Are we sure we want an avowed socialist running for president? What could possibly go wrong?
Venezuelans are struggling to call abroad as telephone carriers fall behind on payments to international partners amid a currency crisis that is leaving the country increasingly cut off from the rest of the world. The South American nation’s largest private telephone operator, Movistar, quietly ended service to all but 10 countries in May. The other major private operator here, Digitel, cut service to more than 100 countries around the same time, and later told congress it was tens of millions of dollars in debt to foreign providers.
The changes have not been formally announced. Instead, Venezuelans are making the unhappy discovery when they dial an international number and bump into an ominous pre-recorded error message.
Caracas shopkeeper Wilmer Ruiz realized last week that he couldn’t call his family in Cuba or a friend who immigrated to Ecuador. Both countries have been staunch allies of Venezuela’s 16-year socialist revolution. “We’re just falling behind the rest of the world in every way,” Ruiz said.
The country — which by rights ought to be one of the richest in Latin America — has devolved into a typical Third World basket case and nobody seems to understand why. Must be that “bad luck” we hear so much about.
“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck.”