Tags: Venezuela | leftists | Florida

As Venezuelans Suffer, Leftist 'Oligarchs' Take Refuge in Florida

Image: As Venezuelans Suffer, Leftist 'Oligarchs' Take Refuge in Florida
A woman in Caracas passes by graffiti depicting security forces striking a crucified opposition activist.

By    |   Wednesday, 30 April 2014 10:59 PM

Life in Venezuela today is a growing struggle for most of the country’s 28.5 million people. A stagnant economy, an inflation rate of 60 percent year, and rampant chaos and crime are pushing a growing number of entrepreneurs and well-to-do Venezuelans to consider leaving.

Street violence has long plagued the average person in Venezuela, a nation with one of the world’s highest murder rates, according to the United Nations. 

Over the weekend, Eliecer Otaiza, the former head of the country’s intelligence service and a close friend of the late former President Hugo Chavez, was shot to death near Caracas, a sign that powerful, wealthy Venezuelans are finding it increasingly difficult to wall themselves off from the rampant violence that has enveloped the country.

Breitbart News reports that America TV, a Spanish-language Argentine media outlet, recently sent reporter Javier Ceriani to visit a number of well-connected supporters of Chavez – the political strongman who ruled Venezuela from 1999 until his death last year – who now live in Cocoplum, a wealthy Florida enclave near Miami.

The reporter was shown visiting multimillion-dollar homes, finding yachts in local marinas listed under the name of prominent Venezuelans, and being shooed away by servants.

In Cocoplum, Ceriani searched for Raul Gorrin and two other owners of the Venezuelan media company Globovision – once an opposition television station that Chávez repeatedly threatened to shut down.

Eventually, the Venezuelan government purchased Globovision and turned it over to Gorrin and his colleagues, who deny critics of Chavez and the current president, Nicolas Maduro, access to the airwaves.

"What is Raúl Gorrin, the owner of Globovisión, doing on American imperialist soil, when he is a dauphin of Bolivarian socialism?" Ceriani asks. While he did not find the three Venezuelans in person, Ceriani was able to confirm that they own Miami-area homes and a number of yachts.

While Gorrin and his cronies live in luxury in South Florida, their countrymen back in Venezuela are grappling with the effects of the nation’s sclerotic, state-dominated  economy. Price controls,  currency controls and a shortage of U.S. dollars have made it difficult to find basic items such as milk, flour, cooking oil and toilet paper.

Accusing his critics of waging “economic war,” Maduro has instituted a rationing program.  Customers are fingerprinted and linked to a computer system that monitors their purchases and sounds an alarm when it detects “suspicious” purchasing patterns – such as a person attempting to purchase the same item every day in violation of state-imposed limits, Fox News Latino reported. Rifle-toting guards patrol supermarkets to prevent customers from coming to blows over dwindling supplies of rationed items like meat.

Protesters say regime forces have repeatedly employed violence to silence critics, with survivors claiming that the police beat them with rifles, kick them, and shoot them. 

The Argentine news outlet Infobae, which has been on the cutting edge of covering the recent crop of uprisings in the South American nation, published a vivid image of a 20-year-old protester who charged that four Venezuelan National Guardsmen beat him to the ground and kicked him in the stomach and back.

“Because of the pain I failed to protect my face," he said. "One of them used his boot heel to step on the left side of my face."

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A stagnant economy, an inflation rate of 60 percent year, and rampant chaos and crime are pushing a growing number of entrepreneurs and well-to-do Venezuelans to consider leaving.
Venezuela, leftists, Florida
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 10:59 PM
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