Venezuela slides further into the abyss – #14
More on the ongoing human tragedy that is the result of intentional government policies in Venezuela:
- Infant mortality is soaring
- Government starts to let go a bit on the widespread price controls. Unexpectedly, food reappears on the shelves when priced at realistic prices
- State owned oil company is losing ability to pump oil
- Government suspends the recall effort, which leads to…
- Lawmakers start impeachment effort
This is going to get far worse before the massive suffering ends.
10/17 – Wall Street Journal – Infant Mortality Soars in Venezuela – The infant mortality rate is soaring so far and so fast that doctors and hospitals are under pressure not to release any data because it reveals the depths of the human suffering in play.
Infant mortality is defined as the number of babies that die before their first birthday. Here is the infant morality rate, expressed in infant deaths per 1,000 live births:
- 18.6 – Venezuela, per the article
- 15.4 – Syria, in the middle of a war, per Unicef as quoted in the article
- 6.5 – United States, which puts us at fifth worst amongst the OECD.
Article describes several hospitals that lost their water for several days and some hospitals that don’t have antibiotics or even rubbing alcohol.
One state-run hospital lost 36 of 43 newborns who were place in critical care.
Once again, what economic system destroyed what was once a shining example of a good health care system?
10/14 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuela Backs Away From Price Controls as Citizens Go Hungry – The government is taking one tiny step to allow food back on the shelves. Instead of letting everyone in the country starve because price controls on food mean vendors must give away their stock for a fraction of what it cost to buy, the government is letting stores in six border states sell merchandise at the market price.
The impact? One shopper said that before there was nothing on the shelf while now the shelves are fully stocked.
Real prices are anywhere from 10 to 30 times higher than the official prices.
So here is the practical choice. If you want to get a two-pound bag of rice, you can either have nothing at 12 cents a bag in a store selling at official prices or as much as you need at $2 a bag in one of the stores allowed to charge market.
Zero rice at $0.12 a bag or however much you want at $2.00. Your choice?
10/23 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuelan Oil Is Large Staying in Ground or Going Up in Smoke – A large amount of natural gas and light crude is being flared off by the state-run oil company because there is no money to run the infrastructure to process the oil. Parts shortages have many other pump jacks out of operation.
Oil service companies have essentially shut down, after not getting paid for most of their work or seeing their assets expropriated. Schlumberger wrote off $500 million of receivables and is winding down their operations.
As a result most people find completely expected, crude production has shrunk 11% in September from the prior year. Article says output is only 2.3 million BOPD.
And now, things get worse…
10/21 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuela Electoral Officials Suspend Presidential Recall Bid – Courts have shut down the recall efforts which the opposition was moving forward as a way to remove the president and end the economic devastation in the country. The effort is done.
Up to this point the push was to have a referendum by the end of the year. After that point, the president would be replaced by the VP. Before then, there would be a new administration.
The timing doesn’t matter now since the government shut down the recall.
10/23 – Wall Street Journal – Venezuelan Lawmakers Plan Impeachment Proceedings Against President – In response to the government shutting down the recall, the opposition, which has a super majority in the legislature, begin impeachment proceedings. I don’t understand the system, but the article says the effort is “mostly symbolic.” The impeachment effort does show the severity of opposition.
This is going to get worse.