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Author Topic: Venezuela Politica  (Read 325547 times)
captainccs
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« Reply #400 on: April 04, 2017, 01:06:21 PM »

Estoy tratando de averiguar como anda la confrontación entre la Asamblea Nacional y el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia.

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



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



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

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

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

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

Foto: @menamary
Foto: @menamary


Ver las fotos en en artículo original

https://www.lapatilla.com/site/2017/04/04/pnb-ataca-a-opositores-con-gas-pimienta-en-la-avenida-libertador/
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #401 on: May 18, 2017, 03:23:20 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.
Venezuelan National Guard members shielding themselves from a jar of fecal matter thrown at them by antigovernment protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, earlier this month.
Venezuelan National Guard members shielding themselves from a jar of fecal matter thrown at them by antigovernment protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, earlier this month. Photo: Fernando Llano/Associated Press

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.
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 antigovernment 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 antigovernment 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.
A police officer looks on as opposition supporters confront her colleagues at a protest against Mr. Maduro in Caracas on Friday.
A police officer looks on as opposition supporters confront her colleagues at a protest against Mr. Maduro in Caracas on Friday. Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

“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.
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“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.
Police officers firing tear gas during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro earlier this month in Caracas.
Police officers firing tear gas during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro earlier this month in Caracas. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Image

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.'
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #402 on: June 01, 2017, 08:54:30 AM »

!Este hilo ha estado leido mas que 300,000 veces!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #403 on: June 15, 2017, 01:15:30 AM »

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

Este pagina a veces exagera.  Lea con cuidado.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #404 on: July 06, 2017, 11:27:24 AM »

http://softwaretimes.com/files/venezuela+2017.pdf
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captainccs
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« Reply #405 on: July 08, 2017, 07:42:24 AM »

¿Que pretenderá Maduro con esta concesión?


El opositor venezolano Leopoldo López sale de la cárcel


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

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

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

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

- Su mujer pudo visitarle este viernes en prisión.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consulta popular de la oposición venezolana

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/3086033/0/leopoldo-lopez-sale-carcel-venezuela-opositor/
 
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Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
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« Reply #406 on: July 08, 2017, 07:53:01 AM »

El Tribunal Supremo de [IN]justicia no hace nada que no le ordene el presidente Maduro. Solo son pretensiones de democracia que no existe hoy día en Venezuela.


Leopoldo López tendrá casa por cárcel


Leopoldo López

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

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

http://globovision.com/article/liberado-leopoldo-lopez
 
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #407 on: July 13, 2017, 02:36:57 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)
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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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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #408 on: July 22, 2017, 03:27:57 PM »

As the United States considers what sanctions to levy against Venezuela, measures on financial transactions could be the most effective, Reuters reported July 22. Targeting financial transactions gives Washington the ability to drastically increase pressure on Caracas by threatening punishment of any U.S. firm doing business with state oil firm PDVSA or U.S. banks processing any of its transactions in dollars. The measures under discussion are similar to those imposed against Tehran, which halved Iran's oil exports and prevented top crude buyers from paying for Iranian oil. If enacted, such a move could be a crippling blow to the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, effectively starving the government coffers.
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captainccs
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« Reply #409 on: July 22, 2017, 04:18:51 PM »

Quote
The measures under discussion are similar to those imposed against Tehran

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

ese tipo de sanción no derroca gobierno, solo hace sufrir mas al pueblo.
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« Reply #410 on: July 24, 2017, 11:00:41 AM »

Venezuela's Predominate Source of Revenue Could be in the Crosshairs

Washington has drawn a red line on Venezuela. If the government in Caracas moves forward with elections on July 30 to elect members of a Constitutional Assembly to rewrite the country's constitution, the Trump administration will likely implement some sort of sanctions against it. The effect those sanctions will have on the political confrontation between the government, opposition, and dissident members of the ruling party largely depends on their severity. Individual sanctions targeting Venezuelan politicians will likely have little effect. But if the United States implements sanctions targeting Venezuela's oil sector, it would have an immediate and drastic impact on the country, especially given that Venezuela depends on oil for virtually all its export revenue. If Venezuela's energy sector is sanctioned, it could rapidly reduce oil production because the state-run energy company PDVSA depends heavily on the U.S. market, as well as on U.S. companies for services and crude oil imports to blend with its own oil. Sanctions would, however, also lead to a sharp reduction in food imports, a wider migration of Venezuelans abroad and greater political instability in the country.
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« Reply #411 on: July 27, 2017, 09:15:54 PM »

The U.S. Department of State has ordered family members of government employees at the embassy in Caracas to leave Venezuela because of the worsening security situation, AFP reported July 27. The voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees has also been authorized. U.S. citizens are also advised to avoid traveling to Venezuela because of social unrest, violent crime, and pervasive food and medicine shortages.
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« Reply #412 on: July 28, 2017, 04:56:33 AM »

segundo del dia:

Venezuela's political and economic crises may soon go from bad to drastically worse. Within weeks, the U.S. government could implement sanctions against Venezuela's vital oil sector to prevent the government in Caracas from formally starting down the path to a one-party state. In their most severe form, the sanctions would wreck Venezuela's ability to export oil to the United States by denying the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) access to the U.S. financial system. And U.S. companies would also be barred from doing business with the PDVSA. That would lead to a quick and steep drop in Venezuela's already declining oil production. In turn, imports would contract sharply and inflation would skyrocket, spurring the mass migration of millions of Venezuelans. But the United States could also resort to lesser sanctions limited to individuals in the Venezuelan government. Either way, the unrest in Venezuela will continue.
 
The government's approval of an assembly to rewrite the Venezuelan Constitution would immediately trigger heavy sanctions. The assembly election is set for July 30. But this is just the latest in a series of security solutions the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has used to try to hold on to political power amid rising discontent from citizens. In other moves, the administration of President Nicolas Maduro began in 2015 to expand the size of civilian paramilitary units (known colloquially as colectivos) controlled by the ruling party elite. The government also increased internal surveillance of midranking military officers, for fear that they could mobilize troops against the government. And Maduro also began planning for a new paramilitary force drawn from the ranks of party supporters — although this initiative has yet to materialize.
Long-Ranging Effects
The president and his allies are pushing for the constitutional rewrite to cement their hold on power. Amending the document could allow them to create a one-party state in which the ruling PSUV eliminates formal avenues for opposition dissent. According to a Stratfor source, the assembly originally had been intended as a way to delay the 2017 regional elections and 2018 presidential elections. Diosdado Cabello, a potent figure within the ruling party, saw the assembly process as a way to expand his political power. So what began as a makeshift solution to delay elections has now turned into a trigger for sanctions that would most likely push the PDVSA into financial default.
 
The assembly vote could also affect events outside Venezuela. If the drive for a constitutional assembly advances, Cuba could lose a key source of leverage it has over the United States. Heretofore, Havana has used its intelligence-gathering capabilities in Venezuela, as well as its influence with the Maduro government, as a way to shape talks with the Washington over lifting the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Cabello and his faction — who have opposed Cuban influence on the government — could try to use the assembly to expand their control over government offices while shutting Cuban supporters out of key positions. For their part, the Cubans are trying to place Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores, in a position to lead the constitutional assembly to keep them from being sidelined later. However, serious U.S. sanctions could threaten either Flores or Cabello's ability to control the country.
 
In Washington, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has at least two reasons to oppose the constitutional assembly. Politicians such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey who oppose the Cuban government (and, by extension, Venezuela's) have heavily lobbied for the administration to take a firmer stance against the measure. But the White House's opposition to the assembly likely rests on the long-term implications of a one-party Venezuelan state. Even if the constitution is changed, the opposition would continue its protests, and dissent within the armed forces could threaten to boil over into a coup attempt. Those developments could potentially prove to be bloody and spark a lengthy armed confrontation among different factions of the government. So in deciding on the oil sanctions, Washington likely would be weighing an authoritarian state against a bloody coup.
Many Avenues of Pressure
The Maduro government is facing pressure from too many parts of society to effectively defend itself. Domestic resistance in Venezuela is strong, and it is not motivated solely by the political opposition, which is generally ideologically opposed to the government. Since the collapse of oil prices in 2014, Venezuela's population has turned increasingly against the administration because of rising inflation and food shortages. Social unrest has been persistent and widespread over the past four months, even in areas where the opposition has traditionally held less sway. This unrest raises the possibility that neither Maduro nor a substitute from the ruling party could win the next presidential election.
 
The second source of pressure comes from former allies of the government, whether in the military or civilian sides of the party. These former supporters don't like the thought of losing power and have turned against the state. Individuals such as Attorney General Luisa Ortega form part of this front, which is pressing for a change of government.
 
The third source is the armed forces themselves. Some commanders have an interest in maintaining the status quo because they receive relatively high wages and profit from criminal activities, such as drug trafficking or gaming the country's currency controls. But the threat of action by the military is a crucial risk. A military rebellion would likely be motivated by the belief that regime change would help ease the immediate hardships faced by the people, whose resistance and dissatisfaction are only growing. Although Venezuela's armed forces are notoriously opaque, the government's concerns can be seen in its response to military dissent since the start of the year. Counterintelligence authorities have heavily monitored potential troublemakers and arrested more than 100 members of the military.
 
The United States is the fourth — and most important — source of pressure. Severe sanctions from the U.S. government represent an existential threat. Harsh measures by Washington could cause Venezuela's oil production, estimated by OPEC at about 2 million barrels per day, to decline, possibly by hundreds of thousands of bpd, denying the country vital oil export revenue. Washington is considering sanctions that would block Caracas' ability to process oil payments through the U.S. financial system and that would effectively end U.S. private sector cooperation with the PDVSA. Within a matter of months, these restrictions would cause significant cash-flow problems for the PDVSA and eat into the country's imports.
The Downward Spiral
As the sanctions kicked in, shipments to U.S. refiners, which amount to 750,000 bpd, would be rapidly disrupted, and Venezuela would have to find new buyers for its oil, leading to lasting damage. U.S. services businesses such as Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. would pull out of Venezuela, and the government would have to quickly find substitutes to prevent a sharper production decline in the long run. U.S. refiners would cease exports of fuel, as well as the oil that Venezuela blends with its own crude for refining. And the PDVSA would have to try to sell oil that was bound for U.S. refiners at a discount elsewhere, further cutting its revenue. With less oil revenue, food imports would drop sharply and prices would spike, possibly driving millions of Venezuelans to abandon the country. The refugees would arrive first in Brazil, Colombia and the Caribbean islands near the Venezuelan coast, such as Trinidad and Tobago. And with the long-term decline of the economy, Venezuelans could be pushed even farther away, with some resorting to traveling along smuggling routes through Colombia to eventually reach the United States.
 
For now, Maduro's government is committed to the constitutional assembly vote as its last line of defense. But if the government elites around him try to hold on despite an oil sanctions package, a major, violent confrontation between them and ruling party dissidents could follow. The constitutional assembly could also turn into a political dead end and lead government elites to the negotiating table with their foreign and domestic opponents under the threat of sanctions. And if Maduro gives in to U.S. pressure, the ruling party will likely fragment further between those who see the constitutional assembly as a safeguard and those who seek to coexist with the political opposition. But, in the end, it's not clear that the United States or the government's political opponents can reach a deal that satisfies the elites trying to hold on to power. What is clear is that U.S. sanctions could make Venezuelan politics take a turn for the worse.
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« Reply #413 on: August 02, 2017, 12:15:51 PM »

If Venezuela Were Stable
Aug 2, 2017

 
By Allison Fedirka
It’s easy to understand why the crisis is Venezuela gets more attention than it deserves. The country is spiraling out of control, and every time it appears to reach its tipping point, it spirals further downward, defying expectations on just how far it could sink before the crisis ended.

The most recent protests concern the vote over the constituent assembly, which would have the power to change the constitution, dismiss officials and dissolve institutions. These protest won’t be what makes or breaks the country – that honor belongs to the security forces. But the political, economic and social problems that plague Venezuela won’t continue in perpetuity. Few things in geopolitics do. The Soviet Union dissolved. China ascended. The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

The Venezuela crisis will pass too. A parallel government run by the political opposition is taking shape. Some countries are no longer recognizing the actions of President Nicolas Maduro. The Venezuelan economic model is unsustainable. Anti-government protests are unrelenting. Something has to give and, according to our 2017 forecast, it will be the Maduro government.

A Marginal Power

It wasn’t so long ago that Venezuela was stable, and its stability, along with ample oil reserves, made it wealthy. But even the richest country in South America is hamstrung by the fact that it is in South America, which is at best a marginal power in geopolitics.

No South American country can dominate the continent, but Venezuela is particularly ill-suited to do so. It has a population of just 31.5 million people. According to the World Bank, it has a gross domestic product of $371 billion – roughly 20 percent the size of South America’s largest economy, Brazil. Only about 25 percent of the country’s land is suitable for agriculture (the world average is roughly 36 percent). It has had to import food to sustain its population.
 
(click to enlarge)

But even under improved socio-economic conditions, Venezuela would struggle to reach greater heights, so broken is it by its own geography. The country can be divided into four main regions. In the northwest, a lowlands region surrounds an inlet of the Caribbean Sea, on which sits the city of Maracaibo, the heart of the Venezuelan oil industry. East of the lowlands is the northern coast, along which the tail end of the Andes Mountains runs to nearly the westernmost reaches of the country. The capital of Caracas is in this region. Central Venezuela is a thinly populated area known as the Llanos. It consists of flat plains through which the Orinoco River flows and was used primarily for ranching before oil was discovered there. Last, the Guiana Highlands in the south is marked by dense, tropical jungles.

The country’s geography discourages mass settlement in the central and southern regions, so the vast majority of Venezuelans live along the northern coast or in valleys within its mountain ranges. It creates areas along Venezuela’s borders that are difficult to pass through (with some exceptional points along the border with Colombia). And though the combination of these barriers has prevented instability from spilling over the borders, it would also prevent Caracas from projecting power throughout the region. Assuming that Venezuela does reclaim stability, it wouldn’t change the balance of power in South America.

Tempered Expectations

Nor would it change the balance of power in the Caribbean. The security of the Caribbean is a vital interest to the United States, which would be exposed to the south in the presence of a foreign power. At the turn of the 20th century, Venezuela played an important role in making sure that never happened.

This is why the U.S. sided with Venezuela in 1895 during a territorial dispute with the United Kingdom. Pursuant to the Monroe Doctrine, which discouraged foreign involvement in the Western Hemisphere, Washington funded a commission that would ultimately establish new borders and pressure the U.K. into accepting international arbitration that upheld them. This is also why the United States provided support when, in 1902, Venezuela was blockaded to force payments of debt it owed to Italy, Germany and the U.K. The United States dispatched a naval fleet to Venezuelan waters and convinced the Europeans to participate in an arbitration resolution hosted by Washington. At the time, this move was as much in Venezuela’s interests as it was in the United States’. The young, post-colonial nations all feared European attempts to regain their claims or influence over former colonies in the Americas. The U.S. could not allow a foreign power to have a foothold in a place like Venezuela. But the country is no longer as important to Caribbean security because the probability of its occupation by a foreign power is practically nonexistent and the U.S. has one of the most powerful navies in the world.

Venezuela’s major link to the global system is its oil, and even here it does not hold as much influence as it used to. Venezuela is a member of OPEC, but over the past few decades producers such as Russia and the United States have diminished the prestige OPEC membership once had. OPEC currently puts Venezuela’s proven crude oil reserves at 302.25 billion barrels. Its production levels, however, have steadily declined because of bad management, poorly maintained infrastructure and a political and economic environment that discourages investment. In 2009, Venezuela produced 3 million barrels of oil per day. Today, production is closer to 2.1 million barrels per day. Low oil prices have compounded the problem by lowering government revenue. Better management and heavier foreign investment in technologies that could extract Venezuelan oil more efficiently is never a bad thing, and it’s possible that the added revenue could help stabilize the country in the long term. But more immediately, it would not appreciably affect the global oil market, which has largely already factored in Venezuelan instability for the last couple of years.

Venezuela will not be in disarray forever. But given that geopolitics is the study of how nations behave, and how their behavior shapes the global dynamics of power, the study of Venezuela is a study in tempered expectations.
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« Reply #414 on: August 02, 2017, 01:04:46 PM »

If Venezuela Were Stable
Aug 2, 2017

By Allison Fedirka

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

Try this for size:

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

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



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


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

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

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

More at http://softwaretimes.com/files/uslar%20pietri,%20venezuelan%20d.html
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« Reply #415 on: August 07, 2017, 09:58:40 AM »

The Guns of Venezuela
Castro is calling the shots in Caracas. Sanctions have to be aimed at him.
Cuban President Raúl Castro with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5.
Cuban President Raúl Castro with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5. Photo: carlos garcia rawlins/Reuters
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Aug. 6, 2017 4:56 p.m. ET
183 COMMENTS

In a video posted on the internet Sunday morning, former Venezuelan National Guard captain Juan Caguaripano, along with some 20 others, announced an uprising against the government of Nicolás Maduro to restore constitutional order. The rebels reportedly appropriated some 120 rifles, ammunition and grenades from the armory at Fort Paramacay in Valencia, the capital of Carabobo state. There were unconfirmed claims of similar raids at several other military installations including in Táchira.

The Cuba-controlled military regime put tanks in the streets and unleashed a hunt for the fleeing soldiers. It claims it put down the rebellion and it instructed all television to broadcast only news of calm. But Venezuelans were stirred by the rebels’ message. There were reports of civilians gathering in the streets to sing the national anthem in support of the uprising.

Note to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Venezuelans want to throw off the yoke of Cuban repression. They need your help.

Unfortunately Mr. Tillerson so far seems to be taking the bad advice of his State Department “experts.”

The same bureaucrats, it should be noted, ran Barack Obama’s Latin America policy. Those years gave us a rapprochement with Havana that culminated with the 44th president doing “the wave” with Raúl Castro at a baseball game in 2016. Team Obama also pushed for Colombia’s surrender to the drug-trafficking terrorist group FARC in a so-called peace deal last year. And it supported “dialogue” last year to restore free, fair and transparent elections in Venezuela. The result, in every case, was disaster.

Any U.S.-led international strategy to liberate Venezuela must begin with the explicit recognition that Cuba is calling the shots in Caracas, and that Havana’s control of the oil nation is part of its wider regional strategy.

Slapping Mr. Maduro’s wrist with sanctions, as the Trump administration did last week, won’t change Castro’s behavior. He cares only about his cut-rate Venezuelan oil and his take of profits from drug trafficking. To affect things in Venezuela, the U.S. has to press Cuba.

Burning Cuban flags, when they can be had, is now practically a national pastime in Venezuela because Venezuelans understand the link between their suffering and Havana. The Castro infiltration began over a decade ago when Fidel sent thousands of Cuban agents, designated as teachers and medical personnel, to spread propaganda and establish communist cells in the barrios.

As I noted in this column last week, since 2005 Cuba has controlled Venezuela’s citizen-identification and passport offices, keeping files on every “enemy” of the state—a k a political opponents. The Venezuelan military and National Guard answer to Cuban generals. The Venezuelan armed forces are part of a giant drug-trafficking operation working with the FARC, which is the hemisphere’s largest cartel and also has longstanding ties to Cuba.

These are the tactical realities of the Cuba-Venezuela-Colombia nexus. The broader strategic threat to U.S. interests, including Cuba’s cozy relationship with Middle East terrorists, cannot be ignored.

Elisabeth Burgos is the Venezuelan ex-wife of the French Marxist Regis Debray. She was born in Valencia, joined the Castro cause as a young woman, and worked for its ideals on the South American continent.

Ms. Burgos eventually broke free of the intellectual bonds of communism and has lived in Paris for many years. In a recent telephone interview—posted on the Venezuelan website Prodavinci—she warned of the risks of the “Cuban project” for the region. “Wherever the Cubans have been, everything ends in tragedy,” she told Venezuelan journalist Hugo Prieto. “Surely we have no idea what forces we face,” Mr. Prieto observed—reflecting as a Venezuelan on the words of Ms. Burgos—because, as she said, there is “a lot of naiveté, a lot of ignorance, about the apparatus that has fallen on [Venezuelans]: Castroism.”

Cuban control of citizens is as important as control of the military. In Cuba this is the job of the Interior Ministry. For that level of control in Venezuela, Ms. Burgos said, Mr. Maduro must rely on an “elite of exceptional experts” Castro grooms at home.

Cuba, Ms. Burgos said, is not “simply a dictatorship.” For the regime it is a “historical political project” aiming for “the establishment of a Cuban-type regime throughout Latin America.” She noted that along with Venezuela the Cubans have taken Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, and are now going after Colombia. “The FARC, turned into a political party and with all the money of [the narcotics business], in an election can buy all the votes that it wants.”

Mr. Tillerson is forewarned. Castro won’t stop until someone stops him. To get results, any U.S.-led sanctions have to hit the resources that Havana relies on to maintain the repression.

Write to O’Grady@wsj.com.
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« Reply #416 on: August 07, 2017, 06:46:54 PM »

    By itself, the theft of arms from Fort Paramacay won't be the downfall of the Venezuelan government.
    The incident does indicate, however, that parts of the military could be turning against Maduro.
    The possibility of a coup isn't the only threat to the government. Steady military defiance could weaken it against the opposition and complicate its efforts to rewrite the constitution.
    But the Maduro government won't go down without a bitter fight.

Something big happened at Venezuela's Fort Paramacay military base early Aug. 6, but the only clear thing about the event is that it's significant. Piecing together information from the Venezuelan government and independent media reports, we can gather that around 5 a.m. local time a group of people entered Fort Paramacay in Valencia. It's unknown how the individuals gained access to the base, but according to government reports they made their way to the armory and stole more than 90 AK-103 rifles and four rocket-propelled grenades. Security forces responded, and two of the intruders were killed in a shootout. Eight people, whom the government accused of being involved, were presented to the press later the same day.

At first it was unclear whether the event actually took place or whether it was merely a government public relations stunt. (All initial reports came from the embattled, increasingly authoritarian administration of President Nicolas Maduro.) However, as the day wore on, it became clear that a theft did occur at Fort Paramacay, and the central question became: What does it mean?

The obvious threat at the top of Venezuelan security planners' minds is the possibility that the stolen weapons will be used against loyalist forces. But by itself this wouldn't be enough to truly threaten the government's hold on power. Widespread military disloyalty, however, would. It's unclear how the group got into the base, but government reports say a first lieutenant at the base colluded with the raiders. And if this means broader dissent within parts of the military, the Venezuelan government is in trouble.

It's a critical time for the Maduro government. Already-rough conditions in Venezuela are rapidly deteriorating even further. The government could soon default, the United States is mulling sanctions on the country's oil sector, and at current rates, inflation could reach 4,000 percent year on year by 2020. As inflation worsens, an increasing number of military members and their families will experience food shortages and economic difficulty. Higher-ranking officials in the armed forces are insulated from the economic crisis, but thousands of lower-ranking members and their families are not. This decline in their standard of living raises the risk that they might openly defy the government, which would undermine the its ability to rule without taking popular opinion or its political opponents into account.

And it couldn't be a worse time for the Venezuelan government. Maduro's loyalists are trying to plan a National Constituent Assembly meeting to rewrite the constitution in their favor and to delay elections — partly in the hope that oil prices will rise and provide the economy (and therefore the government) a needed boost. And the government is counting on the military's support. If enough members of the military become disillusioned, the possibility of a coup cannot be ruled out. However, that's not the only threat posed by a disloyal military. Instead of a sudden coup, groups of military dissenters lacking the ability to remove the government outright could begin a lengthy process of attrition, either through attacks or acts of defiance.

The Maduro government has shown that it intends to cling to power however it can, despite low approval ratings. But it has been able to do so this long only because of the military. Over the past year and a half, the government has successfully fended off an attempt to hold a recall referendum against the president and has virtually ignored the demands of the opposition-controlled congress. It has also pushed forward on a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution and effectively turn Venezuela into a one-party state. But without the support of the military, Maduro will be unable to make progress with the assembly without risking rebellion. Put simply: The Venezuelan government needs a critical mass of loyalty from the military to survive.

Still, even if members of the military turn on Maduro and his government, the government will not abandon the constituent assembly without a fight. Challenges from the military will be met with force by parts of the military that remain loyal. And if enough dissidents pit themselves against the government, there could be a prolonged and possibly violent standoff. It's important to recognize that military dissidents would not necessarily be guided by or aligned with the political opposition, and their disloyalty could create a tangle of politically motivated violence that would have to be unraveled before the country's substantial economic problems could even begin to be addressed.
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« Reply #417 on: August 20, 2017, 07:30:25 PM »

Necesito su ayuda. Por favor reporte la lista de prohibiciones a blogs y a la prensa para que el mundo conozca lo cruel y absurdo que es el régimen de Nicolas Maduro

ARTÍCULOS PROHIBIDOS

Con Maduro ahora tenemos una nueva prohibición, importar cualquier cosa que pueda defendernos de la policía anti-motín y de las fuerzas armadas, por ejemplo mascaras de gas, chalecos antibalas, bolas de metal y metras (canicas), cuchillos, protectores deportivos, cascos, etc.

Pero lo absurdo va mas allá, primeros auxilios prohibidos:

Antiácidos, gasas, cremas para quemaduras, vendas, colirios, bicarbonato, etc

Le pedí a un importador médico que me trajera leche de magnesia ya que no lo hay locamente. "Lo lamentamos, antiácido, ARTÍCULO PROHIBIDO! Mi problema no es con la policia antimotín, estoy ESTREÑIDO. Jódete, come ciruelas pasas.

A continuación la lista de los artículos prohibidos suministrada por mi courier. Le agradecería que lo notifique a blogs y a servicios de noticias para exponer aun mas la crueldad del régimen del dictador Nicolas Maduro.



Los transportistas están a cargo de hacer cumplir estas prohibiciones SIN EXCEPCIÓN. Las inspecciones requeridas por este reglamento están demorando considerablemente las importaciones y aumentado su costo ademas.

Es un abuso de los derechos humanos.

Denny Schlesinger
 
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« Reply #418 on: August 29, 2017, 09:47:00 AM »

•   Mexico: Mexican government sources told Reuters that their government is studying the possibility of stepping in to replace Venezuelan oil program Petrocaribe if the government of President Nicolas Maduro were to fall. Petrocaribe is a trade initiative that provides subsidized oil to friendly countries. Cuba, a beneficiary of the initiative whose shipments have declined, has already had to limit retail fuel sales and request help from Russia. Mexico’s foreign minister was in Havana last week and reportedly tried to persuade Cuba to help fix Venezuela while reassuring Havana that Mexico will support it if Maduro falls. We need a better understanding of Mexico’s role in this situation. Is this the first sign of a more assertive Mexico?
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GPF
« Reply #419 on: October 24, 2017, 01:22:08 PM »

•   Venezuela:  Venezuela has entered the grace period for $321 million worth of coupon payments tied to the debt incurred by PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, that were due to be canceled on Oct. 12. The government has until Oct. 27-Nov. 2 to pay roughly $2.3 billion in debt. The total amount of debt owed in the fourth quarter is $3.5 billion. There is increasing concern over a potential default. What happens if Caracas defaults?
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« Reply #420 on: January 25, 2018, 09:29:41 AM »

After the turn of the millennium, Venezuela enjoyed a windfall thanks to high oil prices that bankrolled massive public spending. Fast-forward a decade, however, and the situation is bleak: An insolvent central government and high inflation are impoverishing a whole generation of Venezuelans. The current situation will likely force any new administration to attempt major structural reforms to stabilize the economy over the next decade, beyond the current stopgap measures of slashing imports and printing more bolivars.

In the short term, the overriding political question centers on whether embattled President Nicolas Maduro will step aside to allow others to begin addressing the crisis. But even after any immediate solution to Venezuela's political impasse, the country's leaders will face the difficult task of fixing a broken economy. Venezuela's leaders may succeed in taming inflation within the decade, but they are likely to bequeath a country that is deprived of much of its energy revenue, professional talent and political stability.

A Long To-Do List for Reformers

Inflation is rising ever more quickly in the country, putting food and medicine beyond the reach of ordinary Venezuelans. In 2017, year-on-year inflation was 2,600 percent, according to estimates by the opposition-controlled legislature. The figure, however, is likely to rise throughout 2018, because a drop in imports, reduced access to foreign currency and the rapid expansion of the country's monetary base through the printing of new bolivars will all spur faster inflation. According to the International Monetary Fund, year-on-year inflation in 2018 could exceed 4,500 percent. Such high levels of inflation will continue to drive people to emigrate, will discourage foreign direct investment and other economic activity, and will lead to greater security problems, such as more looting and armed robberies. In fact, the country's economic catastrophe could evolve into a full-blown humanitarian crisis as increasing numbers of citizens seek a better life in neighboring states and as food becomes scarcer and more expensive.

If Maduro vacated his position, a new president and government would likely impose corrective measures to resolve the country's economic imbalances. Any solution to its inflationary woes will include measures to balance the country's budget (the budget deficit is running at approximately 20 percent of gross domestic product) and to downsize its overstaffed public sector. Another key task that awaits prospective economic reformers is the elimination of currency allocation mechanisms. The government's policy of strictly controlling the distribution of foreign currency has driven up the value of the dollar on the black market and consumer prices for food, medicine and other essential items. Authorities have so far hesitated to terminate the controls, probably because they provide an important source of profit for officials. The government has likewise been loath to slow the printing of bolivars because any such action would necessitate a heavier austerity program, which would result in mass public sector layoffs and would shrink the federal budget.
The Oil Well Runs Dry

But even if Venezuela succeeds in dampening hyperinflation, the country will find itself in the unenviable position of attempting economic recovery with a diminished energy sector. Oil production — which paid for everything from imported luxury goods to periodic handouts to the poorest citizens for decades — will likely continue to drop below its current lows. Venezuela produces about 1.9 million barrels of crude oil per day (almost half of what it produced in the late 1990s), and that output is expected to decline in the coming years, although the exact figure will depend on the amount of financing the state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), can obtain and the degree to which global oil prices recover. Declining oil production is a side effect of the social policies pursued by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the early and mid-2000s, when the party effectively created the conditions for the state and private citizens to spend the oil windfall of the era, setting aside little for a rainy day. Currency control mechanisms, which were originally designed to exercise greater control over the flow of foreign currency to businesses and private citizens, became gateways to mass corruption due to the misallocation of government revenue. According to one estimate, corrupt individuals who fraudulently obtained dollars misappropriated approximately 28 percent of all oil revenue between 2003 and 2012. Instead of being used to finance imports, the money was embezzled.

Venezuela's serial loan defaults will also create a problem for any new government; ultimately, Caracas may have to settle with creditors on billions of dollars in outstanding debt, including the Chinese government and private bondholders. Settling these debts will entail years of legal battles and negotiations between the government and its creditors. Outside of oil production, Venezuela has historically pursued few economic activities that can fund high levels of government spending. Accordingly, by the time the country is back on the path to recovery, it will find itself eking out an existence with the lowest prospective oil revenue in several decades to fund such services as security, electricity, sanitation and roadwork. Investment in such public works as roads, electricity and sanitation will also trail the standards set by its neighbors. At the same time, any new government is likely to attempt to impose stricter conditions on the use of PDVSA revenues for social spending.

Even as Venezuela drags itself out of recession, it will have relatively few economic opportunities to offer its citizens.

Even as Venezuela drags itself out of recession, it will have relatively few economic opportunities to offer its citizens. Oil and natural gas will remain by far the largest source of foreign revenue, though growth in that sector will directly benefit few Venezuelans. Even if the country's extremely low salaries (the monthly minimum wage currently amounts to $3 at the black market exchange rate) attract some investment, such problems as poor transportation networks, rampant crime and an unreliable electrical grid will deter all but the most determined new investors in low-end manufacturing, retail and services. Larger foreign companies that have remained in the country throughout the crisis (such as auto manufacturers and food producers) will slowly recover, but the likelihood of continued endemic poverty will limit their ability to sell more valuable products, such as cars, to consumers in the country.
The Political Pushback that Awaits

Political tumult is also likely to accompany Venezuela's period of economic stabilization. The country's opposition is too weak to force Maduro from power, so any departure will depend on the president negotiating a deal with the U.S. government or a military coup by dissidents within the armed forces. If Maduro leaves power in the coming years, a new government will likely feature a hodgepodge of opposition and PSUV figures grafted on to a bureaucratic structure heavily linked to individuals within the current ruling party. Such a government would seek to implement economic recovery measures, but reversing the course on specific measures is likely to ignite great controversy. Any moves to fire nonessential government staff from the large public sector will likely spark protests and become fodder for the PSUV in an attempt to roll back the reforms. PSUV officials could also resist the elimination of well-oiled mechanisms for corruption, such as the currency allocation mechanisms. And because such graft has become so deep-rooted, any robust reforms to end such activity could fail.

Hyperinflation, violence, economic mismanagement and political turmoil are all likely to drive many of Venezuela's best and brightest overseas and impoverish those who stay in the decades to come. Acknowledging that the only way to go is up will compel any new government to implement painful reform measures to improve the perilous state of the economy, but the harmful consequences of today's inflation will live long into the future, relegating Venezuela's coming generations to a worse standard of living — regardless of any government's best efforts.
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« Reply #421 on: February 05, 2018, 12:01:44 PM »

https://www.heritage.org/americas/commentary/venezuela-has-come-resemble-lower-level-dantes-inferno
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« Reply #422 on: February 08, 2018, 05:33:21 PM »

Stratfor Worldview

 
      

Feb 8, 2018 | 20:54 GMT
5 mins read
Would Venezuela Invade Guyana?
According to an unconfirmed report, a Brazilian government delegation plans to meet with Guyana and Suriname about a possible Venezuelan military incursion into Guyana.
(BEYHANYAZAR/iStock)



    According to an unconfirmed report, a Brazilian government delegation plans to meet with Guyana and Suriname about a possible Venezuelan military incursion into Guyana.
    For Venezuela, entering Guyanese territory could delay an International Court of Justice border ruling and even grant Caracas a bargaining chip in amnesty negotiations with the United States.
    The incursion would come with great risks for Caracas, as it may invite a harsh response from Washington.

A Brazilian delegation's quick trip to Guyana and Suriname suggests things are moving beneath the surface of the border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana. On Feb. 7, Brazilian President Michel Temer approved a trip by Defense Minister Raul Jungmann, Justice Minister Torquato Jardim and Institutional Security Cabinet Chief Sergio Etchegoyen to Guyana and Suriname. According to Agencia Estado, the visit's purpose is to discuss border security with the Guyanese and Surinamese governments. However, an unconfirmed report in Brazilian paper O Antagonista claimed the real reason behind the visit was to share information that Brazil's intelligence services had learned about Venezuela considering a military incursion into Guyana.

Venezuela has claimed ownership over the Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River since 1962. But recently, the U.N. Secretary General referred the border dispute issue to the International Court of Justice, which may issue a binding decision on the matter within the next several years. According to the O Antagonista report, Brazil's information claims that the Venezuelan government is considering siezing that territory. On Feb. 8, the Brazilian ministers visited their country's Roraima state, an area bordering Guyana and Venezuela that has seen tens of thousands of Venezuelan refugees pour across the border in recent months as unrest in the country grows.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 02:24:02 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #423 on: February 09, 2018, 07:50:41 AM »

When in trouble, make war!  evil
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #424 on: February 17, 2018, 01:13:01 PM »



Iran, Russia, and China's Central Role in the Venezuela Crisis
by Joseph M. Humire
Gatestone Institute
February 14, 2018
http://www.meforum.org/7206/iran-russia-and-china-central-role-in
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 U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just completed, by most accounts, a successful visit to Latin America. He began his five-nation tour by invoking the Monroe Doctrine and suggesting the Venezuelan military could manage a "peaceful transition" from the authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro. This reminded several regional observers of President Trump's suggestion last year of a possible "military option" for Venezuela, hinting at possible U.S. or multilateral intervention to stop the country's collapse.
Any party in the Western Hemisphere seeking to undertake military intervention in Venezuela— including Venezuela's own military—must take into account the role Iran, Russia and China have played in the crisis. Russia and China were prominently mentioned by Tillerson during his visit to the region; Iran, however, was notably absent from his remarks.

Most regional analysts will likely agree that Venezuela has become a Cuban-occupied country. With more than 30,000 Cubans embedded in Venezuela, many of whom are part of the intelligence and security apparatus, it's clear that the Castro brothers played an integral role in the country's collapse. However, this narrative of Cuban intervention misses two key points. First, it fails to identify precisely Cuba's role in Venezuela, and, secondly, it ignores the presence and influence of other key extra-regional actors.

External support from China, Russia, and Cuba has contributed significantly to propping up the Venezuelan government during the last decade.

Of these, Russia and China are perhaps the two most visible. As in Syria, and, historically, in Central America, Russia is the primary supplier of military aidand technical support to the Venezuelan armed forces. Venezuela represents 75% of Russia's total foreign military sales in the region, accounting for more than $11 billion in arms sales.

Additionally, the Russian state-owned energy firm, Rosneft, has provided Venezuela with an estimated $17 billion in financing since 2006. Moscow has leveraged its collateral deals to acquire expanded stakes in Venezuela's oilfields—specifically, the heavy-crude Orinoco belt—providing Russia greater control of Venezuela's strategic energy assets.
Russia is not alone in translating Venezuelan debt into strategic assets. According to the International Institute of Finance, China holds more than $23 billion in Venezuela's foreign debt, making it the country's largest creditor. Through these credits and loans, Beijing is the primary benefactor and principal banker to the South American nation, yielding enormous leverage over the state.

Chinese energy companies are also gaining an increasing share of Venezuela's most lucrative oil field, the Faja Del Orinoco (FDO). China secured a 25-year land grant to the FDO. In exchange, China has used its checkbook to fund many of the nation's social programs, such as subsidized housing and free medical clinics.
 
Pictured: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro visits Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Iran on October 22, 2016.

External support from China, Russia, and Cuba has buoyed the Venezuelan government during the last decade. Cuba's robust counterintelligence and human intelligence networks, which permeate Venezuela's highest political and military levels, are indispensable to China and Russia because of their operational knowledge of Russian-supplied equipment, along with their longstanding ties to communist clandestine networks.

In this context, it is hard to imagine a strategy that would remove Havana's presence from Venezuela without first passing through Moscow or Beijing. Iran, on the other hand, can operate independently in Venezuela because it taps into a separate, more robust clandestine network that has been developing in Latin America for more than half a century.

Approximately 60% of the population of the city of As-Suwayda in southwestern Syria (pop. 139,000, according to the 2004 census) are Venezuelan-born dual citizens. Many more have arrived since 2009. The district of As-Suwayda (same name as the city) has been dubbed "Little Venezuela." Estimates indicate that upwards of 300,000 Syrians from the As-Suwayda Governorate currently live halfway around the world in Venezuela. According to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, more than a million Syrians reside there. This Syria-Venezuela connection could represent a clandestine network managed by Iran and critical to the advancement of Chavez's "Bolivarian revolution."

As in the Syria conflict, Iran's primarily role is preparing the Venezuelan battlefield through a range of operations in irregular warfare, using non-state actors and surrogates to gain influence over the population. Its influence is often not visible on the ground, but it was evident when Iranian-trained forces helped repress anti-regime protestors in 2017. During anti-Maduro demonstrations, the motorcycle-riding members of the Venezuelan civilian militias known as Collectivos were clearly modeled on and trained by Iran's paramilitary Basij militia. The role of the Basij in crushing Iran's Green Revolution in 2009 provided lesson for dealing with anti-regime protestors half a decade later in Venezuela.

Strong evidence suggests that Venezuela used its immigration agency (SAIME) to provide Venezuelan identities and documents to several hundred, if not thousands, of Middle Easterners.

The extent of Iran's influence in Venezuela has long been a source of debate among U.S. and regional security analysts. In many ways, Iran has positioned itself in Venezuela to capitalize on China's economic clout and Russia's military footprint. For instance, Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) used a variety of joint projects with Venezuela's military industry (CAVIM), as well as Russian and Chinese oil contracts with PDVSA, to shield it from international sanctions.
Iran's most salient expertise, however, is in the development of clandestine structures through surrogate forces and proxy networks. Its most prominent proxy force, Lebanese Hezbollah, is known to deploy to global hotspots on behalf of Iran. Meanwhile, the Qods Force (the extra-territorial arm of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps - IRGC) works with Hezbollah to increase social pressure in these hotspots to exacerbate conflicts. The Hezbollah and IRGC-QF cooperation is an important component of the Syrian civil war.

In Venezuela, long-standing clandestine networks from Syria, Lebanon and the Middle East are playing a similar role behind the scenes in shaping the narrative and ultimately directing the actions of the country's key players. These networks have provided the Venezuelan regime with the know-how to control the population and propagate its narrative. Their influence is evident from the prominence of Arabs in the Venezuelan government.
 
Protesters have taken to Venezuela's streets to condemn unprecedented levels of oppression.

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela began with severe shortages of food and medicine, prompting a a popular uprising last year. Syria faced a similarly severe drought before its civil war that contributed to the violent uprisings that began in 2011. As in Syria, Venezuela faces a humanitarian crisis that exacerbates refugee outflows with serious counterterrorism concerns and a strong Russian and Iranian presence. Unlike Syria, however, this crisis rests much closer to U.S. shores.

Strong evidence suggests that Venezuela used its immigration agency (SAIME) to provide Venezuelan identities and documents to several hundred, if not thousands, of Middle Easterners. Unless our regional allies have proper vetting and verification measures in place, as well as a high degree of counterintelligence support, they will not know if the Venezuelan refugees spilling across their borders are legitimate refugees or members of a transregional clandestine network between Latin America and the Middle East.

As Secretary Tillerson calls upon regional allies to increase support to resolve Venezuela's humanitarian crisis and apply more pressure to the Maduro regime, it would also make sense for the Trump administration to help U.S. allies by enhancing their counterintelligence and counterterrorism capabilities against Iran and Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere. It appears that some of this cooperation is already beginning to take place, as evidenced by a new agreement between the U.S. and Argentina to tackle Hezbollah's illicit financing in the Southern Cone.

Dealing with the tragedy that has transpired in Venezuela over more than two decades will require a better public understanding of the central role of extra-regional actors, particularly Iran, in the country's crisis.

Any intervention in Venezuela -- military, humanitarian or otherwise -- will not work unless it is aimed at removing the external influences, especially Iran, Russia and China, that have turned Venezuela into the Syria of the Western Hemisphere.

Joseph M. Humire is the executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. This article has taken excerpts from a forthcoming special report by Mr. Humire on "Venezuela's Crisis: A New Global Paradigm." You can follow him on Twitter at: @jmhumire.
Related Topics:  Joseph M. Humire
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captainccs
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« Reply #425 on: February 19, 2018, 11:42:37 AM »

This is the most accurate narrative of the current Venezuelan situation I have yet read. Many of the topics covered have been circulating for years but have not been covered by the US mainstream media which covers only the superficial "shelves are empty and people are starving" that any idiot can see with his own two eyes. The US mainstream media isn't worth the paper it's printed on and much less the screens it's displayed on.

I want to comment on the Arab presence in Venezuela because if you don't know anything about it the article might give you the wrong impression.

Venezuela has a very large Arab presence that goes back a very long time. I don't have an explanation for it but it is a historical fact. This is a well integrated community in no way related to Islamic extremism. There is a sector in downtown Caracas, El Silencio, where Arabs and Jews (collectively called Turks by the locals) have retail businesses side by side in perfect harmony. Some of the most polite shop keepers in Caracas are Arabs. In the aftermath of the Six Day War there was a comment circulating in Venezuela that captures perfectly the spirt of our melting pot culture. "Had Golda Meir and Gammel Abdel Nasser shared a cup of coffee in El Silencio, there would not have been a Six Day War." That war happened in 1967, more than 30 years before the assent of Chavez. To drive the point home, let me add that a friend of mine had a furniture factory with lots of Arab shops for customers. For a time I helped him out by selling and delivering the furniture which gave me the opportunity to interact with these people and I have the highest regard for them based on that personal experience.

None of the above has changed except that it is the perfect cover for Iran's ambitions in Venezuela. I have not spoken to these people about this subject as I keep my relation with them on a strictly non-political basis. What I do know is that Arab shopkeepers, like all other Venezuelan shopkeepers, are very unhappy with the economic situation.

Denny Schlesinger
 
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« Reply #426 on: Today at 09:26:02 AM »

By Editorial Board  Washington Post




February 23 at 6:40 PM   

THE LONG-RUNNING crisis in Venezuela, which has undergone a catastrophic economic collapse even as its authoritarian regime has consolidated power, has now spread across its borders. The president of neighboring Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, said this week that his country’s most serious problem could be the mass influx of desperate Venezuelan refugees: More than 600,000 are now in the country, and thousands more are arriving every day. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have swamped the Brazilian Amazon city of Boa Vista, 140 miles from the border. More than 60,000 have asylum appeals pending in the United States.

This human outflow, which the United Nations says amounts to more than 1.1 million people, is the largest displacement of people in Latin American history. But Venezuela’s refugees are attracting far less attention or international aid than those fleeing Burma or Syria. That needs to change.

The reason for the exodus is simple: Once proud citizens of the richest nation in Latin America, Venezuelans now are starving. A social survey released this week  showed that more than 90 percent say they do not have the means to buy sufficient food, and 61 percent say they go to bed hungry. Though it controls the world’s largest oil reserves, the regime founded by Hugo Chávez has wrecked not just oil production but the economy as a whole, leaving stores empty of food and hospitals deprived even of common medicines. Inflation is skyrocketing above the 2017 rate of 2,600 percent, and rampant homicide has made Caracas one of the most dangerous cities in the world.




Compounding the crisis is the refusal of the Chavista government, now headed by Nicolás Maduro, to accept humanitarian aid, which it describes as a means for foreign invasion. Rather than take basic steps to feed people or stabilize the economy, Mr. Maduro, steered by Cuban advisers, is preparing to stage a rigged election for every office in the country in April, which would allow for the elimination of all formal political opposition. The regime already put down a pro-democracy uprising last year with mass repression that led to more than 120 deaths.

Latin American nations that for years avoided addressing the collapse of democracy in Venezuela now are reaping the consequences in a very human form. Foremost is Colombia, which for years pandered to the Chavista regime and now finds its border cities overrun with desperate refugees, some of whom are reduced to sleeping in parks and begging on the streets. In an effort to stem the tide, Mr. Santos suspended border passes for 1.5 million Venezuelans and deployed 2,000 troops to block informal entry routes into the country. That may slow the refu­gee arrivals but at the cost of denying relief to hungry people.


Mr. Santos said his government is ready to accept international aid. But though the United Nations’ refu­gee agency is on the ground in Colombia and Brazil, the response has been nothing like that devoted to servicing refugees from Syria or Burma. Many Venezuelans are finding shelter with family or friends in other nations, but as Mr. Santos said, “the number of people that need to be attended to is growing exponentially, and no state has the capacity to absorb it.” With no solution to the crisis inside Venezuela in sight, it’s time for the United States and other nations to do more to mitigate its external impact.
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