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Venezuela Watch Thread


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#41
Yuli Ban

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Would be a pretty pathetic AI if it can't tell two humans apart.
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#42
Cosmic Cat

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And what about tourists? MarcZ seemed to have trouble entering a grocery store because he was a tourist.



#43
OrbitalResonance

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Would be a pretty pathetic AI if it can't tell two humans apart.

 

by ingraining a bar code into our eyeballs.


We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers. - Carl Sagan


#44
Yuli Ban

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You'd think that, if they're AI, they'd need only to scan our genome.
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#45
tierbook

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You'd think that, if they're AI, they'd need only to scan our genome.

That's assuming that AI has what is needed to do so.



#46
Yuli Ban

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Seems easier than using surgery methods to implant barcodes in your eyes.

Anyway, good work Venezuela. Oppress dat bourgeoisie. Which, of course, will soon mean everyone.
Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
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#47
MarcZ

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Seems easier than using surgery methods to implant barcodes in your eyes.

Anyway, good work Venezuela. Oppress dat bourgeoisie. Which, of course, will soon mean everyone.

 

Everyone except the ruling party.



#48
Yuli Ban

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*Everyone except Maduro
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#49
wjfox

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Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation

By NICHOLAS CASEY
JUNE 19, 2016

CUMANÁ, Venezuela — With delivery trucks under constant attack, the nation’s food is now transported under armed guard. Soldiers stand watch over bakeries. The police fire rubber bullets at desperate mobs storming grocery stores, pharmacies and butcher shops. A 4-year-old girl was shot to death as street gangs fought over food.

Venezuela is convulsing from hunger.

Hundreds of people here in the city of Cumaná, home to one of the region’s independence heroes, marched on a supermarket in recent days, screaming for food. They forced open a large metal gate and poured inside. They snatched water, flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, potatoes, anything they could find, leaving behind only broken freezers and overturned shelves.

And they showed that even in a country with the largest oil reserves in the world, it is possible for people to riot because there is not enough food.

In the last two weeks alone, more than 50 food riots, protests and mass looting have erupted around the country. Scores of businesses have been stripped bare or destroyed.

[...]

A staggering 87 percent of Venezuelans say they do not have money to buy enough food, the most recent assessment of living standards by Simón Bolívar University found.

About 72 percent of monthly wages are being spent just to buy food, according to the Center for Documentation and Social Analysis, a research group associated with the Venezuelan Teachers Federation.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.c....ng-nation.html


20160620-VENEZUELA-slide-6HQ7-master768.


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#50
joe00uk

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And yet 3 million eggs have been left to rot (along with God-knows-how-many other foodstuffs) whilst the Venezuelan people go without. This kind of thing has apparently been happening a lot in Venezuelan shops where they hide all the food at the back.


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"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#51
Raklian

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This is what hyperinflation does to a nation.


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What are you without the sum of your parts?

#52
Yuli Ban

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This is what happens, man. This is what happens.

 

You wanna know why this is happening? It's a lot of reasons, but I'll give you two big ones

  1. Capitalism
  2. Socialism

You see why I support Vyrdism now? Revolution is not happening, so socialists have to use the political process to achieve their aims. Capitalists resist these aims, so socialists have to take more hardline measures. Combine capitalists who are selfish with socialists who are powerhungry, and you get modern Venezuela. 

 

Imagine what if would've been like if Chavez was a Vyrdist. Instead of nationalizing businesses— which isn't going to work since capitalists will resist it and your government bureaucrats have absolutely no business experience— they should have bought them out and transferred control and management to the workers. Seriously, how come """"socialists"""" never manage that last part? It's always "let our government agencies run businesses on your behalf." That won't work; that never works. That's just a monopoly under a different name. You wonder why socialists call it "state capitalism?" 

 

Think of the traditional capitalist enterprise: board of directors dictating what to do on top, workers on the bottom. Board of directors figure out how to pay the workers and themselves. Now translate that to a whole country. When did that stop being "exploitation" and start being "social justice?"

 

Here's an absolutely novel idea— abolish the board of directors, and give the power to the workers! If they vote to bring the board of directors back, then so be it. If they vote to re-establish markets, so be it. Don't stop them.

 

If they did that, they wouldn't be having these problems. But alas, corruption. It's the perennial problem of humans. Humans finna hume, you know? That's not going to change. Instead, Chavez betrayed his original principles and he was succeeded by a busman who has even less of an idea of what Chavez was originally about; that is, Bolivarianism. Chavismo sounds cool. But then... sigh, they had to go authoritarian on us.


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#53
joe00uk

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The prognosis is grim for the Bolivarian revolution. Venezuela is running out of time to decide its course. It either needs to plunge forward to full socialism, expropriate all capitalist property and smash the bourgeoisie and reactionary forces, or the revolutionary process will collapse before it ever really got off the ground. Venezuela has been suspended in mid-air halfway between capitalism and socialism for too long. If the Chavistas don't go the rest of the way soon, the revolution is over.

 

I like Maduro and I like the Venezuelan government, and its supporters, but until they go all the way and smash the bourgeoisie once and for all, their days are numbered. Venezuela has gone farther than any of the other South American countries because they've established communes and they have a people's militia, but they haven't expropriated all capitalist property (some, but not all), they still allow the bourgeoisie to run in elections, they allow them to own media companies, they allow them to have "freedom of speech" and to protest the government in the streets, etc. Venezuela is halfway there but it needs to go the rest of the way or it's doomed. So long as vermin like Capriles are still running free and openly acting as agents of the empire, the revolution is incomplete and vulnerable.

 

What's happening in Latin America right now is further proof of the necessity of Marxism-Leninism. Social-democratic reformist governments are falling all over the place. Paraguay in 2012, then Argentina and then Brazil just last month. Venezuela is against the ropes. This is what happens when you don't institute the dictatorship of the proletariat, when you don't abolish the bourgeois state apparatus, you don't expropriate all capitalist property, and you don't suppress the enemies of the people by force. Give the bourgeoisie one inch of freedom and they'll take back everything they've lost. If you don't impose dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie will defeat you. This is why socialist Cuba is still standing after 57 years, while progressive social-democratic governments are collapsing like dominoes, as they always have. After a decade-long period of weakness, the empire is now getting its "backyard" back.


"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#54
Yuli Ban

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Marxism-Leninism has failed. This is exactly what I've been talking about and warning against— it's always going to fail. 

 

When you establish a dictatorship, you're doomed to fail. All dictatorships have failed precisely because you're choosing to consolidate power in the government. No wonder the bourgeoisie always manage to return— the only option MLMism gives is to liquidate the bourgeoise from the economy and create a new bourgeoisie, a red bourgeoisie, in the government. 

 

Cuba's "success" is going to die with Castro. This is the problem with Marxism-Leninism— it only lasts as long as the Marxist-Leninists. 

 

Shift all power to the workers, fuck the dictatorship. If you want a dictatorship, you have to be discrete with it. Build it up under the bourgeoisie's noses, don't go all out all at once. And the only way that's possible is through Vyrdism and market socialism. Power comes through wealth; if you keep the workers poor, even if they have a social safety net, they will never actually have control.

 

 

I'd much rather be a worker in the Basque Country or even for a worker-managed cooperative than a worker in Cuba. At least I'd know I actually have power and control, and that actual power doesn't rest with faceless bureaucrats.


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#55
tygrus

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Undiversified economy - check

Unchecked population - check

Rampant corruption - check

Unabashed socialism - check

Over extended credit - check

Empty coffers from oil boom - check

etc

 

Not suprising

 

Brazil next


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#56
joe00uk

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Marxism-Leninism has failed. This is exactly what I've been talking about and warning against— it's always going to fail. 

Care to be more specific? Failed at what, exactly?

When you establish a dictatorship, you're doomed to fail. All dictatorships have failed precisely because you're choosing to consolidate power in the government.

Marxism holds that the state is inherently a dictatorship, a dictatorship of one class over another. For Marxists, the state is necessary insofar as it is needed to counter the attacks of the bourgeoisie, and then once that threat is eliminated (i.e. once worldwide socialism is achieved), the state would cease to be the state because there would be no classes, at which point communism will be a reality. In the meantime, revolutionary authoritarianism is a means to that end. Without it, we can't hope to survive; a revolution that won't raise arms in defence of itself, against the nearly limitless violence of the reactionaries, is a doomed revolution. Of course revolutionary authoritarianism is a means to an end, not an end in itself. But it's an uphill battle to get to that end. As Chairman Mao said, "the future is bright, but the road is tortuous".

No wonder the bourgeoisie always manage to return— the only option MLMism gives is to liquidate the bourgeoise from the economy and create a new bourgeoisie, a red bourgeoisie, in the government.

The bourgeoisie is a class specific to capitalism which is abolished under socialism - there can be no bourgeoisie by definition, even if there forms a bureaucracy. 

Cuba's "success" is going to die with Castro. This is the problem with Marxism-Leninism— it only lasts as long as the Marxist-Leninists. 

You're placing too much emphasis on the individual. It isn't just "Castro's success" - it's the success of the entire Cuban people and Cuban socialism will most likely last for as long as the Cuban people have revolutionary socialist class consciousness lest they be starved out of socialism by a future intensification of the blockade or something. 

Shift all power to the workers, fuck the dictatorship. If you want a dictatorship, you have to be discrete with it. Build it up under the bourgeoisie's noses, don't go all out all at once. And the only way that's possible is through Vyrdism and market socialism. Power comes through wealth; if you keep the workers poor, even if they have a social safety net, they will never actually have control.

Yeah, "dictatorship" is just the rule of any class, you can't just say "fuck the dictatorship" because then you'll be totally defenceless against the reactionary forces who work to bring back capitalism. How would you be discrete with it? This is something which is implemented after the bourgeoisie has been overthrown in a revolution. I think market socialism, however well-intended it may be, erodes its own foundations by fostering petit-bourgeois activities, relations and ideas that are contradictory to socialism and create a class of people with a stake in returning to capitalism. The imperialists exploited these contradictions in Yugoslavia, and were able to do so easily as a result of Yugoslavia's openness to capitalist penetration and therefore political influence. It plants the seeds of its own demise. Yugoslavia maintained too many capitalist mechanisms and allowed imperialist capital too much penetration into its economy, and this was what allowed the imperialists to rip Yugoslavia apart.

I'd much rather be a worker in the Basque Country or even for a worker-managed cooperative than a worker in Cuba. At least I'd know I actually have power and control, and that actual power doesn't rest with faceless bureaucrats.

What are you talking about? Cuba is a socialist country where the workers do own the means of production. As for bureaucracy, Cuba IMO is the most democratic country that has ever existed. The system in Cuba "is designed to involve the mass of the Cuban population in every level of the democratic process to ensure that money, violence and corruption could never again be used to take power. The grassroots participatory nature of the Cuban system means that in addition to elections, there are further opportunities for the population to participate in decision making. People can exercise their democratic rights through voting for representatives to the Municipal, Provincial and National Assemblies and through their membership of ‘mass organisations’ which represent women, students, trade unionists and other parts of civil society and have the right to be consulted on legislation". You can read more here: http://www.cuba-soli...ctsheet2015.pdf

 


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"The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." - Karl Marx
"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentleso temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."  - Mao Zedong


#57
caltrek

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http://www.democracy...la_struggles_to

 

Here is an excerpt from a March 2016 interview with Noam Chomsky:

 

 

 

AMY GOODMAN: What is your assessment of Maduro and how he compares to President Chávez?

 

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, Maduro—Chávez had a charisma and popular support and appeal that Maduro doesn’t have. But there is a—there are difficult economic circumstances to face within Venezuela. The economy is in difficult shape. During the Chávez years, there were progress in many areas, but there was no success in moving Venezuela away from a strictly oil-based economy. There was very little in the way of diversification of the economy, a development of agriculture, development of industry and so on. And that’s a pretty weak reed for an economy to rest on. It’s not a successful development program. And that’s now showing up. There were inflation problems. They were never able to deal with the problem of internal violence. It’s not the most violent country in the hemisphere, but it’s pretty bad. And these are serious internal problems that are undoubtedly being exacerbated, to some extent by U.S. involvement. By rights, we should be trying to support Venezuela to overcome its internal problems, not trying to light fires that will make them worse.

 

AMY GOODMAN: How could the U.S. do that?

 

NOAM CHOMSKY: We could, for example, eliminate those restrictions that you’re talking about. We could be providing economic and technical assistance that could be used to overcome internal difficulties. These are things that could be done. Instead what we’re doing is maintaining a position of extreme hostility. This is not—there’s plenty of problems internally, and our actions are purposely making them worse. It’s not by accident....the U.S. government wants to make them worse, because it wants the regime overthrown. Chávez’s own estimate—whether it’s accurate or not, I can’t judge, but...his position is that the United States was willing to tolerate his government, up to the point when he began to play a significant role in OPEC and convinced the OPEC countries, the oil-producing countries, to lower production in order to raise prices. And the U.S. was strongly opposed to that. And what he says is, that’s when the U.S. government turned against him. In fact, the U.S. backed, openly backed, the 2002 coup, which briefly overthrew the government, and has continued subversive activities. That’s his judgment.

 

Aljazeera seems to agree that the country is in a mess:

 

http://www.aljazeera...7103201996.html

 

 

With hyperinflation so severe that people have to carry backpacks stuffed with cash to the local supermarket, it's no surprise that Venezuela - a country which is in its worst shape since World War II - is the world's worst-performing economy.

 

Across the oil-rich South American country, chronic power outages, crumbling infrastructure and severe shortages of basic goods have led the army and police to guard food supplies.

 

Less than three years after the death of the charismatic and larger-than-life Hugo Chavez, the hugely popular leader's Bolivarian Revolution is being blamed for failing Venezuela.

 

But how did the country get itself into this mess?

 

With oil accounting for 95 percent of Venezuela's export earnings, plummeting world prices have sent the economy reeling towards collapse.

Home to the world's largest inflation rate, the IMF expects inflation to blow past 700 percent this year. And just last week, President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's successor, was forced to make the controversial decision of raising fuel prices - by a whopping 6,000 percent.

 

And with fears growing that Venezuela won't be able to afford its debt repayments, the situation could get even worse.

 

Patrick Duddy, the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke University and a former US ambassador to Venezuela joins Counting the Costto discuss how Venezuela fell into this extraordinary mess.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#58
caltrek

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Here is an article that points the finger of blame at the climate crisis:

 

 

http://www.wired.com...tricity-crisis/

 

 

 

 

Venezuela relies heavily on hydroelectric power from the Guri Dam it built in the 1970s and 1980s. Yet the US Energy Information Administration reports that hydroelectric power met less than 25 percent of the Venezuela’s energy demands in 2014. Thanks to historic drought brought on byEl Niño, a country that once had one of the largest water reservoirs in the world now holds patches of desert. Earlier this month, water levels hit a historic low of just 797 feet,according to Reuters.

 

Unlike other countries that use hydroelectric power, Venezuela doesn’t have a sufficient back-up plan for when the water runs dry. It’s not that the country didn’t invest in its electrical infrastructure, according to Victor Silverman, a historian at Pomona College who’s been studying the country’s energy crisis. Under Chavez’s presidency, the country invested around $10 billion in electrical generation, he says. “The problem is that [energy] consumption has increased much faster than that,” he tells CityLab, “about 63 percent over that same period.”

 

The current crisis is essentially what Silverman calls a problem of the country’s own economic success. Though Venezuela currently grapples with a poverty rate between 75and 80 percent amid its economic recession, it did once see a remarkable decline in poverty under Chavez—from 50 percent in 1998 to 30 percent in 2013, according to the World Bank. “The Venezuelan economy reduced poverty at one of the most rapid rates in the world, and certainly one of the most rapid rates in Latin America over the past 20 years,” he says. “That meant people had the money to buy refrigerators, air conditioners, and … hairdryers.”

 

At the time, Venezuela, which holds one of the world’s largest oil reserves, was enjoying high oil prices. It eagerly invested the revenue from oil exports in social programs that improved the quality of life for its poorest citizens. The country made health care and food more affordable. More importantly, the government heavily subsidized fuel and electricity. Gasoline could be bought for mere cents on the gallon—the cheapest price in the world—and Venezuelans consumed electricity at a rate higher than many of their Latin American neighbors.

 

But the government failed to invest enough money in the energy sector to match the demand. It also failed to sufficiently invest in energy and income alternatives. ”They made serious mistakes in getting [out of poverty]; they needed to move a little more slowly and devote more of their resources to these basic investments,” says Silverman. “That’s why the ratio between electricity generation and consumption got so out of whack.”

 

When oil prices started to sag, the dip in revenue left the government cash-strapped. Yet it was still paying $12.5 billion in fuel subsidies alone. Against a volatile political landscape, Maduro has repeatedly refuse to dramatically scale back those subsidies. (The last time Venezuela eliminated gas subsidies, in 1989, it led to the caracazo, a wave of violent protests that left thousands dead and led to the eventual collapse of the previous government.)

 

“Maduro won’t give his enemies a card that they could use to draw him out,” Daudelin tells CityLab. “The government is extremely fragile and needs to keep a large amount of people happy, so it spent the money there in subsidies and social services, and in corruption.” In February, for the first time in 20 years, the government raised gas prices by 6,000 percent—a staggering number until you realize that a tank of gasoline still costs less than a quarter. But that’s probably as far as Maduro will go, he says.

 

So what can the government do at this point? “I honestly can’t see a way out for them, or a place for long-term solutions,” says Daudelin. “[Maduro is] stuck.” Silverman agrees, adding that what Venezuela needs now more than ever is luck—in the form of heavy rainfall.

 

But it’s not fair to put all the spotlight on Venezuela, Silverman says. Nations all over the world, including neighboring Colombia and countries in Africa, are battling similar energy crises. Even more countries are dealing with problems related to water usage, including the United States. Hydroelectric power often gets touted as a clean, efficient alternative to natural gas, but if Venezuela is any indication, that may not be the case anymore thanks to a changing global climate.

 

“The whole world is facing this problem, and Venezuela is experiencing the worst of it,” Silverman says. “In a sense, they’re a canary in the coal mine for global climate change and hydroelectric power.”

 

 

So the hyper-inflationary rate increase of 6,000 per cent resulted in a tank of gas still costing less than a quarter.  Not to minimize the country's problems or the issue of how affordable a quarter might be the average Venezuelan, but that does point to how games can be played regarding statistics.

 

VenezuelaMall-509405858-582x387.jpg

 

A photo of the closed stores at a mall in Caracas on February 10, 2016, as a result of the government sanctioned rationing of electricity in Venezuela. FEDERICO PARRA


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#59
caltrek

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Here is an interesting observation by Counterpunch:

 

 

 

The best estimates and forecasts for the Venezuelan economy have come from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BOA). Unlike the IMF, which was not even in the ballpark in their forecast for 2015 GDP, BOA was on target. (Using a statistical model, BOA even correctly forecast the December National Assembly election results.)

BOA estimates that Venezuela has a public sector financing gap — which includes principal payments on the debt — of about $24 billion for 2016, and that about $5 billion will be covered by Chinese loans. Looking at the economy as a whole, the current account (mostly trade) deficit was about $18 billion last year. BOA also estimates that the government has about $60 billion in assets that it can sell for U.S. dollars, including its international reserves. So, the country is not broke yet — there is still at least another year to turn the economy around, or possibly more, depending on oil prices.

 

 

For the full article, including suggestions for how to turn the economy around:

 

http://www.counterpu...zuelan-economy/

 

shutterstock_377367403.jpg


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#60
caltrek

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The Atlantic puts the primary blame on mismanagement, but also notes the negative affects of the recent drought:

 

 

http://www.theatlant...g-apart/481755/


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls





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