“Postcards from Venezuela”

Venezuelan protester tear-gassed

Anti-government protesters take cover from tear gas during clashes with police in Caracas. (Reuters/The Atlantic)

As a companion to yesterday’s Cuba post, we have this update from The Atlantic on Human Rights Watch (HRW’s) reports on brutal repression of Venezuelan demonstrations. Venezuela has been helping to prop up Cuba, but its mismanagement of the economy and demonization of opposition is degrading the government’s ability to survive. It’s another reminder that class-based demagoguery and repression result in making everyone poorer and less free. Venezuela’s massive oil reserves insulated it from reality for a decade, but the government so mismanaged the oil industry that many of its most valuable employees fled to Alberta to work the oil sands there, and Venezuelan oil production has been declining as the technologically knowledgeable depart or are kept from renovating the older fields.

Read the whole thing if you have time, but here’s one of many horrifically brutal incidents documented by HRW:

The guardsmen took the detainees to a nearby park, where they were forced to lie down on the ground with nine others, while the guardsmen continued to kick and beat them, and stomp on their heads with their boots. One of the guardsmen placed a rifle on Carrasco’s neck and moved it slowly down his back, pulling down his underwear and penetrating his rectum once, causing a hemorrhage. Three of the other detainees were told to lie down facing upwards, and a guardsman ran over their legs three times with a motorcycle.”

More on Social Decay:

“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
The High Cost of Divorce
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Cuba: Where All but the Connected are Poor
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Culture Wars: Peace Through Limited Government
Steven Pinker on Harvard and Meritocracy

“Breaking Bad”–The Lessons of Walter White

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