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Thread: Hispanic Refugees

  1. #1

    Default Hispanic Refugees

    I have a friend who is a doctor, a surgeon. His wife is a nurse-practitioner. They have one son, currently in Boston, attending college.
    As an aside-- as an investment-- they owned an apartment building in their hometown, a nice one, he says. It was to provide for their retirement.
    They are American-educated professionals, devout Catholics, bilingual, world travelers, solidly Middle Class, success stories by anybody's description.

    And, they are refugees. Political and economic refugees. "Legal refugees", work-visa holders who cannot go home anymore. If they go home, they could die.
    They're from Caracas, Venezuela.

    He had a successful practice in Caracas. He was well-known and highly respected, from an old-line Venezuelan family. She comes from a similar background, and worked in a public hospital in their nation's capitol. They both made a very nice living, raising their son to be an educated, responsible Venezuelan. They owned an attractive home, drove new cars, liked shopping in nice stores, voting in elections, living their lives.
    He's described their lifestyle as similar to the American lifestyle that most of us aspire to, enjoy and take for granted. Work hard, reap the rewards, live well.

    About six years ago, he was invited to join the staff of a Tampa hospital, so he flew up here, leaving his son, his wife, his medical practice and his properties temporarily behind.
    Around that time, Hugo Chavez, the Socialist ( but freely elected) leader of Venezuela had begun to alter the political and economic structure of his country. Chavez "nationalized" (...seized) private businesses, manipulated Venezuela's economy and compromised the assets of the mid- and upper classes-- including the doctor's apartment building-- as a means of redistributing income and supporting the large poverty class in VZ.
    Chavez had begun Socializing Venezuela, building a society anchored on Marxist economic theory and Cuban Communist political practice, supporting his political theory through the large oil revenues earned from selling his commodity to the USA-- and from the seized and redistributed assets ripped off from his countrymen.

    When the doc flew home in 2010 to try and iron out his sudden turn of fortune, he was shocked to find that he was considered an enemy of the State, as well as being regarded as a greedy capitalist. Because he had forsaken his home country by withdrawing vital medical services from VZ, because he was a landlord and committed economic crimes--like receiving rent, because he was a person of some wealth, he was told to change his ways, donate his medical services--and those of his wife-- to The State, then give up his nice stuff and downsize, like everybody else in VZ was expected to do --or else.
    He was met at the airport by the secret police who emphasized all that, and was told to remain in Venezuela, starting immediately, to adapt to the New Socialist reality, or he and his family would suffer.

    What they did was immediately empty their bank account, turn whatever assets they could into cash, abandon what they could not and flee their homeland. His family packed whatever they could into a few suitcases, gave their furniture and cars away to friends, jumped into their Grand Cherokee and drove into Columbia, where they sold what they had left then flew to Tampa.
    Hispanic Refugees.

    Chavez died, and passed the mantle to Nicholas Maduro, a "popularly elected" stringent Socialist-- hell, he's a freaking Communist/ Marxist/ Leninist!!!
    Maduro worked very quickly to drive Venezuela into a State where everyone was economically equal, seizing everything of value from the rather substantial middle-and-upper classes, nationalizing most private businesses and imprisoning and/or killing anybody who opposed him.
    He nationalized the media, imposing a stifling censorship, wiped out the business owners, seized the factories and other private concerns, took over the oil companies and erased thousands of jobs that the middle, upper and working classes depended upon for survival, all the time using the Army and Police as enforcers to stifle any dissent or criticism.
    He remade a comfortable capitalist society ( around 75% of the country lived above the "poverty line" in 2010) into a totalitarian wreck of a country, one where everybody now suffers, equally, in stifling poverty.

    What he really accomplished was to turn EVERYBODY in VZ into a Poor Person, dependent on the dictatorship for everything from the roof over their head to the rice and beans they need to survive.
    ( Everybody, that is, except for Chavez' political buddies, who looted the country dry, stealing around 300 Billion Bolivars from the State Treasury and invested into things like New York apartments and Maybachs. They have pumped up Miami's skyline and turned Vegas into a private playground-- but that's another story)

    .And if the country's National Assembly, their Congress, did not go along with his decisions, he simply decreed that they BE imposed, dissolved the Assembly and to hell with any democratic ideals.
    Then, oil prices plummeted and the government could not continue to support its' people, even at the base levels that embracing this sudden Socialism had created.
    Today, after just a few years of this BS, Venezuela is the basket case of the World.

    Inflation is estimated at 700-1,000 percent. Oil revenues are off by nearly 50%; the currency, the Bolivar is now at 1100 to the dollar (it was 10 to the dollar when the doc left), the GDP (at a government-claimed $16,615 per person) has fallen substantially since 2009, and fell 10% just last year.
    Tomorrow, the Bolivar will be worth less, much less, and it will take more of them to buy the Government Chicken...

    Because Venezuela imports nearly ALL it's consumer goods and it's currency is worthless, the people it buys stuff from ( like the USA) demand immediate payment in dollars, and VZ has no foreign exchange money anymore to import things, so there is no food in the supermarkets, no toilet paper available anywhere, no Coca-Cola ( because there is NO sugar available anymore), no meat, no beer--due to an absence of hops and barley-- no medicines, shoes, spare parts, bread, newsprint, cigarettes, pantalones --no nothin' anywhere, except on the black market. And when the equipment that pumps the oil out of the ground fails, there are no spare parts or company engineers available to effect any repairs.
    China has lent VZ a few billion to prop up it's economy for awhile and are getting payback in crude oil, denying VZ of a LOT of vital foreign currency for years to come...

    What IS available on the flourishing black market is hugely inflated.
    Beer, for example is $15 a bottle--if it can be found, that is. Venezuela's beer consumption, before all this BS became a lifestyle, was nearly the same, per capita, as in the USA.
    A restaurant hamburger costs the equivalent of $170 ( not a misprint), a movie ticket is a week's wages. Nobody buys anything anymore except food, causing every type of business that you can imagine to close their doors, thus creating a 25% unemployment rate. And that grows larger, daily.
    Chicken is the only meat, costs more each day and is distributed by the government. There are few restaurants left open in Caracas. Burger King closed all it's outlets last year. The Hard Rock Cafe in Central Caracas has nothing on it's menu. Everybody is hungry, all the time. They join lines at the markets at dawn, hoping to find something edible for their family's evening meal. Some have reverted to eating the family pets. This, in a formerly wealthy place where most people lived like Texans or folks from Omaha, back in the good old days of 2013.

    Electricity is rationed, available four to six hours daily in Caracas. gasoline is available at a cheap price, but nobody can afford to own a car anymore, and since things like batteries and tires are just not there, nobody can repair a car if it breaks down. When Maduro declared an increase in Public transportation fares, there were riots and people died.
    Social unrest has overtaken the country. There is frequent looting of stores, massive increases in theft and property crimes, a social breakdown that is rapidly destroying civil existence.
    The murder rate--37 per 100,000 in 2007, has nearly trebled in the past few years, and last year, according to their Government statistics, it stood at 82 per 100,000. 90% of murders go unsolved. ( It is around 4.5/100K in the USA.).

    There is no longer a middle class.

    (The above statistics are from a February issue of "The Economist" a respected financial publication. In the ensuing 3 months, those numbers have adjusted, no doubt ).

    Maduro is instituting a fingerprint identity card, to stifle the black market and control food rationing, he says, and he has ordered the nationalized police to enforce and punish any transgressors.
    A once pleasant nation has become Hell, and anybody who can is fleeing the place, getting out while they can.All of this has happened over the past three years.

    This is a real cautionary tale.

    Now, consider this:
    --Our government is flirting with Socialism as a preferred lifestyle for Americans --"Democratic Socialism", Bernie Sanders calls it.
    --Our President, when he decides that he wants something done, simply bypasses Congress--our governing body--and decrees it done, then punishes anybody who complains.
    --The Democrats are proposing to tax the rich heavily and redistribute their assets to the less-rich.
    --Capitalists-- business people--are being marginalized, portrayed as selfish greedheads.
    --The Middle class has already been decimated, millions are on food stamps ( a form of rationing ), much of our industrial base is gone, replaced by unemployment or underemployment, economically equalizing many of us to a much lower bottom line.
    --Medical services are rationed and doctors are controlled by the Government, which is telling them how to provide their skills and how earn their living. Socialized medicine is already a reality.
    --The murder rates, at least in some of our bigger cities, are climbing and the social order is failing. Many of the murders (like in Chicago) go unsolved.
    --The economy is being manipulated by the Fed to forestall inflation at the expense of growth.
    --America's balance of payments is in serious arrears and we are massively in debt to China.
    -- Mrs Clinton has promised at least four more years of the same, if she is elected to office.

    The doctor and his family consider themselves to be very lucky refugees.
    They could afford to run and they had the skills and the assets to start over again.
    He and his wife are rebuilding their lives as Hispanic--Americans, sad to have left their country behind, happy that there was a place where they could go to where they can breathe free.

    Still, he sees the signs of creeping Socialism here in this country.
    He and his wife grew concerned, and passionately warned me about the dangers of this the other night while we watched a newscast about the upcoming elections. America, he said, is flirting with many of the same things that Chavez/Maduro instituted in Venezuela just a few years ago- things that seem benign, well-meaning and politically correct on their surface, but could destroy the only place left where people like he and his family could flee to when things got tough.
    We need to see these things clearly and insist that America be a non-Socialist state, a place that defends its' free and democratic ways before it all goes to hell like Venezuela did, he said. And, if Venezuela is any kind of a guide, it can happen quickly, like one term of a President's office.

    Where can we go, he asked, if things turn out badly here ?
    Last edited by Hof; May 22nd, 2016 at 09:58 AM.

  2. #2

    Default

    What's amazing to me is this website still exists, considering it has no useful purpose. I have a question that I know nobody can answer:

    Who is paying the monthly/yearly server fees? Is it just set up as a recurring payment from some credit card or checking account, and whoever owns it doesn't care?

  3. #3

    Default

    --Is Edward paying the bills? I know that someone on this board can answer your question.
    --it exists because it is.
    --It's purpose, to encourage interest and cause discussion concerning all things New York.
    --And why are you hijacking my Posts with your lame, inane insights into this website? You're evidently NOT a New Yorker. Start your own site, call it the Down Easter or something. I'm sure you could fill, um, dozens of interesting pages about Bangor or Caribou or caribou for awhile..

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hof View Post
    inane insights
    I was looking for a way to describe your posts. Thank you for the suggestion.

  5. #5

    Default

    Describing MY posts by using descriptions of YOUR posts--clever. Empty-headed, but clever.
    Let me give you some more ideas; how about "go away" ?
    See what you can do with that.

    BTW, the principal reason for my recent posting is to bring some life back to these forums. It seems to be working, based on the interest you appear to have in chopping away at our website and speculating about my mental stability. It has brought a smile to my drooling lips and increased the visitor count substantially.

    Injecting your negativity about Wired New York into my posts, while completely out of context, has drawn others in and has given you, finally, a useful purpose... This gladdens me and proves that WNY still has some life left. Plus, it gives me something to do when insomnia strikes. Keep up the good work.
    WNY needs you.
    (You still should just go away, however.).

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hof View Post
    increased the visitor count substantially.
    LOL. Well, it increased the visitor count from 1 (you) to 2 (you and me), so I would agree that is a "substantial" 100% increase.

    Your delusions are fascinating. Keep 'em coming.

  7. #7

    Default

    Venezuela's Crisis Deepens--

    I got really interested in Venezuela's current problems a few weeks ago, and since then have been monitoring it closely through a number of media. My friends, who I wrote about at the beginning of this post, can't supply any fresh information, since almost all communication to the country has been shut off. It's not government censorship--the National phone company can't afford to keep operating and have shut down nearly all cell service!
    Nobody is paying their bill, the company is out of operating capital and THEY can't pay THEIR bills, so they're going out of business. The freaking Phone Company!!!

    I went mostly to Google and several financial outlets for this information. Youtube had a lot of current data also, stuff people were able to get out of the country before the communication lines began failing.

    Here's some of what I've found out;
    Let's use this as a baseline...The average Caracas worker makes the US equivalent of around $200/week. Currently, according to OAS bulletins, a modest meal in a VZ restaurant now costs $1,200--IF you can find a place with food to sell; a SINGLE American cigarette costs $100; a soda (not Coca-Cola--it's not being made anymore) costs a week's wages. Imagine spending $200 for a soda or a thousand for a Happy Meal...every day!
    How would you get the money??
    Easy--you'd KILL for it. And that is what is unfolding in VZ, right now.
    Since most of the economy has ground to a halt, due to shortages and the hyper inflation, 95% of Venezuela's GNP now comes from their oil, and 30% of their production is currently pledged to China which has been keeping VZ afloat but has stopped doing so now.

    Venezuela's Bolivar has lost 92% of its value since 2014. Ninetytwo percent.
    A backpack filled with 100 Bolivar notes buys a 20-lb sack of flour, a chicken and some beans--IF you can find any of that. (The Bolivar USED to be traded--in 2014-- at around ten to the dollar.) Currently, it takes around 1,600 Bolivars to buy a single American dollar on the black market.

    In order to keep up with the devalued currency, VZ last year had a Canadian company--Ottawa's Canada Banknote Co, Ltd--print 10 billion worth of hundred-Bolivar notes, then reneged on payment. They haven't got enough money to print more money! When the 747 filled with the banknotes landed at Caracas airport, the military refused to pay the airline the shipping cost, took the Bolivars by force and threatened the pilots with imprisonment if they didn't leave the country immediately.
    Canada won't be doing business with VZ anymore.

    VZ's economy, 05% the size of America's economy, now has 3000 times the NUMBER of banknotes circulating than the USA has.
    In order to raise foreign currency, VZ last week sold off a huge percentage of it's gold holdings. They raised $1.7 billion, which was immediately spent to buy some simple consumer goods, like food and toilet paper.
    --And maybe a 12 pack or so of beer for Maduro, since that's no longer available in VZ either.

    The suppliers, mostly from Columbia and Mexico, demanded cash--dollars-- before closing the deal. VZ has been keeping the shipping containers that the imported goods come in, using them as emergency housing, so they had to go pick up the stuff they bought. Nobody wants to deliver anymore.

    Inflation is going to top 1,650% this year, according to the OAS (Organization of American States). Maduro last week raised the minimum wage 30%, so the workers can afford some basics, but that will be lost to rising prices in about a week, 10 days. It only means that the average guy now will bring home $260. A happy Meal STILL costs a thou, and that's going to go up.
    Prices change daily in the few restaurants still able to stay open. Menus are rewritten every day on scraps of paper.

    Six percent of the population ( 1.2 million) have left the country since the beginning of last year, a migration that is starting to resemble the Syrian migration that has plagued Europe, and more are going each day. Those were mostly the ones with enough money to flee, and many of them have wound up in Miami or Columbia.

    Drugs are NOT a problem in VZ. Nobody can afford to get high and the Cartels have lost interest.
    An entire class of people, the business class, teachers, oil workers and professionals are just gone, stripping the country of the very citizens the country needs to function.

    For those left behind, showing ANY sign of having a few Bolivars to your name could mean that you'll be kidnapped and held for ransom. These days, the kidnappers want food, not money, so people are being ransomed for chickens and beans. Caracas, once a pretty good place to live, has one of the highest murder rates in the world, surpassing ElSalvador or even the ISIS held territories.

    A truckload of Government rice was hijacked by citizens before it got to the market. This was broadcast on BBC News Thursday. The people stripped the truck bare of the 40-lb sacks as it approached a supermarket and made off with the whole load. These were not thugs or a gang. They were members of the former Middle Class, housewives and little kids, desperate for food.

    Last week, Maduro deployed his troops to the streets to control the population and forestall the coup d'etat that he knows is coming. He has been telling his countrymen that this entire situation has been fomented by the USA, as it prepares to invade Venezuela and steal its oil. Nobody believes that, but Maduro has to deflect the blame for his country's demise, and the USA is a convenient scapegoat.
    The troops remain loyal to him, for now, because he guarantees food for them and their families if they obey his orders. They, and the loyal members of his government are kept in line in that way.

    This is the cost that Socialism imposes, the slow death of a country's economy and the amateur implementation of a dictator's desires to exercise maximum control over his people. You cannot "rig" a market economy, control the wages and prices and expect everything to work out in the end. Socialism has NEVER worked.

    A wealthy, educated country, a place with a lifestyle much like the USA, has, in just a few years been mismanaged unto collapse by a despot who was determined to take from the rich to give to the poor, to equalize the "haves"-- 75% of the country-- with the "have-nots". In doing so, EVERYBODY became a "have-not" and the country is reduced to dog-eat-dog.

    Something like what Bernie Sanders (and Hillary Clinton) is proposing.
    Last edited by Hof; May 27th, 2016 at 11:09 PM.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hof View Post

    Something like what Bernie Sanders (and Hillary Clinton) is proposing.
    It's all in your head, buddy.

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