Dog Brothers Public Forum

HOME | PUBLIC FORUM | MEMBERS FORUM | INSTRUCTORS FORUM | TRIBE FORUM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 17, 2017, 06:22:51 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
104224 Posts in 2390 Topics by 1091 Members
Latest Member: Phorize
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 16
1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Court Throws Out Venezuela's Diosdado Cabello Lawsuit Against WSJ on: August 16, 2017, 08:26:09 PM
BREAKING: US Court Throws Out Venezuela's Diosdado Cabello Lawsuit Against Wall Street Journal

NEW YORK -- A Federal Judge in Manhattan has dismissed a libel lawsuit brought by Venezuela political leader Diosdado Cabello against the Wall Street Journal.

Cabello, a Venezuela political leader and former military leader, is one of the most powerful politicians in Venezuela. He has served as Vice President, President of the country's parliament as well as in a variety of other positions. Cabello participated with Hugo Chavez in the failed coup d'état of February 1992, leading four tanks to attack Miraflores, the Presidential Palace. He was jailed for two years before being released after President Rafael Caldera pardoned him.

"Cabello alleges that Dow Jones published a defamatory article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub," wrote U.S. Federal District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest, dismissing the suit. "For the reasons set forth below, Cabello has failed to adequately plead material falsity as to most challenged statements and actual malice as to all challenged statements."

"Plaintiff has failed to make out a prima facie case of libel and his second amended complaint is therefore DISMISSED. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the motion ... terminate this action," concluded Forrest.


The Wall Street Journal "caused, and continues to cause, enormous damage to Mr. Cabello's reputation and good name, both personally and in his capacity as a key member of Venezuela's National Assembly," the suit filed in May 2016 alleged, adding that Cabello suffered "substantial economic damages" as a result of the article's publication.

The story was part of an attack by "North American imperialism" against Venezuela, Cabello claimed.

Cabello's lawsuit claimed that he was a "devout husband and father of four," a "distinguished Venezuelan politician," and "high-ranking member of the military."


Earlier this week, after journalists began noticing increased security personnel around U.S. Senator Marco Rubio over the last month, The Miami Herald reported that law enforcement had intelligence indicating that Cabello had allegedly initiated an assassination plot against Rubio.

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2441851&CategoryId=10717

2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Armed Venezuelan soldiers caught in Guyana begging for food on: August 16, 2017, 08:18:59 PM
Armed Venezuelan soldiers caught in Guyana begging for food
BY JIM WYSS
jwyss@miamiherald.com
AUGUST 15, 2017 3:31 PM

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
A handful of Venezuelan soldiers — armed and in uniform — were caught in neighboring Guyana last week begging for food, local police reported, another sign of Venezuela’s deepening hunger crisis.

Guyanese Police Inspector Christopher Humphrey said he’d gone to the border along the Amacuro river, which divides the two nations, to investigate reports that the Venezuelan military was stealing food from locals. But the three soldiers he encountered — two carrying military assault rifles — said they had come to beg for meals and hadn’t harmed anyone.

Humphrey said the men had crossed into Guyana on a wooden raft and seemed genuinely hungry.

“They were desperate,” he told the Miami Herald. “They were here for some time and they showed me a can of sardines and the place where they had cooked it over a fire.”

Hunger is on the rise in Venezuela, amid triple-digit inflation and the government’s inability to import basic goods. And neighboring Colombia, Brazil and Guyana have seen a spike in Venezuelans looking for food.

Venezuela’s armed forces — which are key to propping up the Nicolás Maduro administration — have always been perceived to have easier access to basic goods. Lately, though, there have been growing but uncorroborated reports of soldiers going hungry, particularly at far-flung border outposts.

Venezuela’s military is under intense scrutiny for signs that its support for Maduro might be eroding. In July, a rogue police inspector lobbed grenades onto the Supreme Court from a helicopter, which did not result in injuries.

And on Aug. 6, former National Guard Capt. Juan Caguaripano announced he was launching a military revolt named “Operation David” to “rescue the country from total destruction.” A week later, authorities said they had detained him and other “ringleaders.”

That soldiers would cross into Guyana is telling. The two nations have been locked in a centuries-old border dispute over a swath of Guyanese territory known as the Esequibo and are not on good terms. In 2015, as tensions escalated, Venezuela sent troops and antiaircraft missiles to the border.

Humphrey said he thinks the men learned that they can’t count on crossing the border for food.

“But that doesn’t mean some other set [of soldiers] won’t come back,” he said.

FOLLOW JIM WYSS ON TWITTER @JIMWYSS

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article167335697.html

3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Venezuela’s PDVSA Profit Disappears on: August 13, 2017, 11:51:25 PM
Venezuela’s PDVSA Profit Disappears as Oil Output Drops Amidst Chaos

Six weeks past the deadline and late on a Friday night, Venezuela's state oil company releases devastatingly bad financial results

By Vanessa Dezem in Sao Paulo
& Michelle F. Davis in Mexico City

Profit at state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela SA plummeted almost 90 percent last year amid declining output and a drop in oil prices, a new blow for a country rocked by political and economic chaos.

Net income declined 88.7 percent to $828 million in 2016 as production fell 10 percent to 2.57 million barrels per day, according to PDVSA’s annual financial statement published on its website. Average oil prices in Venezuela declined to $35.15 per barrel from about $45 per barrel in 2015.

Venezuela and PDVSA are under intense scrutiny from investors as U.S. sanctions against key government officials and a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro threaten to disrupt financial flows. Prices for government and PDVSA bonds have tumbled in recent weeks amid concerns that Maduro’s actions will trigger more severe measures against the oil-producing nation that may choke off its ability to repay debt.

The profit slump was "quite a dramatic fall," said Russ Dallen, managing partner at Caracas Capital Markets. “PDVSA was the golden goose of Venezuela and what these financials tell us is that these guys are killing it."

Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s $1.1 billion of dollar-denominated bonds that mature in November of this year fell 1.1 percent to 86.8 cents on the dollar Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Press representatives for PDVSA didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and email seeking comment outside of normal business hours.

Oil Prices

PDVSA was obligated under rules for its bonds due in 2020 to provide audited financial reports for last year by the end of June, but asked bond investors for a temporary waiver from the requirements until Aug. 11.

PDVSA’s exports slumped 9.7 percent to 2.2 million barrels per day. Maduro’s regime has set a $3.2 billion plan to boost output by 250,000 barrels a day within 30 months.

Faced with persistently low oil prices, Venezuela -- which has the world’s largest reserves and depends on crude sales for 95 percent of its export revenue -- has been plagued with shortages of everything from toilet paper to antibiotics and food. With the government running out of money to pay for imports and interest payments on foreign debt, it has turned, in part, to asset sales to raise whatever cash it can.

The nation is also dealing with increasing tensions with the U.S, which has imposed a series of sanctions on people associated with Maduro, freezing their assets in the U.S. and blocking anyone in the U.S. from doing business with them. On Friday, Trump said he’s considering a military option in response to the political and economic crisis in Venezuela.

The latest numbers give bondholders more clarity on the gravity of the state oil company’s financial situation. PDVSA has $3.2 billion in bond principal and interest payments due for the rest of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

PDVSA may struggle to cover that, Dallen said. “They’re going to have to either borrow more money from the Russians or the Chinese or sell assets." Bloomberg

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2441695&CategoryId=10718
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / lots of oil on: August 13, 2017, 11:46:15 PM
About the "faja petrolifera del orinoco," the Washington Times quote is not very accurate:

Quote
Unlike light and sweet crude from Saudi Arabia, oil from Orinoco is tarlike. It is laced with metals and sits beneath deep jungles. Getting to the oil field means building roads, electrical-power grids and other major infrastructure. Once the oil is extracted from the ground, it is technically difficult to process.

It's not "deep jungles" but "tropical grassland plain."

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1nBSwM20iUwD9M_DpUJz-hfQUt_I&hl=en&ll=8.336279895769088%2C-64.87012262500002&z=7

Conventional oil has been produced for over 50 years north of the Orinoco belt between the towns of Anaco and El Tigre and shipped north to Puerto La Cruz by pipeline for processing and export. The additional challenges of the Orinoco belt are extraction and processing, not access.

Quote
Los Llanos in Venezuela

Los Llanos (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈʎanos], locally [ˈʝanos], "The Plains") is a vast tropical grassland plain situated to the east of the Andes in Colombia and Venezuela, in northwestern South America. It is an ecoregion of the flooded grasslands and savannas biome.

The Llanos' main river is the Orinoco, which forms part of the border between Colombia and Venezuela and is the major river system of Venezuela.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Llanos_(South_America)
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 02, 2017, 01:07:06 PM
If Venezuela Were Stable
Aug 2, 2017

By Allison Fedirka

Sorry, Crafty_Dog, Allison Fedirka is lame and should get her head out of her geopolitical hole.

Try this for size:

Why was Venezuela the most prosperous and stable country of Latin America during the 50s, 60s, and 70s?
5 Answers
Juan Pérez, Forty happy years in Venezuela - then 10 more around the world
Answered Aug 21, 2016
I’m glad you’ve asked this question!

For people under 40’s or whom never heard or read about Venezuela in the 50’s, 60’s or 70´s (or simply have just forgotten) it might difficult to imagine that Venezuela was on those years the BEST country to live in all South America - and even better than many European countries. You can see for example a spectacular photo reportage by American photographer Cornell Cappa from LIFE magazine in 1953 in Caracas - then known as “the capital of the opportunities in South America”: FOTOS | Así de hermosa era la Caracas de 1953 según LIFE.



More, MUCH MORE, at  https://www.quora.com/Why-was-Venezuela-the-most-prosperous-and-stable-country-of-Latin-America-during-the-50s-60s-and-70s


I arrived in Venezuela in 1946 and I'm an eyewitness to much of this story. I even had a part to play in the nationalization of the Orinoco deepwater channel which was operated by US Steel. The story about Arturo Uslar Pietry is incomplete. Here is the rest of it:

August 6, 2006
Uslar Pietri, Venezuelan Democracy's Undertaker

Arturo Uslar Pietri was considered one of the leading Venezuelan intellectuals of the 20th century. He certainly was entertaining and educational on TV where he addressed his "invisible friends." He was also a failed politician who ran for president and lost badly. Carlos Andrés Perez (CAP) was of the opinion that, having failed to reach power via elections, Uslar Pietri was trying to reach a position of power through machination.

More at http://softwaretimes.com/files/uslar%20pietri,%20venezuelan%20d.html
6  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Politica on: August 02, 2017, 01:04:46 PM
If Venezuela Were Stable
Aug 2, 2017

By Allison Fedirka

Sorry, Crafty_Dog, Allison Fedirka is lame and should get her head out of her geopolitical hole.

Try this for size:

Why was Venezuela the most prosperous and stable country of Latin America during the 50s, 60s, and 70s?
5 Answers
Juan Pérez, Forty happy years in Venezuela - then 10 more around the world
Answered Aug 21, 2016
I’m glad you’ve asked this question!

For people under 40’s or whom never heard or read about Venezuela in the 50’s, 60’s or 70´s (or simply have just forgotten) it might difficult to imagine that Venezuela was on those years the BEST country to live in all South America - and even better than many European countries. You can see for example a spectacular photo reportage by American photographer Cornell Cappa from LIFE magazine in 1953 in Caracas - then known as “the capital of the opportunities in South America”: FOTOS | Así de hermosa era la Caracas de 1953 según LIFE.



More, MUCH MORE, at  https://www.quora.com/Why-was-Venezuela-the-most-prosperous-and-stable-country-of-Latin-America-during-the-50s-60s-and-70s


I arrived in Venezuela in 1946 and I'm an eyewitness to much of this story. I even had a part to play in the nationalization of the Orinoco deepwater channel which was operated by US Steel. The story about Arturo Uslar Pietry is incomplete. Here is the rest of it:

August 6, 2006
Uslar Pietri, Venezuelan Democracy's Undertaker

Arturo Uslar Pietri was considered one of the leading Venezuelan intellectuals of the 20th century. He certainly was entertaining and educational on TV where he addressed his "invisible friends." He was also a failed politician who ran for president and lost badly. Carlos Andrés Perez (CAP) was of the opinion that, having failed to reach power via elections, Uslar Pietri was trying to reach a position of power through machination.

More at http://softwaretimes.com/files/uslar%20pietri,%20venezuelan%20d.html
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: July 22, 2017, 08:59:11 PM
Quote
The tangible real world effects of marijuana legalization seen firsthand aren't exactly as benign as promised.

Neither is smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. That's not the point. The point is that the war on drugs is pointless. As pointless as Prohibition was but some people just never learn. Anyone who expects humanity to be a bunch of saints is plain crazy. The best we can expect is to keep these things moderately under control.

The current state of the war on drugs is that it is not working because addicts still can buy the stuff, distribution is out of control, jails are full, and the bad guys are making a killing. What's to like? The war on drugs is an UTTER FAILURE. Typical political solution, if it does not work do more of it until it does. Like body count in Vietnam.
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: July 22, 2017, 04:35:45 PM
Quote
So, what should the US do?

Legalizing and regulating drugs (like alcohol and tobacco) would be a good start. It would bankrupt the Venezulean military, the word's leading drug cartel.

Prohibition didn't work and neither does the war on drugs. It just makes bad people rich.
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: July 22, 2017, 04:19:39 PM
Quote
The measures under discussion are similar to those imposed against Tehran

which did NOT topple the Teheran government, they just made people suffer more.
10  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Politica on: July 22, 2017, 04:18:51 PM
Quote
The measures under discussion are similar to those imposed against Tehran

which did NOT topple the Teheran government, they just made people suffer more.

ese tipo de sanción no derroca gobierno, solo hace sufrir mas al pueblo.
11  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Leopoldo López tendrá casa por cárcel on: July 08, 2017, 07:53:01 AM
El Tribunal Supremo de [IN]justicia no hace nada que no le ordene el presidente Maduro. Solo son pretensiones de democracia que no existe hoy día en Venezuela.


Leopoldo López tendrá casa por cárcel


Leopoldo López

La Sala Penal del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) dictó casa por cárcel para el dirigente opositor Leopoldo López, quien permanecía en prisión militar en Ramo Verde desde 2014.

El TSJ declaró que la medida fue otorgada "por problemas de salud". Además, el máximo ente del Poder Judicial explicó que la medida humanitaria fue tomada "en virtud que existían serios señalamientos de irregularidades sobre la distribución del expediente a un Tribunal de Ejecución, asimismo y en virtud de información recibida sobre la situación de salud del dirigente político".

http://globovision.com/article/liberado-leopoldo-lopez
 
12  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Leopoldo López de la carcel a arresto domiciliario on: July 08, 2017, 07:42:24 AM
¿Que pretenderá Maduro con esta concesión?


El opositor venezolano Leopoldo López sale de la cárcel


El dirigente opositor venezolano Leopoldo López en el momento de entregarse a los miembros de la Guardia Nacional

- López continúa en arresto domiciliario, ha informado su abogado: "Leopoldo López está en su casa de Caracas con Lilian y sus hijos. Aún no es libre".

- Su salida de la cárcel "fortalece su liderazgo", ha añadido su abogado.

- Según el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de Venezuela, la medida de arresto domiciliario otorgada a López se ha debido a "problemas de salud".

- Su mujer pudo visitarle este viernes en prisión.

- Las reacciones de los políticos españoles a la liberación de Leopoldo López


El opositor venezolano Leopoldo López ha salido de la cárcel, según ha informado su abogado, Javier Cremades, en redes sociales. López, que llevaba encarcelado desde 2014 cumpliendo una condena de casi 14 años, ha pasado a arresto domiciliario. "Leopoldo López está en su casa de Caracas con Lilian y sus hijos. Aún no es libre, sigue bajo arresto domiciliario. Le sacaron de madrugada", ha dicho Cremades en Twitter.

"La salida de la cárcel de Leopoldo fortalece su liderazgo", ha indicado el abogado del opositor venezolano, que ha insistido en la idea de que "hay que restablecer aún todos los derechos civiles y políticos de Leopoldo López. Además quedan 300 presos políticos en mazmoras bolivarianas". Cremades ha añadido que "dar casa por cárcel  a Leopoldo López indica cuán desesperados y divididos están, una muestra de debilidad de un régimen acorralado".

Según ha informado el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) de Venezuela, la medida de arresto domiciliario otorgada a López se ha debido a "problemas de salud". "Magistrado Maikel Moreno, Presidente del TSJ, otorga medida humanitaria ajustada a Derecho a Leopoldo López el viernes 7 de julio", ha indicado el Supremo en Twitter.

López, líder del partido opositor Voluntad Popular, se encontraba en la prisión de Ramo Verde, a las afueras de Caracas, desde hace poco más de tres años. El líder opositor fue condenado en 2015 a casi catorce años de prisión por delitos de instigación pública, asociación para delinquir e incendio, en relación con los incidentes violentos registrados durante una marcha antigubernamental que había convocado en febrero de 2014.

López se entregó el 18 de febrero de ese año a las autoridades venezolanas para responder ante la Justicia. Desde entonces estaba preso en la cárcel militar de máxima seguridad Ramo Verde. La oposición, gobiernos extranjeros y organizaciones de defensa de los Derechos Humanos le han calificado de "preso político".

Su esposa, Lilian Tintori, logró este viernes visitarlo en prisión después de 32 días sin verlo y de que se filtrara hace dos semanas un vídeo en el que López gritaba desde su celda que lo estaban torturando. "Lilian, me están torturando. ¡Denuncien, denuncien! Lilian, denuncia", grita López a Tintori según se escucha en el vídeo que fue grabado desde las cercanías de la prisión.

En su papel de mediador de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur), el expresidente del Gobierno español José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, visitó varias veces en el último año a López en prisión, la última el pasado 4 de junio. En esa visita estuvo acompañado de la entonces canciller venezolana, Delcy Rodríguez, y el alcalde del municipio Libertador de Caracas, Jorge Rodríguez, ambos representantes del gobierno para el proceso de diálogo con la oposición.

Consulta popular de la oposición venezolana

Esta liberación se produce una semana antes de que se celebre el plebiscito convocado por la oposición venezolana contra el Gobierno de Nicolás Maduro, el próximo 16 de julio. En esta consulta, los ciudadanos deberán responder si aprueban o no la elección de la  Asamblea Nacional Constituyente (ANC), prevista para el 30 de julio, así como si demandan a la Fuerza Armada y a los funcionarios cumplir la actual Carta Magna y las decisiones de la Asamblea Nacional (Parlamento), controlada por la oposición.

Además, los votantes del plebiscito podrían dar el sí para que se proceda a la renovación de los Poderes Públicos, mayormente afines al Gobierno, y "a la realización de elecciones libres y transparentes, así como la conformación de un gobierno de unión nacional para restituir el orden constitucional".

El presidente del Gobierno español, Mariano Rajoy, se ha declarado en Twitter "feliz" por la liberación de López.

Por su parte, la presidenta de la Comunidad y del PP madrileño, Cristina Cifuentes, ha dado la enhorabuena a Lilian Tintori por la liberación de López.

El secretario general del PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, también ha expresado en Twitter su satisfacción por la liberación de Leopoldo López: "Hay que felicitarse porque Leopoldo pueda estar en casa con su familia, es un paso adelante. Aún quedan muchos presos polticos en Venezuela".

http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/3086033/0/leopoldo-lopez-sale-carcel-venezuela-opositor/
 
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Leopoldo Lopez to House Arrest on: July 08, 2017, 07:17:51 AM
A different version at the same link....

Venezuela Releases Political Prisoner Leopoldo Lopez to House Arrest after 3.4 Years

CARACAS -- Venezuela has released political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez to house arrest according to the nation's Supreme Court and Spain's President Rajoy.

The Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo López has left the prison of Ramo Verde.

López, who has been detained since February 2014, was released Saturday morning and has been placed under house arrest.

Venezuela's Supreme Court said that he was released for health reasons.

The new measure - house arrest - coincides with three months of intense protests against the regime of Nicolás Maduro in which 89 people have died.

López, leader of the Popular Will (VP) party and exalcalde [former mayor] of the municipality of Caracas Chacao, arrived at his house at 4:00 am local time. His release has come as a surprise, even for his family. On several occasions he had expressed, through his wife, Lilian Tintori, that the condition to leave the prison was the departure of all political prisoners. López was sentenced in 2015 to 13 years, 9 months, 7 days and 12 hours in jail, to be served at Ramo Verde military prison. Judge Susana Barreiros found him guilty of participating and instigating the 2014 demonstrations, which killed 43 people and injured hundreds.

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2439677&CategoryId=10717
 
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Leopoldo Lopez released to House Arrest on: July 08, 2017, 07:11:18 AM
This is a surprise move. I wonder what's behind it. Putting a kinder, gentler face on the tyrant?

Venezuela Releases Political Prisoner Leopoldo Lopez to House Arrest after 3.4 Years

CARACAS -- Venezuela has released political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez to house arrest according to the nation's Supreme Court and Spain's President Rajoy.

The Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo López has left the prison of Ramo Verde . López, who has been detained since February 2014, has been placed under house arrest and has been at home since Saturday morning, as confirmed by Spanish Javier Cremades, one of his lawyers. The Venezuelan opponent has returned to his home without accepting any conditions for his return, reports Cremades. The new measure - which in Venezuela is known as "house by prison" - coincides with three months of intense protests against the regime of Nicolás Maduro in which 89 people have died.
López, leader of the Popular Will (VP) party and exalcalde of the municipality of Caracas Chacao, arrived at his house at 4:00 am local time. His release has come as a surprise, even for his family. On several occasions he had expressed, through his wife, Lilian Tintori, that the condition to leave the prison was the departure of all political prisoners. López was sentenced in 2015 to 13 years, 9 months, 7 days and 12 hours in jail, to be served at Ramo Verde military prison. Judge Susana Barreiros found him guilty of participating and instigating the 2014 demonstrations, which killed 43 people and injured hundreds.
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maduro storm troopers attack congress on: July 06, 2017, 06:48:45 PM
The link to this article (at the bottom) has a video of the violence.


Maduro Supporters Storm Venezuela's Congress and Attack Opposition Lawmakers

Joshua Goodman / AP

Jul 05, 2017

(CARACAS) — Pro-government militias wielding wooden sticks and metal bars stormed congress on Wednesday, attacking opposition lawmakers during a special session coinciding with Venezuela's independence day.

Four lawmakers were injured and blood was splattered on the neoclassical legislature's white walls. One of them, Americo de Grazia, had to be removed in a stretcher while suffering from convulsions.

"This doesn't hurt as much as watching how every day how we lose a little bit more of our country," Armando Arias said from inside an ambulance as he was being treated for head wounds that spilled blood across his clothes.

The unprecedented attack, in plain view of national guardsmen assigned to protect the legislature, comes amid three months of often-violent confrontations between security forces and protesters who accuse the government of trying to establish a dictatorship by jailing foes, pushing aside the opposition-controlled legislature and rewriting the constitution to avoid fair elections.

Tensions were already high after Vice President Tareck El Aissami made an unannounced morning visit to the National Assembly, accompanied by top government and military officials, for an event celebrating independence day. The short appearance at the congress by top officials who have repeatedly dismissed the legislators as a band of U.S.-backed conspirators was seen by many as a provocation.

Standing next to a display case holding the founding charter, El Aissami said global powers are once again trying to subjugate Venezuela.

"We still haven't finished definitively breaking the chains of the empire," he said, adding that President Nicolas Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution — a move the opposition sees as a power-grab — offers Venezuela the best chance to be truly independent.

After he left, dozens of government supporters set up a picket outside the building, heckling lawmakers with menacing chants and eventually invading the legislature themselves. The siege only lifted after seven nerve-wracking hours when police set up a corridor to allow the hundreds of people trapped inside the legislature, including lawmakers and journalists, to leave.

The brazen attack on one of the symbols of Venezuela's already limping democracy drew widespread international rebuke.

"This violence, perpetrated during the celebration of Venezuela's independence, is an assault on the democratic principles cherished by the men and women who struggled for Venezuela's independence 206 years ago today," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Despite the violence, lawmakers approved a plan by the opposition to hold a symbolic referendum on July 16 that would give voters the chance to reject Maduro's plans to draft a new political charter.

Later Maduro condemned the violence, but complained that the opposition doesn't do enough to control "terrorist attacks" committed against security forces by anti-government protesters.

"I will never be an accomplice to acts of violence," said Maduro during a speech at a military parade.

The clash followed Tuesday's appearance of two short videos by a former police inspector who allegedly stole a helicopter and fired on two government buildings last week.

Oscar Perez, repeating a call for rebellion among the security forces, said that he was in Caracas after abandoning the helicopter along the Caribbean coast and was ready for the "second phase" of his campaign to free his homeland from what he called the corrupt rule of Maduro and his "assassin" allies.

Perez gave no other details but pledged to join youth who have been protesting on the streets the past three months against Maduro.

"Stop talking. Get on the streets. Take action. Fight," he said in the video, sitting before a Venezuelan flag and with what looks like an assault rifle by his side. He also denounced Maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution.

"If this constitutional assembly goes through, Venezuela will cease to exist because we'll have given away the country to the Cubans," he said.

Hours later, another video appeared in which he urged Venezuelans to march on a Caracas military base, not the presidential palace, to locate and remove Maduro along with the ruling elite.

The bold though largely harmless June 27 attack shocked Venezuelans who had grown accustomed to almost-daily clashes since April between often-violent youth protesters and security forces that have left more than 90 people dead and hundreds injured.

Perez apparently piloted the stolen police helicopter that sprayed 15 bullets toward the Interior Ministry and dropped at least two grenades over the supreme court building.

While Maduro claimed Perez had stolen the helicopter on a U.S.-backed mission to oust him from power, many in the opposition questioned whether the incident was a staged by the government to distract attention from the president's increasingly authoritarian rule.

Adding to the intrigue is Perez's colorful past.

In 2015, he produced and starred in a film called "Suspended Death," and several photos show him in fatigues, scuba diving while toting an assault rifle, skydiving and standing in action poses with a German shepherd by his side. In his political debut, he read a manifesto in which he claimed to be part of a group of disgruntled members of Venezuela's security forces determined to save the country's democracy.Perez said in the video that the strike produced no casualties because he had taken care to avoid them. Neither of the buildings he attacked suffered damage. The helicopter he stole was found 24 hours later, abandoned in a verdant valley near the Caribbean coastline outside Caracas.

http://time.com/4846542/venezuela-government-supporters-opposition-lawmakers-attack/
 
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: July 06, 2017, 06:45:12 PM
Denny:

May I ask you to keep this thread current as well?

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=727.400

Thank you,
Marc

PS:  How are YOU doing in the midst of all this?

The other board is in Spanish and it's hard to find Spanish language news because there is a lot of local censorship.

I'm doing just fine. Having hard currency makes it easy to keep up with inflation and having lived most of my life in Caracas I know my city well and I know where to go and where not to go. My dad bought a house near where I live back in 1948, almost 70 years ago. I live in a middle class development that is of little interest to politicians and thieves so it's kind of quiet but quite close to the action. The political activity is fairy well localized to certain streets and buildings but it could erupt into more general mayhem. It will have to happen sooner or later because these guys are not going to go quietly.
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: captainccs -question on: July 06, 2017, 07:06:39 AM
what do you think is the end game here?

any way to predict?

Sadly, the safe bet is for the status quo to continue. I hope I'm wrong. Next to a true civilian uprising, which I see as unlikely, the other factor that could topple the government is national bankruptcy which is likely with oil under $50 a barrel. A more remote possibility is an uprising of "young turks" in the military.

March 31, 2017
Democracy by Consent of the Military

For a democracy to work all parties have to accept the rules of the game. A most telling example is that the British call (or called?) the opposition "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition." The elephant in the china shop is the military, a good reason for the secretary of defense and the commander in chief to be civilians. arepaArepa, the Venezuelan cornmeal breadIn Venezuela both rules are broken. Some sixty years ago the then leader of the majority party asked his followers who their most dangerous enemy was. He got a chorus of standard replies "The Yankees, the capitalists.!" "Wrong! Our biggest danger comes from the military" was his reply. From that meeting sprang up the policy known as "el bozal de arepa" (the bread muzzle). Politicians would allow the military to buy as many toys as needed to keep them happy and in their forts. In Venezuela the secretary of defense has always been a general and this separations of powers broke down completely when Chavez, a military commander, won the presidency. Venezuela has been a de-facto military dictatorship since 1998.

Why am I making the above emphasis? Because the President of the National Assembly last night practically begged the military to side with the opposition. The fly in the ointment is that the "bozal de arepa" has been made so extensive that the military now controls the most lucrative activities in Venezuela from drug trafficking to food imports. When Maduro needed a "Tzar" to turn around the economy he didn't call on our most successful businessman (the CEO of the company that makes the Harina P.A.N. shown in the illustration) but on a general.

The dismantling of democracy started as early as 1998 when civilian gun permits were revoked in the name of public safety but with the real purpose of eliminating armed resistance by the people. A second and even more powerful blow was the packing of the Supreme Court with Chavez acolytes. The method was simple, they doubled the number of magistrates and appointed friends to the new posts. Now there was a new balance of power, a seemingly democratic one but dictatorial in practice.

This week's self-coup d'état was orchestrated with the help of the illegally packed supreme court and it will be enforced by the military. The mood in the streets is mostly how to survive another day. People have lost faith in both government and opposition.

Denny Schlesinger

http://softwaretimes.com/files/democracy+by+consent+of+th.html
 
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Constitutional Assembly on: July 06, 2017, 06:32:47 AM
A constitutional assembly is the latest ploy by Maduro to perpetuate himself and his military backers in power. The linked PDF by Caracas Capital Markets is the best analysis I've seen showing how Maduro is trying to thwart the will of the people. I have no ties to Caracas Capital Markets beyond the fact that Russ Dallen was my stock broker some 15 years ago.

Please give this document the widest circulation. It shows how a dictatorship can masquerade as a democratic regime by keeping up the appearance but thwarting the intent of democratic institutions.

Maduro’s “Hydrogen Bomb”

In the simplest Dantesque terms, Venezuela is entering a new circle of hell. For anyone concerned about Venezuela, what is now going on in Caracas represents the most important paradigm shift in the country since Chavez and sets in motion a coming inflection point and clash that is destined to become much more violent. While we have made allusions to Dante in these reports over the last year, Venezuela is now moving toward a new inflection point and into a new level of hell more closely associated with the late 18th century of Robespierre’s France rather than the 14th century of Dante’s Italy.

http://softwaretimes.com/files/venezuela+2017.pdf

19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: May 18, 2017, 06:23:53 PM
The "Poopootov" is a terrific non-lethal highly demoralizing weapon. Imagine the poor officer having to wait for hours to clean up. And tomorrow expect more "Poopootov!" Do you really want to go to work?

It's a war of attrition and we are not running low on "Poopootov" ammunition.  evil
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - Maybe they went too far (with socialism) on: May 11, 2017, 11:11:42 AM
All countries and economies have some socialism in them,

Voluntary cooperation is very useful in a well functioning society but that's not socialism. It's more in line with the original form of anarchism which was overthrown by people who though that strong leadership was required to implant socialism. Marx highjacked anarchism -- a very interesting bit of history that is mostly forgotten.

Voluntary cooperation is also aligned with altruism.

The problem with socialism is that a small group of self anointed elites tries to tell -- nay, force -- the rest of us to do as they say.
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How Venezuela ruined its oil industry on: May 09, 2017, 10:02:04 AM
I have been told that marxism is scientific.


Scientific or not it is not self sustaining. Funny thing, Marx said that capitalism wasn't self sustaining.  rolleyes

22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How Venezuela ruined its oil industry on: May 09, 2017, 09:49:41 AM
Wait, you are suggesting that socialism might not work as advertised?


The problem with altruism is that it is not self supporting.
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela news live on: May 01, 2017, 12:37:57 PM
I hope they don't know where you live.

No need to be paranoid!  grin

Some rich places are dangerous but I live in a middle class area. Thanks!
 
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Venezuela news live on: May 01, 2017, 10:02:59 AM
A group of government supporters just went by my house (11 AM local time) and they were greeted by pot-banging. There were not enough of them to fill a city block!
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 30, 2017, 10:32:24 AM
Earth has at least two poles so why not two Polars?

Founded 1941

Wikipedia - Empresas Polar

Polar website
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 30, 2017, 07:48:12 AM
Polar started out making beer but has since diversified into all sorts of foods one of the most popular being Harina  P.A.N., precooked corn meal for making arepas. They now export the stuff made in Colombia. Lorenzo Mendoza, the current head of Polar is probably the most successful Venezuelan businessman but no friend of the government. I doubt he would lead a revolt but he would probably accept an economic post in a new government.


27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / May Day Alert on: April 29, 2017, 07:06:09 PM
Monday is May Day, International Labor Day, typically a day for parades by workers and speeches by labor unions and politicians. My cousin showed me a video taken today by friends of hers of a dozen or so 18 wheelers hauling field hospitals marked "Humanitarian Aid" on the freeway through Caracas.

Are they expecting something or is this psychological warfare?

My cousin used to work for Polar. Her retirement plan includes a monthly basket of food products made by Polar. She got a call warning her that the basket will be delayed this month because the Bolivarian Circles (Chavez brown shirt thugs) vandalized their warehouse trashing what they could not haul away.

I've been saying for over a decade that we won't be rid of these vandals until there is blood in the streets. It could happen any time, the pressure is getting to be unbearable.
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why is this country starving? on: April 22, 2017, 10:13:08 PM
Why is this country starving?

Because minerals underground are not wealth.   sad
29  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / PNB ataca a opositores con gas pimienta en Los Cedros on: April 04, 2017, 01:06:21 PM
Estoy tratando de averiguar como anda la confrontación entre la Asamblea Nacional y el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia.

El centro de Caracas está trancado, sin servicio de metro. Al regresar a mi casa vi algo de los gases lagrimógenos o de  gas pimienta. El el este donde estuve esta mañana todo anda normal y en calma. El solo indicio fue los anuncios del metro de las estaciones que no están prestando servicio.



PNB ataca a opositores con gas pimienta en Los Cedros
Abr 4, 2017 9:57 am
Publicado en: Actualidad



Este martes en horas de la mañana la oposición venezolana se concentra en Los Cedros, en la avenida Libertador para emprender marcha hasta la Asamblea Nacional donde comenzarán el proceso de remoción de los magistrados del TSJ.

Efectivos de la Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB) lanzaron gas pimienta a los manifestantes para intentar dispersarlos.

A través de la red social Twitter se dio a conocer la noticia, asimismo reportaron que la PNB no permitirá ningún tipo de concentración.

El concejal de Chacao, Alfredo Jimeno infomó que un grupo de diputados fue rociado con gas pimienta en la avenida Libertador.

Foto: @menamary
Foto: @menamary


Ver las fotos en en artículo original

https://www.lapatilla.com/site/2017/04/04/pnb-ataca-a-opositores-con-gas-pimienta-en-la-avenida-libertador/
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maduro backs down! on: April 02, 2017, 08:45:21 PM
Back from the brink? Venezuela reverses its congressional ‘coup’ but tensions remain

BY JIM WYSS

CUENCA, ECUADOR

Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Saturday reversed a controversial decision that had stripped congress of all its powers, sparked fears of a coup and brought an anvil of international pressure down on the beleaguered socialist administration.

President Nicolás Maduro praised the court’s decision and said the “controversy had been overcome,” but the whiplash changes left many in the region uneasy — particularly since the theoretically independent court seemed to be following the president’s orders.

During an emergency meeting of the Mercosur bloc of countries Saturday, the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay issued a statement asking Venezuela to follow its own constitution and guarantee “the effective separation of powers.”

Opposition governor and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles went further, saying the court couldn’t undo the damage by issuing “clarifications.”

“You can’t resolve this coup with a ‘clarification’,” he wrote on Twitter. “Nothing is resolved.”

The firestorm began Wednesday, when the Supreme Court — stacked with ruling-party figures — declared that it was assuming all legislative functions under the premise that the opposition-controlled congress was illegitimate for being in contempt of previous court decisions.

The move raised alarms around the region as it drew comparisons to former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori’s 1992 decision to dissolve that nation’s congress. The Organization of American States has scheduled an emergency meeting Monday, several Latin American countries recalled their ambassadors and the opposition took to the streets.

The decision even opened divisions within Maduro’s usually lock-step administration, with cabinet members and high officials saying the move was a violation of the constitution.

The backlash prompted Maduro in a late-night speech to ask the courts to review their decision in order to “maintain constitutional stability.”

On Saturday, the Supreme Court complied, publishing two “clarifications” of its rulings.

Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno in a press conference Saturday reaffirmed that the court would not strip the National Assembly of its functions or deny legislators their parliamentary immunity.

However, the courts still don’t recognize the legitimacy of congress, and the administration is likely to keep ignoring lawmakers as its done since the opposition took control of the body in 2016. 

Wednesday’s contentious decision that sparked the troubles was embedded in a narrower ruling that allows the executive to sign joint-venture petroleum contracts without congressional approval.

By all accounts, the cash-strapped government needs foreign financing to make interest payments and stay afloat, and congress had threatened to block new debt. According to local media, that part of the ruling was maintained. (The Supreme Court’s website where the decisions were initially published, was offline Saturday.)

Opposition leaders celebrated their victory, transforming their planned morning protest into an outdoor political rally welcoming the move. Hundreds of people joined them at their gathering in a wealthy area of eastern Caracas.

Several high-profile opposition lawmakers cut international trips short to participate in the impromptu celebration.

But the tensions are unlikely to subside any time soon. Lawmakers have threatened to retaliate by encouraging street protests and demanding the impeachment of judges who participated in the ruling.

Late Friday, Maduro suggested the entire mess was part of a larger plot, saying the country was the victim of a “political, media and diplomatic lynching.”

“Dark forces,” he said, “want to get their hands on our Fatherland.”

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article142133004.html
31  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Golpista Maduro se echa pa'tras on: April 02, 2017, 08:17:54 PM
¡Ni pa' golpista sirve!

Por la presión internacional, Nicolás Maduro debió dar marcha atrás con su golpe de Estado

El Tribunal Supremo de Justicia emitió dos nuevas sentencias que devuelven las competencias a la Asamblea Nacional. Este viernes el mandatario pidió a la corte revisar el fallo que disolvió el Parlamento
1 de abril de 2017

El Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) de Venezuela revirtió este sábado su decisión de asumir las funciones del Parlamento de amplia mayoría opositora, anunció la corte.

En dos nuevos fallos fechados el 1 de abril, el TSJ decidió devolver las competencias legislativas a la Asamblea Nacional. Las dos sentencias, la 157 y la 158, modifican los fallos 155 y 156, con los que el Supremo ponía límites a la inmunidad parlamentaria y asumía las competencias legislativas del Parlamento, provocando un amplio rechazo internacional.

La corte anuló además la decisión que le confería al presidente Nicolás Maduro amplios poderes para legislar en materia de delincuencia organizada y terrorismo, informó la corte.

"Se suprime la cautelar (…) de dicho fallo", señaló el TSJ, en alusión a los poderes que había otorgado a Maduro para revisar leyes contra la delincuencia organizada y financiamiento al terrorismo y la corrupción, así como el código penal y el código de justicia militar.

La medida fue derogada de oficio tras un acuerdo entre los poderes públicos -excepto el Legislativo- cuyos representantes se reunieron hasta la madrugada de este sábado convocados por el presidente Nicolás Maduro, quien este viernes había pedido a la corte revisar el fallo que disolvió el Parlamento.

La propia fiscal general de Venezuela, Luisa Ortega, había calificado la decisión de los jueces de "ruptura del orden constitucional".

La sentencia 158 suprime el apartado 4.4 de la sentencia 156, que facultaba a la Sala Constitucional del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia a tomar funciones de la Asamblea Nacional.

El apartado 4.4 de la sentencia 156
El apartado 4.4 de la sentencia 156
En ese punto se leía: "Se advierte que mientras persista la situación de desacato y de invalidez de las actuaciones de la Asamblea Nacional, esta Sala Constitucional garantizará que las competencias parlamentarias sean ejercidas directamente por esta Sala o por el órgano que ella disponga, para velar por el Estado de Derecho".

La Sentencia 157 reza en cambio: "Se Aclara de Oficio la sentencia N° 155 de fecha 28 de marzo de 2017, en lo que respecta a la inmunidad parlamentaria. Se suprime dicho contenido. Se suprime la cautelar 5.1.1 de dicho fallo".

En ese fallo del martes pasado, el Tribunal Supremo declaraba que los asambleístas carecían de inmunidad por estar en desacato.

"La inmunidad parlamentaria sólo ampara (…) los actos desplegados por los diputados en ejercicio de sus atribuciones constitucionales (lo que no resulta compatible con la situación actual de desacato en la que se encuentra la Asamblea Nacional)", indicaba la sentencia, ahora anulada por la nueva decisión del tribunal.

http://www.infobae.com/america/venezuela/2017/04/01/por-la-presion-internacional-nicolas-maduro-debio-dar-marcha-atras-con-su-golpe-de-estado/
32  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / El Mercosur activa la cláusula democrática on: April 02, 2017, 08:05:15 PM
El Mercosur activa la cláusula democrática por la "falta de separación de poderes" en Venezuela

Los estados parte consideraron que el régimen de Nicolás Maduro rompió el “Orden democrático”. El lunes reiterarán su posición ante la OEA
1 de abril de 2017

La canciller argentina Susana Malcorra anunció, junto a sus pares de Uruguay, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, de Brasil, Aloysio Nunes, y de Paraguay, Eladio Loizaga, que el Mercosur activó la cláusula democrática en Venezuela por "la falta de separación de poderes" bajo el régimen de Nicolás Maduro.

El documento firmado por los cuatro cancilleres insta "al Gobierno de Venezuela a adoptar inmediatamente medidas concretas, concertadas con la oposición, para asegurar la efectiva separación de poderes, el respeto del Estado de Derecho, los derechos humanos, y el respeto de las instituciones".

Además, exhorta al régimen bolivariano a "respetar el cronograma electoral, restablecer la división de poderes y garantizar el pleno goce de los derechos humanos, las garantías individuales y las libertades fundamentales y liberar a los presos políticos".

El canciller brasileño, Aloysio Nunes, agregó que "la democracia es un pilar fundamental de la creación del Mercosur. Un país que se coloca al margen de la democracia no puede continuar a lo largo del tiempo siendo miembro del Mercosur". "Es un proceso que podría llevar a la expulsión, pero espero que no suceda", agregó.

Por su parte, Malcorra aclaró que el comienzo de la aplicación de "la cláusula democrática del Mercosur no implica la expulsión del estado involucrado. Implica un seguimiento de cerca de la situación, la búsqueda de soluciones, un diálogo, una ayuda para asegurar que los principios democráticos estén totalmente vigentes".

Respecto de la suspensión de Venezuela del Mercosur, que se confirmó el diciembre de 2016 por su incumplimiento de acuerdos económicos, Malcorra explicó que, antes de que eso sucediera, el país gobernado por Maduro "pasó por un proceso de revisión de cumpliento de sus compromisos en lo que tiene que ver en sus aspectos económicos. El Mercosur llegó a la conclusión de que no lo había hecho, y por eso se llegó a la suspensión con la expectativa de que avance en el cumpliento y su participación se restaure en su totalidad".

Malcorra diferenció esa suspensión de Venezuela por motivos económicos de esta decisión del Mercosur de comenzar el proceso de aplicación de la cláusula democrática: "En este caso estamos haciendo referencia a otros mecanismos a los cuales Venezuela sigue suscribiendo, como el tratado de asunción. Esos mecanismos son los que nos inspiran a acompañar a través de procedimientos establecidos en los protocolos".

Por último, los cuatro cancilleres confirmaron que el próximo lunes llevarán estos mismos argumentos a la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) para que ese organismo comience con el mismo proceso en paralelo, que en su caso se denomina carta democrática.

http://www.infobae.com/politica/2017/04/01/el-mercosur-activa-la-clausula-democratica-por-la-falta-de-separacion-de-poderes-en-venezuela/
33  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Discurso del diputado Julio Borges el 30 de marzo de 2017 on: March 31, 2017, 12:50:39 PM
Discurso del diputado Julio Borges, presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, el 30 de marzo de 2017.

En el hilo en inglés escribí que la democracia venezolana existe solo con la anuencia de los militares. Nótese que Julio Borges le ruega a las FFAA que se cambien de bando, del gobierno a la oposición. Es factible si la oposición les ofrece un mejor negocio. Todo gira alrededor del bozal de arepa que señaló Rómulo Betancourt hace unos sesenta años.

34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: March 31, 2017, 07:43:14 AM
Crafty Dog, I'm fine, thanks for asking! Yesterday I went for a medical checkup (doing OK) and only found out about our new troubles in the evening when I heard a very loud "cacerolazo" (people banging on pots and pans to signal their opposition to the government).


The NYT article you linked is correct as far as it goes. I haven't had a TV set in 25 years and my last radio broke down some four or five years ago. My source of information is the WWW but Venezuelan news are censored and muzzled so it takes some doing to find out what is really happening. I chanced upon the live broadcast of the President of the National Assembly explaining the issues from the opposition side's point of view. The truth is that everyone pussyfoots around the core of political reality in Venezuela,

A democracy by the consent of the military.

For a democracy to work all parties have to be willing to accept the rules of the game. A most telling example is that the British call (or called?) the opposition "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition." The elephant in the china shop is the military, a good reason for the secretary of defense and the commander in chief to be civilians. In Venezuela both rules are broken. Some sixty years ago the then leader of the majority party asked his followers who their most dangerous enemy was. He got a chorus of standard replies: the Yankees, the capitalists, etc. "Wrong! Our biggest danger comes from the military" was his reply. From that meeting sprang up the policy known as "el bozal de arepa" (the bread muzzle). Politicians would allow the military to buy as many toys as needed to keep them happy and in their forts. In Venezuela the secretary of defense has always been a general and this separations of powers broke down completely when Chavez, a military commander, won the presidency. Venezuela has been a de-facto military dictatorship since 1998.

Why am I making the above emphasis? Because the President of the National Assembly last night practically begged the military to side with the opposition. The fly in the ointment is that the "el bozal de arepa" has been made so extensive that the military now controls the most lucrative activities in Venezuela from drug trafficking to food imports. When Maduro needed a "Tzar" to turn around the economy he didn't call on our most successful businessman but on a general.

The dismantling of the democracy started as early as 1998 when civilian gun permits were revoked in the name of public safety but with the real purpose of eliminating armed resistance by the people. A second and even more powerful blow was the packing of the Supreme Court with Chavez acolytes. The method was simple, they doubled the number of magistrates and appointed friends to the new posts. Now there was a new balance of power, a seemingly democratic one but dictatorial in practice.

This latest coup d'état was orchestrated with the help of the illegally packed supreme court and it will be enforced by the military. The mood in the streets is mostly how to survive another day. People have lost faith in both government and opposition.
 

35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: February 19, 2017, 10:29:59 AM
Is it any wonder that the people who hate Trump love Obama and Clinton?

Last night I watched Trump's press conference. It was the first time I saw a POTUS taking on the press no holds barred. Trump is a breath of fresh air in Washington.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: November 03, 2016, 09:45:22 AM
Also, it's good to have a firsthand account of what is happeneing in Venezuela captianccs, thank you. It interests me a great deal, because here too, there have been things that have been going on, and Mexico is socialist in nature, and I'm not certain that we're not all that far behind you, especially with the American elections looming, the importance of the American economy here in Mexico... strange days indeed.

Show me a country in America (pole to pole) that's not socialist/populist to some point or other. It's just that some are more to the left than others but all recur to markets to save them when they have screwed the economy sufficiently.  cheesy


Quote
I am curious though, are people as a whole, accustomed to violence in Venezuela, as far as having become desensitized to it, as with here?

What I know about Mexican violence is what I read in the news and good news is not news. From what I have read it seems to me that Mexican violence is mostly drug cartel wars and who the hell cares if they kill each other? Venezuelan news are highly censored, it's a crime to speak badly about the Glorious Revolution (shades of the former Soviet Union?). Based on what I observe, it seems to me that Venezuelan violence is more petty crime related although there is a lot of it.

BTW, when I read American news on Yahoo it seems that all white cops do is kill blacks and all men do is grope and rape women.

I make it a practice to walk the streets of Caracas, of "MY PART" of Caracas and to ride the subway. During the years I have been doing it I have not had any major incident. My cousin keeps telling me how dangerous it is. I learned a long time ago that this is not a city where you want to be ostentatious. And the people I meet during my walks are mostly rather pleasant. I don't think this headline would be of interest:

Old Man Walks the Streets of Caracas and No Harm Comes to Him.

Denny Schlesinger
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: November 01, 2016, 06:44:59 AM
Stratfor is talking bullshit!

Should the Supreme Court uphold the state courts' decisions,

It's a given that the rubber stamp court will do the government's bidding. It's a given that talks with the government only help the government, remember Jimmy Carter talking with Chavez after the election he came to observe? It's been 18 years that the so called opposition leaders have been totally useless. Forget about a political change in government, the buggers are going to die of old age like the Castro brothers and most other dictators.

Chamberlain talked, Nero fiddled, and neither solved the problems. We have 18 years of experience in the opposition's impotence.

BTW, did Stratfor mention the the pope is a Peronista or at last a sympathizer? Hitler also made a pact with the Vatican....

People might be sick and tired of the government but the people are not willing to rise up to gain their independence. Just last week I had a talk with a mother who said exactly the same thing that a mother said to me in 2004, "I don't want my children killed." Ask Crafty Dog why he took up martial arts. It was the need to use force in dire circumstances!

PDVSA just paid their bonds. The government knows who needs to be appeased and it's not the people. On the other hand, the formal economy disrupted by the Chavistas is being replaced by an informal one. Branded coffee is nowhere to be seen but homemade coffee is to be had in many places. Branded household products like detergents are not to be seen but a store near my home sells all manner of them, just bring your own container. During the Weimar Republic my family was selling wine wholesale in Berlin, just bring your own bottle. What else is new?

The government is letting the economy work well enough that the people are not ready to take up arms. And soldiers on the streets are dressed in very clean, shiny and brand new uniforms -- just in case. Make no mistake, this is a military dictatorship and, at least in my view, Maduro and his gang are just puppets.
 
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: October 04, 2016, 10:57:20 AM
In country after country people don't trust the establishment, that's why you have Trump and Brexit and a rejection of a bad deal with FARC. Expect some upsets in the upcoming EU polls.

Politics is too important to leave to politicians.

Denny Schlesinger
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: A socialist internet friend proffers this - to excuse socialist failure on: September 05, 2016, 06:58:51 AM
Quote
The story of Chile’s success starts in the mid-1970s, when Chile’s military government abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms. In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy. Venezuela, in the meantime, declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013 (Human Progress does not have data for the notoriously unfree North Korea).

Last week I watched Thom Hartmann talk about "The Crash of 2016." In the Q&A he was asked about libertarians. As part of his response he cited the deaths caused by the Chicago Boys! He is either completely ignorant about Chile, which I doubt, or a great liar. Chile was one of the few great economic successes in LatAm in the last half century. Listen to his distortions at 56:05 (last question)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=039Zh9KBCqY

--------------------------

In his own hand Thom Hartmann documents how bad he is at predicting things. Less that 120 days left for the 

The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America--and What We Can Do to Stop It
Hardcover – November 12, 2013
by Thom Hartmann  (Author)

https://www.amazon.com/Crash-2016-Plot-Destroy-America/dp/0446584835
 
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: September 04, 2016, 02:30:59 PM
Sorry, I can't read that much crap in one sitting. But I do have an observation, I like the flag the article is flying, it's our true flag with seven white stars representing the seven provinces that made up Venezuela during our war of independence. Not that piece of crap that Chavez created adding an extra star supposedly for Cuba and making the horse on the national seal look forward instead of back.

Well, the guy is dead and soon his crap revolution will be dead too.

BTW, it's long been the view south of the border that the Monroe Doctrine was not "America for the Americans" but all of America, from pole to pole, for the United States Americans. When the Argentineans invaded the Falkland Islands, Reagan didn't protect the Americans of Argentina but helped the British from across the sea. Realpolitik is here to stay. Empire is empire. Not recognizing that reality is naive. But, as I told my friends in the 1960s, we have to chose between SOBs and I'd rather deal with the Americans than with the Russians. The Cubans chose Russia and they got half a century of penury. As soon as Chavez took us down that road Venezuela collapsed. It has nothing to do with imperialism and everything to do with markets. Remember what happened when Richard Nixon regulated gasoline in response to the Arab oil embargo? Long lines and plenty of violence.

Empires protect their backyards.
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Toma de Caracas on: September 02, 2016, 11:34:12 AM
A lot of people took to the streets but Maduro is still firmly in power. How to get rid of him?

PHOTOS: Venezuelans Take To The Streets In Protest Against The Government
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Toma de Caracas on: September 01, 2016, 05:34:14 PM
The oppo read a speech.

Everyone went home.

It's raining cats and dogs.

So ends another day in Revolutionary Venezuela.

Yawn...
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Toma de Caracas on: August 31, 2016, 11:23:07 PM
The opposition has prepared a major demonstration in Caracas for today, September 1, 2016. It's not on the world news yet so I don't have English language links but for Spanish speakers...

Toma de Caracas

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=toma+de+caracas&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=gqjHV-WGH6TI8Aeyk4KgCA

Pictures of security forces supposedly on the alert

http://www.maduradas.com/culillo-a-mil-asi-esta-plaza-venezuela-a-pocas-horas-de-la-toma-de-caracas-fotos/

 
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maduro sells out to Capitalism! on: August 17, 2016, 07:52:05 AM
Every time Socialism fails they sell out to Capitalism or die.


Maduro says Venezuela signs $4.5 bln in deals that include Canadian and U.S. miners

Reuters   August 16, 2016
(Adds nationalities of companies, background)

CARACAS, Aug 16 (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that Venezuela had struck $4.5 billion in mining deals with foreign and domestic companies, part of plan to lift the OPEC nation's economy out of a deep recession causing food shortages and social unrest.

Maduro said the deals were with Canadian, South African, U.S. and Venezuelan companies, but did not specify whether contracts had been signed or just initial agreements.

The socialist leader, whose popularity hit a nine-month low in a survey published this week, said he expected $20 billion in mining investment contracts to be signed in coming days and that 60 percent of the income Venezuela received would be spent on social projects.

Maduro hit back at critics from the left who accuse him of riding roughshod over environmental rules and indigenous rights in the Orinoco mineral belt in Venezuela's south in his rush to shore up his government's precarious finances.

Venezuela has rich veins of gold and exotic minerals like cobalt, but the reserves have mostly been extracted until now by wildcat miners because of a long history of failed ventures and government intervention in the industry.

Venezuela recently settled a long-standing dispute with Canadian miner Gold Reserve over the country's giant Las Cristinas and Las Brisas concessions.

(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)


http://finance.yahoo.com/news/maduro-says-venezuela-signs-4-010428247.html

45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 01, 2016, 10:42:17 AM
How do you say "Gulag" in Spanish?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulag
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: June 02, 2016, 10:48:38 AM
Quote
It seems like CANTV is selling SPAM space (or their filters broke down).

The SPAM I'm getting via CANTV is all from top level domain .TOP and all the different domains are throw away domains created the day the SPAM was sent. Also, they all have a subdomain format (sub.domain.top) where the domain itself does not have an IP address. The accredited .TOP registrar is an outfit apparently in China.

Maybe CANTV's filters did break down or maybe China is collecting via SPAM

Quote
.Top domain apparently using spam to get to the Top
BY ANDREW ALLEMANN — FEBRUARY 18, 2015 POLICY & LAW 8 COMMENTS

New TLD registry sends spam to people who have registered other new TLDs.

[Update: See statement from the .Top registry below.]

How do you get attention for your new top level domain name in a crowded field? One new top level domain name company has apparently resorted to sending lots of unsolicited email — and likely scraping Whois to do it.

.Top is currently ranked #9 in terms of registrations, surely helped by a 99 cent price tag at some registrars. The company behind it, Jiangsu Bangning Science & Technology Co., Ltd., is also raising awareness by sending spam to people who own other domain names.
http://domainnamewire.com/2015/02/18/top-domain-apparently-using-spam-to-get-to-the-top/


Quote
Email Spammers Are Using Cheap .Top & .Pro Domains
Konstantinos Zournas  February 16, 2016

I checked the last 50 spam emails I received to see what domain names the spammers are using.

I have to say that this is not a scientific study in any way and maybe these spammers that are targeting me are using different domains than what other spammers are using. Nevertheless the results were impressing.

The domain names I found were used for the email address and the majority were also used for the websites the links in the email were pointing to.

So here are the results from 50 domains I checked:

.Top: 22 domains
.Pro: 15 domains
.Download: 6 domains
.XYZ: 2 domains
.me: 2 domains
.Net: 1 domain
.Biz: 1 domain
.Ru: 1 domain

http://onlinedomain.com/2016/02/16/opinions/email-spammers-are-using-cheap-top-pro-domains/


99 cent domain names are a mouth watering offer for spammers
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: June 01, 2016, 04:34:23 PM
Quote
What would be the best thing to  happen to turn the situation around in Venezuela at this point?

Someone give me a magic wand and I redo Venezuela the way I like it.  cool


Pragmatists have to replace the idealists. The road back is very painful. Internally the country has to become more productive and only private enterprise can do that. But LatAm capitalists need to be firmly regulated. In one of my prior lives (1965-75) I was a management consultant with very high access at BoD level. It was capitalism run amuck in 9 out of 10 cases. Dismantling price controls is very painful because prices rise faster than wages. Externally, the country has to adapt to the world economy to trade effectively. What should happen without delay is cutting the oil subsidies Venezuela gives many neighbors starting with Cuba..

There are fantastic amounts of money in play, not just the exchange control scam and the commissions from all the government contracts but also from the drug trade. Presumably the Venezuelan military is the largest drug cartel in the world and prime conduit of cocaine from Colombia to Europe. They are not going to give that up easily.

Exchange controls should be dropped entirely or eased out over a period of a year or less.

I don't particularly care who runs the country provided whoever it is takes a pragmatic view. I don't see the current opposition as capable of much leadership. For the past 17 years they have been outfoxed at every turn.

Support for Chavismo has been drying up locally and internationally. The government is slowly realizing that they have to generate income and cut subsidies if they are to survive. They see the Arab OPEC members doing the same thing. They raised the price of gas but it is still ridiculously low, now it costs me about 20 cents to fill the gas tank of my Toyota Corolla instead of just half a cent. I don't use my ISP's mail service which yesterday exploded with SPAM, all paid ads. It seems like CANTV is selling SPAM space (or their filters broke down). There is a lot more merchandise on the street which seems to indicate fewer controls. There seem to be more ships in Puerto Cabello, the main entry point for imports. The government announced LOUDLY that they were paying the interest on PDVSA bonds. One recently named Minister of the Economy who is an academic economist with zero practical experience but lots of harebrained theories was replaced by a more pragmatic person.

This might sound strange but it would be advantageous for the opposition if Maduro stayed in power until 2019 and was forced to improve economic conditions by removing price and exchange controls. The anger would be directed at Maduro and his follower would have an easier time completing reforms.
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: What can be learned from the crisis in Venezuela on: June 01, 2016, 01:59:13 PM
I hope Denny is well and has a plan in place to get through this, and I wish the best for all who have to deal with the man-made tragedy of the Venezuelan economy

Denny is very well, thank you very much. Denny has had a plan in place for over 30 years!


Viernes negro, black Friday, February 18, 1983.

I returned from a visit to the US the next day and discovered that the government had devalued the bolivar from 4.50 to 14.00 to the dollar. There was also a privileged exchange at 7 or 8 to the dollar, I don't remember which. Along with the devaluation came decrees to protect the poor from gouging capitalists like myself. I was selling Apple computers. We got them from the distributor at Bs. 7,000. The list price was Bs. 10,000 and we sold them with a 15% discount at Bs. 8,500. A 21.4% mark-up. The decree that bankrupted my business required me to sell my inventory at old prices, Bs. 10,000, the list price. There was no need to protect capitalists from capitalists, the distributor was under no obligation to sell old inventory at old prices. Do the math: 7000/4.5*14 = 21,778. I don't recall the price we were offered but it was higher than what I could my inventory for. Quite simply black Friday stole my working capital.

What I did to overcome the crisis is a long story but the stress finally got to me and I wound up in the hospital with a heart problem in 1984 or 85. Luckily insurance covered it. When my partners came to visit I told them that the government sons of bitches would not kill me. That's when the plan was born.

Venezuela has been officially socialist since January 23, 1958, the day Marcos Pérez Jiménez was deposed by the navy in combination with several socialist political movements that had been outlawed during the dictatorship.

Humans are gregarious and thrive best in a society that competes, trades and cares for the needy -- as far as possible. Neither extreme capitalism nor extreme socialism work. Somewhere in between we do best. I call this midpoint "pragmatic socialism." Pragmatic socialism has social safety nets but if everyone is in the net there is no one left to hold it up.

But there is a fly in the ointment! As Joseph Schumpeter wrote over 70 years ago (1942) in Capitalism, Socialism and  Democracy, the book where he coined the phrase "creative destruction," liberal democracy is not about governing as much as it is about winning elections. You only get to govern if you win the election or if you buy the elected.

While pragmatic socialism is OK, the safety net becomes an instrument to buy votes. The end is calamity. The right is not exempt, their safety net is for the banks and the wealthy, the so called "corporate socialism."


Denny has a plan

The issue is access to hard currency. Those who have it are doing fine. Those who don't depend on government handouts. And that is the game plan, subject the people to beneficence of the government. Mendoza didn't get dollars to import barley and Polar had to shut down. Cisneros got dollars and his brewery is doing just fine. The Cisneros have been buying politicians as far back as I remember, right, left, or center makes no difference, no ideology, just power and wealth matter.

With multiple exchange rates the government and its friends have access to hard currency which comes from the export of oil which is a government monopoly. The rest of us have to rely on converting our soft money into hard money in what is called "capital flight." That means investing outside your country which, in turn, means cutting investments in your own country. This is exactly what I proposed to do back in 1984 or 85, never again to invest in Venezuela, a country that has been good to me and my family and a people I like very much. But survival comes first.


The reality on the ground

There is so much more I could write but I'll cut it short showing how inexpensive Venezuela has become for those who have hard currency. The similarity with Weimar Germany is striking.

Some things are, indeed, in short supply. Amazon to the rescue! Packages under $100 come in duty free. So far I have used Amazon for Fruit of The Loom briefs and socks, underarm deodorant, bath soap, baking soda, Tums, fish oil and other supplements. People have been growing beards for lack of razors. Amazon has disposables at 70 cents a unit. Orders over $49 ship free. Orders under $100 are duty free. Figure expenses at 30%. Resell @ $2.00. Just a capitalist thinking out loud evil

My 19 year old GE washer dryer had a problem, the cycle selector switch jammed. I took out the switch and had it repaired. Labor $3.00. Parts $3.90. The fellow worked on it for about 15 minutes. Labor $12.00 an hour! This fellow is the owner of his repair shop. Had the rear brake linings changed on my Toyota Corolla. Parts and labor $21.00. Had the car washed, $2.35.

Last Friday I bought fruit from a street vendor: 7 bananas, 2 Kg (4.4 lbs); 5 hybrid mangos, 1 Kg (2.2 lbs); 6 smallish tangerines, 0.5 Kg (1.1 lbs). Total $1.60.

Soy sauce, 10 fluid ounces: $0.32
Worcestershire sauce, 10 fluid ounces: $0.20
Curry, 2 ounces, $0.65
Avocados $1.20 per kilo
Potatoes $0.90 per kilo
Chicken $3.25 per kilo

These prices are terrible for someone making the minimum $15 MONTHLY wage! If you have hard currency you are in the 1%.
 
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maduro “Announces” New Emergency Powers Decree on: May 16, 2016, 11:18:00 AM
Local analysis by The Devil (Miguel Octavio):


Maduro “Announces” New Emergency Powers Decree
May 15, 2016

Last Friday, President Maduro announced that he would extend the economic emergency powers decree (The same one that the National Assembly did not approve, but the Supreme Court said it did not matter) and announced that he would also decree a state of exception to “neutralize and defeat the external aggression against our country”

Now, you would think that given the importance of such a decree, the Government would have distributed a copy by now, but, no such luck, the details of the decree are unknown. Maduro will apparently issue it taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the prior economic power decree, in which the “High” Court simply scratched part of the Constitution (Art. 339 of the Constitution, for example)  saying the Assembly did not have to approve the decree.

Some people are calling this a “coup”. I disagree. You can’t have a coup when you already staged one. I can’t even recall when this happened and one could argue when it was. It may have been when Chávez was never sworn in in Jan. 2013, as Chavismo suggested this was simply a “formality”. Or it may have been when Maduro took over from Chávez for the new term, despite the fact that the VP is named by the President and there is no proof that Chávez was even conscious at the time. Or it may have been when the Supreme Court twisted and violated the Constitution dozens of time, just to have the Government get its way.

So many coups and nobody has been counting them, but this was not it!

And the funny thing is that just last week, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister went to the UN to say there was no crisis in Venezuela, no emergency. Funny, no? the President not only extends the economic emergency decree, but also expands it to include a state of emergency.

And it just so happens that during a state of emergency, there can be no public gatherings like those the opposition has been promoting to protest the recurrent delays in the processing of the request for a recall referendum vote against none other than President Nicolas Maduro. Each step of the process has been delayed, over-interpreted and postponed, using vaporous interpretations by the Government-controlled Electoral Board. Which, of course has everything to do with trying to delay a recall vote until after Jan. 10th. 2017, when if Maduro is recalled, his personally-chosen active Vice-President would replace him and complete his term until Jan. 2019.

And thus, the threat is not from the outside, as Maduro wants you or someone to believe, but from the inside: the fear that the opposition will increasingly take to the streets to force a recall vote before the fateful date of Jan. 10th. 2017.

Thus, the guessing game begins as to who the VP will be in January. Opposition lore will have it be current VP Aristobulo Isturiz, “someone we can talk to”. Forget it! Aristobulo does not have the red credentials, nor the trust of Chavismo, precisely because the opposition can talk to him. It will likely be someone who is in the Cabinet, someone Maduro trusts. Perhaps Marco Torre, a loyal former military a perennial Cabinet member. Perhaps better a civilian, Jorge Rodriguez, loyal to Chávez and Nicolas. But who knows? There is still a lot of time before January and maybe not enough people will show up for a recall after that date*.

Stay tuned.

*Maybe I placed too much emphasis on who will replace him, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that there will not be much motivation to change Maduro for someone else. Remember that the opposition needs to get more votes to recall than Maduro got in his Presidential election.

50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: May 10, 2016, 10:14:40 AM
Quote
Where is Venezuelan election observer Jimmy Carter on this?

That SOB was bought by Chavez. The Colombian observer (Gaviria?) wanted to make a statement and he was made to shut up. Later Carter praised the election as "fair" after an interview with Chavez.
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 16
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!