The Suicide of Venezuela – by Joel D. Hirst

The Suicide of Venezuela

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Venezuela - Click to enlarge

Venezuela – Click to enlarge

I never expected to witness the slow suicide of a country, a civilization. I suppose nobody does.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing epic about it. We who have the privilege of travel often look down in satisfaction at the ruins of ancient Greece; the Parthenon lit up in blues and greens. The acropolis. The Colosseum in Rome. We walk through the dusty streets of Timbuktu and gaze in wonder at the old mud mosques as we reflect on when these places had energy and purpose. They are not sad musings, for those of us who are tourists. Time has polished over the disaster.

Now all that is left are great old buildings that tell a story of when things were remarkable – not of how they quietly fell away. “There was no reason, not really,” we tell each other as we disembark our air-conditioned buses. “These things just happen. Nothing is forever; and nobody is at fault. It’s just the way of the world,” our plastic wine glass in hand.  Time ebbs and flows, slowly wearing away the foundations of a civilization until it collapses in upon itself – at least that’s what we say to comfort ourselves. There’s nothing to do about it. These things can’t be stopped. They just are.  

[Read more  – The Suicide of Venezuela]

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  • demerwater  On 04/28/2016 at 5:36 am

    What imagery! What a tragedy! The author has moved me emotionally in a similar manner of the English writer Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Star” a science fiction short story. See the plot summary here.
    Writers like Hirst, Rosaliene Bacchus, Dimitri Allicock and Peter Halder are only four of many reasons why I visit here daily.
    My sincere thanks to you all.

    • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 04/28/2016 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks for the compliment, Demerwater 🙂 I haven’t been writing as regular as I used to since I’m presently immersed in completing the revision of my second novel.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 04/28/2016 at 12:08 pm

    Venezuela is down 😦
    Brazil is in the throes of death 😦
    Who will be next in Latin America?

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/28/2016 at 5:34 pm

    Somebody in Venezuela wrote that if Bernie Sanders is elected President of the USA, he will never ever again have to explain how Hugo Chavez happened ….

    Daily Wealth – by Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
    Venezuela Does NOT Have Enough Money to PRINT Money

    You know the old joke about the worthless currency, right?

    “The guy with the wheelbarrow full of money was robbed. They stole the wheelbarrow and left the money…”

    Unfortunately, that’s the type of thing that’s happening in Venezuela today – only the story gets much worse…

    I saw this type of thing firsthand when I visited Venezuela years ago…

    I went to a bank in the middle of nowhere (Coro) to take out some cash.

    It looked like a bus station. There was a long line, and everyone was carrying a duffel bag. I’d never seen anything like it.

    It turned out, those duffel bags were full of cash… worthless cash. The duffel bags themselves were worth more than what was in them.

    Today, the situation in Venezuela is much worse than when I was there.

    Venezuela’s currency is worthless… If you trade one U.S. penny for 10 Venezuelan bolivars, you’re getting the worse end of the deal.

    Specifically, right now, one U.S. dollar will get you 1,100 bolivars. (Tomorrow, it might be closer to 1,200 bolivars.)

    So if you want to deposit $500 U.S. dollars into the bank today, then you will need 550,000 bolivars.

    Amazingly, Venezuela’s largest bill is 100 bolivars – which is less than $0.10 in the U.S.

    You would need 5,500 of Venezuela’s largest bills to deposit the equivalent of $500 U.S. dollars in the bank (hence the duffel bags). That’s why the lines are so long – because the banks have to count all those bills.

    Because Venezuela’s largest bill is only worth less than $0.10 in the U.S.A., Venezuela has to print A LOT of bills. And this is where things get REALLY crazy…

    Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Venezuela is “now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.” -The story is fantastic. You can read it here:

    At this point, the international companies that print money are tired of printing money for Venezuela… They either aren’t getting paid on time, or aren’t getting paid at all.

    The money-printer has a dilemma with Venezuela: It’s an order big enough to fill your factory for a year, but do you want to completely expose yourself to a country as risky as Venezuela?

    And it’s not just the currency…

    Just yesterday, Venezuela announced a two-day workweek for government employees. You start work on Monday, and the weekend starts at the close of business on Tuesday.

    Why? Despite the fact that Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, its government has to ration out energy.

    This is a disaster… and it was all avoidable. I lay the blame squarely on Venezuela’s government – mainly on the socialist rule of President Hugo Chavez from 2002 to 2013. This placed all the power in the hands of the government, and none in the hands of the people. And look what happened.

    People think things like this don’t happen in this day and age anymore… but they do.

    People also think that things like this can’t happen here… but they can.

    The best thing you and I can do to avoid ever being in this situation is to do our best to limit the powers of the government…

    Good investing,


  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/01/2016 at 4:15 pm

    One more comment from a Trini:

    When you read Hirst’s blog, you cannot help but feel in your gut this helplessness of looming disaster. The refugees are here already but are coming in through the back doors. With T&T’s economy already in a recession and our gimme gimme population looking for more, I hope the “Ma burro” policies do not take hold.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/03/2016 at 10:13 pm

    The Real Crisis Starts… Now That the Beer Is Gone
    By Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
    Tuesday, May 3, 2016

    Venezuela is out of BEER …

    Uh-oh. The real crisis in Venezuela is about to begin. I’m not kidding…

    Venezuela’s beer maker is the country’s largest private company. It stopped beer production at the last of its four plants on Friday. In short, the government won’t let it use its money to import malted barley.

    No money, No barley. No barley, NO BEER.

    It might sound funny, but this is a far worse sign than you can imagine…
    When I started traveling to remote places in Latin America in the early 1990s, I learned one silly truth: No matter where in the world you are, you can always find a cold beer.

    I remember staying with a family for a few days in the middle of nowhere in Nicaragua in 1992. At the time, Nicaraguans had absolutely nothing. Hardly any possessions. The room I stayed in had a dirt floor.

    They didn’t have electricity… but somehow, this family always managed to have cold beer.

    “Now, how is that?” I wondered. Even though I don’t drink, I took note of it, because it seemed pretty extreme.

    As I traveled to more countries, I realized that no matter where you are, you are never far from a cold beer.

    “What would happen if the beer was gone?” I wondered.

    I thought that was only a hypothetical question… Of course, the beer would never be gone…

    I remember driving for miles in Venezuela’s “desert” – the Medanos de Coro (the Sand Hills of Coro). There was nothing for miles…

    Then, on the side of the road, we saw a little white building…

    As we drove closer, you could see the little building was well-maintained. A polar bear was painted on the side of the building…

    At first, you might think a polar bear is a bizarre choice for a beer mascot… until you’re in the heat of the Venezuelan desert. The white building sells one product – Polar Beer.

    “Polar,” my American buddy said to the only person in the building.

    “Que?” the Venezuelan guy asked, standing with a thousand cold beers behind him.

    “Pole-ER,” my buddy Rick said, adding emphasis.

    “Que?” the guy asked again.

    Rick motioned over to me in the car… “Steve, can you help me out? This guy doesn’t understand me.”

    I walked up to the guy and said, “Po-LAAAR,” in my best Spanish accent (rolling the “R” at the end, even though I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to or not).

    “Ah! Po-LAAR! Why didn’t you say so!” the guy said to me (in Spanish).

    In the Sand Hills in Venezuela… Rick got his cold beer.

    It proved, yet again, that no matter where you are, you are never far from a cold beer.

    But today, for the first time in my memory, that statement won’t be true…

    The situation is so dire in Venezuela, you can no longer get your cold beer. As an article in Forbes explained…

    “It’s not because people don’t have the money to buy it. Polar, the local manufacturer, can sell all it is able to make. It’s not because Polar can’t make money doing so either: the company makes a good profit making and selling beer. Nope, it’s purely and only because [President] Maduro and the other Chavistas are entirely incompetent at the management of an economy. ”

    Bingo. Nail, meets head.

    It’s government mismanagement – to the extreme. And the results are ugly.

    Last week, I told you Venezuela’s government was too broke to print its own money… and that government employees’ workweek is now down to two days, because Venezuela isn’t able to produce enough energy. (The weekend now starts Tuesday afternoon.) This is the country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves – and it can’t produce energy.

    If being out of money and out of energy weren’t strong enough signs the country is in collapse… we’ve now reached a point I’d never thought we’d see…

    The BEER is GONE!

    “The power crisis is likely to be President Maduro’s undoing,” the experts say. They shouldn’t underestimate the beer crisis. It’s the surest sign yet. Venezuela is a disaster, and about to descend into chaos.

    I expect it will get worse before it gets better.

    Avoid Venezuela as an investment…

    Good investing,


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