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Author Topic: Venezuela  (Read 130131 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #400 on: March 31, 2017, 11:09:38 AM »

WOW.

Keep us posted please, including your own adventures too should you wish.
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G M
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« Reply #401 on: April 01, 2017, 12:18:58 PM »

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

Good thing that could never happen here!

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captainccs
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« Reply #402 on: April 02, 2017, 08:45:21 PM »

Back from the brink? Venezuela reverses its congressional ‘coup’ but tensions remain

BY JIM WYSS

CUENCA, ECUADOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article142133004.html
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #403 on: April 22, 2017, 08:38:57 PM »

This is crazy when you see this:

http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-world-s-largest-oil-reserves-by-country.html
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captainccs
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« Reply #404 on: April 22, 2017, 10:13:08 PM »

Why is this country starving?

Because minerals underground are not wealth.   sad
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #405 on: April 23, 2017, 09:24:59 AM »


There is nothing socialism can't fcuk up.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #406 on: April 26, 2017, 12:14:26 PM »

Venezuela threatens to leave OAS over possible meeting



2017-04-25 | Venezuela | Politics — Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez stated on 25 April 2017 that if the Organization of American States (OAS) convenes a meeting of its foreign ministers, Venezuela will leave the organization. Seventeen member countries requested a meeting scheduled for 26 April to debate calling a session of the bloc's foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Venezuela (Tal Cual). Rodríguez specified that if the OAS approves such a meeting without Venezuela's approval, President Nicolás Maduro has instructed her to initiate Venezuela's withdrawal from the OAS (El Nacional). Globovisión noted that eighteen votes, an absolute majority of the OAS' 35 members, are needed to call a meeting of the group's foreign ministers. Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay requested the meeting.


Venezuelan government publishes opposition leaders' home addresses



2017-04-25 | Venezuela | Security — Venezuelan opposition Deputies José Guerra and Tomás Guanipa on 25 April 2017 demanded that the Public Prosecutor's Office investigate the government's Plan Zamora and the release of the Manual del Combatiente Revolucionario, which includes photos, personal details, and home addresses of opposition leaders. President Nicolás Maduro launched Plan Zamora on 18 April, labeling it as a civic-military plan to maintain internal order but not offering further details (El Nuevo Herald). PSUV Vice President Diosdado Cabello promoted the release of the manual on his television program on 19 April as part of Plan Zamora, commenting that government supporters must go where they need to go (Tal Cual). The manual contains personal information about opposition leaders such as Lilian Tintori and Deputies Henry Ramos Allup, Freddy Guevara, and Tomás Guanipa. In a statement, Guanipa urged the the Public Prosecutor's Office to open an investigation into Plan Zamora and the manual, which he described as instruments of repression and assault against Venezuelans that think differently (El Nuevo Herald).


PDVSA pays off US$237 million in debt



2017-04-21 | Venezuela | Energy — Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami announced on 21 April 2017 that state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) made US$237 million in debt payments. According to El Aissami, PDVSA has paid US$2.819 billion of the US$3.2 billion it owes, taking into account a recent payment of US$2.5 billion and an upcoming payment during the week of 1 May (El Nacional). El Aissami assured that future payments are guaranteed and added that President Nicolás Maduro has honored the country's debt payments without diminishing Venezuela's international reserves (Globovisión).


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captainccs
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« Reply #407 on: April 29, 2017, 07:06:09 PM »

Monday is May Day, International Labor Day, typically a day for parades by workers and speeches by labor unions and politicians. My cousin showed me a video taken today by friends of hers of a dozen or so 18 wheelers hauling field hospitals marked "Humanitarian Aid" on the freeway through Caracas.

Are they expecting something or is this psychological warfare?

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

I've been saying for over a decade that we won't be rid of these vandals until there is blood in the streets. It could happen any time, the pressure is getting to be unbearable.
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #408 on: April 30, 2017, 06:28:15 AM »

Not universally popular but talks show Michael Savage made a point by saying there will be blood in the streets when there is starving.  He said this when one of his callers was speaking about the second US civil war.

Sounds like your at that point.  Based on what we see in the news it seems like a charismatic leader can start organizing something - no?

Who will be the eventual hero of it all to emerge?

BTW, do you mean Polar beverages?
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captainccs
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« Reply #409 on: April 30, 2017, 07:48:12 AM »

Polar started out making beer but has since diversified into all sorts of foods one of the most popular being Harina  P.A.N., precooked corn meal for making arepas. They now export the stuff made in Colombia. Lorenzo Mendoza, the current head of Polar is probably the most successful Venezuelan businessman but no friend of the government. I doubt he would lead a revolt but he would probably accept an economic post in a new government.


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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #410 on: April 30, 2017, 08:36:37 AM »

This must be different from the Polar beverage I know that makes the best chocolate diet soda:
http://www.polarbev.com/
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captainccs
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« Reply #411 on: April 30, 2017, 10:32:24 AM »

Earth has at least two poles so why not two Polars?

Founded 1941

Wikipedia - Empresas Polar

Polar website
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Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
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« Reply #412 on: May 01, 2017, 10:02:59 AM »

A group of government supporters just went by my house (11 AM local time) and they were greeted by pot-banging. There were not enough of them to fill a city block!
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Denny Schlesinger
DougMacG
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« Reply #413 on: May 01, 2017, 11:42:08 AM »

A group of government supporters just went by my house (11 AM local time) and they were greeted by pot-banging. There were not enough of them to fill a city block!

I hope they don't know where you live.
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captainccs
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« Reply #414 on: May 01, 2017, 12:37:57 PM »

I hope they don't know where you live.

No need to be paranoid!  grin

Some rich places are dangerous but I live in a middle class area. Thanks!
 
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Denny Schlesinger
DougMacG
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« Reply #415 on: May 02, 2017, 09:42:09 AM »

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-39768671

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a 60% increase in the country's minimum wage, effective from Monday.

Including food subsidies, the worst-paid workers will now take home about 200,000 bolivars a month - less than $50 (£38) at the black market rate.

The pay rise is the third this year from Mr Maduro, and aims to benefit government workers and the military.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Hard to say what the wage increases are when inflation is running at 800%/yr!  The state of affairs in Venezuela is a human tragedy.  I also look at it for an economic model for us.  These policies are also proposed here and supported by roughly/nearly half the voters.  What has happened in Venezuela can't happen here (US)?  Why not?  Venezuela was the richest country in South America.  Venezuela right now is rated as having the world's largest oil reserves.  And they are broke, dysfunctional and hungry.  Why?  Bad policies have bad consequences.  That can't happen here?  It already is - in some places, to some degree.  It will happen here for certain - if we don't continuously choose a different path.
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G M
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« Reply #416 on: May 02, 2017, 09:50:42 AM »

The US was built on magic soil. No lessons from outside the US apply here. Debt doesn't matter!


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-39768671

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a 60% increase in the country's minimum wage, effective from Monday.

Including food subsidies, the worst-paid workers will now take home about 200,000 bolivars a month - less than $50 (£38) at the black market rate.

The pay rise is the third this year from Mr Maduro, and aims to benefit government workers and the military.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Hard to say what the wage increases are when inflation is running at 800%/yr!  The state of affairs in Venezuela is a human tragedy.  I also look at it for an economic model for us.  These policies are also proposed here and supported by roughly/nearly half the voters.  What has happened in Venezuela can't happen here (US)?  Why not?  Venezuela was the richest country in South America.  Venezuela right now is rated as having the world's largest oil reserves.  And they are broke, dysfunctional and hungry.  Why?  Bad policies have bad consequences.  That can't happen here?  It already is - in some places, to some degree.  It will happen here for certain - if we don't continuously choose a different path.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #417 on: May 09, 2017, 08:20:56 AM »

Heavy oil has production challenges and it turns out that capitalism is capital intensive.  Jimmy Carter also tried to put 'excess profits' into social programs instead of into oil production machinery and expertise.  Chavez was more successful at it.

Now the Venezuelan oil sits in the ground and people starve.

Greed (self-interest) for Chavez and Maduro would have been to let the Venezuelan oil industry become the the biggest and the best in the world, instead of killing​ it.
--------------
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2017/05/07/how-venezuela-ruined-its-oil-industry/#7e6bb6d47399
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G M
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« Reply #418 on: May 09, 2017, 08:51:17 AM »

Heavy oil has production challenges and it turns out that capitalism is capital intensive.  Jimmy Carter also tried to put 'excess profits' into social programs instead of into oil production machinery and expertise.  Chavez was more successful at it.

Now the Venezuelan oil sits in the ground and people starve.

Greed (self-interest) for Chavez and Maduro would have been to let the Venezuelan oil industry become the the biggest and the best in the world, instead of killing​ it.
--------------
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2017/05/07/how-venezuela-ruined-its-oil-industry/#7e6bb6d47399

Wait, you are suggesting that socialism might not work as advertised?
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captainccs
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« Reply #419 on: May 09, 2017, 09:49:41 AM »

Wait, you are suggesting that socialism might not work as advertised?


The problem with altruism is that it is not self supporting.
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #420 on: May 09, 2017, 09:51:36 AM »

Wait, you are suggesting that socialism might not work as advertised?


The problem with altruism is that it is not self supporting.

I have been told that marxism is scientific.
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captainccs
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« Reply #421 on: May 09, 2017, 10:02:04 AM »

I have been told that marxism is scientific.


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

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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #422 on: May 10, 2017, 11:21:53 AM »

http://www.battleswarmblog.com/?p=29975

Venezuela Boils

The problem with reporting on the slow-motion trainwreck that is Venezuela is the “slow-motion” part. Things fall apart, children die, people starve, but it’s hard to gauge the rate at which the ship of state is slipping under the iceberg of reality due that giant gash of socialism in its side.

The crisis has now reached the “regular riots and soldiers shooting protesters in the street” phase:

An economy in shambles, lethal street crime, dungeons packed with political prisoners, and South America’s worst refugee crisis — it’s hard to find a misery that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government hasn’t visited on his compatriots in his four years in office. But by calling for a new constitution (Venezuela has had 26) as he did this week, Latin America’s ranking strongman may well have trumped his own dismal record.

On May 1, with the streets of Caracas and other major cities teeming with anti-government protests, Maduro announced a plan to convoke a constituent assembly to write a new constitution. As anti-climactic as that sounds, this was an autocratic milestone even for the country that has turned political and economic fiat into a science. In a single flourish, the Venezuelan leader proposed not just to bend the rules, as he has done repeatedly since coming to power in 2013, but also to junk the latest constitution — which his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, fashioned into a tyrant’s toolbox — and cherry-pick a Bolivarian dream team to deliver what will presumably be an even more authoritarian one.

If the proposal stands, as virtually all of Maduro’s decrees have stood to now, the new law in turn would bury the cherished trope among contemporary Latin American strongmen that their word, no matter how arbitrary, is still anchored in democratic process. “Maduro’s proposal was not just flagrantly unconstitutional. It was the most radical move in more than 17 years of Chavismo,” said Diego Moya-Ocampos, chief political risk analyst at IHS Markit, a London-based business consultancy.

Brazilian foreign minister Aloysio Nunes went further, labelling Maduro’s proposal a “coup” and a breach of democratic civility. “Maduro chose to radicalize,” Nunes told me in an interview. “This proposal is incompatible with the democratic process, slams the door on dialogue, and is a slap in the face to the Pope’s appeal for a negotiated solution.”

Even the Secretary General of the Organization of American States has recognized that Venezuela no longer even pretends to be a democracy:

There are elements of dictatorships that are unmistakable. Today I must refer to one more in Venezuela: the passing of civilians to military justice.

Venezuela´s civic-military regime represents the worst of every dictatorship. That includes tyrannical control over political freedoms and the basic guarantees of the people, the elimination of the powers of the branches of government of popular representation, political prisoners and torture, starting with the armed collectives, a kind of fascist blackshirts, with orders to attack civilians during protests.

The accusations of military prosecutors to civilians is absolute nonsense in juridical terms.

In Venezuela, the rule of law does not exist even in appearance.

The accusations of crimes of vilification and instigation to rebellion, as well as other categories of a similar nature, are part of a reactionary discourse devoid of legal grounds applied against demonstrators. The reality is that they simply serve the purpose of depriving peaceful protesters of their freedom.

When a government considers that its people are a threat to its continuity it is because it is a government whose strategy is to continue without the people and on the basis of the use of force.

This constitutes a new violation of the Constitution, which in its article 261 says clearly that:

“The commission of common crimes, human rights violations and crimes against humanity shall be judged by the courts of the ordinary jurisdiction. Military courts jurisdiction is limited to offenses of a military nature.”

More scenes from the disintegration of Venezuelan society over the last few months:

More classic commie moves: arrest opposition leaders and charge them with plotting a coup, in this case Gilber Caro.
They also banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding political office for 15 years.
Another opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has just disappeared in prison. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
Though his wife Lilian Tintori has evidently seen him, and says that he wants the opposition to continue protesting. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
“Last year, the average Venezuelan living in extreme poverty lost 19 pounds amid mass food shortages largely created and then exacerbated by government price controls—60 percent of Venezuelans said they had to skip at least one meal a day. Maduro joked that the ‘Maduro diet,’ as the government-induced starvation has been called, was leading to better sex, to the applause of government workers and party loyalists but few others. There have been shortages of food as well as goods like toilet paper, deodorants, condoms, and even beer.”
“Venezuela military trafficking food as country goes hungry.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
“Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.”
Eight Venezuelans were actually electrocuted trying to loot a bakery.
“Venezuelans are fleeing to Brazil for medical care…A spiraling economic crisis and hyperinflation have cleaned Venezuelan hospitals of needles, bandages and medicine. Desperate for care and often undocumented, patients are overwhelming Brazilian emergency rooms as they turn up by the thousands.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
“Consumer prices in Venezuela soared by 741% year-over-year in February 2017.”
That hyperinflation was so bad that Venezuela outlawed their own currency. “In mid-December, the Venezuelan government surprised its citizens by withdrawing from circulation the 100-bolívar note, its largest and most used bill, with only 72 hours’ warning.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
Statue of Hugo Chavez torn down by protesters.
“The Venezuelan government is investigating alleged corruption in a $1.3 billion contract between the state oil company and a private contractor co-founded by a Saudi prince, according to law-enforcement officials and related documents.” Usual WSJ hoops apply.
In Venezuela, the prisoners are literally running the prisons. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
“Why is it that reporters keep scratching their heads about Venezuela’s descent into extreme poverty and chaos? The cause is simple. Socialism. End it and you will end the misery.”
“Chavista Socialism Has Destroyed 570,000 Businesses in Venezuela.”
Fracking means Venezuela will run out of money sooner rather than later. “A country like Venezuela, which was on the edge even before prices fell from $100 a barrel, well they’re running out of foreign exchange reserves, they’ve fallen from $66 to about $15 billion. And they’re collapsing and they’re running out of the ability to import food and other materials, and so there you’re dealing with almost societal instability, and order is being maintained by folks with guns.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
Venezuela’s oil tankers are too dirty to be allowed to dock in foreign ports.
The regime’s useful idiots among the American left remain strangely silent as the country they once held up as a shining example of the success of socialism collapses:
View image on Twitter
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Michael Moore:

In 2013, the American filmmaker tweeted the following about #Venezuela 🇻🇪...

This tweet has aged horribly...
6:56 AM - 9 May 2017
  305 305 Retweets   320 320 likes
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Bernie thinks American Dream move apt to be realized in #Venezuela
Would you like to retract that sentence @SenSanders ? #morningJoe
3:43 AM - 9 May 2017
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DougMacG
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« Reply #423 on: May 11, 2017, 10:27:15 AM »

'[Marxism] is not self sustaining.'

Even the good parts of government or public sector functions are not self sustaining - without a healthy, vibrant PRIVATE sector.

I asked an honest liberal, a Bernie Sanders supporter at the time, why Venezuela failed.  They were doing the same things there that liberals wanted to do here and they destroyed the economy.  She said:

"Maybe they went too far."

Yes, exactly.  All countries and economies have some socialism in them, common defense, post office, roads, safety net for the poor, government encroachments on private sector activities, etc.  In Venezuela under Chavez-Madura, they went too far!
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G M
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« Reply #424 on: May 11, 2017, 10:29:14 AM »

Parasites cannot afford to kill the host.

'[Marxism] is not self sustaining.'

Even the good parts of government or public sector functions are not self sustaining - without a healthy, vibrant PRIVATE sector.

I asked an honest liberal, a Bernie Sanders supporter at the time, why Venezuela failed.  They were doing the same things there that liberals wanted to do here and they destroyed the economy.  She said:

"Maybe they went too far."

Yes, exactly.  All countries and economies have some socialism in them, common defense, post office, roads, safety net for the poor, government encroachments on private sector activities, etc.  In Venezuela under Chavez-Madura, they went too far!
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ccp
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« Reply #425 on: May 11, 2017, 10:29:36 AM »

Doug writes:

" an honest liberal"

isn't that an oxymoron?   wink
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G M
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« Reply #426 on: May 11, 2017, 10:41:17 AM »

Doug writes:

" an honest liberal"

isn't that an oxymoron?   wink

No, it's what is more accurately referred to as a "useful idiot" by those who seek power via socialism.
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captainccs
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« Reply #427 on: May 11, 2017, 11:11:42 AM »

All countries and economies have some socialism in them,

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

Voluntary cooperation is also aligned with altruism.

The problem with socialism is that a small group of self anointed elites tries to tell -- nay, force -- the rest of us to do as they say.
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Denny Schlesinger
DougMacG
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« Reply #428 on: May 11, 2017, 05:56:18 PM »

"an honest liberal"  isn't that an oxymoron?  ... "useful idiot" by those who seek power via socialism.

I meant honest liberal in the optimistic sense.  Honest liberal is a temporary state.  A cognitive dissonant.
  An unstable compound.  The more honest you are - and curious and informed, the less liberal (meaning leftist) you will be.  So much of capitalism and conservatism is counter intuitive.  Acting in your own self interest like starting a business helps others, for example. So much of leftism is wrong in terms of policies and results.  Stealing capital from the rich didn't help the poor, for example.  Venezuela proved it.

The Venezuela experience gives us a time machine look at our (US) own future, following their path.

The 2% inflation target is a destructive force here over time.  Imagine 800% inflation!  And that isn't the central problem, just one of the symptoms.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 05:58:33 PM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
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« Reply #429 on: May 13, 2017, 02:15:33 PM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBf66wAMpVQ



Good thing America was founded on magic soil that prevents such things from happening here!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #430 on: May 18, 2017, 03:23:56 PM »

By Anatoly Kurmanaev
Updated May 17, 2017 5:52 a.m. ET
266 COMMENTS

CARACAS, Venezuela—When Ana, a five-year veteran of the national police, finishes her night shift patrolling this city’s dangerous slums, she often arrives home only to pick up her riot gear and head out again to confront rollicking protests against Venezuela’s embattled government.

On those front lines, she and her colleagues use tear gas and rubber bullets against increasingly desperate protesters armed with stones, Molotov cocktails and even bags of feces. The showdowns take place in scorching heat, and she says the authorities provide her with no food, water or overtime pay.

Ana, who along with others cited in this article asked that her last name not be used for fear of official retribution, is one of about 100,000 Venezuelan security officers, mostly in their 20s, shielding the government of increasingly unpopular President Nicolás Maduro from escalating unrest.

She and many of her exhausted colleagues say they are wavering as protests enter a seventh week with no end in sight.

“One day I will step aside and just walk away, blend into the city,” she said. “No average officers support this government anymore.”

The security forces’ once fierce loyalty to Mr. Maduro’s charismatic predecessor Hugo Chávez has largely given way to demoralization, exhaustion and apathy amid an economic collapse and endless protests, said eight security officers from different forces and locations in interviews with The Wall Street Journal.

Most of them say they want only to earn a steady wage amid crippling food shortages and a decimated private sector. Others say fear of a court-martial keeps them in line.

“We’re just trying to survive,” said Caracas police officer Viviane, a single mother who says she shows up for protest duty so she can feed her 1-year-old son. “I would love to quit but there are no other jobs.”

(Opposition supporters using a giant slingshot to throw a ‘Poopootov’—a bottle filled with feces—during a rally last week against President Nicolás Maduro. Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

A full-time Venezuelan police officer or member of the National Guard, the country’s militarized police in charge of riot control, makes the national minimum wage of about $40 a month at the black-market exchange rates, the same as a cafe waiter.

“The security forces suffer the same as the rest of society from the economic crisis,” said retired Maj. Gen. Miguel Rodríguez Torres, who commanded national police in the last wave of anti-government unrest in 2014.

The current round of protests, triggered in late March by an attempt by judges allied to Mr. Maduro to dissolve the congress, have led to 43 deaths so far, mostly of protesters. Thousands of demonstrators have been arrested and hundreds are being tried in military courts for treason.

The epicenter of the protests has been the line where downtown Caracas meets the opposition-run eastern boroughs of the capital. Both sides view control of the city center as vital. The last large anti-government march that managed to reach the presidential palace there led to a short-lived coup in 2002 against Mr. Chávez. The opposition says the increasingly isolated government is scared of losing control if a rally breaches its stronghold.

“This is a war of attrition,” said Luis García, a student activist who has been at the forefront of the protests. “Whoever tires first will lose.”

Most days follow the same pattern: An initially peaceful demonstration disintegrates into violence as security forces fire tear gas and rubber bullets to block the protesters’ advance. The bulk of the demonstrators then flee, leaving the field to hundreds of hooded youths who call themselves the Resistance, build barricades and battle officers into the night.

“I don’t fear death, because this life is crap,” said Agustín, a 22-year-old Resistance member who blames Mr. Maduro for the collapse of education and job opportunities for young people.

Most guardsmen in Caracas have been confined to barracks since the protests erupted in late March, without seeing their families, according to several guardsmen interviewed.

“I feel exhausted from it all: the lack of sleep, the constant barrage of stones and Molotovs,” said Gustavo, a 21-year-old national guardsman, adding he has to keep performing riot duty despite a leg injury from a broken bottle thrown by a protester. “We’re being used as cannon fodder.”

Officers stopped giving time off in Gustavo’s barracks after 18 guardsmen deserted during the last break last month, he said.

Guardsman Juan, 21 years old, said he has been getting up at 4 a.m. daily in his barracks outside Caracas for the past month. He gets a boiled carrot or a potato for breakfast and is sent out to protest duty, sometimes until near midnight. Back at the barracks, dinner sometimes consists of a plain corn patty known as an arepa. On a lucky day, there will be butter, Juan says.

Riot duty is sometimes followed by emergency nighttime shifts to contain looting outbreaks. Guardsmen and policemen can increasingly be seen napping on Caracas’s streets in the mornings before protests gather pace.

As the unrest drags on, both sides are escalating violence to try to break the deadlock. Videos on social media have shown policemen and soldiers firing tear-gas canisters directly at protesters at close range, running them over with armored vehicles and beating them with shotgun butts.

Some protesters throw Molotov cocktails at National Guard vehicles to try to set them ablaze and others aim for soldiers’ heads when they launch rocks from giant makeshift slingshots.

    ‘I’m ashamed to say I’m a police officer. God willing, this government will fall soon and this will end.’
    —Ana of Venezuela’s national police

Armed pro-government paramilitaries add to the chaos, driving their motorbikes into protests to disperse them. Shots fired by paramilitary gangs have hit both protesters and policemen, according to opposition leaders and security officers.

The violence is driven by adrenaline, fear and self-preservation instincts rather than hatred, say both security officers and Resistance members interviewed by the Journal.

“These are my countrymen, I cannot hate them,” said protester Agustín of the guardsmen. “But when [gas] bombs start falling, what is there left to talk about?”

Police officer Ana says she no longer wears her uniform on the way to or from work to avoid being spit on or insulted by passersby.

“I’m ashamed to say I’m a police officer,” she said. “God willing, this government will fall soon and this will end.”

—Sheyla Urdaneta in Maracaibo and Maolis Castro in Caracas contributed to this article.

Corrections & Amplifications
Ana, who along with others cited in this article asked that her last name not be used for fear of official retribution, is one of about 100,000 Venezuelan security officers, mostly in their 20s, shielding the government of increasingly unpopular President Nicolás Maduro from escalating unrest. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of security officers. (May 17)

Write to Anatoly Kurmanaev at Anatoly.kurmanaev@wsj.com

Appeared in the May. 18, 2017, print edition as 'Venezuelan Riot Police Tire of Front-Line Duties.'
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 07:28:58 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
captainccs
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« Reply #431 on: May 18, 2017, 06:23:53 PM »

The "Poopootov" is a terrific non-lethal highly demoralizing weapon. Imagine the poor officer having to wait for hours to clean up. And tomorrow expect more "Poopootov!" Do you really want to go to work?

It's a war of attrition and we are not running low on "Poopootov" ammunition.  evil
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« Reply #432 on: May 18, 2017, 07:30:23 PM »

I make the tangential observation that the Venezuela thread on the Spanish Language forum is about to hit 300,000 reads.  Wonder who our readers are?
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« Reply #433 on: June 01, 2017, 08:29:41 AM »

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-40101931
Protesters demonstrate outside Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York, May 30,

Opposition leaders in Venezuela have strongly criticised the investment bank Goldman Sachs for buying $2.8bn (£2.1bn) of government bonds.

Opponents of embattled President Nicolas Maduro say the move has given his government a financial lifeline.

The New York-based investment bank is reported to have bought the bonds at a heavily discounted rate.
Goldman Sachs said it bought the debt on the secondary market and did not deal directly with the government.

But the opposition has threatened that a future government would refuse to repay the debts to the bank.

The opposition-controlled Congress also voted on Tuesday to ask its US counterpart to investigate the deal.

"Goldman Sachs' financial lifeline to the regime will serve to strengthen the brutal repression unleashed against the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans peacefully protesting for political change in the country," said Julio Borges, head of Venezuela's Congress, in a letter to Goldman Sachs president Lloyd Blankfein.

"Given the unconstitutional nature of Nicolas Maduro's administration, its unwillingness to hold democratic elections and its systematic violation of human rights, I am dismayed that Goldman Sachs decided to enter this transaction."

He said he intended to recommend to "any future democratic government of Venezuela not to recognise or pay on these bonds".
Protesters clash with police during an opposition protest in Caracas, Venezuela

The Venezuelan capital Caracas is the scene of regular anti-government protests
BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker says it is likely that the price was deeply discounted and, if the debts are paid on time, it would make the bonds a very lucrative investment.
However, the economic crisis in Venezuela means that a default is a real possibility, he adds.

The bonds were issued by Venezuela's nationalised oil company, PDVSA.
In a statement, Goldman Sachs said it made the purchase in the expectation that the political situation in Venezuela would improve.

"We are invested in PDVSA bonds because, like many in the asset management industry, we believe the situation in the country must improve over time," it said.

"We recognise that the situation is complex and evolving and that Venezuela is in crisis. We agree that life there has to get better, and we made the investment in part because we believe it will."
Venezuela is grappling with regular anti-government demonstrations and dozens of people have died in protest-related violence since April.
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« Reply #434 on: June 15, 2017, 01:17:14 AM »

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/06/14/venezuela-protesters-burn-supreme-court-building/

It is Breitbart, so read with care.
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« Reply #435 on: July 06, 2017, 06:32:47 AM »

A constitutional assembly is the latest ploy by Maduro to perpetuate himself and his military backers in power. The linked PDF by Caracas Capital Markets is the best analysis I've seen showing how Maduro is trying to thwart the will of the people. I have no ties to Caracas Capital Markets beyond the fact that Russ Dallen was my stock broker some 15 years ago.

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

Maduro’s “Hydrogen Bomb”

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

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

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« Reply #436 on: July 06, 2017, 06:40:59 AM »

what do you think is the end game here?

any way to predict?
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« Reply #437 on: July 06, 2017, 07:06:39 AM »

what do you think is the end game here?

any way to predict?

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

March 31, 2017
Democracy by Consent of the Military

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

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

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

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

Denny Schlesinger

http://softwaretimes.com/files/democracy+by+consent+of+th.html
 
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« Reply #438 on: July 06, 2017, 11:28:43 AM »

Denny:

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

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

Thank you,
Marc

PS:  How are YOU doing in the midst of all this?
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« Reply #439 on: July 06, 2017, 06:45:12 PM »

Denny:

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

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

Thank you,
Marc

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

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

I'm doing just fine. Having hard currency makes it easy to keep up with inflation and having lived most of my life in Caracas I know my city well and I know where to go and where not to go. My dad bought a house near where I live back in 1948, almost 70 years ago. I live in a middle class development that is of little interest to politicians and thieves so it's kind of quiet but quite close to the action. The political activity is fairy well localized to certain streets and buildings but it could erupt into more general mayhem. It will have to happen sooner or later because these guys are not going to go quietly.
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« Reply #440 on: July 06, 2017, 06:48:45 PM »

The link to this article (at the bottom) has a video of the violence.


Maduro Supporters Storm Venezuela's Congress and Attack Opposition Lawmakers

Joshua Goodman / AP

Jul 05, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adding to the intrigue is Perez's colorful past.

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

http://time.com/4846542/venezuela-government-supporters-opposition-lawmakers-attack/
 
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« Reply #441 on: July 08, 2017, 07:11:18 AM »

This is a surprise move. I wonder what's behind it. Putting a kinder, gentler face on the tyrant?

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

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

The Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo López has left the prison of Ramo Verde . López, who has been detained since February 2014, has been placed under house arrest and has been at home since Saturday morning, as confirmed by Spanish Javier Cremades, one of his lawyers. The Venezuelan opponent has returned to his home without accepting any conditions for his return, reports Cremades. The new measure - which in Venezuela is known as "house by prison" - coincides with three months of intense protests against the regime of Nicolás Maduro in which 89 people have died.
López, leader of the Popular Will (VP) party and exalcalde of the municipality of Caracas Chacao, arrived at his house at 4:00 am local time. His release has come as a surprise, even for his family. On several occasions he had expressed, through his wife, Lilian Tintori, that the condition to leave the prison was the departure of all political prisoners. López was sentenced in 2015 to 13 years, 9 months, 7 days and 12 hours in jail, to be served at Ramo Verde military prison. Judge Susana Barreiros found him guilty of participating and instigating the 2014 demonstrations, which killed 43 people and injured hundreds.
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« Reply #442 on: July 08, 2017, 07:17:51 AM »

A different version at the same link....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2439677&CategoryId=10717
 
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« Reply #443 on: July 13, 2017, 02:37:43 PM »

The U.S. and Russia Almost See Eye to Eye on Venezuela
Protesters run from tear gas during an anti-government demonstration on during February in Caracas, Venezuela. A confrontation between government elites and a dissident faction of the ruling party is threatening to balloon into a wider conflict.
(JOHN MOORE/Getty Images)
Connections

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The political interests of Russia and the United States intersect in nations across the world, and Venezuela is no exception. Both global powers want political stability in the country, although for different reasons. The United States wants to avoid an escalation of violence there, and the Russians, as well as the Chinese, want to protect oil investments and the repayment of loans. And Washington and Moscow have ample reason to be concerned about Venezuela’s stability. A confrontation between government elites and a dissident faction of the ruling party is threatening to balloon into a wider conflict. Opposition-led protests have lasted more than 100 days, and unrest spurred by food shortages, inflation and deep dissatisfaction with the government is spreading. And because of the growing risk of a coup, middle-ranking officials in the armed forces are under increased surveillance. To further complicate matters, oil prices remain low and Venezuela's public finances are depleted, meaning that an economic recovery will take decades. In short, there is no simple way out of the crisis.
 
However intractable the country's long-term economic problems are, Russia or Cuba – a security ally to Caracas — may eventually provide some relief for Venezuela's immediate political problems through an offer of political asylum. Venezuela's deeply unpopular president, Nicolas Maduro, risks losing his office in an election scheduled for November 2018. The country’s ruling elites see this potential loss of power as an unacceptable risk to their political privileges and personal safety. In response, Maduro and political and military elites are pushing to rewrite the country’s constitution and purge dissenters from their ranks in an effort to cling to power. However, reports from Stratfor sources indicate that Maduro has also explored seeking political asylum. For more than a year, Stratfor has received persistent reports that he has considered asking for refuge in Russia or Cuba. He may have sweetened his request to Russia with offers of mineral concessions. But even if Maduro eventually secures an exile deal with Russia or Cuba, other military and political officials at risk of arrest in Venezuela or extradition to the United States will rely on the constitutional rewrite to improve their chances of political survival.
 
The talks on asylum appear to be part of larger discussions in which the interests of the United States, Cuba, Russia and China converge. According to a Stratfor source, Cuba is a key part of indirect talks between Russia and the United States on Venezuela. The government of Raul Castro conveys Russian and Chinese positions (as well as Maduro's) to the United States. And former Spanish prime minister and mediator Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero represents U.S. interests. Maduro ordered the release of opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez from prison on July 8 after months of negotiations involving Cuba and Zapatero. His decision, an apparent concession to the United States and the opposition, did not include input from key Venezuelan leaders like Vice President Tareck el Aissami or Diosdado Cabello, leader of the ruling party. Lopez's transfer to house arrest – a minor move compared to the larger forces affecting Venezuela — was likely intended to soften street protests. Lopez's release could also help Cuba curry favor with Venezuela's opposition. Given Cuba's reliance on access to Venezuelan fuel, Havana may hope that Lopez's release will help it curry favor with Venezuela’s opposition in case the Maduro government falls and the opposition finds itself in control.
 
For Moscow, its desire for a peaceful resolution in Venezuela likely lies in its vested interest in the country's resources. Russian oil company Rosneft owns stakes in joint ventures with the Venezuelan government in the Orinoco Belt. Separate reports from Stratfor sources suggest that the Russian government would like additional mineral concessions, although their nature and location are unclear. And an asylum deal may also have strategic implications. Brokering the departure of Maduro may give the Russians leverage in their broader negotiations with the United States on other contentious topics, such as Syria, Ukraine or the European borderlands. On the other hand, China is willing to work with any government in Caracas, as long as it respects China’s investments and repays loans made to the Venezuelan government, according to a source.
 
In contrast, specific U.S. interests in Venezuela are far clearer than those of the Russians. Although Venezuela is a secondary issue for Washington, a peaceful resolution is better than a violent confrontation. The United States would also like to see timely, fair elections in Venezuela, and the drug trafficking conduit through the country is also a continuing concern. However, Washington has few policy tools with which it can directly influence the political confrontation in the country. Aside from indirect discussions with Venezuela, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be relying on the limited avenues its predecessors used. In February 2017 the Department of the Treasury sanctioned Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami for his suspected role in cocaine trafficking to the United States. Additional sanctions may be implemented against individual Venezuelan political leaders. The Trump administration is still deciding whether to adopt a more aggressive stance, and the possibility of sanctions against the oil sector have been floated as a means of pressuring the government to hold free elections. The White House has also moved to tighten sanctions on Cuban entities controlled by its armed forces. In the near term, that move will drive the Cubans to continue to support the Maduro government.
 
A negotiated transition from the Maduro government — in which power passes to the vice president — could temporarily reduce confrontation between the opposition and the government. However, it is no guarantee of long-term political stability. According to a Stratfor source, the Russian or Cuban governments would be willing to accept the president and his wife, Cilia Flores, but not other political figures. Cuba may be willing to take in Maduro and his entourage, but large numbers of Venezuelan political figures could become a liability, given the potential for U.S. demands for extradition. In the absence of a political solution that protects their interests, vulnerable officials, who include El Aissami, Cabello, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol and members of the Francisco de Miranda Front, will keep pushing for an assembly to rewrite the constitution. And barring a drastic event, such as a successful military coup, this drive will move forward and remain a trigger for unrest. So, despite U.S. and Russian hopes, there is no easy way out of the turmoil in Venezuela.
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« Reply #444 on: July 17, 2017, 07:51:26 AM »

CARACAS, Venezuela — Millions of Venezuelans signaled their disapproval of President Nicolás Maduro’s plan to hold a constituent assembly by casting ballots on Sunday in a vote unlike any other in this nation’s history.

More than 98 percent of voters sided with the opposition in answering three yes-or-no questions drafted with the aim of weakening Mr. Maduro’s legitimacy days before his constituent assembly is expected to convene. Opponents see the assembly as a power grab by an increasingly unpopular leader and fear he may use it to do away with democratic elections.

Sunday’s exercise, known as a popular consultation, was organized by a slate of opposition parties that dominate Venezuela’s National Assembly.

Voters were asked whether they rejected the effort to hold a constituent assembly that has not been approved by voters; whether they wanted the country’s armed forces to uphold the current Constitution and the decisions of the opposition-run National Assembly; and whether they wanted free elections to pick a new “national unity government.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/16/world/americas/venezuelans-vote-on-measures-devised-to-weaken-maduro.html
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