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Is this the end game for Bolivarian Socialism in Venezuela

 
 
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2015 06:23 pm
Elections are forthcoming in Venezuela and, based on available data, the opposition - if it allowed to participate and if the voting is fair - will likely win and overturn the so called "Bolivarian Socialist" government created over a Decade ago by the late Hugo Chavez.

The Venezuelan currency is near collapse with an inflation rate greater than 60% and a vigorous black market trading Bolivars for hard currency at rates many times the artificial official peg. Nearly all of Venezuela's consumer goods, including a major part of food supplies, are imported. Petroleum exports account for over 95% of Venezuelan hard currency earnings. The currently depressed prices for petroleum world wide, partly a result of increased U.S. production (and the efforts of OPEC to limit the loss of market share), have significantly depressed Venezuela's earnings from its only export product. Worse for them, under corrupt government and party control, the petroleum production of the country with the largest reserves in the world is down by almost 40% from pre Chavista levels. Local manufactures and even agriculture are similarly depressed as a result of government seizures and inept management of economic activity. Venezuela is blessed with rich agricultural land and abundant natural desources. Despite this poverty abounds and the economy appears to be headed for major collapse.

The recent sentencing of opposition leader Lopold Lopez to 14 years in prision for "inciting violence" in political demonstrations last year in a trial widely condemned for its severe restrictions on defense and obvious government political control has brought down worldwide condemnation for the injusticew involved.

Few doubt the physical ability of the Maduro government to suppress the opposition, at least in the short term, and perhaps control the outcome of the forthcoming election. However, how long can it last in these circumstances? Will the government fall and will it allow a transition of political power? If not what will ensue?

Venezuela has long been a major economic supporter of the Castro government in the people's paradise of Cuba. That is rapidly ending now as Venezuela struggles to maintain its own precarious situation. What will ensue in Cuba?

None of this is a particularly strong endorsement for the efficacy of authoritarian socialism.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 5,802 • Replies: 64

 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2015 08:03 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:


None of this is a particularly strong endorsement for the efficacy of authoritarian socialism.


Or, one could look at it as their just desserts.
georgeob1
 
  -3  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2015 06:04 pm
@Foofie,
What amazes me is that, with the sad examples of authoritarian government management of economic activity so richly provided us by the now unlamented Soviet empire and, since then, by Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba, any sane, observant person could promote the same authoritarian, "progressive" economic policies here. The offered trade is surrender freedom and get wealth and security in return. The sad factual deal is surrender freedom and property and become poor. Poor Bernie .. he apparently still believes all that ****.
Foofie
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2015 07:46 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

What amazes me is that, with the sad examples of authoritarian government management of economic activity so richly provided us by the now unlamented Soviet empire and, since then, by Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba, any sane, observant person could promote the same authoritarian, "progressive" economic policies here. The offered trade is surrender freedom and get wealth and security in return. The sad factual deal is surrender freedom and property and become poor. Poor Bernie .. he apparently still believes all that ****.


Better to lament the young educated voter that thinks Bernie is correct. That's the future, and it is scary, in my opinion. I blame the ending of the universal draft.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  3  
Reply Sun 22 Nov, 2015 01:14 pm
Well two months have passed and the unravelling of the Venezuelan economy continues. Inflation is estimated at overe 200% annually, and the domestic economy continued to fall. Venezuela produces little but petroleum, despite abundant land and natural resources, and even its production of petruleum is falling at the hands of a government controlled company. Foreign firms are leaving, unable to deal with the arbutrary price controls imposed by a desperate, incompetent government and the increasing lawlwssness of the country.

In a recent development two of Maduro's wife's nephews have been arrested and extradited to the U.S. on drug trafficking charges, ... all while other government figures are also implicated in the drug trade. All this while the hapless President Maduro continues his bombastic rhetoric.

Meanwhile the U.S. Administration is opening relations with Cuba !

Let us hope this comedy ends soon.
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fbaezer
 
  5  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 10:30 pm
Not the end game but, step by step, Venezuelans are recovering.
The dec-6 elections were a harsh blow for Maduro.
Two things to notice:
1. Maduro had lost the middle classes a long time ago. Now it's the old chavista base that is turning away from him. He lost even in Hugo Chavez native province. Three "indigenous" districts voted all for the opposition, to put an example.
2. The PSUV leadership toyed with the idea of a coup to prevent the opposition from controlling the Venezuelan Congress. It was answered with a tough negative by the Defense Minister, Gral. Vladimir Plácido. Chavismo is losing the Armed Forces, too.
It ain¡t over 'til it's over. But were are on the ninth inning, and the Opposition turned the tables around and Chavistas are losing the game.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 10:34 pm
@fbaezer,
Thx for the update/clue.
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2015 10:50 am
@fbaezer,
Thanks for the informed and insightful response. Vwnwzuela is richly endowed with productive land, natural resources, ports , etc. Despite this it appears to have, throughout its history, fallen short of plausible projections in its economic and political development. Perhaps the original; Bolivarian revolution didn't serve it very well either.

I fear it may take a long time for Venezuela to recover from 14 years of Chavismo.

What a moment fout the U.S. government's foolish kissing up to the ageing Castro brothers ! They're at the end of their ropes and lives, now able to harvest only the meagre product of their own misrule of Cuba. We should simply let them fall amidst the wreckage of their own rule.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2016 12:28 pm
@fbaezer,
fbaezer,

How do you see the unfolding of events over the last two months?

Maduro is still posturing about preserving the revolution and staying in office, but at the same time appears to be stopping short of a direct, forceful confrontation with the legislature.

Meanwhile Venezuela's GDP is dropping fast and inflation at levels are variously (and probably unreliably) reported above 500% annually. Businesses are closing; shortages are widespread; and those who can leave are packing up and going. I may not be well enough informed, but it appears the government is resisting any practical measures to relieve the economic collapse and limit the developing chaos.

fbaezer
 
  4  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2016 01:00 pm
@georgeob1,
I agree.
Maduro controls two branches: the Executive and the Judiciary. He'll use the latter to crush the Legislative and impose his ill-thought programs.
He chose an absolute nut-case as a sort of Superminister of Economics.
He knows now that tha majority of the population is against him. This means more autoritarianism... until the armed forces get fed up. In the meantime, it will be a long struggle between him and the Natinal Assembly, in which Maduro will have the upper hand,
Rough times for Venezuelans.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2016 01:11 pm
@fbaezer,
Thanks.

Hard to see a good end on the present course.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 09:33 am
Three months have passed and both the political situation and the living conditions for the people of Venezuela appear to be continuing their descent.

It's hard to find a more stunning example of the folly of authoritarian management of a "socialist" economy. I put the term socialist in quotes because it describes the self assumed label of the ruling elite of the Bolivarian Revolution, when in fact the real objective of the revolution, judging by the results obtained, is the welfare of the ruling elite, and nothing else.

This is the essential folly of so called progressive politics generally. Those who presume to know what's good for the rest of us, and wish to use government to impose their will on others, usually wish to be judged based on the presumed goodness of their intentions (or merely rhetoric), as opposed to the results they actually obtain. This, of course, stands in stark contrast to their own criticisms of the incidental failures of free economies that perform far better for all.

That a nation so blessed with land and natural resources as Venezuela should become so utterly dependent on its (admittedly huge) petroleum reserves is vivid testimony to the near collapse of every other aspect of its economic life - an outcome that suggests something far worse than mere incompetence.
fbaezer
 
  4  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 09:31 pm
@georgeob1,
While I disagree with your generalization about progressive politics (and then we'd have to define "progressive"), the truth is that, as you said, "the real objective of the {Bolivarian} revolution, judging by the results obtained, is the welfare of the ruling elite, and nothing else".

This week, the Secretary General of the OAS -who happens to be the Foreign Relations Minister of the left-wing Uruguayan government- said Maduro is moving to become a "dictadorzuelo" (a difficult to translate word: a petty despicable dictator, the "zuelo" suffix is pejorative: a mujerzuela is a slut). Maduro, of course, reacted calling him "a lackey of the Imperialists".
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Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 11:45 pm
A few days ago, a journalist from Caracas was interviewed on CBC, and she describes a country teetering on the brink of civil war, with the majority of military officers fed up with and likely opposed to Maduro. She described a breakdown in social order due to police corruption, with more affluent neighborhoods patrolled by vigilantes, and the wealthiest neighborhoods patrolled by armed, private security firms. She described food riots in the poorest neighborhoods, markets being looted by hungry mobs.

In many respects, this is not the product of a social, an economic or a political system, but rather, a product of the collapse of oil prices. There are even cracks in the facade of Saudi Arabia for exactly the same reasons--the fall of oil revenues has left the government unable to support the generous subsidy programs enacted in palmier days. In Venezuela. Chavez had subsidized so many aspects of everyday life, including food costs, which Maduro can no longer sustain. With high oil prices, the day of reckoning could be postponed indefinitely, but now everywhere in the world of petroleum producers, the chickens are coming home to roost.

I don't know why Bolívar gets dragged into it, though. He was both greater and less than the promises made in his name.
georgeob1
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 28 May, 2016 12:35 pm
@Setanta,
That's mere sophistry. The non petroleum sectors of the Venezuelan economy, from manufacturing to agriculture to the distribution systems for goods and services have largely collapsed. Venezuelan petroleum production vrates are also down significantly. All this is a direct result of the delusional policies of a government that promised equity, prosperity and justice for all and delivered only petty self serving authoritarianism, cronyism and propaganda.

In terms of comparative purchasing power, petroleum prices today are about where they were in 2003. Venezuela wasn't suffering economic collapse then.

Saudi Arabia faces increasing challenges in dealing with a changing economic situation , and it isn't yet clear if their system will survive the new conditions they face. However in relative terms Venezuela is far more richly endowed with a range of natural resources (including productive forest and agricultural land) .... and it is doing far worse.

It was the late, unlamented Chavez who draged Bolivar into this picture (and his moronic replacement Maduro who sustains it), not me (Though judged by the results they delivered, the connection is not entirely unjust).

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 May, 2016 01:01 pm
@georgeob1,
Keep your sophistry to yourself. The entire Venezuelan economy was a house of cards constructed on oil revenues. I am not here to praise socialism,which is the hare you always try to start these last few years whenever i talk about anything. Your monomania gets tedious.

Saudi Arabia is a typical minority tribal government, the Saud claim propped up by the Wahabbi clan to give them religious and moral authority. They've been in business for not quite a century, and as their populace became better educated and more aware of the world outside their borders, the Saud monarchy has attempted to buy peace with subsidy programs for education at home and abroad, as well as food subsidy and housing subsidy programs. In fact, Saudi Arabia lead the charge to increase production about two years ago in an attempt to drive countries with high production costs out of the market--countries such as Canada exploiting the oil sands. Now that's come back to bite everyone in the ass, but Venezuela and Nigeria, who rarely played nice in the OPEC sand box in the past, are suffering the most. Certainly Venezuelan petroleum production has dropped--at these prices and with their grossly inflated wage and benefits plans, they just can't afford to keep the oil flowing when they would effectively be selling it at a loss. I really don't need lessons from you. I'm tired of your over-the-top hostility, too. I did not blame you for the Bolivarian label.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 May, 2016 01:14 pm
@Setanta,
I wasn't commenting on you, - only your foolish post above. I hold no hostility at all toward you (though I suspect you are projecting a bit of your own here). I do think that a person as well informed and knowledgable of history as yourself should see past the delusion you expressed related to the root cause of the economic collapse now ongoing in Venezuela.

You can throw all the gurerilla dust in the air you may want with your bedside- the-point and undisputed excursions on Saudi Arabia. It is merely a self-serving distraction
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 28 May, 2016 01:33 pm
@georgeob1,
Allow me to comment on your foolish post. You consistently accuse me of attempting forward some socialist agenda, you've been doing it for years, and yo do so in a hostile tone. I did not give falling oil prices as the root cause of the economic collapse in Venezuela. If you had actually read what i wrote, rather than just going off with your knee-jerk hostility, you might have seen that i was pointing out that this is a factor in many countries, not just Venezuela. I am aware of the unreality of Chavez' policies, and that any number of crises could have shut down the Venezuelan economy--it just so happens that the oil glut was the trigger here. The Saudis will probably scrape by because they have saved for rainy days.

I truly don't need this crap from you, with conceits and your delusions of adequacy. I'm just tire d of your sh*t.
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Sat 28 May, 2016 02:20 pm
@Setanta,
sigh !!

We weren't talking about triggers here: rather the underlying collapse of economic productivity in Venezula under Chavista rule. To cite an example I suspect you know very well, your post was something like suggesting that WWI was cauased by an assination in Sarajevo... as opposed to factors like;
=> the collapse of the Russian, Austrian Prussion/German alliance in the late 19th century
=> Ambitions for Empire on the part of Germany, and the reactions to it on the part of England and France
=> the rise of nationalist movements in Europe and misguided notions of pan Slavism in Russia
=> the European arms race in the new industrial era
=> and other root factors which you can identify probably better than I
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2016 09:43 am
Poor Venezuela. The continuing and accelerating inflation of their currency at the hands of an incompetent, authoritarian government, that apparently believes that it can order the tides to cease, is causing the collapse of nearly all economic activity in that unfortunate country. Now the stupid thugs running the country are issuing directives ordering the citizens to labor in government directed farms; and when the predictable uproar over that order is emerges claimed it was a "typographical error" and they meant only to seek volunteers. Of course the world got a good taste, during the lamentable 20th century, of exactly what authoritarian socialist governments mean by "volunteer" or "voluntary".

Increasingly Maduro appears to be handing overauthority to a military that appears to be itself increasingly corrupt and involved in both fleecing the people, and the export of illegal drugs to this and other countries. Whether this is a sign of his own crumbling power in the ill fated "Bolivarian Revolution" or an increasing overt militarization of his government is still unclear. Either way both the regime and the situation in Venezuela appear to be disintegrating. Hard to know what will happen next.

Things to think about as we contemplate cozying up to the Castro government in Cuba
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