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PostThe Maduro Diet (Istvan Simon, USA, 01/24/23 4:19 am)
Many thanks to José Ignacio Soler for his excellent overview of the Venezuelan situation (January 2st).
There is no doubt in my mind that Chávez was an imbecile, who caused enormous damage to Venezuela's economy. He was lucky that oil prices were relatively high when he was in power. But even this he squandered, as oil production fell dramatically under his rule. Fortunately for Venezuelans, "God" decided to intervene...
Maduro replaced him. Since he lacks Chávez's charisma, I thought Maduro would not last. I was wrong.
Maduro is a former bus driver. Now, I have nothing against bus drivers, but they tend not to be highly educated in economics. So Maduro turned out to be an even bigger imbecile than Chávez was. When I went to Colombia, it was chock full of Venezuelans trying to escape hunger in their country. The situation in Venezuela was catastrophic. Parents were losing weight to try to feed their kids. They called it the Maduro diet. Extremely successful, people did lose weight, much like my father had lost weight in Nazi Germany, because the damned Nazis were not feeding him.
My father returned from Oranienburg to Hungary approximately six months after the war ended in 1945. My mother did not know if he was dead or alive during these six months, and the previous months when he was deported without my mother ever knowing what happened to him. One day he showed up. Six months after the Second World War ended, my father's weight was still less than half his normal weight. Maduro's diet is similar to Hitler's diet for Jews.
We have been talking lately about fossil fuels, because of the Ukraine war. The news for Venezuela is just as bad on fossil fuels as it is for Russia. The adoption of electric vehicles is accelerating everywhere. China is the leader in buying electric vehicles. 25% of Chinese cars bought last year were electric. What this means for Putin in the long run is that China is not a reliable client for buying Russian fossil fuels. Also, China's population is declining, which has further implications about consumption of fossil fuels. In California within 10 years, all new vehicles sold must be electric. One has to pity the Venezuelans who must endure the foolish Maduro government.
JE comments: Istvan, you've asked a profound question. How has Maduro stayed in power so long? In March it will be, gulp, ten years.
I assume we'll always have a huge demand for oil and gas, but my predecessor long ago might have said the same thing about whale oil. People in happier climates can afford to be sanguine about electric, but every time I scrape ice off my car I wonder how it's going to be in ten years' time, when I'll have to use twice my battery "range" just to defrost the windshield.