By Eyanir Chinea and Maria Ramirez
CARACAS/CIUDAD GUAYANA, Venezuela (Reuters) – There was no way Jose Ramon Garcia, a food transporter in Venezuela, could afford new tires for his van at $350 each.
Whether he opted to pay in U.S. currency or in the devalued local bolivar currency at the equivalent black market price, Garcia would have had to save up for years.
Though used to expensive repairs, this one was too much and put him out of business. “Repairs cost an arm and a leg in Venezuela,” said the now-unemployed 42-year-old Garcia, who has a wife and two children to support in the southern city of Guayana.
“There’s no point keeping bolivars.”
For a decade and a half, strict exchange controls have severely limited access to dollars. A black market in hard currency has spread in response, and as once-sky-high oil revenue runs dry, Venezuela’s economy is in free-fall.
The practice adopted by gourmet and design stores in Caracas over the last couple of years to charge in dollars to a select group of expatriates or Venezuelans with access to greenbacks is fast spreading.
Food sellers, dental and medical clinics, and others are starting to charge in dollars or their black market equivalent – putting many basic goods and services out of reach for a large number of Venezuelans.
According to the opposition-led National Assembly, November’s rise in prices topped academics’ traditional benchmark for hyperinflation of more than 50 percent a month – and could end the year at 2,000 percent. The government has not published inflation data for more than a year.
“I can’t think in bolivars anymore, because you have to give a different price every hour,” said Yoselin Aguirre, 27, who makes and sells jewelry in the Paraguana peninsula and has recently pegged prices to the dollar. “To survive, you have to dollarize.”
The socialist government of the late president Hugo Chavez in 2003 brought in the strict controls in order to curb capital flight, as the wealthy sought to move money out of Venezuela after a coup attempt and major oil strike the previous year.
Oil revenue was initially able to bolster artificial exchange rates, though the black market grew and now is becoming unmanageable for the government.
TRIM THE TREE WITH BOLIVARS
President Nicolas Maduro has maintained his predecessor’s policies on capital controls. Yet, the spread between the strongest official rate, of some 10 bolivars per dollar, and the black market rate, of around 110,000 per dollar, is now huge.
While sellers see a shift to hard currency as necessary, buyers sometimes blame them for speculating.
Rafael Vetencourt, 55, a steel worker in Ciudad Guayana, needed a prostate operation priced at $250.
“We don’t earn in dollars. It’s abusive to charge in dollars!” said Vetencourt, who had to decimate his savings to pay for the surgery.
In just one year, Venezuela’s currency has weakened 97.5 per cent against the greenback, meaning $1,000 of local currency purchased then would be worth just $25 now.
Maduro blames black market rate-publishing websites such as DolarToday for inflating the numbers, part of an “economic war” he says is designed by the opposition and Washington to topple him.
On Venezuela’s borders with Brazil and Colombia, the prices of imported oil, eggs and wheat flour vary daily in line with the black market price for bolivars.
In an upscale Caracas market, cheese-filled arepas, the traditional breakfast made with corn flour, increased 65 percent in price in just two weeks, according to tracking by Reuters reporters. In the same period, a kilogram of ham jumped a whopping 171 percent.
The runaway prices have dampened Christmas celebrations, which this season were characterized by shortages of pine trees and toys, as well as meat, chicken and cornmeal for the preparation of typical dishes.
In one grim festive joke, a Christmas tree in Maracaibo, the country’s oil capital and second city, was decorated with virtually worthless low-denomination bolivar bills.
Most Venezuelans, earning just $5 a month at the black market rate, are nowhere near being able to save hard currency.
“How do I do it? I earn in bolivars and have no way to buy foreign currency,” said Cristina Centeno, a 31-year-old teacher who, like many, was seeking remote work online before Christmas in order to bring in some hard currency.
(Additional reporting by Andreina Aponte and Leon Wietfeld in Caracas, Mircely Guanipa in Maracay, Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal, Lenin Danieri in Maracaibo; Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by Leslie Adler)
Should the media and politicians be held responsible for fraudulent hydroxychloroquine reports?
Saying a drug that clearly works, doesn’t work is Trump Derangement Syndrome beyond comprehension.
The Lancet Study on Hydroxychloroquine was fraught with errors and incomplete data. It was thrown together to let the world know that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work. Well that study was retracted. A Henry Ford Health System study found the drug helped patients with COVID-19. Just as the president was saying. Trump mentioned HCQ and the collective mainstream media went into overdrive to prove him wrong. And once again Trump accused of lie of the century turns out to be right. He was clearly right in the beginning. The media said the drug could cause harm if not used correctly. That could also be said about aspirin or any drug.
Taking this derangement one step further was governors making it hard to get HCQ and banning it in some places from use. Now we know in hindsight the drug works and these politicians and media companies as CNN are libel for deaths of Coronavirus patients that died when a life saving drug was readily available in stockpile. Also the governors sending the elderly with COVID-19 into nursing homes with the most vulnerable also caused many unnecessary deaths. Weren’t we told we had to save our grandparents? If we loved them don’t visit them to be safe? So why would governors send COVID-19 patients to nursing homes when they (New York) mainly was provided thousands of empty hospital beds on the navy ship and the convention center?
I have been following these people long enough to know these things are not an accident. Germany and Israel sent the United States millions of tablets of HCQ. They were at the ready and cheap. It’s been used for malaria since the 1960’s so the side effects have been tested, it is safe. Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister was saved with HCQ. Thousands around the world have been saved with this drug. So we must ask the question when will the media and politicians be dragged into a court of law for their negligent reckless reporting?
By Michael Ameer
Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood & The racists Democrats Part #3
How can a party so entrenched in political correctness and against racism openly support Planned Parenthood founded by a raging racist?
Quotes of Margaret Sanger:
“The most merciful thing that a family does to one of it’s infant members is to kill it.”
“A free race cannot be born to slave mothers.”
“The most successful approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” Remember when Joe Biden referred to Barack Obama as clean and articulate?
“….such a plan (The Negro Project) would reduce the birth rate among the diseased, the sickly, the poverty stricken and anti-social classes, elements unable to provide for themselves, and a burden of which we are all forced to carry.”
Sanger felt the Negro was genetically inferior. Sanger charmed the Black community’s most distinguished leaders into accepting her plan, which was designed to their own detriment. “Ironically abortion has done what the Klan could only dream of. Roughly 1/4 of the Black population is now missing.” Alveda King, niece to the Rev. Dr. martin Luther King. Almost 80% of all Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority neighborhoods. The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.
This is the playbook of the Democrats, get the Black population to back something that is design to their detriment. Blacks have been so indoctrinated that they cannot see this. The left plays the emotional game of racism and stoking the flames of a race war to keep the black vote firmly in it’s pocket. Margaret Sanger persuaded the black community to feel good about killing it’s own future.
“I admire Margaret Sanger enormously….I am really in awe of her.” said, Hillary Clinton. Clinton was also a firm supporter and fan of the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, former Ku Klux Klan recruiter. How does the left get away with blaming everyone for every form of racism in our history then openly embrace known racists in public and no one bats an eye? Margaret Sanger was an advocate of Eugenics of building a pure race and that made her a favorite of the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. She gave many speeches to these groups on her philosophy and theory of a clean race. Planned Parenthood still bares the name of it’s racist founder and lauded by Blacks all over. They are running around in their pink pussy hats giving life to an organization that was made to bring death to their own people.
Please research Margaret Sanger and The Negro project.
By Michael Ameer
The bone chilling fear of a Trump rally.
Why is the left so petrified of Trump rallies?
In poker there is a thing called a tell. This is where your body language gives away your cards. The Democrats biggest tell is relentlessly trying to stop a Trump rally at all costs. One thing I have learned about the left is they will try to stop anything they are fearful of. They do it out in the open. This is their tell. They have vigorously tried to shutdown Trump on Twitter and social media. Trump has 186 million followers on combined social media. He is very powerful. He has almost half the population of America on his social media with whom he can directly communicate without the faulty corrupt filter of the media. They hate not being able to shape that messaging. The media lies, then Trump can refute instantaneously to his massive following. A reporter asked Trump since he is complaining about conservative censorship on social media like twitter, has he ever thought of deleting his account? Trump said yes of course he has. Paraphrasing Trump, if I had an honest news media I wouldn’t need social media! BOOM!
The rallies are also direct contact with the people, 25% of which are registered Democrats. This is another sore spot for the left. Democrats are walking away from the party in record numbers. The Dems have adopted identity politics which makes it almost impossible to keep middle American White working class voters. So now the chase is on for illegals to fill that voter loss. They are also hurting in losing the Black vote and voter apathy of those loyal Black supporters sitting at home on election day. A new Rasmussen poll had Trump Black approval at 41%. If he gets anywhere near that in Black voter support in the election the Democrats are done. Many Democrats voted for Trump. This is a fact the media steers clear of. But please, please let me remind you. 200 counties in America that voted twice for Barack Obama hopped on the Trump Train in 2016! This is another self inflicted wound by the Democrats. Whites who’ve voted twice to support the first Black President resent being called racist on a daily basis by the radical and mainstream left. Their policies aren’t working and they are alienating many of their core supporters. The media will cover for them and say everything is peachy keen and Trump is a monster, when in reality the Trump support is higher than Ronald Reagan among Republicans and nothing demonstrates that fact more than a good ole fashioned Trump #MAGA Rally!
Trump even had a massive crowd in the liberal state, my home state of New Jersey. Routinely there are tens of thousands of people outside of a Trump rally. There are more people outside of a Trump rally than inside of a Biden rally. Let that sink in. Trump can pull this massive crowd anywhere he goes in America dispelling the lie that he is widely unpopular. No politician in history has had Trumps consistently huge rally turn out numbers. Not even Barack Obama. This New Jersey rally was sparked by congressman Jeff van Drew who had become so disenchanted with the Democrat party threatening him that he must vote for impeachment of the president on their flimsy charges or he would be attacked and ostracized from his own party. Jeff van Drew defected and is now a proud Republican and Trump astutely rewarded the new GOP member with a massive rally in his home district that was very well received.
In politics visuals and messaging are paramount. The left does not want to juxtapose the Biden event with roughly 20 people in social distancing circles against a mega #MAGA rally from Team Trump! What is Biden’s resonating message? He has none or it could be…..C’mon man! Hillary Clinton also had no real cohesive messaging. Sooner or later they will realize you need more than I hate Trump to be your message. America wants to know what you are for not just what you are against. Trump promised to make America Great Again which in his goals made sense to middle America and Americans in general. Securing our borders, bringing manufacturing jobs back, renegotiating trade deals which sent all of our manufacturing jobs overseas, getting rid of sanctuary cities that are protecting illegal alien criminals, law and order and building a sustainably strong economy and energy independence. These are tried and true very simple policies which your average American can get behind. Most importantly he has delivered on 99% of those goals. Which aside from the skewed methodology on polling does not bode well for the stumbling bumbling Biden gaffe machine campaign.
If you have ever been in entertainment you know the best time to sell to supporters is at a live event. Trump knows this also. Many fence sitters have went to a Trump rally and saw first hand it’s not the Klan get together the media portrays it to be. I get 15 to 20 emails daily from all various aspects of the Trump campaign. They are very astute with their social media campaign, while Joe Biden has trouble making a video in his basement with written notes and grade school direction. A new Zogby Poll reported 55% of likely American voters think Joe Biden is in cognitive decline. Now with numbers like this how can you really think that Biden is a serious candidate.
Let’s look back at former President Richard Nixon. He has been vilified and taken out of the history books for getting impeached, but for historical context let’s look at some aspects of his election and presidency. After the great riots of 1968 a Republican garnered 32 states in his election. After left wing chaos and riots the country will turn to GOP law and order. Nixon’s re-election he won 49 states and he was in close consultation with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When MLK was arrested in one of his marches he called Nixon. Nixon was hesitant to get involved in the hot racially charged events and did not quickly get back in touch with Dr. King. The Kennedy campaign seized the political opportunity and that gesture of goodwill to Dr. King swung many Blacks to the Democrat party. So many are thinking the chaos and riots will be blamed on Trump while just the opposite will happen.
The Trump Tulsa rally will be the biggest one yet and that is saying something for the campaign which regularly packs arenas nationwide. The Democrats will futilely try to smear and stop it in anyway possible but the juggernaut will powerfully move forward.
By Michael Ameer