Monday, June 27, 2016


"Venezuelans face collapsing economy, starvation and crime" PBS NewsHour 6/21/2016

COMMENT:  Trump supporters, do you ACTUALLY believe in his 'make America great again' rhetoric?  America IS still grate, and Trump is Hugo Chavez's twin.


SUMMARY:  "Plummeting worldwide fuel prices have damaged several economies, but perhaps no country has been hit harder than Venezuela.  Once flush with oil money, the nation now faces a collapsing economy, skyrocketing inflation and a wave of looting and crime driven by mass food shortages.  For more on the dire situation in Venezuela, Gwen Ifill talks to Nicholas Casey of The New York Times.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  The fall in world oil prices has likely hit no country as hard as it has Venezuela.  Once flush with cash, the country is now in crisis, with a collapsing economy, skyrocketing crime and inflation rates, and major food shortages, all this as the government of President Nicolas Maduro tries to maintain control.

For more on this situation, we turn to Nicholas Casey of The New York Times, who is reporting tonight from Caracas.

Thank you for joining us.

So, Nicholas, give me a sense about how long this collapse — it feels like a slow-motion collapse — how long has it been going on and what has caused it?

NICHOLAS CASEY, The New York Times:  It's been going on for a couple of years now.

And it's been tied to the collapse in oil prices in Venezuela.  Venezuela gets almost all of its revenue from oil.  So, when these prices started to collapse, the first thing you saw was that some of the foods started to disappear, not in huge quantities, but enough that there were lines in front of stores.

The electricity started to disappear.  There's even problems with water right now because the government doesn't have the money that it needs.  Now, what's happened with the food is that there has been so much which has gone at this point, that people are starting to get hungry.

And last week, and the week before, we saw a wave of lootings of stores.  People basically left these lines that they were gathered in and started to go directly into the stores, break down the doors, and take things that were inside.

GWEN IFILL:  You say that the lack — the collapse of the oil — of oil prices contributed to this.  How much was that tied up with the collapse in faith of this current leadership, of President Maduro?  How much of one thing creating the other?

NICHOLAS CASEY:  Well, it's not just, as you point out, the collapse of the oil prices which has caused what's happened here.

There are other countries, like Mexico and Brazil, which have a lot of oil revenues themselves, and don't have the same problems as Venezuela.  Venezuela and Maduro came after years of what a lot of economists say was economic mismanagement by Hugo Chavez, who totally transformed the economy here.

The government spent lots of money, lots of money, and didn't save much for a time when the price of oil wouldn't be as high as it was before.  So, now Venezuela finds itself in the position where it needs money.  It doesn't produce a lot of food.  It needs money to import food, and it doesn't have anything right now.

So, in the short term, it's the price of oil which has got us here.  But in the long term, it's a lot of economic changes that took place in this country in the so-called Bolivarian Revolution that came from Hugo Chavez.

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