Photo: AFP retrieved

“Municipal council elections? What are you talking about? I don’t know anything about that,” said one woman as she rushed to the subway.

Believe it or not, it’s election day today, with local councils supposed to be elected. Pollster Datanálisis said, a few days ago, that only 14.5% of voters say they are willing to participate in this forlorn vote.

The lady’s grim response isn’t entirely isolated. Later, a man around 60 years old, shrugged when we asked him if he’d participate in the elections to choose future municipal council members, an event set for Sunday, December 9. He shrugged and then said “I really don’t know anything. Who are the candidates?” he asked.

These elections have always had a poor turnout. A 60% abstention in this kind of event isn’t new. Councilmembers are the political muscle closest to the communities, yet they have the least public notoriety and promotion. There are no projections before or after they’re elected. And they’re the officers who must legislate on municipal matters (for example, if garbage collection fees are regulated, that must be discussed in the Municipal Chamber). Councilmembers must approve the budgets for mayoralties. Most of the population is oblivious to the municipal councils’ tasks.

Datanálisis said, a few days ago, that only 14.5% of voters say they are willing to participate in this forlorn vote.

Ramón Agüero—a nurse and candidate for El Recreo parish in Circuit 3 with San Agustín, San Pedro and Santa Rosalía—is well aware of the situation. He knows that he’s treading on unsafe ground, but he’s still trying to approach the communities of low-income areas in the Cota 905.

“I’ve met people, even chavistas, who are very angry about inflation. They ask for information on the competences and functions of councilmembers; some say that they don’t know anything about their municipal councils, about how the budget is invested. The services of water supply, garbage collection, sanitation and drainage are municipal responsibilities and citizens have the duty to demand a proper service provision,” he said.

Amidst the lack of information, apathy takes the stage. People who don’t want to participate argue that it’s about the National Electoral Council (CNE) and that it’s not worth it with the current electoral bases. A valid decision if it were made by 100% of the opposition. But once again, we’re on the matter of recovering spaces. A good example is what happened at the University of Carabobo, where the opposition candidate won against the one imposed by chavista governor Rafael Lacava.

In Caracas, Ramón Agüero is running for one of the 13 seats of the Libertador Municipality, along with other candidates from independent parties such as Ramón Beamont, backed by a group called “Soluciones”; Braulio Cedeño, representative of the transport sector; Mariángela González, with the slogan “United for Caracas” along with the parties Cambiemos, MAS, Avanzada Progresista, El Cambio, COPEI and the Ecological Party.

People who don’t want to participate argue that it’s about the National Electoral Council (CNE) and that it’s not worth it with the current electoral bases.

They’re taking to the streets on their own effort with the slogan “Votes and street.” They don’t want to yield spaces to the PSUV. Sadly, they don’t have citizen support. In fact, after monitoring some areas, we find that in El Paraíso, a parish that had a Primero Justicia councilman, is calling for abstention. This trend is repeated in other areas such as La Candelaria, Coche and El Valle.

An entirely different scene is playing in Baruta, Chacao and El Hatillo. The mayors of these municipalities split from their big parties to support the candidates. It was an alliance with citizen support and they’re backed by the regional cards validated by the CNE.

In 2017, the opposition won 28 town halls out of the country’s 335, and what these mayors seek to prevent is for their municipal councils to fall in the hands of madurismo. That’s what they call “recovering spaces,” and they’re applying it in places where the opposition rules, which is also valid, although they represent a minority.

“Not voting means yielding everything. In Chacao, we defended mayor Gustavo Duque, we couldn’t imagine ourselves in the hands of a chavista. We’ll do the same with councilmembers. If they don’t recognize them, we’ll fight,” said Rosa Díaz, a neighbor of Los Palos Grandes.

As shown by the testimonies collected near an entrance of the Metro de Caracas, Rosa isn’t part of the majority in this municipality. Many aren’t planning to vote, not even those who still support Nicolás Maduro’s regime. “I don’t care about voting. That doesn’t solve the economic problem,” said Iván Rangel.

Many aren’t planning to vote, not even those who still support Nicolás Maduro’s regime.

4,900 municipal council members will be elected on December 9 along with their respective substitutes. Out of these, 1,704 will be chosen by name, 685 by list and 69 from native communities. An important representation if we consider that they control the municipal exercise, the closest to citizens.

For what we’ve seen, abstention will take the day.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed. It serves no purpose.

    Look at Cuba. The Castroists in Cuba decreed that certain (arbitrary) expressions of art will get the artist jailed and their livelihood confiscated. The artists protested loudly… and the Castroists noticed. THEY JAILED AND CONFISCATED THE PROPERTY OF THE PROTESTERS. In a conciliatory effort, the Castroists have called for a meeting with artists and have decided to include them in discussions about how the new law will be implemented, not rolling it back.

    Venezuelas future, I fear.

    https://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article222724555.html

    • oh, so time to shite on those few who are actually on the street trying to make a difference in their communities against the red horde? feeds well into your next comment..

      Do you support anything besides young American marines on the beaches? US taxpayers will have to pay for it, but you despise paying taxes to a bloated US bureaucracy? and wonder the VA is a mess? Just what we need, more disabled veterans, where you “ proudly support their service” as long as you don’t have to pick up the bill. MAGA

      • ???

        I don’t think you have been around here very long, so for your convenience, I offer you this.

        A. I am opposed to the United States spilling one drop of blood for a people who don’t give the least shit about spilling their own. As a matter of fact, a yanqui invasion is exactly what Maduro and the Castroists want. Why do them any favors? Let Venezuela wallow in its stupidity. Let Venezuelans die for Venezuela.

        B. Not a fan of Trump. But he was a better bet than the shrieking, lying hypocrite, Hillary.

        C. Venezuelans (by my estimates) are about 80% Chavista. US citizens are about 50% Chavista (except we call them Democrats here). An idiot Chavist is an idiot Chavist no matter where they reside. Venezuela just has a higher percentage of dolts.

        D. Venezuelans are not dying on the streets seeking the return of democracy. They are banging on pots and pans, and burning garbage. Where upon they scatter like roaches when the GNB show up. WTF? How about some actual action? Let us know when the colectivos are afraid to come out of their barrios. Let us know when the paid thugs of Chavismo (PNB/GNB) stop coming to work. Let us know when mayors and city administrators are booking their flights to Cuba because they fear for their lives.

        Let Venezuelans live in the mess they alone created. When they get tired of eating shit, they will rise up. MAYBE.

      • @Gringo 2 “oh, so time to shite on those few who are actually on the street trying to make a difference in their communities against the red horde? feeds well into your next comment..”

        Everybody’s a critic, including me.

        And frankly, people who have boundless faith in the moral virtue or utility of peaceful protest against hardened, relatively confident totalitarian dictatorships are mi diagnosing the problem. That doesn’t mean they are the bad guys, any more than the Scholls and the rest of the White Rose are.

        it’s just that they’re not helping that much.

        And while there’s a time and a place for martyrs, there’s also a time and a place to realize that peaceful protests *aren’t the most useful resort.*

        This is why i constantly tell people to read Turtledove’s The Last Article, even though it is nonfiction. Because it is still historical fiction and its point is damn sharp.

        “Do you support anything besides young American marines on the beaches?”

        This is monumentally ignorant.

        If you had paid attention to what El Guapo has written, you would KNOW he opposes US Military intervention in Venezuela, or at least having it happen prior to a general revolt against the Chavistas and their Cuban advisors.

        “US taxpayers will have to pay for it, but you despise paying taxes to a bloated US bureaucracy?”

        You say that as if it’s somehow hypocritical.

        It’s Not.

        I am a war hawk by nature, but even I oppose the disgusting morass of bloating DOD bureaucracy and incest that the latest report merely confirmed and helped map.

        Likewise, I see the value of public education and in fact grew up in something akin to the Liberal Dream at its best. But I also recognize there is NO GOOD REASON why Teachers’ Unions should actively crush attempts to improve teacher quality and evaluate said quality. And that it is a sin for the Detroit TUs to get so much but do so little to deserve it by any objective standard.

        I can’t speak for Guapo on the matter, but call me a results based person. I’m willing to spend as long as the expense has a reasonable chance of paying off.

        But I don’t like throwing good money into sinkholes.

        “and wonder the VA is a mess?”

        See above.

        The main problem with the VA is *NOT* Underfunding. As you might realize if you EVER.

        EVER.

        Had anything to do with it.

        It is a failure to enforce basic standards on an often overpaid workforce.

        ” Just what we need, more disabled veterans, where you “ proudly support their service” as long as you don’t have to pick up the bill. MAGA”

        Your strawman is as threadbare as it is indefensible.

        And in light of how it is 180 degrees opposite from EG’s *actual opinion* (though not my own), thoroughly stupid at that.

  2. “I’ve met people, even chavistas, who are very angry about inflation. They ask for information on the competences and functions of council members; some say that they don’t know anything about their municipal councils, about how the budget is invested. The services of water supply, garbage collection, sanitation and drainage are municipal responsibilities and citizens have the duty to demand a proper service provision,” he said.”

    This problem is universal. People typically don’t care about what Elected Person A does, just as long as they have sewer/water, electricity, gas and garbage pick-up.

    Case in point. We have every 2 years elections for such things as school board, council, mayor, etc. This year, the local school board wants another operating levy increase. This has become the norm. And their battle cry? They have stolen it from the teachers unions! “It’s for the children!” And why wouldn’t they steal this well-worn slogan, when 2/3 of the school board is made up of former union teachers, their spouses or other mid-level government union flunkies?

    So the school board basically represents the teachers unions, and when it comes time to negotiate contracts, the premise is only over “how much are we going to increase benefits and salaries?”, not, “can we afford this?” NOBODY on the school board represents the interests of the taxpayers, the students or their parents.

    And the “El Pueblo of southeastern Minnesota” bitch about their taxes going up every other year, when they SHOULD be calling their electeds to the carpet. But… nobody gives a shit, because they would rather roll over and take it in the ass then step up and question authority.

    • And Minnesota has now a Somali representative in Congress. She even wear the Muslim uniform for women Hihab because the security of Congress can’t accept the Burka. Only in America. This is progress.

        • @Gringo 2 I have.

          I also know How to read and comprehend it. Including what the establishment clause actually means.

          Including a steadfast and uncompromising hostility towards theocratic law in the public sphere.

          That’s the main problem I have with Illie dear. I’d be more than honored to have Ayan Hirsi-Ali as representative in any state of the Union (which must make me an awfully shoddy white supremacist).

          I do however object to a fraudulent, racist, incestuous bureaucracy cheat peddling pre-medieval theocratic law. And I’d object to them even if they wore a cross, were so pale they could play the role of Silas for Dan Brown, and had the last name of “Borgia.”

          • Turtler,
            “I do however object to a fraudulent, racist, incestuous bureaucracy cheat peddling pre-medieval theocratic law”.

            Agreed. But..

            Have several friends who will rage about radical (insert your choice of religion, life style, etc). But..

            Many examples of radical viewpoints are the <5% who some think are the majority of a given movement, not the majority, i.e. as in a democracy. I still accept my friends and listen to them, but I know they aare r the opposite extreme <5%, smile and move on rather than creating a fight and losing my friends..

            Democracy seems to find a way in the end, until the minority’s refuses to accept the views of the majority, i.e. Venezuela.

      • I know. This iPhone spellcheck is killing me. She will vote Democratic but can you imagine, they made an all-Somali district in Minnesota. Only in America’s and yes, I read my constitution but the founding fathers never took this into account.

        And Teachers are underpaid, but not by much. They get paid 9.5 months a year. Many engineers don’t earn the Texas Teacher salaries.

  3. So to be clear EG, after the many times you and others have screamed about the ignorance of the Venezuelan pueblo, you’re concerned about paying taxes (or tax increases) for increases to pay teachers? Sure, understood ‘cause I know many rich educators who are milking the system, getting rich preparing the next generation… right dude. Ya gotta find a way to put another $100 bucks in your silk lined undies. Your politics and priorities are clear.

    ps: before you blow a gasket, I’m a fiscal conservative, but glad to pay for expenses to maintain my community, schools, services, and NEVER short tipping for service when we eat out, I can see who needs a few bucks more than I do, and they work hard for it.

    • What is clear is that the vast majority of people on this planet have no idea where a dollar earned comes from. Even more don’t give a shit about how that dollar is spent, so long as they don’t have to think about it and they get all the “freebies” (like government education) that they think they deserve.

      Teachers are underpaid in my opinion. The problem is, their unions want more and more and more without any measurable outcomes of success, nor objective testing of teachers… many of which I know first hand are absolutely USELESS, but are protected by their union.

      • If teachers are underpaid then don’t expect a better outcome, with Venezuela being an example.. you get what you pay for..

        So why does B DeVoss want to gut public education for the masses and allow wealthier constituents to direct what would/should be public school funding to private schools? keep that up and we’ll have more uneducated far left democrats in 20 years. The public school system worked well for me, and being from a military family I attended several, and worked to pay my way thru college, no help, to become an engineer. Sure the current public system has problems, so work to fix it, but cutting or withholding funds isn’t a solution, as we can see what the future will look like.

        And pepi, sure, maybe some of today’s Venezuelan teachers make more BsS than my Venezuelan friends who are engineers today, but not 10 years ago, and certainly never in the US.. that’s just plain BS.

        • @G2 Teachers unions want higher pay, better benefits, smaller classes for less work, but aren’t willing to give the taxpayers something in return, (like better outcomes or teacher proficiency testing). Are you suggesting that paying the teachers more would get better outcomes? That flies in the face of what the unions are saying, which is, “poor outcomes are related to bad parenting”.

          Which way do you want it? Is it bad parenting, or are unionized teachers holding out because they aren’t getting paid fairly? Because if poor parenting is the problem, then why are we throwing money down the rat-hole of government education?

          ???

          The answer is letting the children of parents who don’t give a rip about their kids education continue to go to government schools. If they don’t give a shit about education, then why should anyone else? The parents who want to send their kids to a private school and get a “liberal education” (see below) should be granted a voucher to do so. (You must ask yourself, what are US taxpayers currently paying for?)

          There. I fixed the education problem in America.

          https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Meaning_of_a_Liberal_Education

          “Let us go back and distinguish between the two things that we want to do; for we want to do two things in modern society. We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks. You cannot train them for both in the time that you have at your disposal. They must make a selection, and you must make a selection. I do not mean to say that in the manual training there must not be an element of liberal training; neither am I hostile to the idea that in the liberal education there should be an element of the manual training. But what I am intent upon is that we should not confuse ourselves with regard to what we are trying to make of the pupils under our instruction. We are either trying to make liberally-educated persons out of them, or we are trying to make skillful servants of society along mechanical lines, or else we do not know what we are trying to do.”— Woodrow Wilson

      • Oh, sorry I missed that government paid education (via taxes we all [should] pay) is a “freebie”! So again, how do you expect to educate the ignorant masses who are the cause of all your problems? Dude… again?

        • @G2: You seem pretty savvy on what is going on in US government education. Are you an educator, or the spouse of an educator?

          Are you aware of the history of this “government” education? How it came to be, via “forward thinkers” like Horace Mann? Ever heard of the Prussian Model of education?

          A synopsis. We taxpayers who are willing to send our young kids to school to be taught (by the government) are getting a “low bid education”. The most education (meant for the majority) for the lowest cost. For lack of better terminology, “most bang for the least buck”. That is government education. The people who need more attention are ignored, and those who excel are reigned in and “demotivated”. But then again, THAT IS THE PLAN.

          The Plan is to get the highest percentage of functioning, flag-waving jingoistic automatons a basic education. Nothing more than that. Fred the Great (the Prussian Model) wanted good soldiers faithful to the Fatherland who could count bullets and read a field manual. To do this, he created the current government paradigm (taxpayer funded, government sanctioned) that got his future soldiers away from the Catholic church. Horace Mann brought it to the United States.

          Even our very own “education President”, Woodrow Wilson confessed to this. Though these days, the education establishment is more than willing to throw Woody under the bus for any number of reasons besides telling the truth about public education. The truth being that government education is meant to provide only the most basic of educations for the most people for the least money. Anything else is wasted.

          • @Guapo: if you live in a USA town, you should work with the local Board of Education. You look like someone that can help. Or you passively take things on like a good Venezuelan?

            Your rant is starting to make no sense at all.

            Do you have children in public schools?

            Mine went to middle and high school respectively years ago, and today they are the fruit of this education system. One is a very successful engineer, another a successful finance – analytics CPA, the older was educated in Venezuela when I extracted him from the mess. He’s a nerd coder in a large corporation Then took masters here in the USA. BUT maybe you live in Florida or another state with poor education levels NY, etc. I mean, that Prussian bullshit looks unreal. Thanks to all for my education. Can you send a link that is not wiki? I’ll use this in my class.

            Thanks for your help.

          • @Pepe: I attend every open school board meeting that I can. Believe me when I say, they roll their eyes when they come in and see me seated in the room.

            A couple have gone so far as to call me out, saying, “Why do you CARE Mr. Guapo?… you sent YOUR KIDS to private schools!” To which I say to them, “I care because I don’t want my tax dollars wasted on mediocre education schemes, and neither do most of the parents here.”

            I am happy to pay for quality education. As long as the taxpayer gets something in return. Like better outcomes. Or, periodic testing of teachers to show the taxpayer that they are getting a quality product. You would think that the school board would embrace such things to ensure that the students, taxpayers and parents are getting a quality product.

            HELL NO.

            The school board is made up of union teachers and their sycophants.

    • @Gringo 2 So to be clear EG, after the many times you and others have screamed about the ignorance of the Venezuelan pueblo, you’re concerned about paying taxes (or tax increases) for increases to pay teachers?”

      You say that as if it is a bad thing or hypocrisy.

      It is *Not.*

      Firstly, even if we were dumb and naive enough to assume that paying more for teachers’ salaries will INVARIABLY lead to better results (which is patently and provably false but I’ll get to that later), it would be Well within our rights and Obligations to be concerned about how effective said treatment is. Whether we were getting the most bang for our buck. Whether the extra money was being used in the best way.

      So this caveat can be safely dismissed. Utterly.

      Secondly: The fact is that higher teacher salaries DO NOT necessarily lead to better teachers or better fates for students.

      FFS, the fact that the Detroit Metropolitan Area has the highest average teacher salaries among any US urban area and abyssal results should disprove that.

      http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2008/07/are-school-teachers-overpaid/

      That doesn’t mean there aren’t good schools in the Detroit area, or that there are no good teachers, or that there can be no legitimacy in factors for pay beyond rote performance. But this is appalling because it goes so far beyond what any of those explanations can fit.

      Sure, it’s possible that high salaries and benefits are the result of good work, an in demand position, or it. But it’s also possible they are the product of insular, corruptible guilds feathering their own nests and working to “Get Theirs.” And if you think people should not be concerned about what they are getting for their money, you fellow Gringo are the one who needs civics.

      “Sure, understood ‘cause I know many rich educators who are milking the system, getting rich preparing the next generation… right dude.”

      You may not, but I do.

      And that’s the problem, Gringo 2. You seem to act that just because you don’t know any corruption or greed in the school system, it must not exist. Or at least is very very minor.

      My family with its YEARS of experience in the PTA in the SCUSD and that school district’s attempts to bilk us out of our rightful claims could tell you a lot.

      “Ya gotta find a way to put another $100 bucks in your silk lined undies. Your politics and priorities are clear.”

      A: Obviously, they aren’t clear enough considering how you GOT HIS OPINION OF US INTERVENTION wrong! !

      and

      B: At least he has priorities and politics.

      All you have is scapegoating and pretending that there is no problem here. No problem whatsoever. Places like Detroit, Alabama, and so on are bastions of scholarly prestige and a healthy investment.

      https://www.ajc.com/blog/get-schooled/defendants-enter-prison-atlanta-teacher-criticizes-trial/9ojqKhFwcDEmqyTD625SuM/

      “ps: before you blow a gasket, I’m a fiscal conservative, but glad to pay for expenses to maintain my community, schools, services, and NEVER short tipping for service when we eat out, I can see who needs a few bucks more than I do, and they work hard for it.”

      A: The beautiful thing about having standards is that you don’t have to care that much about who says something, you can judge the same.

      So your hideous strawman of El Guapo supporting only US Marines invading Venezuela is just as wrong and just as worthy of my derision as if you had been Bernie Sanders.

      So too your attempts to excuse corruption, waste, and abuse in the school system, much of which I have personal experience with.

      B: Pray tell me dear Fiscal Conservative, what have you done to scrutinize and help schools?

      “If teachers are underpaid then don’t expect a better outcome, with Venezuela being an example.. ”

      True, but you seem to ignore the other side of the coin.

      If teachers are Overpaid, don’t expect a better outcome. Venezuela is one key example, particularly during the “High Chavez” years when the regime made many sweetheart deals with academia, and in the halycron days of the Betancourt etc. al ones after the military junta fell.

      You don’t seem to get that quality is not assured by the amount of money you throw at something.

      “you get what you pay for..”

      You don’t seem to get that paying people far in excess of what their performance warrants or in spite of a lack of quality controls is paying for sloth, corruption, and inefficiency.

      “So why does B DeVoss want to gut public education for the masses-”

      Oh FFS. Do some actual research, Gringo 2. Don’t just regurgitate the standard propaganda.

      Betsy isn’t gutting public education. She’s reacting to how vast swaths of it have *already* been gutted by extensive, incestuous relations between the educational establishment supposed to teach America’s students, the Teachers’ Unions, and Political powerbrokers.

      Again, See Detroit.

      “and allow wealthier constituents to direct what would/should be public school funding to private schools? ”

      Except Betsy’s advocating allowing wealtheier AND poorer constituents to direct their funding to private schools.

      For a very good reason.

      To quote from that famed Conservative Republican* film It’s a Wonderful Life….

      “This town needs this measly one-horse institution if only to have some place where people can come without crawling to Potter.”

      In places like Inner City Detroit, Baltimore, and so on, the community NEEDS a place outside of the corrupt, stunk public school system so that it can help incentivize cleanup.

      “keep that up and we’ll have more uneducated far left democrats in 20 years. ”

      Yeah, but allowing the culture that festered in Detroit’s schools to go unchecked and made Noam Chomsky and “A Peoples’ History of the US” common required reading is Totally going to churn out educated, freethinking individuals!

      No, it’s not.

      And that’s why I object to this kind of nonsense even when it ostensibly supports “my” politics.

      “The public school system worked well for me, and being from a military family I attended several, and worked to pay my way thru college, no help, to become an engineer. ”

      Well good for you! Obviously that means it worked well for everyone!

      I’ll let you in on a secret:

      My family also paid my way through college.

      And I think the public school system also worked well for me.

      My life in California was very close to the Liberal Dream at its finest. Including most of the teachers, most of whom I liked and who-even when we disagreed- were friendly and did not try to stomp on me with a jackboot or dominate my thoughts like some of those I later found in higher edu.

      Didn’t change the fact that during my senior year one of my Math Teachers was arrested for having an affair with a student, which lead to a cascading failure as more and more people who were found to have covered up for him were forced out, including the principal.

      And said math teacher? I had his wife for my Bio class. So I had to go in and give my condolences to her next week.

      Also got framed by my History Professor threatening to corner me, which I responded to with a threat/promise just to get him to back off. Got detention for a day after the family made it clear they were willing to challenge the school’s claims and bring up students.

      And that’s before I get into my Middle School’s attempts to put me on the short bus and screw us out of the support they were legally obliged to provide us, in spite of my family being PTA veterans for years.

      And again, I still look back on those days fondly. And All of that is pretty damn minor compared to much of the stuff that goes on in several SDs. After all, it mostly involved either personal failures in ethics or shortcharging special students, not the entire body or embezzlement.

      But it also shows just how much room there is for improvement, and what sort of secrets can lie below even Well Functioning schools, private or public. Let alone black holes of hopelessness like the inner cities.

      In what universe do either of us deserve the *privilege* of ignoring those problems just because they didn’t affect us so heavily?

      “Sure the current public system has problems, so work to fix it, but cutting or withholding funds isn’t a solution, as we can see what the future will look like.”

      You don’t seem to get it.

      Part of working to fix it INCLUDES withholding, cutting, and reallocating.

      It involves opening up credible alternatives for students and their families so that they don’t have to go crawling to what amount to government monopolies. If only because the competition between self-aggrandizing private schools and their teachers and self-aggrandizing public schools and their teachers will encourage friction for better performance, leaner budgets, and less chance of monopolistic corruption.

      It is a mistake to put all of our eggs on any one system, no matter how well it has preformed in the past or how much we are personally indebted to it.

      “And pepi, sure, maybe some of today’s Venezuelan teachers make more BsS than my Venezuelan friends who are engineers today, but not 10 years ago, and certainly never in the US.. that’s just plain BS.”

      Lately agreed, but they also had lower expenses.

      “Oh, sorry I missed that government paid education (via taxes we all [should] pay) is a “freebie”! ”

      It’s often positioned as a “freebie”, much like “Free” Healthcare. And even more commonly used to bash the heartless, evul rich or well to do if they try and allocate their funds and kids rationally rather than-say- going to the average inner city in Baltimore.

      “So again, how do you expect to educate the ignorant masses who are the cause of all your problems? ”

      A: I can’t speak for El Guapo, but I fervently disagree that the ignorant masses are the causes of all our problems.

      Say what I will about Karl Marx, but in spite of being as stupid and ignorant as a pigeon he doesn’t easily fit that description. Likewise the host of people who uncritically ape Howard Zinn.

      and

      B: Ultimately, we need to have more freedom to determine the education of citizens. Whether that includes homeschooling programs, private education, or a reformed public one.

      But in order to get there, you have to restructure how US laws about public education work, particularly permission for not sending them. A logical first step is cutting in a side route to bypass the public school district in favor of private ones. So that people can judge their alternatives and if they so choose, ditch the public school system if they find it disreputable or corrupt in favor of private ones.

      That’s the heart of the school voucher initiatives. It is not enough but it is a good start.

    • @Guapo: it depends where you live. I know around here people that send children to private schools are for religious reasons only. And public school teachers are well paid and the Board of Education is super strict as house values depend on a number of things, not only students test results. We have never seen union issues like in Oklahoma. This is business oriented. This is Texas, I guess the poor districts do what they can. Then colleges are very much tied up into that system. I wish the whole States was like this. I can only commend teachers for the good work.

  4. I vote for Tibisay Lucena and Delcy Rodriguez. They are so pretty.

    And Maduro should be reelected because Chavez said so from the grave. Meanwhile any official or politician or alcalde or governor will do. Who the hell is gonna fix such a huge mess anyway. Do they give clap bags with Mexican food for my votes? Sure hope so.

  5. “What if they “threw” an election and nobody came (I mean “NOBODY”)?—Why, Chavismo would win by a landslide, of course….

    • Net,
      Even before voting starts Chavismo automatically has a 70% lead. That is why counting votes is not needed.

      Why would citizens waste time voting? Well for one, they may want to eat.

  6. @Turtler: you do know the system from inside out.

    I have no idea why some here want to disqualify the USA education system. And I don’t want to go into any arguing about the why’s and why not.

    These are some facts (and please don’t come asking for links, you’re grownup and can do your own research)

    1)the ”public education, system in the USA serves its purpose. Every child in this country, coming legally or illegally (ie Venezuelan populace), must go to school (K-12). This is by law or parents must go to the school and present proper justification or even jail time in some States.
    2)between 2016 and 2018, around 5000 Venezuelans settled in North Dallas. Many came with investment visas or illegally but didn’t make any noise. However, recently we hear of huge parties and many artists are taking over the shows, which is bringing a necessary form of distraction to Dallas
    3)North Dallas is not cheap. I mean Bush 43 lives in a decent house in North Dallas. North Dallas has a house construction cost varying from $200 to $400/sqft. Even much more in some neighborhoods, ie 600 $/sqft
    4)I can put a hand on the hot plate, the public schools here are among best on earth.
    5)North of “North Dallas” is Plano for instance. Plano school system has ”free” bilingual education. I say ”free” because the public school are funded through the Property Tax. This tax is 2.2% of home assessed value. So to make it real, a small house of 3000 sqft, 200$/sqft = $600k. PT = $13200/year. This is the cost of the public school per household, whether your children go or not to the school unless a voucher is obtained under extreme circumstances.
    6)if you want to waste $15000/year in a private school (reportedly better education) this is a bad business call. The overall cost of the child education will be around $30000/year. These Venezuelan are rich by definition not that there is anything wrong with it.
    7)children from this social Venezuelan group have generally above average reading levels compared to Central America or Mexico immigrants but they generally have below average social skills than the poor immigrant colleagues. The Venezuelan kids love to show up, all of their parents have a unique income source: they all manufacture cell phones or other exotic professions such as doing “negocio”. In any case, they are very arrogant and disrespectful of teachers and any kind of authority.
    8)so Venezuelan kids can pass the mandatory tests, the school districts hire top-pro tutors to level up these kids, the school systems use federal funds to help provide for “free”. I mean “at no cost to students” even if they attend private schools and they are rich
    9)etc.

    So for what my rant is worth, I do have a hard time accepting the generalization that the USA public school system doesn’t provide the right education level to kids in general and much less to immigrants, to the point you need to enroll them in the so called private schools (unless of course there is an insurmountable religious need)

    Then, trying to assessvVenezuelan education systems, public or private, now and then, looks completely senseless especially compared to the USA. If the Venezuelan system before or now was so good, why then the country is so poorly educated with such bad manners, lack of basic discipline, etc. And this is not since Chavez. Get real please.

    Blow up the gasket!

    • @Pepe “you do know the system from inside out. ”

      Yes, but I do not really know it from outside in. Much less comprehensively.

      But I have some datapoints.

      “I have no idea why some here want to disqualify the USA education system. And I don’t want to go into any arguing about the why’s and why not. ”

      How long have you spent dealing with it?

      The US School System is not some kind of mad max dystopia like North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela. And as I admitted myself- if you read my post- my own personal experiences with it was positive.

      But many aspects of it badly need improvement.

      “These are some facts (and please don’t come asking for links, you’re grownup and can do your own research)”

      Firstly: Some of your facts…aren’t facts. Because they aren’t true. Some of them are theory.

      Secondly: Youve got your approach arse backwards.

      I am a grownup and I know how to do my research. That’s not why you provide links or sources.

      You provide links and sources to show that you yourself are a grown up, and that you have made it.

      “1)the ”public education, system in the USA serves its purpose. Every child in this country, coming legally or illegally (ie Venezuelan populace), must go to school (K-12). ”

      This is circular logic and wrong.

      The purpose of any public education system is not to have students go through it. It’s about what they learn while they attend.

      And many, MANY parts of the US public education system do Not serve that purpose. They fail to teach even on a minimum level.

      https://jonathanturley.org/2018/05/02/almost-70-percent-of-eighth-graders-in-public-schools-fail-proficiently-in-english-and-math/

      If Public education HAS any purpose, it’s to teach such basic proficiency. It is to *prevent* such results from happening.

      Vast swaths of American public education DO Fulfill that task. Most of it in fact. But large minorities of it Do Not. They fail even their own standards.

      And that’s the problem you’re ignoring, Pepe.

      You’re acting as if the system is good just because the academic results in the places you cite are good. That’s blind in two aspects.

      For one, it ignores that there are Many Many Many Many Many areas in the country where public schools *Are Not* as successful or good as North Dallas or my own native Santa Clara. This is why I keep bashing Detroit, because it’s the single worst example to the contrary. But not the only.

      And secondly: It acts as if churning out a certain GPA is the only necessity of a school.

      That’s wrong. My math teacher (the one who got arrested) was a good, competent instructor. I had liked him. But he was also guilty of staggering corruption and ethical failure.

      Likewise, it matters what the GPA’s being graded in. I’ll go out on a limb here and argue that it doesn’t help the student as much to get a 4.0 GPA and credentials for a class completed in exchange for money when that class is something like “Inequality in Society” taught by a man who can’t see why people wouldn’t be socialists or Marxists today.

      The latter problems make it more likely that graduates learn many habits that can cause intellectual dishonesty and ethical malfeasance. While the former problem makes it more likely that people don’t learn skills at all.

      Both need to be cleaned up.

      I’ll freely admit I do not know much about Venezuelan schools but that I expect US ones were generally much better than them. But do you realize how much of a dead end it is to argue “We don’t need to worry about this, we’re better than Venezuela?”

      • @Turtler: you and I agree for the most part. And there is never ever good when you can have best.

        I was lucky enough the company chose for me and my last relocation was here. If they had chosen Detroit, I would have never gotten there.

        Thanks, no offense intended

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