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Peru vs United States---Part 2

Peru vs United States---Part 2

Hello and good day!

As far as I could see, the biggest public problem currently on people’s minds in Peru is the Venezuelan immigration problem.Around 5 years ago, millions of refugees fled Venezuela to escape the devastating effects of government policies.

 After Hugo Chavez died, a new strong man came to power in Venezuela named Nicolas Maduro. People who were fed up with the socialist system imposed by Chavez attempted to revolt against his successor who promised to continue with the same system.

 The protests were ruthlessly put down by the military and Maduro proceeded to make the system stricter and more draconian than ever. The result was exactly what you would expect, extreme impoverishment.

 Our family has some very good friends from Venezuela who now live in the United States.   To hear them talk about Venezuela before Hugo Chavez breaks your heart. Because of their huge oil reserves, Venezuela has always been one of the most prosperous and well-educated countries in all South America.

 The people were cosmopolitan and sophisticated. They took vacations on the beautiful beaches facing the Caribbean Sea. 

Some of the best chocolate in the world comes from cacao grown in Venezuela. There is a special genetic variety of cacao growing natively in Venezuela that makes excellent chocolate.

 Before our friends moved permanently to the United States, they used to come and visit. One of their priorities while here was to eat as much as they could to put on weight. The scarcity of food in Venezuela was so acute that people were literally starving to death.

 This, in a country that was traditionally prosperous, shows just how dastardly communist dictatorships are. When it became clear that Maduro wouldn’t be overthrown, droves of people started to flee the country.

 Millions ended up in Peru.

 But Peru was in no way, shape, or form ready to take on millions of new inhabitants. There weren’t enough houses, or jobs, or hospitals, or schools. Peru doesn’t have a well-established welfare program, as we do here in the United States. As a result, many of these Venezuelan refugees started living a street life.

And now, several years later, the situation has come to a breaking point. Just about everybody I spoke with offered up a complaint against Venezuelan immigrants. The primary complaint is that they violently rob people and that they frequently kill their victims.

 Whereas a Peruvian thief might snatch your phone out of your hand or grab the purse off your shoulder and run away, the Venezuelan thief has a reputation for shooting you before exiting the scene. Again, just about everybody I spoke with had something to say about the Venezuelan crisis.

 Venezuelans are described by Peruvians as being tall, lean, strong, and “decididos”, “decisive”.

 I mention all this in an email titled United States vs. Peru to point out that immigration problems are not exclusive to the United States., People all over the world try to improve their situation by leaving one place for another. Also, it is an unfortunate reality that poverty can push people to the breaking point and force them into doing things that previously would have seemed unconscionable.

 People who were previously considered to be the wealthiest and most well educated on the continent are now seen as ruthless killers.

 I spoke extensively with my brother-in-law who lives in Bolivia, and he had nothing but bad things to say about the socialist system there. The main gripe is that Bolivia is very rich in all kinds of resources, but the country doesn’t have the internal capital to develop it all. My brother-in-law believes that the country should be more open to foreign capital, but their “anti-capitalist” policies keep everybody much poorer than they should be.

 Let me state here that I am not anti-socialist on principle.  I have no choice but to be anti-socialist because I am pro-human and it is easy to see the terrible impact socialist dictators have on a society.

 That being said, I am hugely pro philanthropy and believe in the need for a social safety net because nobody gets to choose where they are born or who their parents are. Some people need help and won’t get it unless outsiders step in and lend a hand.

 But it is the system of capitalism that generates the surpluses that make philanthropy and a social safety net possible.

 Regarding foreign investment, I have seen this done well and done poorly. When we used to sell replacement parts to the maintenance department of the biggest gold mine in the world, in Cajamarca, Peru, we got a firsthand look at foreign investment done shabbily.

 The mine was primarily owned by Newmont Corporation, a multinational corporation based out of Colorado. To make a long story short, they were blatant about showing their disregard for the feelings of the local community.

 They went about their business in a heavy-handed way and essentially gave the middle finger to the people of Cajamarca when they complained about certain objectionable business practices. Even so, it is undeniable that the mine has provided humungous economic benefits to the city of Cajamarca.

When we started doing business there twenty years ago, it was a sleepy mountain town of less than 100,000 inhabitants. I was just there, and it is now a bustling mountain metropolis of approximately 300,000.  

 And of course, you can use our company as an example of foreign investment carried out properly. Had our company not showed up, and had we not spent our savings, our capital, to build a cacao processing facility and to buy cacao at far above market prices, several hundred families would be worse off today.

Unlike Newmont, we’ve been intensely focused on never alienating our cacao farm partners and doing everything we can to intertwine ourselves into the community.

 Here is something that Peru and the United States both have in common as of today. Both are relatively free places and have relatively free economies. If the United States has certain advantages in material prosperity, I believe it can be chalked up to the fact that we’ve embraced a better system for a longer time.

 But an American in Peru will certainly appreciate the free nature of the country.

 And that is precisely why Venezuelans are making their way there, even though they aren’t living up to their end of the bargain by helping to perpetuate peace and freedom.

 I am running out of space for now.

 Thank you so much for giving me a moment of your time today. 

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!