Venezuela

I wonder what would happen if Murray visited?

NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully

New Zealand, at the behest of Muray McCully, co-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 2334 with Venezuela, Senegal and Malaysia against Israel.

While the US abstained it was against the wishes of incoming President Trump. Now chickens are coming home to roost.

Times of Israel reports:

The Trump administration imposed sanctions against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of playing a major role in international drug trafficking.

El Aissami, who has been accused of anti-Semitism and ties to Iran and the terrorist group Hezbollah, has been barred from entering the United States. The executive decree issued Monday is the result of a years-long investigation.   Read more »

Shocking Human Rights abusers elected by the UN to 2017 Human Rights council

If the United Nations was a legitimate organisation then you would expect it to elect countries with the best Human Rights records to the 2017 Human Rights Council. You wouldn’t expect countries with systematic suppression of free speech, arbitrary detentions, death sentences for apostasy and extrajudicial killings to be elected. Shockingly the United Nations has selected countries with exactly those human rights abuses to serve on its 2017 Human Rights Council.

The Human Rights Council, mind you, is supposed to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” according to its mandate…

Let’s take a closer look at the new members of the 2017 Human Rights Council.

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Opposition Leader and Foreign Affairs spokesman not briefed on Israel resolution

After the Christchurch earthquakes, Opposition Leader Phil Goff complained that he hadn’t been briefed about alleged Israeli spies.  It was subsequently revealed on this blog that he had been briefed. What it did show though was that on matters affecting foreign policy especially relating to Israel convention dictates that the leader of the opposition should be briefed. When New Zealand took the lead in sponsoring UN resolution 2334 as the chair of the UN Security Council it should have been incumbent of foreign minister Murray McCully or at the very least a senior MFaT official to brief Labour leader Andrew Little and his foreign affairs spokesperson David Parker.

We put these questions to Andrew Little:

  1. Were you were briefed by anyone, including Murray McCully and/or Bill English and/or John Key?
  2. If you were briefed were you given full details of the process and resolution and did the briefing match what happened in reality?
  3. If you weren’t briefed why do you think they didn’t brief you?
  4. When John Kerry visited in November were you briefed on the contents of discussions with Murray McCully?

Andrew Little’s response is below in full and unedited:

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Looks like Venezuela has not only run out of other people’s money, but also their own

Margaret Thatcher once famously said that the problem with socialism is that eventually, you run out of other people’s money.

Well, Venezuela ran out of that long ago, and now it has run out of their own money.

Venezuela has run out of cash. Not metaphorically, mind you: The country literally doesn’t have enough cash to go around.

Two weeks ago, facing an acute shortage of paper money, bank regulators capped cash withdrawals at 10,000 Venezuelan bolivars per day — about $5.25.

As I write this, following an almighty rout on the black market, those same 10,000 bolivars are worth less than half that much: $2.17. (By the time you read this, the real number’s likely lower.)

Stop and think about that: How on earth can a country work when the most cash anyone there is allowed to withdraw from their bank account in a day is two bucks and change?

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How’s that socialism working out for you?

Socialism has never worked anywhere, even when there is plenty of other people’s money to spend. Eventually, the money runs out and then socialism comes crashing down.

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves and yet it couldn’t make socialism work.

The country is collapsing under the weight of it all and the people have had enough.

Armed with an old tablecloth on which is written the words “revocatorio ya”, or “recall now”, 36-year-old unemployed architect Gabriela Valero will take to the streets of Caracas on Wednesday. She is part of a movement trying to force a referendum on Nicolás Maduro’s government.

“This cloth has more need now on the streets of Caracas than in my home,” says Valero, who is growing increasingly desperate due to the country’s crumbling economy. “I am a middle-class person in a middle-class neighbourhood and we struggle to buy food. We queue for hours in a lottery for staples like corn, oil and flour, or I am forced to buy from the black market.

“When [the late president Hugo] Chávez was in power things weren’t great, but when Maduro stepped in everything got worse and worse. The government is becoming more and more authoritative and militarised. We, the people ofVenezuela, need to push for a change in government, and the only way is to do it peacefully through the recall referendum,” she says.

With polls showing that 80% of Venezuelans would vote against Maduro in a referendum, opponents of the country’s 17-year leftwing administration have made the recall their focus.

Medical student Astrid Escalona, 21, will be protesting against a government that she believes is doing everything it can to make the referendum impossible.

“Even though we are exhausted from attending all of the protests that have been organised we don’t give up. People are losing their patience as every day passes, becoming a time bomb. There are so many things that make our lives more difficult and if you mix them together it is almost impossible to keep going. The best outcome is to have the referendum this year. If not, there could be a social breakdown: people can no longer keep living with this.

“Just two years ago I was able to buy breakfast on my way to college almost every day. Right now I can’t do that, I have no money. My cat died because we could not find food for cats, so we gave her dog food instead and she got sick because cats can’t digest dog food,” she says.

Last month, Maduro’s opponents were dealt a blow. The National Electoral Council (CNE) set the date for the referendum too late to trigger a presidential election even in the event of Maduro losing. Under the current rules, the vice president would be sworn in and the Socialist party would continue its presidential term for another two years.

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Good ol’ socialism starving the population

Socialism works so well…just ask Venezuelans:

A shocking video lays bare the severe food crisis confronting Venezuela.

Food shortages in the South American country has meant people have resorted to desperate attempts to source their next meal.

In disturbing footage, a huge crowd of people can be seen stopping a lorry on the motorway to snatch live chickens from their crates inside.

Traffic comes to a standstill as dozens of hungry people sprint over to the truck to grab the birds out of their containers.

The incident has been held up as yet another example of the country’s economic crisis, where looting has become commonplace.

It happened in the northern city of Tocuyito, T13 reported.

There have been calls for President Nicolas Maduro, a socialist, to step down because of the shortages.

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Socialism is a great social experiment…that ends in misery

Venezuela is collapsing as their grand socialist experiment crashes and burns.

The fight for food has begun in Venezuela. On any day, in cities across this increasingly desperate nation, crowds form to sack supermarkets. Protesters take to the streets to decry the skyrocketing prices and dwindling supplies of basic goods. The wealthy improvise, some shopping online for food that arrives from Miami. Middle-class families make do with less: coffee without milk, sardines instead of beef, two daily meals instead of three. The poor are stripping mangoes off the trees and struggling to survive.

“This is savagery,” said Pedro Zaraza, a car-oil salesman who watched a mob mass on Friday outside a supermarket, where it was eventually dispersed by the army. “The authorities are losing their grip.”

What has been a slow-motion crisis in Venezuela seems to be careening into a new, more dangerous phase. The long economic decline of the country with the world’s largest oil reserves now shows signs of morphing into a humanitarian emergency, with government mismanagement and low petroleum prices leading to widespread shortages and inflation that could surpass 700 percent this year.

When there is a power vacuum people generally die hard.

The political stakes are mounting. Exhausted by government-imposed power blackouts, spiraling crime, endless food lines, shortages of medicine and waves of looting and protest, citizens are mobilizing against their leaders. In recent days, Venezuelans lined up to add their names to a recall petition that aims to bring down the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro, and put an end to the socialist-inspired “revolution” ignited 17 years ago by Hugo Chávez.

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Stick a fork in it, Venezuela is done

Socialists always seem to forget that you need capitalism in order to pay for the socialism.

Venezuela forgot that and now they are finished.

Venezuela no longer can feed or care for its people. Yet many Americans have forgotten what socialism really is. Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns as if Karl Marx was just another Santa Claus.

Real socialism largely disappeared decades ago. The collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites effectively ended the age of collectivism.

Nevertheless, oil-rich Venezuela since became a flamboyant exponent of socialism. Its travails should remind us how America’s power is built upon a prosperous economy. Prodigal spending at home and promiscuous intervention abroad are undermining our nation’s economic foundation.

Like most Latin American nations, Venezuela never enjoyed a genuine market economy. After years of misrule, Lt. Col. Hugo Chavez attempted a coup in 1992. He failed, but six years later frustrated Venezuelans elected him president, leading to his “Bolivarian Revolution.” Before his death in 2013 he nationalized industries, provided bountiful social benefits, spent wildly on domestic and foreign ventures, turned the state oil company into a fount of political patronage, and imposed price controls.   Read more »

Capitalist Chile vs Socialist Venezuela

Venezuela is a basket case and mostly because of their rampant socialism.

You don’t have to look far for suitable comparisons between successful capitalist countries vs collapsing socialism.

The story of Chile’s success starts in the mid-1970s, when Chile’s military government abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms. In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy. Venezuela, in the meantime, declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013 (Human Progress does not have data for the notoriously unfree North Korea).

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Is socialism a giant ponzi scheme?

Could it be that socialism is a fraud, a giant ponzi scheme that benefits those at the top?

Glen Reynolds seems to think so:

It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that’s not by accident.

It is by design and deliberate. Keep people poor so they are grateful for the state “helping them” while those at the top help themselves.

Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich. When you look at a socialist country like Venezuela, you find that the rulers are fabulously wealthy even as the ordinary citizenry deals with empty supermarket shelves and electricity rationing.

The daughter of Venezuela’s socialist ruler, Hugo Chavez, is the richest individual in Venezuela, worth billions of dollars, according to the Miami-based Diario Las América. In Cuba, Fidel Castro reportedly has lived — pretty much literally — like a king, even as his subjects dwelt in poverty. In the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as Hedrick Smith reported in his The Russians, the Communist Party big shots had lavish country houses and apartments in town stocked with hand-polished fresh fruit, even as the common people stood in line for hours at state-run stores in the hopes of getting staples.

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