Venezuela

Protests against Socialism in Venezuela Escalate Again, Not Because of Donald Trump

At least 20 people have died during unrest this month.

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MIGUEL GUTIERREZ/EPA/Newscom

The socialist government of Venezuela has faced street protests on-and-off for more than the last three years, ever since it ramped up its crackdown on a growing opposition. Hugo Chavez, the late former president, was a popular figure in Venezuela, and among Western leftists, while the price of oil was high and giving him a cash flow he could use to buy his people's support.

Eventually he died, replaced by Nicolas Maduro, an even dimmer politician than Chavez, oil prices went down, and the system, as critics had long warned, began to collapse. The government started fingerprinting supermarket shoppers back in 2014, and its policies have led to hyperinflation and increasing shortages of a whole range of household and consumer products—even beer.

Voters in Venezuela handed control of the legislature to the opposition after suffering from years of socialist-inflicted economic malaise. The ruling party, which under Chavez had consolidated more and more state power under itself, has tried to make it as difficult as possible for the opposition to undo the damage created by Chavismo, finally shutting down the legislative branch altogether last month. The transformation from socialism to dictatorship should never be surprising.

Make no mistake, the Venezuelan regime still has its defenders in the West. For example a recent opinion piece in Al-Jazeera by Javier Farje, who lives in London, insists that the opposition-controlled legislature had been trying to "crush every reform implemented by the Chavez government" by working to reverse laws that have sent the country into a downward economic spiral.

The historical, economic, and political context of the current moment in Venezuela, however, didn't stop MSNBC's Rachel Maddow from connecting it to the revelation that Citgo, Venezuela's state-owned oil company, donated $500,000 to the Trump inaugural committee. "Today Venezuelans are enraged anew by this brand new FEC filing from the White House," Maddow told her audience this week, while a chyron read "Unrest in Venezuela Over Trump Donations."

As CNBC reports, however, the filing came "a day after the latest in a series of violent demonstrations which have added to the country's rising death." The opposition movement in Venezuela called for nationwide protests earlier in the week, which were repressed by government forces. On social media, the ruling Socialist Party reveled in the fact that protesters were forced to clean themselves in a dirty river after being tear gassed by police.

Last night, El Valle, one of the capital Caracas' "toughest, most violent shantytowns," according to Caracas Chronicles, saw looting of the commercial district, with a response by local security forces and the national government's paramilitary forces, and reports of gunfire throughout the night.

Local media coverage of the ongoing unrest has been almost non-existent. "It can be baffling trying to piece together a sequence of events in a country with no free media," Francisco Toro wrote in Caracas Chronicles. Local prosecutors say they are investigating 11 deaths in El Valle, including eight people electrocuted while trying to break into a bakery. At least 20 people have died in unrest since April 4.

Opposition leader Julio Borges, who is the head of the opposition-controlled legislature, meanwhile, has sent more than a dozen letters to banks around the world, asking them to stop funding the Venezuelan government, while Bolivia's Evo Morales, an ideological ally of the socialists in Venezuela, insists protests are an "internal conspiracy or external intervention… intended to steal Venezuelan oil."

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48 responses to “Protests against Socialism in Venezuela Escalate Again, Not Because of Donald Trump

  1. was a popular figure in Venezuela, and among Western leftists, while the price of oil was cheap and giving him a cash flow he could use to buy his people’s support

    Don’t you mean the price of oil was high?

    1. Eventually he died, replaced by Nicolas Maduro, an even dimmer politician than Chavez, oil prices went up, and the system, as critics had long warned, began to collapse.

      Down?

    2. Eventually he died, replaced by Nicolas Maduro, an even dimmer politician than Chavez, oil prices went up, and the system, as critics had long warned, began to collapse.

      Down?

        1. How can you laugh?

  2. was a popular figure in Venezuela, and among Western leftists, while the price of oil was cheap and giving him a cash flow he could use to buy his people’s support

    Don’t you mean the price of oil was high?

      1. This was fun to read. But why did you type “goddammit” only once? It broke the flow.

        1. This would never happen on a Venezuelan website, because the squirrels would already be dead and eaten.

        2. Squirrel censorz.

  3. “eight people electrocuted while trying to break into a bakery”

    Electricity is subsidised in Venezuela. Hence proliferation of profitable Bitcoin mining and effective burglary booby traps.

  4. “Protests against socialism in Venezuela escalate again, not because of Donald Trump”
    Shouldn’t that be “in the era of Trump”? Cause I’m pretty sure he fucked it up somehow.

    1. Poorly worded headline. I’m skeptical that there are “protests against socialism.” Isn’t it more likely that the protests are against the methods of those in charge, and not socialism, per se?

      1. Yeah, they’re just protests against Maduro – Chavez brought them hope and change they could believe in and then the obdurate obstructionists crippled him and Maduro failed on his promises to make Venezuela great again. It’s what happens when you vote for smooth-talking charismatic conmen with their vague promises of being the only ones capable of supplying free lunches. Maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere about relying on Top Men and government power rather than the spontaneous order of the free market and individual initiative to deliver all the lunch you’re willing to pay for.

        1. I see what you did there.

        2. Clever socialists actually do blame Maduro, lamenting that Chavez died & was succeeded by an incompetent or corrupt man.

    2. The headline is alluding to msnbc’s coverage of the protests which blamed them squarely on Donald Trump. Rachel Maddow had a segment where she said it was revealed that there were some Trump donations from a group within the country and all of the unrest you’re seeing is a direct result of that. It is the ultimate example of fake news.

      It wasn’t just an obfuscation, it was a bald-faced Lie by MSNBC.

      1. I’m shocked !!!

        1. That’s what the bakery burglars said.

  5. If you flap your arms hard enough, you can fly. If you jump off the roof flapping your arms and hit the ground, you weren’t flapping hard enough. Those evil bastards telling you not to jump, that it can’t be done, are not your friends, they have a vested interest in subverting your efforts and seeing you fail. We’ll round them up and send them off to prison, you keep flapping them arms and jumping off the roof. Won’t it be grand, soaring around up there in the air, free as a bird? Keep thinking happy thoughts, don’t think about how hard the ground is.

  6. Someone over at . . . another site turned me on to this statistic from The Economist:

    “Over the past year around three-quarters of Venezuelans have lost weight, averaging 8.7kg per person, because of a scarcity of food.”

    —-The Economist

    http://tinyurl.com/mavam9n

    That’s about 20 lbs. per person, they’re claiming, in lost weight–over the course of a year–do to the shortage of food.

    I told people at the other site I wouldn’t quote that statistic to non-libertarians–because it’s so extraordinary.

    Venezuela has 30 million people, if a conservative 20 million of them have lost 20 lbs–on average–it is nothing short of amazing that the people of Venezuela didn’t start rioting a year ago–and much bigger than this.

    Central planning is abundantly stupid. We saw this happen with empty shelves in the Soviet Union circa 1989. Same thing happened and for all the same reasons. No bread to buy because the bakers can’t afford the ingredients–and so on down the line? Predictable as the sunrise.

    Venezuela’s food policy is basically ObamaCare for food. Progressive economic policy is for stupid people. Dumber than creationism. I’ve met plenty of creationists in my time who wouldn’t fall for something as stupid as this. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama’s primary concern was that America’s poor are too fat.

    Just think about that for a second–how painfully stupid progressives can be.

    1. Socialism works. It decreases obesity, increases health. No wonder there hasn’t been as much food in stores — the people don’t need it in their new healthier socialist lifestyle.

      1. And they ran out of toilet paper because before, everyone was starving. Thanks to Chavismo, everyone has enough to eat, so naturally they poop more.

    2. It is amazing what low oil prices can do to an economy.

    3. Rioting takes energy.

      Better off using that energy to flee.

  7. Eventually he died, replaced by Nicolas Maduro, an even dimmer politician than Chavez, oil prices went down, and the system, as critics had long warned, began to collapse.

    I think you mean they’ve ‘experienced some bad luck’.

  8. The capacity of the Liberal Progressive Left to delude themselves about Authoritarian States with a nice line in Revolutionary/Socialist patter is nearly bottomless. They have never absorbed the lesson that in a Communist/Socialist revolution the chattering classes are always amongst the very first people liquidated.

    Were I in charge of the country (which God forbid) I would deport any Leftist twit who defended Venezuela … to Venezuela.

    1. If you were, people would self-deport.

      And the remaining ones, if honest would be deported to Somalia

      1. Self-deport to an islamic failed state ? That truly is every libertarians dream !!!11

  9. Finally, we’ve passed the era where everything was Bush’s fault!

    1. That was passed a long time ago, when North Korean disaster was blamed on Clinton and then Obama, and the eight years in the middle when the dude finally acquired his nukes were skipped

  10. The historical, economic, and political context of the current moment in Venezuela, however, didn’t stop MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow from connecting it to the revelation that Citgo, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, donated $500,000 to the Drumpf inaugural committee

    LOL, way to twist the context. The context on the TRMS show was about unfettered access to Drumpf through his Mar-a-lago laundering franchise. A membership of at least $200,000 from a foreign agent gets you access to the man himself, and that such might be in violation of the (foreign) emoluments clause.

    But reason.com Republicans are painting that context as a debate on the merits of economics. No idea on which side the donors were, was it?

    1. and that such might be in violation of the (foreign) emoluments clause.

      You’re suggesting that people are rioting in venezuela because they’re outraged by possible violations of the emoluments clause?

      That ‘context’ doesn’t sound any less-retarded than the one summarized by Ed.

      1. The guy thinks “Drumpf” is an especially clever insult. He’s not exactly playing with a full deck.

        1. I saw that.

          What the fuck?

    2. “And today Venezuelans are enraged anew by this brand new FEC filing from The White House.”

      So were Venezuelans motivated by their wretched conditions or their oil company donating money to Trump? She made a direct point borne out of a context – at least in her mind.

      We’re seeing people rebelling against a system that failed them, and Maddow tried to make some tangential connection to Trump. “Context” is irrelevant if it’s not germane to the discussion.

    3. “Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, donated $500,000 to the Drumpf inaugural committee”

      Wait… you ACTUALLY edited this to change the name?

      Ahahahahahhahahahahaahha

      WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!!???

    4. Something tells be the overlap between the people who flipped their shit over people saying ‘Barack Hussein Obama’ and people who now like to call this guy Drmpf is pretty high, which I think is pretty funny.

  11. It’s never socialism’s fault

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/u…..rt/5535633

  12. Socialism always works out well, doesn’t it? We should listen to Bernie Sanders and try it here!

    1. Socialism (in its purest form) will never happen here, because the democrat donors who run big business have money and capital to protect.

      1. Just like a sword can cut anything so long as it is forged from unobtanium.

      2. Actually that IS socialism in its purest form.

  13. Tear gas doesn’t count as chemical weapons, right? Hope not, we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now.

  14. > Even beer.

    Priorities.

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