Regular readers may remember that often I wrote that chavismo was a mere reactionary movement, harking back to an ideal time of macho caudillos and independence wars. That violence and poverty ruled over Venezuela from 1805 until Gomez established the first stable regime of our history is apparently not an historical fact that chavistas can be bothered with: all that is wrong in Venezuela comes exclusively from the 1958-98 period and the evil empire up North.
Well, chavismo should be delighted because we are getting back to these halcyon days of robber barons (cheap ones, not rich ones as in the US) and grinding poverty. Four items to frighten you.
My brother went to get his normal blood work before his annual date with his cardiologue. What was his surprise that this huge private clinic, very well known, could not test for hemoglobin (nor three other items of the 20 that include that test).
My SO, also this week, needs a test for the marker of his disease. I had to spend three hours to find finally a lab that could still perform that test.
I suppose that if there are no tests for diseases then there will be no disease and like in the XIX century we shall rely some herbal stuff for pretty much any ailment. I watched in horror the other day as a show on public TV had a kid vaunting herbal medicine saying it was a way for us to "free ourselves from the negative influence of the traditional scientific capitalist medicine". There you go: got cancer, get a plaster of gamelote on your ulcer. Traditional science, whatever that moronic oxymoron may mean, is bogus, what our ancestors did more than a century ago is the way to go.
Robbing animal feed
As I have reported before the situation in battery raised livestock, representing 80% of the protein consumed of Venezuela is going down hill because the regime monopole on grain import and distribution is not working. Note: organic food is the privilege of the very, very rich in Venezuela. Well, now this scarcity is made worse by the increasing robberies in animal feed plants. A customer told me that there are gangs now that break in the storage aras of animal feed plants to steal vitamins, amino acids, antiobiotics, etc... They can steal trucks of stuff and curiously, in spite of the multiple check points held by the Nazional Guard on all Venezuelan rodas, these trucks never seem to be inspected, and even less stopped. Imagine that!?
Thus we are back tot he XIX except that cattle stealing has been replaced by feed stealing, with the same impunity as before when the local caudillo helped himself to whatever it needed and that was that. The caudillos have been replaced by caudillos in military uniform as this type of robbery can only take place with support from the people inside the army, be it drug traffic or feed traffic. Needless to say that such robberies may cause feed plants to be stopped for days. Too bad for the animals counting on that. And further scarcity on markets.
Apparently now consejos comunales, that ersatz local power soviet invented by Chavez for political control and patronage, have the right to seize any property that they deem under occupied.
A friend of mine has a small week end farm in Carabobo. For a variety of reasons, insecurity being one, he has stopped visiting it with the frequency he used to. Still, he or a relative or someone goes at least once a month to aerate the house, pick up the garbage, etc so the place does not look abandoned. That is not enough, he has to sell it now because he has been informed that the local consejo comunal has an eye on it even though his neighbors are defending him, that he has all property rights, all taxes paid, etc. never mind that the neighbors are scared about what lumpen would the consejo install there, probably the real reason why they defend my friend against the consejo... Note that the existence of a consejo in an area by itself make property lose up to half its value in the area as a consejo can butt in on anything they want.
We are just back to the XIX century when a torn down village during one of our numerous civil wars was simply occupied by a group of people because, well, it was abandoned. That was no expropriation or agrarian reform, it was just a "look, there is no one there, let's move in" moment.
I would like to note that if the regime was indeed building ALL THE HOUSING it claims to be inaugurating, why would any consejo comunal have the need to steal somebody else property? But I suppose that I am digressing, that I do not understand that such things are done for the good of el pueblo.
Your local pig
When I was a child, and we went on the adventure tourism that Venezuela was then in the 60ies and 70ies, small villages had pigs used as garbage disposal units. That is right, villagers would bring their garbage to a dump at the outskirts and a couple of pigs would come regularly to forage. Eventually those pigs were killed and eaten or sold on the road side surrounded by a significant amount of flies. That was, well, the only source of meat sometimes. Fortunately by the 80ies animal farms and sanitary controls and distribution chains and refrigerated facilites had set and thus Venezuelans could buy fresh or frozen meats prepared with all the desired hygienic standards.
This is over. With food scarcity and creeping poverty not only backyard chickens are back but your foraging pig is making a return. Well, not quite as the pig can now be stolen so you better lock it up.... So in the country side some are now having a pig or two in their back yards.
Why would that be wrong, you may ask? Well, the veterinarian and health official support for such activity does not exist anymore in Venezuela. That is, the pigs raised this way will have no veterinary supervision even if the owner could afford it anyway. And there is very little medicine available for livestock, by the way.
That new backyard livestock activity increases dramatically the probability to revive parasitic diseases due to the proximity of animals, without counting on well known plagues like the flu associated with apartment raising chickens in China.
There also we are enjoying a return of the halcyon unsanitary days of yesteryear.
That is chavista progress for you.