Wednesday, March 14

Venezuela's descent into chaos, from a guy who lived thru it


I've written a lot about the ghastly conditions in Venezuela due to the socialist government's policies, but nothing describes the misery as well as the words of someone who's actually lived thru it.

J.G. Martinez is from Venezuela.  Before it all went south he worked as an instrument tech for the state oil company.  He's clearly articulate, and strikes me as very down-to-earth guy.  He and his family have lived thru what he calls the "apolcalypse" of Venezuela's ghastly descent into poverty and violence under a mere 20 years of "socialist" mis-rule.

Martinez and his wife realized disaster was coming years ago, and began stockpiling as much food and supplies as they could while food was still available.  He says they'd managed to lay in 4 or 5 months of supplies, hoping the disaster wouldn't last longer, but he says the collapse of the normal, familiar system took everyone by surprise.  Perhaps his clearest warning is "What happened was something entirely different from what we had prepared for."
We prepared for some of the consequences of turmoil, unrest, riots, crime. We were able to hunker down for a while without having to leave our haven. The scarcity problems started around 2013-2014. Those years were the last time I remember we could buy large amounts of wheat flour, corn flour for arepas (yes, those yellow packages you see people fist fighting each other for on the web), pasta, powdered and packaged milk, rice, and other staples.

An economic collapse for so long seemed impossible.  We never imagined it could happen.  I would have expected that long before we reached this hungry zombie-like scenario there would have been a revolution.

We knew something disturbing was going to happen sooner or later. We could feel it in the atmosphere…but nothing like this.  We never imagined it would be impossible to find a battery, or engine oil, or gasoline (Jeez, this was an oil-producing country!!) or that kids were going to be endangered in the very door of their schools.

We never imagined that the oil and electricity state companies employees would be threatened with imprisonment if they tried to quit their jobs to leave the country.  But that's what happened.
We never imagine that prices were going to be much different if you tried to pay with debit card instead of cash. If you pay with a debit card, the price will be double than if paid in cash. This is not surprising: the rate of the circulating cash to the non-circulating is deeply distorted. There are people even SELLING the cash: you transfer them one million [Bolivars] to their bank accounts, they will give you 600.000 cash--which is barely enough for two dozen eggs and some cheese.
Socialism--American elites and a majority of coastal college students think it's the greatest system ever.  Amazing.

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