Ecuador elections, Angela Davis at Marquette, NJ state trooper killer hiding in Cuba, Venezuela implosion and more…..with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Going shopping in Venezuela is a border crosser

(My new American Thinker post)

What else can you say about Venezuela?  It is a mess!

Years ago, I went to Caracas, and I remember having to buy some things for my trip.  I walked over to a small shopping center near the hotel, purchased some things, and that was it.  It was like any U.S. city, from the availability of products to number of stores.  To say the least, Caracas was a modern city with nice people.

Well, things have changed, and not for the better.  In the last couple of days, I saw a report of people crossing into Colombia to purchase groceries:

In just 12 hours, more than 35,000 Venezuelans crossed the border into Colombia on Sunday to buy food and medicines in the city of Cucuta, when the Venezuelan government agreed to opened border crossings for one day only.

People began crossing the Simon Bolivar international bridge at 5:00 a.m. to purchase products that are scarce in Venezuela.

“We’re from here in San Antonio (and), honestly, we don’t have any food to give our children, so I don’t think it’s fair that the border is still closed,” a Venezuelan woman told EFE in Cucuta.

The woman, who preferred to not give her name, crossed the international bridge with her husband and children ages 5 and 2.

The border crossings between Tachira state and Norte de Santander province were closed on Aug. 19, 2015, by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who said he took the measure to fight smuggling and prevent members of paramilitary groups from entering Venezuela.

What is the definition of a failed state?  In my mind, a failed state is one where people have to cross a border to buy milk and other groceries because their stores are empty.

Sooner rather than later, the U.S. and the OAS will come to terms with the reality that Venezuela is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis previously unseen in Latin America.  What else can you say about shelves without foodstuffs, gas stations without gasoline, drug stores without aspirin, and hospitals without medical supplies?

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Very bad weekend for the left in Caracas, Buenos Aires and Brasilia



(My new American Thinker post)

All of a sudden, the lefties of South America are running for cover.

Let’s start in Argentina, where ex-President Fernandez has just been indicted:

A judge in Argentina on Friday indicted former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other officials on charges of manipulating the nation’s Central Bank during the final months of her administration.
Mrs. Kirchner and the officials are accused of entering into contracts to sell the Central Bank’s dollars at below-market rates during her presidency in order to shore up the Argentine peso.
The judge, Claudio Bonadio, said that it was “unthinkable that a financial operation of this magnitude” could have been carried out without the explicit approval of “the highest political and economic decision makers of government.”
Judge Bonadio will now deepen his investigation, legal experts said, to decide whether the case goes to trial or is dismissed. Mrs. Kirchner can appeal her indictment.

Mrs. Fernandez followed her late husband Mr. Kirchner in the presidency.  I guess that corruption finally caught up with them.  At the same time, the couple has a lot of supporters in the public bureaucracy so don’t count your chickens yet.

By the way, Nestor and Christina Kirchner remind me a lot of the Clintons.

Over in Brazil, President Rauseff will be watching the Olympics from home rather than presiding over the opening ceremony as head of state.  A trial has begun that could remove her permanently from the office.  In the meantime, there will be an interim president.

Over in Venezuela, the situation has now hit the “expletive deleted” fan.  President Maduro has declared a 60-day emergency because of what he defines as threats from the US government.

These 3 crises have a few things in common beyond the fact that the leaders where once the darlings of the left.

First, corruption is rampant, a natural consequence of concentration of power or using state resources to win elections.  It worked great in Venezuela and Brazil as long as commodities and oil prices supported the inefficient state operations.

Second, the economies of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela are basket cases.

Brazil, one of the top 10 GDPs in the world, is mired in a deep recession.

Argentina is a better off but still paying the price of the Kirchner-Fernandez disregard for the rule of law.

And Venezuela is such a disaster that we won’t cite numbers because the country is indeed falling apart.

Argentina will be the first to improve because President Macri is already correcting the excesses of his predecessors.

Brazil and Venezuela could descend into chaos.

As my late father used to say, socialism is great as long as the subsidized get their subsidies.  If not, the subsidized turn on the ones who made the promises, as is the case in Venezuela and Brazil.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.