Just a Girl Lost 2

Just a girl lost~ Here I share bits & pieces of me, in poetry, prose, music & posts from writers who inspire me.


Venezuela ~ đŸ‡»đŸ‡Ș

To those of you who want to vote for Hillary Clinton..

(Frankly, I’m trying to be diplomatic and not insult anyone, so I won’t say what I really think about anyone who would even think of voting for Killary Clinton)

Please Read this, because THIS is where the U.S. is headed.

I also post about Venezuela because it holds a place close to my heart.

My ex-husband was born and raised there and his mother and brother and sister and niece still live there.  I visited there twice.  It was and is a beautiful country filled with amazing people.  Reminded me so much of my own home, Lafayette.  The easy way of living, the closeness of families, the Catholicism and the value system that puts God first, then family and neighbor.  I was in culture shock the first time I visited and realized there were lines to buy meat.  This was 17 years ago.  My ex-husband’s family spent a month here last year.  His brother has a home in Columbia, but their mother doesn’t want to move.

It breaks my heart to see what has happened to this country and it angers me to see that there are so many Americans HERE who are leading our own country down the same path.

That is why I post this.  No other reason except to speak to reason.  

©justagirllost2 ~ Monique 

Venezuela’s tragedy fed by cronyism and the death of free markets


Imagine a city where menus don’t print prices because inflation drives them higher daily; where streets are empty after dark and the murder rate is the world’s highest; where people queue for hours for meagre supplies of medicines and food; where farmers don’t take goods to market because roads are dangerous and police corrupt.

Imagine a country whose richest woman, with billions stashed away, is the daughter of the former president, whose family owns 17 country estates in his birth state; where “socialist” elites live in mansions and have ready access to government-subsidized supplies that others must line up for from dawn to dusk.

Welcome to one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Caracas, in resource-blessed Venezuela. Kidnapping is so routine one victim praised his kidnappers to me: Ransom negotiations were reasonable, and they only broke one finger. But murder is increasingly common even when ransom is paid.

This is the aftermath of the Bolivarian socialist revolution, led by the late Hugo Chavez, whose daughter is the billionaire. I saw the tragedy first-hand on a recent visit to Cedice Libertad, an impressive and courageous Venezuelan think-tank striving to build a better future.

This isn’t just about Mr. Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro: Venezuela has been failing for more than four decades.

In 1970, Venezuela had the strongest free-market policy in South America and was its richest country on a per-capita basis. Remarkably, Venezuela was poorer in 2014 than in 1970 (a period during which global per-capita GDP more than doubled). Some blame the price of oil for Venezuela’s misfortunes; but in 1970, a barrel of oil was $20 (U.S.), and today oil prices, in real terms, are twice as high as in 1970.

So what happened?

Venezuela, like much of Latin America, was afflicted by crony capitalists, who detest free markets as much as crony socialists, and degraded free markets long before Mr. Chavez.

Cronyism restricted markets, weakened the rule of law, undermined growth, adopted many leftist “populist” policies to maintain power and favoured their supporters at all income levels, excluding others and generating the frustration that led to Mr. Chavez.

Can we gauge the decline? The best available measure of free markets is the Fraser Institute’s economic freedom index. In 1970, Venezuela ranked 10th globally in economic freedom; by the time Mr. Chavez took over after 30 years of cronyism, it had fallen to 109th place; in the most recent data (2014), it’s 159th out of 159 jurisdictions. Both Mr. Chavez and crony capitalists attacked free markets.

In the 1960s, under free-market policies, Venezuela experienced steady growth, despite declining real oil prices. After 1970, as free markets deteriorated and crony capitalism increased, Venezuela’s economy staggered. Today’s disaster has decades of history, but Mr. Chavez took bad policy to extremes.

Supporters of socialism and all-powerful governments try to explain away the failures of such regimes. But failure is systematic. The cavalcade of excuses borders on fantasy and reveals closed minds. Regimes such as the Castros’ Cuba and Mr. Chavez’s Venezuela concentrate absurd power in the ruling “socialist” clique.

Institutions that protect people, particularly the legal system, are made subservient to government if not completely destroyed.

The economy is nationalized and politicized. “Managers” are chosen for ideology. If enterprises squander resources, hardly produce anything, and make things of poor quality, then tough – the people can suffer.

Compared with crony socialism, crony capitalism tends to be less extreme and allows some competition, but is still destructive. True free markets produce prosperity and reduce poverty wherever they bloom, whether in Europe, North America or Asia.

Venezuelans are coming to understand the nature of the tragedy, but the opposition is divided with little policy. The current regime cannot endure in its present form – food is running out and the military may already be in control.

Venezuela will not jump to the level of economic freedom of Canada, Sweden or Denmark. Cronyism is baked into the system. But let us hope that as disaster looms, Venezuela can start down a road away from both crony capitalism and socialism.

Article Link below:


AND, read further, if you so choose

Cronyism, Militarism Mark Venezuela’s Corrupt Government

NGO Reports Widespread Nepotism Across Venezuela’s Government



Nepotism origin – Mid 17th century: from French nĂ©potisme, from Italian nepotismo, from nipote ‘nephew’ (with reference to privileges bestowed on the “nephews” of popes, who were in many cases their illegitimate sons). Source: Oxford Dictionary

Between July 2014 and July 2015 at least 105 officers from the military were named to high offices of in the government.  In that same period, 32 people were given other high administrative responsibilities. Of those connected family members, most were named by the Comptroller General Manuel Galindo. Which is particularly fascinating because part of his job is to prevent exactly this from happening.

These findings came out in a report titled “Nepotism and the Military in Power in Venezuela” conducted by the Convite Civil Society. It was created in 2006 by investigators, teachers and social activists and has a close relationship with the Catholic Church.

Though the information reported is from a year ago, it’s worth noting the military’s influence has increased further. To name one example: Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, who has become a de facto vicepresident. Nicolas Maduro announced “all ministries and offices report directly to him” despite Maduro saying he had decided to “return the military to their quarters.”

The same can be said about nepotism — at least in Galindo’s case. A report from early this month by the website Runrun said the number of the Comptroller’s relatives in key positions has increased to 13.

Perhaps because of the rampant corruption in Venezuela, nepotism isn’t directly punishable ini accordance with the 2014 corruption law. Said law had been paralyzed since 2012, precisely because of the refusal of parliament members of the official party to add an article to it.

However,  there are several international treaties signed by the country, like the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (2003) and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption  (1996), which promote transparency and the elimination of practices that promote conflicts of interest.

All in the family

Aside from Comptroller Galindo, the report emphasized the case of first lady Cilia Flores. It also mentioned former, former Vice President and current member of Parliament Minister Elías Jaua. He is also President of Corpomiranda, an office created just for him when he was defeated as governor for his state.

For example, his wife Natacha Gonzalez was president of two foundations, including one dependent of Corpomiranda. She’s also Vice President of Pequiven — a state petrochemical company — without even taking into account her disastrous performance leading the Socialist Cement Corporation, which is made up of nationalized cement companies.

Regarding the first lady, there are two of her family in the Comptroller General’s Office: her brother Giuson Flores and her cousin Numidia Flores. The first was named as Deputy Comptroller General. The second went over four offices in just 19 days. Also, her former brother in law was named Magistrate of the Supreme Justice Tribunal. Other two officers in the Court are related by blood or personal connections with Cilia Flores.

Of course, the report doesn’t even evaluate Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efrain Campo Flores. Cilia Flores’ nephews are in jail in the U.S., though they held no public offices. However, when interviewed after being accused of conspiracy to get 800 kilograms of cocaine into the country they claimed being her relatives allowed them free traffic in all airports. This is particularly hard to dismiss given the number of drug trafficking cases that involve the military and high Venezuelan officers.

Even though Diosdado Cabello has lost power in the government, he managed to get his wife Marleny Contreras named Minister of Tourism.  He also got his cousin Ramon Campos Cabello named National Superintendent of Public Goods. His brother Jose David Cabello has been tributary superintendent for years.

Supporting the troops

The report also mentioned how the military filled key roles throughout the country, which is in open contradiction to the Venezuelan Constitution that establishes the army as professional and non-partisan. They have occupied roles in key areas like citizen security, food and public finance.

The militarization of such areas can only be qualified as disastrous. Venezuela is today the most violent country in Latin America. It also has the worst food scarcity, public deficit and inflation. However, this hasn’t been an obstacle for the number of military personnel in official appointments that continue to rise.

The military has filled the Ministry of Interior, Justice and Peace with 30 appointments. In the Ministry of Food, 10 military were appointed. In the Industry and Commerce eight were appointed, and seven in the Ministry of Finance.

The report pointed out that both phenomena (nepotism and militarization of high offices) raise the possibility of corrupt acts, at they represent too much discretionary power for the public sector. It puts non-qualified people in sensitive posts, destroys the alleged neutrality of the military and fosters clientelism.

Convite also concluded that these problems are all made worse with the absence of an independent judicial system that punishes corruption. That is, “unless its people are opposed to the government.”

“In the case of the involvement of the military, society must be made aware of the perils it brings.  Such perils come when soldiers leave their functions to dedicate themselves to civilian duties.”

Article Link Below: