The turmoil happening in Venezuela while definitely extreme is not totally unique when the extremeness of the situation is removed. A less extreme but potentially more explosive situation is occurring right now in Sudan. Most of us are somewhat familiar with Sudan with the southern portion of it becoming a separate nation in July of 2011. This made South Sudan the first new country to come into existence in Africa since Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993. But as of this moment, the Sudanese Military is in the middle of a tense standoff with civilian protesters after deposing longtime leader Omar al-Bashir. In this episode of Lessons from the Screen we are going to be talking about what’s going on in Sudan and how we got here.
LftS: Measles and Vaccines
In 2000 the US declared itself Measles free. Thanks to a measles vaccine that had proven to be very effective at preventing the spread of the disease, measles went from infecting 3 to 4 million people per year to infecting less than 100 in 2005. But the disease won’t fully go away and the numbers of the infected have begun to rise. We are currently experiencing outbreaks of various levels in more than 25 states some of which have declared a state of emergency. In this episode of Lessons from the Screen we are going to be getting into what the measles is, what it can do to you, and why it isn’t going away.
In February of 2019 Larry Charles produced a docuseries on exploring comedy in various places around the world. While the written show description mentions him traveling to china russia and various other places, I will say right here that I only recall him going to Africa, the Middle East, and the US. But despite that, the 4 episode series did take a look at some interesting places and some interesting concepts. In this episode of Lessons from the Screen, we are going to be talking about Larry Charles Dangerously Funny.
In 2001 Venezuela was the richest nation in South America largely on the back of its oil production. It boasts the largest oil reserves in the world and for a period it was a shining example of what some would call socialism, others would call democratic socialism, others would call a government taking care of its people, others would call a government covering corruption and nepotism, and others would call a nation headed for disaster. And while in some form or another all of those people would be right, it can’t be denied that the country had cut its poverty in half, raised its literacy rates, raised the quality of life for its people, and in general was a better nation than it had been.
All of that is a far cry from where the country is now. A country that has seen more than 3 million of its 30 million people fleeing as refugees. A country with an inflation level currently at 2.6 million percent (and expected to reach 10 million percent at some point this year if things continue). A country that has had to change its currency 3 times in the last 10 years to combat inflation. Which you’d have to do if a 99 cent pack of gum all of a sudden cost $25,000 which is roughly what 2.6 million percent inflation looks like (for further reference, imagine that same $1 pack of gum costing $100,000 and you are now thinking about 10 million percent inflation). A country that has 2 presidents fighting for power and has become another staging ground for the ongoing standoffs between China, the US, and Russia. In 2017 some sources say that the average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds of body weight and 90% of the people live in poverty. On this episode of lessons from the screen we are going to be talking Venezuela, how did we get here, and what can we learn from it.
Sources (not all sources used were listed):
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