[Discussion] Watching Venezuela Implode

Anything related to Venezuelan economics or politics.

Freeank- I hope you are still holding up

Outmigration is ramping up, leading to a refugee crisis in Colombia, Peru, and Brazil. Reports indicate that 600,000 Venezuelans have entered Colombia officially, so the total number of migrants is certainly higher. If the number is a million, that's 3% of Venezuela's population and the are no signs of the migration slowing down.

Venezuelan credit has completely collapsed, and the country is $1.7 billion behind on payments. It's clear at this point that the Venezuelan government has no intention of ever paying again.

The Washington Post has confirmed that over a million Venezuelans have left the country in the last two years, or 3% of the population. An equivalent migration in the United States would be the entire population of New York City.

While Venezuelans are fleeing for their lives, American leftists are still calling the regime democratic and supporting the Maduro regime's claims about a U.S.-led plot to force economic and political change on Venezuela. The "democratic" elections scheduled for May are being boycotted and protested by the Venezuelan opposition. Finally, the United States is considering an oil sanction, which would likely cause what's left of the Venezuelan economy to collapse.

Venezuela President Maduro sworn in for second term.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-468...

:0 and you Americans think you have it hard with just 4 years.

Venezuela definitely has it worse.

Well they’re somehow a socialist country despite their economy being mostly privately owned so it was only a matter of time before the US officially stepped in. We’ve already been caught trying to foment violence on several occasions.

They're a socialist country because that was the explicit goal of the last two administrations, and they tried very hard to nationalize the means of production - the definition of socialism. They've gone further down the path than just about anyone else in South America, nationalizing hundreds of companies including almost 100% of their export sector (primarily PDVSA). The fact that they destroyed their economy while trying to make it socialist doesn't make it less socialist.

EDIT: you know what? I'm not even going to bother engaging. Anyone crying "Socialism is bad because vuvuzela!" probably won't change their minds.

It's a tragedy that a country has been destroyed due to oil market fluctuations and outside meddling, but hey, what's really important is that it can be used as an arguing point, amirite?

Look at the bright side, ruhk. Even Aetius admits that the problem isn't socialism, it's trying to be socialist amid an onslaught of corporatist colonists.

ruhk wrote:

EDIT

It's a tragedy that a country has been destroyed due to oil market fluctuations and outside meddling, but hey, what's really important is that it can be used as an arguing point, amirite?

Yeah, we've been destroyed by outside meddling, no doubt about it. We've been meddled with by twenty years of Cuban influence, followed by China, Russia, Iran, Belorus, Turkey, etc etc.

Venezuela still sells 90% of its oil production to the US, which incidentaly is the only commercial ally that actually pays for what they buy. There is no blockade, there is no economic war, whatever ails us is pure and simple the result of the absolute, utter contempt inflicted against our people by this gang of criminals that have endured and clinged to power for the last 20 years.

Socialist is NOT nationalizing everything.

so·cial·ismDictionary result for socialism
/ˈsōSHəˌlizəm/Submit
noun
a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

The upper class of Venezuelan society and particularly the ruling classes are not answerable nor accountable to the community, so nationalizing industries isn't turning it over to community control, even though that's what they say it is. It's privatization of that industry, putting it in the direct control of a very few people who generally use it for their own benefit - not that different from Robber Barons gone absolutely off the deep end. It's not even trying for socialism at that point. That's just the lie they say to fool the gullible.

LarryC wrote:

a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

And how do you achieve that economic state? You have to take away the means of production from the people who currently control them. And how do you do that, particularly when those people don't want to give them up? You take them by force. And since governments claim to represent the community as a whole, and hold a societally-granted monopoly on the legitimate use of force, presto - nationalization.

The upper class of Venezuelan society and particularly the ruling classes are not answerable nor accountable to the community, so nationalizing industries isn't turning it over to community control, even though that's what they say it is. It's privatization of that industry, putting it in the direct control of a very few people who generally use it for their own benefit ...

Now here's the interesting part. There's little question that Chavez was originally elected fairly. So the nationalizations he accomplished in the first years of his Presidency were socialist, by your definition ... if you accept that a popularly elected government represents the community as a whole.

From there on, pretty much everything he did was legal, in the sense that the government authorized it. It's possible that even now, Maduro has the majority of the population on his side (I don't believe this, but it's not like there are any reliable polls, and he's still in power).

So, if we assume that Maduro's government is legitimate, how can his nationalizations not be considered socialism? Even if he is running those businesses as his own personal piggy bank, doesn't the support of the "community as a whole" make it socialist?

And if not, is his government illegitimate and should be removed from power? Is there a difference between a government supported by 48% percent of the population nationalizing something, and a government supported by 52% of the population nationalizing something? And if only 46% of the population actually vote, is any government they elect actually legitimate? Even if it had been a fair election, would that constitute support by the "community as a whole" and convert his personal empire into socialism?

Aetius wrote:

So, if we assume that Maduro's government is legitimate, how can his nationalizations not be considered socialism? Even if he is running those businesses as his own personal piggy bank, doesn't the support of the "community as a whole" make it socialist?

I don't think so. The analogy that comes to mind is a corporation: even if shareholders kept voting in corporate officers that were robbing the company, those corporate officers would still be committing fraud if they were using the business as a personal piggy bank.

When a government official does not (edit) make a good faith attempt to act in the interests he was elected to serve or was appointed by the elected to serve, the fact that the election was legitimate does not excuse his failure to (edit) honestly attempt to fulfill the obligations of his office, no matter what the economic system the elected government is running.

Being elected, especially in elections like in Venezuela, do not mean that the elected leader is acting economically in the interests of the community or that they're regulating his actions effectively through those elections. That would only be true if they not only strongly consider his economic decisions seriously in elections, and if they also exert oversight over his decisions with enough information and with enough strength.

A truly community-regulated entity has to have strong public oversight and publicly available information about it. Otherwise, it's privately managed and exploited by an individual who occasionally has to win popularity contests.

A "nationalized" company being treated almost exactly like the private holdings of a single individual or small group of individuals represents a corruption and subversion of socialist intentions and agenda, into something more privatized or libertarian.

Yes, I said it.

Hmm, wasn't the major issue that after nationalisation Petróleos de Venezuela was so badly run it output had dropped so much that the drop in oil prices was doubly painful for the country.

Vaguely remember reading that most trained staff where fired or replaced by party loyalists which then ran what was one of the best operations in south America into the ground.

:I always seems that Socialism talks a good game but always fails on implementation, which is then (of course) just written of as "they weren't socialist enough".

And didn't Salvador Allende basically do the same thing in Chile back in the seventies, but much quicker ?.

Here in the UK the Left is still backing Maduro, after all what does the suffering of the masses matter when your saving them from themselves.

It's not true that Socialism has always failed to deliver. It is true that many individuals use the word "socialist" to sell what they're doing, but then turn around and implement authoritarian, corporatist, or libertarian practices. Public health care is a socialist ideal and platform. In some cases, that's turned out mostly well. Public education? Same thing. Publicly owned and run transportation systems? Socialist again.

It doesn't have to be publicly owned to be socialist. It could be run from public funds for a public good, or merely regulated by an invested or interested public. Or both. Antitrust regulations in capitalist economies are explicitly to promote competition for the sake of consumers, not the competitors - that's a public interest pursued by public servants, and overseen by the public at large - a socialist regulatory measure imposed upon a capitalist competitive engine.

It's not sold as socialist, but that doesn't mean it isn't. We all know politicians lie. Why believe them for this?

Interesting piece in the Times yesterday *….

IMAGE(https://i842.photobucket.com/albums/zz344/sleepery-jeem/GWT%20pics/P1030182_zpsgg3nlv21.jpg)

Plans within plans indeed, the Great Game is alive and well.

* sorry my sister has my printer just now so had to use my camera.

Seems Putin's doubling down on Maduro with news of the country's gold being sold off...

http://dieselgasoil.com/business/ven...

And news of Russian "troops" on the ground as well...

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-v...

Hmm probably means Ukraine's gonna be quiet for awhile with Russian focusing on Guaidó's threat to their assets in Venezuela.

Guaido is a threat to Venezuela's assets. Putin clearly has tainted reasoning here but he's in the right. He's helping prevent a bloody coup by America Inc.

Disagree with you on that, but anyway, interesting piece in the Times today covering the social and economic damage caused by hyperinflation, had forgotten about it hitting Zimbabwe and didn't even know about Hungary's troubles : https://www.amusingplanet.com/2018/0...

In the Times piece this passage stuck out to me...

Hyperinflation brings with it moral collapse.

Civil society depends on a web of good faith, of which money is the glue.

If individuals cannot save, spend, borrow, build and bequeath, then civic responsibility and confidence starve to death.

Anyway, things haven't gotten a whole lot better since the last update:

Venezuelan military kills woman in standoff over international aid, mayor says

Caracas (CNN)Venezuelan soldiers killed at least one person and injured a dozen others Friday near the Brazilian border in a standoff with a local indigenous community over international aid entering the country, according to a local mayor.

"Instead of mediating, the military started shooting," Emilio Gonzalez, mayor of the municipality of Gran Sabana, told CNN.

Gonzalez said the victim was a 34-year-old woman, who was part of an indigenous group that clashed with the Venezuelan military, one day after President Nicolas Maduro shuttered the country's border with Brazil.

Venezuela's Ministry of Defense told CNN it had no information regarding the incident

Still not going great!

I really hope Feeank is doing okay.

Delcy Rodríguez said schools were closed and workers should stay home after ‘technological attack’ on Guri hydroelectric plant

Venezuela’s embattled president, Nicolás Maduro, has been forced to close schools and give workers the day off after a severe and potentially destabilizing blackout dragged into a second day.

On Friday morning, more than 19 hours after power failed across most of the country, Venezuela’s vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, announced that schools would not open and private- and public-sector workers should stay at home.

Rodríguez told the state-run broadcaster Telesur her country had fallen victim to “an act of electric sabotage committed by Venezuela’s extreme-right opposition” on a hydroelectric plant in the country’s south.

The streets of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, were quiet amid growing fears over the human cost of what observers called the worst power outage in memory.

“I can’t even imagine how the children who are in neo-natal intensive care units spent the night – the ones who are connected to ventilators,” said Eunice Lample, a paediatrician at one such practice in Caracas.

“The first thing I thought when I woke up this morning was: ‘How many people died overnight? … because of the ineptitude of this usurping government,” the 60-year-old doctor added. “The country has stopped.”

Harrowing video footage posted on social media showed doctors trying to keep children breathing at the Supreme Commander Hugo Chávez paediatric hospital in Caracas.

At one of the city’s maternity wards an Associated Press reporter saw crying mothers watch nurses use candles to monitor the vital signs of their premature babies after backup generators shut off.

A prominent Telesur reporter with close government ties blamed “a technological and cyber attack” on the Guri hydroelectric plant.

Apparently, most of the folks who maintained the electrical grid in Venezuela have left the country during the crisis, meaning that power lines, transformers and transmission sites are overgrown, uninspected and not maintained. So a fire on a high tension line is not unexpected, in fact it was warned of. I suspect that a military attack would have also directly taken out the two lines that were unaffected, which then overloaded and burned...

Yes, I should've mentioned this:

The power's out.

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN)Crowds collect water from dirty streams, nurses pump ventilators by hand in darkened hospitals and charities struggle to feed children as Venezuela continues to suffer the dire effects of its most profound blackout in decades.

This is the reality of life after the country's largest source of power had a catastrophic failure on March 7. At its worst, 19 of 23 states were affected, and the capital Caracas was blanketed by darkness.

Recovery from power outages will be "little by little," said President Nicolas Maduro in a televised address Monday. He said that school and work in the country would be suspended for another 48 hours.

No power means no water for many who depend on electric pumps. Some have resorted to filling bottles and containers from natural springs, drainpipes and dirty streams. They told CNN's Paula Newton that they would use the water to bathe or flush the toilet.

Waiting to collect water at one spring, a nurse in line with her daughter said that she feared the water contained bacteria, referencing rumors of other people developing rashes. Nevertheless, she said had no choice but to use this water for bathing.

Others said they would use the water for cooking. In the absence of power, food is spoiling in refrigerators and freezers, and supplies are also dwindling.

Well, it is called Venezuela Gas, Electric, and Get The f*ck Out, aka VGE&GTFO.