care system was well underway during Hugo Chávez's presidency, even as high oil prices filled government coffers -- a fact that alarmed officials at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. They described their concerns in a "confidential" diplomatic cable sent in December 2009. Published by WikiLeaks, the cable was written during Hugo Chávez's tenth year in office when his socialist agenda was well under way -- from command-and-control economic policies to nationalizing large swaths of the economy. By then, Venezuela was hardly a workers paradise, however -- as was underscored by the increasingly deplorable state of its health-care system. Some of Venezuela's hospitals were closing while others were ridden with crime, noted the diplomatic cable. Many physicians were quitting medicine -- starting new careers in Venezuela or migrating abroad, upset at being paid a pittance or nothing at all. Medical supplies were in increasingly short supply. The cable blamed Venezuela's ongoing health-care crisis squarely on President Chávez -- his Cuban-style health care initiatives and the politicization of the Venezuela's health care system. Physicians perceived as being anti-Chávez were being disciplined, while incompetent military officials were placed in charge of public hospitals.

The economy's tailspin has worsened under Chávez's successor, Nicholas Maduro, a bus driver-turned politician, who has double downed on his predecessor's socialist policies amid slumping oil prices. Now, acute shortages of food, medicine, and even toilet paper are part of daily life in Venezuela – thanks to a command-and-control economy that abhors free-markets and fails to respect private property. In the morgue where a corpse exploded, for instance, there were no disinfectants, chlorine or formaldehyde, according to employees. Draconian currency exchange and price controls are among the policies that are rightly blamed for the scarcity of basic goods.

There's an irony here. Hugo Chávez, a former coup leader and Army paratrooper, won Venezuela's presidency in 1999 by running as an outsider (he had yet to publicly embrace socialism) and by portraying himself as a moderate who had traded the bullet for the ballot. He had during his campaign rightly lambasted Venezuela's traditional political parties for mismanagement and corruption that had put Venezuela – once an economic success story – into economic decline. Yet under socialism, Venezuela is now in the throes of the worst economic crisis in its history. Its economy is the worst performing in the region and is expected to contract 8 percent this year. Rampaging inflation -- the world's highest -- is expected to hit 720 percent this year as the government feverishly prints more and more worthless currency.

This is the "third consecutive year of economic contraction," observed IMF director for the Western Hemisphere Alejandro Werner during a news conference earlier this month. Venezuela, he warned, is in a state of “decomposition.” “The humanitarian aspect is of great concern to us in terms of health care coverage for the Venezuelan society, and in this vein we have been observing the country with a great deal of concern,” he added.

But the worst is yet to come: hyperinflation. Next year inflation is set to hit 2,200 percent, according to an IMF report that the international lender recently issued amid Venezuela's ongoing calamities – including news of an exploding corpse at a hospital morgue. Not surprisingly, an exodus of Venezuelans is fleeing into neighboring countries just like has happened before in other socialist countries from Cuba to East Berlin to Soviet Russia. Venezuelans with the financial wherewithal have headed to the U.S. and other first-world countries, while poorer Venezuela are fleeing into neighboring countries. The exodus has included a brain drain. Citing a study by the Universidad Central in Venezuela, The Miami Herald noted that some 1.5 million Venezuelans, mostly professionals, have migrated abroad as of 2015, with 260,000 arriving United States and 200,000 in Spain.

Venezuela's leftist leaders, for their part, blame the economic crisis and shortages on an “economic war” being waged by opposition leaders, business owners, black marketeers, and foreign enemies that include the United States.

Venezuela's long slide toward failed-nation status has, to be sure, been underway for many years as one government after another embraced bread-and-circuses leftist populism and tolerated corruption, all things that went into overdrive under Hugo Chávez.

The rot and collapse of socialism is an old story. But as Venezuela falls into the abyss, the true believers in Caracas can be counted on to embrace that old leftist war cry: “Socialism or Death!”

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The Daily Mail, UK
written by Jake Wallis Simons In Caracas, Venezuela With Pictures By Roland Hoskins
June 16, 2016

Venezuela's super-rich are enjoying lavish parties and gourmet cuisine, while middle-class people are forced to scavenge for food as the Socialist country's economy collapses.

In the opulent Caracas Country Club, where membership costs an astonishing £77,000 – 458 times the average Venezuelan salary – glamorous women in cocktail dresses were seen relishing a banquet of beef and lobster, followed by a colourful selection of puddings.

Meanwhile, in the Petare slum a few miles away, home to 370,000 Venezuelans, ordinary middle-class people were rummaging in stinking piles of rubbish for rotten cabbage leaves, desiccated limes and scraps of fetid meat.

'Those rich people are thieves. They are government cronies and they stole the country's money,' said Vanessa, 36, who earns £14 a month as an analyst at an electrics company.

'They don't want anything to change, or they would lose their high lifestyle.

'Chávez pretended to be this big Socialist, but he was rich himself. He was a hypocrite. He was a f*****g liar. His legacy is people like me looking for food in the garbage.'

For 20 years, Venezuela's economy was gradually destroyed by 'Chavismo', an authoritarian form of Socialism that wrecked the private sector with mass nationalisation and regulation.

Prices were controlled by the government – often set below the cost of production – and it was illegal to give employees the sack. Petrol was given away for 25p a gallon, and poor people were given free food and healthcare.

Billions disappeared from the economy due to cronyism, with Transparency International naming Venezuela one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Despite all this, with the biggest oil reserves in the world, a flow of petrodollars kept the nation afloat.

The country has long been the darling of the Left. Ken Livingstone was Chávez's 'urban adviser', and Jeremy Corbyn is a longtime 'Venezuelan solidarity' activist.

But now that oil prices have collapsed – a barrel of Venezuela's domestic crude is now worth as little as $39 – the Socialist utopia has transformed into a failed country.

A state of emergency was declared in May. According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, looters strike more than 10 times a day, and that number is rising.

Yesterday, President Nicolás Maduro, whom Hugo Chávez named as his successor before his death in 2013, resorted to legal action to block a proposed referendum to remove him from office, trying desperately to cling to power.

Meanwhile, at the Petare slum in the east of the city, Maria, 27, a mother-of-three, was sitting in a pile of rubbish hunting for food.

'I come to the rubbish pile whenever I can afford the bus fare,' she told MailOnline. 'I get more here than I would on minimum wage. Our money has become worthless.'

Sky-high inflation, currently approaching 700 per cent, has destroyed Venezuela's currency. The largest note, the 100-Bolivar bill, is now worth just 7p, plunging millions into abject poverty. The government can no longer even afford to print more cash.

'My husband is a welder and we don't make enough to live on,' Maria said. 'I have to queue for hours for food, and often I get nothing. If I come here, at least I go home with something.'

Mother-of-eight Carmen, 39, added: 'I don't want to be here digging in the rubbish. I feel like I'm suffocating, like I can't breathe. I feel like I'm drowning. But my husband is sick and we are hungry.'

Her 12-year-old son, Julio, was helping his mother scavenge in the rubbish after school.

It's not just food that's in short supply. At the El Algodonal hospital in Antímano, Dayana, 30, cradled her five-month-old baby, Anna-Gabriela, who was admitted with acute asthma and bronchitis eight days ago.

The hospital is unable to provide medicine, food or even toilet paper.

'My baby needs antibiotics and asthma drugs, but I've been to 10 pharmacies and nobody has any,' she said.

'I can't bear seeing my baby unable to breathe. I just want her to get better, but she can't follow a course of treatment.'

This was a world apart from the Country Club, where white-coated waiters were seen serving cocktails and canapés and men practised their swings on the golf course against a backdrop of the city's impoverished neighbourhoods on the skyline.

'It's not that we don't care about the poor people. We give a lot to charity,' one golfer told MailOnline. 'Should we stop enjoying ourselves just because the country is burning?'

The Club is just one of a network of exclusive establishments frequented by Venezuela's high society.

Around Caracas alone there is the Lagunita Country Club, which offers an equestrian centre and opera auditorium and costs £50,000 to join; the Valle Ariba Golf Club, which charges £47,000; and the Carenero Yacht Club, with parking space for boats and jet skis and a private beach, where membership costs £60,000.

Venezuela's Socialist rulers have long been at loggerheads with this symbol of capitalism, loudly threatening to seize its land for social housing.

Behind the scenes, however, the Socialists and Boligarchs – so called because of the wealth they gained through their connections to the Bolivarian Socialist government – are often hand-in-glove.

Diego Salazar, a pro-government businessman who was implicated in an oil corruption scandal last year, is a member of the Club, and Alejandro Andrade, Chávez's notorious Finance Minister who travelled in a £7million private jet, has attended its showjumping events.

A former American ambassador, C Allen Stewart – representative of a country so hated by Chávez – died of a heart attack on the golf course.

Inside the club, the air-conditioned Penguin Bar offers leather armchairs, fine whisky and cigars, while the restaurant, which sells vintage bottles of champagne, is proud of its seared tuna steak.

The golfer told MailOnline that many members of these clubs had nothing to do with corruption or the government, but were simply wealthy diplomats or businessmen earning foreign currency.

But few ordinary Venezuelans see things that way. 'I don't want the wealthy to suffer, but they have destroyed our country,' said Francisco Lopez, 66, an administrator at a bank, as he watched people going through the rubbish.

'I know many people who are members at the Club, and their lives are beautiful. Meanwhile, people in this area have no dignity.'

Supermarket shelves all over the country lie empty, despite the government's efforts to force shopkeepers to put everything they have on display.

Some desperate Venezuelans are resorting to bartering on social media to provide for their families, trading everything from flour and nappies to prescription drugs.

Wealthier people are still able to source the best ingredients on Venezuela's thriving black market, however, where goods are sold for many times their original price.

Black marketeers known as ants, or 'Bachaqueros' – so called because of the loads they can carry on their backs – hoard groceries and sell them on at vastly inflated prices.

One estimate suggests that one in four Venezuelans supplement their income in this way.

'Even if people are poor, I never give them a discount,' said black marketeer Christabell, 24, at her hilltop apartment in El Junquito, Caracas.

'I know it sounds like I'm a terrible person, but I worked hard to get these items. If I start giving away my livelihood, I'll be broke. People say I am playing with the hunger of the people, but what about my hunger?'

Her current stock – which she bought from a contact inside a supermarket – cost her £7, she said, and she will sell it for £35, a markup of 400 per cent.

The profit, £28, is double the average monthly salary in Venezuela.

'I often ask myself if what I'm doing is right, and I always answer that it is wrong,' she said. 'But the government has forced us into this, and things are getting worse. It's like a circle getting tighter and tighter around us every day.'

Outside Caracas, the shortages were even more acute. At the Excelsior Gama supermarket, northeast of the capital, thousands of people jostled and argued in an unruly queue while men armed with machine-guns tried to keep the peace.

Most of those queueing had been there since 4am, in the hope of getting one litre of cooking oil and a kilogram of pasta per family.

'We're on a forced diet. We've all lost weight,' said Carlos Acuna, 56, a security guard and father-of-six. 'We had a Socialist revolution, and these are the results. This is the diet of the revolution.'

Nearby, in the rural town of Tacarigua de Mamporal in Miranda state, an emaciated Weimaraner dog was seen stumbling around a tree on the brink of starvation.

Local residents Carlos de Parra, 39, and his wife Yoraima, 34, have seven children between the ages of six and 17. He works as a cleaner and his wife sells street food; but between them they earn just £2 a week due to spiralling inflation.

Living without electricity and running water, the family has so little to eat that they are starting to starve.

In the kitchen cupboard there was nothing but a bag of salt. In the fridge was just a few mouldy limes and a fist-sized lump of dough in a pot – lunch for all seven children.

'I grow corn, beans and yam but it is not enough for us and a worm is eating the crop,' said Carlos. 'I have no money for pesticides or fertiliser.

'Last week I queued for three hours at a grocery shop and in the end I left with nothing. I've never had to fight so hard for food.'

The previous week, he said, armed robbers broke into their house and stole their washing machine. The week before, police confiscated the rifle he used to hunt deer for his family.

'It's complicated to explain how I feel,' he said. 'I can't find the words. There are so many things that we need which I can't find. Every Venezuelan is angry.'

His wife sells street food six days a week, but is not allowed to eat any herself. 'I feel hungry, so hungry, I go to bed without dinner, and I'm not allowed to eat the food I sell,' she said.

'I know it's bad, but sometimes when the boss goes, I eat some pancake. But if I brought some home for my children, they would notice and I'd get sacked.'

Along with economic collapse has come a rise in violent crime. Caracas' murder rate is the highest in the world, earning it the nickname 'the most dangerous city on Earth'. Many parts of the capital, and elsewhere in the country, are lawless.

Chávez's policy of arming civilian militias and 'collectivos' to defend the Socialist revolution has led to Venezuela becoming the most weaponised country in the world, with one gun for every two citizens.

People live in constant fear of robbers and kidnappers, and many members of the middle-classes are leaving for Colombia or the United States.

In the face of such hardship, even the most fanatical supporters of the government – the so-called 'Chavistas' – are starting to have their doubts.

Marlene Gaspar, 44, a hospital security guard, is a member of a pro-government militia which is deployed to maintain order at food queues. But she is so weakened by hunger, she said, that she is no longer attending weekly paramilitary training.

'I used to be overweight, but now I am skinny,' she said. 'I weighed 11stone last year, but now I am under eight. I often don't eat so I can give food to my children.

'Chávez was supposed to change things, but it didn't happen. Instead the rich people have lots of money and fancy cars, and everyone else is starving.

'My heart is heavy. I feel cheated. Our Socialist dream is falling apart.'

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