I watched a video yesterday of Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela, looking markedly (and typically) unpresidential. He was essentially threatening the people of Venezuela that he would not respect the outcome if they dared to vote in the opposition. And he did it in his usual Adidas track suit (I wonder what Adidas thinks of this–have they considered paying him not to wear their clothes?)
Here’s a still from the video:
I particularly like the Nicolas M. embroidered on the suit. Are his track suits regularly stolen from his presidential suite. One would think so given the amount of times he wears such gear with his name clearly spelled out. Here is another and it gets very specific, just in case some other Nicolas Maduro fellow tries to claim it for his own:
Here’s one that helpfully provides the name of his country, as if anyone could forget:
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters during a visit to inspect the progress of a subway construction in Guatir November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Marco Bello
And a track suit is de rigueur when attending a communist summit:
And surprisingly, Maduro is not the man wearing the red track suit in this photo! No wonder he doesn’t want to go anywhere without the suit! He gets attacked by fellow fashionistas when he doesn’t:
OK, enough snark for the day, or at least the morning. Maduro is an easy target to poke fun at but it would be a lot funnier of course if he wasn’t also inciting violence and destroying the country.
Unfortunately it seems like economists know a lot more about how not to bring about development rather than the opposite. We know that economic growth is harmed by things like political instability (civil wars, coups d’etat), random expropriation of profitable investments, uncertain and inconsistent policies in general. We are much less certain how to bring about economic growth though.
I am tempted to point to Nicolas Maduro as a perfect example of how to destroy an economy, although Chavez was well on his way to accomplishing that himself, so Maduro had a head start. I would recommend all policymakers look at Maduro and do the opposite.
Case in point. As the Venezuelan economy sadly goes even further into the crapper, here is what Maduro has been championing: socialist sneakers! In a humorous article, Fusion asks whether Venezuela is launching a new “Air Chavez”:
“Looking like an ’80s rapper in a retro Adidas jacket, Maduro this week unveiled a new Hugo Chávez-inspired ‘socialist sneaker,’ which looks suspiciously similar to a red Converse All Star classic. ‘These are the Chávez boots, look at them, these are the boots of Bolivarian youth socialism,’ Maduro bellowed.
It’s not clear whether the government is planning on producing these socialist sneakers or whether they are just being held up as some kind of ideal. But Fusion makes my point exactly (about priorities) when it notes that “the new shoes look like they’d be comfortable to wear for long waits standing in lines for shampoo, toilet paper, milk and other basic items that are becoming increasingly hard to find in Venezuela as the nation’s oil-dependent economy tanks.”
n.b. Adidas actually makes a shoe called the Maduro, but I doubt it was named after the yahoo in red above (although he is wearing an adidas jacket, so who knows!?)
Today’s line-up of people who really don’t get it:
1.Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber of Mississippi is “encouraging citizens to pray for the city’s infrastructure, proclaiming ‘Yes….I believe we can pray potholes away.'” And sadly, this is not from The Onion! I don’t see any problems with this strategy; it’s practically flawless.
2. Venezuelan President Maduro, who has managed to absolutely gut the economy in a few short years, is now pointing to Colombians as the real scourge. Sounding a lot like a certain buffoon in the US, he stated:
“Who comes from Colombia to Venezuela? These are people who come with no education, without a penny in their pocket, it’s the poor who come fleeing … Venezuela has become a magnet, a guarantee for social rights for the Colombian people. I have to say it, and I ask for your understanding … I don’t offend Colombia by telling the truth, that Venezuela is hurting, because of all the poverty and the misery coming from Colombia … but aside from that, we get drug trafficking, mafias, and here we are, making sure Venezuela is a territory free of drugs, we are the victims, let’s open our eyes. And now, we are the victims of paramilitaries brought by the right, and send by Colombia’s far right.”
Yeah, that’s right, it’s the poverty and misery from Colombia that’s dragging down the Venezuelan economy. And deporting 800 Colombians from the border region will almost certainly solve the economic woes.
3. And now for the (unintentional) master of irony, we have first-class economy wrecker Bobby Mugabe, who yesterday proclaimed that there was “no suffering” in Zimbabwe. It’s hard to believe he could say that with a straight face. He went on to hilariously ask “But what is it that the people are suffering from? Didn’t we give them land?” That’s right Bobby. Land redistribution to your cronies should have fixed everything, right? What are these damned ingrates still complaining about?
*In honor of the very funny “There I Fixed It” Blog
Hugo Chavez’s 60th birthday would have taken place on July 29th. What’s his desperate, flailing, untalented successor to do? Celebrate the day anyway of course! Besides the sheer fact of celebrating a birthday for a dead guy with a cake and candles, here are some of the more bizarro parts of the festivities:
1. People actually showed up. And not just Venezuelans. Some Latin American leaders (Morales, Ortega, Sanchez Ceren) showed up to join in the fun. I assume they are either bat-shit crazy or are desperate suck-ups hoping for cheap Venezuelan oil.
2. Maduro led the singing of Happy Birthday to the dead comandante and blew out the candles on the cake. According to a Chinese report, “people marked the day with book readings, concerts and other activities.” I wonder if the government counted everyone going to a club that night as a celebration of Chavez’s spirit. I seriously doubt much of the population marked the day with book readings. I also wonder what the “other activities” are…
3. A group of “anti-imperialists” (you really cannot make this stuff up) came out with a new computer font that mimics Chavez’s handwriting. It is appropriately titled the “ChavezPro font.” One article humorously (to me) points out that “Chavez’s bold scrawl became famous to Venezuelans as he used to spend hours on national TV writing and drawing on boards and papers to explain policies, develop ideas and sign deals.”
4. And, lastly, saving the best for last, the little bird
is back. Last year Maduro claimed the Chavez came to him in the form of a little bird. So what does the bird have to say for himself now? Maduro says
it best: “A little bird approached me again,” he told relatives of Chavez and officials at the event, imitating a bird whistle. “The little bird said ‘El Comandante’ was happy, full of the love and loyalty of his people. He must be proud, happy.”
I figured the little bird must be red since it is Chavez’s spirit. Here is my guess as to what it looked like:
Here is someone else’s idea of what the bird looks like:
But Maduro beat us to the punch by commemorating the little bird on his own headgear (which I guess represents a nest?). It would be even funnier if this goofball wasn’t the head of state.
The President of Venezuela has been at it again. Not only is the economy tanking, but Maduro’s continual gaffes make him an object of ridicule.
The Latin Times reports that the President, already looking very presidential in an “Adidas track suit in the bright red, blue and yellow colors of the Venezuelan flag” committed a Freudian slip recently when he “made allusion to the Biblical miracle of the seven loaves and fish, but said “penes”, meaning “penises” instead of “peces” (or fish).” Somehow he made this slip when he was discussing education. Specifically, the stated that “We need to go in school by school, student by student, high school by high school, community by community, get in there, multiply ourselves, just like Christ multiplied the penises – “, realizing his mistake, he paused to correct himself, ” – pardon me, the fishes and the loaves. Pardon the expression. Just like Christ multiplied the loaves and the fish.”
Here’s the video if you want to see Maduro in all his patriotic glory.
That isn’t all though folks, because last week he also said the government would give “children 35 million “books and pounds” (“libros y libras”) for Monday’s return to school” and this week he fell off his bike while leading a large procession of people.
The best part of all this though is Maduro’s response. He acted like this was all part of his master plan. Here is his great comeback:
“The right wing is stupid. As they want to censure the historic fact that we are going to give 35 million books to the boys and girls of Venezuela … I left them a little trap, and some fell for it,” he told supporters. “Some of the most stupid ones put the video on Twitter. Great! Because they show where I say we’re giving away 35 million books. At least people see it. If they hide things due to hatred of the fatherland, I’m obliged to find other ways.”