June 21, 2016
Nicholas Casey on Venezuela’s end-stage socialism:
Hundreds of people here in the city of Cumaná… marched on a supermarket, screaming for food. They forced open a large metal gate and poured inside. They snatched water, flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, potatoes, anything they could find, leaving behind only broken freezers and overturned shelves. They showed that even in a country with the largest oil reserves in the world, it is possible for people to riot because there is not enough food… Economists say years of economic mismanagement… have shattered the food supply. Sugar fields in the country’s agricultural centre lie fallow for lack of fertilisers. Unused machinery rots in shuttered state-owned factories…
In response, President Nicolás Maduro has tightened his grip over the food supply. Using emergency decrees he signed this year, the president put most food distribution in the hands of a group of citizen brigades loyal to leftists, a measure critics say is reminiscent of food rationing in Cuba. “They’re saying, in other words, you get food if you’re my friend, if you’re my sympathizer,” said Roberto Briceño-León, the director of the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a human rights group.
Readers may recall this video of a Moscow supermarket circa 1990, in which shoppers are clearly both thrilled and morally elevated by the egalitarian retail experience. Taking turns to smell the one piece of grey meat available, and then leaving it where it is, was, I’m assured, a way for the proletariat to celebrate the obvious superiority of socialism.
About a third of the students who go to the farms [for a month of state-mandated rice-planting duty] get out of about half the work because they work as informers for the government.
And Douglas Murray on Europe’s migrant avalanche:
Most of the people coming to Europe who came in the last year are not refugees, they are economic migrants; they are seeking a better life. Now, Europe cannot be the place where everybody in the world who wants to seek a better life is allowed to come and settle. It’s not possible for economic reasons; it’s not possible for geographical reasons; it’s not possible for housing and welfare reasons, and it’s not possible for cultural reasons… How do we know that most of the people who are coming are not even legitimate refugees? We know it because no less a source than the European Commission itself has now told us as much. Earlier this year in an interview, Frans Timmermans, the European Commission Vice President, admitted that in his estimate at least sixty percent of the people who came to Europe last year have no more right to be here than anybody else.
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