It’s Open Thread Monday!

Our esteemed editor has called to inform us that he is without one of the necessities of modern 21st century living: an Internet connection. So please use this and my previous post as a sounding board for whatever you want.

Let me start by asking what you think of the depressing events of yesterday in Venezuela? Western civilization is in a bad way, I fear.

14 thoughts on “It’s Open Thread Monday!”

  1. For nearly half a century, the Venezuelans were subjected to the massive corruption of the two major political parties, AD and COPEI. I recall many of the corruption scandals under former AD President Carlos Andres Perez, a close friend of Fidel Castro.
    This allowed a demagogue like Chavez to appeal to the masses. Corruption has continued unabated under Chavez, but he filters a little of the stolen proceeds to the poor, giving them false hope of a better future. It’s similar to what the PRI did in Mexico with the money stolen from the PEMEX oil coffers.
    The opposition captured Chavez years ago and instead of submitting him to a summary court martial, they released him. The strike at PDVSA was a failure, and the wealthy Venezuelans have mostly left for the U.S.
    Something similar happened in Nicaragua. When the Conservatives won the presidency with Violeta Chamorro in 1990, they failed to set the standard against government corruption, which continued unabated. When the Liberals won the presidency with Aleman, now under house arrest for stealing millions, none of the stolen government money filtered down to the masses.
    This made Daniel Ortega a more appealing candidate, especially to the youth who did not experience his previous dictatorship sixteen years earlier. Ortega also had the backing of some former Contras, Liberals, and the Catholic Church led by Obando y Bravo.
    Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department, as in the case of Cuba, has been asleep at the wheel on Latin America for nearly a decade.

  2. I’m so depressed I can’t decide what to do. I could go over to party headquarters and sign up to be a Democrat, or I could go down to the mosque and sign up to be a Muslim. With the Democrats, I could probably get a fat, old, smoked up hippie chick. With the Muslims I’d be given a wife in a burqua and a stick to beat her with, so I’d have some chance of getting my apartment cleaned.

    I feel like I did when Carter was president.

  3. Prof. De La Cova has summed it up very nicely in five short paragraphs. The people who voted for Chavez did so because they perceive him to be their best option. The Right has not created ethical governments or institutions to help them find their way out of misery. So, they take a chance with the Chavezes, or the Evos or the Ortegas. For them, it can’t get much worse anyway. There is nothing mysterious about that.

    The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of every corrupt right wing politician and his/her supporters.

  4. Let me see … Evo nationalized natural gas in Bolivia … Chavez won in Venezuela and President Bush accepted Bolton’s resignation at the U.N. … enough bad news for a Monday morning …

    I wish you well 🙂 Melek

    “You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” ~ W. Boetcker

  5. El Apagón
    (by Ruben Blades)
    La electricidad, se interrumpió y, por el apagón, se suspendió la
    tortura de un subversivo que hacía un empleado del desgobierno.
    Y aquel apagón también puso fin al sonido de un baladista ruín
    cuyo disco disfrazaba los gritos de víctima y de victimario.
    No más torturas. No abran el hoyo. Se fue la luz.
    !Que viva el sub-desarrollo!
    Aquí en el Sub-D:
    La tierra de Sonia Braga. : El que no la hace, la paga.
    De abuelas y dictadores. : De santos y pecadores.
    A diez cuadras del interrogatorio protesta la gente, pués se canceló
    la versión local de un concurso de belleza de la “Miss Internacional”.
    Y unas madres y el director del show han vuelto a insultar al organizador
    pues se retiró el patrocinador por el apagón, “This cannot go on”.
    Semi-desnuda y emberracada, grita una Miss:
    “Coño: Este país no sirve pa’ nada”.
    Aquí en el Sub-D:
    Olor a miau y a perfume. : Todo lo que baja sube.
    Somos la envidia de Europa. : Nuestra magia la provoca.
    Por el apagón, en otro lugar, alguien se alegró pues la oscuridad
    lo va a ayudar a desempeñar la muy popular función de robar.
    Diez mil pares de piernas arrancan sin pagar la cuenta
    y en la iglesia nadie se entera de lo que pasa allá afuera.
    Mientras, en casa unos culpan al Consumismo y otros acusan al
    Imperialismo por este apagón y la confusión de nuestra propia “civilización”.
    Quinientos años de cotorreo. Se fue la luz. Y sigue el saqueo.
    Aquí en el Sub-D:
    El fin del Imperialismo. : La tumba del Comunismo.
    Entre un Fidel y un Somoza. : Y no se arregla la cosa.
    Del beso y de la tortura. : Del goce y de la amargura.
    Alucinado y furioso. : Iluminado y glorioso.

  6. Cheer up. Cuba’s bad dream is almost over.

    When Cuba writes its democratic constitution, just make sure it doesn’t give the president a six-year term. That gives the president too much time to destroy democracy.

    Four years is long enough between elections.

    Elections! What a refreshing concept. Coming soon to an island near you.

  7. Frank,

    With the recent events in Cuba, sometimes I think we are all on a collective manic-depressive roller coaster.

    Sometimes it seems we are just a breath away (someone’s last breath?) from a big shift to democracy, freedom to travel, to visit, to touch and hug our loved ones, to kiss our grandmothers, to share Noche Buena with family, to lie half a sleep on a Cuban beach the bright white fine-as-sugar sand cushioning our dreams. What joy!!

    Not a worry in the world because while there is much work to be done to rebuild the country and heal the wounds, we know we are strong enough to do it. It takes strenght to leave your country with nothing but the clothes on your back, clutching your child to your chest. It takes strenght to keep body and soul together, when every day is a struggle just to feed your children. Yet you persevere, with sad eyes you lift your head with dignity. There is more than enough strength–in exile and on the Island–to do what must be done. And, we rejoice.

    Other times, however, it seems that the moment will never come. First fidel, now raul, who will stand in the way next? The Soviet Union had Lenin, then Stalin, the Krushev, etc. etc.

    Is freedom for Cuba finally here? I wish I knew.

  8. As the years sadly roll by Venezuela still has its poor, and who is Chavez going to blame for that… Since it is far easier to fake statistics if there is no free pressm I keep wondering what excuse Chavez will use to muzzle the press, but that is something he will have to do when his policies do not make things better for most Venezuelans.

  9. people love schwag. people always vote with the schwag, whether it’s prescription drugs in the US, or the misiones (ie – welfare schemes) in venezuela. this isn’t the end of western civilization, just democracy displaying its ugly, selfish side that we all know it has. it sucks, but at least the future was put to a solid vote, so no matter what happens, venezuelans chose it for themselves.

  10. Something for the Venezuelans to worry about… I hear mini me, in a true fidelista fashion, will be taking the “patria potestad” away from parents. As it happened in Cuba, all children become ward of the state after the age of 7.

  11. My heart is very full of saddness for Venezuela right now. All I can say is the devil takes care of his own.

  12. The day Latin “politicians” – indeed, “politicians” all over the world – understand the simple concept that achieving equality and justice means FLOATING all the boats instead of sinking them to the bottom…it’ll be a start.

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