"The UCV is a microcosm of what is happening across Venezuela: Salaries are generally insufficient to buy all the basic items families need, many of which are frequently unavailable anyway, as shortages batter the country. Skyrocketing inflation adds to the problem. Finding essential items has become an arduous journey often entailing queueing for hours, heavy markups and a deep-dive into the growing black market for everything from toilet paper to surgical tools. In a country where 5% of the population already lives abroad, including some of the most highly educated minds, many of those left behind are increasingly becoming fed up with the challenges of everyday life and looking for a way out of Venezuela." In "Venezuela’s Lost Generation," by Karla Zabludovsky, BuzzFeed News, 15 May 2015. (update)
Jesus, his Jesus, was the socialist sort, our Hugo Chávez Frías swore. Yet longer is Hugo's worldly reign; twelve years are three times more than four. Hugo has had his time alright his nation to prosper and socialize; after twelve earth years of serving it proves social Hugo's gospel lies. Inflation soars, and quite naturally it must be someone else's damnéd fault. After twelve years of cranky Hugo, someone else's wounds must receive his salt.
Everything possible to improve things, that's what they said each year, coordinating redistribution, yes, of his less and less, and Venezuelans fear. Jesus, their Jesus, was an Marxist sort, Bolivarian socialists christianize, but Jesus set no price controls nor redistributed; that's the stuff of lies. Food shortages after twelve years' rule is a record worth the noting here, for good, old socialism fails again except in gaining power, breeding fear.
Jesus, yup Jesus, was the socialist sort, our Hugo Chávez Frías swore. Yet longer is Hugo's worldly reign; twelve years are three times more than four. Sick Hugo Chávez Frías had three times such time to preach, and yet by meager numbers one can learn what such numbers teach. Inflation roars, and markets starve as his socialist wisdom dies. After twelve years of cancerous Hugo, jeez, again this gospel wins the prize. Reap shortages; reap inflation. Chávez' creed withers to its end. Belief like his grips a nation's throat, strangling while pretending to be a friend.
Addendum: "Killings skyrocketed, even though no statistical cut-off has been made yet. Based on the numbers managed at the Scientific, Criminal and Forensic Investigation Agency (Cicpc), through Monday, December 17, murders nationwide totaled 18,960. This means that every two hours five Venezuelans were slain, that is, 66 in every 100,000 inhabitants." In "Death toll of 18,960 in Venezuela so far this year," by María Isoliett Iglesias, Deivi Ramírez Miranda, El Universal, 29 December 2012.
"Not even the police are safe in Venezuela. In a country which saw 24,000 murders recorded in 2013 and whose capital city Caracas was runner-up for murder capital of the world, 252 security officers have been killed in the country from January until October this year, in most cases simply because they were carrying something valuable – a gun." In "Murdered for their guns, Venezuela's police are now victims of crime," by Alicia Hernández, Guardian UK, 4 November 2015.
The Agony and Passion of Venezuela: "The number of violent deaths in Venezuela is 450 per cent higher today than when Chávez took office. Maduro’s answer was the implementation of Plan Patria Segura: fill the streets with 21,000 soldiers. But the results are far from positive. In the first quarter of this year, the murder rate was just about as high as last year, when Venezuela averaged 79 people killed per 100,000 population, according to NGO Venezuelan Violence Observatory, or 53.7 according to the U.N. (Mexico, with all its drug violence, has a rate of 21.5; the United States on the same chart has a rate of 4.7.)" In "Venezuela’s Agony: Weak President, Strong Generals, Riots and Cocaine," by Marcel Ventura, Daily Beast, 14 April 2014.
The Mourner's Addendum: "We came to know a man who expressed a vision to bring profound changes to his country to benefit especially those people who had felt neglected and marginalized. Although we have not agreed with all of the methods followed by his government, we have never doubted Hugo Chávez's commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen." In "Statement From Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on the Death of Hugo Chavez," Jimmy Carter, The Carter Center, 5 March 2013.
Addendum-de-dum-dum -- "Other pressing issues include a 20% inflation rate, a ballooning government deficit and price controls that have created a thriving underground market in food staples. Despite an oil bonanza, U.S. dollars are scarce and worth four times the official rate on the foreign-currency black market. Economists say Maduro will be forced to institute several unpleasant economic measures, possibly including spending cuts that would be especially hard on the poor, the Chavez government's chief beneficiaries. Venezuela's manufacturing sector has lost 150,000 jobs over the last decade, and the country must now import products such as sugar, rice, coffee, milk and beef, all of which Venezuela was self-sufficient in before Chavez took power." In "Economists see painful cuts coming for Venezuela," by Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times, 12 January 2013.
Post mortem: "The plaudits keep coming from Dictators around the globe about his enlightened rule and they certainly should know about how to be an enlightened Dictator. It is possible that he may yet get the Nobel Peace award posthumously for his nationalizing businesses and bringing 24 percent, or there about, inflation to his country. It is amazing that a country blessed with humongous oil reserves should still have naked poverty and huge unemployment after 14 years of enlightened rulership. One thing he reportedly did do well was to amass a private fortune of some 2 billion dollars but he worked hard and deserves every penny of it." In "The week's news," by Len Tria, Hernando Today, 10 March 2013.
Economic Autopsy Report: "The family's prosperity flourished with their political power. Their small chicken and pig farm is now a sprawling state-of-the art ranch. And in Barinas, they live in a luxury mansion in a high-walled compound in the most exclusive neighbourhood and travel in convoys of heavily-armed SUVs that screech through the streets. Opposition figures in the state have claimed that they own up to another 20 estates through frontmen and that they have benefited from construction projects. In Venezuela's poorest state, the ostentatious displays of wealth, including the penchant of the president's mother Elena Frias for expensive designer clothes, are a growing source of resentment, although the family deny opposition claims of corruption and nepotism." In "Death of Hugo Chavez could set off shock waves across region," by Philip Sherwell, The Telegraph UK, 5 January 2013
Economic Autopsy Report Continued: "Amid an accelerated rise in expenditure, increasing losses in state-run oil companies, and costly subsidies, Venezuela's income is not enough for the Government, which currently faces a serious fiscal imbalance although the oil basket averages a record high of USD 103 per barrel. As a result, two devaluations have been implemented in the last five weeks so as to obtain more bolivars per petrodollars. However, it all seems that despite the significant adjustment in the foreign exchange rate, which will spur the cost of imports and therefore will hit the people, the fiscal crisis will continue." In "Venezuela's fiscal deficit leads to second devaluation in five weeks," by Víctor Salmerón, El Universal, 1 April 2013.
Update: "The misallocation of resources brought about by price and foreign exchange controls, the wasting of oil revenue in the funding of domestic patronage and regional alliances, as well as the paralysis of private investment due to the government's hostility against the entrepreneurial class, have taken a heavy toll on the Venezuelan economy. Rampant inflation, multiple devaluations and chronic shortages of essential goods form just part of the hardships enjoyed by the Venezuelan population." In "Venezuela Imploding Like the Soviet Union," by Fabio Rafael Fiallo, RealClearWorld, 21 June 2013.
Yet the imagery stolen from Christianity is moving: "'Truly, Chavez was the Christ of the poor', Maduro declared during his speech, ending 10 intense days of electioneering in each of Venezuela’s 24 states. ...a country with the highest inflation rate in the Americas, an over-valued and restricted currency which discourages international investment, and crime rates that see more annual homicides than the United States and western Europe combined." In "Venezuela's Maduro bids to be new ‘Christ of the poor’ with help from ‘Hand of God’," by Alasdair Baverstock. Independent UK, 12 April 2013. How strange that socialist prophets claim to be Christs of the poor while homicide reigns supreme.
Apparently these Christs of the poor are not handling inflation well: "In a report, the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO) said that inflation was significantly higher than in February, when it hit 0.5%. According to Efe, the annual food inflation reached 10.4% in March, largely influenced by the evolution of inflation in Brazil (13.5%), Mexico (8.4 %) and Venezuela (30.3%)." In "Venezuela's food price index triples that in Latin America," El Universal, 14 May 2013.
Repeating the phrase for emphasis -- "and therefore will hit the people." It has been proven that socialism in the last century "hit the people" tragically, but it is difficult to suggest that "Jesus" would have advised this, though the now dead populist said "Jesus was a socialist." The South American legend, Simón Bolívar, was a far-seeing and truth-telling prophet in stating below what has been proven true again in the last decades -- that the :parties led us back into slavery." This is what the pretense of 'Jesus was a socialist' does, leading backwards into slavery. It was seen two centuries ago and it it seen today. Bolívar and Christ are now in service to the newest slave masters, employing democratic procedures and myth making to do this. See: Democracy is stupid.
As to annual food inflation eating away at the citizenry, one reads of growing poverty: "...the number of Venezuelans classified as poor shot up in the last year by 1.8 million people. Roughly 6 percent of all Venezuela's 30 million people became poor in the last year alone. The situation is even direr when one looks at extreme poverty, i.e., the number of people whose income cannot even buy a representative basket of food and drink. In the last year alone, the number of extremely poor Venezuelans rose by 730,000. They now reach close to three million people, or roughly 10 percent of the population. The chavista revolution indeed helped the poor between 2003 and 2007, but since 2007, the number of poor Venezuelans has actually increased." In "Poverty Shoots Up in Venezuela," by Juan Nagel, Foreign Policy, 4 June 2014.
Theological Socialism Addendum: "Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday compared Hugo Chavez to Christ and said that the late president, just like Jesus, 'came to protect those who had nothing,' in a tribute to the fallen leader on the fifth-month anniversary of his death. 'Christ the Redeemer became flesh ... became truth in Chavez,' said Maduro from the Cuartel de la Montaña in western Caracas, where Chavez’s remains rest, in a ceremony broadcast carried on all radio and television networks." In "Venezuela's Maduro Compares Chavez to Christ," Agencia EFE, Latin American Herald Tribune, 6 August 2013.
Theological Catholic Addendum: "To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community. It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own." In "Rerum Novarum - On capital and labor," Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, 15 May 1891.
Reality Addendum as Peter Robs Paul: "Many poorer Venezuelans have benefited from the country's immense oil reserves - the largest in the world - through Mr Chavez's social programmes. But his government's monetary policy, nationalisation of key industries and management of public funds have been blamed for high inflation, under-performing industry and shortages of basic supplies." In "Venezuela admits its economy has 'structural problems'," BBC, 1 September 2013.
Reading the BBC statement while replacing "government" with "Christ" per the socialist rhetoric of Maduro, "Many poorer Venezuelans have benefited from the country's immense oil reserves - the largest in the world - through Christ's social programmes. But Christ's government's monetary policy, nationalisation of key industries and management of public funds have been blamed for high inflation, under-performing industry and shortages of basic supplies." Somehow the notion that a "savior" can be blamed for consistently high inflation and shortages of basic supplies tells that the "kingdom on earth" is a little tarnished. Chavez saves? Chavez is dead. This leaves the question of Venezuela, reliving its past again....
And that Past is in the Present: "Various estimates suggest the government already controls about half of the country's food distribution, but that hasn't stopped record shortages in shops and markets. Venezuela is struggling with a recession, 68.5-percent annual inflation and severe shortages of the basic goods that it relies on oil money to import. On any given day, people in Venezuela can wait hours to get some subsidized milk, cooking oil, milk or flour -- if they can be found at all." In "Venezuela to nationalize food distribution," Agence France Presse, 2 May 2015.
And the Present is quickly ever harder for Venezuelans: "The oil-reliant Latin American country is suffocating under a highly interventionist government, led by Hugo Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, rocketing hyperinflation and the tumble in oil prices since June last year. The International Monetary Fund sees Venezuela's economy shrinking 7 percent in 2015, with prices rising by a staggering 96.8 percent." In "Venezuelan currency tanks; inflation seen near 100%," by Katy Barnato, CNBC, 14 May 2015.
Only months passed before such dire news as above increased in severity: "The International Monetary Fund has predicted that inflation in Venezuela will hit 159 percent this year (though President Nicolás Maduro has said it will be half that), and that the economy will shrink 10 percent, the worst projected performance in the world (though there was no estimate for war-torn Syria). That would be a disastrous drive off the cliff for a country that sits on the world’s largest estimated oil reserves and has long considered itself rich in contrast to many of its neighbors. Yet the real story goes beyond numbers, revealed in the absurdities of life in a country where the government has refused for months to release basic economic data like the inflation rate or the gross domestic product." In "Few in Venezuela Want Bolívars, but No One Can Spare a Dime," by William Neuman and Patricia Torres, New York Times, 18 October 2015.
"There is no doubt that with these economic measures the government is stepping up its heavy-handed intervention in citizens’ lives, while it justifies its repressive actions with empty phrases like 'for the people,' 'social justice,' and the 'general interest.' I’m not afraid to state that, in Venezuela, we live under a totalitarian regime." In "What 'Social Justice' Did to Venezuela," by Andrea Rondón García, PanAmPost, 4 November 2015.
"Rampant inflation and the near-collapse of the bolivar currency have destroyed salaries, while violent crime leads many to barricade themselves inside when the region's vast sky turns dark. 'We were 'Chavistas',' said Julio Coromoto, 57, a workman next to a queue of dozens at a shabby supermarket. 'But they destroyed this town'." In "Even in Chavez's hometown, Venezuela 'revolution' ails before election," by Alexandra Ulmer, Reuters, 27 November 2015.
"Venezuela this week arrested four bakers making illegal brownies and other pastries as President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government threatens to take over bakeries in Caracas as part of a new 'bread war'. Maduro has sent inspectors and soldiers into more than 700 bakeries around the capital this week to enforce a rule that 90 percent of wheat must be destined to loaves rather than more expensive pastries and cakes." In "Venezuela arrests brownie and croissant bakers in 'bread war', by Andrew Cawthorne, Reuters, 17 March 2017.
And Jesus Did Not Support a Drug Cartel: "Venezuela is afflicted with the world’s highest inflation, its second highest murder rate and crippling shortages of food, medicine and basic consumer goods. Its authoritarian government is holding some 70 political prisoners, including the mayor of Caracas and senior opposition leader Leopoldo López, and stands accused by human rights groups of illegal detentions, torture and repression of independent media. All of that is now pretty well known, and it is finally beginning to gain some attention from Latin American leaders who for years did their best to appease or ignore Hugo Chávez and his 'Bolivarian Revolution.' What’s less understood is the complicating factor that will make any political change or economic reconstruction in this failing state far more difficult: The Chávez regime, headed since his demise by Nicolás Maduro, harbors not just a clique of crackpot socialists, but also one of the world’s biggest drug cartels." In "A drug cartel’s power in Venezuela," by Jackson Diehl. Washington Post, 24 May 2015.
A Truth from the Past Relived Again: "In Caracas party spirit arose in the societies, assemblies, and popular elections; these parties led us back into slavery." In " A Letter by Simón Bolívar," otherwise known as "Reply of a South American to a Gentleman of this Island,: Kingston, Jamaica, 6 September 1815. Translated by Lewis Bertrand in "Selected Writings of Bolivar," (New York: The Colonial Press Inc., 1951)