Dog Brothers Public Forum

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

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
February 13, 2016, 05:45:11 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
92713 Posts in 2301 Topics by 1080 Members
Latest Member: Tedbo
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  Venezuela
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 5 6 [7] Print
Author Topic: Venezuela  (Read 90047 times)
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #300 on: May 26, 2015, 03:35:52 PM »

May 26, 2015, 10:50 A.M. ET
Venezuela Running ‘On Fumes’ As Bolivar Weakens
By Dimitra DeFotis

Even though Venezuela tapped the International Monetary Fund in recent weeks to keep itself afloat, shoring up its currency is another matter.

The low price of oil has crushed the energy exporter’s budget. Russ Dallen, who contributes to a newsletter for investors, and writes about Latin America, writes today that “Venezuela’s situation continues to unravel at increasing speed as the bolivar tumbled 30% over just the last week, while the country’s international reserves simultaneously hit a new 12-year low, closing at $17.5 billion.” He says the weak currency and decline in reserves means the country is “essentially running on fumes.” He writes:

“Venezuela’s reserves have now fallen 21% since the beginning of the year, but more importantly $6.7 billion from their high just 2 months ago – a high that not only included $2.8 billion from mortgaging Citgo, $1.9 billion from the selling of $4 billion of oil receivables from the Dominican Republic, and the transfer of previously unreported China Fonden funds into the reserves.”

By tapping roughly $385 million in “Special Drawing Rights” (SDR) from the International Monetary Fund in recent weeks, for the first time in years, Venezuela has more financial liquidity and may have reduced its 2015 debt default risk. See our recent post on the subject: ”Venezuela Default Still Possible Despite IMF Money, Moody’s Says.”

Dallen et al explain SDRs in their weekly newsletter.

“The IMF created SDRs as an international reserve asset in 1969 to supplement all members’ reserves. Members are allowed to count the SDRs as part of their reserves and Venezuela is able to borrow those assets at an extremely favorable rate of interest (currently 0.05%, which frankly is much better than the over 30% that Venezuela is paying on some of its bonds). In 2009 as countries around the world were reeling from the worldwide economic crisis, the IMF decided to provide member nations a total of $250 billion in SDRs to shore up international liquidity. At that time, the IMF gave Venezuela 2.543 billion SDRs, which works out to about $3.578 billion in U.S. dollars (The SDR value floats against a basket of the U.S. dollar, the yen, the euro, and the pound, with one U.S. dollar currently worth 0.710769 SDR). Thus, the 276.6 million in SDR chips that Venezuela borrowed last month is worth approximately $385 million.”

Also see our September 2014 post, “Will Venezuela Default? Ask Hedge Funds” and this recent post: “Cheap Oil & Emerging Markets: India, Turkey Win; Venezuela Most At Risk.“

The iShares Latin America 40 ETF (ILF) is down 1.6% today. The leveraged Direxion Daily Latin America Bull 3X Shares ETF (LBJ) is down 4.3%. The iShares JPMorgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (EMB) is down nearly 0.3%, while the Western Asset Emerging Markets Debt Fund (ESD), a closed-end fund, was down 0.1% in recent trading.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Diosdado Cabello, president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, is among those being investigated by the United States on drug trafficking allegations. See the WSJ story, “Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub.”


http://blogs.barrons.com/emergingmarketsdaily/2015/05/26/venezuela-running-on-fumes-as-bolivar-weakens/

Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #301 on: May 26, 2015, 03:52:52 PM »

Is the US finally turning the screws on Chavismo?



Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub
U.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering
By JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA and  JUAN FORERO
May 18, 2015 3:36 p.m. ET

U.S. prosecutors are investigating several high-ranking Venezuelan officials, including the president of the country’s congress, on suspicion that they have turned the country into a global hub for cocaine trafficking and money laundering, according to more than a dozen people familiar with the probes.

An elite unit of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington and federal prosecutors in New York and Miami are building cases using evidence provided by former cocaine traffickers, informants who were once close to top Venezuelan officials and defectors from the Venezuelan military, these people say.

A leading target, according to a Justice Department official and other American authorities, is National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, considered the country’s second most-powerful man.

“There is extensive evidence to justify that he is one of the heads, if not the head, of the cartel,” said the Justice Department official, speaking of a group of military officers and top officials suspected of being involved in the drug trade. “He certainly is a main target.”

Representatives of Mr. Cabello and other officials didn’t return phone calls and emails requesting comment. In the past, Venezuelan authorities have rejected allegations of high-ranking involvement in the drug trade as an attempt by the U.S. to destabilize the leftist government in Caracas.

In an appearance on state television Wednesday, Mr. Cabello said he solicited a court-ordered travel ban on 22 executives and journalists from three Venezuelan news outlets that he has sued for publishing stories about the drug allegations earlier this year. “They accuse me of being a drug trafficker without a single piece of evidence and now I’m the bad guy,” Mr. Cabello said. “I feel offended, and none of them even said they’re sorry.”

The Obama administration isn’t directing or coordinating the investigations, which are being run by federal prosecutors who have wide leeway to target criminal suspects. But if the probes result in publicly disclosed indictments of Mr. Cabello and others, the resulting furor in Venezuela would likely plunge relations between the two countries into their most serious crisis since the late populist Hugo Chávez took office 16 years ago.

“It would be seismic,” said a U.S. official, of the expected Venezuelan reaction. “They will blame a vast right-wing conspiracy.”

U.S. authorities say they are far along in their investigations. But they say any indictments that may result might be sealed, making them secret until authorities can make arrests—something that would be difficult if not impossible unless the suspects travel abroad.

The investigations are a response to an explosion in drug trafficking in the oil-rich country, U.S. officials say. Under pressure in Colombia, where authorities aggressively battled the drug trade with $10 billion in U.S. aid since 2000, many Colombian traffickers moved operations to neighboring Venezuela, where U.S. law-enforcement officials say they found a government and military eager to permit and ultimately control cocaine smuggling through the country.

“Most of the high-end traffickers moved to Venezuela in that time,” said Joaquín Pérez, a Miami attorney who represents key Colombian traffickers who have acknowledged operating out of Venezuela.

Venezuela doesn’t produce coca, the leaf used to make cocaine, nor does it manufacture the drug. But the U.S. estimates that about 131 tons of cocaine, about half of the total cocaine produced in Colombia, moved through Venezuela in 2013, the last year for which data were available.

Prosecutors aren’t targeting President Nicolás Maduro, who has been in power since Mr. Chávez’s death two years ago. U.S. law-enforcement officials say they view several other Venezuelan officials and military officers as the de facto leaders of drug-trafficking organizations that use Venezuela as a launchpad for cocaine shipments to the U.S. as well as Europe.

‘A Criminal Organization’
“It is a criminal organization,” said the Justice Department official, referring to certain members of the upper echelons of the Venezuelan government and military.

Mildred Camero, who had been Mr. Chávez’s drug czar until being forced out abruptly in 2005, said Venezuela has “a government of narcotraffickers and money launderers.” She recently collaborated on a book, “Chavismo, Narcotrafficking and Militarism,” in which she alleged that drug-related corruption had penetrated the state, naming more than a dozen officials, including nine generals, who allegedly worked with smugglers.

Law-enforcement officials in the U.S. said that they have accelerated their investigations in the past two years, a period that has seen Venezuela’s economy worsen dramatically. Rampant crime has spiked, making Venezuela the continent’s most violent country and spurring people to emigrate.

The deepening crisis has made it easier for U.S. authorities to recruit informants, say those working to enlist people close to top Venezuelan officials. Colombian and Venezuelan drug traffickers have also arrived in the U.S., eager to provide information on Venezuelan officials in exchange for sentencing leniency and residency, U.S. officials say.

“Since the turmoil in Venezuela, we’ve had greater success in building these cases,” said a federal prosecutor from New York’s Eastern District who works on Venezuelan cases.

In January, U.S. investigators made a major catch when naval captain Leamsy Salazar defected and was brought to Washington. Mr. Salazar, who has said he headed Mr. Cabello’s security detail, told U.S. authorities that he witnessed Mr. Cabello supervise the launch of a large shipment of cocaine from Venezuela’s Paraguaná peninsula, people familiar with the case say.

Mr. Cabello has publicly railed against his former bodyguard, saying he didn’t head his security detail and calling him “an infiltrator” who has no proof of his involvement in drug trafficking. “Our conscience is totally clear,” he said in a radio interview.

Rafael Isea is another defector who has been talking to investigators, people familiar with the matter say. A former Venezuelan finance minister and governor of Aragua state, Mr. Isea fled Venezuela in 2013. People familiar with the case say Mr. Isea has told investigators that Walid Makled, a drug kingpin now in prison, paid off former Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami to get drug shipments through Venezuela.

Almost a year after leaving the country, Mr. Isea was accused of committing “financial irregularities” during his days as governor by Venezuela’s attorney general, and by Mr. El Aissami, who succeeded him as governor of Aragua.

“Today, Rafael Isea, that bandit and traitor, is a refugee in Washington where he has entered a program for protected witnesses in exchange for worthless information against Venezuela,” Mr. El Aissami said recently on Venezuelan television.

Mr. Isea has rejected the accusations as false, politically motivated and meant to discredit him.

In addition to Mr. El Aissami, other powerful officials under investigation include Hugo Carvajal, a former director of military intelligence; Nestor Reverol, the head of the National Guard; Jose David Cabello, Mr. Cabello’s brother, who is the industry minister and heads the country’s tax collection agency; and Gen. Luis Motta Dominguez, a National Guard general in charge of central Venezuela, say a half-dozen officials and people familiar with the investigations.

Calls and emails seeking comment from several government ministries as well as the president’s office went unanswered. Some officials have taken to social media to ridicule the U.S. investigations. A Twitter account in the name of Gen. Motta Dominguez earlier this year said: “We all know that whoever wants his green card and live in the US to visit Disney can just pick his leader and accuse him of being a narco. DEA tours will attend to them.”

Recruiting Defectors
To build cases, U.S. law-enforcement officials work with Venezuelan exiles and others to locate and recruit disaffected Venezuelans.

“We get people out of Venezuela, and we meet with them in Panama, Curaçao, Bogotá,” said a former intelligence operative who works with U.S. officials to recruit and debrief Venezuelans who have evidence of links between Venezuelan officials and the drug trade.

Former Venezuelan military officers and others living outside the country provide help by contacting their former comrades and urging them to defect, the recruiter said. If the defector can provide useful information, the recruiter said, he is flown to the U.S. and a new life.

“What does the U.S. want?” said the recruiter, who has been working Venezuelan cases since 2008. “The U.S. wants proof, evidence of relations between politicians, military officers and functionaries with drug traffickers and terrorist groups.”

Recently, at Washington’s posh Capital Grille restaurant, a few blocks from Congress, a Venezuelan operative working with a U.S. law enforcement agency took a call from a middleman for a high-level official in Caracas seeking to trade information for favorable treatment from the U.S.

“Tell him I’ll meet him in Panama next week,” said the operative, interrupting a lunch of oysters and steak.

The biggest target is 52-year-old Mr. Cabello, a former army lieutenant who forged a close link in the military academy with Mr. Chávez when the two played on the same baseball team. When Mr. Chávez launched an unsuccessful 1992 coup, Mr. Cabello led a four-tank column that attacked the presidential palace in downtown Caracas.

Mr. Cabello has been minister of public works and housing, which also gave him control of the airports and ports, as well as minister of the interior and vice president. He was also president for a few hours in April 2002 when Mr. Chávez was briefly ousted in a failed coup.

Many analysts and politicians in Venezuela say they believe Mr. Cabello’s power rivals that of Mr. Maduro and is rooted in his influence among Venezuela’s generals.

Julio Rodriguez, a retired colonel who knows Mr. Cabello from their days at Venezuela’s military academy, says that of 96 lieutenant colonels commanding battalions in Venezuela today, Mr. Cabello has close ties to 46.

The stocky and bull-necked Mr. Cabello, who often sports the standard Chavista uniform of red shirt and tri-color windbreaker in the red, yellow and blue of the Venezuelan flag, is host of a television program, “Hitting With the Sledge Hammer,” on state television, in which he uses telephone intercepts of opponents to attack and embarrass them. Mr. Rodriguez said he believes Mr. Cabello will never make any kind of a deal with the U.S. “Diosdado is a kamikaze,” he said. “He will never surrender.”

U.S. investigators have painstakingly built cases against Venezuelan officials by using information gathered from criminal cases brought in the U.S. In Miami, people familiar with the matter say a key building block in the investigations involved a drug-smuggling ring run by Roberto Mendez Hurtado. A Colombian, Mr. Mendez Hurtado moved cocaine into Apure state in western Venezuela and, according to those familiar with his case, had met with high-ranking Venezuelan officials. The cocaine was then taken by boat or flown directly to islands in the Caribbean before reaching American shores.

Mr. Mendez Hurtado pleaded guilty in Miami federal court and received a 19-year prison term in 2014. People close to that investigation say that Mr. Mendez Hurtado and his fellow traffickers wouldn’t have been able to operate without paying off a string of top military officers and government officials.

“The involvement of top officials in the National Guard and in the government of Venezuela in drug trafficking is very clear,” said a former Venezuelan National Guard officer who served in intelligence and in anti-narcotics and left the country last year frightened by the overwhelming corruption he saw daily.

“Everyone feels pressured,” he said. “Sooner or later everyone surrenders to drug trafficking.”

In another case, in Brooklyn, prosecutors have learned about the intricacies of the drug trade in Venezuela after breaking up a cocaine-smuggling ring led by Luis Frank Tello, who pleaded guilty, court documents show. The cocaine was brought in across the border from Colombia and, with the help of National Guard officers, shipped north, sometimes from the airport in Venezuela’s second-largest city, Maracaibo.

The U.S. investigations of Venezuelan officials have been going on for years, though investigators have sometimes been thwarted by politics.

In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department put three top aides to then-President Chávez on a blacklist and froze any assets they might have in the U.S. Among the three was Mr. Carvajal, known as “El Pollo,” or the Chicken, then the head of military intelligence. The U.S. acted after extensive evidence surfaced earlier that year in the computers of a dead Colombian guerrilla commander of burgeoning cocaine-for-arms exchanges between the rebels and top Venezuelan generals and officials, according to the U.S. and Colombian governments.

In 2010, Manhattan prosecutors unsealed the indictment of Mr. Makled, the Venezuelan drug dealer accused of shipping tons of cocaine to the U.S. through the country’s main seaport of Puerto Cabello, which he allegedly controlled. Mr. Makled, who had been captured in Colombia, boasted of having 40 Venezuelan generals on his payroll.

“All my business associates are generals,” Mr. Makled said then to an associate in correspondence seen by The Wall Street Journal. “I’m telling you we dispatched 300,000 kilos of coke. I couldn’t have done it without the top of the government.”

DEA agents interviewed Mr. Makled in a Colombian prison as they prepared to extradite him to New York. But instead, Colombia extradited him in 2011 to Venezuela, where he was convicted of drug trafficking. This February, he was sentenced to 14 years and six months in jail.

Last July, American counter-drug officials nearly nabbed Mr. Carvajal, who had been indicted in Miami and New York on drug charges and detained in Aruba at the American government’s behest. But Dutch authorities released him to Venezuela, arguing that he had diplomatic immunity.

Upon Mr. Carvajal’s release, President Maduro praised the former intelligence chief as a dedicated anti-drug fighter who had set a worlds’ record capturing drug capos.

The U.S. is also gathering information from bankers and financiers who handle the money for top Venezuelan officials. Since last year, people familiar with the matter say the U.S. government has revoked the visas of at least 56 Venezuelans, including bankers and financiers whose identities haven’t been made public. Some have sought to cooperate with investigators in order to regain access to the U.S.

“They are flipping all these money brokers,” said a lawyer who is representing two Venezuelan financiers who have had their visas revoked. “The information is coming in very rapidly.”

—Christopher M. Matthews in New York contributed to this article.

Write to José de Córdoba at jose.decordoba@wsj.com and Juan Forero at Juan.Forero@wsj.com


Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub


Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #302 on: June 28, 2015, 09:03:15 PM »

https://youtu.be/wErsKMUbCUE

The news in Spanish:
http://yusnaby.com/ocurre-nuevo-saqueo-en-venezuela-tolerado-por-la-policia/
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 35913


« Reply #303 on: December 04, 2015, 08:25:04 AM »

Summary

Old strategies are no longer yielding results for Venezuela. Nevertheless, in 2016, the Venezuelan government will continue prioritizing foreign debt payments and reinvestment into the energy sector at the expense of imports. So far, this strategy has allowed it to maintain oil production and avoid a disorderly default on its foreign debt. But challenges will arise as inflation frustrates voters and public funds become depleted.

To make matters worse, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela's (PSUV's) potential loss of its legislative majority in Dec. 6 elections could diminish the government's firm control over the legislative branch. Moreover, renewed protests by the opposition in 2016 are likely to be more threatening than the wave of unrest that occurred in 2014, simply because the economy is in much worse condition. As the economy deteriorates and unrest mounts, the government's unity will be tested, and deeper splits could develop between the major political factions running the country.
Analysis

In the coming year, the Venezuelan government will continue relying on a strategy it has long used to avoid deeper economic turmoil. Since 2013, Venezuela's central government, which has a near monopoly on the legal disbursement of foreign currency in the country, has cut imports in an attempt to safeguard its dwindling stock of dollars. (In 2015, Venezuela slashed imports by about 25 percent from the year before.) Its goal is to maintain access to its limited foreign lenders at all costs, even though its strategy will spur inflation and exacerbate shortages of food and consumer goods.

This approach is unsustainable in the long run. Venezuela's high levels of public spending, combined with declining investments into the energy sector, the loss of foreign lending and severe economic distortions that encourage the arbitrage of currency and Venezuelan-produced fuel, have all sapped the country's public finances. These problems have only worsened since global oil prices began declining in 2014. Consequently, economic reform is politically unpalatable in Venezuela at the moment. Instead, the government has chosen to hope for the best and wait for oil prices to creep back up while it settles on a method of dealing with impending unrest and potential financial default.

Two events could challenge the government's wait-and-see approach to managing Venezuela's considerable economic difficulties. The first is the Dec. 6 legislative elections. If the opposition wins by a significant margin, it could gain enough political power to weaken the PSUV's unchallenged 15-year hold over the three branches of government. The second is the possibility of renewed political unrest from sections of the political opposition or even from disgruntled former supporters of the ruling party. With inflation in 2015 likely to exceed 200 percent compared with the previous year, a significant portion of the population is feeling the effects of rapid price increases and food scarcity. Although protests related to inflation have been limited in size and impact, inflation is set to increase in 2016 and could eventually lead to more frequent and sizable demonstrations largely from the urban and rural poor, the ruling party's largest support base.

The election poses the most immediate threat to the ruling party. If the opposition wins the election by a wide margin, it could wield considerable influence. A three-fifths majority (101 of the 167 legislative seats) would give the opposition the power to remove the vice president and Cabinet ministers. A supermajority of 112 legislators would allow the opposition to designate members of the crucial National Electoral Council, Venezuela's highest electoral body. It would also potentially empower the opposition to call for a Constitutional Assembly, which can be used to heavily modify the constitution. In the worst-case scenario, the legislative vote poses an existential threat to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government, albeit one that it cannot simply cancel for fear of giving opposition forces a rallying point for protests.

But barring a supermajority for the opposition, the Venezuelan government has some measures it can rely on to keep the opposition in the legislature in check. It can still use the presidential veto or the Supreme Court's constitutional chamber to overturn legislative decisions. Using these bodies, in combination with selective concessions to the multiple factions within the opposition coalition, Maduro could create enough disruptions to limit the influence of an opposition-led National Assembly. Such an outcome would lead to greater political conflict between segments of the opposition and the government amid a deepening economic crisis that the government can do little to address.

Renewed opposition-led protests in 2016 will also threaten the government. In 2015, the promise that a legislative victory was within the opposition's grasp likely kept coordinated protests against the state in check. But next year, there will be no such limitations, and sections of the opposition such as the Voluntad Popular party and student organizations could ramp up their demonstrations against the government. With inflation and shortages far worse than those seen during the wave of protests that swept the country in 2014, renewed demonstrations pose a real risk to the government. The demands of any demonstrations could include Maduro's resignation; starting next year, Maduro can be legally recalled via referendum. If the unrest becomes severe enough, it could also force splits among the factions of the PSUV as members of the party's elite seek to safeguard their stakes in the national political system.

Meanwhile, the lack of an economic cushion for public finances will keep the risk of financial default alive next year. Meeting foreign debt payments has been an essential part of the ruling party's strategy to maintain access to Venezuela's limited foreign lending. During Maduro's tenure, the government began reducing imports to keep meeting those payments and lower the government's overall spending. But the PSUV and the government are in a difficult spot. About $16 billion in foreign debt payments is due in 2016, including interest payments. The government has already eaten through $7.2 billion in foreign reserves (32 percent of its total reserves) this year, and off-budget funds that previously bolstered additional spending, such as the National Development Fund, are likely heavily drawn down because of the reduced availability of dollars from oil exports. With few additional sources of revenue outside of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela's income, default in the coming year is plausible. At this point, Caracas' likely options are to delay default by conducting a voluntary Petroleos de Venezuela bond swap or to sell its increasingly limited assets, although the success of such measures is highly dependent on investors' and bondholders' perceptions of the country.
Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #304 on: December 04, 2015, 11:11:03 AM »

The discontent is palpable on the street, the queues when something arrives are endless, yet things aren't bad enough for people to take to the streets to protest. People still believe the election will produce some favorable change in the legislature. I'm not that sanguine, I believe the government will find ways to win by fraud. The OAS is not being allowed to monitor the election. What do they have to hide? Fraud, what else?

Those of us with dollars can buy stuff via Amazon. There is an old rule still in place that exempts packages under $100 from duties and VAT tax which can increase the cost by one third. Unbelievable as it may seem I've brought in deodorant, bath soap, face towels, socks, and briefs, everyday items you guy don't even have to think about. Fresh vegetables and fruit are plentiful and very inexpensive by US standards. It's the manufactured goods that are scarce. Two weeks ago eggs disappeared when they were regulated at half the going rate. Then, as if by magic, they reappeared yesterday and huge queues ensued for people to get them. With the election set for Sunday, one has to wonder...

Yesterday I had an acrylic filling replaced. Total cost $20.00 at free market rates. 10 to 15% of US rates. A decent haircut was 75 cents! It's the poor who are getting screwed.

Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 7505


« Reply #305 on: December 04, 2015, 11:37:04 AM »

"Two weeks ago eggs disappeared when they were regulated at half the going rate. Then, as if by magic, they reappeared yesterday and huge queues ensued for people to get them. "

   - And we in the US want to copy the centrally planned and controlled economies.

Good luck in the election Denny.  I love getting the first-hand reports without the travel.   )
Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #306 on: December 04, 2015, 12:03:34 PM »

Despite pleading, begging, and groveling by the Maduro government, OPEC keeps pumping up the volume. Take that Maduro!


OPEC Maintains Crude Production as Group Defers Output Target
December 4, 2015 — 12:09 PM EST

- Group to wait until June meeting to confirm output ceiling
- Nigeria minister says OPEC to keep output at 31.5 million b/d

OPEC will maintain production at current levels and refrained from setting an official output target, a continuation of the Saudi Arabian-led policy that’s driven prices to a six-year low.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to retain production at 31.5 million barrels a day, group President Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told reporters on Friday, after a meeting of OPEC ministers in Vienna. OPEC will wait until its next meeting in June to confirm its output target, said Secretary General Abdalla El-Badri.

“Effectively it’s ceilingless,” Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Friday, after returning from the meeting with his OPEC counterparts. “Everyone does whatever they want. I think there will be a decision about how to act on the market in the second quarter of 2016.”

Guided by its biggest producer Saudi Arabia, OPEC has maintained output to force higher-cost producers to scale back their operations. The group also needs to prepare for increased shipments from Iran when international sanctions are lifted. OPEC has pumped more than its previous collective target of 30 million barrels a day the past 18 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“The volume maximizing strategy goes on for OPEC,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG Zurich. “It’s at least better to give up a useless ceiling. The burden to adjust supply remains on non-OPEC producers.”

OPEC pumped 31.5 million barrels a day in November, Zanganeh said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-04/opec-maintains-crude-production-as-group-defers-output-target-ihryzilb
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 12:08:19 PM by captainccs » Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #307 on: December 06, 2015, 03:20:11 AM »

Venezuela On Edge On The Eve Of The December 6th.



Arrived only a few hours ago on Saturday and all I can say is that people are on the edge tonight wondering what will happen tomorrow. The cockiness of three weeks ago is not as blatant. Yes, the opposition will get a majority, but after 16 years of Chavismo people (and rumors) are rampant about possible tricks and maneuvers by the government.

This was not helped by the fact that there were Internet blackouts in many parts of the country today. The Head of Conatel, the telecom regulator denied this, but friends tell me that if you tried to call CANTV to report the problems, they were not even answering the phone.

The result is an atmosphere of mistrust and skepticism about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Or the day after, for that matter…

On the positive news front, the Electoral Board announced that witnesses for the opposition outnumbered those of Chavismo’s PSUV by 2,000, a clear indication of the inability of Chavismo to mobilize people like it used to. Many friends also reporting that numerous polling stations have seen no presence of pro-Government members, leading to the installation of the process without them.

Meanwhile, as the international media is harassed as they arrive in Venezuela and also as they try to cover the elections, Chavismo is selling it as a campaign against the country, even citing the number of positive (380), neutral (75) and positive (24) news items about the country. Which according to Chavismo, reflects this campaign and not reality.

Never mind that many reporters have had heir equipment confiscated at the airport and many have been told they can not take pictures of mundane events and their media has been erased.

Meanwhile visiting former Presidents managed to obtain a promise from the Government that political prisoners would be allowed to vote (They were not going to), while the opposition has created a parallel system of observation of the electoral process by foreign dignitaries, as well as social media tools to denounce problems tomorrow with the voting process.

Meanwhile, some pollsters claim to have seen a Maduro resurgence (!!!!), while others say that the result will depend on what Chavismo and now lukewarm Chavistas do. If the latter decide to stay home, the opposition will squeak by, but if they decide to go and express their unhappiness the opposition could enjoy a huge victory, even if short of the super majority.

I am sticking to my guns of a simple majority, roughly 55-58% of Deputies, hoping that former Chavistas are so disenchanted that they prove me wrong. I like the fact that Chavistas are outnumbered by the opposition witnesses and that they have been absent from the installations of the polling stations. But I just wonder if they will they be absent from voting too…

Abstention will be key and pollsters have little confidence that they have a handle on their number. Add proportionality, gerrymandering, fraud and tricks and numerical predictions are really hard to make.

I will do my usual scan throughout Caracas and report solid news, if such an animal exists before midnight tomorrow.

Best of luck to Venezuela from the Devil!

http://devilexcrement.com/2015/12/05/venezuela-on-edge-on-the-eve-of-the-september-6th-parliamentary-vote/

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

3 Responses to “Venezuela On Edge On The Eve Of The December 6th. Parliamentary Vote”

Morpheous Says:

December 6, 2015 at 12:07 am
Here I quote some content from the link at the bottom:

But analysts said Venezuela’s vote on Sunday will be less decisive, and potentially volatile, since opposition parties have little in common beyond their disdain for Maduro.

His term as president runs until 2019, unless the opposition wins a big enough majority to force him out by constitutional means.

If the opposition wins a smaller majority, Maduro could manipulate the result in his favor or just rule by presidential decree, said analyst Luis Vicente Leon, head of Datanalisis.

“The assembly could seek to impeach the president, but he could try to dissolve the congress,” said Leon.

Another senior opposition figure, Henrique Capriles, warned opposition radicals against taking to the streets after Sunday’s vote.

“Venezuela is a bomb ready to explode,” he told AFP.

http://news.yahoo.com/oil-rich-cash-poor-venezuela-tense-election-015243351.html

Reply

IslandCanuck Says:

December 6, 2015 at 12:45 am
We lost CANTV ABA around 3.30 pm here in Isla Margarita but I just woke up and checked it and it’s working again (1 am).

It’s going to be a very interesting day and evening.
Everyone vote early and often.

Reply

Dean A Nash Says:

December 6, 2015 at 3:21 am
Stay safe and good luck. My two cents (worth much less) is that the cheating will be massive enough to be obvious, but not odorous enough to cause an outright breakdown of order. Backup prediction: Massive cheating so obvious it changes the winner and causes the breakdown of order (this would all be part of the plan) in order for the government to step in and restore order (i.e. take away more freedom.)

Six one way, half a dozen the other. The end result remains the same: a clueless dictatorship dragging the country further down the rabbit hole. Hope I’m wrong.

Reply
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #308 on: December 06, 2015, 04:27:27 AM »

05:56
The Sun is coming out as usual but the clouds promise rain later in the day. Will report when I get from voting.

07:00
Left the house to go vote. The morning is cool and overcast, perfect for walking without breaking into a sweat. My polling station is about 5 Kms the way the crow flies. The first polling station I come to has a long queue but it has yet to open. I buy fresh turmeric (cúrcuma) on the way.

08:27
I arrive at my polling station. There are hardly any queues, a bad sign. It takes about 15 minutes to vote.

11:20
I arrive back home. That takes care of half my weekly walking. I took a different route to go past other polling stations. There is nothing unusual to report, just people going about their business. The siege mentality of previos elections is gone but there are plenty rumors going around. The first two polling stations I went past on the way home didn't have any visible queues. As I continued west to slightly lower middle class I found two very long queues.

Here is a report from "The Devil." Nothing much to report either.

http://devilexcrement.com/2015/12/06/venezuelan-2016-parliamentary-elections-are-here/
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 10:41:28 AM by captainccs » Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 35913


« Reply #309 on: December 06, 2015, 10:39:35 AM »

Denny:

Good to have your reports and you with us once again.
Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #310 on: December 06, 2015, 10:42:50 AM »

Crafty:

I'm updating my previous post to keep it all together. Nothing much to report, really.
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #311 on: December 06, 2015, 02:33:09 PM »

Quote
As the hand-picked successor of Hugo Chávez, the country’s longstanding former leader, Maduro inherited one of the most innovative and successful propaganda models in the world, developed by Chávez between 1998 and 2002. Why hasn’t Maduro been able to use it?

If one has to grant Chavez an ability it was charisma. Two people who were not Chavistas but who had the opportunity to meet the man in person told me personally about his magnetic personality. One told me about the back stage happenings at an Aló Presidente where Chavez would greet workers by name and ask about their problems. Maduro, by contrast, was the most inept person he could find for the job of vice president. As a management consultant I discovered that the qualifications for high management position in Venezuela is trustworthiness. Owner want someone who they can trust not to defraud them. In politics they want someone who won't take their power away from them. Maduro was such a choice, bus driver and body guard! I recall riding the subway before the election that made Maduro president. A Chavista woman was saying out loud, for all to hear, that Maduro would be a disaster. Her words were prophetic.


The Slow Death of Chavismo

Foreign Policy Magazine   
Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez
December 6, 2015

Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, seems to be stumbling towards electoral defeat in the country’s legislative elections today, potentially triggering a long goodbye for the country’s seventeen-year-old socialist revolution. Polls show that, while Venezuelans may differ somewhat when assigning blame for their country’s ongoing economic collapse, discontent is nearly universal and only about 20 to 25 percent approve of the president himself. As the hand-picked successor of Hugo Chávez, the country’s longstanding former leader, Maduro inherited one of the most innovative and successful propaganda models in the world, developed by Chávez between 1998 and 2002. Why hasn’t Maduro been able to use it?

Hugo Chávez’s 14-year stint at the helm of Venezuela’s revolutionary government produced many uncertainties for its population: a new constitution, radical reforms, soaring inflation, and a veritable boom in street crime and urban violence, to name but a few. But for most of that time, one thing was certain. Every Sunday, viewers could watch Chávez’s television talk-show Aló Presidente, an eclectic mix of variety show, televangelical preaching, real-time government, and musical extravaganza. Chávez used his show, which was broadcast on the state television channel, to share his views on matters ranging from baseball to geopolitics, answer phone calls from the populace, share personal anecdotes, or spout his trademark ideological pedagogy, liberally peppered with outbursts of song.

On the show, Chávez would expropriate businesses, renounce Venezuela’s membership in international associations, and expel ambassadors; he might even indulge in mobilizing troops to the Colombian border or announce modifications to the flag, currency, and other national symbols. For many Venezuelans, Aló Presidente represented a window into national events and decisions, taking place in real time — a reality show which affected the lives of its viewers. Chávez also used the show to reward his supporters with gifts and patronage with the dramatic beneficence of a Caesar in a coliseum — deciding, if not matters of life and death, then at least the destinies of individual citizens, by doling out everything from scholarships and jobs to cooking supplies, all to thunderous applause.

For Venezuelans, Aló Presidente became a ready reminder of the benefits of working with the regime — and Chávez’s largesse contrasted with threats, invectives, and even arrest orders against those who broke rank. When ministers were regularly chastised, fired, and replaced on air, viewers received a clear message: the government’s many failures were due to poor execution of Chávez’s otherwise infallible plans by incompetent minions. He claimed, for example, that an important bridge had been felled by El Niño (not lack of maintenance); that periods of scarcity were the fault of hoarders or speculators (not economic mismanagement); and that the lights went out in several cities because an iguana had somehow got loose in the electrical mainframe. Conspiratorial scare tactics likewise abounded: shadowy opposition intrigues were alleged; CIA cabals brandished “cancer injections” and “earthquake rays”; Coke Zero (but not other Coca-Cola products) was accused of being poisonous. There were even cautionary tales such as the story of a once-thriving civilization on Mars brought low by the adoption of capitalism.

Ironically, while excoriating capitalism, Chávez’s state media empire learned to wield its best-known commercial and marketing tricks in pushing its main product: Chávez himself. Foreign heads of state and left-leaning international celebrities, such as Naomi Campbell, Danny Glover, and Sean Penn, would appear on the show, lending their star power to the Chávez brand of permanent revolution.

Aló Presidente represented the perfect populist vehicle: it kept Chávez in the public eye, helped define his political agenda, and drove the media conversation during any given week. When the Sunday afternoon format proved too limiting, Chávez became heavily reliant on cadenas, a type of broadcast permitted under Venezuelan law that gives presidents a constitutional prerogative to seize airtime on every radio and TV station for use in emergencies, or to broadcast major events such as the Venezuelan equivalent of the United States’ yearly State of the Union speech. Undeterred by convention, Chávez began serially invoking the law to deliver multi-hour speeches, meticulously timed to moments when opposition leaders were speaking elsewhere.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/slow-death-chavismo-174114479.html
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #312 on: December 06, 2015, 11:51:30 PM »

The National Assembly has 165 deputies and three levels of majority for approving different types of legislation. The opposition has gained absolute control. Maduro has conceded.

Total                   165 diputados
1/2 mayoría simple       83 diputados
3/5                      99 diputados
2/3 mayoría calificada  110 diputados

When the announcement was made the opposition had won 99 deputies, the Chavistas 46 and 20 were still undecided. The opposition estimates to have won a total of 113 which would give them absolute control of the legislature.

To tell the truth, I was not a believer in such a landslide victory.
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #313 on: December 07, 2015, 06:01:24 AM »

Taking over the legislature by winning an election was the easy part. For a dictatorship to stay in power it has to be ruthless. Chavismo was not ruthless enough for its own good. Initially it relied on Chavez's charisma something that Maduro tried to imitate but failed to deliver. Defection from Chavismo at the top has been ongoing. A large number of Chavistas were socialist ideologues who left the party as they became disillusioned with how the country was being run. This has been ongoing for well over a decade. Just yesterday I met one such defector, a historian who had helped write the 1999 constitution and who was in the seat of power. He quit the party on ideological grounds. At the other end of the scale, there is the economic defector and their number is large enough to swing elections by landslides:

Quote
"I used to be a proud Chavista," said Rodrigo Duran, a 28-year-old security guard who switched allegiance in his vote on Sunday. "But how can I carry on when my salary doesn't allow me to feed my children? They deceived us."

The great difficulty is to bring the country back to economic health. Setting price controls is comparatively painless but it introduces terrific economic distortions. Just last week I paid $0.75 for a haircut. For the country to get back to economic sanity prices have to fit into the globalized economy. Our haircuts don't have to be priced at the same rate as in Los Angeles or Miami but they have to be high enough to allow the barber to buy products whose prices are globally set or at least influenced by global commerce. This adjustment, eliminating price controls, can be very painful, certainly much more painful than setting price controls in the first place. This pain was the reason a previous president, Carlos Andrés Pérez, was indicted (on trumped up charges) and removed from office.

Some countries, like Red China, managed the transition quite well. Others, like Russia, did not. How well will Venezuela cope?

Denny Schlesinger
 
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 13275


« Reply #314 on: December 07, 2015, 07:39:35 AM »

Taking over the legislature by winning an election was the easy part. For a dictatorship to stay in power it has to be ruthless. Chavismo was not ruthless enough for its own good. Initially it relied on Chavez's charisma something that Maduro tried to imitate but failed to deliver. Defection from Chavismo at the top has been ongoing. A large number of Chavistas were socialist ideologues who left the party as they became disillusioned with how the country was being run. This has been ongoing for well over a decade. Just yesterday I met one such defector, a historian who had helped write the 1999 constitution and who was in the seat of power. He quit the party on ideological grounds. At the other end of the scale, there is the economic defector and their number is large enough to swing elections by landslides:

Quote
"I used to be a proud Chavista," said Rodrigo Duran, a 28-year-old security guard who switched allegiance in his vote on Sunday. "But how can I carry on when my salary doesn't allow me to feed my children? They deceived us."

The great difficulty is to bring the country back to economic health. Setting price controls is comparatively painless but it introduces terrific economic distortions. Just last week I paid $0.75 for a haircut. For the country to get back to economic sanity prices have to fit into the globalized economy. Our haircuts don't have to be priced at the same rate as in Los Angeles or Miami but they have to be high enough to allow the barber to buy products whose prices are globally set or at least influenced by global commerce. This adjustment, eliminating price controls, can be very painful, certainly much more painful than setting price controls in the first place. This pain was the reason a previous president, Carlos Andrés Pérez, was indicted (on trumped up charges) and removed from office.

Some countries, like Red China, managed the transition quite well. Others, like Russia, did not. How well will Venezuela cope?

Denny Schlesinger
 


Hopefully it will look to lessons learned from Chile and other countries.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_Chile
Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #315 on: December 09, 2015, 05:28:06 AM »

Opposition Wins 2/3rds Supermajority

The number of seats is 167, not 165 as I reported earlier and 2/3rds of 167 is exactly 112. There are three levels of majority to approve different kinds of laws and appointments. Earlier the discussion was about wether maduro could stifle a simple majority by the opposition but the supermajority sweeps away those fears. Having the supermajority means that the opposition can start dismantling the rubber stamp supreme court which has been one of the enforcers of the Chavista dictatorship. The Chavista dictatorship tried hard to wear sheep's clothing and in many ways it succeeded. That is now over.

I worry when any party has absolute majority in all three powers, executive, legislative and judiciary. It's a recipe for extremism and abuse. Our democracy started to go wrong when AD controlled both the presidency and the legislature. Not only was it a rubber stamp congress but it went so far as to give the president powers to rule by decree thereby taking congress (themselves) out of the game. The result was a poor presidency that ended with Carlos Andres Perez (CAP) being removed on trumped up charges. From there to Chávez was just continual decline as people got fed up with the so called democrats who, by the way, were also socialists.

When Chávez got the National Assembly to give him the same powers congress had given CAP, the opposition cried foul. But the example had been set by the so called democratic powers decades earlier. In fact, many of the things Chávez did which the opposition criticized, had already been done during the democracy. My friends hated me for pointing this out.

I'm not defending Chávez in any way, I'm condemning democracy without working separation of powers. I love split governments, gridlock, it's safer that way.

The election and the aftermath has been very quiet. The Chavista thugs (Círculos Bolivarianos) didn't take to the street. Maduro recanted on his previous threat to take power by force if they lost the election. Evidently electoral fraud was minimal or non-existent. Yesterday I was talking to an ex-sergeant of the national guard who had been dismissed early in the Chávez years when Chávez was padding the military in his favor. He commented that someone must have put the fear of god into top government people for this to happen. I really don't know how things happen at those levels and rumors are as abundant as flies.

My hope is that many of the Chavista mismanagements, to give them a kinder name, will be reversed, like selling under-priced oil to other socialist governments, we can't afford it and we don't need to buy their votes at the UN or at the OAS. That was Chávez's motivation. But I also hope that it does not turn into a witch hunt. We all must live in the same house.

Julio Borges, the fellow pictured below, is a good candidate for president of the National Assembly. He ran for the presidency of the republic but he just does not have the public personality to create enough of a following.




Venezuela opposition wins supermajority in National Assembly

Associated Press   
JOSHUA GOODMAN
December 8, 2015


Opposition lawmaker Julio Borges, who was reelected to Congress, gives thumbs up as he arrives for a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, one day after congressional elections. Venezuela's opposition won control of the National Assembly by a landslide in Sunday's election, stunning the ruling party and altering the balance of power 17 years after the late Hugo Chávez was elected president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's opposition won a key two-thirds majority in the National Assembly in legislative voting, according to final results released Tuesday, dramatically strengthening its hand in any bid to wrest power from President Nicolas Maduro after 17 years of socialist rule.

More than 48 hours after polls closed, the National Electoral Council published the final tally on its website, confirming that the last two undecided races broke the opposition coalition's way, giving them 112 out of 167 seats in the National Assembly that's sworn in next month. The ruling socialist party and its allies got 55 seats.

The publication ends two days of suspense in which Maduro's opponents claimed a much-larger margin of victory than initially announced by electoral authorities, who were slow to tabulate and release results that gave a full picture of the magnitude of the Democratic Unity opposition alliance's landslide.

The outcome, better than any of the opposition's most-optimistic forecasts, gives the coalition an unprecedented strength in trying to rein in Maduro as well as the votes needed to sack Supreme Court justices and even remove Maduro from office by convoking an assembly to rewrite Hugo Chávez's 1999 constitution.

Although divided government should foster negotiations, Maduro in his first remarks following the results showed little sign of moderating the radical course that voters rejected.

Even while recognizing defeat, the former bus driver and union organizer blamed the "circumstantial" loss on a right-wing "counterrevolution" trying to sabotage Venezuela's oil-dependent economy and destabilize the government.

On Tuesday, Maduro visited Chávez's mausoleum in the 23 of January hillside slum where the government suffered a shock loss in Sunday's vote. Accompanied by members of his top military command, he accused his opponents of sowing discrimination and class hatred, cautioning workers who voted for the opposition that they would regret their decision to abandon support for the government.

"The bad guys won, like the bad guys always do, through lies and fraud," said Maduro. "Workers of the fatherland know that you have a president, a son of Chávez, who will protect you."

Hardliners in the notoriously fractious opposition seem similarly inflexible, preferring to talk about ending Maduro's rule before his term ends in 2019 rather than resolving Venezuela's triple-digit inflation, plunging currency and the widespread shortages expected to worsen in January as businesses close for the summer vacation.

Moderates however are calling for dialogue to give Maduro a chance to roll back policies they blame for the unprecedented economic crisis. But with most Venezuelans bracing for more hardship as oil prices, the lifeblood of the economy, hover near a seven-year low, even they recognize the window for change is small and closing fast.

"If Maduro doesn't change we'll have to change the government," Gov. Henrique Capriles, who lost to Maduro in 2013 presidential elections, told The Associated Press. "But the opposition's response to the economic crisis right now can't be more politics."

___

Joshua Goodman in on Twitter: twitter.com/apjoshgoodman. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/joshua-goodman


https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuela-opposition-wins-supermajority-national-assembly-232112702.html
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #316 on: December 16, 2015, 08:31:05 PM »

The Venezuelan National Guard is corrupt to the core.



Venezuelan officials accused of taking drug pay-offs in U.S. indictment
Reuters By Nate Raymond
1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two senior Venezuelan officials facing U.S. drug trafficking charges are accused in an indictment of taking payments from narcotics traffickers and alerting them to drug raids, according to a person with knowledge of the case.

Nestor Reverol, the head of Venezuela's National Guard, and Edylberto Molina, a former deputy head of the anti-narcotics agency and currently a military attache posted in Germany, are named in the indictment that prosecutors are preparing to unseal, people familiar with the case told Reuters.

In addition to tipping traffickers off about raids, the two are charged with taking other steps to hinder anti-narcotics investigations, the person told Reuters on Wednesday.

Reverol, the former head of Venezuela's anti-narcotics agency, would be one of the highest-ranking Venezuelan officials to face U.S. drug charges. He could not be reached for comment.

He has previously rejected U.S. accusations that Venezuela has failed to curb illicit drug shipments and has touted the National Guard's success in cracking down on the flow of cocaine from neighboring Colombia.

Venezuela’s embassy in Berlin did not respond to an email requesting contact information for Molina. The diplomat has been a general in the National Guard, which is the branch of the armed forces that controls Venezuela's borders.

A National Guard official did not immediately respond to a voice mail seeking comment. An Information Ministry official said the ministry had no comment on Reverol.

The indictment pending in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, which the people said was expected to be unveiled in January, comes as the United States investigates the suspected involvement of senior Venezuelan officials in the cocaine trade.

The National Guard issued a series of Tweets in Reverol's defense on Tuesday night using the hashtag #NestorReverolSoldierOfTheFatherland and saying he should be praised for capturing more than 100 drugs bosses.

In televised comments on Wednesday, Socialist Party leader Jorge Rodriguez accused the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of drug trafficking in Venezuela and said the accusations were an "aggression" against the country's armed forces.

“There are two countries, one that produces drugs and another that shoves it up its nose. One produces and the other consumes, and neither of those two countries is Venezuela," he said, referring to Colombia and the United States respectively.

The U.S. Justice Department and the DEA have declined to comment on the case.

U.S. prosecutors have unsealed indictments charging at least five former Venezuelan officials with drug trafficking crimes over the past four years, according to records from Florida and New York district courts.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro dismisses charges of official involvement in drug trafficking as an international right-wing campaign to discredit socialism in Venezuela.

Two other former officials with the National Guard have been indicted on U.S. drugs charges in recent years.

One of them, former captain Vassyly Villarroel Ramirez, was indicted in 2011 on cocaine-trafficking charges. The U.S. Treasury put Villarroel on its drug "kingpin" list in 2013, and Venezuela arrested him in July on drug trafficking charges.

Lawyers for Villarroel could not be reached for comment.

Two nephews of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores were arrested in Haiti last month and indicted in federal court in Manhattan on cocaine trafficking charges. They are scheduled to next appear in court on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Julia Harte in Washington and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas; Editing by Stuart Grudgings)

http://news.yahoo.com/venezuelan-officials-accused-taking-drug-pay-offs-u-003335054.html
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #317 on: December 16, 2015, 08:47:20 PM »

Corruption, corruption everywhere.


Venezuela's soccer chief fighting extradition to US
Associated Press
2 hours ago

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's longtime soccer chief is fighting his extradition to the U.S. from Switzerland and asking to be judged in his home country on charges of corruption at soccer's governing body.

Lawyers for Rafael Esquivel told Venezuelan newspaper El Universal Wednesday that they've asked prosecutors to request his extradition.

Esquivel was arrested in May in Zurich as part of the U.S. and Swiss investigations into corruption at FIFA. In seeking his extradition to Venezuela his lawyers may be betting that the 69-year-old could benefit from his political connections in the socialist administration of President Nicolas Maduro or receive a more lenient punishment such as home arrest if he pleads guilty.

Venezuela's soccer federation, which Esquivel led since 1988 until the time of his arrest, declined to comment.


http://news.yahoo.com/venezuelas-soccer-chief-fighting-extradition-us-235353831.html
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 5003


« Reply #318 on: December 16, 2015, 10:45:43 PM »

"Corruption, corruption everywhere."

Denny,

Do you still invest in stocks?   I recall you had a lot of good recommendations back in the Gilder days.


Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #319 on: December 17, 2015, 03:51:17 AM »

George Gilder was/is a brilliant fellow but he is no investor and the Gilder Days ended badly because he didn't have an exit strategy and I was too green to know that one need such a strategy. Yes, I'm still investing and learning but now I'm entirely self directed so I have no one but myself to blame or congratulate for my results. I post about investing as captainccs at The Motley Fool. Investing is a fascinating world!
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 5003


« Reply #320 on: December 17, 2015, 07:55:48 AM »

Yes Gilder is brilliant.   He saw the wave coming.   But no one can predict when it will crash against the rocks and what will rise up from the debris.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 35913


« Reply #321 on: December 17, 2015, 09:22:02 AM »

Following Gilder made me money at first and then lost me far more. 
Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #322 on: December 17, 2015, 11:15:03 AM »

Same here...
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #323 on: January 02, 2016, 05:25:00 AM »

Government dirty tricks in the open, they are trying to block the opposition's 2/3 rd. supermajority by preventing three or more deputies from taking their seats. The so called Supreme Court is nothing but a Chavista rubber stamp having been stuffed with Chavista acolytes. One of the aims of the supermajority was to clean up the Supreme Court.

While I understand the desire of the winners to get their rewards I don't think that supermajority is a good idea either. Too much power makes any and all governments dangerous, precisely the reason the Founding Fathers insisted on separation of powers, checks and balances. I love gridlock, it keeps rulers in check.
 

Venezuela opposition: Court blocking of 4 lawmakers a 'coup'
Associated Press By HANNAH DREIER
December 31, 2015 9:56 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's opposition is calling a Supreme Court decision that bars four recently-elected lawmakers from taking their seats in the National Assembly part of a "judicial coup" and has vowed to uphold the voters' will when a new session starts next week.

The high court released a decision late Wednesday suspending the inauguration of four of the lawmakers declared winners after the opposition swept Dec. 6 legislative elections. Three are anti-government and one is a member of the ruling socialist party. The ruling comes in response to a challenge filed by supporters of the socialist party. The court did not explain the legal justification behind its decision.

The ruling could undermine the opposition's newly won two-thirds legislative "super-majority" and limit its power.

Opposition leaders are pledging that the barred lawmakers will attend the first session of the new congress on Jan. 5. Lawmaker Julio Borges, one of two favorites to be the next assembly president, said President Nicolas Maduro could not be allowed to overturn the will of the people.

"The National Assembly represents the sovereignty of the people, and the president is trying to violate that using a biased court," he wrote on Twitter. "On Jan. 5, we will swear in the National Assembly and preserve that sovereignty as the Venezuelan people and international observers look on."

The opposition won a landslide victory earlier this month, taking control of congress for the first time in more than a decade. The coalition captured 112 of 167 seats, giving it a crucial two-thirds majority by one seat. That super-majority would allow government critics to censure top officials and could open the door to recalling Maduro or even rewriting the constitution.

Opposition coalition spokesman Jesus Torrealba released an open letter Wednesday asking international bodies including the United Nations and the European Union to help stop the government from stealing back control of the legislature.

"The country, the region and the world face a judicial coup d'état attempt against the decision the Venezuelan people made at the ballot box," he wrote.

The ruling has not provoked popular unrest in the middle of weeks-long winter vacations. In Caracas, the streets were unusually empty, save for groups of people launching fireworks and drinking rum in anticipation of the new year.

But Tuesday's swearing in ceremony could be a tinderbox. Government supporters have promised to rally outside the National Assembly, and the opposition is calling for government critics to join all 112 elected deputies in a march to the building.

The hardline members of the opposition who led a wave of bloody 2014 street protests are calling for a show of force.

"The best response to this moribund regime is to show in the streets how many of us there are on Jan. 5," opposition leader Freddy Guevara said.

http://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-opposition-court-blocking-4-lawmakers-coup-140858177.html
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 7505


« Reply #324 on: January 02, 2016, 12:08:25 PM »

" I don't think that supermajority is a good idea either. Too much power makes any and all governments dangerous, precisely the reason the Founding Fathers insisted on separation of powers, checks and balances."


Great point.  I don't want to be ruled by the elite either, or by majorities or even by super majorities.  I don't want to be ruled by anyone.  We need some basic rules of conduct in a civilized society that leaves people with all their basic freedoms intact.  We need a public sector that is only used for the things that need to  be done by a public sector.   In business, the government should be the impartial referee, not your supplier, teammate or competitor.
Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #325 on: January 04, 2016, 06:40:20 AM »

Chavez was very much the product of the terrible mismanagement of our two old mainline parties AD and COPEI that ruled the country for half a century. Now they've elected an old combative ADECO to lead the opposition in the National Assembly. Big mistake.

The irony is that during all those years I voted for AD as the lesser evil. This old article of mine might be of interest:

Quote
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.

http://softwaretimes.com/files/uslar%20pietri,%20venezuelan%20d.html


Combative Venezuela opposition leader will head congress
Associated Press By HANNAH DREIER
10 hours ago
 
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — An outspoken opposition leader known for embracing confrontation was chosen Sunday to head Venezuela's new congress when it opens in two days as a counterweight to the socialist administration.

The newly elected opposition majority voted to make Henry Ramos Allup the president of the National Assembly when it is seated Tuesday. The new session will be the first time foes of the administration have had control of any government institution in more than a decade.

Ramos, 72, is a divisive figure that government supporters love to hate as much for his acerbic tongue as for his leadership in the once-hegemonic Democratic Action party that co-governed Venezuela for decades before the late President Hugo Chavez won power in 1998 and began his leftist program.

Ramos' rival for the legislative presidency was Julio Borges, 46, a member of the Justice First party, a newer, moderate movement that won the biggest bloc of opposition seats.

Although Ramos hasn't joined in street protests against the government, he won with the help of opposition hard-liners who favor such demonstrations and other confrontation with President Nicolas Maduro's administration. Borges' party advocates a focus on negotiation and elections.

Ramos said the new National Assembly will show Venezuelans a more democratic way forward.

"We ask the people to watch us, to demand more of us, and keep an eye on what we do to make sure that we honor our commitment," he said.

Ramos' supporters praise him as an experienced operative well-positioned to wrangle the dozens of parties that make up Venezuela's opposition coalition and stand up to what is sure to be an offensive by the administration.

Skeptics say Ramos is too prone to spouting off and plays into the government's attempts to paint the opposition as entitled snobs nostalgic for the days when elites ran Venezuela.

The opposition won a crucial two-thirds legislative "super-majority" by a single seat in the Dec. 6 elections and it will need to corral every lawmaker to get through the most dramatic policies.

But policy and strategy disagreements within the opposition will make it hard to get the most high-stakes votes through, said R. Evan Ellis, a professor of Latin American studies at the United States Army War College Strategic Studies Institute.

"I suspect that the government will also use a combination of personal inducements and legal intimidation to try to coopt some of the members of the new congress," he said.

The opposition has long been split between moderates and hard-liners, and the two sides have exchanged barbs since their coalition's landslide victory over the socialists.

Even as the scale of the victory was still settling after polls closed, some opposition members began talking jubilantly about taking steps to remove Maduro and rewrite the constitution while others cautioned that the voters wanted economic reforms rather than a political fight.

Justice First leader Henrique Capriles, a governor who narrowly lost to Maduro in the last presidential election in 2013, called the opposition's legislative victory a vindication of his party's focus on building electoral support district by district. His party won 33 of the opposition's 112 seats in the new congress.

In recent weeks, Capriles has lambasted opposition leaders who have advocated street activism, particularly a wave of protests that shut down parts of Venezuela in 2014 and resulted in dozens of deaths.

Carpriles said that if the opposition had continued to pursue open confrontation in the streets, the coalition would never have won congress. The street protest movement "must be named among our greatest national failures," he told the Venezuelan weekly Tal Cual.

Supporters of Capriles' chief rival, the imprisoned hardline opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez, angrily rejected that criticism. Lopez's father, Leopoldo Lopez Gil, tweeted that he was glad Capriles is a governor and doesn't have a seat in the "new, brave congress." He also backed Ramos' leadership bid.

Lopez has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison in connection with his leadership of the 2014 protests, and he consistently polls as one of the nation's most popular leaders along with Capriles.

The government has so far showed few signs of willingness to negotiate. The outgoing congress filled the Supreme Court with newly appointed judges, and the court last week barred three opposition lawmakers from being sworn in.

Ramos on Sunday reiterated the opposition's pledge that all 112 lawmakers would take their seats despite the ruling, setting the stage for a showdown. Both the opposition and supporters of the administration are promising to convene at the National Assembly building Tuesday.

http://news.yahoo.com/combative-venezuela-opposition-leader-head-congress-234439264.html
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #326 on: January 06, 2016, 06:13:43 PM »

They got rid of the Chavez portraits. Demagoguery is no way to run a modern country. Maduro has done a great job of discrediting Chavismo.


Venezuela opposition sets out to oust government
AFP By Maria Isabel Sanchez
27 minutes ago

Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela's opposition laid claim Wednesday to a big legislative majority that could empower it to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

The opposition has vowed to find a way to get rid of Maduro within six months.

It has taken control of the National Assembly for the first time since 1999, the year the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez came to power.

At its first regular legislative session on Wednesday, the opposition-controlled assembly swore in three anti-government lawmakers, defying Maduro who had secured a court injunction to suspend them.

The three extra deputies boost the total number of opposition seats in the legislature to a two-thirds "supermajority" that could enable them to remove Maduro by constitutional means.

The government side vowed to charge the opposition with contempt of court.

The number two in Maduro's leadership, former assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello, said the swearing-in of the suspended deputies "flagrantly violated the constitution."

- Removing Chavez's portrait -

Opposition leaders earlier had portraits of the socialist government's hero Chavez removed from the assembly building.

"I don't want to see portraits of Chavez or Maduro. Take all this stuff away to the presidential palace, or give it away," the new speaker, Henry Ramos Allup, told workmen who were removing the portraits, in a video released by his staff.

He said his side would within six months propose a way "to change the government by constitutional means."

Maduro responded: "I will be there to defend democracy with an iron hand. They will not make me give ground or waver."

But on Wednesday, he announced a reshuffle of his government.

In elections on December 6, the opposition MUD coalition won a majority in the assembly for the first time in nearly 17 years.

Under Venezuelan law, with a two-thirds majority, the opposition could from next April launch measures to try to force Maduro from office before his term ends in 2019.

But it was not clear whether they will succeed in pushing ahead at odds with the court injunction.

The government side insisted any legislation passed with the votes of the suspended deputies would be null.

Cabello said the government would "paralyze" the assembly by withholding its budget from the treasury.

"No change of government is easy. Everything will depend on the situation in the country in a few months," said Juan Manuel Rafalli, an expert in constitutional law.

"I foresee great social conflict and enormous pressure for change."

- US 'interference' -

One of the first measures the opposition wants to pass is an amnesty for some 75 political prisoners, but Maduro has vowed to veto that move.

The US State Department backed the call for political prisoners to be released, with spokesman John Kirby calling Tuesday for a "transparent" resolution of the dispute.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez rejected that as "interference," in a Twitter message.

December's election result was widely seen as a protest by voters over the state of Venezuela's economy.

It threw up the toughest challenge to the president's authority and Chavez's socialist "revolution" since Maduro took over from his late mentor in 2013.

Venezuela has the world's biggest known oil reserves but has suffered from a fall in the price of the crude on which its government relies.

It is in deep recession, with citizens suffering shortages of basic goods and soaring inflation. Now they face the uncertainty of a political conflict.

"If the government uses its institutional control in a focused way, it could get its way in the short term," said analyst Luis Vicente Leon, head of polling firm Datanalisis.

"While the Chavistas and the opposition get involved in a political debate, the people will feel a great lack of solutions to their main problems."


http://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-congress-defiantly-swears-barred-lawmakers-203947017.html

Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #327 on: January 06, 2016, 06:33:55 PM »

A Bright And Hopeful Day For Venezuela



Workers remove Chavez’ giant poster from National Assembly building


While I am far away, I could not help but be glued to the events in Caracas today. While it was certainly not a smooth day, it was a great day for Venezuela. A day of hope and possibilities, a bright day for the future of democracy in the country. A very important day for Venezuela’s history and the image above clearly shows that change is in the air. The statues have yet to fall, but it’s coming. The beginning is here, let’s see how long it takes to get to a good point.

I will start with the most important signs of the day:

More at:  http://devilexcrement.com/2016/01/06/a-bright-and-hopeful-day-for-venezuela/
 
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #328 on: January 07, 2016, 01:12:36 PM »

The government deputies walk out, the press is allowed in. I love this part:

Quote
The opposition also opened the doors of the assembly to dozens of independent journalists, who had been barred from the legislature for years. In a scene few Venezuelans are accustomed to, one of them asked the unsuspecting First Lady (and elected legislator) Cilia Flores a question about two of her nephews, who are facing drug charges in a U.S. jail. Like other chavistas, who never take questions from independent media outlets, Flores seemed perplexed by the journalist’s gall, refusing to answer while fixing him with a malevolent glare.


An Ominous Opening for Venezuela’s New Parliament
Foreign Policy Magazine By Juan Cristóbal Nagel
23 hours ago

The building that houses Venezuela’s single-chamber legislature, the National Assembly, is a small, gold-domed capitol built in the late nineteenth century. The hall where the debates take place is just big enough to fit the 163 legislators who were sworn in on Tuesday for a five-year term. Following a landslide win last December, a large majority of them belong to the opposition.

But 45 minutes after taking their oaths, the pro-government minority decided the quarters were too cramped, and promptly left the building. (Oddly, lawmakers from the ruling party hadn’t found anything objectionable about the chamber while they were still in the majority.)

The excuse was an alleged breach in the rules governing the debate, but it was the overall atmosphere that forced them to go for fresh air. For the first time in the 17 years since the late Hugo Chávez swept into power, the opposition has firm control of one of the branches of government. This proved too much for the chavista legislators to handle, and their walkout foreshadows the tensions ahead.

The ceremony itself was part pageantry, part Venezuelan soap opera. The building was surrounded by three rings of military personnel who briefly blocked opposition legislators’ access to their new workplace. Several Metro stations around the capitol were closed to the public. Chavista paramilitary gangs had threatened to block access to the building in order to “protect the Revolution.”

Once inside, the new majority quickly began enacting symbolic changes. One of the first was to take down giant pictures of Chávez and of President Nicolás Maduro that had presided over the main debate hall since the former’s death and the latter’s subsequent election.

The opposition also opened the doors of the assembly to dozens of independent journalists, who had been barred from the legislature for years. In a scene few Venezuelans are accustomed to, one of them asked the unsuspecting First Lady (and elected legislator) Cilia Flores a question about two of her nephews, who are facing drug charges in a U.S. jail. Like other chavistas, who never take questions from independent media outlets, Flores seemed perplexed by the journalist’s gall, refusing to answer while fixing him with a malevolent glare.

The incoming president of the assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, was respectful of his colleagues in the minority, giving each side their turn. This was a striking departure from previous practice. In the previous chavista-dominated legislature, some opposition legislators were physically assaulted, others arbitrarily deprived of their parliamentary immunity. On several occasions, parliamentary leaders stripped opposition members of their speaking rights.

Ramos, a bookish 73-year-old and one of the few Venezuelan politicians with roots in the pre-Chavez political era, struck a conciliatory tone. He urged lawmakers to bring the country together and find solutions to pressing economic problems. But he also vowed to push the government to implement urgent reforms.

The government is in no mood for dialogue. In the last few weeks, it has stacked Venezuela’s top court with party loyalists. These new judges promptly moved to trim the opposition’s two-thirds majority by blocking the swearing-in of three legislators pending the resolution of an election dispute in the Southern state of Amazonas. (The deputies in question did not attend yesterday, and it is unclear what consequences this will have on the opposition’s ability to exercise its supermajority) The court’s ruling was based on shaky evidence, as demonstrated by the fact that even the chavista-controlled election commission certified the two-thirds majority. However this particular conflict is resolved, efforts by government-friendly judges to undermine its opponents will continue.

Moreover, on Monday, the government stripped the incoming National Assembly of any oversight over the Central Bank, taking away its power to nominate candidates to the bank’s board and to force directors to reveal economic or financial information. Crucially, the government also gave the Central Bank freedom to finance the executive branch, thus allowing Maduro to bypass the legislature to fund his massive budget deficit.

Despite all this, the opposition is determined to press ahead. It has pledged to pass an amnesty law that will free political prisoners. It has also vowed to cut Maduro’s term short via some sort of referendum in case the government does not cooperate. The chavista courts will likely have something to say about all of this.

A clash between the two forces seems inevitable. The legislature can pass all the laws it wants, but the institutions who implement them – the courts and the executive branch – are all firmly in chavista hands.

This means that Venezuela is in the throes of a full-blown constitutional crisis. Nobody can predict how it will play out, but if history is any guide, the military will play an important role in the outcome.

In the meantime, the country’s economy is in freefall. As the two sides bicker, Venezuela suffers from the world’s deepest recession and its highest inflation rate. The price of oil, the country’s top export, is tanking. And the Maduro administration has no idea what to do.

Watching Venezuela is seldom boring, and the swearing-in of the new National Assembly proved it. But the entertaining theater makes it easy to forget that this is a country of 30 million people living through an economic maelstrom, a president with no answers, and now, a divided government. The showdown in the National Assembly suggests the Venezuelan tragedy has a few more acts before it finds its resolution.

In the photo, opposition legislators argue with pro-government legislators during the new Venezuelan parliament’s swearing-in ceremony in Caracas on January 5, 2016.

http://news.yahoo.com/ominous-opening-venezuela-parliament-185655165.html
 
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #329 on: January 07, 2016, 01:27:43 PM »

I can live with a pragmatic socialist but clueless ideologues are dangerous.


Young socialist hardliner will lead Venezuela's economy
Associated Press By HANNAH DREIER
1 hour ago
 
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Nicolas Maduro is doubling down on his existing economic policies with the appointment of a young leftist hardliner to head the country's cratering economy, setting up a potential confrontation between the ruling socialist party and the newly powerful opposition.

Luis Salas, the new 39-year-old vice president for the economy, has scant administrative experience, but champions the same theories of price and currency controls that have defined Venezuela's leftist economic policy for 17 years.

Like Maduro, Salas says the country is suffering from the world's worst recession and triple-digit inflation because business interests are colluding with the U.S. to sabotage the economy.

He even goes further than Maduro in arguing that many of the country's problems are the result of being too capitalist.

A professor at the Bolivarian University, an institution created by the late president Hugo Chavez, Salas was relatively unknown before this week. But he has outlined his economic philosophy in a large collection of open letters and pamphlets.

"Inflation doesn't exist in real life," he wrote last year.

He added that prices go up not because of scarcity, but because of "capitalist economies that are driven by the desire for personal gain through the exploitation of others; by selfishness."

Along with shortages, inflation has become the No. 1 concern among Venezuelan voters, many of whom spend hours each week waiting in line for goods that are increasingly impossible to afford.

After the opposition swept Dec. 6 legislative elections, Salas wrote an open letter in which he attacked as "pragmatists" those people within the socialist camp who were floating the possibility of devaluation, a move that outside economists agree is a necessary first step for righting the economy.

Disbelief at the president's choice for a new economic czar echoed in opposition circles Wednesday night, with some speculating Maduro might be trying to drive the economy into the ground.

Since its landmark victory, the opposition coalition has been split between those who favor negotiation with the government and those who want to start to remove Maduro from office. The new appointment and the socialists' combative rhetoric since the new congress was seated Tuesday could silence opposition voices favoring dialogue.

Socialist supporters have supported appointment of the new economic czar. Some pro-government people rallied in downtown Thursday morning to protest the opposition leadership's removal of portraits of Chavez from the gold-domed capitol building.

Maduro named other hardliners to top spots Wednesday as part of a larger cabinet reshuffle he says is intended to protect the revolution during a new political era.

He also created a new urban agriculture ministry and announced that he and first lady Cilia Flores had taken up urban farming themselves.

"Cilia and I keep 50 chickens at our home. It's time to start building a new culture of production," he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/young-socialist-hardliner-lead-venezuelas-economy-150648513.html
 
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 13275


« Reply #330 on: January 07, 2016, 02:23:21 PM »

No such thing as a pragmatic socialist.
 
I can live with a pragmatic socialist but clueless ideologues are dangerous.


Young socialist hardliner will lead Venezuela's economy
Associated Press By HANNAH DREIER
1 hour ago
 
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Nicolas Maduro is doubling down on his existing economic policies with the appointment of a young leftist hardliner to head the country's cratering economy, setting up a potential confrontation between the ruling socialist party and the newly powerful opposition.

Luis Salas, the new 39-year-old vice president for the economy, has scant administrative experience, but champions the same theories of price and currency controls that have defined Venezuela's leftist economic policy for 17 years.

Like Maduro, Salas says the country is suffering from the world's worst recession and triple-digit inflation because business interests are colluding with the U.S. to sabotage the economy.

He even goes further than Maduro in arguing that many of the country's problems are the result of being too capitalist.

A professor at the Bolivarian University, an institution created by the late president Hugo Chavez, Salas was relatively unknown before this week. But he has outlined his economic philosophy in a large collection of open letters and pamphlets.

"Inflation doesn't exist in real life," he wrote last year.

He added that prices go up not because of scarcity, but because of "capitalist economies that are driven by the desire for personal gain through the exploitation of others; by selfishness."

Along with shortages, inflation has become the No. 1 concern among Venezuelan voters, many of whom spend hours each week waiting in line for goods that are increasingly impossible to afford.

After the opposition swept Dec. 6 legislative elections, Salas wrote an open letter in which he attacked as "pragmatists" those people within the socialist camp who were floating the possibility of devaluation, a move that outside economists agree is a necessary first step for righting the economy.

Disbelief at the president's choice for a new economic czar echoed in opposition circles Wednesday night, with some speculating Maduro might be trying to drive the economy into the ground.

Since its landmark victory, the opposition coalition has been split between those who favor negotiation with the government and those who want to start to remove Maduro from office. The new appointment and the socialists' combative rhetoric since the new congress was seated Tuesday could silence opposition voices favoring dialogue.

Socialist supporters have supported appointment of the new economic czar. Some pro-government people rallied in downtown Thursday morning to protest the opposition leadership's removal of portraits of Chavez from the gold-domed capitol building.

Maduro named other hardliners to top spots Wednesday as part of a larger cabinet reshuffle he says is intended to protect the revolution during a new political era.

He also created a new urban agriculture ministry and announced that he and first lady Cilia Flores had taken up urban farming themselves.

"Cilia and I keep 50 chickens at our home. It's time to start building a new culture of production," he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/young-socialist-hardliner-lead-venezuelas-economy-150648513.html
 

Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #331 on: January 16, 2016, 01:31:56 PM »

The truth shall set you free!

The government has lost control over the press. Independent reporters are now allowed into the National Assembly (parliament) and can report what happens. The two thirds landslide victory shows that people have had enough of the revolution and now they can get the juicy details as well. The end of Chavismo is now only a question of time.


Venezuela President Gets Rare Live TV Criticism
By HANNAH DREIER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
CARACAS, Venezuela — Jan 15, 2016, 10:44 PM ET

In a stunning display of Venezuela's tense new political order, President Nicolas Maduro suffered through a long scolding from the head of the country's new opposition Congress Friday after presenting his state of the nation address.

Congress leader Henry Ramos wagged his finger inches from the embattled president's head in a rebuttal that was broadcast live across the South American country — unprecedented media access for an opponent of the country's socialist revolution.

It had already been a night of firsts. Neither Maduro nor his predecessor the late President Hugo Chavez ever had to contend with a hostile audience for their state of the nation speeches. Critics of the administration took control of the institution last week for the first time in 17 years.

Maduro himself had mostly bad news to share.

Hours earlier, the Central Bank released key economic data for the first time in more than a year, showing an economy in shambles and for the first time acknowledging what analysts have long said: That annualized inflation has surged into triple digits.

Maduro described the numbers as "catastrophic" and devoted most of his three-hour speech to what he called a "monstrous attack" on the economy by business owners and other foes of the leftist government.

In his rebuttal, Ramos took a professorial tone as he laid out the opposition's view that Maduro himself is responsible for the crisis.

"If you don't want to hear this, close your ears or leave," he warned as Maduro sipped from a coffee cup and checked his watch in the next chair.

"If you give in to the desire to have more and more bolivars with the same number of dollars, your bolivars are going to lose value," Ramos said, referring to the country's plummeting currency.

The sight of an opposition leader lecturing the president on a live television feed all networks were required to carry shocked even ardent supporters of the sharp-tonged new congressional leader. Maduro rarely exposes himself to questions from independent reporters, much less questioning from political opponents. And few broadcast networks carry opposition events.

Maduro had taken an unusually conciliatory tone in his address, calling for dialogue even as he warned the opposition that it could easily get overconfident and lose the next election. He also vowed to block one of its key initial projects: Giving people who live in government housing the title to their homes.

"No, no and no, we will not permit it," Maduro said during one of the most dramatic moments of his speech. "You'll have to get rid of me first."

The opposition has pledged to do just that, issuing a six-month deadline to hold a recall election.

Maduro mentioned in passing that his newly appointed Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz had spoken this week with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and a high-ranking U.S. diplomat.

Ahead of his speech, Maduro declared an economic emergency giving him 60 days to unilaterally enact sweeping reforms. He later hand-delivered the decree to the head of Congress to be debated next week, but it's not clear that the government will wait for approval to enforce it.

Venezuela, which has the world's largest oil reserves, has suffered enormously as the price of oil has crashed from above $90 a barrel two years ago to just $24 today. Analysts say that means Venezuela is dangerously close to just breaking even on the oil it produces, which accounts for 95 percent of export earnings.

The country's economy contracted by 7.1 percent during the quarter that ended in September 2015, and inflation reached 141.5 percent, according to the new Central Bank data.

Maduro echoed many Venezuelans' fears Friday when he said he hoped the coming year would see peace, "not senseless violence that could lead anywhere."

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/venezuelas-president-declares-economic-emergency-36315983

Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #332 on: January 24, 2016, 11:52:42 AM »

Quote
The debate took place against the backdrop of more grim economic news as the International Monetary Fund predicted that inflation in Venezuela would more than double in 2016, reaching 720 percent.

Venezuela congress nixes Maduro request for emergency powers
Associated Press By HANNAH DREIER
January 22, 2016 5:58 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's opposition-led congress on Friday rejected President Nicolas Maduro's request for emergency powers amid a plunging national economy, the depths of which were dramatized by an IMF estimate that inflation this year will top 700 percent.

Ruling party and opposition lawmakers accused each other of trying to run the country into the ground in the first major congressional debate Venezuela has seen in more than a decade. Critics of the socialist revolution kicked off by late President Hugo Chavez took control of congress last month for the first time in 17 years.

Maduro had proposed an economic emergency decree that would give him expanded authority for 60 days. In the past, when it was dominated by first Chavez's and then Maduro's allies, congress made a habit of approving these kinds of exceptional powers.

The opposition argues that Maduro is responsible for raging inflation and chronic shortages dogging daily life here, and is promising to oust him within six months.

The debate took place against the backdrop of more grim economic news as the International Monetary Fund predicted that inflation in Venezuela would more than double in 2016, reaching 720 percent.

The South American nation already suffers from the world's highest inflation and a crushing recession. The IMF estimates that prices rose 275 percent last year in Venezuela, while the economy contracted by 10 percent.

Ahead of the final vote on his decree, Maduro announced he had approved a change that will allow the country's small export sector to use a more favorable currency exchange rate. He scolded opposition activists for "turning their back on the country."

"They're bent on the politics of sterile confrontation," he said as state television began promoting the slogan "irresponsible opposition."

Opposition leaders rejected the decree as a trap intended to make them look intransigent and unwilling to fix the economy.

"We're not closing any doors. On the contrary, today we opened the door to a serious discussion," majority leader Julio Borges said. "We're not looking to double down on the same policies that got us into this crisis. What we need is real change."

http://news.yahoo.com/imf-venezuela-inflation-surpass-700-percent-142019388--finance.html
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 13275


« Reply #333 on: January 24, 2016, 12:01:23 PM »

Good thing that could never happen here.

Quote
The debate took place against the backdrop of more grim economic news as the International Monetary Fund predicted that inflation in Venezuela would more than double in 2016, reaching 720 percent.

Venezuela congress nixes Maduro request for emergency powers
Associated Press By HANNAH DREIER
January 22, 2016 5:58 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's opposition-led congress on Friday rejected President Nicolas Maduro's request for emergency powers amid a plunging national economy, the depths of which were dramatized by an IMF estimate that inflation this year will top 700 percent.

Ruling party and opposition lawmakers accused each other of trying to run the country into the ground in the first major congressional debate Venezuela has seen in more than a decade. Critics of the socialist revolution kicked off by late President Hugo Chavez took control of congress last month for the first time in 17 years.

Maduro had proposed an economic emergency decree that would give him expanded authority for 60 days. In the past, when it was dominated by first Chavez's and then Maduro's allies, congress made a habit of approving these kinds of exceptional powers.

The opposition argues that Maduro is responsible for raging inflation and chronic shortages dogging daily life here, and is promising to oust him within six months.

The debate took place against the backdrop of more grim economic news as the International Monetary Fund predicted that inflation in Venezuela would more than double in 2016, reaching 720 percent.

The South American nation already suffers from the world's highest inflation and a crushing recession. The IMF estimates that prices rose 275 percent last year in Venezuela, while the economy contracted by 10 percent.

Ahead of the final vote on his decree, Maduro announced he had approved a change that will allow the country's small export sector to use a more favorable currency exchange rate. He scolded opposition activists for "turning their back on the country."

"They're bent on the politics of sterile confrontation," he said as state television began promoting the slogan "irresponsible opposition."

Opposition leaders rejected the decree as a trap intended to make them look intransigent and unwilling to fix the economy.

"We're not closing any doors. On the contrary, today we opened the door to a serious discussion," majority leader Julio Borges said. "We're not looking to double down on the same policies that got us into this crisis. What we need is real change."

http://news.yahoo.com/imf-venezuela-inflation-surpass-700-percent-142019388--finance.html

Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #334 on: January 24, 2016, 12:09:34 PM »

Why is the government team afraid of the media all of a sudden?
Quote
Maduro's economic team pulled out at the last minute saying they would only participate if it was closed to the media, Ramos said.


Venezuela lawmakers to reject economic crisis plan
AFP By Ernesto Tovar
January 22, 2016 2:16 PM

Caracas (AFP) - Venezuelan opposition lawmakers vowed to reject on Friday President Nicolas Maduro's bid to decree a state of economic emergency, deepening a political crisis in the oil-rich nation.

Friday is the deadline for the opposition-controlled National Assembly to vote on Maduro's decree, which would give him special powers to intervene in the economic crisis.

A refusal to pass it will prolong a tense political standoff in the volatile South American state, where citizens are suffering shortages of food and goods.

The opposition speaker of the congress, Henry Ramos Allup, accused Maduro's government of failing to adequately inform lawmakers of the details of the decree so they could debate the plan.

"It would be totally irresponsible for the National Assembly to blindly approve a decree of such magnitude, scope and implications, without having any information because the government itself refused to provide it," he said on television.

He said earlier that lawmakers suspended a session of the assembly in which the government was due to defend the decree because the ministers did not show up.

Maduro's economic team pulled out at the last minute saying they would only participate if it was closed to the media, Ramos said.

Senior pro-government officials accused the center-right opposition, which this month took control of the assembly for the first time in 17 years, of trying to turn the session into a "media show."

View galleryThe chairs for the ministers summoned to a parliamentary …
The chairs for the ministers summoned to a parliamentary session to explain the emergency decree rem …
The decree, issued a week ago, would give Maduro 60 days of extraordinary powers to combat a deep recession and triple-digit inflation.

It allows for the administration to commandeer private companies' resources, impose currency controls and take "other social, economic or political measures deemed fitting."

The opposition as well as some businesses and unions have warned it is a threat to free enterprise and jobs.

- Tense political standoff -

Announcing the decree last week, Maduro admitted Venezuela was in a "catastrophic" economic crisis.

He called on the assembly to approve the decree and "help me navigate this crisis."

But he vowed to resist any shift towards what he called "neoliberal" policies.

View galleryVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) speaks with …
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) speaks with the president of the opposition controlled Natio …
"You will have to come and overthrow me if you want to pass a privatization law. No, no and no!"

The same day Venezuela's central bank released its first economic growth and inflation statistics in more than a year.

The figures showed the economy shrank 4.5 percent in the first nine months of 2015.

Annualized inflation in September hit a painful 141.5 percent, fueled by crippling shortages.

Maduro said his emergency plan would allow the government to shore up its health, housing, education and food services.

He vowed to overhaul the country's system of production to shift it away from the oil revenue on which his social spending programs have relied.

Venezuela has the world's biggest known crude oil reserves but the price of oil has plunged over the past year and a half, slashing its revenues.

The opposition has branded the socialist policies of Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez a failure.

It wants to scrap government's price and currency controls.

The head of the congressional commission examining the decree, lawmaker Jose Guerra, said the opposition would make its own economic proposals to the government.

"Our interest is in resolving the crisis, but it is not going to be resolved through the government's policies," he said Friday on television channel Globovision.

The commission opened a session about 1530 GMT on Friday to discuss the decree. The full assembly was due to convene later.

Analysts say the political deadlock threatens to worsen the hardship that drove voters to hand the opposition a landslide election victory last month.

They have warned of the risk of a repeat of violent street clashes that left 43 people dead in 2014.


http://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-lawmakers-reject-economic-crisis-plan-191645530.html
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 5003


« Reply #335 on: January 24, 2016, 08:28:23 PM »

Perhaps it is non of my business but why do you live in Venezuela?    huh
Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #336 on: January 24, 2016, 09:45:19 PM »

Perhaps it is non of my business but why do you live in Venezuela?    huh

It's my country and a lovely place it is!


What are sailors saying about Venezuela? I stopped collecting these stories in 2008 because Chavismo had practically destroyed the cruising industry long with everything else. It seems we are getting our country back.

http://bahiaredonda.com/ip/cruising-logs-2008.php
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 5003


« Reply #337 on: January 25, 2016, 08:26:21 AM »

Thanks for response.  I am glad you like it.  I was just wondering if it is safe there and one hears about the turmoil because of the drop in oil as in other OPEC countries that cannot afford low prices as can the Arab countries.
 

Went to Marguerite Island once and a day trip to Angel Falls but wrong time of year and falls were only a trickle.  I never saw such large ants as in the Amazon we walked through! 
Logged
captainccs
Power User
***
Posts: 733


« Reply #338 on: January 25, 2016, 09:11:37 AM »

Is Paris safe? Are American schools safe? The excessive worry about safety is paralyzing. Americans have lost their freedom to government security agencies like the ones guarding airports. There was a time when no one could ask you for an ID in America. No longer. Now you are not you but whatever a piece of plastic says you are. Humans have domesticated themselves. What a pity.

A long time ago my mom was knocked down by a purse snatcher in Caracas. She was mad as hell and she decided she no longer wanted to live in such a savage country. Maybe Canada. A week later she got a letter from her niece in Montreal with the news that she had been robbed!

The world is so safe and bland that now people jump out of airplanes without a parachute to get some excitement back in their lives.

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=people+jump+out+of+airplanes+without+a+parachute&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=MzqmVrenLYWf-AXXo4GYDg
Logged

--
Denny Schlesinger
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 35913


« Reply #339 on: January 25, 2016, 11:29:38 AM »

Amen.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 35913


« Reply #340 on: January 31, 2016, 09:30:57 PM »

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/29/venezuela-is-on-the-brink-of-a-complete-collapse/
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 5003


« Reply #341 on: February 05, 2016, 03:52:29 PM »

OPEC Stands on the Brink
By Keith Kohl | Friday, February 5, 2016

Although the media headlines today are dominated by Russia, Saudi Arabia, speculation on China's slowing demand growth, and the tight oil drillers in the lower-48 states, it really was only a matter of time before other OPEC members reached a breaking point.

And that's precisely where Venezuela finds itself today.

What you might not know is that Venezuela actually has a very long history of oil exports.

Not many people know that the first barrel of Venezuela oil was shipped abroad about 320 years before Col. Drake's famous well struck black gold along the banks of Oil Creek, Pennsylvania.

It's true.

Just after the Spaniards conquered the area, there were rumors that oil could be used to cure gout, which led to a barrel of crude being shipped overseas to Emperor Charles V (it's a shame it didn't help with malaria).

But historical tangents aside, you have to ask yourself just how desperate Venezuela is over the potential collapse of its oil industry.

A State on the Brink

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Venezuela.

Any time you need to physically hit your president in the head with a piece of fruit to get his attention, that might be your first clue that something is wrong.

I guess he has other things on his mind, especially considering that his oil industry is on the brink of collapse.

But just how desperate is the Venezuelan oil industry? Let's just say that it's been pushed far enough to go over Saudi Arabia's head. Just this week, the country sent its new oil minister on a mission to visit both OPEC and non-OPEC producers and plead with them to cut production.

His travels included stops in Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Algeria, Nigeria, and Russia.

Now, we've always known that Venezuela has been one of OPEC's biggest price hawks — yet it's for good reason.

While the country reports a staggeringly massive amount of oil reserves — 299 billion barrels at last count — don't let it fool you.

To say Venezuela's supply is of poor quality would be a gross understatement. We're talking about some of the dirtiest, heaviest, most expensive oil to extract in the world.

Nearly 80% of those proven reserves, or 235 billion barrels, are found in the Orinoco Belt.

Few countries have a higher break-even price than Venezuela. The IMF reported last October that Venezuela's fiscal break-even price was $117.50 per barrel.

Personally, I don't know any oil bulls that believe crude prices will surge that much.

It gets worse for them, too. Things are so bad now that Venezuela is forced to import light crude oil from the United States in order to help refine its heavy oil.

Pleading its case to the world's largest producers, however, may not work out the way it's hoping, considering Venezuela's biggest enemy is Saudi Arabia itself.

Don't believe me? Just read on...



OPEC's Internal War

So you really want to know how bad things have gotten for Venezuela?

When the House of Saud declared war on oil prices more than 18 months ago, it wasn't just on the tight oil companies in the United States.

It was also on fellow OPEC members like Venezuela.

Remember, oil ministers from Saudi Arabia have consistently argued that their main priority is to preserve the nation's market share — no matter who's in their way.

Over the last decades, Venezuela's oil exports to the United States have fallen by more than 46%. Of course, you should also bear in mind that almost 90% of this oil was shipped to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

And let's be clear here: the Gulf Coast is a crucial region for Venezuela's oil due to the fact that it's where most of the United States' heavy crude processing capacity is located.

The problem is that Venezuela is quickly losing ground to its OPEC brethren.

More than half of the oil that is shipped to the Gulf Coast comes from an OPEC member, and three-quarters of those OPEC exports consist of crude exports from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

In fact, six out of every 10 barrels that the Saudis export to the United States end up going to the Gulf Coast.

Now, considering that tight oil plays have almost single-handedly pushed U.S. oil output to over 9 million barrels per day over the last nine years, it's clear that the Gulf Coast has become a fierce battleground for foreign exporters.

And if the situation is grim enough for Venezuela to send its oil minister around the world begging for a meager 5% output cut across the board, you can imagine how close its oil industry is standing to the brink.

Until next time,

Keith Kohl Signature

Keith Kohl
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 5 6 [7] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!