Tag Archives: Venezuela

How Gun Control Became an Instrument of Tyranny in Venezuela, by José Niño

Could the Venezuelan government get away with the garbage it’s gotten with if the citizenry was well-armed? Probably not. From José Niño at mises.org:

Is Venezuela paying the price for adopting gun control?

The shocking nature of Venezuela’s economic collapse has been covered ad nauseam. However, one aspect of the Venezuelan crisis that does not receive much coverage is the country’s gun control regime.

Fox News recently published an excellent article highlighting Venezuelan citizens’ regret over the gun control policies the Venezuelan government has implemented since 2012. Naturally, this regret is warranted. The Venezuelan government is among the most tyrannical in the world, with a proven track record of violating basic civil liberties such as free speech, debasing its national currency, confiscating private property, and creating economic controls that destroy the country’s productivity.

Elections have proven to be useless, as they’ve been mired with corruption and charges of government tampering. For many, taking up arms is the only option left for the country to shake off its tyrannical government. However, the Venezuelan government has done well to prevent an uprising by passing draconian gun control which will be detailed below.

Venezuela’s Lack of a Second Amendment Tradition

Historically speaking, Venezuela has never had a robust history of private gun ownership like that of the United States. The absence of a Second Amendment or check on the federal government’s monopoly on firearm usage is a vestige of its colonial legacy. Its Spanish colonial overlords did not possess a political culture of civilian firearms ownership. It was mostly the military and the landed nobility that held firearms throughout the colonial era. This tradition has persisted even after Latin American countries broke away from Spain in the 1820s.

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The rise of Socialism: Standing on the shoulders of morons, by Simon Black

Moron is an apt characterization of people who believe in a system that’s failed everywhere it’s been tried. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

I’ve spent the last several days in this quaint Colombian city near the Venezuelan border (though I’m presently at the airport, en route to Chile for a board meeting).

As I’ve discussed several times in the past, Colombia is great. It’s naturally gorgeous, incredibly cheap, and full of interesting opportunities.

The country has recently emerged from decades of civil war. And the rebuilding efforts will have a profound impact on the economy… most notably with the national infrastructure.

Colombia’s highways are pitiful.

The distance from here to Bogota is barely 400 kilometers– it shouldn’t be more than a 3-4 hour drive. But it takes almost nine hours thanks to the terrible highways.

Railways, ports, even digital infrastructure are all lacking in Colombia, in large part because of the decades-long war against the FARC. For years the government didn’t want to build more railways if the guerrillas were just going to destroy them.

With the war over, they’re dumping an enormous amount of money into modernizing the country, which invariably brings interesting opportunities.

Colombia is still cheap today.

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Socialism Always Ends in Destruction, by Virginia Fidler

Taking legitimately earned money from those who produce it and “redistributing” it to those who don’t, with the government of course taking a hefty cut, is a surefire recipe for ruin, and nothing more. From Virginia Fidler at goldtelegraph.com:

Every attempt at socialism has failed miserably. Venezuela is only the latest country that has tried to implement a socialist paradise, only to inevitably crumble and crash before our eyes. Socialism, and its natural progression, communism, has caused the deaths of 100 million people since its inception 100 years ago.

Just a few decades ago, Venezuela had massive oil reserves and an abundance of other resources. It enjoyed wealth and an excellent standard of living. Today, Venezuelans have no food, no medicine, and the country is driven by corruption and fear. While a starving population is in despair, many are desperately trying to flee paradise. The army, supported by President Madero, is in the street, ready to brutalize any dissenters. Madero and the military are not starving.

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Venezuela’s Socialism…And Ours, by Ron Paul

The US may not be as socialistic as Venezuela…yet, but it’s only a matter of degree and perhaps time. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

This week we witnessed the horrible spectacle of Nikki Haley, President Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, joining a protest outside the UN building and calling for the people of Venezuela to overthrow their government.

“We are going to fight for Venezuela,” she shouted through a megaphone, “we are going to continue doing it until Maduro is gone.”

This is the neocon mindset: that somehow the US has the authority to tell the rest of the world how to live and who may hold political power regardless of elections.

After more than a year of Washington being crippled by evidence-free claims that the Russians have influenced our elections, we have a senior US Administration official openly calling for the overturning of elections overseas.

Imagine if President Putin’s national security advisor had grabbed a megaphone in New York and called for the people of the United States to overthrow their government by force!

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In Socialist Venezuela the Poor Starve to Death While the Politically Powerful Feast, by Tho Bishop

Every time socialism fails, it’s proponents claim that it wasn’t “really” socialism. Now it’s failing again, this time in Venezuela, and it won’t be long before we’ll learn that it wasn’t socialism, although Maduro and Chavez before him both claimed to be socialists. From Tho Bishop at mises.org:

The socialist policies of the Venezuela government continue to impose a living hell on its people. Hyperinflation has turned its currency to literal garbage. Mortality rates have skyrocketed for groups such as infants, pregnant mothers, and the elderly as clinics have shut down and medicine grown scarce. Food has disappeared from store shelves forcing the population to consume pets and zoo animals. A recent poll found that 78% of Venezuelans “reported trouble keeping themselves fed.”

Of course, this is not true for all Venezuelans.

Earlier this week President Nicolas Maduro was seen in a plush Istanbul restaurant lavishly dining on expensive steaks while smoking fine cigars, the check paid for by the wealth his regime has drained from his people. Once again we see that under socialism “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Continue reading

Covert US Plot For Venezuela Coup Detailed In Explosive NYT Report, by Tyler Durden

Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro’s nutty socialistic ideas are weak enough to fall on their own. They certainly don’t need any help from the US. However, given our government’s history in Latin America, it would be no surprise if the above headline was true. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

“This is going to land like a bomb” in the region, a former Latin America diplomatic official told the New York Times in this morning’s explosive lengthy report detailing how the Trump administration held covert meetings with Venezuelan military coup plotters targeting President Nicolás Maduro.

The “clandestine channel” involved contacts with what are described as “rebellious officers” bent on bringing about regime change with the help of Washington.

The astounding revelation though perhaps familiar-sounding when considering the historical string of coups and CIA covert interventions across the 20th century from Cuba to Nicaragua to Chile comes just over a month after a bizarre assassination attempt involving two C-4 explosive laden drones which detonated near Maduro as he gave a televised speech during a military parade in Caracas. Continue reading

Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero, by Alex Deluce

If you needed any more convincing about the wisdom of owning physical precious metals. From Alex Deluce at goldtelegraph.com

In socialist Venezuela, the price of a cup of coffee has doubled every few weeks. The annual inflation rate could hit 1,000,000 percent by years end. People can no longer afford food, but that’s okay because there isn’t any food to be found. South America’s once wealthy nation has spiraled from secure and stable into an unimaginable state of hyperinflation. Venezuela is experiencing the results of government mismanagement, corruption, and socialist ideology. President Maduro’s solution to the problem is to proudly lob three zeros off the hyperinflated Bolivar and call it a “miracle solution.”

At one time, Venezuela had the largest oil reserves in the world, which provided steady revenues for the country and a good living for its citizens. Oil accounted for most of Venezuela’s exports. Life in Venezuela was excellent. Then, in 1998, came President Hugo Chavez. Chavez used the abundant income stream to go on a spending spree as he instituted a large number of entitlement programs using the oil revenues. A strike in 2003 interrupted Chavez’s plans and caused the GDP to crash by 27 percent in just four months. Chavez began nationalizing industries and instituting price controls, which was the beginning on Venezuela’s inflationary spiral as Venezuelans developed a reliance on their government for products and services.

The price of crude oil plummeted in 2014, and the economy shrank by 30 percent. Oil revenues, in the form of U.S. dollars, were dwindling, and Venezuela was unable to continue importing necessary goods. These days, in 2018, stores are empty as people attempt to survive on dealing through the black market.

Venezuela is printing currency at the speed of a copy machine. The more money that is injected into circulation, the more it becomes devalued. The cup of coffee that could be bought for 140,000 bolivars rose to over 1,000,000 within weeks. Today, that cup costs 2,000,000 bolivars. Hyperinflation has placed the purchase of everyday items out of the reach of the average Venezuelan, although President Maduro has granted four wage hikes this year alone.

Venezuela has lost most of its imports as it remains in a state of unprecedented crisis. People are starving, and the average weight loss is 25 pounds due to lack of food. Still, Maduro continues to print worthless currency. For Venezuela to reach this low abyss has taken a combination of corruption and mismanagement on every level of its nationalized industries.

Hyperinflation in invariably the result of government mismanagement and the printing of fiat currency. Venezuela isn’t the only country experiencing inflation. According to Steve Hanke of the Cato Institute, the value of the Iranian rial decreased from 98,000 rials to the dollar to 112,000 rials in one day. That’s a one-day devaluation of 12.5 percent. As in Venezuela, the black market currency business in Iran is thriving. While the official exchange rate to the dollar is 44,030, the black market rate is 112,00, an increase of 154 percent over the official rate.

Professor Hanke has previously dealt with hyperinflation in Bulgaria as adviser to President Petar Stoyanov. At that time, Bulgaria’s rate of inflation was 242 percent a month. Professor Hanke instituted a fixed rate of exchange for Bulgaria’s currency linked to an anchor currency, the German Mark. This prevented manipulation of the country’s currency and allowed market forces to determine its value. This stabilized Bulgaria’s currently quite effectively. Taking the government out of the equation was the prime move to successfully halt the country’s inflation. Bulgaria’s debt has decreased because it was forced to stop printing valueless money and continue spending money it didn’t have.

Professor Hanke sees this as the solution to Iran’s current inflation problem. He suggests gold as the best “anchor currency” because the value of gold is dependent on market forces instead of government manipulation and whim.

In 2017, Zimbabwe was another country with a daily inflation rate of 98 percent and an annual rate of 79,600,000,000 percent. Unemployment in Zimbabwe reached 80 percent. The country’s economy had broken down entirely due to its printing of fiat money and extreme socialist policies. In the 1990s, the government began to redistribute land from white farmers to black farmers. The inexperienced black farmers failed to produce enough food and caused a massive shortage and production fell sharply.

Like other socialist countries, Zimbabwe began to print fiat money and flooding the economy with it. The worse the economic situation became, the more money was being printed. As government debt increased, the money machines continue to crank out currency that became more devalued, thus making it even harder to pay off any debt. As the economic output declined, shortages were on the rise. People had money, but few goods became available. The combination of increased money supply and a higher demand for goods forced up prices sharply. Foregoing all economic logic, President Mugabe blamed the greed of manufacturers for wanting to raise prices. It is the printing of worthless currency that causes inflation and price increase, not greed.

In a repeat of Chavez’s move in Venezuela, Zimbabwe imposed price controls. But production costs increased quicker than prices, leaving producers with no incentive to produce. This increased the shortages and raised prices even more. Inflation invariably becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There was money to go around, but even a million dollars become worthless if the price of bread is two million dollars. The fare for transportation increased between the morning and evening commutes.

The causes of hyperinflation are always the same, yet countries are refusing to learn from history.

When governments begin to print money to pay off their debts, the money supply increases, as do prices. When goods become unaffordable, their demand increases, sending prices even higher. People begin to hoard goods, creating even greater shortages and higher prices. And governments continue to print money that keeps losing value. The formula is tried and true. Still, it continues. Since any articulate eight-year-old can state why a commodity that is rarer will be more valuable, it is a puzzle why central banks and governments can’t seem to grasp that increasing the money supply makes it naturally less valuable.

1930s Germany, of course, is the standard example of hyperinflation. During WWI, the number of Deutschmarks being circulated rose from 13 million to 60 billion as the government kept the printing presses busy 24 hours a day. While the Deutschmark became valueless, the nation’s debt rose from 5 billion to 100 billion.

The identical scenario has been repeated in Zimbabwe, and now in Venezuela. Governments have instituted the same solutions and have been met with identical failures.

No country, if properly mismanaged, is immune to hyperinflation. Gold and silver are the best counterattack for individuals faced with fiat currency and spiraling costs. Hard assets are beyond the control of government manipulation and retain their value during the worst of time. Especially in the worst of times.

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