Writing for The Guardian, Jonathan Watts goes on an enlightening #TropicalMierda roadtrip. A taste:

Private companies are also struggling as a result of the weak bolivar. At the Unicasa Supermercado in El Tigre, there are few customers and little variety. Today there is no rice, sugar, flour, jam, cooking oil, toilet paper, condensed milk, vinegar or baby products

Yet the shelves are mostly full, thanks to single rows of the same few products – Royal brand paper towels, Zulia beer, Lina sardines, Heinz spaghetti sauce – which are repeated in aisle after aisle.

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    • I’ve gone from 185 lbs to 168 lbs from eliminating rum, sugared coke, all snack foods which have some god awful taste these days, all sugar (using artificial) and lots of other cutbacks.

  1. It’s part of the Boiling Frog Castro-Chavista strategy: slowly, progressively, products disappear, prices go up, real purchasing power goes down, opponents leave the country as soon as they can, the population get older, forgetful, year after year, and the new generation, those who have never traveled and never saw a real market, a Cosco or Publix.. used to little abastos, and lack of variety by now.

    After a while, as the knot tightens, people start getting used to their misery. As in Cuba. As in Africa or Asia.. They don’t know any better, anymore. So they live on illusions, meaningless salary raises, empty promises. Many think that since they have so many “bolivares fuertes”, lots of paper bills in their pockets, that things are not that bad. “Un fajo de billetes, chamo!” The quality of their diets goes down, carbohydrates, no meat or fish or fruit, unless they have cows, and a peñero or a mano tree.. and they get used to it. They don’t know any better, after a decade or 2. The Boiling Frog effect has taken its toll in Cubazuela.

  2. “When Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999, he took this way of thinking a step further and used petrol dollars to subsidise essential products such as rice, sugar, toilet paper, sanitary towels and medicine.
    It was an altruistic, populist move that allowed the poor to finally share in the nation’s oil wealth. But it also stifled incentives for producers and created a system of dependency and black-marketing that was already causing economic problems before Chávez died in 2013 and the global crude market collapsed the following year.”
    Altrustic, #NMJ el nivel de negación e hipocresía de la izquierda siempre sorprende. Chávez solo regalaba plata por altruismo, que votaran por él para que tomara contro total de las instituciones y sus cronies se hicieran ricos, era un plus que no hacía una diferencia.

    • It was a decision only motivated by the will to steal money. If he really wanted to help the poor, he would have assigned them a subsidy in cash, and let them and the market allocate the resources according to needs and efficiency. His aims where to create an unprecedented opportunity for government cronies to feast on the government spending, and to kill the market economy so that, as in any communist nation to date, people could only relay on the government for their income. “¡Exprópiese!, “¡Exprópiese!, “¡Exprópiese!” and, after the oil price downfall, everything is now in ruins.

  3. “After a while, as the knot tightens, people start getting used to their misery. As in Cuba. As in Africa or Asia.. They don’t know any better, anymore. So they live on illusions, meaningless salary raises, empty promises.”

    Yeah, I had a cuban nurse once make a condescending remark about “US politicians”. I said, “well, at least we have the opportunity to vote them out of office”. She had no come back.

  4. It’s kind of funny to read an article like that on the Guardian, which is the nest of most of left-wing writers fighting the ‘coups’ and imperialism in South America in our behalf. What makes me think that they are like mermaids, they enchant and hypnotize us to go to the depths of hell (ocean) with them, and we gladly accept it, of course, and we jump in the water enchanted by the charm (?) and political correctness of the likes of Glenn Greenwald, Mark Weisbrot, etc, and when we are nearly dying, they return to the surface as if nothing had happened, or even better, screaming for help because they saw someone drowning somewhere.

    Be careful with The Guardian, young ones, too many (bearded) mermaids there.

  5. They’ve been doing that since Chavez was alive. Since back in the day when I used to go to the supermarket and I’d be searched for a camera (because why else would a musiu be in a Venezuelan supermarket except to take pictures?). I seem to recall there was some sort of law passed about not having bare shelves…part of the early brilliant policies to combat scarcity, along with banning photographs. Perhaps I am wrong on that.

  6. I imagine that when Maduro joins Chavez in hell for eternity, he also will be malnourished from standing in a fiery hot line for hours only to find no food. Like a frog in boiling water.

    • That, is funny! There’s little place for anyone to ask you, “Now tell us what you really think!” What irks me is that apparently there is an exit plan in the works for the regime, and they’ll probably take the witches of the TSJ and the CNE with them. The U.S., like Switzerland, leaves judgement to God, and will probably sell them their condos in Miami and NYC (where they will continue to lead very unhappy lives).

  7. Most of this article did not state anything that was not news to me or others who read CC. The following paragraph had something that I had not previously read about- fallow fields in Venezuela- though it is not a surprise.

    Compared to agriculture, however, that is a relatively small decline. On the roadside are miles and miles of empty, fertile land, and relatively few crops. With prices of many vegetables kept low, there is little incentive for farmers. Between 2012 and 2015, domestic grain production fell by 80%, meat by 40% and vegetables by 18%, according to private sector analysts. Shortfalls were once covered by imports, but the state has to use its remaining petrodollars to service debts.

    Not long ago, CC had an article on Maduro pushing urban agriculture. Canucklehead pointed out that he had heard the same urban agriculture spiel in Cuba some years back. Michael Totten in World Affairs pointed out several years ago that he had seen immense quantities of fallow fields in Cuba.

    Both Cuba and Venezuela import most of their food, and both have large amounts of fallow fields. Chalk it up to another victory for Socialism. Or to Real Existing Socialism. Or to the Embargo causing fallow fields in Cuba. Or to the Capitalist War Against Venezuela -or whatever Maduro calls it- causing fallow fields in Venezuela.

    The FAO merely repeats the food production and supply stats which respective governments give it, which makes it no surprise that FAO stats reflect neither fallow fields nor reduction in food production nor reduction in food supply for Venezuela. According to the FAO stats, food supply in Venezuela is above 3,000 kilocalories per capita per day. Rest assured that no one in the Guardian photo is eating that much.


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