2023年5月11日 星期四

Ferraris and Hungry Children: Venezuela’s Socialist Vision in Shambles 法拉利與飢童:委內瑞拉社會主義願景一團亂

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2023/05/12 第432期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Ferraris and Hungry Children: Venezuela's Socialist Vision in Shambles 法拉利與飢童:委內瑞拉社會主義願景一團亂
Sunak's Pivot Away From 'Global Britain' Makes Friends on World Stage 誇口「全球化英國」的年代後 務實首相達成協議
Ferraris and Hungry Children: Venezuela's Socialist Vision in Shambles 法拉利與飢童:委內瑞拉社會主義願景一團亂
文/Isayen Herrera,Frances Roble


In the capital, a store sells Prada purses and a 110-inch television for $115,000. Not far away, a Ferrari dealership has opened, while a new restaurant allows well-off diners to enjoy a meal seated atop a giant crane overlooking the city.


"When was the last time you did something for the first time?" the restaurant's host boomed over a microphone to excited customers as they sang along to a Coldplay song.


This is not Dubai or Tokyo, but Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, where a socialist revolution once promised equality and an end to the bourgeoisie.


Venezuela's economy imploded nearly a decade ago, prompting a huge outflow of migrants in one of worst crises in modern Latin American history. Now there are signs the country is settling into a new, disorienting normality, with everyday products easily available, poverty starting to lessen — and surprising pockets of wealth arising.


That has left the socialist government of authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro presiding over an improving economy as the opposition is struggling to unite and as the United States has scaled back oil sanctions that helped decimate the country's finances.


Conditions remain dire for a huge portion of the population, and while the hyperinflation that crippled the economy has moderated, prices still triple annually, among the worst rates in the world.


But with the government's ease of restrictions on the use of U.S. dollars to address Venezuela's economic collapse, business activity is returning to what was once the region's wealthiest nation.


As a result, Venezuela is increasingly a country of haves and have-nots, and one of the world's most unequal societies, according to Encovi, a respected national poll by the Institute of Economic and Social Research of the Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas.


Maduro has boasted that the economy grew by 15% last year over the previous year and that tax collections and exports also rose — though some economists stress that the economy's growth is misleading because it followed years of huge declines.


For the first time in seven years, poverty is decreasing: Half of the nation lives in poverty, down from 65% in 2021, according to the Encovi poll.


But the survey also found that the wealthiest Venezuelans were 70 times richer than the poorest, putting the country on par with some countries in Africa that have the highest rates of inequality in the world.


Sunak's Pivot Away From 'Global Britain' Makes Friends on World Stage 誇口「全球化英國」的年代後 務實首相達成協議
文/Mark Landler

誇口「全球化英國」的年代後 務實首相達成協議

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain has mothballed his predecessors' projects, large and small, from Liz Truss' trickle-down tax cuts to Boris Johnson's revamped royal yacht. But one of Sunak's most symbolic changes since taking over as prime minister five months ago has received less attention: retiring the slogan "Global Britain."


No longer does the phrase, a swashbuckling relic of Britain's debate over its post-Brexit role, feature in speeches by Cabinet ministers or in the government's updated military and foreign policy blueprint released last Monday.


In its place, Sunak has hashed out workmanlike deals on trade and immigration with Britain's nearest neighbors — France and the rest of the European Union. In the process, analysts and diplomats said, he has begun, for the first time since Britain's departure from the European Union, to chart a realistic role on the global stage.


Global Britain, as propounded by Johnson, was meant to evoke a Britain, unshackled from Brussels, that could be agile and opportunistic, a lightly regulated, free-trading powerhouse. In practice, it came to symbolize a country with far-fetched ambitions and, under Johnson, a habit of squabbling with its neighbors.


Sunak has changed all of that, with a pragmatic approach that, to some extent, reflects his button-down, technocratic style.


But a leader's style matters, and on the world stage Sunak's no-bombast approach is paying eye-catching dividends.


In the past few weeks, he has struck a deal with Brussels on trade in Northern Ireland, eased years of Brexit-related tensions with France, inaugurated the next phase of a submarine alliance with Australia and the United States and announced 11 billion pounds in increased military spending over the next five years, cementing Britain's role as a leading supplier of weapons to Ukraine.


"It's too early to say whether Sunak has found a role for post-Brexit Britain," said Peter Westmacott, who served as Britain's ambassador to France and to the United States. "But he has banished the much-ridiculed 'Global Britain' Johnsonian slogan, preferring to under-promise and over-deliver. He's also moved fast to fix some of the obstacles to better relations with our partners."



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