by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Ah, Warren Buffett. The Oracle of Omaha, loved by American liberals every time he claims to be paying a lower rate than his secretary (which was debunked, by the way), the guy after whom the Buffett rule is named. Buffett orchestrated Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s acquisition of Tim Hortons Inc. (a coffee-and-doughnut chain), and Burger King will move its Miami, FL, headquarters to lower-tax Canada. BK’s operational headquarters will remain in Miami (emphasis added):

If the deal goes through, Berkshire will end up paying taxes on its income from the preferred securities at the 35% U.S. corporate tax rate, rather than the 14%, after deductions, that an insurance company such as Berkshire would be liable for under the originally envisioned structure.

Mr. Buffett, who helped finance 3G Capital’s buyout of H.J. Heinz Co. last year and has said publicly he would like to team up again, negotiated a deal that would cover the cost of Berkshire’s higher tax bill, the person familiar with his thinking said. He wanted Berkshire to be compensated for the more than $50 million in additional taxes it would pay because of the planned move to Canada.

Buffett managed a deal that not only minimizes the corporate tax rate, it actually compensates Berkshire for the taxes it would pay because of the move.

Sweet.

Of course, his fans still assert that No, Warren Buffett Is Not a Tax Hypocrite on Burger King, since

suggestions of hypocrisy ring false because Buffett has never, ever held himself out as person who pays more taxes than he has to. The whole point of his story about his tax rate vs. his secretary’s is that he was allowed to pay less than he thought he should. He never said he was writing a check to the Treasury to make up the difference.

Back in 2012 I was pointing out that

Until Warren coughs up his personal tax returns, we should dismiss anything he says as hypocritical propaganda.

What I left out is, hypocritical propaganda coming from a firm believer in crony capitalism.

The issue is that of competitiveness. Canada is attracting investors because of its lower corporate tax rates. In the U.S. we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world; the convoluted, Byzantine tax code forces businesses to spend millions of dollars that could otherwise be used for research and development, salaries and manpower, equipment, and investment. Businesses have the obligation to legally maximize their investment. If that means moving overseas, they do.

As one of the commenters in the Wall Street Journal said, “Money goes where it is well treated.”

In the meantime, did anyone find out if Berkshire Hathaway paid up the taxes it owed since 2002?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Venezuela, sliding further into Cuban-like totalitarian Communism, faces severe food shortages. Take a look at the lines at a food distribution center:

What next?
Venezuela Proposes Fingerprinting Grocery Shoppers

President Nicolas Maduro says a mandatory fingerprinting system is being implemented at grocery stores to combat food shortages by keeping people from buying too much of a single item. He calls it an “anti-fraud system” like the fingerprint scan the country uses for voting.

In a country where accusations of electoral fraud have plagued several elections, that’s almost risible, but I digress.

Questions of where the broke and corrupt regime will find the funds to equip and maintain the machines to scan fingerprints at every grocery store (considering it’s not maintaining the government-owned oil producing monopoly, PDVSA) aside, the issue is that of control, and failure. Failed governments are really good at only one thing: controlling and oppressing the people. Juan Cristobal Nagel writes of a Venezuelan facing onerous currency controls while visiting him abroad:

Watching this hero of mine, this towering figure from my youth, reduced to going from one ATM to another trying to see if “pasó la tarjeta,” if their card was actually working, kind of broke my heart. It brought home the inherent perversity of a system like Cadivi. He couldn’t really enjoy his vacation, because he was always worried that he wouldn’t be able to pay off his hotel bill, his car rental, his incidentals. You never knew when the government would pull the plug on your financial independence, when they would revoke the permission to use your money wherever you please.

You, my gentle reader, may wonder, what doe this have to do with you, who may not even have met a Venezuelan, let alone been to the country, in your whole life?

Well, let’s go back to Nagel’s post (emphasis added):

Sometimes, you give up your freedoms because you have to, because they are taken away from you. That is the case in Venezuela. But the least you can do is be mindful of it. This thing from last night? It’s just the corollary of what you’ve been subjected to.

Here in the U.S. we’re not as complacent with the concept of “you give up your freedoms because you have to, because they are taken away from you”; but first we must be mindful.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Thomas Jefferson, farmer, architect, at age 33 one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence and later one of the framers of the U. S. Constitution, ambassador, and President, is known as the sage of Monticello, after the essay written by Inez Nellie Canfield McFee in 1913 (and part 6 of a 1981 biography by Dumas Malone).

Jefferson’s talents were many and bright, a true son of the Age of Enlightenment, for it is Jefferson’s work that helped bring about American democracy.

It is then particularly insulting to have The Economist draw a parallel between Thomas Jefferson and José Mujica.

“José who?”, you may ask.

José Mujica, president of Uruguay, a.k.a. Pepe, which The Economist exults as The sage of Montevideo.

About the only thing Jefferson and Mujica may have in common is their ownership of farms, albeit, in Mujica’s carefully-burnished image as the world’s ‘poorest president’, Mujica’s estate is no Monticello.

Indeed, the friend of George Soros has a nasty background, which even The Economist can’t ignore,

Another ingredient in the mystique is his extraordinary personal history. In the 1960s he was a leader of the Tupamaros, an urban guerrilla movement.

And just what was Pepe after?

Contrary to leftist myth, Mr Mujica did not fight a dictatorship. The Tupamaros bombed, kidnapped and murdered in a bid to turn democratic Uruguay into a version of Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

The result?

They succeeded only in helping to precipitate a right-wing military takeover (after Mr Mujica was jailed).

The fellational “Bello”, author of The Economist piece, considers Mujica “Latin America’s most original leader.”

National Book Award winner and Yale University professor Carlos Eire, who knows a thing or two about Fidel Castro’s Cuba through personal experience, is not as kind on Pepe: Uruguay’s President Mujica: Avatar of all things Latrine, and comments about the article,

If you want to know why so many countries in Ibero-America deserve to be called Latrine American rather than Latin American, read this article

But hey, The Economist is copacetic with Pepe’s “most original” leadership.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and Culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

In view of the genocide against Christians, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which traditionally keeps a low profile, issued the following (emphasis added):

This Pontifical Council, together with all those engaged in interreligious dialogue, followers of all religions, and all men and women of good will, can only unambiguously denounce and condemn these practices which bring shame on humanity:

-the massacre of people on the sole basis of their religious affiliation;

-the despicable practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging bodies in public places;

-the choice imposed on Christians and Yezidis between conversion to Islam, payment of a tax (jizya) or forced exile;

-the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of people, including children, elderly, pregnant women and the sick;

-the abduction of girls and women belonging to the Yezidi and Christian communities as spoils of war (sabaya);

-the imposition of the barbaric practice of infibulation;

-the destruction of places of worship and Christian and Muslim burial places;

-the forced occupation or desecration of churches and monasteries;

-the removal of crucifixes and other Christian religious symbols as well as those of other religious communities;

-the destruction of a priceless Christian religious and cultural heritage;

-indiscriminate violence aimed at terrorizing people to force them to surrender or flee.

No cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity.
. . .
The dramatic plight of Christians, Yezidis and other religious communities and ethnic minorities in Iraq requires a clear and courageous stance on the part of religious leaders, especially Muslims, as well as those engaged in interreligious dialogue and all people of good will. All must be unanimous in condemning unequivocally these crimes and in denouncing the use of religion to justify them

While the persecution of Christians in Muslim lands is nothing new, the horrific actions demand a universal condemnation of ISIS. John Allen explains,

It’s the lived reality of the new caliphate proclaimed by the Islamic State, which means that the Vatican and other Christian leaders are no longer so worried about the aftermath of a conflict. They’re much more preoccupied by the here and now, and thus more inclined to back anyone who seems prepared to do something about it.

It is not, however, a general call to arms; Ed Morrissey comments,

This looks, Allen said, like the Vatican’s attempt to “cash in on 50 years of ecumenical outreach” in order to marginalize ISIS. The Council’s question is a challenge to their partners, demanding some investment in the risks of peace and tolerance. Pope Francis’ last two predecessors both took a lot of criticism for their efforts to reach out in dialogue with Muslim leaders. Now it’s time to see whether those leaders and their successors have the same fortitude, or whether these have just been empty gestures all along. If after decades of engagement these leaders cannot bring themselves to condemn the forced conversion, beheadings, ethnoreligious cleansing and flat-out genocides of ISIS, then it leaves very little value in continued engagement from the Vatican’s perspective.

Indeed.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Nicaraguan liberation theology advocate and member of Daniel Ortega’s inner circle Miguel D’Escoto has been restored to the priesthood.

He had been suspended by John Paul II (who knew a thing or two about Communists) in 1985:

D’Escoto served as the Republic of Nicaragua’s Minister for Foreign Affairs for more than a decade and currently acts as Senior Adviser on Foreign Affairs to President Daniel Ortega Saavedra. He is still a member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), a political movement rooted in Marxist philosophy and which once had ties to the Soviet Communist party.

D’Escoto received the 1987 “Lenin Peace Prize” from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

As head of the U.N. General Assembly, D’Escoto accused Israel of genocide in 1999,

“The number of victims in Gaza is increasing by the day… The situation is untenable. It’s genocide,” d’Escoto said at the UN in New York.

An unrepentant, active Sandinista, serving in the administration of anti-American alleged child rapist Ortega, reinstated?

The Code of Canon Law prohibits priests from holding partisan political offices.

D’Escoto continues to hold office in both a political party and a regime.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

 

Update:   DTG:  It’s not often that I find myself in disagreement with one of my writers, but given that this priest is elderly and asked for reinstatement for the right to say the holy sacrifice of the mass again before his death, not to mention that Francis’ pontificate is known for pushing repentance it is entirely consistent with  his methods to give a person another chance, particularly when they’ve served a suspension of nearly 3 decades.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

From the BBC: Guatemala, Mexico and the United States have reached a deal to try to prevent migrants from jumping onto a freight train in an attempt to reach the US, according to Guatemalan officials.

The three countries said they would establish more checkpoints.

Let’s look at this for a moment: The Mexican government, which until rather recently had some of the strictest immigration laws in our hemisphere, is allowing tens of thousands of foreigners to travel unimpeded thousands of miles through Mexican territory to reach the U.S. border, and “more checkpoints” are going to change that?

Particularly considering the money the cartels are making from all the human trafficking?

“The Chinese are paying $50,000, the Indians are paying $10,000 to $20,000, [for] all the Central Americans the average is about $7,000 and the Mexicans are, especially [from] southern Mexico, are paying $3,000, so it’s a huge, huge money event for the cartels, probably even more lucrative than the drug business,” Dr. Michael Vickers of the Texas Border Volunteers told Infowars.

The border surge started during Obama’s first term:

President Obama’s executive actions on immigration did not begin with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in mid-2012. It began in 2011 with his announcement of “prosecutorial discretion” on deportations. A few months later the border patrol noted the first uptick in unaccompanied children at the border.

The campaign of misinformation goes on, but more and more questions add up; two days ago Pat wrote about Gov. Jindal’s questions,

He’d like to know, among other things, where the children are:

Jindal wants to know where the children are living, the timeline for determining their ultimate status and whether the federal government plans to kick in dollars for their education and health care. He also wants to know how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided where to place them.

As the resources of the country as a whole and the states in particular are diverted to cope with this invasion, I leave you to ponder Mark Steyn’s words,

One of the reasons why so many Americans oppose amnesty and a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens is because, even if one buys it in utilitarian terms, to accept that an honorable American identity can be born from an illegal act seems to mock the very essence of citizenship and allegiance.

Yet, putting aside the soon to be amnestied millions, it seems to me the deformation of law necessary to accommodate the armies of the undocumented is having a broader corrupting effect on the federal bureaucracy. For example, can you think of anything more risible than working for something called “US Customs & Border Protection”?

How’s that for a “train deal”?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

The Obama administration passed a few sanctions against Venezuela this week. No, the sanctions had nothing to do with the Pollo and Venezuela’s involvement in the drug trade.

Instead, the sanctions are against individuals linked to the bloody repression of student protesters this year. In our days of “smart diplomacy,” this is what passes for sanctions these days – Andres Oppenheimer points out:

  • These are not economic sanctions against Venezuela, but against about two dozen officials, including cabinet ministers, presidential advisers and judges
  • The officials remain unidentified
  • They don’t go after the targeted officials’ financial assets.

Instead, Oppenheimer states,

They should seek to freeze the U.S. assets of Venezuelan officials and government cronies involved in human rights abuses, and expose the fortunes they have amassed since late President Hugo Chávez rose to power 14 years ago.

“Smart diplomacy” dictates a toothless travel ban against officials involved in actions that left 43 dead, 50 documented cases of torture, and more than 2,000 unlawful detentions – officials that will remain nameless.

Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez call for sanctions against Venezuela: “We need to sanction their assets.” Their bill calls for freezing U.S. bank accounts, U.S. stocks held in any U.S. and foreign banks, and U.S. real estate belonging to the officials. Oppenheimer points out,

Other Venezuelan human rights violators’ assets should be traced by the U.S. Justice and Treasury Departments through mutual assistance treaties with other nations.

As for Venezuela’s involvement with the FARC, Iran, Hezbollah, and the such . . . crickets chirping.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Hugo Carvajal a.k.a. “el Pollo” (the Chicken) is one of the guys who took part in Hugo Chávez’s unsuccessful 1992 military coup, later rising to the rank of general and chief of military intelligence, but with a sideline of drug trade: Here’s the indictment in the U.S. District Court accusing Carvajal of coordinating the transport of 5,600 kilos (6.17 tons) of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.

Carvajal, according to the computers belonging to Raul Reyes, the FARC’s #2 man, that were captured by Colombian security forces in 2008, was one of Hugo Chávez government’s key liaisons to the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the murderous narcoguerrilla group).

Now, don’t ask me how a guy nicknamed el Pollo gets to be a general, in charge of military intelligence from 2004-2011, or, for that matter, Venezuelan Consul to Aruba, but current president Nicolas Maduro named him Consul to Aruba all the same, knowing that the U.S. Treasury Dept, the DEA and a U.S. District Court (mentioned above) had indicted Carvajal last year. Last week Carvajal presented himself in Aruba, where he was detained since the Dutch knew of the indictments.

Venezuelan journalist Patricia Poleo was very pleased. She has been following the Carvajal story for a decade and alleges that Carvajal is not only a drug kingpin, but also a torturer. Spanish journalist Emili Blasco reports that Carvajal allegedly “was in charge of procuring the drugs from the FARC and controlled the distribution process in the U.S. and Europe, along with laundering the drug money through PDVSA,” the government-owned oil company. Carvajal also is under investigation for his role on the attacks to the Colombian consulate and the Jewish center in Caracas.

According to reports, Carvajal was flown to Aruba by man from Texas named Roberto Rincón in a private plane leased by PDVSA president Rafael Ramírez.

The general came to Aruba in a plane that belongs to an associate of Rafael Ramírez, president of the oil company. Besides, they point to the extraordinary information Carvajal can provide regarding the relationship of Chávez’s Venezuela with Hezbollah and Iran. “It’s like Pablo Escobar and Vladimiro Montesinos rolled into one, an intelligence chief who is also a druglord,” claim the sources.

Getting Carvajal is a very big deal indeed.

Well, lo and behold, the chicken flew the coop on Sunday, when he was released by Aruban authorities, after Holland decided he did qualify for diplomatic immunity but declared him person non-grata. Immediately, Carvajal flew to Caracas, where he received a hero’s greeting by Maduro at a PSUV (Venezuelan Socialist Party) event.

One of my sources also mentions that the Obama administration had 30 days to hand over its Extradition Request to Aruba but failed to. It reminds me of drug kingpin Walid Makled, who was released to Venezuela by president Santos of Colombia after the U.S. dragged its feet.

I did a roundup of questions from Venezuelan bloggers regarding this sudden release.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Venezuela pressured Aruba by threatening to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs, and Aruba’s chief prosecutor asserts that

the Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure

as Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend.

Holland is a member of NATO and as such Aruba would be protected, as WSJ commenter Donald Hutchinson points out, but, in the Obama administration’s era of “smart diplomacy”, the Dutch couldn’t count on that:

Assuming that US intelligence was not asleep, all,it would take would be a fly over by US Navy jets and a notification that any offensive action would be met by the immediate destruction of their ships. Holland is a member of NATO and such actioned would clearly be sanctioned,
It would also be a devastating set back to the former bus driver running Venezuela for bringing shame to their military.
But what one might expect from a timid White House and a preoccupied State Department?

In addition to good’ol military thuggery, Miguel Octavio asserts that the Netherlands caved in (emphasis added):

Clearly, everyone applied pressure, but the weak link did not turn out to be Aruba as I suggested on my first post, but rather The Netherlands, as reportedly even Russia played a role, exchanging concessions on the Ucraine [sic, i.e., regarding the investigation on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that was shot over Ukraine] plane for helping release Carvajal. No matter what anyone says or how this is interpreted, it was a severe blow to the US, who would have loved to get Carvajal onshore.

In reaction to the release, Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has lifted his hold on a bill that would impose asset and visa freezes on Venezuelan officials who perpetrated human rights abuses against protesters in recent months.

The U.S. State Department spokeswoman’s reaction to the Netherlands deciding that Carvajal qualified for diplomatic immunity and shipping him off to Venezuela after declaring him person non-grata? “This is not the way law enforcement matters should be handled.”

At least she didn’t #hashtag it.

fausta
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Those of us who watch the dismal state of U.S. foreign policy will find the following DiploPundit post on Bolivia enlightening:

According to the OIG report on the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia released on July 17, just before the OIG inspection conducted in February and March 2014, the State Department “recalled the chargé and the political/economic section chief who served as acting DCM from August 2012 to September 2013 and took steps to mitigate some of the embassy’s leadership problems.”

This means that, during the period when the Bolivian Government expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps, and the Department of State’s ended all U.S. counternarcotics programs:

  • There was no ambassador
  • The top 2 officials were removed before the inspector arrived to investigate the situation
  • DiploPundit points out (emphasis added): “Just before the inspection, the WHA bureau and the Bureau of Human Resources apparently agreed that, because a permanent ambassador is not likely in the foreseeable future, the Department would assign a permanent chargé d’affaires and a permanent DCM in La Paz. It only took them about five years to make up their minds.”

A rather unusual situation. What was happening?

To make a long story short,

nearly all American staff members told the OIG team that they did not understand mission priorities or their part in achieving goals. The OIG team frequently heard staff tell of instructions given one day only to have the former front office forget or reverse them the next. Skepticism about public diplomacy programming one month could be replaced by front office enthusiasm for a cultural project the next. Reporting officers, already in a difficult environment for contact development and reporting, stated that the front office did little to direct reporting or provide training and mentoring. Embassy staff members told the OIG team they wanted clear and steady guidance from the front office but did not receive it.

You, gentle reader, may ask, why fuss over Bolivia, a place most of us may have difficulty finding in a map, a place best known for cocaine production and Butch Cassidy‘s final destination?

Well, because Bolivia, which owns 70% of the world’s lithium reserves, is getting plenty of attention from

  • China, with whom it has a space satellite program, and which is investing billions of dollars in mining projects,
  • Russia, including Putin’s own attention to gas production with Gazprom; Putin has slammed the efforts of Evo Morales – who is president of Bolivia and was president of the coca growers’ union – to keep coca leaf consumption legal (perhaps not coincidentally, coca production has declined),
  • Iran, a buyer of Bolivian uranium and lithium, whose largest embassy in the hemisphere is located in La Paz.

A note on lithium:

a byproduct of lithium also has a little known and insidious application: It can be used as an alternative or as an enhancer to uranium, a key component needed to develop nuclear weapons. In particular, lithium-6 is an internationally controlled substance because of its “booster” role in smaller, highly efficient thermonuclear devices.

In other words, it makes bad bombs smaller, worse and also more portable. And thus policymakers should be concerned that the deal with Bolivia could bring the Islamic Republic one step closer to nuclear capability.

Indeed, in our age of America’s “smart diplomacy”, the neglect of, and lack of leadership in the Bolivian Embassy is emblematic of the “leading from behind” Obama era.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry, who declared The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over,” thinks of Bolivia as “our back yard.”

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Communism is all about control. Nothing the individual does can be allowed;  everything is done for the purpose of consolidating power around the ruling elite and no one else.

Of course, things like guns and automobiles are anathema to the Communist. Both grant the individual a degree of independence and self-reliance that can actively be used against the whims of the powerful.

I’ll leave the discussion on guns for another time. Let’s talk about cars now.

Cars would not have been possible without capitalism: Competition, creativity, invention, technology, artistry, craftsmanship, all are brought together from free enterprise creating the monetary means to develop, purchase, deliver – and, for the consumer – buy the car.

Cars speak of freedom: freedom of movement, freedom of choice, freedom to hit the road when you best feel like it, freedom to buy, lease, keep, sell, or trade up your car.

Cars speak of individualism: You can personalize your car, or not, as you best see fit.

No wonder Communists hate having the hoi-polloi own cars.

Real Communists want to be the only ones in the cars, not the great unwashed tying up traffic and polluting the air. For decades we’ve been subjected to hogwash about “Cuba’s classic, beautiful cars,” i.e., the remaining 1950s jalopies the Cuban populace must make do with since, a. the Communists keep people poor, and b. the country’s broke. The useful idiots praising the jalopies can admire classic vintage cars any time they want from the comfort of their prosperous societies (since none of them actually have to scrounge in Havana for parts with which they may keep their own jalopies running), while simultaneously ignoring that Fidel Castro owned dozens of limos, some of which are now being used as taxis in Havana. To add insult to injury, one of the articles talking about Fidel’s old limos says,

The new fleet will give tourists a quirky and lighthearted look at Cuba’s history.

I leave it to you, gentle reader to decide whether half a century of misery in the island-prison deserves “a quirky and lighthearted look.”

Venezuela’s Cuba-appointed dictator, Nicolas Maduro, is hell-bent on following Fidel’s footsteps, so, of course, the country is a wreck as chavismo continues to rip off the private economy for well over a decade.

While the ruling chavistas enrich themselves, the country went begging to the Chinese for a bailout. Like the rest of the country, the auto industry – in a country where gasoline is six cents per gallon – is brought to a standstill:
Venezuela’s Car Culture Fades
Production is drying up as big auto makers can’t obtain dollars to pay parts suppliers and sky-high inflation turns older cars into investment vehicles.

The car industry this year began on a particularly dire note, with only Toyota and Volvo AB’s Mack de Venezuela powering up their assembly lines. By March, Toyota halted production for three months, followed by Italian truck maker Iveco SpA in April. Ford, GM and Chrysler rolled back production amid big losses due to currency devaluations as President Nicolás Maduro’s government tried to address a shortage of dollars by weakening the value of the bolívar.

Behold, the assembly line:

But fear not: chavistas ride on, in bullet-proof cars.

LINKED TO by Babalu Blog. Thank you!

LINKED TO by The Lonely Conservative. Thank you!

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.