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Author Topic: Venezuela  (Read 110632 times)
ccp
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« Reply #350 on: May 10, 2016, 08:31:15 AM »

 "The man on the street does not know who will replace Maduro if recalled and does not seem to care."

This to me seems remarkable. Propaganda and censorship really does work I guess.

If people start to lack food than it may be as Michael Savage has suggested that is when they start to riot in the streets.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #351 on: May 10, 2016, 09:29:25 AM »

Thanks Denny.

I see similarities to Saddam's Iraq.  It's hard to organize a take to the street movement when they shoot opposition leaders in the head - openly in public, ignore it on the news and then there is barely any news of it anywhere else either.  Where is Venezuelan election observer Jimmy Carter on this?  Whether you get 99% support in elections under threat of death or lose 2/3rds and stay in power anyway is the same result.  Elections don't matter; it is rule by force.  Sometimes regime change support can only come from the outside and nobody ever seems to want that. 

American colonist revolutionaries had help from the French, Spanish, the Dutch and others and would not likely have succeeded without all of that.
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captainccs
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« Reply #352 on: May 10, 2016, 10:14:40 AM »

Quote
Where is Venezuelan election observer Jimmy Carter on this?

That SOB was bought by Chavez. The Colombian observer (Gaviria?) wanted to make a statement and he was made to shut up. Later Carter praised the election as "fair" after an interview with Chavez.
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Denny Schlesinger
G M
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« Reply #353 on: May 15, 2016, 04:10:02 AM »

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/maduro-orders-seizure-of-closed-venezuela-factories-jailing-of-owners/ar-BBt3bLI

But, but, it's scientific!
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ccp
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« Reply #354 on: May 15, 2016, 09:48:22 AM »

 Carter

Every time he opens his mouth on the topic of politics I am reminded of what a progressive fool he was and still is.

He is no longer the best post President in our lifetime.

he won't be missed once the melanoma takes him to where we all go in the end.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #355 on: May 16, 2016, 08:19:27 AM »

We consider our states to be 50 laboratories of democracy.  We can try different polices and see how they work.  That is my fascination with Venezuela as well.  

There are a ton of stories about Venezuela recently and over the weekend.  Terrible scarcities, chaos, assassination, coup speculation, inflation and so on.

Recalling the Jimmy Carter fiasco, my understanding is that he was our election, see-no-evil, observer during a Chavez recall election when Chavez was losing 40-60 and the official government cheating made that into a 60-40 victory.  My own shock wasn't the expected cheating but the fact that 40% still supported policies of economic failure.  The cheating would have been harder to hide if that support had been closer to zero.

This Saturday in Venezuela:
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/maduro-orders-seizure-of-closed-venezuela-factories-jailing-of-owners/ar-BBt3bLI?ocid=iehp
Maduro orders seizure of closed Venezuela factories, jailing of owners
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday ordered authorities to seize factories that have stopped production and jail their owners, a day after declaring a state of emergency to combat the country's economic crisis.
"We must take all measures to recover productive capacity, which is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie," he told a rally in Caracas.
"Anyone who wants to halt (production) to sabotage the country should get out, and those who do must be handcuffed and sent to the PGV (Venezuelan General Penitentiary)," he said

It would be an exaggeration to say that these are the policies young people here in the US at Sanders and Clinton rallies are supporting, but effectively, these are the economic policies we are pursuing and they are supporting and we know they don't work.  Minimum wage is just one example, government mandates what the private sector must do whether is makes economic or business sense or not.  Even the Trump side wants to take your assets if you try to close or leave.  How is that working in places that are further along wih it?

https://panampost.com/panam-staff/2016/05/14/venezuela-is-on-the-brink-of-social-collapse-national-guardsman/
Shortages Cause Daily Looting, Energy Crisis Worsens as National State of Emergency Approaches, May 14, 2016

https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-concern-grows-over-possible-venezuela-meltdown-officials-022241019.html?nhp=1   Reuters: "an unraveling socialist economy"

Is there some other kind?

« Last Edit: May 16, 2016, 09:02:00 AM by DougMacG » Logged
captainccs
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« Reply #356 on: May 16, 2016, 11:18:00 AM »

Local analysis by The Devil (Miguel Octavio):


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

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

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Denny Schlesinger
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #357 on: May 16, 2016, 11:31:24 AM »

 shocked shocked shocked
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DougMacG
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« Reply #358 on: June 01, 2016, 10:45:48 AM »

I hope Denny is well and has a plan in place to get through this, and I wish the best for all who have to deal with the man-made tragedy of the Venezuelan economy

Venezuela is facing a human tragedy.  People can't buy basic things, according to so many reports.  They are facing a near total breakdown of all things economic.  The crisis brings immediate questions, what can be done right now to survive this, and longer view questions, why did this happen?

"Maybe they went too far."  [with socialism and statism]  That is the best answer I have heard from the left here as to why socialism failed Venezuela (yet we keep pursuing same or similar policies here.)

If economic freedom is the engine of propulsion, then social programs, centralized authority and cronyism are the brakes.  When the brakes are stronger than the engine, the system halts.  There is a limit to how badly you can cripple your private economy without stalling it and there is a limit to how heavy of a load it can carry.  Don't cripple production and weigh down the load at the same time, but isn't that the way these things go?

Zero growth, like we have in the US, is not the limit of dysfunction.  Zero production is.  In a closed system, zero production means death, literally.  Venezuela doesn't have zero production, but they have real qand significant decline that has the potential to spiral further downward.  When you don't have electricity, water, gas, food or even rule of law, you can't produce if you want to. 

In the US, we have the contention of a formerly dynamic private economy fighting against the weight of an ever-growing public burden.  The corporate tax rate is the highest in the world, and that is just one of the burdens slwoing activity and chasing out capital.  The number of people on food stamps doubled in recent years, and that is just one indicator that the weight of the load is increasing.  We have a some economic freedom left and some rule of law remaining.  After you are quadruple taxed and quadruple taxed again, you are free to keep the remaining fruits of your labor, and keep your factory open if you pay overtime healthcare and the like.

The strength remaining in our weakened private economy is about equal to the weight of the anchor we carry in this period of zero growth.  Our anchor will pull us all the way down if we add more weight to it or lose another ounce of strength.  We don't have any more room to do things any worse and not face collapse and crisis.


In Venezuela, they did all those things we hypothesize about in the heated talk about income or wealth inequality.  They cut out the capitalists, gave the money to the people [and to government and to the cronies], right up until they ran out of people to take from.  As Margaret Thatcher correctly observed and predicted, they ran out of other people's money.  Now we see how well a central authority replaces a free market. 

This time, as always, Socialism failed.
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G M
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« Reply #359 on: June 01, 2016, 10:47:53 AM »

But, but, it's scientific!

I hope Denny is well and has a plan in place to get through this, and I wish the best for all who have to deal with the man-made tragedy of the Venezuelan economy

Venezuela is facing a human tragedy.  People can't buy basic things, according to so many reports.  They are facing a near total breakdown of all things economic.  The crisis brings immediate questions, what can be done right now to survive this, and longer view questions, why did this happen?

"Maybe they went too far."  [with socialism and statism]  That is the best answer I have heard from the left here as to why socialism failed Venezuela (yet we keep pursuing same or similar policies here.)

If economic freedom is the engine of propulsion, then social programs, centralized authority and cronyism are the brakes.  When the brakes are stronger than the engine, the system halts.  There is a limit to how badly you can cripple your private economy without stalling it and there is a limit to how heavy of a load it can carry.  Don't cripple production and weigh down the load at the same time, but isn't that the way these things go?

Zero growth, like we have in the US, is not the limit of dysfunction.  Zero production is.  In a closed system, zero production means death, literally.  Venezuela doesn't have zero production, but they have real qand significant decline that has the potential to spiral further downward.  When you don't have electricity, water, gas, food or even rule of law, you can't produce if you want to. 

In the US, we have the contention of a formerly dynamic private economy fighting against the weight of an ever-growing public burden.  The corporate tax rate is the highest in the world, and that is just one of the burdens slwoing activity and chasing out capital.  The number of people on food stamps doubled in recent years, and that is just one indicator that the weight of the load is increasing.  We have a some economic freedom left and some rule of law remaining.  After you are quadruple taxed and quadruple taxed again, you are free to keep the remaining fruits of your labor, and keep your factory open if you pay overtime healthcare and the like.

The strength remaining in our weakened private economy is about equal to the weight of the anchor we carry in this period of zero growth.  Our anchor will pull us all the way down if we add more weight to it or lose another ounce of strength.  We don't have any more room to do things any worse and not face collapse and crisis.


In Venezuela, they did all those things we hypothesize about in the heated talk about income or wealth inequality.  They cut out the capitalists, gave the money to the people [and to government and to the cronies], right up until they ran out of people to take from.  As Margaret Thatcher correctly observed and predicted, they ran out of other people's money.  Now we see how well a central authority replaces a free market. 

This time, as always, Socialism failed.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #360 on: June 01, 2016, 11:26:05 AM »

Denny:

How are YOU doing?  Anything we can do to help?

If your prefer, email me at craftydog@dogbrothers.com

Marc
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captainccs
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« Reply #361 on: June 01, 2016, 01:59:13 PM »

I hope Denny is well and has a plan in place to get through this, and I wish the best for all who have to deal with the man-made tragedy of the Venezuelan economy

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


Viernes negro, black Friday, February 18, 1983.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Denny has a plan

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

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


The reality on the ground

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

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

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

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

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

These prices are terrible for someone making the minimum $15 MONTHLY wage! If you have hard currency you are in the 1%.
 
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Denny Schlesinger
ccp
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« Reply #362 on: June 01, 2016, 02:39:40 PM »

Denny,

What would be the best thing to  happen to turn the situation around in Venezuela at this point?
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captainccs
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« Reply #363 on: June 01, 2016, 04:34:23 PM »

Quote
What would be the best thing to  happen to turn the situation around in Venezuela at this point?

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


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

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

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

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

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

This might sound strange but it would be advantageous for the opposition if Maduro stayed in power until 2019 and was forced to improve economic conditions by removing price and exchange controls. The anger would be directed at Maduro and his follower would have an easier time completing reforms.
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Denny Schlesinger
ccp
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« Reply #364 on: June 01, 2016, 06:25:27 PM »

Wow. no simple fix.
thanks for the informative response.

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captainccs
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« Reply #365 on: June 02, 2016, 10:48:38 AM »

Quote
It seems like CANTV is selling SPAM space (or their filters broke down).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

So here are the results from 50 domains I checked:

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

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


99 cent domain names are a mouth watering offer for spammers
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Denny Schlesinger
DougMacG
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« Reply #366 on: August 01, 2016, 10:34:25 AM »

From the US political point of view, how come liberals say they care about others but won't talk about the economic crisis just across the gulf from us?  Why are we pursuing their policies?

Venezuela's new decree: Forced farm work for citizens
by Patrick Gillespie, Rafael Romo and Osmary Hernandez   CNNMoney
July 29, 2016: 3:31 PM ET   
http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/29/news/economy/venezuela-decree-farm-labor/

Venezuelans cross into Colombia to get food
A new decree by Venezuela's government could make its citizens work on farms to tackle the country's severe food shortages.

That "effectively amounts to forced labor," according to Amnesty International, which derided the decree as "unlawful."

In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country's fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended "if circumstances merit."

"Trying to tackle Venezuela's severe food shortages by forcing people to work the fields is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band aid," Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas' Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly -- the Congress -- which is staunchly against all of Maduro's actions.
According to the decree from July 22, workers would still be paid their normal salary by the government and they can't be fired from their actual job.

It is a potent sign of tough conditions in Venezuela, which is grappling with the lack of basic food items like milk, eggs and bread. People wait hours in lines outsides supermarkets to buy groceries and often only see empty shelves.

Venezuela once had a robust agricultural sector. But under its socialist regime, which began with Hugo Chavez in 1999, the oil-rich country started importing more food and invested less in agriculture. Nearly all of Venezuela's revenue from exports comes from oil.
With oil prices down to about $41 a barrel from over $100 about two years ago, Venezuela has quickly run out of cash and can't pay for its imports of food, toilet paper and other necessities. Neglected farms are now being asked to pick up the slack.

Maduro's actions are very similar to a strategy the communist Cuban government used in the 1960s when it sought to recover sugar production after it declined sharply following the U.S. embargo on Cuban goods. It forced Cubans to work on sugar farms to cultivate the island's key commodity.

It's important to note that Maduro has issued decrees before and they often just languish. In January, his government published a decree that put in place mechanisms to restrict the access and movements to the money in the accounts. In other words, a kind of bank freeze. However, that hasn't happened yet.

The National Assembly is expected to discuss the decree on Tuesday. But it would largely be symbolic: under Venezuelan law, the Assembly can't strike down a decree.
This latest action by Maduro may also be a sign that at least one other leader may be calling the shots on this issue. Earlier in July, Maduro appointed one of the country's defense ministers, Vladimir Padrino, as the leader of a team that would control the country's food supply and distribution.
Related: Venezuela's health care crisis
It's powerful role, especially at a time of such scarcity in Venezuela.
"The power handed to Padrino in this program is extraordinary, in our view, and may signal that President Maduro is trying to increase support from the military amid a deepening social and economic crisis," Sebastian Rondeau, an economist at Bank of America, wrote in a research note.
Venezuela is the world's worst economy, according to the IMF. It's expected to shrink 10% this year and inflation is projected to rise over 700%. Beyond food shortages, hospitals are low on supplies, causing many patients to go untreated and some to die.
The country's electoral authorities are still reviewing the petition, which Maduro strongly opposes.
CNNMoney (New York)
First published July 29, 2016: 2:06 PM ET




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captainccs
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« Reply #367 on: August 01, 2016, 10:42:17 AM »

How do you say "Gulag" in Spanish?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulag
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Denny Schlesinger
G M
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« Reply #368 on: August 01, 2016, 10:59:04 AM »

How do you say "Gulag" in Spanish?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulag


I am going to guess the word is Venezuela.
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G M
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« Reply #369 on: August 15, 2016, 12:20:43 AM »


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/9993238/Venezuela-the-wealth-of-Chavez-family-exposed.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3192933/Hugo-Chavez-s-ambassador-daughter-Venezuela-s-richest-woman-according-new-report.html

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DougMacG
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« Reply #370 on: August 15, 2016, 12:37:09 PM »


I didn't notice how attractive she is until I saw the $4.5 billion.

The US should follow Venezuelan precedent, empty those accounts, give the money to American agriculture and send food to the Venezuelan people.
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captainccs
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« Reply #371 on: August 17, 2016, 07:52:05 AM »

Every time Socialism fails they sell out to Capitalism or die.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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« Reply #372 on: August 18, 2016, 02:06:38 PM »

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-crime-idUSKCN10S2I9
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« Reply #373 on: August 31, 2016, 11:23:07 PM »

The opposition has prepared a major demonstration in Caracas for today, September 1, 2016. It's not on the world news yet so I don't have English language links but for Spanish speakers...

Toma de Caracas

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

Pictures of security forces supposedly on the alert

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

 
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« Reply #374 on: September 01, 2016, 11:27:29 AM »

This should be interesting!  Please keep us posted!
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« Reply #375 on: September 01, 2016, 05:34:14 PM »

The oppo read a speech.

Everyone went home.

It's raining cats and dogs.

So ends another day in Revolutionary Venezuela.

Yawn...
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« Reply #376 on: September 01, 2016, 10:31:11 PM »

 cheesy
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« Reply #377 on: September 02, 2016, 11:34:12 AM »

A lot of people took to the streets but Maduro is still firmly in power. How to get rid of him?

PHOTOS: Venezuelans Take To The Streets In Protest Against The Government
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« Reply #378 on: September 04, 2016, 12:36:08 AM »

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/world/americas/venezuelan-president-is-chased-by-angry-protesters.html?_r=1&referer
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« Reply #379 on: September 04, 2016, 01:42:21 PM »

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-and-venezuela-decades-of-defeats-and-destabilization/5434884
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« Reply #380 on: September 04, 2016, 02:30:59 PM »

Sorry, I can't read that much crap in one sitting. But I do have an observation, I like the flag the article is flying, it's our true flag with seven white stars representing the seven provinces that made up Venezuela during our war of independence. Not that piece of crap that Chavez created adding an extra star supposedly for Cuba and making the horse on the national seal look forward instead of back.

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

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

Empires protect their backyards.
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« Reply #381 on: September 04, 2016, 11:21:28 PM »

I brought your comments to his attention.  Looking  forward to his response  evil
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« Reply #382 on: September 04, 2016, 11:57:28 PM »

Sorry, I can't read that much crap in one sitting. But I do have an observation, I like the flag the article is flying, it's our true flag with seven white stars representing the seven provinces that made up Venezuela during our war of independence. Not that piece of crap that Chavez created adding an extra star supposedly for Cuba and making the horse on the national seal look forward instead of back.

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

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

Empires protect their backyards.


China along with Russia will fill the vacuum left by the US. People will miss the Yanquis.
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« Reply #383 on: September 05, 2016, 12:35:34 AM »


About the author:  
http://fresnozionism.org/2011/11/dr-james-petras-yet-another-antisemitic-professor/
"Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process;"
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-age-of-imperial-wars/5470957


It's quite a stretch to tie Venezuela's problems to anything other than the policies of Chavez and Maduro.  This is a case study in leftist economics.  In terms of policies, Venezueal is a leftist's dream come true.  Now the economic results speak for themselves.

Compare Chile's policies and results with Venezuela.  (Below)  Venezuela was the world's 10th freest economy in 1975 and dropped to world's least free economy in 2013 (on a list that excludes North Korea for lack of data).  Now people can't buy food.

From the article:
"The US relaunched a multi-pronged offensive to undermine and overthrow the newly elected Nicolas Maduro regime."

Absurd on its face that Obama was trying to overthrow the socialists in Venezuela.  Going back in time, it was Bush who trusted Colin Powell who trusted "observer" Jimmy Carter to 'certify' the fraudulent, failed recall of Hugo Chavez in 2004.

WSJ Sept 9, 2004, "Conned in Caracas"
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB109468774383413097

--------------------------------------
http://reason.com/archives/2016/05/24/5-ways-capitalist-chile-is-much-better-t

5 Ways Capitalist Chile is Much Better Than Socialist Venezuela

The story of Chile’s success starts in the mid-1970s, when Chile’s military government abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms. In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy. Venezuela, in the meantime, declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013 (Human Progress does not have data for the notoriously unfree North Korea).

1. As economic freedom increased, so did income per capita (adjusted for inflation and purchasing power parity), which rose from being 31 percent of that in Venezuela to being 138 percent of that in Venezuela. Between 1975 and 2015, the Chilean economy grew by 287 percent. Venezuela’s shrunk by 12 percent.

2. As its economy expanded, so did Chile’s ability to provide good health care for its people. In 1975, Chile’s infant mortality rate was 33 percent higher than Venezuela’s. In 2015, almost twice as many infants died in Venezuela as those who died in Chile.

3. With declining infant mortality and improving standard of living came a steady increase in life expectancy. In 1975, Venezuelans lived longer than Chileans. In 2014, a typical Chilean lived over 7 years longer than the average citizen of the Bolivarian Republic.

4. Moreover, more Chileans of both sexes survive to old age than they do in Venezuela. As they enter their retirement, the people of Chile enjoy a private social security system that was put into place by Cato’s distinguished senior fellow Jose Pinera. The system generates an average return of 10 percent per year (rather than the paltry 2 percent generated by the state-run social security system in the United States).

5. Last, but not least, as the people of Chile grew richer, they started demanding more say in the running of their country. Starting in the late 1980s, the military gradually and peacefully handed power over to democratically-elected representatives. In Venezuela, the opposite has happened. As failure of socialism became more apparent, the government had to resort to ever more repressive measures in order to keep itself in power—just as Friedrich Hayek predicted.
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« Reply #384 on: September 05, 2016, 12:57:54 AM »

Amazing how skilled those who conspire to make socialism collapse are. It's like a 100% success rate!
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« Reply #385 on: September 05, 2016, 06:58:51 AM »

Quote
The story of Chile’s success starts in the mid-1970s, when Chile’s military government abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms. In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy. Venezuela, in the meantime, declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013 (Human Progress does not have data for the notoriously unfree North Korea).

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.amazon.com/Crash-2016-Plot-Destroy-America/dp/0446584835
 
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« Reply #386 on: September 05, 2016, 08:51:41 AM »

I'm sure we had this posted at the time but amazing how difficult it was for me through the should be unbiased google to find anything to back up my memory of the election fraud in Hugo Chavez' recall election.

"This is no small matter", they wrote then.  Look at what it means for the Venezuelan people now.  None of this had to happen.  Your socialist friend has his conspiracy theory backwards. 

Conned in Caracas

WSJ lead editorial, Sept. 9, 2004

Both the Bush Administration and former President Jimmy Carter were quick to bless the results of last month's Venezuelan recall vote, but it now looks like they were had. A statistical analysis by a pair of economists suggests that the random-sample "audit" results that the Americans trusted weren't random at all.

This is no small matter. The imprimatur of Mr. Carter and his Carter Center election observers is being used by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to claim a mandate. The anti-American strongman has been steering his country toward dictatorship and is stirring up trouble throughout Latin America. If the recall election wasn't fair, why would Americans want to endorse it?

The new study was released this week by economists Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard and Roberto Rigobon of MIT. They zeroed in on a key problem with the August 18 vote audit that was run by the government's electoral council (CNE): In choosing which polling stations would be audited, the CNE refused to use the random number generator recommended by the Carter Center. Instead, the CNE insisted on its own program, run on its own computer. Mr. Carter's team acquiesced, and Messrs. Hausmann and Rigobon conclude that, in controlling this software, the government had the means to cheat.

"This result opens the possibility that the fraud was committed only in a subset of the 4,580 automated centers, say 3,000, and that the audit was successful because it directed the search to the 1,580 unaltered centers. That is why it was so important not to use the Carter Center number generator. If this was the case, Carter could never have figured it out."

Mr. Hausmann told us that he and Mr. Rigoban also "found very clear trails of fraud in the statistical record" and a probability of less than 1% that the anomalies observed could be pure chance. To put it another way, they think the chance is 99% that there was electoral fraud.

The authors also suggest that the fraud was centralized. Voting machines were supposed to print tallies before communicating by Internet with the CNE center. But the CNE changed that rule, arranging to have totals sent to the center first and only later printing tally sheets. This increases the potential for fraud because the Smartmatic voting machines suddenly had two-way communication capacity that they weren't supposed to have. The economists say this means the CNE center could have sent messages back to polling stations to alter the totals.

None of this would matter if the auditing process had been open to scrutiny by the Carter observers. But as the economists point out: "After an arduous negotiation, the Electoral Council allowed the- -OAS [Organization of American States] and the Carter Center to observe all aspects of the election process except for the central computer hub, a place where they also prohibited the presence of any witnesses from the opposition. At the time, this appeared to be an insignificant detail. Now it looks much more meaningful."

Yes, it does. It would seem that Colin Powell and the Carter Center have some explaining to do. The last thing either would want is for Latins to think that the U.S. is now apologizing for governments that steal elections. Back when he was President, Mr. Carter once famously noted that the Afghanistan invasion had finally caused him to see the truth about Leonid Brezhnev. A similar revelation would seem to be in order toward Mr. Chavez.
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« Reply #387 on: October 31, 2016, 07:20:58 PM »



http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/10/27/an-elegy-for-a-broken-country-the-venezuela-i-am-leaving-behind/

After 24 Years, I Am Leaving the Disaster Venezuela Has Become

And my heart grieves for my friends and neighbors, who are stuck there — for worse is yet to come.

    By Peter Wilson
    October 27, 2016
   

After 24 Years, I Am Leaving the Disaster Venezuela Has Become

CANTON, Ohio — The question never varied during my last four years in Venezuela. It could pop up when I was waiting in a long line for the chance to buy bread or toilet paper, or while being interviewed by immigration officials when I renewed by residency permit.

Policemen always asked me when they did traffic checks, as did the woman at my post office.


“You can leave this disaster; why don’t you?” Depending on the questioner, I might laugh or smile before launching into my reasons for staying in Venezuela.

The people, the weather, the food and drink, the music and dance, the culture — all were part of my stock responses. If the questioner seemed interested, I might add that I had bought a house 80 minutes outside Caracas and had fallen in love with my village and its breathtaking views. Or how I loved to wake up to the calls of a band of howler monkeys and soft grunts of emerald-green toucans. People were always surprised that I grew my own coffee, as well as many of the fruits and vegetables I ate. They were just as surprised when I told them that I taught English for free at the two elementary schools and was a member of many of the late Hugo Chávez’s social experiments aimed at reducing poverty and creating a more just society.

But after 24 years in the country, I decided last month to do what all of my questioners thought I should have done years ago: I left Venezuela. It was perhaps the most difficult decision in my life, even after a wave of armed robberies in my village and mounting shortages of food, medicine, and spare parts that have made lives a constant struggle for survival.

Sometimes it seemed to me that only President Nicolás Maduro and I would remain in the country, which has seen 1.5 million inhabitants flee to seek better lives abroad since Chávez’s swearing-in as president in 1999. The exodus shows no sign of easing. In fact, it will probably get worse.

    Venezuela is on the edge of a political crisis that could push it into a protracted and violent conflict along the lines of Colombia’s civil war.

Venezuela is on the edge of a political crisis that could push it into a protracted and violent conflict along the lines of Colombia’s civil war. That possibility grew last week when a lower court in the country suspended a recall campaign against Maduro that is being led by the country’s opposition. Protests and rallies are set for this week, aimed at forcing Maduro from office. But with the government apparatus in his corner, as well as the leaders of the country’s armed forces and security services, Maduro may be difficult to topple, even if polls suggesting that 80 percent of the country’s 30 million inhabitants want him gone.

Even if he leaves office, Venezuela will need years to recuperate from the damage wracked by the socialist revolution spearheaded by Chávez and carried on by Maduro. The economy is in shatters, a victim of mass expropriations of local businesses and industries. Twelve years of price and foreign exchange controls, state giveaways, and rampant corruption have pauperized Venezuela.

Venezuela’s economy is forecast by the International Monetary Fund to contract by 10 percent this year, following a 6.2 percent contraction in 2015. Inflation is set to be the world’s highest for a fourth consecutive year, with the IMF projecting 480 percent for 2016; other estimates go far higher. One dollar buys 10 strong bolivars at Venezuela’s official exchange rate; on the black market, one U.S. dollar fetches more than 1,200. And despite the government’s rhetoric, Venezuela’s economy has for all intents and purposes become dollarized given the shortage of foreign currency.

When I arrived in 1992, Venezuela — which has the world’s largest oil reserves — was among Latin America’s richest countries. Today, the monthly minimum wage is barely $20 (at the black market exchange rate), less than Haiti’s. Extreme poverty and infant mortality — both of which dipped in the first years of Chávez’s presidency — are again rising. Oil production has fallen by nearly 25 percent since Chávez took office and decried foreign participation in the country’s energy sector; he milked the state oil company dry to pay for his social initiatives and his own political campaigns. Today, the state oil company is warning that it may default on its bonds. Production at the state steel company has fallen by nearly 70 percent since its nationalization. The power grid, under state control, suffers constant outages and service disruptions. Venezuela, which once exported electricity to Brazil and Colombia, had to ration power earlier this year.

Food production has cratered. In my largely agrarian village, my neighbors don’t have seeds, fertilizers, or pesticides. The government took control of the country’s largest agricultural goods company years ago, promising to make it more responsive and make Venezuela self-sufficient in food. The result has been just the opposite. Today, Venezuela is a nation waiting in line to buy scarce items such as bread, rice, pasta, and sugar; buyers now queue at stores the night before, hoping that hard-to-find items might appear.

Hunger stalks my village as well. My neighbors were innovative as we went on the Maduro diet. In lieu of cornmeal, they began cooking green bananas or yucca roots to make a dough which they then turned into the ubiquitous arepas. Beef and poultry were replaced by what they could hunt in the cloud forest by the village:


Opossums, sloths, porcupines, kinkajous, monkeys, and chacalacas all found their way into their cooking pots.

A few of us started a soup kitchen for the village’s most needy, asking our overseas friends for donations to buy food. Within days, we were serving meals for 90 people, up from the 30 or so we initially forecast. Still, that wasn’t enough for some: One elderly man died of malnutrition. Others began gathering up a paste made of chicken by-products such as guts and bones which one woman used to bring to the village for stray dogs. With a little onion and rice it was palatable, they said.

Medicines are almost nonexistent. Aspirin has become a luxury for many; diabetics, people stricken with cancer, and those with high blood pressure are out of luck. The public health system — which Chávez vowed to make the region’s finest — has been gutted. Those needing operations face waits measuring months, and the cost can be astronomical.

Chávez promised a people’s revolution, a finer form of democracy. Instead, Venezuela is now facing political repression. Under Chávez, the country’s institutions — from the courts to the military to the legislature — lost whatever autonomy they once had. All became appendages of the Bolivarian socialist revolution. Under Chávez, it wasn’t strange for the supreme court to open one of its sessions by warbling a pro-Chávez ditty. Or for the head of the National Electoral Commission to show up at Chávez’s funeral in 2013, wearing the armband of Chávez’s political movement.

Today, Venezuela’s jails are filled with political prisoners: people locked up for their beliefs and opposition to the government. Many faced trumped-up charges; many are still awaiting trial. The persecution continues: Maduro and his cohorts continue to strip opposition mayors of their posts, charging them with corruption. And though the government clearly has the resources to arrest those who disagree with it, they apparently lack the resources to tackle common crime.

This year, about 30,000 people in a country of 30 million will be murdered. In 92 percent of the cases, their killers will never be arrested. By contrast, about 13,000 Americans will lose their lives to crime this year — but that’s with a population 11 times that of Venezuela. Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, now has the world’s highest murder rate. And seven other Venezuelan cities are in the world’s top 50.


In December 2015, I became a victim, like thousands of others, of an “express kidnapping.” I was held at gunpoint for several hours while my captors debated whether they could get more money for me, or for my car. In the end, they decided that I would pay more to have my car returned than my neighbors would pay for me. I knew then it was only a matter of time until I left. I have tried to be optimistic about Venezuela’s future but I see few solutions to this slow-moving train wreck — and none that a reporter and a part-time teacher can affect.

Maduro and his backers refuse to accept that they are in the minority, and that their government and its policies have led to one of the great economic meltdowns in recent history. They have no intention of sharing power with the majority of Venezuelans who want them gone, or to put policies in place that might stop the bleeding and bring this country back together. Instead, they have used whatever means necessary to silence the opposition and remain in power, from jailing protestors to colluding with armed gangs and drug traffickers.

I suspect and fear that Venezuela’s political crisis will only be resolved with bloodshed. In such an outcome there will be many innocent victims, and I left because I didn’t want to be one of them. But my friends, my neighbors, and most Venezuelans unfortunately don’t have that option.

**Good thing that can't happen here!**
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DDF
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« Reply #388 on: October 31, 2016, 09:55:52 PM »

Supporting what GM just posted.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-31/tired-of-counting-piles-of-cash-venezuelans-start-weighing-them
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 10:17:28 PM by DDF » Logged

It's all a matter of perspective.
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« Reply #389 on: November 01, 2016, 02:04:41 AM »

Editor's Note: Venezuela is one of Latin America's most dynamic and troubled countries. It had been relatively stable during the administration of President Hugo Chavez, but when he died, stability died with him. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, is now being challenged not only by Venezuelan citizens, who are angry as they struggle to obtain the most basic living staples and foodstuffs, but also by politicians inside and outside his own political party. The following piece provides updates to this crisis in real time.
Oct. 31: A Prominent Family Flees

As Venezuela's government and political opposition begin moving toward a political dialogue, at least one Venezuelan government official may be hedging against future risk. On Oct. 30, according to Stratfor's sources, three family members of Aragua state Gov. Tareck El Aissami departed from Caracas to Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport, Brazil, aboard a United States-registered GIV charter aircraft. Two of the three family members appear to be El Aissami's parents Zaidan and Mai El Aissami. There was no confirmation as to whether this was a temporary trip or a permanent departure.

The departure of an individual Venezuelan political official's family is not necessarily a significant item. But considered in the context of political events in Venezuela, it offers some insights into how the political leadership may view the coming months in Venezuela. The opposition and government began a political dialogue Oct. 30 under the supervision of the Vatican. The talks, from the government's standpoint, are an attempt to defuse the opposition's pressure on it. The opposition coalition was planning a protest at the presidential palace on Nov. 3, which could cause violence if anti-government protesters, security forces and pro-government citizens clash. Consequently, the government drew members of some of the opposition's major political parties, such as Accion Democratica, Primero Justicia, and Un Nuevo Tiempo into the negotiation, which is set to continue Nov. 11. Demands such as the release of political prisoners are expected to be discussed in future meetings.

But the uncertainty surrounding the dialogue and Venezuela's immediate future may be behind the El Aissami family's departure. El Aissami was one of the Venezuelan governors who aided in halting the recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month. Finding a compromise that satisfies the interests of an opposition determined to reach the presidency and of incumbents (such as El Aissami) determined to resist the opposition's incursions into the political arena will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. The negotiations could eventually fail, and major demonstrations might ensue. The next year also looks similarly bleak, as state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) may default on foreign debt payments — something that would result in an even sharper decline in imports over the next few years and a rise in social unrest and general lawlessness.

Therefore, the Aragua state governor's decision to send members of his family out of the country makes sense, given what the next few months in Venezuela potentially hold. If the dialogue fails, the opposition could call for further demonstrations, given that such protests are the coalition's last major tool to influence the government into accepting a referendum request or simply resisting retribution from the government. Given the stakes, such protests could drive a second wave of unrest not dissimilar to the one in 2014. Even without opposition-led demonstrations, a potential PDVSA default would complicate the government's ability to manage the country's economic decline over the next couple of years — becoming an even greater blow to the administration's attempts to win the 2019 presidential election.
Oct. 20: A New Roadblock to a Recall Referendum Emerges

The Venezuelan government's political future may be murky, but its immediate priority is clear: to block the opposition's attempt to recall President Nicolas Maduro. On Oct. 20, three governors belonging to the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) announced that the penal courts of their respective states had determined that the opposition had pursued its referendum movement illegally. Courts in Apure and Monagas states quickly followed suit. The judicial rulings against the referendum, though confined to the state level for now, could jeopardize the national movement if the Supreme Court upholds the lower circuits' decisions. Venezuelan opposition figures, fearing this might be the case, have accused the Supreme Court of preparing to halt the recall vote in its tracks. 

Two of the governors in question — Carabobo state Gov. Francisco Ameliach and Aragua state Gov. Tareck El Aissami — are longtime allies of former National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello, who is angling for the vice presidency. (The position would enable Cabello to eventually assume the presidency, should Maduro resign in 2017.) Though Cabello and Maduro have often been at odds with each other, they have found common ground in stonewalling the recall vote, at least until next year. Cabello, for his part, likely hopes that by averting a presidential upset, he himself can avoid being imprisoned in Venezuela or extradited to the United States, which is currently investigating drug-trafficking allegations against him.

But despite the two men's unity on this matter, the PSUV does not appear to be acting as a single, cohesive party. In the past few days, the Venezuelan government has made several seemingly contradictory decisions. On Oct. 17, the National Electoral Council announced that gubernatorial elections set for the fourth quarter of 2016 would be delayed until mid-2017 — a decision that poses a great risk to many PSUV governors, since voters may turn against the party at the polls as backlash over inflation and food shortages spreads.

Meanwhile, Maduro has been holding a series of meetings with former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and U.S. officials on opening a dialogue between Caracas and the Venezuelan opposition. Several factions other than the Maduro administration, however, are exerting influence over the talks — including a group led by Cabello and his allies. Though Cabello and Maduro both seek protection from incarceration or persecution by any future administration headed by the opposition, that appears to be where their shared interests end, and the two are reportedly conducting completely separate negotiations with U.S. officials and political rivals. Likewise, the five governors may be acting on the orders of Cabello and his allies, independently of the president's wishes.

Should the Supreme Court uphold the state courts' decisions, the opposition is unlikely to get the legal approval needed to hold its recall referendum without gaining the cooperation of other government institutions. (Given the PSUV's near-exclusive control over these institutions, such support would not be forthcoming.) If the vote is canceled, it will raise an important question as to whether major political figures will approve of Cabello's role in the matter. With the country under mounting economic strain, and state-owned energy company Petroleos de Venezuela inching closer to default, Cabello's attempts to deflect threats to his own power may do little to solve the country's — and ruling party's — deeper underlying problems.
Oct. 5: President Gets His Priorities in Order

Venezuela's leaders are still looking for a way out of the crises surrounding them. On Oct. 5, President Nicolas Maduro said that holding elections is not a priority for him. The statement refers not only to the recall referendum that the country's opposition has been pushing for — and that the government has been avoiding — but also to the gubernatorial vote that was scheduled to take place in November. Under mounting pressure from the opposition and from the United States, the president cannot defer elections indefinitely. Nonetheless, postponing the votes, or at least threatening to, could buy the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) some time.

Even as U.S. lawmakers call to increase sanctions on Venezuela, Maduro's administration has more to lose in allowing the recall referendum and gubernatorial elections to go on. The country's dire economic problems have cost the PSUV and its leaders popularity among the public. If the gubernatorial elections were held in November as planned, the party would likely fare poorly. Likewise, if Maduro were recalled this year, the PSUV could well lose power in the new presidential election. Although many PSUV governors blame Maduro for their waning support, they would rather protect their positions — and that of the party — by postponing the elections and the recall referendum.

In addition, several high-level figures in the party are under investigation by the United States for offenses such as drug trafficking and money-laundering. Maduro likely hopes to use their talk of suspending the votes to exact concessions from the Unites States with regard to the criminal charges or sanctions. Washington has already opened a dialogue with Caracas, sending U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with Maduro in Colombia on Sept. 26. Still, it is unclear how the United States will respond to Maduro's comment about elections, since Washington has little to gain from negotiating with Caracas.

Either way, elections in Venezuela will have to resume at some point. As much as the ruling party stands to lose in a referendum this year, it can little afford the domestic unrest and international isolation that pushing the vote off indefinitely could bring. In the meantime, the PSUV will be working to figure out its next move.
Sept. 29: The Ruling Party Tries to Secure Its Future

As Venezuela's political opposition keeps pushing for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is trying to secure its position in power. On Sept. 28, Carabobo state Gov. Francisco Ameliach said that if the recall vote moves forward, Maduro will probably appoint Diosdado Cabello, a former National Assembly leader and close ally of Ameliach, to the vice presidency. At the same time, there has been speculation — especially since the 2015 legislative elections — that the post would go to Cabello's longtime rival, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez. Either way, the rumors suggest an effort by Maduro's administration to ensure the party's continued influence in the country and to protect its interests in the event of a successful referendum.

Ameliach's comments may be little more than an attempt to ruffle the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), Venezuela's opposition coalition. Cabello's appointment would stir up controversy in and beyond Venezuela. Over the years, the U.S. Justice Department has indicted several members of the PSUV government, including Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, the former head of the National Guard. Though Cabello does not currently face charges, he is close to the indicted officials and is generally perceived to be corrupt. In May, The Wall Street Journal published an article alleging that Cabello was under investigation by U.S. federal prosecutors for money laundering and drug trafficking. (Cabello, in turn, sued the newspaper for libel.)

Nonetheless, the conjecture over his appointment reflects the difficult position that the ruling party has found itself in. So far, the PSUV has managed to deflect the opposition's demands for a recall referendum, which the ruling party hopes to defer until at least 2017 to avoid early elections. As Venezuela's economic situation continues to deteriorate, however, the Maduro administration's future looks more and more uncertain. If the party is forced into holding a referendum after this year and Maduro is recalled, his vice president will take over until 2019, when the next presidential vote is scheduled to take place. Both of the possible candidates to assume the vice presidency seem to agree that a referendum this year should be avoided. After all, if the opposition rises to power in the wake of Maduro's recall, it could enact laws that would allow some fallen PSUV officials to be extradited to face charges in the United States.
Sept. 26: The Chances of a 2016 Presidential Recall Grow Slimmer

The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), Venezuela's sole opposition coalition, has refused to accept the government's terms for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro. On Sept. 25, the party's executive secretary said MUD would reject the National Electoral Council's requirement that the opposition collect signatures from 20 percent of registered voters in each state in order for the vote to be held. Rather than meet the council's high bar, the MUD called on Sept. 26 for Venezuelans to provide their signatures Oct. 26-28, indicating that the opposition intends to gather support only from 20 percent of voters nationwide. The coalition also advocated daily protests and announced plans for a demonstration to be held across the country on Oct. 12.

That Maduro's administration was able to extend the 20 percent benchmark mandated by the constitution to all Venezuelan states is, in itself, significant. It signals that despite the ruling party's internal divisions, all of its leaders appear willing to support the president's efforts to put off the referendum until 2017, if not indefinitely. Their backing puts the Maduro government on more stable ground by reducing the risk of an immediate recall vote. Should Maduro successfully delay the referendum until next year, a decision to remove him from office — the president's worst-case scenario — would still leave fellow party member and Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz in power.

Though MUD will continue to push for the referendum to be held in 2016, it is unlikely to be successful on its own. Maduro's administration controls enough of the political establishment to delay the vote past the end of the year. Resorting to disruptive protests, such as those seen in 2014, is not an ideal option for the opposition either since the government's security forces could shut down any demonstrations quickly. Protests would also risk dividing the coalition, since some of its factions likely would not support inciting widespread unrest.

The bigger challenge for MUD lies beyond December. The government appears to be united in its attempt to shut down the referendum movement this year, and possibly the next. Should it succeed, MUD's effort to position itself as a viable alternative to the ruling party ahead of Venezuela's 2019 elections will be made all the more difficult. Unless social unrest stemming from Venezuela's economic deterioration boosts the opposition coalition's popular support base, its hopes of forcing a recall referendum in 2016 are unlikely to be realized.
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captainccs
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« Reply #390 on: November 01, 2016, 06:44:59 AM »

Stratfor is talking bullshit!

Should the Supreme Court uphold the state courts' decisions,

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

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

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

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

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

The government is letting the economy work well enough that the people are not ready to take up arms. And soldiers on the streets are dressed in very clean, shiny and brand new uniforms -- just in case. Make no mistake, this is a military dictatorship and, at least in my view, Maduro and his gang are just puppets.
 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 06:46:58 AM by captainccs » Logged

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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #391 on: November 01, 2016, 09:39:40 AM »

FTR, I too take issue with Stratfor's citing of a confidential informant as their source in knowing that ISIS is here in Mexico.

Also, it's good to have a firsthand account of what is happeneing in Venezuela captianccs, thank you. It interests me a great deal, because here too, there have been things that have been going on, and Mexico is socialist in nature, and I'm not certain that we're not all that far behind you, especially with the American elections looming, the importance of the American economy here in Mexico... strange days indeed.

I am curious though, are people as a whole, accustomed to violence in Venezuela, as far as having become desensitized to it, as with here?
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It's all a matter of perspective.
captainccs
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« Reply #392 on: November 03, 2016, 09:45:22 AM »

Also, it's good to have a firsthand account of what is happeneing in Venezuela captianccs, thank you. It interests me a great deal, because here too, there have been things that have been going on, and Mexico is socialist in nature, and I'm not certain that we're not all that far behind you, especially with the American elections looming, the importance of the American economy here in Mexico... strange days indeed.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Denny Schlesinger
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Denny Schlesinger
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