Some Classes Struggle More than Others

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Photo: idealista.com

I’ll take the liberty to generalize, just because I know there are always a few exceptions:

We live in two countries, where one is oblivious to the other. I know it’s insulting, depressing, shameful and even stupid to see it all through the lens of “class struggles” (in fact, it’s also bad for our health) and I’m not going to say that it’s faulty to be rich, because it must be amazing!

But it’s terrible to see a country so shamelessly blind to the other.

And although it’s not new at all, it keeps happening even though it’s inexcusable. I keep hearing people say: “Rich people aren’t really affected by the crisis, and they weren’t affected by chavismo,” while others do the impossible to survive. I see people move on foot when they can’t pay for public transport; and in the same day I see people throw away perfectly edible food (you’ll say I’m exaggerating, but it still happens, I’ve seen it). I see them complain about the dull problems that they can only experience because they have money in proportion to their inconsistency.

It’s terrible to see a country so shamelessly blind to the other.

I’m ashamed to hear them say things like “The slum is in the head” or “They’re poor because they want to be” and similar absurdities. But I’m also ashamed by the stories I hear from cooks, drivers, waiters or fellow musicians about the excesses they witness in opulent parties (not necessarily staged by enchufados.) The worst part is that I’ve also been judged for being “catire”, that I’ve been the first to be asked for money in the street because white guys must have more money than the morenito, right?

If only they knew how much I’ve had to struggle for stuff, that I’ve inherited nothing but books and principles, and that I’ve been unable to accomplish what I want, because I’ve chosen to work for it.

The point is that Hyundai sells Tucson trucks on TV with Wuilker Fariñez’ image. And I love the fact that Wuilker owns a nice truck, if anyone’s given us reason to feel proud, it’s him. But that ad is confusing because, what kind of people can buy a truck nowadays in this country?

Perhaps that’s what being “middle class” here really means: Not being a part of any of the two countries… because if it’s not that, then there’s no such thing.

Perhaps that’s what being “middle class” here really means: Not being a part of any of the two countries.

Again, I know that seeing it all from the point of view of the class struggle sounds more like a pelabola’s angry tantrum, than like someone who has something to offer, but seriously, we’ve been in this hell for almost twenty years and we see the poorest in our society suffer and eat from the garbage, as undeniable evidence of the fact that inequality and injustice are worse than in any moment in our history. The only thing that remains is rage.

And you, foolish wannabe aristocrats, Kardashians of absurdism, aren’t helping.

Although it’s late already for many things, it’s never too late to open our eyes and see the other country. Whether you see it like Marx (the oppressed rebel when they realize they’re oppressed) or like Weber (everything boils down to a class struggle where all of us are “programmed”) the conclusion is the same: Either we lend our hand, or we’ll leave this apocalypse behind, only to enter another.

About 15 years ago I heard a definition of my country which I find accurate to this day:

Venezuela es una rueda de mantuanos, con el perraje alrededor esperando su turno para colarse.

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100 COMMENTS

  1. As long as people concern themselves more with what other people have and do, nothing will change.

    Envy brought this disaster. You are seeing the results.

  2. In Venezuela you have two societies , civil society which is emblematized by a middle class most of whose members have entered it in the last 4 or 5 generations and who are characterized by a particular ethos (stable families, concern for the future, the value of giving children the best possible education, the value of discipline , orderly living , reponsible work habits , ambition ) and a marginal society which are the succesors to a more stable and hard working rural ancestors who on losing their roots when moving the cities became to a large extent the victims of a ripped social fabric…..characterized by prosmicuity, live for today forget about tomorrow type of mentality , relaxed sense of social obligations , relaxed work habits , minimal parental commitment specially on the part of the fathers, (parental neglect or abandonement) , love of transient fun . Its nos just a question of income for in past generations we were a really poor country , no great dinasties of powerful and wealthy families , wealth comes thru political or family connections and is transient , most people come from much humbler backgrounds but had an ancestors who were lucky or better equipped mentally to do good , and have relatives and friends who belong to different social strata……our social structures because theyve risen more recently are more fuzzy and porous ……. than in other countries…….!! Social hierarchies exist but they lack the solidity and tradition of many other cultures……, the marginal society includes people whose ethos is more middle class than marginal and the middle class people whose ethos still retains many features of the marginal ethos , the thing is that marginal society can be destructive of peoples character and mentality , it can damage people from the inside , make them into backward people incapable of jumping into a middle class life at one jump ….these are facts , not sentimental goody goody assumptions ……the normal condition of people in our kind of culture is poverty or semi poverty , the myth of a class of grand traditional masters is oure myth !!

    • The one fact that you did not state in your analysis of the growth of Venezuela’s middle class is primarily the result of the massive immigration of people form Europe during the Marcos Pérez Jiménez year’s. Most of these immigrants came with a middle class mentality and the skills-experience required to build a solid middle class life in Venezuela. Many arrived with the idea to make their “fortune” and return to the home country when they could. So, many maintained their country of origin passport and citizenship. These families are now in their 2nd and 3rd generations since arriving in Venezuela. They formed the core of the Venezuelan middle class. They were the first to recognize Chavez and what he represented. They and their children were among the 1st to depart and many of their children are still in the process of departing as

      • Yes, absolutely, it wasn’t generally the poor Venezuelan campesino working for his food on an hacienda, nor even when he earned maybe $8/da. working for the multinational-financed oil industry, that formed the backbone of Venezuela’s nascent (then truncated by devaluations starting in the early 1980’s) middle class–it was largely post-/WWII European refugees (pan y Pepsi-Cola daily diet) working their backsides off who were the seeds of that middle class (Caracas in the mid-1950’s was 50% 1st or 2nd generation (mostly European) immigrant.

        • The european inmigrants from the MPJ years did a lot to increase the size of the middle class in Venezuela , but also know of many Venezuelans with a middle class mentality/ set of concerns that also became middle class even if of humble backgrounds using education and other opportunities to climb the ladder ,also remember the local tendency of intermarriage between people of different backgrounds ………I would dare say that many of those stuck in marginal society jobs , home address have the virtues and capacities and vocation to become midde class even if they have not had the opportunities…read father Alejandro Morenos work on the ‘Popular Family in Venezuela’ ,

          • Of course, you’re right. I have been in homes of the very wealthy, often inter-married with European/N.A. immigrants, with the abuelita of very humble origins (e.g., E. Mendoza padre, one of whose brothers married a Canadian, one of their daughters married a Norwegian-Venezuelan — the other is the mother of LL Jr., btw).

  3. “And you, foolish wannabe aristocrats, Kardashians of absurdism, aren’t helping.”

    Aristocracy? Is that code for conspicuous consumption?

    I build high end homes. Timber-frame construction meant to last hundreds, if not a thousand years. (See various stave churches in Norway) These homes are most often built by the wealthy, who have decided to spend a large amount of money on something many would consider frivolous, especially since nobody “needs” a big house, let alone one with timber exposed.

    Who builds these vile McMansions?

    Regular guys who wear blue jeans, drink cheap beer and ride ATV’s and snowmobiles. They belch, fart, spit and swear in front of their friends, co-workers and relatives. Most certainly, you won’t find some guy in a Brooks Brothers 3 piece suit swinging a maul, digging a trench or running wire at the construction site.

    So the next time some waiter, or cabbie, or some other worker bee bitches about some dude throwing a party, and spilling more scotch on their expensive carpet than he makes in a month, perhaps that person ought to be thankful they are not rummaging through a garbage tip for “perfectly edible food” instead of being gainfully employed by these “absurd Kardashian” types.

    • You nailed it. They miss the whole point:

      I live near Ft. Lauderdale, and I THINK we have the biggest yacht building industry in the country. The opulence of these boats…docked by incredible Intercoastal homes…were built by regular people! As were the homes!

      They just don’t understand that this is how capitalism succeeds. It’s only when you try to fuck with this system that everyone gets fucked, like so called “Luxury Taxes.”

      What the hell is a luxury tax anyway? It’s all relative, and should be.

    • So they ride ATVs and snowmobiles, but do they ride buses? Because that is the real measure of what ‘normal’ people do in our world of 7bn humans. And we normal people also do our part so that others don’t have to rummage the garbage and we feel that everyone has a fair chance. Since you mention Norway, you could see that there, the owner of the house and the worker can be neighbours and one doesn’t have to fear the other.

      • Ah yes…we visited Norway a couple years back.

        Apparently, the national past-time is taking the ferry from Kristiansand to Hirtshals, Denmark, to dodge the punitive taxes in Norway. And few restaurants, since nobody can afford to eat out. 4 burgers and fries at the Esso in Vikesa (gas station, south of Stavanger) set us back $65.

      • FWIW, the people we met throughout Norway were quite lovely and very gracious. Very eager to use their English, which came in handy because I don’t know a lick of Norwegian. They were, however, quite snooty when it came time to hear about “American” lifestyles. Guns, gas guzzling automobiles, boats and RV’s and big green manicured yards slathered in man made, Monsanto-styled pesticides and weed killers. I thought one guy was going to have a stroke when I told him about my business’ fleet of Ford F-150/250/350 trucks… “How can you justify such a thing? What do your neighbors say about such wastefulness? And you drive them every day?”

      • Never been to Norway but, God, I hope to get there someday! I mean, for all my life Norway has been the perfect example of true socialism and, if only we all would
        copy the Norwegian way, what a perfect world it would be!

        Last time I checked, Norway had a population of 5 million. For comparison, the Greater Miami area is home to 7 million. Tell you what; let’s take 15 million dirt-poor Venezuelans and relocate them to Norway! Let those who really know how to make socialism work deal with the Vz problem. In no time everyone would be getting along just fine. No poverty, everyone doing his part so nobody has to rummage through garbage, and one friendly neighbor won’t have to fear another!

        • I’ll take the bet that the 15 million Venezuelans, will turn Norway into Venezuela, instead.

          As well, you are confusing Norway’s “Socialism” with Capitalism with a very generous social safety net.

          Lastly, Norway is so “perfect” partly because Oil constitutes 22% of GDP, (Which only a few countries are bless with) as well the Norwegians have alway had a stellar work ethic.

        • We visited relatives in Norway. Some of the oldsters were telling us about Norway BEFORE the oil boom. The wonderful 6/4 lane highways in and out of Stavanger and Bergen? Gravel roads, and when you met someone on the road, one of you had to pull over and let the other pass. (It is well that Norwegians are so nice… I doubt most other countries citizenry would allow such road courtesy!) Guardrails on mountain roads? Pfft!

          Norway spend a shitload of oil money on infrastructure, which is good, because prior to oil, it was a backwoods patchwork of ferries and bridges… or a weeks journey to get to the other side of a fjord on single lane gravel roads. The ONLY way to get to some towns in a timely (and safe) fashion was by boat (Vikoyri, Odda)

          But yes… send a bunch of Chavista loving Socialist Venezuelans to Norway, and see how the culture changes for the better. It is a sure fire way to turn the most beautiful, scenic and serene country on the planet into a shithole.

  4. Carl Marx should never have been born and mister Max Weber was a key adviser for the Weimar constitution, which was so fucked up that Hitler and his Nazi party had a chance. Nice historical figures you’re choosing mate. And please don’t blame the rich for being rich. Ser rico is malo? The fact I the matter is that a HUGE majority of Venezuelans are too LAZY and are only concerned about tonight’s polar lite and their arepa. So fucking lazy that STILL there aren’t millions upon millions upon millions in the streets all day every day. VIVA CUBAZUELA, VIVA EL COBARDE PUEBLO NO JODAAAAAS

    • A socialist day in futbol. To me it seems that two lesser teams were outplayed, but nevertheless won and will go to the quarter finals.

  5. “It has the human development indicators of a country that’s actually suffered a war,” Croft said. “Someone is going to have to come in and save Venezuela. It’s not enough for Maduro to be gone.”

    From Markets Insider.

    Reports indicate that foreign reserves are down to 2.5 billion $US over “the last several months.” Owing an estimated 60 billion in bond payments, the vultures are circling. Pence is getting restless. All sober critics refer to Venezuela as a “failed state.” Maduro has no credibility with foreign governments, including it’s biggest debtors, China and Russia. No one is going to give Maduro any more cash money. No one. Chavistas leaders are being sanctioned by the dozens – expect that to increase.

    No telling when this epic will be over, at least the worst of it, but the Chavistas now have no way out, at least by their own means. Since they cannot negotiate of compromise, they cannot change, but some kind of compromise is not far off, IMO. I suspect that since no one wants to be on the hook for the rebuild, any kind of proactive intervention is off the table.

    Long story short, I see in the not so distant future a deal offered whereby amnesty is offered as a means for Maduro and company to step down. Al la Marcos and the Philippines.

    • Amnesty with any remnants of the current Regime in power is a recipe for disaster–would you invest YOUR money in such a situation?

  6. Even among the obviously well educated you can detect a relaxed sense of social obligations and relaxed work habits.

    In their writing, for example. Some just can’t be bothered to check for spelling errors or good sentence structure. And heaven forbid that you expect them to organize their thoughts with proper paragraphs!

    It is a shame, really, because often they have worthwhile things to say. But they insult their readers with just plain lazy writing.

    • +1, LOL 😉
      Sometimes it’s a disguise: they don’t actually want anyone to understand what they write so the readers will continue to think them well educated.

    • Thats quite correct even among those clonized by the middle class ethos there is usually a less regimented and self demandind life style than may be prevalent in north european countries , but not so much that they cant operate succesfully in a modern economy and do good for themselves if given the chance …….also happens in much of mediterranean europe……, am not sold on the idea that a refined communicational ability is essential to being a succesful middle class citizen ……., General Gomez was the epithome of many middle class values and he couldn write a grammatically correct line if he wanted to …..our culture overplays the importance of having a well developed expressive ability ……, am rminded of how Moses on coming back from the mountain with the tables of the law had someone speak for him to the people because he was tongue tied and a terrible public speaker….., there are adjective virtues which people pay a lotof attention to while neglecting the substantive virtues greater relevance……., ths itself is a sign of marginal mentality , form takes precedence over substance !!

      • Hey Bill, ever heard the old saying:

        “If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right?”

        How arrogant can you be? What you are saying is that if someone wants to be blessed with your golden kernels of insight and knowledge, then they are just going to have to struggle through your poorly written posts, because you do not respect them enough to make them readable!

        Try getting a job at any successful, private company in the USA by submitting a sloppy, lazily written resume.

        • Lorenzo – You make a clear point. My personal agony is wondering if what I write is worth posting. There’s always the thought that it is not down to earth enough, not useful. In art school the master once said, “Sell all your paintings. Don’t keep them. Years from now you’ll look back on them and think ‘Did I do that?’ and throw them away.”

        • Writing to me has a cathartic effect , an idea comes to my mind and I usually have a good notion if its worth writing or not except that most of what I write I write for my own intellectual pleasure in digital notebooks I keep to myself , so posting something in a blog is not something which I do with too great care about some readers sensitivity for the perfectly composed text , but rather to set out stuff I ve already reflected and written about long time ago and which I notice no one appears to have noted in their postings on a particular subject …., problem is that what I write is only the stub of a much more fully developed reflexion which I must synthetize for people who havent looked at the whole subject the way I already have ……I confess my carelesness at sometimes writing stuff with impatience and overly hasty speed…..I sincerely suggest that anyone bothered by my neglectful style of writing skip my postings altogether ….most likely what I write is not for them !!

          • “Writing to me has a cathartic effect…”

            That explains the stream of unconsciousness. Usually I find a false premise in the first sentence or two and then blissfully ignore the rest of the boilerplate.

          • Well, gee! You might find it hard to believe, but the rest of us have things to do and our time is also precious.

            Hang on to your attitude, Bill, and have a nice life.

      • Bill Bass

        I don’t have any trouble reading your posts …… you think something like I do though not entirely and not quite as deeply, but your thoughts make themselves present …… the point you make of form over function is very relevant in today’s world ……!!!! …. Hitler dressed very formally in perfect pose and posture, though he would have done better for himself had he posed as a victim rather than a figure of import … regardless Hitler …. socialists redefine words, and no examples of that aaare needed …. one can simply pick up the newspaper and read bout the absence of crisis in Venezuela and the plentyiful food supplies awaiting free free free distribution to true patriots, for example …..!!! amazingly some accept those redefinitions, or relate those redefinitions to the true meaning instead of seeing through the redefinitions …. How you write doesn’t really make much difference to me, but if you begin to put a socialist bent to your thoughts, then someone should issue a reply to set you straight …!!!! … as a favor to you and to everyone else … !!!

        I haven’t been “There” (in Venezuela) for decades, yet I get tense over things. I have difficulty putting myself through the imaginative exercise of actually being there. Why try, when I know it’s not possible to stand in a line at an ATM for two hours, sweating, weak from hunger, not having laundry detergent to wash the sweat out, not knowing if the machine will have the fifty cents available, not knowing where to buy what I need even if I do get that fifty cents, smelling the deodorant-less populace, not knowing who there voted for Chavez, watching a shiny new SUV speed past, trying hard to remind myself that it isn’t the rich to blame, but the thieves to blame.

  7. The thing about being a North American visitor to Venezuela is that if you have a nice looking watch, a fresh haircut, an ironed pastel colored shirt, and you are not dark skinned, you can at least gain entry and some measure of acceptance into this rarified segment of Venezuelan society. And if you are a sentient visitor you will probably have a few revolutionary thoughts of your own as you consider how nobody in this world worries about work or appears to have ever changed a diaper.

    On the other hand, this class has its outliers- people who do work, people who use their talents for the betterment of society, people who live by a moral code, people who find the mere living off of rents unsatisfactory, and including people who have made great sacrifices for their fellow citizens and for their country. Admirable people.

    The tourist to Venezuela, or any other Latin American country, might come back to North America, and realize that our society is rapidly looking more like those ones, with its heavily guarded enclaves of clueless people with odd manners who spend their resources keeping themselves apart from the rest. And who create, for these efforts, dangerous conditions of political and economic instability.

    Thanks for the gentle reminder of how we got into this mess in the first place. You don’t have to be a communist or apologize when you talk about inequality.

      • Reminds me of one of the endless thought experiments based on the trolley conundrum:

        A runaway trolley with 5 passengers is headed toward a cliff. You are near a switch that can divert the trolley onto a sidetrack, but there is a single man working on the sidetrack that will surely be killed if you divert the trolley. Do you do nothing and let the 5 passengers die, or do you divert the trolley, saving the 5 passengers but sacrificing the workman?

        When this problem was presented to white college students (I think it was at Stanford) who identified as Conservative, they invariably became proactive and made the tough but horrible decision to sacrifice the single workman to save the 5 passengers. The interesting part, though, was that they made this same decision regardless of race. It didn’t matter if the passengers were white and the workman was black, or vice-versa.

        When the problem was presented to white Liberal students, however, they almost always sacrificed the white subject(s) to save the black(s). In other words, if the workman was black and the passengers were white, then they would become proactive and save the single black guy at the expense of the 5 white passengers. And, in the inverse, they would do nothing and let the white workman die to save the 5 black passengers.

        So it begs the question: Who are the true racists, the white Conservative students, or the white Liberal students? And, I can only wonder, which choice would Canucklehead make if he were at the switch?

      • Amnesty with any remnants of the current Regime in power is a recipe for disaster–would you invest YOUR money in such a situation?

  8. “I’m ashamed to hear them say things like “The slum is in the head” or “They’re poor because they want to be” and similar absurdities. But I’m also ashamed by the stories I hear from cooks, drivers, waiters or fellow musicians about the excesses they witness in opulent parties (not necessarily staged by enchufados.) The worst part is that I’ve also been judged for being “catire”, that I’ve been the first to be asked for money in the street because white guys must have more money than the morenito, right?”

    For me, the above paragraph probably says all that really needed to be said about today’s Venezuela, Victor.

    “I’m ashamed to hear them say things like “The slum is in the head” or “They’re poor because they want to be” and similar absurdities.”

    No, people aren’t generally poor because they want to be poor, but it has been said before that you could take all the money from all the world’s richest, redistribute it to the poor, and within a year or two those who received it would be poor again and those from whom it was stolen would have it back in their possession.

    Or, more simply put, as Albert Einstein is claimed to have once said, “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… he who doesn’t… pays it.”

    Handling money is no different than anything else in life. Handle it properly and it’s a valuable tool that can make your life easier to live and more enjoyable. Handle it properly and it growns. Handle it improperly and it will quickly do nothing at all for you and may even leave you worse off than you were before.

    “But I’m also ashamed by the stories I hear from cooks, drivers, waiters or fellow musicians about the excesses they witness in opulent parties (not necessarily staged by enchufados.)”

    Don’t doubt the excesses witnessed by others at opulent parties, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around how anyone today in Venezuela can have an opulent party and not be an “enchfado” at some level. Perhaps there are some wealthy in Venezuela who have successful, legal businesses OUTSIDE the country that gives them access to hard currency, or perhaps they’re spending family wealth earned generations ago. But for the life of me I can’t understand how anyone today can start with nothing and build a successful business in this country without being an enchufado at some level. There are simply too many obstacles that are intentionally placed in one’s way…..not even mentioning the devastating effects of hyper-inflation.

    “The worst part is that I’ve also been judged for being “catire”, that I’ve been the first to be asked for money in the street because white guys must have more money than the morenito, right?””

    Venezuelans will generally vehemently deny it, but they can be racists with the best of ’em, classifying others by the color of their skin, the car they drive, the clothing they wear. I’ll never forget the words of a former country manager of mine from many years ago. He was a black man from Trinidad though he held Venezuelan citizenship, and was married to a Venezuelan woman. He had a young son when I hired him and within a year or so a second son was born. When his wife showed up at the office one day with the new baby, I congratulated them and told him how good-looking his new son was. He sighed, shook his head a bit and said, “yeah, but he’s much darker than his brother”.

    How does one respond to that?

    • Oh, skin color is a big issue in the DR too.

      Your guy was just expressing fear for the diminished opportunities his darker son will encounter.

      Yes, he should have been of the mindset “You can do anything son, regardless of color,” but let’s face it:

      That’s a hard attitude to maintain even in so-called advanced, long-time Democracies.

    • Colorism and self-hate still rampant in caribbean countries and black people in general, Venezuela also suffer this thing, i had a big arguings and almost fights with some family members for this mentality, i still remember a family party we had when i was like 16 in were a cousin of mine brought his blonde white girlfriend and most of them gathered around them praising him for his pretty girlfriend and if they had babies how cute they would be, them here i comes with my black girlfriend and the first look i get is a this is who you are dating? type of look i kept my composure even tho my girlfriend knew what was going on, she had seen that herself in her own family, after that party i cutted all contact with 70% of my relatives, i can respect people preference but i got tired of the blatant white worship most of my family got

    • I have two adopted daughters. A beauty from Honduras and another beauty from Sudan. I wish I had a nickel for every time one of their leftist “friends” or associates offer a cutting remark about how awesome it is that they have been so successful… it’s too bad that the oppressor class keeps so many of their “sisters” down.

      They literally believe that my daughters owe their sisters around the world a debt… because it was “pure luck” that they were born with a cleft palate and a club foot and abandoned as babies… only to be adopted by the oppressors. Because you know… the patriarchy doesnt allow women with dark skin a chance at success.

      Adopted #1 starts med school this summer. Adopted #2 is a junior getting her major in finance.

      My conservative/libertarian friends/relatives/ associates have not uttered a word negative to them our us.

      • @ElGuapo…that’s because your conservative/libertarian friends are smart enough to realize that while your daughters were indeed fortunate to become part of a loving family , they also realize that your family was also fortunate and blessed to have two wonderful daughters become part of the family! I would say all of you are fortunate and any idiot who wants to criticize should be regarded as just that..an idiot!

        • @ElGuapo….as the Beatles famously said in their song “The End”,……..”and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make”. Ain’t it the truth!

        • The killer is, they don’t even see their stupidity. They are insulting my daughters success as only what some white supremacist in a back room “allowed them to succeed.” God forbid the hours of work, studying and lost social interaction for sacrifice of their careers and lives.

          Apparently, their Affirmative Action worldview is a one way street. Its OK if they disparage the hard work done by minorities who might be conservative/libertarian, but not the other way around.

          • @ElGuapo…I know you and your wife are very proud of those girls as you should be. It sounds like they both have a very strong work ethic which will serve them well in life! A lot of young people of that age just don’t have that.

          • I came from a working poor upbringing (dad worked two/three jobs during the Jimmy Carter years) and mom was stay at home who did daycare. We ate government cheese and got subsidized lunches. My wife came from a broken home in Venezuela (5 kids from 3 different fathers) whose mom worked as a receptionist, and her “dad” was a butcher (but drank away most of the money he earned) Her saving grace was her maternal bachelor uncles, who started a concrete business and sent her to private schools, and college in the US.

            Neither of us were born into money or privilege, but to hear the libtards caterwaul, our success now (she is a physician) you would think that we were born Kennedys or Rockefellers. Worse, some of my wife’s former countrymen insist that she “fucked her way to success*”. Pure class.

            *I can’t remember the local Venezuela colloquialism.

    • Many of the Aporrean writers are blatant racists. They blame much of the economic war on the evil Chinese or Arab speculator merchants. Substitute “jew” for “Chinese” or “Arab” and their rants are vaguely familiar.

      • @ElGuapo…around here we call that “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” and it is a mentality that is still very much admired among conservatives.

        I remember the Carter years very well…and not fondly. Lol. Leftists think that the blessings in life should flow from the state, not from individual effort, hard work, personal responsibility and dogged determination.

        • Oh Yes! Remember the “Three Martini Lunches” us greedy fat-cats were deducting from our income tax? And the “Thoughts of Mao” that the college kids carried around in their hip pockets. But for me, just a dumb geologist, the best part was being lectured about “Peak Oil” and the “End of Western Civilization as We Know It Today.”

        • Tom – Succinct. “Lol. Leftists think that the blessings in life should flow from the state, not from individual effort, hard work, personal responsibility and dogged determination.” The part about government of the people BY the people either got lost, or should have been made more A-B-C blocks clear. I guess the problem is that government itself of any form or nature means a willful part subjugation of the individual to the general consensus, and so you get the background notion of government as an entity separate from the citizens.

          The proper function of government is to guarantee private property in an environment conducive to trade and commerce, such that citizens are free to pursue their own chosen endeavors, try or fail and try again.

          It sounds almost anarchistic, but with no exceptions I can think of, my conversations with police very soon turn to his or her question, “Do you own a gun?” The Founding Fathers made it clear in the Second Amendment. The police bring it down to Earth practical: “Even under the best of circumstances when we’re not busy, if you can place a call, it’s going to take us five minutes to get there. A lot can happen in five minutes.” A free country means free citizens responsible for themselves. There is a town in Georgia I read of twice now, that requires every household have a gun. It’s a small town, granted, but it has the lowest crime rate in the nation.

          The best solution is to vote carefully, wisely, pay attention, and exercise due responsibility in thoughtfulness. If not happy with any candidate, then run for local office.

  9. Can someone explain to me why inequality is bad? Let’s face it… humans are born with range of potentials that can be mapped on a bell curve.

    What we should strive for is not equality of result, but equality of opportunity. We will always have rich and poor. But as long as the potential exists for upward social and economic mobility by those who are smart and willing to work, that should be enough.

    The real evil is the corruption in government that provides preferential treatment to the already wealthy. The system should also allow downward social and economic ability for rich idiots.

  10. The left’s philosophy is the world isn’t fair. Gee, what a surprise, as if they can MAKE it fair.

    The goal should be to make the OPPORTUNITIES fair…fair and EQUAL…which doesn’t mean hamstringing those who are currently successful.

    It’s an old cliche, that all size boats rise when the tide comes in. But leftists just can’t understand this basic economic concept.

    Why do they care if the upper echelon goes up 20%, if they go up 10%?

    Isn’t it a good thing when we ALL go up!?

    • Ira, I beg to differ.

      The left’s philosophy is not that the world isn’t fair. It’s that they can make it fair by imposing their will on others.

      • If leftists want “fair” why do they always set up an elite ruling class, followed closely by repression and exploitation?

        No, leftists want power and they only claim to want fairness to hoodwink the weak and vulnerable.

        “You will know them by their fruits.”

        • I agree that describes the scoundrels that hijack lefty movements. But, I am referring to the masses of useful idiots that think state-controlled means of production and distribution of all things is utopia.

          Look at all the fuck nuts on Aporrea that think the Fair and Agreed Upon Prices for the 50 products will result in there being 50 products at affordable prices. They completely deny the law of supply and demand. They would deny the law of gravity if they were told is a a CIA plot to destroy their revolution and steal their oil.

    • Ira – “The goal should be to make the OPPORTUNITIES fair…fair and EQUAL…which doesn’t mean hamstringing those who are currently successful.” Yeah … that makes sense! The way things are now, the top 50% pay 97% of all federal income taxes (not exact numbers, but the IRS web page, and/or other government websites, has the best estimates). The bottom half are on the receiving end of “government” largess.

  11. This post reeks of class envy/class struggle/Marxism. Inequality exists–get over it–of: natural intelligence/willingness to work-study-strive-sacrifice/educational opportunities/good-or- bad fortune by luck or birth/good-or-bad health/ good-or-bad social opportunities/good-or-bad personal habits-lifestyle- choices/ good-or-bad government of birth country (Venezuela a prime example of worst), etc., etc. The Marxism equality for all is a myth/ I haven’t done the math recently, but if one were to sum the wealth of the Forbes 400 U.S. wealthiest largely billionaires and distribute it equally to every man/woman/child in the U. S. 350 mill. population, each would get (last time I did this) only a few $ thousand–not enough to content anyone, but surely a way to discourage hard work/sacrifice by most to better their lot in life; and, this exercise is completely faulty/exaggerated, since most of the 400’s wealth is in stock, which, if dumped/converted to cash, would be worth only a small fraction of the current market value. If one takes the World 400 wealthiest wealth, and distribute it equally to the 8 billion or so world population, you’re talking peanuts/capita—so much for the Marxist redisributive wealth solution to achieve the well-being of the world’s poor masses.

  12. Venezuela should/could have become the Switzerland of Latin America–but, instead, became not even a Haiti, but the Zimbabwe of L.A.–and the only ones to blame are the Venezuelans themselves….

    • They say misery loves company and by looking at election results it looks like Mexico will be joining Venezuela in the toilet in coming years. Wow..they didn’t learn anything at all from the Ven disaster.

        • @Net………yep I was shocked that Petro got that many votes . I do know he played the FARC card for all it was worth by saying a vote for Duque meant a return to war with FARC. Thank God the 54% that voted for Duque realized the real danger that Petro posed for the country.

      • NET. – I really like the way you poke a 16-wheeler size tunnel hole in the doughnut-sized marxist lie. Squish, goes the lie!

  13. Nadie ha dicho nada sobre esto pero la foto que ilustra el artículo es impresionante. Supongo que será Caracas pero no lo sé, no soy venezolano. Que nadie diga nada sobre ella podría ser otro dato a tener en cuenta.

    • It is a striking picture, harsh contrast of those middle and marginal classes.

      I’m 99% sure that it is La Urbina on the left and Petare on the right. East Caracas.

  14. We have to face up to many of the limitations of liberal democracy despire its great appeal and its solid virtues, it cannot possibly deliver on what it promises , because much of what makes a country prosper and develop derives from social and cultural factors that are pre political and include an element of blind luck and chance circumstance….!! Democracy can yield very mediochre results depending on the culture and circumstances in which it operates , morever sometime it can destroy the country in which it is worshiped…..!!….until we realize this and adjust our exepectations of what it can achieve and not achieve we will end up frustrated by her .

  15. “Venezuela es una rueda de mantuanos, con el perraje alrededor esperando su turno para colarse.”

    The key word there being”colarse”. It means to cheat. To sneak in. To cut the queue. It doesn’t mean “earn”, or “succeed”.

    Sadly, this idea that the only way to success is to cheat is not unique to Venezuela. You will find it poor mis-managed places all around the planet.

  16. People can argue about democracy etc. but the historical fact makes two things perfectly clear: The thriving nations all have a high degree of government transparency and respect for human rights. They also have a coherent economic system relative to the realities of the global economy in 2018, and a military, if at all, that is not a money suck and whose sole job is national sovereignty. Mix in a functional and independent judiciary and you have a platform off which most any governing style will work, provided sound leadership. But when a culture is beholden to the cacique/savoir image, the gran jefe, El Eterno, or whatever other name you want, you have a disaster in the making.

    Venezuela cannot be fixed. It must be made over.

  17. I don’t get this post. Sure, nowadays very few Venezuelans are wealthy, but it’s not like that’s a bad thing. And while some definitely live inside a bubble (trust me, I live in northern Valencia, where people like that are abundant), there are other ways of trying to get them to understand the current problems of the poor than calling them out for having money.

  18. I live in the US and still have family living in Venezuela. A month ago a family member transferred $400 for me to buy and send frivolities ($100 dollars in candy bars alone). Meanwhile they pay their housekeeper 300,000 bolivares (with an exchange rate of 3,400,000) or less than 10 cents for a whole day’s work. These people can afford to have candy sent to them from the US but they’re paying someone literal slave wages. One clap box a month is worth more than working every single day at that wage. There’s no solidarity. For a large chunk of the population the Venezuelan private sector has never guaranteed a dignified life.

  19. I am shocked to see how this site has become a center for Conservatives and Alt-Rights North Americans to relish and bask in the glory of the abject failure of Socialist Venezuela…the fact that Populism has further destroyed our social fabric does not mean that we must not address social inequality. I believe that there needs to be a new approach to economic development and the eradication of inequality but the old fashion approaches including the right’s Structural Adjustment approach or the left’s Paternalism both have failed. I am convince though that we can no longer afford to forget /deny about the struggles that the poorest of the poor face in our societies. I don’t have any answers yet but based on what’s going on in Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia we still need answers.

    • Harrison,

      I am glad you realize that what the left has done is not working. But I emplore you to reevaluate your objective, which you state is “the eradication of inequality”.

      You want every one to make the same amount of money? Some people just don’t want to work as much as others and are content with less.

      You want everyone to have the same amount of education? But, people are not all born with the same scholastic aptitude.

      People are not born equal. We all have different sets of abilities, interests, and desires.

      So why should you insist that the results be equal? It is this insistance that you know what is good for the other guy that leads to disasters such as Venezuela and the USSR.

      • Sometimes I suspect that the obsession with perfect equality is a literary conceit , that naturally most people have no quarrel with inequality ,are perfectly comfortable with living in a hierarchically organized society , in fact they very often feel great gratification at admiring emblematically superior people , as if vicariously sharing in their exceptional qualities, some measure of equality is of course something we demand of society , in the way we are treated by the law and by authorities in our role as citizens , or where the merits of our work or effort are comparable to those of others , otherwise we feel fine working in groups were some stand above us in station and some at parr and others below us in social ranking……, how people experience equalty in different situations is something that bears reflection …

        • Bill, I would love for there to be perfect equality, if for nothing other reason that people might finally STFU about inequality.

          Maybe part of the problem is that we are taught in kindergarten that you should not bring a treat for yourself unless you bring one for everyone.

          Maybe it comes from the biblical story of Workers In The Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).

          But, it is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve.

          Vonnegut nailed it in Harrison Bergeron, a story that suck with me. Was made into a mediocre movie in the 1990s. Today’s SJWs all aspire to be Diana Moon Glampers. LeBron James would have been killed at age 14.

          • Personally, I don’t even find the concept of “equality” interesting or desirable. What would we have to strive for? Booorrriiinnngggg…

    • @Harrison “I am shocked to see how this site has become a center for Conservatives and Alt-Rights North Americans to relish and bask in the glory of the abject failure of Socialist Venezuela…”

      You shouldn’t be that surprised.

      I mean, from the start the core of the foreign opposition to Chavismo were conservatives. Right wingers. Or did you ignore how so many foreign leftists- from Bernie Sanders on down- lavished praise on the man? I mean FFS. John Oliver still does, when he glorifies in Chavez terrifying employees on his TV show.

      That doesn’t mean that the majority of Venezuelans opposed to Chavismo tyranny are Right wingers by American definitions.

      It also doesn’t mean that every foreign leftist drank the kool aid and got on board with the tyrants. I am sure there were a number of honest supporters of freedom.

      But let’s not kid ourselves about the numbers game.

      “the fact that Populism has further destroyed our social fabric-”

      Define Populism, Mate.

      I doubt you can.

      The truth is, populism isn’t evil. It also isn’t good. At least not unto itself. It simply IS.

      AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, it serves as a TRAILING indicator of social catastrophe, not a leading one. Put it simply, populist unrest usually occurs when people tap in to ready made sources of discontent.

      Like with the “Populists” that the term originally was coined to mean, the Populares such as the Gracchi, Marius, and JuJu Caesar. Who represented the poor agrarian smallholders who had little to no representation in the halls of power and had gotten displaced by a combination of economic transformation and strongarm tactic by well connected and lawless rural oligarchs.

      They may have fanned the flames of discontent in new and terrifying directions, but so did their enemies. The bottom line is, *they didn’t cause the underlying problem.*

      And nor will appealing to anti-populism, some kind of supposedly “meritocratic” rule by “elites”, solve it.

      “does not mean that we must not address social inequality. ”

      F*ck social inequality.

      Seriously. Not only is it rarely defined (in a world where everybody had exactly equal resources, rights, and so on down to the atom of the 299th gold brick locked in their vault, would I be the victim of “social inequality” compared to a charming, photogenic movie-star tier stud because I’m fat, awkward, and don’t like my voice?

      Thus putting me at a manifestly *unequal* position in a social situation?)

      When you’ve done work like I have at a Namibian desert, you realize that social inequality is Really, REALLY not that important on the grand scheme of things for people.

      Legal equality is. Safety under the law is. And having a bare minimum of resources to survive is. Which is why I spent my days sweating away trying to run modern water infrastructure up to these villages rather than trying to break centuries of gender roles.

      Socialism is a call to forget the basics in order to reach for utopia. And it has NEVER EVER EvER WORKED. Even among non-tyrannical, non-Marxist incarnations.

      “I believe that there needs to be a new approach to economic development and the eradication of inequality-”

      Oh, you do then?

      Well, I believe you’re willfully naive.

      At best.

      But here’s the thing, mate:

      The world doesn’t care about what either of us believes.

      Sure, the people and things living in it may. But the world as a whole does not. It simply Is.

      Which is why at some point, you have to get down to Brass Tacks.

      You have to come back to What Works, and What Doesn’t.

      Focusing on reducing “social inequality” as a primary goal rarely works. Which is why the more successful reforms in that regard usually involved targeting something else, for instance the East India Company’s monopolies system.

      “but the old fashion approaches including the right’s Structural Adjustment approach or the left’s Paternalism both have failed. ”

      Not really, no.

      Or more simply, everything fails.

      Every social system imaginable has failings.

      The question is how we assess those failings relative to their successes. Which is woefully lacking here.

      “I am convince though that we can no longer afford to forget /deny about the struggles that the poorest of the poor face in our societies. ”

      Oh you’re convinced, are you?

      Sorry, but you’re wrong.

      Manifestly, shockingly wrong.

      And are on a historical level.

      Because the truth is, there are a STAGGERING amount of times in history when the poorest of the poor get ignored. And while I find this crude, horrible, and ugly, the idea that one cannot Afford to do so is utterly false. Because let’s face it.

      A human society can afford a certain amount of dysfunction, loss, and disconnect and still keep on going. And sometimes this includes ignoring the poorest of the poor while not suffering any serious repercussions.

      For instance, the Decameron (a classic of Renaissance Italian literature) involves a bunch of rich aristocrats or other notables telling each other very, VERY NSFW stories.

      But here’s the thing, hidden away at the folds.

      The reason all these posh buggers are around is because they’re sheltering from *The Black Death* until it recedes. One of the greatest catastrophes of human history and slayer of the poorest and richest alike. And they while the hours away talking about it. And unlike the Masque of the Red Death, there really is no serious consequence for that.

      And this isn’t that far afield from a number of others. For instance, the Dream of the Red Chamber in China, and a few others.

      A lot of times the plight of the poorest breaks in and ruins even the cloistered circles of the highest. But a lot of times it doesn’t and people continue trucking along- functioning- as normal even in the face of catastrophes that make Venezuela today look like a farce.

      And here you are, asserting that you are convinced that in the face of centuries of evidence to the contrary, people cannot afford to ignore or deny the plight of the poorest, even though in many cases that has worked all too well?

      Sorry, but you’re not going to get much headway there.

      “I don’t have any answers yet but based on what’s going on in Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia we still need answers.”

      Fair enough.

      Then we can start with the questions.

      Let’s start with one:

      Why is it that systems that obsess on exterminating social inequality can rarely define what it is comprehensively?

      And here’s another:

      Why do said systems routinely breed even more catastrophic results than the likes of corrupt oligarchs such as the Somozoa clan?

  20. Also to the Conservatives in here: stop comparing our reality to those of North America and Europe. We are NOT THE SAME. We have a very different Colonial past and social structure that in itself creates a completely different set of challenges. Latin America still is looking for its own identity and place in the world stage. We are suffering from the natural resources curse and have internalized the foreign idea of that “progress” is supposed to look like. We have also been fooled buy the left’s myths of redistribution of wealth and social justice on the basis of eliminating meritrocracy and establishing a parental state. We don’t have the answers yet.

    • While you and the left are trying figure out what went wrong, how about getting the hell out of the way of the people who DO know how to create wealth and properity!?

  21. Harrison. I don’t know what you mean by “Alt Rights” other than it is likely meant to be disparaging. Otherwise, good comments. Recognizing that “left’s myths of redistribution of wealth and social justice on the basis of eliminating meritocracy and establishing a parental state” puts you miles ahead. Perhaps, and just a suggestion you can ignore, but consider viewing shaping the future from a “you are in control of your own destiny” point of view, instead of a “you are constrained/victimized by the colonial past” from two hundred years ago. Otherwise, when does “evil shit lord colonialists made us this way” end? Never?

    • Good point and as a a person that was born in a very lower class barrio in Caracas I can tell you that I have taken full control of my destiny, this while experiences that I had to often work harder than my peers because of my origin and my skin color. I find disparaging that some people living (consciously or otherwise) in a position of privilege tend to express to those that are NOT to simply “get over it”. In Venezuela when you are looking for a job your address and picture can put you in a disadvantage if you live in a barrio and are moreno/negrito…I did not read about it, I LIVED IT. Luckily for me I was given great opportunities for advancement (scholarship system at UCAB after placing 4th overall in their internal placement test and then receiving help by my husband’s family to emigrate to the United States after being attacked in the streets of Caracas twice for being gay). I however recognize that most people do not share my luck while better prepared and more talented that I’d ever be.

  22. I read over the weekend (sorry did not note where, figured Naky/Javier would cover it) that foreign reserves are down to US $2.5 billion. If so, with PDVSA declining rapidly, the regime may be literally without charge in its pocket by years end. Not that things were on an upward trajectory but the crisis could escalate quickly if this is true.

  23. From the radical right heartless tyrannical capitalist pig Christians: https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/07/02/venezuela-further-protests-country-begins-running-water/ there are people talking about what’s going on in Venezuela. One comment is pretty good, along the lines of putting a socialist in charge of Sahara are having to import sand (or living in Venezuela and having to import gasoline). the guy said something like: another victory for socialism, a water shortage in a rain forest.

    • Gringo, it has been a long while since I have read Breitbart, though some of the comments may be biting, quick witted and well worded that is hardly an endorsement of them being analytical, knowledgeable or complex.

  24. “as undeniable evidence of the fact that inequality and injustice are worse than in any moment in our history”

    They got told didn`t they? who voted for Chavismo in overwhelming majority of the percentage?

    They got told they will eat shit, they didn`t listen, they got told that Venezuela needed modernity and opened markets, they didn`t listen, they got told that they should study and not have 5 kids before the age of twenty. didn`t listen.

    Now they can eat shit and reap what they sowed. And still, is the people who told them who should feel bad? specially after 20 years of being victims of their crimes, having their property stolen, invaded and expropiated?

    Remember “con hambre y desempleo con chavez me resteo, asi no haya luz ni agua voten por mi” and then they voted for him?

    Fuck them, let them eat patria.

  25. I have never seen so much verbiage to say nothing. Too much ado about nothing. Venezuela is a gangrened place. Somebody’s idea was to make it over. I agree, ”make it over without the Venezuelans in the first place” Throw that bomb ”solo mata gente” in, collect the bodies and do compost, make it exemplary for the world to see the worst test of Socialism. Reborn from the ashes, like the Fenix.

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