Sweet Home Venezuela

News brings word that things in Venezuela, over the last few weeks, have gotten as ugly as a West Virginia tailgate. Instead of people throwing bags of urine at one another, which is the custom in Morgantown, the locals are throwing “poop bombs” at the police. In the age of fake news, this could be a totally made up story, but it is not implausible. For some reason, flinging crap at people is something that comes naturally to people. I guess it is the ultimate sign of disrespect. Or, maybe some people just like throwing poop.

Searching the archive, I see I have never written a post about Venezuela and I have mentioned the place just eight times in three years. Given that I have cranked out 1.4 million words in three years, it is same to assume that Venezuela does not rank very high on my list of interests. The one interesting thing about the place, at least to me, is they have some of the most dangerous prisons on earth. Each prison is a self-regulating island, where the prisoners run everything inside, and the guards make sure they stay inside.

For a while, American libertarians tried hard to make Hugo Cavez a bogeyman worth our attention and Venezuela an example of what happens when you anger the god’s of Von Mises. Chavez tried hard to do his part, but the day of the macho socialist dictator has past, at least for American elites. The ideal leader for the managerial elite is the childless powerskirt or the sexually ambiguous fop. Chavez just reminded the swells of the guy that cuts their grass. It’s hard to make a bogeyman out of Pablo the lawn guy.

Chavez was a ridiculous gasbag, for sure, but Venezuela is not exactly Wellesley Massachusetts either. When Chavez came to power, the per capita GDP was roughly $5,000. The average IQ is 84, which is in the same band as most Arab countries. There’s not a lot of human capital, but they have oil that is easy to access. By the time Chavez shuffled off this mortal coil, per capita GDP was over $12,000. How much of that made it to the people is another story. In all probability, the oil profits were stolen.

This is a familiar pattern in low-IQ countries. The relatively small cohort of smart people have no illusions about their ability to elevate their people. In fact, they are usually taught this from birth. Instead of making their country better, they make their own lives better by exploiting the mass of stupid people around them. The per capita GDP of Equatorial Guinea is the same as Venezuela, but the people live like cavemen, while the Esanguii clan of my good friend Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo live like royalty.

The point is that the ceiling for places like Venezuela is not very high, relative to the West and their capacity for honest government is also limited. Strangely, countries like Venezuela are not made better by vast natural wealth. Instead they are made worse because they have something worth stealing and something worth stealing is worth killing for too. The result is the people running the place will kill as many people as possible to maintain control of the nation’s oil wealth.

It’s not the policies or institutions. It’s the people in charge of the place. It’s not that they are misguided or in error. They know exactly what they are doing. They are big fish and they are doing what big fish always do and that’s eat the small fish, which happen to be the population of low-IQ Mestizos. The fact that they are willing to starve their own people tells you they are not the sort of guys worried about the nuances of tax policy. They are hard men running a rough country the hard way.

The other thing worth mentioning is Venezuelans are not campus snowflakes. The murder rate is twice that of our worst cities. It’s hard to know the exact figures. The government is so corrupt, no one can trust their numbers. Even so, it is one of the most dangerous countries on earth. It is safe to assume that the people are willing to employ rough justice, but somehow they are unable to do anything about their government. There are protests and minor street rebellions, but not at a level high enough to destabilize the government.

Maybe things just need to get a bit worse before the people throw over their rulers or maybe the people in charge have such an edge that the people can never throw over their rulers. Perhaps we have reached a point where technology has allowed even a wildly corrupt ruling class to maintain power in the face of popular unrest. They can use spies, mass media propaganda and control of commerce to keep a lid on things. We may have reached a point where revolution is impossible, even in a craphole like Venezuela.

The news tells us that Venezuelans are eating zoo animals. Again, it could be made up, but there is no doubt there are serious food shortages. If a relatively violent people are eating their pets, yet unwilling to turn on the local officials, what are the odds that the pampered pussies of Western nations will push back against their rulers? Our superiors are smarter and better able to keep us fat, dumb and happy. The lesson of Venezuela is that our rulers can probably get away with a hell of a lot more, if they want.

133 thoughts on “Sweet Home Venezuela

  1. The primary difference between the first and third worlds is that in the former wealth is achievable by economic effort, in the latter, through political extraction..

  2. If my observations of your mid-western towns are any indication of what people are willing to settle for as the “American Dream”, then nothing will change in America no matter how bad things get. Because for many Americans, it can’t get much worse.

    I am quite shocked at the number of seriously poor people I have run into who are obviously struggling to get by day to day. I knew about the rust-belt and the crime ridden cities like Detroit and southern Chicago, but where I am seeing severe poverty is in areas that have never been affected by de-industrializtion. Towns like Walden, CO.

    In towns like this, they don’t have a chance of getting out of their trailer parks and dilapidated homes. Lack of education (based on conversations with the locals), and poor job opportunities, (except for the farmers who own the land) to not bode well for these people or their future.

    While they may not be on the level of people in third world countries like Venezuela, it seems they are not very far from it.

    • The Midwest is why Trump was elected.

      Don’t know if anything will get better but given the alternative is turning the US into an abattoir , it seems like a good thing to try.

      • @ A.B Prosper – And how exactly do these people think Trump will improve their lives? Their economic conditions are not due to Obama, their situations are due to policies and conditions that go back 30-years.

        • Saw an article today in the cloud-people Financial Times newspaper from the UK, of all things. Trump was not elected because he can “fix” everything (if one pays attention to how our government is supposed to operate, “fixing” everything is not even in his job description), but because he gives a measure of respect to the dirt people. Someone over there in the UK has figured it out. These people do not want compassion, sympathy, or handouts. They want a measure of respect from the rest of the country for being a vital part of things and for being people with something to offer to others. That’s all. Trump demonstrates that he gets it. His constant trolling of DC and the other politicians and functionaries is part of it. He travels to places other pols would never go, and thanks the people there for letting him visit. He shows working people straight-up respect. Those people in Washington and the media hate him for it.

    • You miss the whole thing why we are the dirt people Karl. Poor by your standards of material goods has nothing to do with being rich in other ways.

      • @ Doug – I understand that being poor is not a bad thing or that poor people are less happy with their lives, but by anyone’s standards, these Americans are impoverished. Period! I honestly thought from all the comments on here, that this kind of poverty was limited to black, inner-city families. Seeing this in the “heartland” of America is really a shock. One cannot over look these poor whites who are not much better off than many in third world countries; no jobs, no health insurance, lack of decent housing, etc.

        Based on observations of the obvious weight problems of whites who are probably in their 30’s, access to healthy, affordable food seems to be a serious problem too. From my own research of comparison shopping for food in US grocery stores, I can tell you that on average, prices of food in the US are twice the price in Germany and this is just looking at Walmart, not Whole Foods

        From my observations during this holiday, I honestly don’t think Americans realize how low their standard of living really is compared to the rest of the world. For example, I stayed in a Super 8 hotel outside San Antonio. Room rate was around $75 which included “breakfast” of little boxes of cereal, assorted muffins and sweet rolls (all wrapped in plastic) and served on paper plates with plastic forks and knives. Then I stayed at Holiday Inn Express and Hilton hotels on my way north, averaging $150-225 per night, and breakfasts were also served on Styrofoam plates with plastic forks and knives.

        In Europe I have stayed in cheap hotels and expensive hotels, and never once ate off paper plates and with plastic utensils and have never been confronted with the poor quality of sugar laden, processed foods American hotels call “breakfast”.

        • Aaaannnnnd, we get our daily dose of The Karl.

          All he can ever write about (whine, actually) is how backward, depressing and uncivilized we Americans are.

          Thanks, Karl. I see you learned fucking nothing from your “holiday” over here. And I actually had my hopes up that you might have some sort of attitude adjustment. What a fool I was. The word “despicable” somehow leaps to mind.

          “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds,”
          ~ Albert Einstein

          And you bitch and moan about hotel breakfasts, plastic utensils and styrofoam plates?

          You, obviously, completely missed the great spirits that have made, and keep,  America the finest nation on the planet.

          Now you can go back home and snuggle with all the muzzies your ruler has invited in to terrorize all of Europe.

          Enjoy your high horse while you can.

          • @ FuelFilter – I would recommend you take off your rose colored glasses and travel your own country, and Europe, and then we can discuss the differences.

            Please feel free to correct me about anything I have stated that is incorrect. I am simply commenting on what I have seen first hand, not from blogs and websites written by other people.

            There is no doubt that America is vast and beautiful country. It’s landscapes are breathtaking and driving across the seemingly endless planes of Wyoming are impressive to say the least. I can’t even imagine what the early European settlers were thinking as they faced the hardships of traveling this land.

            I have intentionally avoided your major highways to find the back roads and lesser traveled places to see how “real” Americans actually live. Not like the “fake” places like Silicon Valley where 70-year old, 2-bedroom, wooden houses are worth 2-million dollars.

            I have spoken with hotel workers, food servers, Union Pacific railroad workers, mechanics, even bee keepers along the way. While you see yourselves as “free” Americans with high standards of living, the truth is much different. Poverty is the norm, at least where I have been. No health care, no dental care, abandoned down towns and boarded up store fronts are present in every little town I have passed through. It may not be the reality you grew up believing in, but it is the reality of America today.

            TheZman is more correct and more accurate than I imagined. Americans have been lied to and deceived by their government. Not just Democrats, but Republicans alike. I can tell you from my heart, Americans are in worse shape than even he describes. Get in your car, drive to this area of the country and see for yourself. Or just use Google maps and use street view if you think I am making this up.

            I’m sorry if you find the truth painful, but often the truth is hard to accept.

          • @ Fuel Filter – “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds,” ~ Albert Einstein.

            The irony of you using a German quote was not missed.

            I’m not “bitching” as much as simply reporting my observations of American hotel practices. I just find it unbelievable that you are willing to pay over $150 for a room and then eat per-packaged food on paper plates.

            Think about it. Would that be okay if you went to Out-Back Steak house or some other similar restaurant and paid that same money for a steak dinner for your family? Paper plates and plastic utensils – really? Please tell me what I’m missing here.

          • Details like styrofoam plates and plastic utensils are important hints. It means even mid-high price hotels would never trust adults not to steal silverware and plates.
            The United States(I am American) is a low trust, low conscientiousness country, more like the 3rd world in that respect than Western Europe.
            It also hints that in American culture everything is disposable, a quick fix, low time horizon.

        • I lived in Germany so I’m having trouble buying this. Hotels were expensive. Obviously it depends on location but I never saw a $35 econolodge anywhere. A quart of oil was 20 Euro. A windshield for my Honda Civic in the US that would have been $150 in the US and repaired at my house was a 800 Euro at the shop. My house was a duplex with zero yard, I could have had a stand alone house the a garage of the same size (as I do now) for under 1000 per month. Just look at the price of gas.

          • @ Mark_Taylor – I am guessing you were military stationed in Germany? First, I’m happy you had the experience. Second – yes, fuel and oil is expensive in Germany and across most of Europe.

            If you imported a US-spec Honda as part of your household shipping allowance, rather than buying a Euro-spec car when you arrived in Germany, then yes, prices for US spec parts would be very expensive.

            I will grant you fuel in the US is incredibly cheap. I think on average I have paid $2.35/gallon where at home I pay about 1.35-CHF/liter. Econolodge would probably not exist in Europe, but there are lots of private pensions for under €50 which would include a warm breakfast on plates with silverware.

            Housing near the bases is always more expensive because they know you have a housing allowance so they try to get as much as possible from you. Even the German locals have figured out capitalism. 🙂

          • I am thrilled to learn that you now have real silverware in Germany. That’s just wonderful!

          • @ Dan – it’s not just about the silverware, it just seems American standards are on the decline. As Giovanni commented, it’s an observation of paying more and more, and getting less and less and this is now the “norm”. Whether it’s knives and forks in a hotel or a college education that costs tens of thousands. Many of the points thezman brings up are very obvious across American society.

    • Appearances can be deceiving. Ever been in one of those trailers? Bigger than most apartments in Europe. And the vast majority are owned outright. The reason so many people live in them is because in most states they are exempt from property taxes. I had an office manager who was married to a GM engineer who lived in one for a long time just to build up a nest egg before buying a home.
      Have you ever been to any of those apartment complexes that are outside of many European cities where migrant workers live? A lot of them are surrounded by barbed wire fences. You never see tv shows about them or news reports about what goes on in them. Having a controlled politically correct press can also make one see the world in odd ways.

      • @ Teapartydoc – So you would rather live in a large rotting trailer than a small warm apartment? Really? So in your mind, size is more important than quality? I’m not saying housing everywhere in Europe is all first class, but in Europe, only the Roma live in trailers.

        Those barbed wire areas you are talking about are old military installations which are now being used to house refugees. No one in Europe, except refugees or prison inmates, lives behind barbed wire.

        I am seeing America with my own eyes and while the country is beautiful and the people friendly, the living conditions for many Americans is horrible. I am surprised people are allowed to live in such conditions, especially with children.

        I welcome you to come to Europe and see for yourself how we live and then we can have a discussion about what you saw with your own eyes, rather than what you saw posted on some website. As a professional, you of all people should be able to appreciate the value of first hand observation.

        To your point of people living behind barbed wire, I saw a fake news report about migrant workers in California being forced to live in housing areas which were surrounded by tall fences topped with barbed wire. The truth was that the farmer only had the housing area fenced to protect the property from vandals when the migrants were not living there. So it depends on which side of the fence you are on when the story is told.

        • I’ve been to Europe many times and have been in those apartment complexes that you apparently have never seen and know nothing about.

          • @ teapartydoc – I would like to know where they are so I could comment. Do you have any specific locations?

  3. Pampered pussies of Western Nations indeed !!!

    Used to like being a prepper / survivalist feeling pretty smug about how I would be so much better off than my starving neighbors when SHTF.

    But with each passing day realize this is highly unlikely. With the massive Muslim Invasion going on in Europe and our ever shrinking freedoms here in the states it’s obvious nothing’s going to happen.

    Even if there was a modern day Minuteman militia the women in our families would give the muskets to authorities while we were at work.

    Out of control militant feminism has stolen our ability to be men. Think you’re right z-man. The days of Revolution are over.

    • Thats disgusting. Where is your dignity of liberty man? Not that I hope to see you do such a thing, it is always better to fight than give up, maybe you should make it easy as possible for those trying to destroy our great country and slit your own throat now, because it sure comes across you have quit and you believe resistance is futile. Is that what your intimating?

    • As a woman, a mother, a grandmother, I’d like to throw in my reaction to your comment.
      If you are concerned that the women in your family would give your “muskets” to the coppers whilst you are out slaving in the old salt mines, perhaps the problem is that you have chosen poorly when picking a mate & raising any female offspring.
      I would not only not turn over any of my spouse’s artillery, but I sure as heck wouldn’t let anyone take any of mine, either. Besides, hubby only has an old 9 mm & his granddaddy’s squirrel rifle. I’m the one with the gun safe. My advice, shore up your troops, man. You may have loose shit afoot in the ranks.

  4. As long as the checks keep coming, the ruling class in the West is safe. The problem is they grow dumber and more incompetent every day. How long do you think they’ll be able to keep the checks coming? Don’t get too worked up, it’s already been much longer than I had expected.

  5. Hell Z, that’s the most depressing take on Venezuela I’ve seen in some time. In the glory days of the 4th Republic (pre Chavez) the country was noted for having the largest percentage middle class in Latin America. In fact, when Chavez was elected and cosying up to Fidel, any spoken concern was poopooed and the speaker informed that “this wasn’t Cuba or 1960”. Well, guess what?
    The middle class has now almost vanished, relocated to Florida and parts yonder. Cubans are installed in all the institutions and Maduro takes his orders from Raul.
    I lived for 15 years in Venezuela and having left more than 17 years ago, still miss the place which doesn’t exist any more.

    • Venezuela is a good example of the smart fraction. These countries are not without a talented class of people. It’s that there’s not enough of them to make up for the large cohort of low-IQ people. The smart fraction can gain control and keep things going for a while, but their margin for error is tiny. One bad leader and it all falls to shit.

      • How much has the US contributed to the stagnation of Latin America just by being an escape valve for the poor and rich who would otherwise be revolutionaries?

        • I don’t know. The big countries continue to have periods of growth and stability, followed by periods of hyper corruption, turmoil and chaos. Chile seems to have broke free of this cycle. Perhaps Pinochet killed enough lunatics. The thing with South America is almost always the ruling class looks like Spaniards, while the population is a nation of leaf blowers. The countries with less democracy tend to be more stable.

          • My grandmother was Californios Spanish. Her family arrived before the American Revolution. She looked nothing like the dumpy folks you see cleaning rooms at the Disney resort. More like Catherine Zeta Jones (I know, she’s Welsh).

            She hated the Mexifornification of California. She thought the Mexicans were everything we should not be, poor, dangerous, lazy, and with terrible language skills. She even went to the schools and told off the principal when my brother took ‘Spanish’ in high school.

            Like most high caste Californios she married into White America and so while I remember her stories of a different America, only my dad looks like he could be in Zorro and that as a Alcalde never a peon. Her grandchildren are mostly red heads or blondes and I think only my sister still speaks Spanish the way she did.

            Latin societies always have an upper crust in the way that America doesn’t get. It’s blood not money that matters, land, history, and family honor. Or it used to. Now it looks like anyone can buy their way to the top in Latin America. Get a blonde wife and your kids will be lighter. Your grandkids will look like California surfer dudes and their short dark cousins? They will be still raking the leaves or trimming the grass.

          • It’s a funny thing. Americans never seem to notice that the rulers in South America look nothing like the peasants. Americans also struggle with the idea of the El Norte Mexicans being a different type of people from the rest of Mexico. There are “Hispanics” in Texas whose families were there 300 years ago. They are about as Mexican as I am.

          • In their defense, look at the war on noticing that’s been going on in this country the last 50 yrs, especially the last 10 or so? It can cost you your job, your kids, your social capital, your reputation, etc., just pointing out that your neighbor Mohammad spends an awfully long time every night with his brothers building odd “suitcase clocks” in his garage makes you feel uneasy. Or mentioning on your Faceberg acct how your Anglo child was denied entry into a college with perfect SATs but Monesha got a slot because she wrote a haiku about being a one legged, one eyed, transgendered mulatto
            These social pressures don’t work with me, because I’m a contrarians contrarian, but boy, do they work for 99.9% of the populace.

          • I have always said that what was happening in Mexico was an ethnic cleansing, without all the pesky bloodshed that attracted so much of the wrong type of attention. Call it 4 gen genocide, if you will, but as we grow browner they grow whiter, and that’s the way it’s intended to be.

          • Mexicans at the border- Laredo- told me exactly the same thing.

            See Univision or Telemundo, they said, the only brown people are the maids.

          • Politicians are idiots. They cannot tell a Mexican from a Guatemalan and don’t care. They think a Brazilian is a bikini trim for chicks or the model that gets one. Worse they get their impressions from the guys they see at college or work later. Vincente Fox is whiter than I am (considering he lives in Mexico). You cannot judge Mexico by the upper crust.

            Besides, do we want to live like Mexico? Rich in gated communities. Not because they want to but because gun toting kidnappers would snatch you if they could. Poor toiling their life out fat and content like milch cows?

          • The young’uns call those dumpy Disney type cleaners “squatamalans,” in case you are interested.

            Ok, I confess. It’s kinda funny & I do it, too.

    • Was on a flight out of Miami last week. United stuck me in the back between several different Orthodox Jewish families. One of them was talking about how they had just left Venezuela a couple of years ago. I had two thoughts:
      1. The Jews are getting better at leaving in time.
      2. The economic disaster in Venezuela must be one hell of a brain-drain for the country. If they hang all the Socialists tomorrow, that country will still be recovering for a decade or more.

      • Maybe we should be studying Jewish migration patterns to help us understand where the biggest problems lie.

        • not being jewish is worth a lot more than knowing where the jews are escaping from.

  6. i see what you did there 🙂 we are not Venezuela…yet. the best thing any bigger country could do, is take over the oil fields and run them properly. then give everyone an allowance.

    the alternative of course is to kill off half the peasants, once in awhile as they are un-necessary to your plans.

    • That’s “kinda” what is done in Alaska. A lot of the oil is being pumped from State (Alaskan) land, so the royalties are invested and the profit from those are distributed to the people.

    • if you haven’t caught on Karl, it sure looks like killing off half those peasants is taking shape in the early forms of cultural marxist sponsored genocide against white western men of the west.
      They are making a big mistake if you ask me. Most men of the west are the most tolerant people until we aren’t, then we become the most fierce warriors imaginable that don’t stop till we do.

  7. Its not genetic determinism: people in low IQ countries are destined for bad lives. Ideas matter. The people of North Korea are very similar to the people of South Korea but the latter live lives of misery. The people of East Germany are very similar to the people of West Germany.

    • Amanita phalloides is a type of mushroom that “is very similar” to the straw mushroom and the Caesar mushroom. People mistake them all the time. There is a small difference and that is the straw and Caesar mushrooms are edible, while the amanita phalloides is deadly.

      • People in 1997 People’s Republic of China faced shortages of everything and had been stagnating for for 55 years. People in 2017 People’s republic 20 years later are materially much better off. The people of Chile now enjoy an enviable life compared to pre-Pinochet Chile. I don’t think it was due to migration.

        The USA was losing its unique culture long before mass migration. Wilson’s ideas would be anathema to almost everyone living in 19th century America yet in his time he won the presidency.

        Its true many people coming in have no appreciation for freedom, rule of law, and limited government. Still ideas matter and the people of Germany suffered a lot because of ideas that became popular in the 1930’s and the people of GB suffered a lot because of socialism.

        • You are confusing ceilings with floors. China has a much higher ceiling than Venezuela because it is full of Chinese. Pretty much all people have the same floor.

          • There are floors then there are floors. You can hit Poland post WWII or the Congo, well anytime.

            I’ll take the floor that doesn’t include eating pygmies or chopping kid’s arms off.

        • it wasn’t mass migration that killed our culture, it was mass media. anyone alive and aware from the early 60’s onward has seen it first hand. Zman, you might be a little too young to have seen it first hand.

          and the same thing is happening the world over; exposure to mass media produces the same changes in any society. if anything, some of the other society’s are seeing even more severe changes to their traditions. chinese youth are even more addicted to social media, and video games, than here. mexicans like coca cola and shitty tv, even more than the proles here.

          it looks to me like the US is actually beginning the swing back from msm culture. hopefully what replaces the msm culture will be more conducive to preserving regional cultures.

      • Fun theory: Why do N Europeans have a higher average IQ_? Answer: Mushrooms_!

        N Europeans LOVE wild mushrooms but, as Z man says, it’s hard to tell the poisonous from the edible. They’re free food for the taking in an otherwise unfriendly environment. Yet to eat them and live you need considerable study, discernment, the ability to reason from cause to effect and the ability to conduct experiments (feed the questionable ones to fido, only one type at a time, and see what happens). So, only the more intelligent mushroom pickers survive to reproduce the next generation. Q.E.D.

        Hey, this is at least as plausable a theory as many others in Evolutionary Behavioralism.

        • i always figured the smarter (relatively) members of a tribe would get the village dummy to take new plants for a “test drive”.

        • Did you read about how the rise in use of tobacco interestingly parallels the rise and fall of western technology and prosperity?

      • So are you saying something in your post involving revolution that that we are missing for something else?
        Or is it how people revolt against their elites is based on IQ, or is it based on nature verses nurture how people conduct themselves in regards to revolution?
        I know how I would conduct myself, and it isn’t by flinging pooh or bags of urine, it would be by using my intelligence, my resources, my associations, carefully and strategically applied. About the only thing I could potentially sling would be lead.
        Regardless of a few in Morgantown slinging urine, West Virginians are renown for accurately slinging lead.

  8. Wow I lived in Morgantown for 25 years and its news to me about the local custom you mentioned.

  9. There was a banned book in the Philippines about corruption in the Marcos regime entitled Some Are Smarter Than Others. Your take on Venezuelan leadership reminded me of this. When reading the book one gets the idea that they were anything but smart. Getting into power takes a certain amount of savvy but keeping it merely requires ruthlessness.
    When the “coup” was starting in Turkey, I immediately told those around me that Erdogan had stolen a page out of Marcos’ playbook. I felt sorry for the poor saps that went along with it. Even some of the guys who were working with Erdogan probably bought it during and after.
    As long as these guys have their military and police they can stay in control, just like the tsar. When they really start to break ranks in a big way things are about to change. But sometimes it takes years.
    Once when I was in the PI in 1980 I was invited to the home of a man who ran a trucking company and a mango plantation. I noticed he ha two bodyguards who were constantly combing the neighborhood. One carried an M1 carbine with an elaborately carved stock. Over San Miguel beer, green mangos and calamansis he showed me a card in his wallet and said he was in something called the CIS, central intelligence service, and worked for Marcos, that Marcos was a very bad man. He asked if I could help him get to America. I said this would require a lot of paperwork and perhaps years on a waiting list. He said all I needed was to bribe a judge. My take is that was the way things worked there. When he went to the bathroom one of his cronies told me that he was like a godfather around there. I was taking none of this seriously enough. He said no, if you pay him 100 thousand pesos “he keel de mayor” of the next town for you. I began to realize that these guys weren’t just a bunch of bragging drunks when I recalled that every restaurant I had eaten dinner in with the guy had been empty. They’d been cleaned out. He knew every waitress by name. One night we were driving in his jeep and came up on a line of traffic. He just jumped out of the line and started driving down the middle of the road. A cop started shouting at us to stop and when we did and he got close enough to see who was driving the car he said Oh my God in his dialect and turned white a a sheet and apologized profusely.
    It turned out that the dude I was with was a former NPA operative who had worked undercover. The regime had discovered his identity and offered him a deal to turn. His family could live and they’d set him up in a protected business. So he saw to it that a bunch of his old comrades were massacred. He was murdered a few years later.
    The point is that right years before the fall of Marcos his top guys wanted out. They just didn’t have the means to do so. It takes a certain level of anarchy to allow something to happen and there has to be a group resolute enough to act with good timing. But it happens eventually.
    The PI is still a sort of wild west as you can see with Duterte. But since 1980 it is many times over much improved.

      • Reality is actually more surreal. I still can’t believe I was talking to those guys.

          • The guy was a distant relative. No one had given me any heads up about him. Like some deep family secret. And no one ever talked about what he did or how he got where he was, except his friends when they were drunk, and then I had trouble believing what I was hearing. I had to piece everything together from conversations and events I saw and found out everything his drunk buddies had said was only the tip of the iceberg.
            The story I told might seem pointless to a lot of people, but the point is that life comes at you from angles you cannot predict. Look at all of the comments. It’s like everyone is some kind of mini sociologist or anthropologist. Sure, we look at dictatorships and see similarities and patterns, but try using them to make accurate predictions about the course of events. Impossible. Some that look like they’ll fall apart any minute go on for generations and some that look strong collapse so fast your head spins.
            I met this guy 8 years before Marcos fell. I’m sure his feelings about Marcos were all over the place. He said those things in front of people who could have turned him in. He was killed by NPA, not Marcos. How did Marcos stay in power for another 8 years when his own assassins wanted him dead? If he’d found a more subtle way to dispose of Aquino his wife might still be in power today.

  10. Another reason why there is no revolution in Venezuela is Miami. IOW, local elite, now out of power, who might otherwise have put themselves at the head of an opposition movement all have houses and money there financed by the $$$ they’d siphoned off (or earned). So no elite with their backs to the wall = no revolt.

    • wouldn’t any insurection technically be a counter-revolution? that bolivar palaver and so forth.

  11. It’s not the policies or institutions. It’s the people in charge of the place. It’s not that they are misguided or in error. They know exactly what they are doing. They are big fish and they are doing what big fish always do and that’s eat the small fish, which happen to be the population of low-IQ Mestizos.

    Permit me, if I may, to quote from a post I wrote at the end of my 3-year assignment in Nigeria:

    “I didn’t see a shred of difference between the top politicians, down through the officials in the national authorities, through the middle class professionals, through the service providers, right down to the area boys. The behaviour was identical across all strata: I want more money, and I will do absolutely anything to get it. If you were to replace the politicians – let’s say our 109 senators from before – with 109 random people from the Nigerian citizenry, you would get no change in behaviour. You could repeat the experiment a thousand times, and you would get no change. There is no ruling class in Nigeria, there is just a set of rulers. Where any change is expected to come from I don’t know.”

    That post got picked up by a Nigerian newspaper and republished. First I heard about it when my management called me in for a sacking.

    • My Malian brother-in-law has been trying to run businesses in Africa for many years now. Evaporative cooling, solar power generation and the like. The government encourages such enterprise with huge tax breaks. On the flip side, every business license issuer, inspector, shipper, and other petty official requires constant small payoffs. The inventory and equipment must be locked up and under guard at all times, and the guards themselves quietly expect constant small monetary supplements as well. It is how the system works. The sum total of all the constant small cash expenditures just happens to soak up essentially all the profits, though it is not enough to put the enterprise under. The parasites know better than to kill off the host. It is how Africa operates, and there is little hope that things will change. Though China is bringing in big money and big projects. The locals might be a bit surprised when they put their hands out and the Chinese cut them off.

    • Exactly. In the Venezuelan case the only difference is that before Chávez, there was a ruling class composed of upper class-white creoles who ruled since 1958 under a social-democratic model that allowed them to bamboozle the mestizos with all kinds of petro-dollar financed welfare goodies, keeping them happy enough to keep the votes rolling while they transferred billions to Swiss bank accounts. When oil prices tanked in the 80’s, and the creoles had no choice but to cut down on the welfare, Chávez irrupted into the political scene, basically promising his fellow mestizos he would avenge the creole corruption and bring back the petrodollar fiesta. As soon as he was elected, oil prices skyrocketed again, which turned him into a demigod in the eyes of his fellow mestizos. Even today, when people are eating from garbage cans and mestizos are killing each other in the barrios like never before in the country’s history, a good portion of them still venerate El Comandante, and blame all the country’s ills on his hapless successor.

  12. Your grim but accurate essay confirms my deepest fears—Mankind has devolved to the point were fecal matter matters, and fascinates us to no end that which comes from our rear ends.

    We should have seen this coming decades ago, with the infamous subsidized sponsored art made from body waste and displayed in a prestigious NY art museum. What shocked us then now is embraced and celebrated as the true essence of progressive mankind turning regressive.

    We used to build beautiful cathedrals to raise our eyes towards heaven. Now our view looks downward to porcelain bowls to admire the contents therein.

    Depressing.The Second coming cannot come soon enough for me.

    • Speaking of fecal matters, I recall from the early ’70s that the San Diego Zoo had a gorilla enclosure that was open and elevated, relative to the area populated by the human visitors. The apes loved to fling their poo at the humans. They would pace back and forth with it, watching the people shout and react. Eventually, the poo would be flung, a cry would go up, and someone would get shat upon. The scene was quite popular with the visitors. Always struck me as a version of the Roman circus, along with something about the special cherished place that feces occupies in the human psyche.

  13. “Instead of making their country better, they make their own lives better by exploiting the mass of stupid people around them”

    Sounds like Russian elites, unfortunately.

  14. ” Instead of making their country better, they make their own lives better by exploiting the mass of stupid people around them”

    Sounds like Russian elites, unfortunately.

          • I’m with you guys.
            Is there any fundamental differences between “our” own dear sweet elites and Venezuala’s?
            Except for lot of us American’s are armed to the teeth, and “our” elites are cognizant of the difference, there fore tread more carefully and are that much more cunning in how the go about the same essential corruption?

  15. The best template for how to be a tinpot dictator and make it last for as long as possible was probably Ghadafi. He never really nationalized Libyan oil; he kept some for his country and sold the rest to wildcats willing to outbid the seven sisters, and used some of that money and assorted kickbacks to make life bearable for those loyal to him. This way, he got to look like he was giving the West (and Israel) the finger, while still doing enough business with the West to keep us from raining fire on him (until Hilligula the Cackling, cankled harpy and Obama wrecked the region even worse, by getting rid of another devil we knew and opening the floodgates for god-knows-what).

    On a side note, the only sport I follow is boxing, and one of the most violent fighters I’d seen in a month of Sundays was a guy named Edwin Valero, from Merida, Venezuela. He fought 27 times, had 27 KOs (pretty much unheard of in WBC history) and sported a massive tattoo of Hugo Chavez on his chest. He also murdered his wife and committed suicide by hanging himself in a Venezuelan jail, so I’m not optimistic about his future prospects as a fighter.

    • Taking down Ghadafi has to be the single dumbest foreign policy move in my lifetime. Some (Iran and Afghanistan) may have been more costly in the long run, but none had results so predictably bad.

      • We decide to publicly take out the only guy who decided to give up his nuclear weapons quest, under Western pressure. Do I need to go any further? Real smart move there, guys.

        • Do we really know that he gave up anything? How do we know? Who said so? That is one story I never believed and is probably why so much CIA and State Dept. chaos resulted from his downfall.

          • Doesn’t matter. If the other tinpot loonies working on nukes believe that Ghadafi was taken out by us only after giving up his nukes, then the others will have learned their lesson well, and whether or not Ghadafi was working on any nukes or gave anything up is irrelevant.

      • I think you meant Iraq and not Iran, unless you were thinking of The Shah, and not Saddam Hussein. But both qualify in my book to matching your description for stupid.

    • i miss mohmar. he had style so lacking in most of his type. those east german lady body guards were pure cinema. sigh, not a good ending though, with a sword up your ass.

  16. > Strangely, countries like Venezuela are not made better by vast natural
    > wealth. Instead they are made worse because they have something
    > worth stealing and something worth stealing is worth killing for too. The
    > result is the people running the place will kill as many people as possible
    > to maintain control of the nation’s oil wealth.

    This is the so-called “resource curse.”

    As to your comment on big fish preying on small fish (low-IQ mestizos) and saying it’s people not policies, that seems like a codetermined variable: people enacting bad policies. But the policies would still be harmful regardless of national IQ. The Eastern Bloc countries with national IQs in the 90s had similar rentier state structures, not quite descending into mayhem, but nevertheless egregious in places like Ceausescu’s Romania.

  17. The way most individuals’ traits develop is part nature and part nurture. Just pointing this out again to the people who are fixated with IQ.

      • There are so many things that people treat as gospel that need to be questioned. Climate change is one of them. So is carbon dating and whether or not the concept of IQ captures all facets of intelligence or not.

    • It’s true. A lot of capable kids are held back from higher education/status by circumstance beyond their control. Look at the Dems or UK Labour. Good working class people are being politically excluded by middle-class scum. Then they wonder why they can’t get us to vote for them….

    • Nature and nurture. Not much argument there. But the prevailing culture calls it all nurture (and manipulates that nurturing to its own ends) and ignores nature entirely. In their world, IQ differences don’t exist.

      • You are right Dutch. In the Left’s world, everyone is equal and should be made/given equal everything. Just a small matter of programming. Maybe you software guys remember that one, a SMOP. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Human beings … just a little behavior modification … a little socialist nudge here and there and everything will be fine and dandy all around! Yeah, imagine!

  18. Unless Venezuela is filled with people substantially different from the countries around it this explanation isn’t that satisfying. It’s in the news because it’s problems are bad even for South America’s standards.

    • What makes Venezuela substantially different from the countries around it is the oil, not the people.

      • Colombia next door also has significant oil reserves as do other Douth American countries. So it’s not substantially different. Accepting the low IQ is an explanation it only leads to the question of what decisions low IQ people make that caused their entire economy to collapse that smart people don’t make.

        • I was agreeing with Z’s point that part of the problem with Venezuela is that they had something worth stealing – a well-developed oil industry. There is a big difference between “reserves” and actual oil revenue.

          • And the problem is the Venezuelan crude is high sulfur “sour” oil that requires specialized extraction equipment and refinery capacity–and a very high maintenance expense. The Chavistas decided to do away with the engineers and capex, hence it is all falling apart and product is dropping like a rock.

            Funny thing about Venezuela–it’s a lather-rinse-repeat kind of place. My old man was a developer in South Florida and one of their mainstay businesses in the 70s/80s was Venezuelan flight capital. Families used to show up and buy an entire floor of condo units in Miami–for cash. They rented them and had the money deposited in dollars in Miami banks as a hedge and if the shit hit the fan, the extended clan di di’d out of Caracas and into the Miami properties.

          • Maybe all places are “lather-rinse-repeat”, but some have a much longer cycle than others. The old “does history repeat or are we actually getting somewhere?” argument. Guess I fall on the “history repeats” side of things.

        • I have noticed a lot of ordinary people moving into Columbia and other South American countries because THEY become the elite class. As a location on the planet South America is beautiful.

          • Yep, and California is a damn beautiful place too! But I hate living there now for all the nitwits who run the place and are driving it into the ground. I left and haven’t looked back.

            So all depends on what you want along with your cup ‘o tea. Yes, South American is beautiful from a landscape perspective but with low IQ’s and low progress and poverty and crime and corruption, well, kinda takes the sheen off the bloom. Much like the US is becoming also.

  19. You answer your own question. They are low IQ and therefore unable to resist effectively until they are overwhelmingly desperate.
    This standard does not equate to higher IQ cohorts, who will shiv you in the liver when you least expect it once they realize they’re being stiffed, even if they already live far above 3rd world standards.
    Proles have disorganized revolts when they get hungry.
    A disgruntled upper middle class starts a revolution. It’s when you have that emergency session to raise funding in parliament or estates-general when you really have to worry.
    The guys who now rule Venezuela don’t need to fear peasants in the streets so much as ambitious subordinates. When they are widely hated, that’s an open invitation for a young group of officers to play the heroes with a coup attempt.

    • A disgruntled upper middle class starts a revolution.

      Yes this, in spades. It is never the peasants, but the upper middle classes.

    • Yes — I recall Dutch explaining in some detail here, and plausibly, how he and his West Virginian friends would defeat mech-suited stormtroopers.
      By the way — remember those stories about how the average Venezuelan had lost 19 pounds? But the accompanying photos of rioters didn’t support that claim at all — they looked about as healthy as the residents of my Brooklyn neighborhood. So maybe it’s not the rioters who are really suffering? But that would indicate that the rioters aren’t the suffering multitude.
      The Iranian mass-protests were crushed a few years ago — those protesters were middle-class kids, weren’t they? Probably fairly bright people. Maybe as bright as West Virginians? Well, maybe not.

      • Not me. I’m Californian (living in the belly of the beast, I am). Speaking of Iranians, an Iranian friend in college, back in ’79, described his going home and protesting as the Shah was going down. They would march in the streets against the regime, until such time as the thugs armed with bats sent out by the Shah would turn up, at which point they would switch sides until the thugs moved on. Then they would switch back. Sort of a combination of a higher IQ survival skillset, combined with an upper middle class uprising, as previously discussed.

          • Different events, same culture. The Iranian kids are opportunistic about speaking up when they can get away with it. Things went sideways during their protests a few years ago, so they blended back into society until such time as another opportunity arises. The Persians seem to be rather clever people to me.

      • The Iranian mass-protests were just one more (failed) example of the color revolutions that the West’s elites – primarily Soros of course, have done so much damage with in the past 20 odd years.

        If all the signs are preprinted in English it’s called a clue.

    • Part of the issue there, as well as in Puerto Rico, is that the government have prepared themselves for this situation. In PR happened in the early 1940’s, Venezuela just did it recently: confiscate all personal guns and make it extremely difficult to possess one. That, my friends, is the difference here. You may have chaos in cities like NYC or LA, however, you will not see something like that in the middle of WVA. When the time comes, it will be ugly.

      • Exactly.

        And apropos to Zman’s casual observation that ” If a relatively violent people are eating their pets, yet unwilling to turn on the local officials, what are the odds that the pampered pussies of Western nations will push back against their rulers? Our superiors are smarter and better able to keep us fat, dumb and happy. The lesson of Venezuela is that our rulers can probably get away with a hell of a lot more, if they want.”

        I doubt it. There are way too many people with way too many guns here.

        Sure, a lot of people will keep drinking the kool aid, and may even be induced to turn in their firearms with some government demand. But there are plenty of very hard headed and ornery rednecks where I live who will never give up their guns to anyone.

        These are unreasonable and somewhat dull witted people who are hard to get along with because they seem to be looking for a reason to get in an argument with everyone. They ride around with the Confederate flag flying over snarling pit bulls in the back of their dilapidated pickups, essentially daring anyone to say anything to them about it, and when they go out on Friday night, if there are no women around to hit on, they will settle for picking fights with each other instead to pass the time

        If they didn’t have lots of firearms, and know how to use them, the might be ignorable. But they do have guns, and I don’t see these characters rolling over for anybody.

    • “who will shiv you in the liver when you least expect it ”

      What a great line! Perfect clarity, nothing ambiguous about it, directly to the point.

  20. Flinging poop seems to be a part of our primate heritage. It will have to do until you evolve enough to invent the hand grenade.

    • It happens a lot in prison. They call it “gassing” (which is usually a mixture of feces and urine cultivated by prisoners and fermented, then thrown into the face of prison staff). I saw a documentary on the Long Kesh prison riots (the Irish hunger strikes) and Bobby Sands had pretty much covered his cell walls in feces; it’s a sign of a totally disordered, broken down mind in civilized people who’ve been isolated for too long. If it comes naturally to you and not as a result of extended captivity (as it apparently does to these protesters), then it probably is an indication that you’re less evolved (most waste-taboos are strong across cultures). I think the Vietcong sometimes slicked sharpened punji sticks with feces in order to make the wounds more infectious when people fell into their traps. Low-cost chemical warfare, I suppose.

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