…venezuela, madurando; y el otro?…

‘At long last, have you left no sense of decency?’ A famous question that applies today, with greater force.

That auspicious, leading voice of the US establishment media takes a brief and well-deserved respite from its relentless attacks against the Venezuelan ‘dictatorship’ of the current President, Maduro. Well, it did deserve a rest – after all, the intensity of its vitriolic attacks against the late President Chávez, was truly supernatural. And only the likes of the NYT and WaPo could have been expected to vilify as dictator an immensely popular President who had convincingly won every election in what had been called the best conducted and monitored elections in the world, including the US.

However, to stay sharp, an occasional gratuitous slap at the country is sometimes needed. Here we have something on the popularity of cosmetic surgery, yes, cosmetic surgery among the Venezuelan women, Mannequins Give Shape to a Venezuelan Fantasy. Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Then we get this nugget,

 The little data available indicates that Venezuelan women do not get plastic surgery more than their counterparts in many other countries. But Ms. Gulbas, the anthropologist, said the surgeries take on an elevated status thanks to the importance of beauty here and a belief that cosmetic procedures will help project a successful image.

[Bold added for emphasis] So, after such drivel, we get a cautionary paragraph on ‘little data…’. What a wonderful world this is. It is as if most Venezuelan women would even need lipstick to add to their beauty. In fact, as in other Caribbean and Latin American countries it would be difficult to not find very intelligent and independent women who are beautiful by any standard, and who would demand respect in any case. And what is more, we can find even children who are, well, children. So, any need to explain why the blogs and other social media continue to gain ground?

Fortunately, comes this analysis in The Guardian, cross posted over at common dreams, by Mark Weisbrot of CEPR in the US. Sorry, Venezuela Haters: This Economy Is Not the Greece of Latin America, with the suggestive sub-headline, Predicting a Venezuelan apocalypse won’t make it happen: in this oil-rich country the only thing imploding is poverty. As Weisbrot observes,

 Now Venezuela is facing economic problems that are warming the cockles of the haters’ hearts. We see the bad news every day: consumer prices up 49% over the last year; a black market where the dollar fetches seven times the official rate; shortages of consumer goods from milk to toilet paper; the economy slowing; central bank reserves falling. Will those who cried wolf for so long finally see their dreams come true?


Meanwhile, the poverty rate dropped by 20% in Venezuela last year – almost certainly the largest decline in poverty in the Americas for 2012, and one of the largest – if not the largest – in the world. The numbers are available on the website of the World Bank, but almost no journalists have made the arduous journey through cyberspace to find and report them. Ask them why they missed it.

Nice point is the implication that any resourceful high school student would have no challenge to finding data.

No, Venezuela is no utopia. What Venezuela is, it is a country that is at long last headed on the path on which should have been decades ago. And it is doing so despite continuing, serious and concerted opposition. There is no excuse for a country so rich in resources to have such poor infrastructure and institutions, to have suffered such high levels of poverty, illiteracy, and social injustice, and for so long.

The late President Hugo Chávez, undeterred by the vilification and sabotage, had acted to set the country on the path of social and economic development and growth, where even the most disadvantaged Venezuelan can have an opportunity to move up. And missteps have been inevitable. Of course, to not surrender the country’s resources to the whims of the US corporate interests is anathema, tantamount to ‘anti-Americanism’ and a threat to US freedom and democracy.

Of related interest, El socialismo bolivariano frente a la trampa económica del capitalismo

…and, on a somewhat related note, Venezuela does depend on hydro-power for over 80% of its electricity needs, and when there are extended periods of severe droughts…