More poignant thoughts on Venezuela’s crisis by Joel Hirst.
After viewing more pictures today of thousands standing in food lines, only to be told there is no food, with families that literally have nothing on their shelves or in their fridges, I can’t help but wish I could go back to my days in Venezuela and raise the warning cry louder.
When King Leopold of Belgium seized the Congo he was after a colony – he was after wealth and prestige in the halls of power in Europe. He never even visited Congo; it didn’t matter. He didn’t care; didn’t need to know; didn’t feel it had any importance. What he did need – rubber. Before synthetics, rubber came from trees in the orient; in Congo it came from vines. It was Leopold’s ticket to immense riches; and consequently the Belgian thirst for rubber was insatiable. A wise steward bleeds a rubber vine slowly, so as not to kill it. But Belgians wanted more, greater amounts than the vines could not provide. If the villagers did not have full buckets when the Force Publique, the feared mercenaries came through they would receive the ultimate punishment. It was the Belgians who invented the chopping of hands. Out of fear the balance…
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