By Gustavo Hernandez Acevedo in Caracas Chronicles:
Have you seen the latest economic indicators? Didn’t think so.
For those of us living in Venezuela, you only need a short stroll to your local market to see the current state of our economy. However, there’s always the need to have some sort of statistical confirmation.
Too bad the Central Bank has stopped reporting on some of those important numbers in the last few months, at least publicly.
What started last December with an unusual twenty-day delay in the release of the November inflation rate has turned into a complete blackout of information. The last BCV report on inflation was from May. Yes, there have been alleged leaks on the June and July numbers, but the BCV has neither confirmed nor denied them.
Those are not the only figures being kept under wraps. The last scarcity rate report is from March, and no recent GDP or balance of payments numbers have been released either. Many economists are complaining that the BCV, along with the Finance Ministry and the National Statistics Institute (INE), are keeping official statstics hidden in recent years, making difficult to analyze the state of our economy.
What’s the response of the central government to all of this? In three words: NO. BIG. DEAL.
PSUV Deputy Ricardo Sanguino, who isthe head of the National Assembly’s Finance Commission, said that the BCV doesn’t have any legal mandate to release those indicators in a certain deadline. They can do so whenever they please.
But the Central Bank is still considering alternatives. Earlier this month, there were reports that both the BCV and the INE would change the methodology to measure inflation from the currently used Laspeyres index to the Paasche index. Also, the newest member of the BCV board of directors, Sohail Hernández, has allegedly proposed to stop releasing the indicators. Instead, those who are interested in knowing those figures would have go to the BCV in person and formally request them.
As we enter a new month with no major changes to the government’s economic policies, the official line of blocking access to public information is still on the march. Now, it comes with the approval from the highest court in the land.
Yeah, baby..... GOTCHA!
The Maximum Leader smolders in killer combination of warm-up jacket, white shorts, black socks, and blue cap.
But the public and the paparazzi want to know: must he always hide his best assets?
For more sexy photos and rumors about neurological disorders plaguing the most beloved tyrant in the world go HERE
Via 14yMedio in Translating Cuba:
What Does a Cuban Bring Home in Her Suitcase?
Nuria retired last year and this month she traveled to Miami, where her sisters live. On returning to the Island she showed 14ymedio what she brought home in her suitcase.
Let’s take a look at what she threw in her bags with brief comments from her about why she chose each product.
- Two bottle of dishwashing soap. “There isn’t any in the spiritual centers and what they do sell here destroys my hands.”
- Two packages of napkins: “In the snack bars they cut them in two and even in four, making them real onion skins.”
- A stove lighter: “There aren’t any matches in the stores, and when you find them the heads fall off and burn my clothes.”
- Two packages of bath soap: “I’ve spent years without washing myself with something soft and creamy, so I just couldn’t resist.”
- Four pairs of jeans: “They last and I’m not going to pay the price the State charges for them in its boutiques.”
- A package of coffee: “I know it seems like a crime, but I’m going to mix it with what I get from the ration book and it’ll last me longer.”
- Two bottles of cologne: “Since Suchel reduced production, it’s something refreshing and fragrant for after the bath which has become a luxury.”
- A packet of washing detergent: “I have clothes that are a little grimy and I’m going to see if this can restore the colors.”
- A paper datebook: “The doctor who operated on my cataracts asked me for something to write down her appointments and I can’t go wrong with her.”
- Four scouring pads: “With the ban on traders [importing such things for resale], mops and sponges have disappeared.” Continue reading Reports from Cuba: What does a Cuban bring home in her suitcase?
Cuba's undead dictator Fidel Castro emerged from his dark satanic crypt to blurt out the old and tired, usual diatribe accusing the U.S. of being imperialistic, Nazis, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah...
Via Latin American Herald Tribune:
Fidel Castro Rails at Western “Imperialism”
HAVANA – Fidel Castro on Monday attacked the alleged imperialism of the United States and its allies, accusing them of promoting conflicts in third countries and comparing the style of recent statements by NATO spokespeople with those of the Nazis.
“Hitler’s empire, inspired by greed, passed into history without any more glory than the encouragement provided to the bourgeois and aggressive governments of NATO, which makes them the laughingstock of Europe,” Cuba’s former leader wrote in an essay published in Communist Party daily Granma.
The 88-year-old Castro asks if, instead of promoting conflicts, “it would not be preferable to fight to introduce more food, build hospitals and schools for the billions of human beings who desperately need them.”
“We have a rather powerful adversary as our closest neighbor: the United States. We warn him that we would resist the embargo, although it means a very high cost for our country. There is no worse price than capitulating before an enemy who attacks you without any right to do so,” Castro said.
“When the USSR disintegrated and disappeared from the socialist landscape, we continued resisting and together, the state and the revolutionary people, we’re continuing our independent march,” said Castro, who handed over power to younger brother Raul in July 2006 after falling gravely ill.
The leader of the Cuban revolution also discussed the role of the Soviet Union in the world historical context.
The Soviet state, Fidel said, was “a union capable of gathering its resources and sharing its technology with a large number of weak and less developed nations, the inevitable victims of colonial exploitation.”
Almost as sad as the fact there are pro-Castro lobbyist in the U.S. advocating for this is that you actually have to spell this out for some people.
Via Capitol Hill Cubans:
How Tourists Don't Help the Cuban People
Last week, we saw Exhibit B of how foreign tourists don't help the Cuban people.
(Exhibit A was last year's Toronto Star expose on child sex tourism in Cuba.)
Two women on a Sunwing flight from Toronto to Varadero -- note flights go straight to Castro's isolated beach resorts -- wanted to start the party early on the plane and began smoking and boozing heavily.
They became so disruptive that the flight was turned around (escorted home by two Canadian military jets).
These Sunwing flights are advertised as "low-cost holiday voyages with Champagne Service."
Since 1991, over 25 million Canadian tourists have visited Cuba.
Canadian tourists have become the cornerstone of Castro's lucrative travel industry, which has become the dictatorship's largest source of revenue (after the low-cost, high-margin trafficking of medical professionals abroad).
So how exactly have these 25 million Canadian tourists helped the Cuban people?
Where is the balance to the overwhelming financial benefit these tourists have provided the Castro regime?
They travel to beach enclaves, stay at the Cuban military's resorts, shop at the Cuban military's retail stores, drink the Cuban military's booze, smoke the Cuban military's cigars, dine at the Cuban military's restaurants and party at the Cuban military's nightclubs -- all while keeping their "heads buried in the sand" as to the somber reality of the Cuban people.
Let's just say there's "no love lost" between the Cuban people and the Canadians that party on the backs of their suffering.
An every day look at #Cuba in Twitter is full of pictures of Canadians irreverently partying away in Castro's resorts.
And yet, that is precisely the shameful, degrading model that anti-sanctions lobbyists want the U.S. to adopt.
At a recent meeting of Venenozuela's Socialist Party congress, the process of turning Chavez into a god reached a high level of ridiculousness when someone offered up a prayer to the dead tyrant.
To make matters worse, the prayer was a reworded version of the "Our Father" (also known as the "Lord's Prayer").
The "delegate's prayer" begins by invoking "Our Hugo who art in heaven," and --after a long string of inane blasphemies -- closes by asking him to "deliver us from the temptation of capitalism" and to reign "forever and ever."
Go HERE for a video of this liturgical nightmare. (In Spanish)
One can laugh at this deification process, which began as soon as news of his death were made public, but when it comes to 21st century socialism nothing is really funny. In fact, its ridiculousness is as depressing as hell.
It's not the blasphemy that's depressing -- though that's ugly enough by itself -- it's the sheer infantile idiocy that sends one's spirit tumbling into a black hole of despair.
Of course, "the delegate's prayer" is just the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at this image from the Venezuelan television series "The adventures of Hugo Chavez in heaven." (Go HERE for that masterpiece, also in Spanish).
Idolatrous mindless idiots bowing down to Big Brother. This is exactly the kind of human being that 21st century socialism seeks to create.
It IS a religion, after all, and nothing proves it more convincingly than these supposedly tongue-in-cheek tributes to a dead tyrant.
When Caesar or Big Brother become divine, nothing good can happen. Ask any Cuban exile.
Ask anyone who was ever asked to affix the plaque below to their doorpost by their neighborhood Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.
Lord help us all.
It seems that this can of worms is much, much bigger and definitely stinkier than I first thought.
For an eyeful and earful of blasphemies, go HERE. (In English).
A preview of what you will find there:
Translation: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO CROSS THEMSELVES AS CHAVISTAS
In the name of Chavez, Maduro, and the sovereign "pueblo", we shall live and win
NOW TEACH THIS TO YOUR LITTLE FRIENDS
And the prize for Best Intermingling of Bad Art, Blasphemy, and Foul Language goes to......
Frances Martel in Breitbart:
Cuba Strengthens Embargo: Limits Flow of Necessary Goods from US to Island
The Cuban government has implemented new laws Monday that strengthen the embargo between itself and the United States--not limiting tourism from the West into the country, but limiting the transport of necessary goods like underwear and soap from Cuban families in the United States to their relatives on the island.
The new law, Fox News reports, significantly reduces the amount of goods Cuban Americans can bring in their luggage and ship via boat from the United States. It also affects Westerners in other countries with strong Cuban populations, such as Spain, but experts believe it will not affect tourists who have no family on the island; they will be able to continue to pack their luggage freely.
While the United States bans tourism to the island, Cuban Americans with relatives on the island are legally allowed to bypass the embargo and visit the island, particularly because they are unlikely to spend money on tourism and support the regime. They, instead, spend their money on helping Cubans with no connections to the government who cannot leave the island.
Fox News reports that nearly $2 billion a year is spent on goods in the United States that Cuban Americans take home to their families. These goods include anything from underwear and shampoo to car tires--items necessary to live in Cuba that are very difficult to come by without having connections in the Castro government. "All the clothes and shoes that I have come from my granddaughters in Spain or my siblings in the U.S," one 75-year-old Cuban woman tells the Associated Press. She is worried she will run out of clothes due to Cuba's newly imposed embargo.
Opponents of the United States embargo on the Cuban communist regime, which bans Americans from spending money on tourism that supports the terrorist government, often claim that the United States does more harm than good to impoverished Cubans in maintaining the policy. Rarely does one hear the same critics raise their voices when the Castro government imposes its own restrictions, which only limit the influx of goods that keep many lives afloat on the island, rather than feeding directly into the government's coffers.
In addition to limiting the amount of goods going to average Cubans, the Associated Press notes that reducing the number of items allowed into the country forces Cubans abroad to send money via wire transfers that would have otherwise been spent directly on goods. While the Cuban government can do little to steal a cut of the price of one pair of underwear, it easily imposes high duties on money coming in from abroad, funding the lavish lifestyles of the Castro elite.
Continue reading HERE.
Sometimes, the media tries to hide their bias and at least make a feeble attempt to mask their adoration for Cuba's vile and repressive Castro dictatorship. And other times, like the example below from Reuters, they put their love for the island's apartheid regime right out there. As has always been the case, this is not about the Cuban people, this is about the love of their life, Fidel Castro, and his legacy.
Market-style reforms widen racial divide in Cuba
(Reuters) - Cuba's experiment with free-market reforms has unintentionally widened the communist-led island's racial divide and allowed white Cubans to regain some of the economic advantages built up over centuries.
Under President Raul Castro, who took over from his brother Fidel Castro in 2008, Cuba has expanded its non-state workforce, loosened travel restrictions and promoted private cooperatives and small businesses.
As the communist government relinquishes its once near-total control of the economy, inequality has widened, undoing some of the progress seen since the 1959 revolution.
Much of the funding for new businesses such as restaurants, transportation services and bed-and-breakfast inns - targeted at tourists, diplomats and dollar-earners - comes from family members who emigrated to the United States over the last 50 years, especially Miami.
They sent almost $3 billion to relatives back in Cuba last year and, as they are mainly white, their investments put black and mixed-race Cubans at a disadvantage as they try to set up their own businesses.
Walter Echevarria, a 60-year-old black man, co-owns a humble cafeteria run out of a ground-floor Havana apartment belonging to one of his partners.
There is no seating, and the clients are mostly state workers who order pork sandwiches and juice or a coffee for about 15 Cuban pesos, or around $0.60.
"It's usually the whites who have family abroad and send them money, and they can set up bigger businesses," Echevarria said while customers lined up at the take-out window during the busy lunch hour.
With the additional economic freedom under Raul Castro's reforms, there is also greater discrimination.
Continue reading HERE.
"Hummmm?..Can't say that I remember any such degrees when Cuba was a "Tourist Playground?"
When Cuba was a HUMILIATED(!!!) DISGRACED(!!!) and DEGRADED(!!!) "Tourist Playground" under "U.S.-Backed Dictator-Batista(!!!)"--were such disgraceful degrees offered in Cuba's many and easily-affordable institutes of higher learning?...Just asking...?
A Bachelors Degree in Tourism, a New Educational Offering in the University of Camagüey
These rafters made it.
All the way from the southern reaches of Cuba to Texas. Over one thousand miles.
So many try, so few actually make it.
And now, after they arrive, these "refugees" can no longer bring back tons of stuff form the USA for their relatives!
Those Grinches in Havana don't want the black market flooded with consumer goods.
So maybe, pretty soon, these guys will feel a bit crestfallen. Freedom is no longer their main goal. Supplying their enslaved relatives with stuff seems more important.
But you've got to hand it to these guys. This was no Diana Nyad escapade.
Cuban "migrants" wash up on Texas beach
McALLEN, Texas — Authorities in Cameron County are used to encountering illegal immigrants, however on Labor Day they made an unusual find when a group of Cuban immigrants arrived at South Padre Island after a 1,200 mile voyage.
The six men originally from the island of Nueva Gerona, just south of Cuba, washed ashore, just north of the tourist area, sometime early Monday morning. The area is under the watch of the Cameron County Park Police, said Police Chief Horacio Zamora.
“A person driving north on the beach saw their boat on the shore,” Zamora said. “He took pictures of the boat and continued driving north. As he was driving north he ran into the group and helped them.”
The Good Samaritan took the immigrants into the police station where Zamora’s officers checked them out before turning them over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for processing.
Whole story HERE.
We encountered this issue a few months ago, amigos.
The plagiarism this time involves a long video and podcast. And again this shameless plagiarist bills himself--SURPRISE!--as a "libertarian." This means ( again like Communists) that they reject (other people's) "intellectual property rights." This also means they can scam their brain-dead cult followers into marveling at what a --oooooh!_aaah!-- "brilliant!" and "original! thinker this latest "libertarian cult leader" (but I repeat myself) is--after he stole others ideas' and insights and claimed them as his own.
This libertarian scam artist's (but I repeat myself) name is Stefan Molyneaux and he hosts a popular, among dupes and credulous libertarians (but I repeat myself,) podcast called Freedom Domain Radio. Fully half of his video (starting where Che meets up with Raul and Fidel in Mexico) is lifted LITERALLY word for word from my book. But no one would have a clue, except those who've read my book. And it so happens that some have pointed this out in the comments.
As mentioned, I run across a fair amount of this stuff, but I've never run across anything this blatant and shameless.
Just putting this out there so that everyone knows.... turns out others have detected other forms of malfeasance on the part of this Freedom Domain Radio.
I wish I could afford a good lawyer.
Juan Cristobal Nagel in Caracas Chronicles:
Was the government “strengthened” after the protests?
People who put all blame for the opposition’s current woes on the #LaSalida protests – we need a hashtag for them, can we call them the #2019 folks? – say that the street protests enden up “strengthening the government.” (Re. Masó, Fausto, last Sunday’s El Nacional).
Now, we can argue all we want about the wisdom of the #LaSalida movement, but it seems to me that claiming the government was strengthened would require showing, first off, that the government is strong. This line of thinking is having a very difficult time surpassing a little something called reality.
Case in point: the latest Datanalisis poll, published by well-known journalist and sometimes CC-nemesis Puzkas, among others. A sizeable majority of Venezuelans – 83% of us – think the country is in bad shape. The radicals, those of us who think the country is in really bad shape, are 43.5% of the population. And who do they / we blame for this? A majority blames the government. The same government the #2019 folks think came out “strengthened” by the street protests.
The numbers in the rest of the poll are equally damning. A majority of Venezuelans want Maduro to either resign or for a recall referendum to be called in 2016. And while only a very small portion believe a Constitutional Assembly is the way to go, the fact that a full 32.4% of Venezuelans want Maduro to resign speaks volumes about the proposals of the “radical fringe.”
The main cause of these dismal figures is the economic crisis. Most people now perceive their purchasing power has diminshed substantially. Scarcity and crime remain the two big issues on the agenda, and only chavista believers appear to give the government the benefit of the doubt. The government has lost both the opposition and the independents, and that’s a good two thirds of the population right there.
Look, we’re no fans of #LaSalida, but we also think putting the blame of our current woes on poor Sairam Rivas is an apalling lack of basic empathy. Leopoldo López may be many things, but he is not the reason why Maduro is still in power. People who keep repeating this are basically playing politics in favor of the opposition’s third-most popular leader. As many in the opposition think that we need to go out and convince people, my question is: convince them of what? That this is a terrible government? It seems as though we’re a bit late for that.
If the protests “strengthened the government,” tell us #2019 folks, what would Maduro’s numbers look like had the protests not happened? What, exactly, is your counter-factual?