VP Pence is on a tour of South America. Thursday while on a stop in Ecuador, he told the media that America wanted to further isolate the “failed state” of Venezuela. From CNN:
The Vice President made the remarks in a joint address with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno in Quito.
“It is remarkable to think that, once one of the most vibrant countries and economies in the Western hemisphere, Venezuela is now essentially a failed state and the Venezuelan people are suffering,” said Pence.
The United States will work closely with Ecuador and other “freedom-loving countries” in the region to confront “the ongoing collapse of Venezuela into dictatorship, deprivation and despair” that has resulted in a mass exodus of over 2 million people and has empowered drug cartels and human trafficking, he said.
That didn’t go over so well with Venezuelan socialist Nicolas Maduro who responded by calling Pence a “viper.” Reuters reports:
“Every time the poisonous viper Mike Pence opens his mouth, I feel stronger,” the socialist leader said in a televised speech. “We have defeated you and we are going to defeat (you) wherever you are.”
Maduro insists that the United States is seeking to overthrow his government in order to seize the OPEC nation’s oil and mineral wealth, and accuses Washington of leading an “economic war” against the country.
Nothing will disturb the socialist delusion of imminent victory or the collapse of capitalism it seems. But for the overwhelming majority in Venezuela, the economy has become absurd. Back in 2016, Bloomberg created something called the Cafe Con Leche Index. The point was to measure the severity of inflation by keeping track of the cost of a single cup of coffee over time. Just yesterday, Bloomberg reported that a cup of coffee now costs 1 million bolivars:
Two years ago, when we launched the Bloomberg Cafe Con Leche Index, a coffee cost 450 bolivars. Or that today’s price is the equivalent of almost one-fifth of the monthly minimum wage. Or that to buy a cup with the most common bill in circulation — the 100-bolivar note — you’d need to gather up a stack of 10,000 of them…
With the latest price increase — from 800,000 bolivars just a week earlier — inflation over the past 12 months in Venezuela climbed to 43,378 percent, according to the index.
This is the system Maduro is defending. It’s also, unfortunately, the system some Americans are flirting with here at home.
Here’s a bit of Pence’s speech: