by Geoffrey Grinder, Now The End Begins:
Interesting fun fact: There has never been, in the history of the world, a safe, secure and prosperous Socialist nation. Never. And there never will be. So America’s current flirtation with Democratic Socialism is at once funny and frightening. We may not be a perfect country, for sure, but our founding documents have created a nation unique in world history. Of what other nation was it ever said that the ‘streets were paved with gold’?
So before you go out and vote for the upcoming 2020 version of ‘hope and change‘, take a brief look at what Socialism has done for, or more accurately, done to the once-prosperous nation of Venezuela. It’s become a scary, rat-hole where the people have become so poor that even the criminals are going out of business. No one wants to rob the banks anymore because their currency is so worthless. I can think of no better political prophylactic that taking a photo of the city streets of Venezuela with you when you go into the voting booth. Consider this your warning.
How bad is Venezuela’s economy? Even the criminals are struggling to get by.
FROM LMT ONLINE: In one of the strangest consequences of this oil-rich country’s collapse, cash has virtually disappeared. With soaring hyperinflation, the government can’t print money fast enough to keep up, so many Venezuelans have switched to debit cards – not that they have enough money on them.
Suddenly there’s a whole class of people whose pockets are no longer worth picking.
“IF THEY STEAL YOUR WALLET, THERE’S NOTHING IN IT,” SAYS YORDIN RUIZ, 58, A SHOEMAKER.
As opposition leader Juan Guaidó struggles to wrench control of this South American country from President Nicolás Maduro, a bigger drama is playing out in the background. The economy is in free fall. Opportunities are disappearing – even for thieves in one of the world’s most crime-ridden countries.
Robbers who used to zip around Caracas on motorcycles, shoving pistols into car windows and demanding wallets, are now reduced to walking. There simply aren’t spare parts for their bikes. In the past, thieves often snatched cellphones from passengers on the little buses that clogged Caracas highways. But public transportation barely functions anymore.
Many Venezuelans don’t report robberies, and there are no reliable government statistics on many types of crime. But the Venezuela Violence Observatory, a respected nonprofit group, estimates that murders dropped from 89 per 100,000 people in 2017 to 81.4 last year. Its 2018 report, based on input from investigators at eight universities around the country, found signs that several other kinds of crime are also declining.
Hey America, Do You REALLY want this?
Fewer bank robberies are occurring, because there’s not much cash in banks. Who can afford to save? There are fewer cars on the road to steal. With the price of imported parts soaring, many vehicles just sit in garages.
And even the criminals are migrating, the report said, joining a mass exodus of over 3 million people seeking better opportunities abroad.
“IN VENEZUELA, IT’S JUST NOT PROFITABLE TO BE A THIEF ANYMORE,” SAID ROBERTO BRICEÑO-LEON, A SOCIOLOGIST WHO COORDINATES THE OBSERVATORY.
The decline in robberies reflects a peculiar phenomenon. A visitor returning to Caracas after years away might expect to find a city falling down. The economy, after all, shrunk by around half in the past five years. But the city is not collapsing. It is disappearing.
The streets are lined with shops, but many have iron grates pulled over them at all hours; they can no longer make a profit. There are few cars on the streets, few people out at night, few items on store shelves.
Felicita Blanco, 70, is a veteran reporter, a short, graying grandma with a half-chewed pen and notebook. She has spent nearly four decades covering crime in Caracas, mostly for the daily El Carabobeño. Covering robberies of armored cars and banks were once a staple of her job.
Today, not so much.
“Since the currency is worth nothing, it makes no sense to rob banks,” she says.