And we do this for free…

Our co-blogger Emiliana Duarte was on Al Jazeera’s The Stream the other day, sharing her thoughts on Venezuela with, among others, a very unpleasant misinformed gringo chavista (isn’t it time these people moved on and became “experts” on Greece or something?).

Here’s the video. Kudos to Emiliana for doing a fine job.

168 thoughts on “And we do this for free…

  1. I hate hate hate hate Isabel Pisani, annoing mandibuleo, terrible english accent, and airheaded comments. Emiliana was ok tho,


    • I have had a lot of exposure to ESL speakers in the US and in Latin America. I find Isabel’s accent better than most ESL speakers. It’s not bad. Isabel sounds a bit like a Valley Girl, which some may find grating- but that is native English. It is very difficult for a speaker of a second language to pass as a native speaker. I have met very few second language people who can pass as a native speaker . I certainly don’t. I worked with someone who sounded like a native speaker of English, He had picked up Texan-accented English on drilling rigs- didn’t sound like a Texan- but his modification of the Texas accent sounded like an Alabama accent. Emiliana, by contrast, sounds like a native speaker of English.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it is much harder for Spanish speakers to perfect their pronunciation of English than the reverse. Latinos just don’t get the vowel sounds right, of which English has more than Spanish. As good as Emiliana’s English is, I still hear the accent.


        • I might add that the fluent ESL speaker I mentioned had an advantage over most Latinos. While he was born and raised in Peru, his father was a German expat mining engineer, so he was bilingual in German and Spanish from the start. German pronunciation is very close to English pronunciation, so he had a head start over most Latinos.


  2. Pisani’s English is uncomfortable to hear. Impossible to get your point through with poor English pronunciation.

    The American commentator is an arsehole. It is difficult to listen to this bloody sod without wanting to slap him a bit. And, most of all, he is a bitch. I have met these foreign fellow travelers, very articulate and intelligent, knowing well they lie for money and doing it with a serious face.

    Emiliana is brilliant. What is she doing in Venezuela still?


  3. Sorry, but the girls let this guy go unscathed. He just deserved a thorough session of ass-kicking and inclined himself to just go and do it. Communes producing???? WTF?

    I would have kicked his ass until his nose bled.


  4. His small noises and repressed laughs while Emiliana is speaking are enough to detest him forever.

    Again, Emiliana let him go free when he was just begging for a thrashing.


  5. Whenever I hear “political science professor”, I wish I had a gun to reach for. That guy was more misinforming than misinformed. With the increasing scrutiny of the leaders of Podemos, we are getting more nuggets of information of their direct, up close and personal involvement with Chavism.


  6. I cannot criticize Isabel’s accent. Kudos for giving it a shot. As for accents, my knickname while I was in Mexico was “Tiro Loco McGraw”. If you don’t understand why, review the dibujos animados.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “isn’t it time these people moved on and became “experts” on Greece or something?”

    They say Greece isn’t “exotic” enough. You know, they need the tropical heat, the panama hats while navigating the Amazonic rivers, the macaw on their shoulder etc… Greece is just too boring.

    And congrats for the two Venezuelan girls. Great job. Loved when Emiliana called the lunatic dude an agent of communism, hahaha!


  8. If I try to watch it from the US it says “the uploader has not made this video available in your country”. Same thing if I try to watch it from Al Jazeera website. Any recommended sites?


    • I suggest you use VPN to view it “virtually” from the country of your choice. One simple way to do this is to download a browser plugin called “Hola Better Internet”. After installed, click the icon on the upper right of your browser to enable it, and choose a country from which from which viewing is allowed. UK works for me!


      • Emiliana, the fact that food consumption per capita is 50% higher today than it was in the 1990s doesn’t quite jibe with your commentary about this being the worst crisis Venezuela has ever been through. Worse for who? Certainly not the poor. But its just a little obvious that you don’t have much contact with that demographic.


        • Spoken like a troll that doesn’t have to stand in line for basic items in her country of residence.


          • I said nothing about standing in line. But one must actually try to understand WHY people are standing in line. Is it because there is less food available? Or is it because consumption has exploded far past production in recent years?

            Don’t ask Emiliana, because she doesn’t have the slightest clue.


            • You are thick, thick, thick.

              How much can consumption increase? Consumption means people are consuming. I know most Venezuelans are now fat but: do you think they can eat that much?
              And why can’t people – millions – not find Paracetamol? Because we are consuming now more Paracetamol than in 1998?

              Tell me: why were there so many queues in countries in Eastern Europe in the eighties? Because production couldn’t keep up with consumption? Obesity was not a major problem in Eastern Europe.

              Think, Betty, think.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Try to make a coherent argument Kepler. I know that is asking a lot, but you can do it.

                Consumption has increased between 40 and 50 percent per capita since 1999. Plus the total population has increased by something like 30 percent. So that means that not only are there now 30 percent more people consuming, but EACH ONE OF THEM is also consuming around 40 percent more than they were 10 years ago.

                No one said anything about obesity… Try to stay focused.


              • Betty,

                Think again and don’t ignore my question about Eastern Europe. By the way: I just came from Poland. I was talking to a couple of friends there. I was following events in Eastern Europe since I was a child at the end of the Cold War. I had lots of friends on that side.

                Consumption in Poland has increased massively in the last 14 years. Still, I never saw anyone queuing up.
                The same goes for the Czech Republic.
                Even if population stopped growing in Poland, that doesn’t explain why there are so many goods now.
                How come they have seen their standard of living improve so much in the last years when it has collapsed in Venezuela?

                See: right now you can buy less kilograms of onion or tomatoes or chicken in Venezuela with the minimum wage than in 1998. How come?

                Do you know what M2 is? No, you don’t?


              • As expected, Kepler can’t put together a single coherent statement.

                I’m glad you were talking to a couple of friends in Poland. That is really interesting….

                We aren’t discussing Poland though. We are discussing Venezuela.

                You say standard of living has “collapsed” in Venezuela. Again, this is just the kind of hilarious nonsense that opposition idiots in Venezuela are so famous for. You and Emiliana should go on TV together and give us all a good laugh.

                I’ll say it again: consumption per capita is up over 40% since 1999. How could that be true, but also be true that the standard of living has “collapsed”???

                As for your nonsense about particular food items. We can look at exactly how much people are consuming of each:

                Onions? Up over 50% since 1998.
                Tomatoes? Virtually unchanged, but up slightly since 1998.
                Chicken? Up 93% since 1998

                Check for yourself you lying sack of shit:

                Thanks for playing though Kepler. Its always fun!


              • Betty, Betty, you don’t get it. Do you?

                Purchasing power STOPPED increasing in 2007 and has been going down since then. You are still based on the same old figures…only possible because oil prices increased in that time over 600%. If you care to do the maths you will see nowadays people cannot buy the same amount of tomatoes, onions, chicken they could in 1998.
                And the latest data is more appalling.
                We are talking about Poland because Venezuela was better off than Poland in 1998.
                We are talking about Poland like we are talking about all other countries that have been overtaking Venezuela in many or every front.

                Colombia, for instance, has already a lower percentage of poor than Venezuela now. That was completely different 15, 20 years back…and Venezuela will be much much poorer just in 3 months time.

                Colombia’s and Peru’s life expectancy was lower to that of Venezuela in 1998. Now it’s higher.
                Why? I suppose you will say “because Venezuelans are eating too much”.


              • “If you care to do the maths you will see nowadays people cannot buy the same amount of tomatoes, onions, chicken they could in 1998.”

                That’s funny. They can’t buy the same amount, yet they are consuming 93% more chicken than in 1998??? Do you have a brain Kepler?

                What I am saying is backed up by the statistics. Yours is backed up with anecdotes about your friends in Poland….


              • Betty, it is extremely convenient for you to use 5-year old statistics.

                The most hilarious thing of all is that this 37.9 kg/person/year is already a decrease from 2009. I seriously doubt things have gotten any better since 2010.


              • Not about anecdotes, idiot. I just came from Poland. As for statistics, you should read what that institution you are quoting is stating NOW, NOW, NOW!
                By the way: statistics about how Colombia has a smaller proportion of poor now than Venezuela are from CEPAL. Statistics about life expectancy in Colombia and Peru overtaking Venezuela are from WHO.


              • “Not about anecdotes, idiot. I just came from Poland.”

                Kepler says he’s not using anecdotes, then immediately provides an anecdote.


              • Elpemon,

                The study you cite conflicts with virtually every other study done on the topic. Only among the nut jobs of the Venezuelan opposition do we still find people trying to claim that poverty is higher now than in the 1990s.


              • Betty, Betty, I’ll focus on this as you have trouble with even simple issues:

                Consumption rose in Venezuela until several years back, way before oil prices stopped rising and started to go down again.

                Think, think very hard: since more than 4 years Venezuelans’ life has kept deteriorating. Stop using stats from 2007.


              • Funny Kepler, you tell me to stop using statistics from 2007, yet anyone can see that the stats I posted go up to 2010. Not only that, your friend Boludo posted some stats that go beyond that and they also refute what you say.

                Here’s household consumption up to 2013. It ALSO refutes what you say:


                You could, you know, actually post something that back up what you say. But I realize that is hard when what you say has come directly from your ass.


              • I love how Elpemon says that his source is the “best that we have” and is a “serious study”….. but then you link down below to an article about CEPAL.

                Have you tried checking what CEPAL says about poverty in 1998 compared to now??? Go do your homework and get back to me genius.


              • Different studies have different criteria/thresholds/methodologies etc. The study by UCAB/UCV et al uses the exact same criteria as a study in 1998. And they find that now there’s more poverty. You say endless studies contradict this, yet you fail to mention a single one. No wonder why you keep insulting others


              • No, Betty, you wiggly piece of shit. Your link to “Here’s household consumption up to 2013” records the last year as 2012. That’s stale information, given the political and economic CHAOS in Venezuela. But because you don’t want to account for the staleness of the information you have, and want to appear better informed you stretch it by writing “up to 2013”. Your fedeagro link was even more pathetic: the last year recorded was 2010. And in the Venezuela of these past 2 years, those are laughable sources, for one who pretends to want to know what’s going on.

                And you chide Emiliana for not having the slightest clue???


              • Check the link again Syd. It goes to 2013. Nice try anyway though!

                Elpemon, I don’t have to list a study that supports my view, because you already did! CEPAL is the authority on this, and they have reported a drastic fall in poverty from 1998. All you have to do is read the very report from CEPAL that you cited!


              • “Betty”: Your comments on this post prove that don’t have the basics to process a percentage change in yearly statistics, in order to support your convictions on the Bolivarian revolutionary dream. You also appear to be a manipulative little shit and I emphasize the “little”. But above all, you come across as a dreamer with a third-tier education and no on-the-ground experience to even question the credibility of source numbers that you use with such abandon, or wonder about their validity vis-à-vis the unmentioned drops in purchasing power. Venezuelan economics is a subject that’s simply too complex for you to handle. If I were you, I’d keep to pretending you knew what you were talking about in more verbal spheres to your rapt audiences, outside this blog and outside Venezuela, without delving into numbers, which is your obvious weakness. Unless of course, you thrive on dishonesty.

                Thank you for correcting me on the discrete notation of 2013 “results” in HH consumption, as collected by the World Bank (from dubious sources at the Central Bank of Venezuela, not that that would even enter your mind). I note however your cowardice in acknowledging your use of dated data from fedeagro to make your Brownie points on this blog. And we’re supposed to believe that you have some sort of clue about Venezuela? Go play your little games somewhere else.


            • Indeed. The lines are getting longer because people are getting fatter and fatter from all the excess plentiful food they are consuming, thanks to the excellent management of the economy under Bolivarian socialism.


              • Nope, the economic management of the Bolivarian government has been a disaster. But people are also consuming much more now than they were before. The world can be more complex than black vs. white. I know that is hard to grasp for some though.


              • Here is a 2009 article praising the success of the Venezuelan govts efforts at increasing agricultural production and achieving self sufficiency , if what that article says is true then what happened between 2009 and now that has led us to the current shortages and endless queues .??

                The Venezuelan Effort to Build a New Food and Agriculture System

                October 18th 2009, by Christina Schiavoni and William Camacaro – Monthly Review

                Yielding Results

                In its commitment to food sovereignty, the Venezuelan government has taken unprecedented steps to bolster its agricultural sector, as evidenced by an increase of 5,783 percent in agricultural financing from 1998 to 2007.(20) This investment in agriculture is driving Venezuela’s ability to feed itself through its own food production. With continued progress over recent years, Venezuela’s food production capacity is currently at 21 million tons, which represents a 24 percent overall increase from 1998. (21) When these figures are analyzed in terms of specific food products, it is clear that the foods of greatest importance to the Venezuelan diet have achieved significantly higher increases in production.

                By 2008, Venezuela reached levels of self sufficiency in its two most important grains, corn and rice, with production increases of 132 percent and 71 percent respectively since 1998. (22) The country also achieved self-sufficiency in pork, representing an increase in production of nearly 77 percent since 1998. Furthermore, Venezuela is on its way to reaching self-sufficiency in a number of other important staple foods, including beef, chicken, and eggs, for which domestic production currently meets 70 percent, 85 percent, and 80 percent of national demand, respectively. Milk production has increased by 900 percent to 1.96 million tons, fulfilling 55 percent of national demand. Spurred by a “scarcity” of milk created by private distributors in early 2008, the government recently pledged its commitment to attain self-sufficiency in milk production in the near future. Many other crops have seen significant increases over the past decade, including black beans (143 percent), root vegetables (115 percent), and sunflowers for cooking oil production (125 percent). This suggests a prioritization of culturally important crops and a focus on matching domestic agricultural production with national consumer demands.

                In a remarkable reversal of the trends of recent decades, Venezuela is actually becoming poised to export certain crops (in addition to coffee and cacao, which are already exported in limited amounts), after surpassing levels sufficient to meet national demand. The country is already in a position to export pork-currently at 113 percent of national demand-and is projected to have a sufficient surplus of corn for export within a year. Both Chávez and Agricultural Minister Elías Jaua have emphasized that the goal is for Venezuela to produce enough food to feed its own population while supporting other countries that lack sufficient food to meet domestic needs. Venezuela hopes to play this role out of recognition that support from its neighbors in the form of food imports has been critical during its own transition from food dependence to food sovereignty.


            • Lemme see if I can explain things simply to those who opine without sufficient information or experience. People stand in line because it’s a way to socialize outside their homes, a way to catch up with all the gossip, and a way to get vitamin D from the sun. People like getting numbers written on their forearms because it’s a way to play math games with their neighbours in that line, especially when they add the variable from the numbers on their government ID card that must be presented at the front of the line. People love this new way to spend hours for basic groceries…

              Of course I’m being facetious. For you appear to want to believe in any narrative that is not based on reality. For instance, you would find it hard to accept the fact that in Vz, the productive apparatus has been purposely broken by the government’s implementation of price and FX controls, by its lack of planning (during the oil boom years), and by its lack of competence (eg, oil industry take-over). As for food, when the military has control of this distribution, but does not always exercise good management, the result destroys perishable goods (pudreval, etc., etc., etc).

              Oh, you’ll read the spins by those who want to advance the destructive apparatus of this government for nefarious purposes. You’ll be told that it’s the fault of the bourgeois or whatever label your local tea group gives the entrepreneurial class. But no one is buying that narrative anymore, not even the poor in Venezuela. You and your ilk are the exception, still clinging to a fantasy and the permission to grind an axe against imaginative barriers.

              It’s all about control, dearie, and in the process, the production of two societal tiers: those who govern, and those who are governed in a state of zero-opportunities. Literally. The means to this end are not important. In fact, the greater the inefficiency the better.

              When are you moving to Venezuela?


            • Betty:
              But one must actually try to understand WHY people are standing in line. Is it because there is less food available? Or is it because consumption has exploded far past production in recent years?

              Q.Were there fewer lines in 2008?
              A. Yes. Does ANYBODY disagree? ANYBODY? Didn’t think so.

              Q. What was food consumption in 2008 compared to today?
              A. It was about the same in 2008 as what it was in 2011, and as there has been a plateau of Food Supply/Consumption at around 2900 kcal/capita/day from 2008-2011, it is fair to assume that Food Supply/consumption has been about 2900 Kcal/Capita/Day from 2011 to 2014.

              As there as been an increase in lines since 2008, while consumption has remained about the same since 2008, the conclusion is that the increased lines come about not from a big increase in consumption, but from “less food available,” to use Betty;s words.

              Food Supply, Kilocalories Per Capita per Day
              2004 2516
              2005 2518
              2006 2553
              2007 2712
              2008 2878
              2009 2919
              2010 2906
              2011 2880

              Look at some countries in Latin America that have similar Food Supply scorers to Venezuela

              Food Supply, Kilocalories Per Capita per Day, 2011
              Colombia 2585
              Costa Rica 2792
              Uruguay 2832
              Chile 2855
              Venezuela 2880
              Brazil 2979
              Mexico 3036
              Argentina 3134

              To the best of my knowledge, none of the above countries, Venezuela excepted, have problems with people having to stand in line to purchase food.

              [food balance]


              • You’ve just demonstrated that actual food consumption has increased, not decreased. So how could you then conclude from that that there is “less food available”??? People are consuming more food, yet there is “less available”?? Do you hear how stupid that is?

                The reality of shortages are much more complicated than there simply being less food available. This is not like Emiliana and others would like to paint it. People are not generally experiencing hunger in Venezuela. In fact, they are eating more than before.


              • This does not mean I support the government policies. I think they are extremely dysfunctional, disastrous policies. But you have to actually understand what is happening if you are going to attempt to solve the problem. Right now, the opposition appears to have very little understanding of what is really happening.


              • People are consuming more food, yet there is “less available”?
                You have reading comprehension problems.
                YOU set up the question as either “more consumption” or “less available”- not as both. I showed that from 2008 on, it wasn’t a case of “more consumption.” as consumption has been static from 2008 on.
                Recall that I stated:“consumption has remained about the same since 2008.” Prove me wrong. I then pointed out that in the 7 years since then, lines have gotten worse. Prove me wrong.

                You were the one who set up the “less available” or “more consumption” question. I merely answered it.
                And I quote:

                But one must actually try to understand WHY people are standing in line. Is it because there is less food available? Or is it because consumption has exploded far past production in recent years?

                So from YOUR point of view, it is either “less food available” or “exploding consumption.” I repeat” YOURpoint of view. Let us again look at the two possibilities.

                1) “Less food available”
                2)”Consumption has recent years.” It certainly hasn’t since 2008, which began SEVEN YEARS AGO- not very recent at all. As consumption has remained static since 2008, as far as I can tell, this isn’t the answer= especially since lines were a lot less in 2008.

                It would be accurate to claim something along this: “food consumption exploded from 2006 to 2008.” If anything, this “explosion of consumption” would have resulted in bad lines. While there WERE some lines during that time, the lines in 2008 were a lot less than they are today. Moreover, if there were an issue of “explosion of consumption” resulting in food lines, would expect that over time those lines would have been reduced, as suppliers and consumers got better aligned. Yet lines are worse now than they were in 2008- with consumption about the same.
                Same consumption, worse lines. Do the math.

                During a time of static food consumption, from 2008 to present, lines have gotten worse.
                Conclusion: #1 “less food available” is the answer.

                YOU set up the question. I answered it. Maybe you shouldn’t ask questions if you don’t like the answers.

                The reality of shortages are much more complicated than there simply being less food available.

                Perhaps, but YOU were the one who set up the “less food available” or “exploding consumption” question. It wasn’t I. You set up a question, and then you don’t like the answer it produces. Que boludez.


              • Boludo,

                The statistics you list show food consumption hasn’t increased much from 2008. But the ones I have cited up above show it increasing quite a bit after 2008. From around 2700 to 3000 calories per capita per day.

                Either way, I think you misunderstood the two questions I asked. I wasn’t posing those as the only possible explanations. I was posing them as two possible answers to the question, but obviously there is much more to the story, including a highly distorted exchange rate, smuggling, exchange controls, etc. etc.

                All of these things create scarcity. Probably the highly distorted exchange rate is the largest factor behind shortages right now, and this more than anything explains why shortages have increased so much in recent months.

                My point is that it is completely false to try to paint this as Venezuelans suffering from hunger, or not eating enough, etc. etc. as Emiliana and others try to do. In fact, Venezuelans are eating better than before.


            • Betty, compare Venezuela’s poverty with the rest of South America from 1998 until now. Then we talk. If you are not able to acknowledge that Venezuela now has more poor than Colombia, percentage-wise, then go away.
              Venezuela did improved from 1998 until 2007…and then stopped growing. Since then it has gone lower in almost everything compared to 2007 while most other South American countries overtook it.


            • Some people have a difficult time understanding why a governemt that desperately and hysterically claims to be a socialist democracy actually makes it legal for its enforcers to murder people during protests ( Resolution 008610 from the defense ministery, official gazette from january 27, 2015).

              Yes, now it’s legal for the colectivos to explode people’s heads using their 9mm and fot the naziguards to fire their FALs as much as they want; so by legalizing mass murder, chavismo has gone even deeper in chigüire bipolar logic.


  9. Listen guys, the words “agent of communism” are not effective but counterproductive.

    50 years of cold war paranoia sent those words into the bin of history. It was actually good for the guy that Emiliana just called him that.

    You have to realise, communism is a part of the past for most of the world. It just like calling a Venezuelan “liberal” or “conservador”. You just don’t use those labels anymore.


    • Really? Do you honestly believe that communist mummies have gone extinct in 2015?
      Oh, boy… How I wish you were right, but you are just being delusional.

      You may even want to act as his lawyer, but I doubt that he would want that, as he’s doesn’t seem to be ashamed of his ideological obsolete beliefs at all… Did you see him praising the ‘communes’?

      Emiliana just exposed him for what he really is, and he embraced the label as the good communist agent he is.


      • I am not saying that. What I am saying is, that insult is a bit worn by misuse. It’s not sharp anymore.

        It 1950s language.


        • “It 1950s language.”

          Of course it is, but what can we do if these people still exist in our time?

          How do you call self proclaimed nazists, fascists and communists?
          I call them nazists, fascists and communists.

          What is not sharp/bright is to be communist, nazist of fascist in 2015.


          • Oh, I call them “extremists” or “fundamentalists”. That always scores points.

            I may even say they are “misusing data”, “ignoring science purposefully”, “denying freedom to minorities”.

            Other trick: steal their flags. Say you believe in “true socialism” or in “equality of opportunity”; that you desire nothing more than “distribute prosperity”.

            A good one: the jab to the jaw: por ejemplo, una vez un espanol me llamo fascista; rapidamente le conteste “fascista el cono de tu madre”. Ante ese insulto tan criollo, ter vernaculo venezolano, se quedo mudo. ¿Como responder con acento espanol para defenderse? habria quedado en ridiculo.

            You have to modernise here, cannot be calling people “falangistas” or “stalinists” That just doesn’t cut it anymore.


          • Right on, Marc. A spade is a spade is a spade…and always will be. Who cares about cutesy/so-called modernist definitional chatter?


            • well, if you want to actually win a debate, make our views prevail and get to a wider audience, the language you use is very important.

              If you use language tainted by McCarthyism (“agents of communism”) you are not only licked, you are dismissed as someone partial and one-sided.

              Language is all important in politics. It’s a message into itself. If someone wants to portray you as a right winger, and you call the guy a “A of C” you lost.

              Other unusable words: nigger, negro, baby (to a woman), bitch… anything that remotely smells of sexism, racism, past extremism or intransigent political views is a cobble in the path to defeat.


              • Stalinists made up the word “red baiting” in order to claim an analogy with race baiting. As Alejandro does, above, the idea is that you are arguing improperly if you name Communists for what they are. While clever as sleight-of-hand, this argument is deeply dishonest. Implying evil about someone because of inherent characteristics such as race or gender is unfair and wrong, because race and gender are permanent and imply nothing about the truth of a position being articulated.

                Being a Communist is different; it is not an inherent characteristic, it is a political choice. If I choose to support Obama, someone can fairly call me a liberal or a moderate. Certainly Communists have no problem naming others as “neoliberal” or “pro-capitalist”. It seems that thheir party affiliation must remain secret, but not that of others.

                Even then, they allow you to call people like Fidel Castro a Communist; it is only the secret ones who don’t like you to mention it.


              • Anything that isn’t a disgusting sugarcoating of populism won’t be heard by most venezuelans, even when almost all venezuelans have been constantly screwed by populism and its consequences.


        • All the more reason for criticism. It’s really hard to pin down Maher’s views on macroeconomics, since he doesn’t seem totally ignorant of the subject, but his stated interests make it hard to take him seriously and not associate him with defunct bunk: “My research and teaching center on what could be called the “decolonial turn” in political thought, the moment of epistemic and political interrogation that emerges in response to colonialism and global social inequality.”

          Venezuela has been a guinea pig for chavista nonsense for too long, it’s time to move on. Ciccariello-Maher may want to take a sabbatical in Switzerland and rethink his views on political empowerment via direct democracy.


    • Alejandro, while you write that “communism is a part of the past for most of the world,” you used the term “fellow traveler,” which is a term that is from the time of “50 years of cold war paranoia.” How to label can be a problem.


      • Yes, labelling is problem.

        I guess I would have asked the guy if has ever received money from the Venezuelan government in the form of consultancies, travel expenses, free hotel rooms in Venezuela, etc.


  10. “The uploader has not made this video available in your country.”


    I was able to stream it off of Dr. Smilde’s blog. The link, via WOLA, is:


  11. Isabel from the Universidad Mteropolitana – sure to be a radical leftist. Emiliana could not look more biurgeois if she tried.

    C’mon guys – and Isabel – there are lines everywhere. At the supermarket; in Maiquetía; in private clinics; in the hospitals; at the beauty salons. My wife waited more tan 6 hours for an MRI scan in La Florida recently and it cost more tan Bs.2,200.

    Isabel – more tan 238,000 enterprises closed down.???????????? If this number is remotely true how do you explain that the GDP has risen in 15 years 4.15 times?

    Isabel milk is also imported and whynis there not enough home produced milk in Venezuela? I’ll ell you why. Because the total bovone hered is about 12 million head compated to a popualtion of almost 31 million. In countries such as Brazil and Argentina the cattle herd (obviously the cow component) outstrips the human population. Get it??

    In any case Isabel – you should be eating arepas or a solid mondongo for breakfast if you are really Venezuelan and not part of an immigrant family.

    What is interesting about the comments so far is that the posters are more interested in scoring points rather tan asking questions about the facts.

    Food shortage? Hmm………..31% obesity in Venezuela. No 10 on the world list. People get fat through eatung too much and badly – so there cannot be a food shortage.

    Isabel – go to Excelssior Gama in Santa Eduvigis opposite the metro station Parque Miranda and on some days you can see mind-benidn lines to buy subsidized products. Look at the people in the line. Most are from the barrios and most are definitely not “underfed”. They are – to put ir mildly – well-.built! Obviously the people in the lines have money.

    Isabel – how do yo8u know what the government could or cannot invest? Are you an economist with access to government Budget and accounts or are you reéating the editorial line of El Universal?

    No wonder you look so chubby, Isabel, if a family of three can eat Bs.20.000 of food permonth. You must be buying imported products such as parma ham!!

    NBi chicken or beef – go to a flash restaurant in La Castellana and there is always chicken and beef on the menú. Does this sound a bit like Chile in the early 1970’s when Nixon said that he would make the Chilean economy screm? You bet it does.

    Note that Isabel is so well informed that she does not mention the hundreds of thousands of tons of food that has been found hoarded to that has been intercepted at the Colombian border.

    Emiliana – did you stay with a mother nursing her baby for 8 hours in the sun to get the evidence? i don’t think so. A nice girl like you would not have the stomach for it. So Emiliana – someone gives an opposing reasoned point of view, this person is a communist? What a cheap way of arguing.

    If this guy George is a communist then I must be “Son of Trotsky”.

    Isabel – there are 21 products regulated and these are the products that are in short supply due to hoarding and contraband. According to the italianita Usabel the governmetn spent all its money buying votes. Hahahahaha…..this is how stupid the opposition mentality is. What about the millions of dollars from NED and and USAID sent to the opposition.

    Emiliana – I know you want to win the argument but saying that the government controls the distribution and wholesale chain is simply hogwash. Pity you have to at worst lie or at best are badly informed. (Look at Herrera CA). “The whole media system is dependent on the state” – more hogwash. “Human rights violations” – when has Venezuela been condemned for crimes committed since 1999? What rubbish.

    Finally if Maduro is languishing at 22% approval rating why is the opposition not planiing for the next elections in Dece,ber instead of trying to overthrow the government? If the opposition was deomcratically minded this should be the case as they would appear to be certain winners in December – which, as we will see, is doubtful.

    Perhaps Emiliana and her undeocratic ilk could organize a recall referéndum against Maduro in 18 months time. Democracy Emiliana – not immature impatince as you clearly demonstrate.

    In any case I cannot be bothered to write any more except to say that it’s great the The Stream allowed Isabel and Emiliana to make fools of themselves.


    • Man, your English is horrid. Write in Spanish if you need to, most of us here speak it anyway.

      Listen, if you are not queuing yourself, it’s because you are plugged on to power. If you think there is no scarcity, it’s because you are a boligarch.

      If you think people are just happy, enjoying the revolution, then prepare yourself and buy some vaseline, because some facts are about to be rammed into you soon.


      • Arturo is an anglo in masquerade. His English is bad on account of his using an i-pad. There’s nothing quite like the toys from el Imperio, which he rails against.


    • Arturo: When you get dressed in the mornings, do you work on making sure you appear not to have the background, nor the education, nor the toys (ipad, etc) that you do? I mean, after all, you gotta be consistent with your shrillness. That is, in order to maintain your silly observation on Emiliana’s looks being oh-so-bourgeois (without mentioning the trying-too-hard-to-be-hip-I-love-my-hair-just-so George Ciccariello-Maher). But especially, in order to maintain consistency with your way-too-passé shrill: “What about the millions of dollars from NED and and USAID sent to the opposition?” Millions, now, is it? Got proof of the USAID amounts you claim? For we know the NED amounts were a paltry $64K. How does that relate to billions that Vzla has given, though various mechanisms, to ensure an extended power base?

      In spite of your latest kool-aid drinking hogwash, I’ve noticed that the economic conditions in Vzla are pinching many of your earlier ridiculous fantasies, which you liberally absorbed and tried to market on this blog. I’m talking about the fantasies spun to support the chavista government whose real objectives should by now be obvious to deluded morons, anywhere, that it is not interested in the poor, it is not interested in domestic productivity (you mention bovine heads as just one measly example — no reason those heads cannot increase, ooops, government wouldn’t want that; it wants to control prices, which of course makes cattle raising a very unproductive enterprise — ooops, dirty word that enterprise). Rather, this government is interested only in total controls of the population, a perpetuation of its power base, a protected drug corridor, and its hegemony with allied states, damn any competence in economic matters.

      As for GDP results, do you have proof that was not concocted by the Central Bank? If the IMF steps in, for the shambles that have been created by this government you have long supported, do you think they’re going to buy your cheerleader message of GDP 4.5-times increases over the past 15 years? Surely, with those results, and the numerous socialist “experts” that have “advised”, this government would have known how to navigate the ship during the fat years and now obviously very lean ones? Oh, no wait, the government was busy (and poorly) building Potemkin villages as symbols of (unfinished) progress, the marketing of which you swallowed whole without sharpened criteria.

      Pitiful still after all these years.


      • syd – the GDP figures are from a sopurce you find very reliable – the CIA Fact Book. I suppose the CIA conncoced the figures as they do not fit in with your psychiatrically held views.

        As far as the rest of your scribblings go——–best to ignore them as you also live in the wonerland called “abroad”.

        Check out information released under the FOIA and you will see that as in Chile, this chaos is being financed by the US.

        Come on elections in December and see you choke on your own BS.


        • The onus is on you to support your ridiculous comments. I repeat, MILLIONS in USAID and NED funds? Provide proof. Shouldn’t be too hard, even for you. Or especially for you, given your privileged access to the mechanisms behind The Revolution (for Immature Fantasists).


      • Of course GDP went up! Oil started at $10/bbl and went to $100. For an economy that relied nearly exclusively on on oil rents, GDP was bound to go up. But, what does Chavismo have to show for it? A country with an economy in ruins. All that money wasted or siphoned off in corruption…


    • Oh, come on guys… don’t feed the troll and let him monopolize the conversation.

      Emiliana did a fine job — for an amateur in such a forum (sorry Emi, but it is true and this is serious business). But the fact is that we do not have any real pros explaining the reality on the ground here to rest of the world. The Opposition needs some professional coaching on how to get its message across.


    • “Isabel – more tan 238,000 enterprises closed down.???????????? If this number is remotely true how do you explain that the GDP has risen in 15 years 4.15 times?”

      How much has the oil income increased in the last 15 years????


      • Who much does private enterprices accrue for generated GDP in Venezuela?

        Even Industrias Polar -quite possibly the biggest private wealth generator enterprice in Venezuela- contributes with less than 0.5% of our national GDP.

        There you go Sir McT(roy)llster. Have some lembas bread. Enjoy!


    • Isabel milk is also imported and whynis there not enough home produced milk in Venezuela? I’ll ell you why. Because the total bovone hered is about 12 million head compated to a popualtion of almost 31 million. In countries such as Brazil and Argentina the cattle herd (obviously the cow component) outstrips the human population. Get it??

      Roughly speaking, the cattle to human ratio is 2:1 in Argentina, 1:1 in Brazil, and 1:2 in Venezuela. In this point, Arturo is correct: Venezuela has long had fewer livestock per capita compared to those countries.

      How have the cattle populations changed since 1999? Much of Argentina’s beef production is for export, so we will ignore Argentina in the comparison. Brazil’s cattle production, like Venezuela’s is more oriented towards domestic consumption. From 1999 to 2013, Brazil’s cattle herd increased by 31%, from 165 million to 217 million. From 1999 to 2013, Venezuela’s cattle herd fell 2%, from 14.9 million to 14.5 million.

      The damage has been greatest in recent years. From 2000 to 2009, Venezuela’s cattle herd increased. From 2009 to 2013, Venezuela’s cattle herd fell 14.7%, from 17 million to 14.5 million. From 2009 to 2013, Brazil’s cattle herd increased 5.9%, from 205 to 217 million.

      How do these figures for cattle herd translate into cattle per human population? From ECLA, I got these figures for population.

      Population 1999 2013
      Brazil[A] 172,039,000 199,985,000
      Venezuela 23,945,000 30,390,000

      Head of Cattle Per Capita
      1999 2013
      Brazil 0.957 1.085
      Venezuela 0.62 0.477

      Head of Cattle Per Capita: 2013 compared to 1999
      Brazil 1.13
      Venezuela 0.77

      From 1999 to 2013, relative to human population, Brazil’s cattle herd has increased 13%, while Venezuela’s cattle herd has fallen 23%. GET IT, Arturo?

      While Arturo assumes that comparing Venezuela’s cattle herd to that of Brazil or Argentina will absolve Chavismo, he is mistaken. Yes, Venezuela has long had fewer cattle per human population compared to Brazil or Argentina, but the comparison has gotten decidedly worse for Venezuela under Chavismo. GET IT, Arturo?

      Our esteemed PSF commenters from the US Professorite who shared time with Emiliana, like Arturo claimed that production issues under Chavismo were merely the same long term issues of imports versus domestic production in the Petrostate. They should be confronted with data like the above.


      • One other little bit of information….and I say this from having a dairy farm interest in New Zealand.

        Modern milk production yields are around 22,000 lbs. per cow per annum. That’s right, 11 tons of milk per cow per year. While I do not think Venezuelan yields would be quite that high, I still don’t think you need more cows than people unless you are exporting en masse, as, say ,New Zealand.

        While most cows in Venezuela are for beef production, how many dairy cows do you actually need to feed the population and be self-sufficient? For comparison, the United States, in 2012, had just under 10 million dairy cows in total. Yet, they produced nearly 200 billion pounds of milk.

        My wife always told me that raw/liquid milk was a rarity, even during her childhood. It was far more common to have the powdered kind, which to a gringo like me who drank a gallon a day during his teen years, was absolutely baffling. Having been there, the climate is fine, but the production and distribution (<- that in particular) channels are pitiful and have grown spectacularly worse as the years have gone by; far more so recently than in the past as from what I have personally seen, the production is going from the 1970s and 1980s to the 1900s.


    • “Isabel – go to Excelssior Gama in Santa Eduvigis opposite the metro station Parque Miranda and on some days you can see mind-benidn lines to buy subsidized products. Look at the people in the line. Most are from the barrios and most are definitely not “underfed”. They are – to put ir mildly – well-.built! Obviously the people in the lines have money.”

      Dude, Cuban people also have money, the difference is what does a Cuban with money, a Venezuelan with money and an Ecuatorian with money can purchase?

      Only the ecuatorian can purchase what ever he can with his money, neither the venezuelan nor the cuban can; do you know why?

      Venezuelan money is almost useless. The cuban peso is almost useless.

      Sorry for my english.


    • “Emiliana – I know you want to win the argument but saying that the government controls the distribution and wholesale chain is simply hogwash. Pity you have to at worst lie or at best are badly informed. (Look at Herrera CA). “The whole media system is dependent on the state” – more hogwash. “Human rights violations” – when has Venezuela been condemned for crimes committed since 1999? What rubbish.”

      It’s a fact that the government has set in place different mechanisms to control the circulation of food and other goods (, it’s not a lie, how well do these mechanisms works is another discution.

      In which country my friend the state owns as much as 14 tv station, numerous radio stations and several news papers?, the state owns publicly or coverty most of the media in venezuela, the other part of the venezuelan media lives in fear and resorted to self-censorship.


    • Isabel – more tan 238,000 enterprises closed down.???????????? If this number is remotely true how do you explain that the GDP has risen in 15 years 4.15 times?
      So much for your stats:
      GNI per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $)
      1998-2012 increase
      Latin America 28%
      Venezuela 13%

      The economy Chavista Venezuela has underperformed relative to Latin America, and these figures were before the current oil price crash.


    • “Isabel – how do yo8u know what the government could or cannot invest? Are you an economist with access to government Budget and accounts or are you reéating the editorial line of El Universal?”

      You know what, you are right, she probably doesn’t know, but you know what is sad, most venezuelan doesn’t know either because of the obscurity in which our government is managing the finances of all venezuelans, finances that should be transparent and of public domain, the government hide or delay important statistics just for political reasons.

      For this government, they winning elections is more important that the economical health of the country.


    • “NBi chicken or beef – go to a flash restaurant in La Castellana and there is always chicken and beef on the menú. Does this sound a bit like Chile in the early 1970’s when Nixon said that he would make the Chilean economy screm? You bet it does.”

      Dude, the Allende pretext is too big for you now.

      You have been in power for more than 15 years with unprecedent (and illegal) control of all public powers. Unprecedent oil incomes. Total control of the armed forces.

      And yet, the country is a total mess and you keep pretending us to believe it is what happend to Allende.

      Dude, you are just a bunch of incompetents, that’s it.


    • “Note that Isabel is so well informed that she does not mention the hundreds of thousands of tons of food that has been found hoarded to that has been intercepted at the Colombian border.”

      Your ignorance doesn’t let you be.

      At the end of 2014 the government proudly announced the confication of 28.000 tons of food from the contraband. AVN announced that the venezuelan food consumption was, in 2011, of 24.000.000 of tons. A little math and you can notice that all the smuggling food confiscated in 2014 only amounts for a 0,01% of the total consumption of the country. So, or the government is colossally incompetent confiscating illegal food or the real effect of the contraband is grossly exagerated.

      There is hoarding yes, but the hoarding is from the regular people, normal people like you and me (well, not sure if you are normal); any body you ask will tell you they have a special place to store foods and other scarce goods, everybody you ask will tell you that he or her buy more than they need of those scarce goods just in case.

      So please, please, please, don’t be such an arse.


  12. I thought Emiliana did a fine job.

    My concerns: 1) Al-Jazeera relentlessly framed the crisis as due to the fall in oil prices; by the time the guests came on, she had made that false point about six times. No, the oil-price crisis hasn’t even fully hit yet, and the crisis was full-blown when oil was over $100.00. It’s the policies, stupid.

    2) Why does David Smilde start off by claiming that it’s about food scarcity, not hunger? “Let them eat beans” is a pretty self-satisfied reaction to the fact that millions of people cannot get milk or meat. if his own family were putting Koolaid rather than milk on their morning porridge, he might understand this better.


      • Yes, Francusco – you are a great authority living in Canada, or Maastricht or even Japan to comment on what is happening here on the ground. One day you will get somethhing right……….


        • Coming from the guy who swoons over foreigners like Ciccariello-Maher and their interpretations of Venezuela, from abroad, as framed by The Revolution. Pitiful.


    • If you can demonstrate taht there is widespread hunger in Venezuela, be my guest and go ahead.

      Unfortunately for you the FAO sees Venezuela as THE example of how to combat humger based on the award given to The Revolution in 2013 in Rome.


      • Listen, old chap, indigence has increased in Venezuela, according to the government’s numbers.

        You can find the link two posts ago.

        Indigence means extreme poverty, as in, you can’t eat enough.

        Poverty has also increased. Check the same link if you have the energy.

        I know, I know, lots of fat chavistas around, but being fat doesn’t mean you eat all you need. It just means you eat too much dough, which is, you know, cheap.

        So there you go. Any other info on Venezuela you need?


      • Is that award like the phoney one concocted by Aristóbulo and his ilk, a number of years ago, an award which they said was ascribed to the UN (false), to demonstrate that illiteracy has been totally eliminated, in Venezuela?


    • I think David Smilde did the right thing: to set the record straight in order to prevent tangles, such as your concern. As dire, unjust, and distressing as the situation is, famine cannot be counted among the problems Venezuela is facing. Not claiming hunger does NOT condone the Maduro government, for Christ’s sake!


  13. Some trolls are so racist !! picking on people because they probably had inmigrant parents , as if that made them into fiends and monsters . the fact that this troll felt the need to muster out of his gloom at the govts misfortunes and start spitting out the usual gross govt lies and misinformation is evidence that the blows struck home . I expected ‘george’ to be more convincing but he was a sitting duck . In the end the interviewers just by passed him and went straight for the others comments . Emiliana was great scoring point after point and Isabel said things with a tone that made it sound like she was there and knew the facts from 1st hand experience making her very convincing . By the way there have been Pisanis in Venezuela for at least 5 generations ( I know a few of them from earliest youth)


  14. Sorry for my por English but if you people think this is all down to government inefficiency then you are all living in a dream world.

    The lines are full of RESELLERS – at least in Caracas – bit this phenomenon has vanished in Zulia where there are biometric finer printing machines to prevent people buying kilos and kilos of products to resell.

    Find a decent documentary of Chile before the 1973 coup and if youc annot see the similarities then really, you are just blind or stupid.

    Emilaians doid a good joob. Even the Al Jazerra interviewer had to asj her to explain at least three times what she meant. No way to communicate José.

    And yes……the chickens will come home to roost for the traitors to the REVOLUTION.


    • You’re right, this is not all due to government inefficiency. It’s mainly due to government policy.

      A terrible economic policy and system, plus a corrupt and incompetent bureaucracy, throw in a bankrupt government short of dollars, and you get this disaster.


    • My in-laws mostly live in Tachira. Many of the products are taken in trucks by the National Guard and the military through mountain passes and sold in Colombia. The people systematically reselling kilos and kilos of subsidized goods for massive profit are either in the military or connected to the military. Anyone trying to run an operation on their own won’t get very far without paying off or being part of the military operation.
      People waiting in line to buy an extra bag or two to sell on the street are hardly the problem, at least in Tachira.

      Not far from their home, there is a government run store that is supposed to sell fertilizer at a steep discount to the local farmers. However, there is almost never any fertilizer there. Usually when a shipment comes in, a military truck is there to pack 90% of it up and take it away (presumably to be sold in Colombia, since the military doesn’t do any farming). The local farmers, the ones who need it and many of whom are/were Chavistas, get none.


    • No, may be it is not ALL down to government inefficiency, you have to remember the corruption and the plain and simple lack of patriotism of those whom govern us and rather to watch our country sink than loose an election.


    • “The lines are full of RESELLERS – at least in Caracas – bit this phenomenon has vanished in Zulia where there are biometric finer printing machines to prevent people buying kilos and kilos of products to resell.”

      Why is that????, why this “reselling business” is flourishing now and it didn’t existed 8 years ago?, what changed?

      Humm….queueing vanished in Zulia huh?

      How is that for “vanishing”?????


    • “if you people think this is all down to government inefficiency then you are all living in a dream world.”

      Let’s see. Who controls all the ports with products coming into venezuela? Three guesses. Who has control of the golden hen that manages all the dollars coming into our country? Who is in control of ALL the branches of government? You know, the branches of government that make up laws (however stupid as they may be sometimes), enforces them, and makes basically all decisions regarding the direction of our country in the diplomatic,civic and economic playground? Who is in control of the armed forces? You know, the ones tasked with border protection and the defense of our nation.

      Now Arturo, just answer the question, don’t come with some Allende reference or some “escualidos de la cuarta” bullshit. Don’t talk about the past, talk about the present.

      If you answered all those questions with “the government” then how the fuck can you seek other culprits for this colossal clusterfuck? How can you not see what’s right in front of you? Oh right, you choose not to. Guess that makes it better.


  15. Yep, download swiftkey and you will improve a lot.

    Most of us here are not blind or stupid chap, we are living abroad, far away for the humid heat and the perspiration of the Chavez family. We can buy most things without having a fingerprint scanned or a number tatooed.

    I agree on the resellers but the problem is, most resellers are working for the government to organise the bloody queues! It’s a snake biting its tail!

    You are right: the government is not inefficient. Actually it is super-efficient, only: all they do is grab the money. They are very good at doing that.

    Hopefully they will start showing that profficiency in other fields, like governing.


  16. Funny how the defenders of the Regime used the argument that what was happening now was nothing new in Venezuela , that it had happened many times before , as if that meant that the Revolutionary regime was justified in maintaining the status quo ante and shouldnt be expected to do things differently or better .

    If the regime is no better than those of the past in preventing these crisis then why should it stand on a platform of moral superiority vs those that preceded it ?? sheer nonsense !! The fact of the matter for people who have known Venezuela before Chavez came to power is that this crisis is much worse than any that Venezuela has lived in the past . Moreover that even any fourth republic govt would not have made such a mess of things as Chavez regime has .!! By confiscating productive property , by harrsing business with punitive rules and controls , by attempting to have half assed communes or cooperatives or state companeis attempt to substitute the labour of organized businesses the results have been a huge shortfall in the production previously obtained domestically .!!

    Whatever the sins of the past they seem like childs play compared to the destructive corruption and mismanagement of the current regime !! No one thought that it could be done , but this regime proved that they could top and exceed by far the failures of the fourth republic so much so that one might even feel nostalgic about those times . !!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As expected, Emiliana comes off as a completely impartial, hate-filled, cry baby whose only motivation is to get everyone to hate Maduro and blame all problems on him.

    Smilde comes off as quite objective, capable of criticizing the bad policies of the government, but also placing them within the context of what their intended goals are, even if they’ve been largely unsuccessful.

    Ciccawhatever-Maher comes off as a totally biased pro-Chavez hack who is incapable of criticizing the obvious problems with the current government, etc.


  18. Ah, the “international chavistas”, specimens that defend a narco-fascist-commie dictatorship only because of the ridiculous amounts of zeros their paychecks have.

    Case in point, the Monedero (Or “wallet”) guy in Spain who got like half a million euros, stolen from venezuelan vaults, I wonder why the “incomparable chavista leaders” don’t pay for these stuff with THEIR OWN MONEY, just like “Mr. efficient” Dante Rivas said recently, or why these foreign leeches don’t do the work for free, just like the commie creed dictates.


    • why these foreign leeches don’t do the work for free, just like the commie creed dictates.

      Marxism has a way out that it calls “dialectical contradictions”

      That’s why Arturo uses toys from el Imperio, which he abhors. And that’s why his wife undergoes an MRI (another high-tech development from el Imperio). If Arturo were less of a fantasist and was more sincere, he’d put his money where his mouth is. He would lead a much more humble existence, without the fancy toys (para destacarse, inclusivemente de los del cerro — make no mistake), and he would forsake very high technical development, also from a country that he shirks.

      Puro bla-bla-bla de un inmaduro.


  19. Emiliana,

    Your instinct at the end of the conversation to rebut Smilde’s admonishment about the Opposition not being patient was a good one, but your delivery didn’t hit the target. The response could have been,

    “The Opposition is impatient because Venezuela is facing the real threat of a grave humanitarian and social crisis that will be upon us before elections can occur. Venezuela today is utterly dependent on the importation at least 70% of its food, and while the current problem is scarcity, there exists a threat of real starvation in the coming months when the income from oil falls short of the needs for importations. This catastrophe can be averted, but the government is not taking the urgent measures needed. Instead, they are only discussing it and floating trial balloons instead of exercising real leadership. Unfortunately, as Mr. Smilde pointed out, the government does not have the political capitol or will to do what is needed. This is the source of our sense of urgency and why the Opposition believes that it cannot wait any longer.”

    If you are going to be a spokeswoman you are going to have to prepare better. This means developing your “talking points” ahead of time. It means anticipating the arguments from the other side and having your rebuttals prepared in advance. It means preparing your agenda for the conversation in advance, so that you are not always on the defensive. Watch how the host frames the debate at the beginning and immediately correct the premises and flaws in your first opportunity. Again, sorry to be critical. Please accept my comments as constructive. As Juan points out, it is not like you are being paid for this.


    • All good suggestions, but the quick-response mostly one-liner format didn’t allow for such verborrhea. The AJ moderators and Emiliana were very good. Smilde is typical of many US Emabassy/so-called independent think-tank types I have known who live a comfortable upper-class existence in Venezuela when/if visiting and only have a vague idea of what’s really going on Whatever-Maher is worse, not even beginning to understand the real plight of the lower-class Venezuelan pueblo, in midst of his probably paid-for Commie apologetics (yes, “We Created Chavez”, but not the U. S.– the Venezuelans themselves). Isabel was refreshing in spite of her innocence by illustrating the in-the-street day-to-day problems of trying to obtain basic household food/necessities. Arturo, as usual, is the mis-informed/mis-informing Troll, either being paid or enchufado.


  20. What the hell is happening? chavista military elite guys escaping the country, the government authorising lethal force on civilians?


    • Imagine the witch-hunt inside Chavista circles right now. Everyone suspicious of everyone.

      And then this:

      The perfect storm scenario.


      • And now the colectivos and all the other murder squads have total freedom from any consequence to slaughter as many people as they want during the incoming protests.

        It seems the colonoscopic commander’s dream is becoming true: Ten million murders.


        • A free press in necessary here. we are in the dark.

          Why do elite guys, pampered, probably free of need, powerful, flee the country?

          What is it they know will happen?


          • They know the plundering is over.
            So they want to make as much damage as possible to cover their thefts and any traces about what they stole? And what’s the best way to do so? By orchestrating a full scale genocide cranked up to eleven, the regime has made legal the murder of anybody who dares to say a peep against them, this is the extreme zenith of what chavismo is: The total imposition of dominion through the complete extermination of any dissension, the much anticipated revenge against the sifrinos who “stole from the people”, the wettest dream of these psychopaths.


  21. Emiliana,

    Thanks. Well done.
    Just one thing: if you want to address people other than US Americans from the right and English speaking Latin Americans of same orientation, please, avoid using the term “communist” to refer to Chavismo’s sycophants.
    I consider myself anti-communist but from the perspective of someone NOT living in the US and not part of the said Latin American community I know most people elsewhere consider that term has little to do with
    these guys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I dunno, Kep. I think the communist label is accurate enough (on a global scale) when applied to sycophantic professors and economists in think tanks, living comfortably in various industrialized nations. These sycophants rely on the agglomerated naïve (especially young, tender and misguided students at university) to shift the political narrative considerably away from a freer model of the economic marketplace. Yes, they do not account for the total ‘despelote’ of chavismo, nor the reality of implementing its goals. But their intent is the same as that used by chavismo: shift control to a hugely corrupt state, at the expense of the population, including the poor that they use as a shield for their greed, their incompetence, and their laziness.


      • “I know most people elsewhere consider that term (communism) has little to do with
        these guys.”

        Yeah, we must protect them from themselves.

        – they say that they are communists;
        – they approve communist policies;
        – they approve communist regimes;
        – they read communist books;
        – they like communist authors;
        – they believe that the Marxist political-economic model actually work.

        But no, we shouldn’t call them communists, because, you know, communism is just too shockingly unacceptable, they must be something else. they have to be something else.

        HAHAHA, it’s like a person that refuses to accept that his gay son. Come on…


          • Roy, it is absolutely pointless to call a thug “communist agent” as an insult in front of anyone not a gringo or an English speaking Latin American because it will be completely beside the point for anyone else. Don’t you get it? This has nothing to do with my political position or that of almost anyone outside the gringo world.
            It has to do with the fact such a label is completely outside the topic.
            Even if the guy is a commie, even if the guy were Karl Marx himself: so what?
            The point is something else.
            Not all commies are thugs and mercenaries. This guy is one. And that is where it hurts, particularly for 95% of the world’s population.
            If your message is to your choir, so be it: you will reach half the gringo population and Mark’s little sister and some people in posh areas of Latin America. If you want to insult or label the guy more precisely,
            use other epithets.
            Again: the guy might be a duck but what matters is whether he has brown feathers or not.


            • Kepler,

              It is true that “Not all commies are thugs.” However, whenever they get the chance to put their ideas into practice, the thugs always end up in charge.


      • Syd,
        The usual definition of “communist” as used outside the groups I have mentioned (and that means the vast majority of people) is someone who believes in any of the different strands of communism. And these theories, as lunatic and/or repressive as they end up being, have as core principles the total abolition of private property on production facilities and many other things.
        There are many groups of radical socialists (I am not talking about social democrats) who don’t consider themselves communists and are not considered communists (other than in English speaking L.A and the USA) but somewhere in between.

        At the same time people who profess communism might not be thugs, sycophants, etc: people who are completely naive but on good faith or whatever.

        Guys like these sycophants should be called by what they are: sycophants, mercenaries of a repressive regime, bourgeois who pretend to be socialists, etc.

        Using the word “communist” to mean “vendido”, “mercenario” is confusing to most people (outside the aforementioned groups).

        Even if one of these sycophants did profess and promoted communism as understood outside some groups in the Americans, calling him “agente comunista” as a way of trying to tag him in front of the public just deflects from what that character should be called.


        • Kep, I know and understand what you’re trying to say. But semantic shavings can be tricky, especially to a large audience. Certainly, the use of a description other than a cliché might have been more memorable. On the other hand, as someone else noted, I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Emi’s shoes, nor would I have delivered as well. When you’re put on the spot, sometimes clichés are the only thing you can think of, quickly, quick thinking being what the medium dictates.

          The other thing to keep in mind is the audience. Now, I suppose that many ‘oyentes’ of that show are reasonably educated. But maybe not all. And that’s ok. So a word like ‘sycophant’ which is not a commonly heard might cause a listener to lose attention while trying to figure out what the word means. Similarly, the label ‘mercenary of a repressive regime’ might lead to too many questions in the listener’s mind.

          Personally I like ‘bourgeois who pretends to be a socialist’, which would be well understood by a vast majority. An ‘agent of communism’ might not be my first choice but it’s good enough to get the idea across quickly to a large audience. And that’s the bigger point.


  22. Betty:
    I’ll say it again: consumption per capita is up over 40% since 1999. How could that be true, but also be true that the standard of living has “collapsed”???
    For one thing, your claim that food consumption per capita since 1999 is up over 40% is NOT true. From the FAO:

    Food Supply, Kilocalories/Capita/Day
    1999 2366
    2011 2880

    That is an increase of 22%, not 50%

    Food Supply,Proteins, Grams/capita/Day
    1999 65.0
    2011 84.1
    That is an increase of 29%, not 50%*/E
    [food balance]

    Betty to Kepler
    Check for yourself you lying sack of shit:
    I am hearing this from someone who falsely claims that food consumption is up 40% since 1999.


    • hahaha! So typical of these pseudos. Their basic math skills suck. Big time. Can you imagine their pretense on display to a larger group?


      • Syd, it isn’t just the math skills, it’s the mostly phony data their arguments are based on, mostly if not all coming from the Ven. Govt., including that for the UN/FAO/CEPAL/you-name-it. You may have noticed that GAC has disappeared from this Blog for some time now, ever since his Chavista great financial accomplishments (Min. wage/GNP/etc.) were destroyed by the immense real Bolivares devaluation/financial collapse. Now he’s (or his clone) is back, again in drag as “Betty” (presumably “Boop”-remember “Tallulah”, presumably “Bankhead”), as he is wont to do, quoting raw data, which is not subject to adjustment by exchange rate to real terms, but is just as phony, being as how it is only what lies the Ven. Govt. wants to put out. Only those who believe in Venezuela’s 94% or so employment rate, or the 99% Electoral Registry of eligible voters, can be foolish enough to believe in any statistical data originated in the Venezuelan Govt., or in an entity influenced by it (including Fedeagro).


        • Net, I agree with all the points you raise. And yes, I remember the other flotsam & jetsam that have periodically visited this blog in the past to display their delusionary rants.


    • “not 50%” should be “not over 40%”

      Syd, many of the numbers were there years ago. The housing construction stats were even more abysmal in 2006 compared to Fourth Republic. By 2006-2007, at the height of the “Misiones improve medical care blah blah blah” brouhaha, the gold standards for public health care- Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality- indicated that Chavismo had a record in improving health care that was at best run-of-the-mill. But when you mention that to a PSF, you are told you are “cherry picking” data. As if using the gold standards of health care indicators is cherry picking.


      • BT, And to think that the stats are abysmal, or displaying run-of-the-mill results, even numbers are produced by entities in a government well known for manipulating data in order to remain in power by whatever means.

        I loved how you verified that idiot “Betty”s ignorance on simple % rate changes. Priceless.


  23. Emiliana, you kicked ass, nuff said. Isabel, not so much. Yes, it could have been better but at least I wouldn’t have the guts to get up there and try to explain to some half brained leftist nitwits without loosing my temper at their idiocities so good for you.


  24. I’ve dealt with George Ciccariello-Maher in the past. He is a total horses ass. With Venezuela, it’s not personal to him; It’s his job. But he somehow manages to make it personal if you ever contradict him. Typical example of a Dunning-Kruger victim who blusters through things at all costs while remaining stupifyingly ignorant of reality. I felt sorry for those other three on the feed who are clearly trying to make sense of the reality they actively occupy while he lives at his desk at Drexel reciting the same unyielding bullshit through tired Marxist goggles.


    • All the zeroes in the paychecks got to be defended, dude, otherwise the poor colaborator can’t afford the usual socialist rewards, like capitalist and imperialist consumist stuff.


  25. A few Things that I learned while listening to both sides.

    1. Petropopulism does not work and will never work.
    2. The Capitalism system, which Venezuela is part of whether the government likes it or not, has rules that come back to bite you hard when the rules are gamed by individuals who don’t understand how capitalism works.
    3. When you try to game a capitalism system, as Venezuela has by imposing price and currency controls, the consequences are grotesque economic distortions with severe results as we see now.

    I will give you jus one example I am familiar with to explain what I mean. Major Pharmaceutical manufactures are leaving Venezuela and cutting their losses because of the currency exchange rules make it impossible for them to operate in Venezuela. One of the companies alone declared a $250,000,000 loss in their books because it saw no alternative to getting paid. The company swallowed the loss and now their medicines are off the shelves in Venezuela. Some of the medicines treat Heart disease and AIDS. You cannot expect, in a capitalist system, for a Pharmaceutical manufacturer to spend $1,000,000,000 to discover a new drug and give it away for free. It does not work that way my friends.

    It is all about the money.


    • I think every time Venezuela’s misery is distilled into the old “Capitalist vs Socialist” saw, the Venezuelan people lose. Not to beat on your point in particular, but mostly the bothersome tone I find in general when it comes to this stuff. It turns everything into Facebook football for your gringa cousin’s husband’s Aunt Lurleen in Nebraska.

      I think it’s possible to discuss Venezuela’s immediate problems in strict political economy terms without diving into all the old doctrinaire b.s.

      Other nations MIGHT…and I stress..MIGHT be able to pull off this farcical exchange rate system that the Bolivarian Government is wed to.

      Venezuela cannot. Because Venezuela is a petro state that must trade with the outside world for nearly everything.

      To the extent that its basic supply chain is now irrevocably broken.

      If this system was eliminated today and a floating exchange rate restored across the board, many of these problems would self-correct over time. Normalcy would be restored (or at least what counts for Normal) despite this idiot government.

      Here’s where I scratch my head. I am trying to decide if the Bolivarian Government would be more easily overthrown in a more stable and productive economy versus the humanitarian disaster that lives today.

      If one looks at North Korea and Cuba, usually the more privation you get among the masses, the more these regimes become entrenched.

      I wonder if the requirement is that Venezuela gets “better” in order for anybody to stand a chance of disabling this regime for a more democratic and civilian polity.


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