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Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela 2016

Cuba after Fidel, NAFTA is 23 plus other stories from Latin America

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Written by scantojr

December 8, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Food on one side and shortages on the other

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(My new American Thinker post)

Like me, my friend Jose Nino was brought by his parents to the U.S. to live in freedom. He was born in Venezuela and me in Cuba. He came in the 1990s and I came in the 1960s. I guess that people who escape socialist nightmares have a lot of memories in common, from empty shelves to repression to the fear that the knock on the door means that your father is headed to a political prison.

Jose updated us this week about the plight of people in Venezuela. This is what he wrote:

Nearly 2 million Venezuelans have left the country since Hugo Chavez assumed power in 1999. Naturally, their common places of destination — Colombia, Panama, Spain, United States —  enjoy significantly higher degrees of economic freedom than Venezuela currently does.

It is small wonder why socialist countries are marked by large diasporas. 

As the economist Milton Friedman sagaciously observed, people “vote with their feet” when government policy becomes too oppressive and makes earning a living next to impossible in their country of origin.

The 35,000 Venezuelans that made their way over to Colombia effectively casted a vote of no confidence in Venezuela’s irrational, political system. Instead of waiting in an endless line to buy goods or rely on a black market that has become increasingly co-opted by the government, these brave individuals decided to exercise their liberty as consumers and go to a country with a modicum of economic freedom.

More than just a series of economic transactions, the aforementioned movement of people is a veritable form of civil disobedience. Tyrannical regimes despise a citizenry that votes with its feet and take its talents and purchasing power abroad.

Many seem to overlook that the fall of Berlin Wall was not so much a top-down decision made by political elites, but rather an organic uprising spurred by individuals that were frustrated with the totalitarian status quo. It was the determination of the countless individuals who saw through the illusion of socialism that led to the ultimate collapse of one of the most totalitarian systems that the world has ever seen.

Now it’s Venezuela’s turn to knock down its proverbial Berlin Wall and let economic freedom and the rule of law be the order of the day.

We know that people are seriously lacking food in Venezuela. They rush over to Colombia to look for the basic foodstuffs, from milk to cereals. There are scenes of people confronting soldiers screaming “we want food“.  

As this human tragedy unfolds, the world watches. Leaders look at each other wondering who will take the lead and call for some multinational action. Where is the OAS or the UN when we really need them?

Of course, the world looks to Washington and they see a president obsessed with calling Trump “unfit”, releasing Gitmo detainees or issuing memos on transgender bathrooms.   

Wonder if Venezuelans think that the detached Obama is fit to be the leader of the free world?

We are not suggesting a U.S. intervention but something has to be done to save the people of Venezuela from this misery. The U.S. could play a huge positive role but it takes leadership, or exactly the ingredient lacking at the moment.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.



Written by scantojr

August 12, 2016 at 7:06 am

Posted in US-Venezuela

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The latest from Venezuela with Jose Nino

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Guest: Jose Nino, blogger and Latin America analyst, joins me for a discussion about Venezuela, from political turmoil to food shortages…..and other stories…….

Click the link below to listen: 

Source: The latest from Venezuela with Jose Nino 08/11 by Silvio Canto Jr | News Podcasts

Written by scantojr

August 11, 2016 at 9:30 pm

Posted in US-Venezuela

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Olympics in Brazil, US-Mexico & Trump, Venezuela and Latin America stories

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Written by scantojr

July 27, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Even ‘Coca Cola’ is missing in the once great city of Caracas

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(My new American Thinker post)

Once upon a time, such as the late 1990s, Caracas was one of the great cities of Latin America.   

It didn’t have tango like Buenos Aires or a carnival like Rio but it had all of the signs of a cosmopolitan modern city. I remember a couple of business trips down there and it was a great city. I recall an Italian restaurant across from the hotel that made you feel like it was the Venezuelans who really invented lasagna and pasta.

That was then and this is now. Like the once-great city of Havana, Caracas is now one gigantic mess.

We just learned from our friend Dr. Carlos Eire that there’s even a shortage of Coca Cola:

As the Normalization Circus continues to gain strength,  the Castronoid colony of Caracastan is going into an ever steeper death spiral.

It seems that  the final unfolding of the Bolivarian Revolution has arrived.

It’s dreadful, as dreadful as dreadful ever gets…. as dreadful as it was in the island nation formerly known as Cuba some fifty-odd years ago.

In that Cuba of long ago it only took about two years to reach the implosion now being experienced by Venezuela.

And in that long-dead Cuba — now known as the Castro Kingdom — the implosion has been going on for over half a century.

Can Venezuela find a way out?  Perhaps.  But only if King Raul’s storm troopers are sent back home immediately

Oh, the wonders of 21st century socialism!

But don’t expect to find many journalists blaming the Venezuelapocalypse on socialism.

No.  All of these calamities are due to falling oil prices, “mismanagement,” and political turmoil caused by those selfish bastards who can’t appreciate socialism.

A few years ago, a Latin American friend went to Cuba and took lots of pictures of Havana. My parents nearly cried as they saw some of the photos of the city. It was like seeing pictures of a son or daughter wasting away and with zero self-esteem.The elegance of Havana was gone. The decadence of communism was all around.

My guess is that many Venezuelans must be having the same reaction.   

Nothing is perfect, but Caracas was one of those cities that you were happy to visit. It had fantastic cuisine and a very modern infrastructure. You could see people working hard but enjoying life as Venezuelans know how to do. Like pre-Castro Cuba, the people were hardworking, elegant, and knew how to throw a party!

Memo to the thousands madly in love with Bernie Sanders: Take a trip to Caracas and you will see what “Sanderismo” looks like.    

And make sure you bring a roll of toilet paper just in case the hotel or your host runs out!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.    



Written by scantojr

May 25, 2016 at 7:22 am

Posted in US-Venezuela

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Venezuela, Brazil and other Latin America stories of the week

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Guest: Fausta Rodriguez-Wertz, the editor of Fausta’s Blog, joins me for a discussion of the situation in Venezuela……also we will speak with Comandante Cazorla about the political and economic problems facing President Maduro and the new legislature……….the health crisis in Brazil can no longer be avoided……what happens to the Olympics………….we will look at the zika virus in Colombia and Central America……we continue to see Central Americans travel through Mexico……why?…..the Pope in Mexico and Cuba……… other stories…… Click to listen:

Source: Venezuela, Brazil and other Latin America stories of the week 02/11 by Silvio Canto Jr | Politics Podcasts

Written by scantojr

February 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Venezuela, Brazil and other US-Latin America stories of the week

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Written by scantojr

February 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Is it ‘adios’ for Chavizmo in Venezuela?

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(My new American Thinker post)

Hugo Chavez died a couple of years ago. My guess is that he had no idea of how quickly his regime would fall apart.  

The situation in Venezuela is so bad that some see the collapse in terms of weeks and not months.   

Venezuela saw a decline in the GDP of 10% in 2015 and 4% in 2014. How big is that? We had 0.7% growth in the US GDP in the last quarter of 2015 and everyone started talking recession or slowdown. So a 10% decline in GDP is huge!

It gets worse: 200% inflation and the fiscal deficit relative to GDP jumped to 20%.  

Nevertheless, it will be worse in 2016. This is from Ricardo Haussman:

As bad as these numbers are, 2016 looks dramatically worse. Imports, which had already been compressed by 20 per cent in 2015 to $37bn, would have to fall by over 40 per cent, even if the country stopped servicing its debt.

Why? If oil prices remain at January’s average levels, exports in 2016 will be less than $18bn, while servicing the debt will cost over $10bn. This leaves less than $8bn of current income to pay for imports, a fraction of the $37bn imported in 2015. Net reserves are less than $10bn and the country, trading as the riskiest in the world, has no access to financial markets.

In the meantime, the government has not announced any plans to address the domestic imbalances or the balance of payments problem. It has no strategy to seek the financial assistance of the international community. It has not even increased petrol prices from their current level, where $1 buys over 10,000 litres.

By contrast, the opposition, which now controls the National Assembly, is fighting to have its authority recognised by the other powers. It is in no position to lead an economic adjustment. Even the best and most stable government could not avoid a lousy performance in such circumstances. But in the middle of a political crisis, things are bound to get very messy indeed.

The fallout for Venezuela’s neighbours and the global economy will be substantial. Colombia has already felt the impact of the decision taken in September by Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s successor as president, to close the border to avoid smuggling.

Exporters to Venezuela are owed tens of billions of dollars of unpaid bills.

Under these conditions, a disorderly default, on a scale similar to the Argentine crisis, is almost inevitable. And it will not only be Venezuelans who get hurt.

A collapse of Venezuela would not be a direct national security threat to the U.S. It could pull the rug from under the Castro regime, unless Raul Castro can find a sugar daddy to bail out Cuba. It will also have an impact on regimes in Ecuador and Bolivia who are close to Venezuela.

Keep an eye on Venezuela because it could get really interesting down there!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.




Written by scantojr

February 5, 2016 at 6:30 am

Posted in US-Latin America

Tagged with

Iran in Latin America plus Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico and Cuba

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Written by scantojr

January 24, 2016 at 11:00 am

They finally declared an emergency in Venezuela

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(My new American Thinker post)

A few days ago, my friend Daniel Duquena, editor of Venezuela News & Views, told me that the economy is a big #1 down in Venezuela.  He shared stories of economic shortages and even lack of basic medicine.  It’s really bad.

Today, the Maduro administration has finally admitted that there is a first-rate “emergencia,” as reported by The New York Times:

The Venezuelan government on Friday declared an emergency to address the country’s deteriorating economy. 

The plan was short on specific policy changes but sought to give President Nicolás Maduro the power to bypass the National Assembly on spending matters, among other measures. But any expansion of executive power would have to be approved by the National Assembly, which is controlled by Mr. Maduro’s rivals who took control of the chamber in January with their own promises to address Venezuela’s economic problems.

Later in the day, Mr. Maduro delivered Venezuela’s equivalent of the State of the Union address. It was the president’s first time addressing his Assembly rivals in the chamber.

Also on Friday, Venezuela’s central bank announced some grim economic figures, noting that the economy contracted by 4.5 percent during the first nine months of 2015 and that inflation reached 142 percent during the 12-month period ending in September.

It’s a no-win situation for everyone.    

On one hand, there is an emergency, especially regarding medical supplies.  No one can deny that.

On the other hand, the opposition correctly fears that President Maduro will use the crisis to expand presidential powers at the expense of the newly elected legislature.  I can understand that, too.

Of course, the question that many are asking is this: will Maduro resign and let someone pick up the pieces?  Maduro knows, or should know, that the golden days of “Chavizmo” are gone.  They left with $150 oil, high crime, and a bureaucracy that everyone hates.  The new legislative majority even took down the big picture of Chávez at the Assembly, or their equivalent of the House chambers.

One way or another, 2016 is going to be a year that most people will remember down in Venezuela.  My guess is that most people can’t wait for Miguel Cabrera to start hitting a few home runs to distract them from this mess.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.




Written by scantojr

January 17, 2016 at 7:00 am

Posted in US-Venezuela

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