Archive for the ‘Cubazuela’ Category

Venezuela: Entire medical system collapsing

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Back when Hugo Chavez was alive, he imported 30,000 Cuban “doctors” (some of which eventually defected), and began buying most medical equipment through Cuba, China and Argentina instead of from the suppliers.

Now the whole country’s medical system – both the “free” healthcare and the private – is collapsing, as Frank Bajak reports:

Last month, the government suspended organ donations and transplants. At least 70 percent of radiotherapy machines, precisely what Gonzalez will need once her tumor is removed, are now inoperable in a country with 19,000 cancer patients – meaning fewer than 5,000 can be treated, said Dr. Douglas Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation.

Disintegration: Another look at universal health care in Venezuela

Needles, syringes and paraffin used in biopsies to diagnose cancer, drugs to treat it, operating room equipment, X-ray film and imaging paper, blood and the reagents needed so it can be used for transfusions are all in desperately short supply.

Alberto de la Cruz points out the Cubanization of Venezuela:

Under the “leadership” of their puppet governor Nicolas Maduro, this Cuban colony has managed to become almost completely Cubanized in just a few short months. Implementing the same strategies in Venezuela as they have done in Cuba, the Castro dictatorship has driven the health care system in that country into the ground. Unfortunately for them, they have no “embargo” to blame for this destruction. And another unfortunate situation for Cuba’s Castro dictatorship and their sycophants brought about by this development is that it once again proves that the atrocious health care system in Cuba (and now in Venezuela) has nothing to do with “embargoes.” Instead, it has everything to do with corruption and mismanagement at the hands of the criminal and totalitarian Castro regime.

Read the horrifying report here.

Venezuela’s ruined agricultural industry

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Closely following the steps of their Cuban idols, Chavismo has managed to ruin one of the leading agricultural producers in out hemisphere, which has taken a dive, along with the country’s industrial output.

U.S. Rice Farmers Cash In On Venezuelan Socialism
U.S. Exporters Benefit as Production Falls in Latin American Country

Overall, Venezuelan imports have quadrupled since Mr. Chávez took office, to $59.3 billion in 2012 from about $14.5 billion in 2000, according to Venezuela government figures and economists at Barclays PLC. Exports to Venezuela from the U.S. hit $12 billion in 2011, up 16% from the previous year, the latest U.S. government figures show.

That’s what happens when you move from a demand economy to a command economy.

Venezuela imports US$3 billion worth of Cuban surveillance equipment

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

First, The Lives of Others (full movie):

Since the Cuban Communists were trained by the Stasi, they have the tools Maduro wants:

a. Cuban Information Technology Penetration in Venezuela (emphasis added):

[In 2011,] The year after Valdes’ trip, El Nacional published a special edition detailing that the Venezuelan government had granted Albet S.A. the contract to provide and administer the software to manage SAIME’s functions. SAIME’s functions include creating and issuing electronic identification documents (ID cards and passports) and maintaining a civilian registry. The software also manages databases for:

• Public and private registries,

• Centers to analyze information,

• Educational software,

• Project “Alba Guardia” database which keeps track of oil rigs managed by PDVSA, Venezuela’s national oil company,

• The President’s communication office,

• Any information pertaining to the country’s prison, security, emergency and
hospital systems. [7]

It is particularly alarming that a non-Venezuelan company manages the country’s civilian registry and has the ability to issue personal identification documents. It does not only violate Venezuelan sovereignty but it exposes the personal information of every Venezuelan citizen to Cuban authorities.

b. Castro Sells “Security Software” to Venezuela

According to El Nacional newspaper, last year the Castro regime exported over $3 billion in “security, citizens databases and communications interception software” to the Venezuelan government.

The transactions were conducted through Albet, a Cuban state-owned company linked to the University of Information Sciences (known as “UCI”), an entity created by Castro in 2002 to form the regime’s “cyber-warriors.”

The UCI is located at a “former” Soviet espionage and communications interception base.

A former Venezuelan government consultant recently described Albet as “a camouflage of Cuba’s G2.”

Ironically, Cuba maintains the lowest Internet connectivity rate in the Western Hemisphere and one of the lowest in the world.

But it’s #1 in control.

No wonder people are leaving, Cuba reports highest outflow of citizens since 1994

Venezuela: A circus without a ringmaster

Friday, July 5th, 2013

The Economist sizes it up:
Venezuela’s government
A circus without a ringmaster
Radicals, former soldiers and Cuban spies jostle for control of the Venezuelan ring

During the presidential election campaign, Mr Maduro was seen as the favoured candidate not just of his predecessor but also of Cuba, Venezuela’s closest ally. A month ago, however, Mr Cabello made a three-day visit to Havana, holding meetings with President Raúl Castro and his brother, Fidel. The trip came shortly after the leaking of the Silva recording. No one knows what sort of deal the Cubans may have struck with Mr Cabello. For the moment, he and Mr Maduro are locked in a macho Latin embrace, of the kind some say was devised as a way for each man to frisk the other for weapons.

Maduro was in Havana reviewing the promotions of military officers of the Venezuelan Armed Forces (h/t Babalu). Cuban intelligence officers are tracking Venezuela’s opposition. If there is a ringmaster, he’s most likely Cuban.

I mentioned a while ago that Maduro may not last long in power, and his successor may be Cabello, not Capriles. Only time will tell.

Over at the Carter Center, they’re having qualms over the quality of the voting conditions and whether every registered voter is able to vote one time, and only one time.

But fret not, unctuous Jimmy had already given his Seal of Approval to the Venezuela Election.

Venezuela launches missile

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

While we’re wallowing in scandals in the USA, including the State Department’s Benghazi debacle, and while the Venezuelan people don’t even have toilet paper,

Venezuela Launches Cuban-Restored Missile

Yesterday, the Venezuelan government conducted the test launch of an Otomat missile, model MK2.

Eighteen of these missiles have been restored, thanks to Cuban specialists, for use by Venezuela’s Bolivarian Armed Forces.

Venezuela’s appointed leader, Nicolas Maduro, announced the launch (and Cuba’s support) with much fanfare, as well as the upcoming restoration of AMX 3 light tanks and EE-11 Urutú armored personnel carriers.

Nothing to look here; Of course, the countries within firing range and the users of the now-expanding Panama Canal may have reason to worry.

Surely the Venezuelan regime will claim it’s all for peaceful purposes, like their soon-to-be-nuclear pals the Iranians, who still have their direct flights to Caracas.

Venezuela runs out of toilet paper

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Chronic shortages of consumer goods are a trademark of socialist and communist regimes, so this comes as no surprise:
Venezuela to import 50M rolls of toilet paper after government claims it’s wiped out

Economists say Venezuela’s shortages stem from price controls meant to make basic goods available to the poorest parts of society and the government’s controls on foreign currency.

“State-controlled prices — prices that are set below market-clearing price — always result in shortages. The shortage problem will only get worse, as it did over the years in the Soviet Union,” said Steve Hanke, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University.

Then the government raised prices by 20%, which will eat up the 20% raise in minimum salary that went in effect on May 1st.

Carlos Eire posts on the Cubanization of Venezuela,

According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, the Maduro dictatorship is blaming its opponents for Caracastan’s toilet paper shortage.

“The Revolution will import around 50 million rolls of hygienic tissue… so our people can calm down and realize that they should not allow themselves to be manipulated by media campaigns that speak of shortages,” said Minister of Commerce Alejandro Fleming, through the state-run Venezuelan News Agency.

Minister Fleming cited facts and figures to prove that the production and importation of toilet paper was more than adequate in Caracastan, and then claimed that a “sobredemanda” — a sudden spike in demand — fiendishly orchestrated by the government’s opponents had caused the product to disappear from store shelves throughout the country.

Considering the disastrous state of what’s left of the Venezuelan economy, it’s no wonder people may have the runs,

Finance Minister Nelson Merentes said the government was also addressing the lack of foreign currency, which has resulted in the suspension of foreign supplies of raw materials, equipment and spare parts to Venezuelan companies, disrupting their production.
“We are making progress … we have to work very hard,” Merentes told reporters Wednesday.

Many factories operate at half capacity because the currency controls make it hard for them to pay for imported parts and materials. Business leaders say some companies verge on bankruptcy because they cannot extend lines of credit with foreign suppliers.

Speaking of runs, consumers who had spent hours waiting in line were stampeding in Caracas when they heard chicken parts and flour were finally available,

Nicolás Maduro tried to intimidate Empresas Polar president Lorenzo Mendoza,

accusing him of hoarding products as part of an “economic war” on the state by private business.

Mendoza, whose company is Venezuela’s biggest beer- and flour-maker, denied that and pointedly challenged the government to sell production plants nationalized under Chavez back to the private sector to boost efficiency.

Mendoza would not be intimidated, and at least for now, Maduro backed off.

Toilet paper buyers continue to wait in line,

Fleming, the commerce minister, said monthly consumption of toilet paper was normally 125 million rolls, but that current demand “leads us to think that 40 million more are required.”

“We will bring in 50 million to show those groups that they won’t make us bow down,” he said.

Hmmm… 125 + 40 – 50 still leaves you 115 million rolls short, Minister Flemimg.

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Venezuela: 50 shades of crazy

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Nicolás Maduro first said the yankis were going to kill Henrique Capriles, then he said the Salvadorans were plotting to kill Maduro, and now’s saying that Colombian ex-president Alvaro Uribe is plotting to kill him, too,

“Uribe is behind a plot to kill me,” Maduro said in a televised speech. “Uribe is a killer. I have enough evidence of who is conspiring, and there are sectors of the Venezuelan right that are involved.”

He did not provide details.

Maduro, as we know, talks to the birds, and placed an oath on anyone voting against him.

Yesterday Maduro also said he’d “willing to talk to the Devil for the peace of Venezuela”, while casting aspersions on the opposition (video in Spanish),

Rather than worrying about Uribe, Maduro ought to keep en eye on Diosdado, or he may get his wish sooner than he thinks.

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G-r-o-s-s: Bolivarian “sanitary” towels

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

This is what women in Cuba have to use since the country can’t produce paper goods, and doesn’t have money to import them: Pads made of fabric, that must be washed by hand since no one can afford washing machines,


Michael Moore and all of those touting “Cuban healthcare” probably don’t know about this detail of basic sanitation.

Now that there are shortages of tampons, pads, toothpaste, food, and paper goods in Venezuela, the chavistas have come up with a propaganda video extolling the pads made of fabric:

She claims it’s 100% biodegradable, reusable, and prevents you from participating in “savage capitalism.”

No mention of bacteria, stained clothes, or odors.

Meanwhile, someone else didn’t take well to this pre-industrial age idea (what am I saying? Pre-Roman times), and came up with snark,

“We couldn’t leave out [the] biodegradable Bolivarian tampons”


BBC’s Book of the Week: Comandante

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Abridged and available right now. Via Caracas Chronicle, who says

It’s a great chance to hear Rory’s book read by a professional, but hurry: they don’t leave these online forever.

You can also purchase the book through the Amazon link above.

The dead Hugo Chavez Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 11th, 2013

LatinAmerWelcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. The top story in our hemisphere this week: the announcement of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez’s death. While the government has announced a presidential election for April 14th, don’t expect chavismo to give up power anytime soon.

Mary O’Grady writes on Chávez ‘The Redeemer’
Even as his rule dimmed their future, Venezuela’s poor clung to the belief that he cared for them.

The cult of adoration is now under way, which fills a need peculiar to Latin America, as Enrique Krauze explains,

In Latin America the need to turn politicians into secular saints is due to the distrust many feel for the region’s weak institutions and a worship for so-called men on horseback—heroes who come to the nation’s rescue, said Mr. Krauze. The region’s deep Catholic tradition of anointing and then venerating saints is also an important factor, he said.

It could never happen here, could it?

Argentine court convicts ex-leader Menem
An appeals court in Buenos Aires convicts ex-President Carlos Menem of illegally selling 6,500 tonnes of arms to Croatia and Ecuador during the 1990s.

Brazil, Where a Judge Made $361,500 in a Month, Fumes Over Pay
Exploiting generous benefits and loopholes, some public sector employees are earning more than $260,000 in a year.

When Congress finally decided in 2012 to allow people to obtain the salary information of its employees, it also required them to find the name of each employee and submit it online. In other words, if someone wanted the information on the legislature’s 25,000-strong work force, then that person had to independently identify them and submit 25,000 separate online requests.

If only it were that easy here in São Paulo. One clerk at the state’s high court, Ivete Sartório, was reportedly paid about $115,000 after convincing her superiors that she should be compensated for not taking leaves of absence. But when asked recently about her wages, a spokesman for the court, Rômulo Pordeus, said that Ms. Sartório’s “matriculation number” was needed to request the information.

When asked how any curious taxpayer could get that number, he replied that it was in Ms. Sartório’s possession, and that he did not want to bother her about it.

World’s Largest Ground-Based Telescope Array Opens in Chile Soon: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

Colombian ELN rebels free held German Breuer brothers
Two German nationals held hostage in Colombia since early November have been freed, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

Cuba dissident ‘forced off road’ to death

How Castro Defines Gender Equality

Land Rovers and Airplanes Ready as Falklands Votes on U.K. Ties

Central America
Out of control
In the first of two reports on the threat of rampant violence to Central America’s small republics, we look at the risk of Honduras becoming a failed state

Long Border, Endless Struggle

Power in Mexico
“The Teacher” in detention
Enrique Peña Nieto’s government has arrested a powerful union leader. Is this the start of something?

Unabated Violence Poses Challenge to Mexico’s New Anticrime Program
Recent violence, including gang rapes and the killing of police officers, has put pressure on Mexico’s new leader as he rolls out a less militaristic crime prevention initiative

Peru’s economy likely expanded 6-7 pct in January – cenbank

Peru Keeps 4.25% Rate as CPI Slows Amid Stable GrowthQ
Peru kept borrowing costs unchanged for a 22nd consecutive month as policy makers expect inflation to converge to the mid-point of their target and economic growth to exceed 6 percent.

Ex-Governor of Puerto Rico: GOP Must Lead on Immigration Reform

What Is The U.S. Doing At Chavez’s Funeral?

Not playing nice with the dead: Chavez main crimes

The Post Chávez Era Begins

WSJ timeline: Hugo Chávez: From Coup Leader to President
Born Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías on July 28, 1954, in a small farming village in Sabaneta, he was first elected president in 1998, six years after engineering a failed military coup.

Contrary To What Jimmy Carter Says, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez Was No Friend Of The Poor

Rev. Jesse Jackson Attends Hugo Chavez Funeral

The wild card in Venezuela: Armed Chavistas


Iran Leader Lambasted for Tribute to Chávez

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s lionization of his Venezuelan friend Hugo Chávez caused a political firestorm in the Islamic Republic, as doubts arose over whether the two countries could carry on their tight alliance now that Mr. Chávez is dead.

Chavez failed Venezuela: Column
Given the unqualified failure of his socialist experiment, dying young was probably the best thing Hugo Chavez could have done for his country.

Venezuela after Chávez
Now for the reckoning
After 14 years of oil-fuelled autocracy, Hugo Chávez’s successors will struggle to keep the Bolivarian revolution on the road

Venezuela Opposition Faces Hurdles
Chávez’s Heir Apparent Seen Riding Late Leader’s Coattails to Victory in Election Expected Next Month

The nature of Hugo Chávez’s appeal on the American left?

Chavez: Death of a tyrant

The week’s posts and podcast:
SNL Hugo’s Candle in the Wind

What’s left of Latin America’s Left?

Hugo Chavez’s funeral

Chavez aftermath


How Bob Menendez sponsored a bill that would have benefited his biggest political donor
US-Latin America this week: The death of Chavez