Recently, Investor’s Business Daily referenced a good handful of media entities that have been keeping folks apprised of Venezuela’s socio-political climate. However, IBD added the entities “continue to obfuscate, if not totally ignore” the obvious issue that’s causing the South American country to fall apart: “socialism.”
Among others, NBC News weighed in on IBD’s piece with a pretty terrible assessment of the newspaper’s write up.
Pause on NBC, as there was the Associated Press’s pontification on Hugo Chavez’s and onto Nicolas Maduro’s “Bolivarian socialist” regime being a detriment to Venezuela over time. Unexpectedly, the AP has made a practice of calling the government “socialist” for many months now—as if their style guide mandated they do so. (At least somebody’s pointing this out.)
When looking at AP journalist Hannah Dreier’s May 7th article, she drops the socialism bomb twice—context to this claim (but they’re on the right track):
“Protesters March In Venezuela, Destroy Chavez Statue
Women banged on pans, and some stripped off their white shirts Saturday as they protested Venezuela’s socialist government in an event the opposition billed as a ‘women’s march against repression.’ As they marched, local media carried a video showing people toppling a statue of the late President Hugo Chavez the day before in the western state of Zulia.
Thousands of women took over streets in major cities all around the South American country. Wearing the white shirts of the opponents of country’s increasingly embattled government, the women sang the national anthem and chanted, ‘Who are we? Venezuela! What do we want? Freedom!’
… Local news media carried a video circulating on Twitter of the Chavez statue being pulled down. The media reported that students destroyed the statue as they vented their anger with the food shortages, inflation and spiraling crime that have come to define life here.
Several, young men could be seen bashing the statue that depicted the socialist hero standing in a saluting pose, as onlookers hurled insults as the late president.”
There were four, additional Dreier-crafted pieces to come out—as well as two more AP journalists to use the “socialist” label for Maduro’s reign.
Due to AP’s being well-known for availing the latest…around the world and rightly calling out Maduro, it’s almost too easy to point at other news sources for intentionally censoring themselves from using “socialism” and/or the like.
As opposed to Dreier and her AP cohorts calling it what it is, on May 7th, NBC News Peter Cahill and Laura Saravia sloshed out a 1,600-word piece on their assessment of the Venezuelan chaos: “Venezuela Protests and Economic Crisis: What Is Going On?”. However, upon absorbing this information, it’s clear these people haven’t checked into any Venezuelan issues in God knows how long but struggled and ultimately failed to do the CliffsNotes version for those not in the know.
While the NBC crew said their information “breaks down what led to the turmoil, what could come next, and why it matters to America,” the network gave their followers merely some detail of the brutality that is Venezuela—sans the root of it all. Case in point:
“Despite having the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela is suffering from a deep recession and hyper-inflation. Prices rose by 800 percent in 2016, with the International Monetary Fund predicting inflation could hit 2,200 percent by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, the economy shrunk by 18.6 last year, according to Reuters.
At the same time, food and medicine shortages are creating a humanitarian emergency. Shoppers, forced to wait in long lines to buy basic supplies, are often met by empty grocery shelves. Hospitals are suffering from acute shortfalls of everything from antibiotics to basic sanitation equipment like medical gloves and soap.
The current protests were triggered by a Supreme Court decision to strip power from the National Assembly—the opposition-held Congress (a move widely thought to be aimed at concentrating power in the hands of Maduro’s increasingly unpopular government).
… Gustavo Arnavat, senior advisor at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, told NBC News that these conditions ‘have produced a political and constitutional crisis that are precipitating the complete collapse of the state.’”
Apparently, hyper-inflation and a severe lack of resources appear out of thin air. More, when determining what stemmed “these conditions,” NBC really pointed its collective finger at guess who:
“For decades, the country was controlled by a small elite and there was extreme disparity between the rich and poor. Late president (Hugo) Chavez was elected in 1999 on the promise that he would share Venezuela’s immense oil wealth with the poor—the country derives 95 percent of its export earnings from petrochemicals.
Fueled by high oil prices that went from $10 barrel when he took office to over $100 when he died of cancer in 2013, Chavez enacted a series of policies aimed at redistributing wealth. His government nationalized parts of the country’s economy—from oil rigs to telecommunications firms to banks—forcing many companies to flee the country.”
While some may opine an epidemic of “income inequality” instigated the socio-political climate enabling Chavez to be in power (according to the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index, when his time came, Venezuela was mid-level compared to other countries. Well, how is it their geographical peers didn’t fall apart either?), NBC dismissed Chavez’s actions upon his reign:
“He abolished the congress and the Supreme Court in the first year of his government.
… [a] new constitution included improved guarantees for human rights, but it also increased the powers of the president.”
Not long afterward, Chavez orchestrated de facto control over the state-run oil entities—previous operations were comparable to any business, inserting “loyal, military commanders” strategically. Upon that restructuring, their oil industry went to s**t and provided little-to-no oil prior to the regime.
Chavez considered himself to be a contemporary of Simón Bolívar—“the patron saint of Venezuela,” who “liberated a large part of the South American continent before his death in 1830” and “ruled with an iron fist because he thought that South America was not yet ready for US-style freedoms.”
While Bolívar wasn’t exactly a socialist, Chavez perpetuated himself after such a legacy. Think about that when reading the following from NBC:
“‘Even former supporters of Hugo Chavez are starting to turn against the government and policies of president Maduro,’ he [Arnavat] added, referring to the current president’s predecessor and father of ‘Chavismo’—a Latin American left-wing ideology following the principles of Simon Bolivar who fought for colonial independence from Spain.”
In no way did Chavez adhere to Bolívar’s “principles”—certainly not at the level showing them being clearly inherent anyway.
NBC pushed that Venezuela’s state of affairs are due to the decreased price of oil.
“‘If oil was still at $100 barrel, we would not be having this conversation,’” Arnavat said.
That’s not really going to work. Actually, it would be more correct to say the situation there wouldn’t have catalyzed so quickly.
More, in a 2010 New York Times issue, a movie critic called Chavez a “good-hearted man of the people” and acquired (i.e. fraudulently gained) a surplus of money—Maria Gabriela Chavez (daughter) inherited (a 2015 ballpark figure of $4.2 billion).
And it was toward Chavez’s end that people opposed the government—a political hatred that increased almost immediately upon Maduro’s 2013, presidential by-a-hair win (prior to the oil problems, which started in May 2014).
Further, the oil-price-drop-related social problems have actually been a blessing—for Maduro. Several Venezuelans can’t even protest the government, as their time is consumed by wait lines for food while they starve to death. (A survey showed that “nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of at least 19 pounds in 2016” from the disgustingly labeled “Maduro diet.
To be technical, NBC did use “socialist” one time—re: paragraph 24 or 46. But that honestly didn’t help their subscribers to see Maduro’s socialist ways:
“This week, Maduro called for an assembly to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution.
Opposition leaders say this is just a bid to stay in power by putting off regional elections scheduled for this year and a presidential vote in 2018. Opinion polls have suggested the socialists would lose both.
‘You wanted your elections,’ Maduro said mockingly of the opposition while announcing the constitutional rewrite on Wednesday. ‘Here are your elections.’”
Investor’s Business Daily was spot on in their words:
“… it is socialism, not oil prices or the weather or greedy businessmen or any other such factor that’s to blame for Venezuela’s economic crisis. This is what socialism produces. Always and everywhere.
… Why do reporters ignore the obvious? We’d surmise that it’s largely because liberal journalists are infatuated with the idea of socialism.”
Unfortunately, that is correct and true—while Venezuela has 100 years of screaming, blatant, irrefutable evidence of said philosophy.