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Venezuela: a Nation Devoured by Socialism

Rich Lowry writes: Venezuela is a woeful reminder that no country is so rich that it can’t be driven into the ground by revolutionary socialism.

People are now literally starving — about three-quarters of the population lost weight last year — in what once was the fourth-richest country in the world on a per-capita basis. A country that has more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia is suffering shortages of basic supplies. Venezuela now totters on the brink of bankruptcy and civil war, in the national catastrophe known as the Bolivarian Revolution.

The phrase is the coinage of the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, succeeded by the current Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro. The Western Hemisphere’s answer to Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Maduro has instituted an ongoing self-coup to make his country a one-party state.

The Chavistas have worked from the typical Communist playbook of romanticizing the masses while immiserating them. Runaway spending, price controls, nationalization of companies, corruption and the end of the rule of law — it’s been a master class in how to destroy an economy.

The result is a sharp, yearslong recession, runaway inflation and unsustainable debt. The suffering of ordinary people is staggering, while the thieves and killers who are Chavista officials have made off with hundreds of billions of dollars. At this rate — The Economist calls the country’s economic decline “the steepest in modern Latin American history” — there will be nothing left to steal.

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

Any government in a democratic country that failed this spectacularly would have been relegated to the dustbin of history long ago. Maduro is getting around this problem by ending Venezuela’s democracy.

The Chávistas slipped up a year or two by allowing real elections for the country’s National Assembly, which were swept by the opposition. They then undertook a war against the assembly, stripping it of its powers and culminating in a rigged vote this week to elect a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. The opposition boycotted the vote, and outside observers estimate less than 20 percent of the electorate participated. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Democratic Socialism is Still Socialism

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Democratic socialism. It’s not the same as socialism socialism, because it’s democratic. Right? Or something, right? People are buying that; people buy that now, right? Apparently. As though adding the word “democratic” in front of a word changes what it means. Just because we toss something to a vote doesn’t change what that something is, nor does it alter whether that something is inherently good or bad.

A couple of examples, because I know you’ll ask: Hamas was democratically elected as the government in Gaza – despite the fact that the destruction of not only Israel, but the eradication of all Jews, is in their official charter. Robert Mugabe, or Bobby Mugabe if you prefer, was democratically elected by a loving majority in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe! How’s that working out?

Venezuela? Well, Hugo Chavez, noted personal favorite friend of Sean Penn, to whom he constantly pointed as being unfairly characterized as a dictator when, in fact, he was blackbookofcommunismdropdemocratically elected as a socialist.

[Order the book “The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” from Amazon.com]

Well, how’d that workout for Venezuela? Well, it’s now on the brink of collapse despite it being one of the most resource rich nations in the entire world. Basic things like eggs, milk, flour, and toilet paper are either too expensive for the average Venezuelan or simply out of stock… out of stock, mind you… democratically. I know, some of you will say, “Well that’s not fair, because really we knew all along it technically was a dictatorship.” Ok – that’s fair; let’s move on to example number two.

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Denmark? Ok, here’s the time where you point to an entirely homogenous population about one sixtieth the size of America’s, and you point to that as the blueprint? Ok – let’s go there. This is a place where the middle class can’t even afford a car because of the 180% new-car tax. And the Prime Minister was so fed up with Americans pointing to it as a beacon for socialist success that he felt compelled to clarify, “I would like to make one thing clear: Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy; Denmark is a market economy.”

Sweden? I love Sweden! Ok, great bikini team, and thanks to that country my armoire now doubles as a bookcase. Speaking of which, the founder of IKEA – let’s be honest, the only real cool export from Sweden aside from a few good hockey players – left Sweden because of the stifling high tax rate. So, Sweden – good place, not bad people – but a successful model for a viable economy in today’s global market? Incorrect.

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The fact is that, over time, the greatest enemy of socialism is reality. The reality that human nature will invariably pull certain people toward individualism and success and others toward laziness and collectivism. The tension between the makers and the takers always –  always! – leads to socialism’s inevitable collapse. But I know that I can give you examples of failed socialist economies until I’m blue in the face, and you won’t care. Because at least socialism is inherently more morally altruistic than the evil, greedy capitalistic war mongering seen in the West.

Greed? What’s more greedy than wanting to take from someone else something that you haven’t earned? Unlike capitalism – free enterprise, which can only occur truly through voluntary transaction – socialism can only occur at gunpoint. That’s what it comes down to. If you don’t pay your taxes, once you get through the IRS and the auditing and the lawyers and the PR stunts, people make you give the government your money, increasing amount of your money the more successful you are, or they send in scary men with guns to take you away.

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Now, so long as the people having their stuff taken away at gunpoint are in the minority, and the majority feels that they’ll get to benefit from more said taken stuff, you’ll always be able to win that decision through a popular vote and claim the moral high ground through democracy. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Yeonmi Park: Escaping North Korea

Yeonmi Park tells her story of life in North Korea and calls for action against such human rights violators. Yeonmi was speaking at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin. Click here to see the full transcript in Korean.

I have to do this because this is not just I am speaking… This is for the people who want to tell the world what they want to say.

North Korea is an unnatural country. There is only one channel on TV and there is no internet. We aren’t free to sing, say, wear or think what we want.

North Korea is the only country in the world that executes people for making unauthorized international phone calls.

North Koreans are being terrorized today.

When I was growing up in North Korea, I never saw anything about love stories between man and woman, no books, no songs, no press, no movies about love stories. There is no Romeo and Juliet, every stories were propagandized to brainwash about the Kim dictators.

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I was born in 1993 and I was abducted at birth even before I knew the words ‘freedom’ or ‘human rights’. North Koreans are desperately seeking and dying for freedom at this moment…

When I was 9 years old, I saw my friend’s mother publicly executedHer crime? Watching a Hollywood movie.

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Expressing doubt about the regime can get 3 generations of whole family imprisoned or executed.

When I was 4 years old, I was warned by my mother, not to even whisper, the birds and mice could hear me. I admitted it. I thought the North Korean dictator could read my mind. My father died in China after we escaped North Korea. And I have to bury him at 3 am in secret. I was only 14 years old. I couldn’t even cry, I was afraid to be sent back to North Korea.

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The day I escaped North Korea, I saw my mother raped. The rapist was a Chinese broker. He had targeted me. I was only 13 years old. There is a saying in North Korea, “Women are weak, but mothers are strong”. My mother allowed herself to be raped in order to protect me.

North Korean refugees, about 300,000 are roaming over in China. 70 percent of North Korean women and teenage girls are being victimized and sometimes sold for as a little as 200 dollars. We walked across the Gobi desert following a compass and when it stopped working, we followed the stars to freedom. I felt only the stars are with us. Mongolia was our freedom moment.

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Death or dignity; I was with the knife, we were prepared to kill ourselves if we are going to be send back to North Korea. We wanted to live as humans…

People often ask me, “How can we help North Koreans?”. There are many ways but I would like to mention 3 for now.

One, as you care yourself, you can raise awareness about human crisis in North Korea.

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Two, help and support North Korean refugees who are trying to escape for freedom.

Three, petition China to stop repatriation. Read the rest of this entry »


Tres Más Muertos: Three More Killed in Venezuela Protests

A firecracker explodes at the scene of protests in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

A firecracker explodes at the scene of protests in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

Shootings in Caracas, Valencia and San Cristobal amid clashes between demonstrators, security forces and armed gangs

Three Venezuelans have died from gunshot wounds during protests against socialist President Nicolás Maduro, witnesses and local media have said, pushing the death toll to 34 from almost two months of demonstrations that have been answered with deadly force from both security forces and armed pro-government gangs.

“…Bus driver Wilfredo Rey, 31, died on Friday night after being shot in the head during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen…”

Troops briefly clashed with a small group of protesters who attempted to block a highway in an upscale neighborhood of Caracas after thousands of opposition supporters marched to demand the release of students imprisoned during the unrest.

“…Jesus Labrador was hit by a bullet on Saturday in the Andean city of Merida during a shootout between armed protesters burning tires and hooded gunmen on motorcycle…”

Demonstrators complaining of soaring prices and product shortages have vowed to remain in the streets until Maduro resigns, although there are few signs that the country’s worst turmoil in a decade will force him from office.

Read the rest of this entry »


Venezuelan Regime Raids Homes Searching for Opposition Leader Amid Violent Protests

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Frances Martel  reports:  Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has a violent situation on his hands, as protests against the socialist regime escalate and the death toll rises. Reuters reports that protesters have vowed to continue until Maduro resigns, but Maduro has only escalated the oppression, raiding Caracas homes in search of opposition leader Leopoldo López.

[The Dictator’s Learning Curve at Amazon]

The streets of Caracas–already among the world’s most violent thanks to more than a decade of rule under Hugo Chávez–were aflame this weekend as Venezuelans used the national “Youth Day” holiday to trigger protests against the socialist dictatorship this weekend. This Youth Day, a holiday celebrating a battle of independence against Spain, three student protesters were reported dead and 23 injured thanks to government violence. The protest itself was peaceful; violence began when it culminated and police agitated the remaining protesters.

“I tell you, Maduro, you are a coward. You will not force my family nor myself to submit. To my family: Strength, I love you”

López tweeted yesterday. He also posted a video describing the protest and the next steps for his supporters…

Read the rest of this entry »