Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Darkness Falls On Venezuela

                There is a place on Earth that Hell is afraid of.
                Fear rules by day, darkness rules the night. Often there is no power. No internet. No lights. No phones. No school. No water. No food. People are starving. They are now eating zoo animals and foraging in garbage trucks. And drinking from sewers. Few hospitals have back-up generators. Prematurely born infants die with no working incubators. Kidney dialysis patients can’t get treatment and are condemned to excruciating deaths. There is no insulin. No chemotherapy. Doctors have fled the country. As have millions of its citizens. More than 30% of the population. Millions more are expected to. Survivors roam the streets like zombies, looking for things they will not find. Stores are closed. There is no power, no inventory.
                Fires burn out of control. Terror stalks its residents, as does the secret police. SEBIN, the national intelligence service, aided and abetted by ruthless Cuban intelligence officers, lurks everywhere, ready to “disappear” those who dare to criticize the Maduro government. You want free education? Come down to Venezuela. Free money? See what it looks like when money is literally free…because it’s not worth anything, due to 100,000 percent inflation rates. People’s livelihoods, dreams and souls have all been lost to the Black Hole of despair.
                Desperate Venezuelans are now pillaging cemeteries, looking to steal jewelry, trinkets, even bones from rotting corpses…that they may be able to sell for a little cash or trade for something worthwhile. At some cemeteries, relatives of the departed now stand guard, to prevent the looting.
                The millions of refugees flowing out of the former “Jewel of South America” are bringing measles, malaria, zika-- and a host of other infectious diseases long thought to have been conquered—with them wherever they go.
                The United States and other countries have sent millions of dollars of aid to Venezuela. (Because capitalist societies can produce more than a subsistence level of goods and services). Its Socialist leaders have refused it entry, preferring to let their citizens starve rather than admit their failures. But, hey, at least everyone (other than the few wealthy rulers) is equal in outcome. Equally destitute, equally screwed. “We are equally starving, comrade, no?”
                I recently read somewhere that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” I don’t know about that. But Socialism clearly does.

                Who is in charge of the clattering train
                The axles creak, and the couplings strain
    For the pace is hot, and the points are near
    And sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear
    And signals flash through the night in vain
    Death is in charge of the clattering train

   (The above lines were taken from a longer poem titled Death and His Brother Sleep which appeared in Volume 99 of Punch magazine published on October 4th, 1890, according to internet reports. The author is unknown).

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