Venezuela

Rubio Delivers Speech Denouncing Cuba’s Influence, Venezuela’s Repressive Government

During a Senate floor speech on Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) used his time before his colleagues to call their attention to current protests in Venezuela and what protesters, who are mostly students, have been trying to accomplish.

Rubio’s speech started as a way to issue a reply to a report issued by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). The democrat’s report was delivered after he returned from a trip to Cuba. According to Sen. Rubio, Harkin’s views on the lives of common Cubans are not accurate, mostly because his accounts seem to gloss over the real facts, leaving the tyrannical and repressive nature of the Cuban government out of the picture.

According to Rubio, Cubans flee their home country out of fear of repression and in hopes of finding a place where they can work and where they are free to associate with others peacefully precisely because they do not have those experiences where they come from. Repression, Rubio stated during his speech, is what the Cuban government is really good at.

All Eyes on Venezuela on Sunday

Written by Juan Carlos Hidalgo, policy analyst on Latin America at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday for their most important presidential election in a generation. At stake is the end of the thuggish, corrupt, and autocratic 14 year-old regime of Hugo Chávez.

The opposition, led by Governor Henrique Capriles Radonsky, has a real chance of winning the vote—if it’s fairly done. The most credible polls show a very tight race with still a number of Venezuelans undecided. However, there are good reasons to believe that most of the undecided are actually “hidden” votes for Capriles, people who are intimidated or afraid to express their support for the opposition candidate.

As I’ve written before, it won’t be a fair election. Four out of the five seats in the National Electoral Council (CNE) are loyal chavistas. The CNE has resorted to increasingly dirty tricks. The latest has been to announce that people who mark one of Capriles’ pictures in the ballot won’t actually be voting for him, but for a lesser known third candidate (see the explanation here).

The electoral registry, which is controlled by Cuban operatives, has increased its size by 58 percent since 2001, even though Venezuela’s population has risen only 18 percent during that period. Fourteen of the country’s 24 states have more registered voters than total adult population. There is even the documented case of 2,272,706 voters that appear to live at the same address.

Forced Labor Camps Are the Fruit of Venezuelan Socialism

Vcrisis“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” ~ former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill

Writing in his book “The Life of Reason”, Spanish philosopher George Santayana declared “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

That axiom may be nowhere more true that in the portion of humanity that endlessly embraces authoritarian government despite its inglorious record of failure. The failure, according to the Left, arises not in the flawed philosophy itself, but in the improper application of it. Many of the greatest atrocities in human history occurred in the last century at the hands of leftist, totalitarian regimes around the world, yet like a dog to its vomit, the Left ignores the fetid stench of death and oppression and comes back for more.

Venezuela is just the latest example of this phenomenon.

Three years ago, in the left-leaning Salon.com, writer David Sirota praised the brilliance and virtues of corrupt Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, effusively extolling the “indisputably positive results” of Chavez’s brand of socialism, while minimizing or dismissing his human rights abuses and strong-armed tactics in the pursuit of power, arguing he was not as bad as his predecessor. He gushed that Chavez, who had stolen private property on a mass scale in the process of nationalizing the nation’s oil industry, had “racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.”

Feeling the Bern, Hillary Turns to Bill on Economy

bill

Poor Hillary is feeling the Bern. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

It was supposed to be a coronation, not a dogfight. Her primary battle with socialist curmudgeon Bernie Sanders was supposed to be political Kabuki theater, with her dispatching the hapless but loveable (insofar as one can be loveable while embracing an ideology responsible for the deaths of a hundred million people in the last century) Sanders in a display of feminist power, the glass ceiling of patriarchal oppression shattered once and for all. Finally, a Uterus-Enabled American at the pinnacle of power!

Her path to the Democrat nomination was rocky from the start, having won Iowa by a hair’s breadth (0.3%), and then getting blown out in New Hampshire by Sanders. She and Sanders have since then traded blows, with Hillary leading the contests 27-20. With the Democrat super-delegates firmly in her corner the process was rigged for her from the beginning, but her inability to put Sanders away makes for poor optics, as they say, leading up to the general election.

That might explain why she is starting to get gimmicky in an effort to shut down Sanders and lock up the nomination.

Her latest gambit came this past Sunday when Hillary, speaking before a group of voters in Kentucky, said that she would put her husband, former President Bill Clinton “in charge of revitalizing the economy, because, you know, he knows how to do it.”

Venezuela’s socialist government is now rationing food after prices controls proved to be a miserable failure

Venezuela food shortages

The socialist government of Venezuela is, basically, rationing food. With food shortages a concern, one that’s been around for some time and was one of the issues at the center of protests earlier this year, its implementing a biometric system that will track how much people buy to stop them from overbuying:

The Venezuelan Executive Office is to implement a biometric system for the purchase of food in private supermarkets, for the purpose of controlling the sale of staples per individual. Authorities have outlined the move seeks to “collect data on Venezuelans’ purchases, included items and frequency” in order to tackle food smuggling.

With the mechanism, customers’ identity card numbers and fingerprints will be recorded, so as to prevent them from buying the same product more than once during the same week.

The current Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, has continued the most of Hugo Chavez’s policies and announced the biometric food rationing system in the spring. Maduro, who’s led the country since March 2013, has blamed hoarders, smugglers, and the Central Intelligence Agency for the food shortage.

Today in Liberty: Tea Party picks up a Senate seat, Obama’s war on coal to hit consumers

“President Obama won the youth vote 3 to 1, but I don’t think he’s got a permanent hold on the youth vote. I think if we bring to them that message, that ‘You know what? What you do on your cell phone is none of the government’s damn business.’” — Rand Paul

— Ben Sasse, Tea Party win in Nebraska: Ben Sasse took 49.4 percent of the vote in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary, easily defeating Sid Dinsdale and Shane Obsorn. Sasse was backed by big-name conservative and Tea Party groups, while Osborn had the quiet backing of the Republican establishment. “Congratulations to Ben Sasse on his victory tonight in Nebraska. Ben is a problem solver who will be a conservative voice in our effort to repeal ObamaCare and bring much needed fiscal sanity to the Senate,” said NRSC Chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). “Ben Sasse is a results-oriented leader whom I know will fight for Nebraska and be a great advocate for the Cornhusker State in the Senate. I look forward to working alongside of Ben in the Senate next year in a Republican majority.” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola hailed Sasse as a champion of economic liberty, noting that he “won a hard-fought primary by building his campaign on the simple idea that ObamaCare is a disaster that needs to be repealed,” adding that “Ben clearly articulated a conservative vision to Nebraska voters who rewarded him with their votes.”

V for Venezuela

See Video

Via Learn Liberty: “Tired of the corruption, high crime, and poor state of the economy in Venezuela, students and other citizens are taking to the streets to protest. What kind of ideas inspire regular citizens to risk so much in the face of a tyrannical government?”

Venezuelans Are Fed Up With Socialist President Maduro

Nicolás Maduro

Since February 4th, students have been protesting in San Cristóbal, Venezuela. Protesters have been strongly opposed to current President Nicolas Maduro and his heavy-handed interventionist government and have decided to take it to the streets, which ended up triggering waves of violent attacks that are mostly perpetrated by paramilitary forces. At least 6 people have died so far.

Before the protests, Venezuelans were experiencing soaring crime rates, an annual inflation rate of 320 percent and shortage of basic goods, which are all mostly due to protectionist policies and Hugo Chavez’s National Bolivarian Guard’s crack down on the ‘over-pricing’ the government accuses producers and merchants of practicing.

Product shortages range from vegetables to toilet paper.

In Venezuela, food is subsidized. The government has instilled an idea among its citizens that cheap gas is every Venezuelan’s right, so oil is heavily subsidized as well. The president of the Venezuela’s national oil company is also the vice president in charge of the country’s economy, has also acted as the government’s energy minister.

House Democrat Praises Hugo Chavez

Jose Serrano

As you’ve probably heard, Hugo Chavez, who for 14 years ruled Venezuela and had long been a thorn in the side of American presidents, passed away on Tuesday. Chavez had been fighting cancer and died from a massive heart attack.

This was welcome news to expatriates of the South American country, many of whom left after Chavez began to implement his leftist agenda and crack down on dissent.

Strangley, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), who recently introduced a resolution to repeal the 22nd Amendment, praised Chavez via Twitter last night:

It didn’t take long for Rep. Serrano to have to explain that one. In a statement from his office, Rep. Serrano said that he met Chavez during a visit to his district in 2005.

The ‘Happy Planet Index’ Ranks Venezuela, Albania, and Cuba Far Higher than the United States

Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Rankings can be very useful tools, assuming the methodology is reasonable and the authors use robust data. I’ve cited many of them.


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