Your Eyewitness saw some statistics on Venezuela that really didn’t surprise him: 76.6% of their population live in extreme poverty, with 94.5% living in poverty. Now, “Extreme poverty” is also called deep poverty, abject poverty, absolute poverty, destitution, or penury; and is the most severe type of poverty. The UN defines it a as “a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education, etc”. You get the idea? Just to quantify this, the World Bank figures that if you’re not getting US$1.90 per day, you’re in “extreme poverty”.
That’s right folks, three-quarters of Venezuelans can’t scrape up Gy$380 per day – which would buy you half a fried rice!! But to get a real insight, even if you’re working in Venezuela – which half the country ain’t – the average monthly wage is equivalent to US$3.54 in what it can buy. That if Gy$708 PER MONTH!! Even top executives don’t get much more than that. Is it surprising that 5 million Venezuelans have fled as refugees into every country that would have them – including Guyana? And some that wouldn’t – like the US?
Now, Maduro has been insisting that all of this misery is due to the US embargo/sanctions that are intended to force his government to hold free and fair elections. Now, there’s no question the measures must have some effect – or else they wouldn’t have been imposed! But Cuba’s been living with the same measures since 1960!! For sixty-one years! And while they aren’t exactly a nirvana, their poverty rates aren’t even in the same universe as Venezuela’s! And it’s not like they’re sitting on the largest oil reserves in the world; and – before they brought down the axe on the foreign oil companies – as a member of OPEC, were shipping 3 million bpd!!
So, what’s the problem? Basically, we can understand Maduro if we compare his “Chavezism” to Burnhamism. These were both convinced they had the ANSWER to all questions, including the nature of human nature! So, they embarked on experiments to show that they can “mould” their people to reach nirvana. And were willing to see all of them die but would not abandon their experiment.
And that’s the problem with so many of these dictators and their true believer followers, isn’t it? Just look around in Guyana: there are still people who swear that Burnham was just a notch below God. And some would put him on par!!
Sadly, both the socialist and co-operative dogma misread raising standards of living. Just look how the Chinese communists pragmatically accepted capitalism to achieve that goal!!
Doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or grey…once it catches mice!!
…in Guyanese politics
Sadly, the PNC and all its friends from the AFC, WPA and the other small parties are still stuck in the sixties and seventies with their anti-capitalist dogma. As such, they still don’t appreciate that even Marx accepted you gotta HAVE to create wealth before you can redistribute it. You can’t RE-distribute something if you have accumulated the “thing”!! And again, Marx was the one who insisted that capitalism is the most effective way to create the “thing” – namely, wealth!! The man understood human nature up to that point!!
So, what’s the PNC’s stance on capitalism? Nothing but contempt!! During Burnham’s time, they nationalised everything that generated wealth, and cursed out even peasants as “feudal” exploiters!! During his disciple Granger’s five years, they did everything in their power to cut down capitalists, because they figured most – being Indians and Portuguese – were their enemies.
Well, by end-Nov-mid-December, we should see the new PNC’s stance on capitalism.
Bet they equivocate!!
Someone pointed out there’s a sign announcing “UG authorize taxi” near UG – which the university should’ve corrected. UG huffily replied it wasn’t their sign. But shouldn’t they at least have spoken to those responsible for the sign?
It didn’t bother their sensibilities?