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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-Feb-2014
24-Feb-14 World View -- Mass murderer Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has 90th birthday

Web Log - February, 2014

24-Feb-14 World View -- Mass murderer Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has 90th birthday

Russia on top of the world as Sochi Olympics games end

This morning's key headlines from

Protests in Caracas threaten both Venezuela and Cuba

Nicolás Maduro cartoon (Gulf News)
Nicolás Maduro cartoon (Gulf News)

Hundreds of pro-government demonstrators, most of them older people, marched through Caracas on Sunday, for the "March of Seniors." However, it's the anti-government demonstrators that are threatening the government of Venezuela's president Nicolás Maduro. And the reason that Venezuela is unraveling is because crime and the economy continue to worsen. The inflation rate at 56% is the highest in the world. he murder rate is 25,000 annually, one of the world's highest per capita rates, and 97% of the murders go unpunished. The supermarket shelves are bare, with shortages of almost every basic product needed for day to day living.

Maduro has reacted to these problems ordering supermarkets to slash prices, jailing business owners as "speculators," and sending troops to stores to liberate washing machines "for the people." He's closed down independent television stations, deported CNN reporters, and jailed opponents.

Maduro doesn't have anything close to the charisma of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, who died last year and left behind an economy close to disaster. According to one Maduro opponent, Chavez’s gift for showmanship enabled him to create distractions and defuse frustration, but Maduro, stiff and wooden in comparison, relies more on thuggery. So although the "March of Seniors" is demonstrating in favor of the current government, Maduro's tin ear, combined with the worsening economy and crime situation, is putting the entire Socialist government in danger.

And the end of Venezuela's Socialist government would have a profound impact on Cuba's Socialist government, because it would mean the end of Venezuela's subsidies. Venezuela ships around 100,000 barrels per day of subsidized oil to Cuba, and gives employment to thousands of Cuban doctors, sports instructors and military advisors in Venezuela. Venezuelan opposition activists have been demanding for an end to these subsidies, at a time when Venezuela's economy is so poor. CNN and Gulf News and Miami Herald

Mass murderer Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has 90th birthday

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who has been president since 1980, celebrated his 90th birthday on Sunday. Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), operate as de facto enforcers of government policies and commit assault, torture, rape, extralegal evictions and executions without fear of punishment.

Mugabe's actions are mostly based on the historical enmity of two tribes -- Mugabe's Shona tribe, and his enemies, the Ndebele tribe. Genocidal warfare occurred between these two tribes in previous generational crisis wars -- the Mfecane war that climaxed in 1828, the Matabele Wars that climaxed in 1897, and the Rhodesia civil war, climaxing in 1979. It was the last war that gave Zimbabwe independence, making Mugabe the President.

In 1983, to consolidate his hold on power, Mugabe launched "Operation Gukurahundi" (The rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rain). 20,000 people, almost all of them from the Ndebele tribe, were tortured, raped and slaughtered.

As recently as the 1999, Zimbabwe was a breadbasket of Africa, exporting up to 500,000 metric tons of surplus food. By 2003, Zimbabwe was starving. What happened during those three years was a Marxist socialist "land reform" program by Robert Mugabe that confiscated 4,500 white-owned commercial farms and redistributed the property to his own Shona ethnic group.

After 2003, more and more Zimbabweans have been dying of starvation, because Mugabe has destroyed the farm infrastructure. By 2008, the official rate of inflation was 231 million percent. Today, Zimbabwe's official currencies are the U.S. dollar and the South African rand. Zimbabwe was a wealthy country until 2000, until Mugabe almost literally destroyed it single-handedly.

There is no obvious successor to Mugabe, and it's believed that if he left the scene, then there would be new violence between the Shona and Ndebele tribes. Independent (Ireland)

Russia on top of the world as Sochi Olympics games end

Joss Christensen, American gold medal winner in freestyle skiing
Joss Christensen, American gold medal winner in freestyle skiing

There were doping scandals and gay rights controversies, but overall Russia seems to done pretty well as host of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Russia's athletes came out way ahead of everyone else, with 13 gold medals out of 33 total, ahead of Norway (11 gold out of 26 total), Canada (10 out of 25), and the United States (9 out of 28).

Russia conducted the biggest security operation in Olympic history, with a flotilla of naval vessels in the Black Sea, around 50,000 police and security personnel on the ground, the interception of data and emails, and surface to air missiles deployed in strategic positions. It worked, because there were no reported terrorist incidents in Russia during the Olympics games. According to IOC President Thomas Bach in the closing ceremony:

"Tonight we can say: Russia delivered all what it had promised. What took decades in other parts of the world was achieved here in Sochi in just seven years.

Through you [the Russian people], everybody with an open mind could see the face of a new Russia: efficient and friendly, patriotic and open to the world. We arrived with great respect for the rich and varied history of Russia. We leave as friends of the Russian people."

Off-topic, I found the following chart to be interesting:

Prize Money for Sochi Olympic Medalists, by country (Ria Novosti)
Prize Money for Sochi Olympic Medalists, by country (Ria Novosti)

It looks like the Kazakhstan really wants to encourage their people to participate. Reuters and Ria Novosti

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Feb-14 World View -- Mass murderer Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has 90th birthday thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Feb-2014) Permanent Link
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