Author Topic: Venezuela Politica  (Read 360649 times)

Crafty_Dog

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Rumint
« Reply #450 on: January 28, 2019, 04:38:59 PM »
For those not familiar with the term "rumint" know that is a neologism that blends "RUMor" and "INTelligence".  In other words we have no idea as to whether this is true, a Russian dis-intel operation, or something else.

https://special-ops.org/49145/russian-private-military-contractors-reportedly-operating-in-venezuela/?fbclid=IwAR36oOTQact8X4gnuHnePqXnlzTjgfUPpwn2LrEB6YG0avSN2sYP9hj91-I



Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: O'Grady: Power & Money in Venezuela
« Reply #453 on: February 12, 2019, 09:13:35 AM »
Power and Money in Venezuela
Some opponents of Nicolás Maduro remain supporters of socialism.
46 Comments
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Feb. 10, 2019 3:02 p.m. ET
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Feb. 8.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Feb. 8. Photo: andres martinez casares/Reuters

Nicolás Maduro’s decision to block humanitarian aid to the starving Venezuelan people is no surprise. It’s already well-established that the dictator and his Cubans backers are tyrants.

What really matters politically is the effect of new U.S. Treasury rules mandating that payments for Venezuelan oil go to an escrow account for the government of interim President Juan Guaidó. As the Journal’s Kejal Vyas and Bradley Olsonreported Feb. 4, the restrictions “are making it difficult for the Maduro regime to secure payment for the oil.”

A severe cash-flow disruption increases the odds that Mr. Maduro will have to move out of the presidential palace. Even so, democracy advocates had best not get ahead of themselves. Many risks would remain even if Mr. Maduro retires.

From the earliest days of Hugo Chávez’s rule, oil money has been the key to power in Venezuela. Chávez tightened his grip at first not by executing opponents but by buying them off. This is why friends of the region’s hard left are wringing their hands and crying that the Treasury rules will hurt the Venezuelan people.

The Venezuelan people are already destitute, and anything that accelerates Mr. Maduro’s demise is good for them. But what happens next?

Many analysts are overlooking the problem of the army of political operatives who were part of the breakdown of the country over the past two decades and now oppose Mr. Maduro.

These include die-hard chavistas like Rafael Ramírez. From 2004 to 2014, Mr. Ramírez was president of PdVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, which is in ruins. Also in the opposition are career bandits of the political class, who have shared for years in the spoils of corruption no matter who was at the helm. The list includes but is not limited to some members of Venezuela’s infamous Democratic Action Party.

These characters have broken with Mr. Maduro but not with the socialism that made them rich. They seek impunity for their crimes and a place at the feeding trough in the next government. Their strategy is to demand “power sharing” and to threaten to split the opposition if they aren’t dealt in. These self-interested opportunists have support from ideologues in places like the Vatican, which has been an advocate of appeasing Mr. Maduro.

The horrendous toll on humanity from two decades of Venezuelan socialism can’t be overstated. Food and toilet-paper shortages and malnutrition are getting the most attention. But an article in the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease described Venezuela as “an epicenter of the resurgence of multiple vaccine-preventable, vector-borne, and zoonotic diseases with numerous ongoing, co-occurring epidemics.”

Malaria is a particular problem, the authors write, in part because of a large migration to illegal mining areas, a deterioration in the medical infrastructure and “above all, lack of political will.”

This is the legacy not only of Hugo Chávez but also those who embraced socialism, whether because of ideology or greed. He used his early popularity to rewrite the constitution, get the Venezuelan congress to give him the power to rule by decree, confiscate large farms, and attack entrepreneurs from the bully pulpit. He also cracked down on the free press. A few years later, when he trampled the rights of workers at PdVSA and packed the supreme court, the public was uninformed and there was little criticism from abroad. He could do it, the argument went, because he was still winning elections—though electoral institutions were already corrupted.

By 2007 price and capital controls were destroying the country’s productive capacity and harming businesses that sold imports. It was already difficult to find routine foodstuffs like milk, cooking oil, bread and pork. But Chávez had control of PdVSA and was flush with cash. No one could stop him.

Oil money greased every sector of society—from the government, military, business and media to nongovernmental organizations including religious groups. Most important, Chávez used it to bribe and corrupt members of other political parties.

These sycophants, along with the anti-Maduro chavistas, are now worried. They have no ethics and they don’t want Mr. Guaidó to succeed if it means the end of the gravy train—and the power that comes with it. That’s why they want to brand the interim president as a radical right-winger who is pulling off a coup with Washington’s help.

Enemies of democracy, including Cuba and Iran, will try to hold on to their power in Venezuela even if it means a bloodbath. In preparing for this possibility, Mr. Guaidó doesn’t have to worry only about Mr. Maduro’s supporters but also about the weasels who want to seize control of the opposition movement.

Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Russia wavering?
« Reply #454 on: February 18, 2019, 10:46:51 AM »
Is Russia wavering on Maduro? Russia has been one of the most important, stalwart supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. But over the weekend, an unnamed Gazprombank source told Reuters that the lender has frozen the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA to avoid running afoul of U.S. sanctions. Moscow hasn't officially said anything about it, and PDVSA strongly denied the report, calling it right-wing American propaganda. At this point, it's difficult to verify the report itself, but if true, the potential implications of the report are significant for the Maduro government’s future. One of the main ways the U.S. has been working to buttress opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaido has been to cut off the Maduro government's sources of income. It also may suggest a basis for some kind of understanding or negotiations between the U.S. and Russia. That’s all mostly speculation at this point, but there's enough smoke here to begin asking questions.

Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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Re: Venezuela Politica
« Reply #456 on: February 25, 2019, 10:19:46 PM »
How the Trump Administration Should Counter Putin's Policies in Ukraine and Venezuela
by Jiri Valenta  •  February 25, 2019 at 5:00 pm
             
   If Nicolás Maduro is removed from office in Venezuela, Putin might act as he did when a popular revolution overthrew Yanukovych in Ukraine, in 2014: with a surprise invasion of the Crimea. This time, Putin may launch a surprise naval and land attack on Mariupol, set up a land bridge from Crimea to Russia and continue intensifying his attempt to strangle Ukraine's economy in order to subjugate Ukraine to Russia. Trump needs to take immediate preemptive measures to prevent Putin from doing that by increasing naval aid to Kiev.
   So far, Putin seems to have been counting on a lack of American resolve regarding Venezuela, and has just succeeded in getting China to support him.
   If America abdicates its role in Venezuela, you can bet Russia will eventually build intelligence facilities there. Russia has also been providing Nicaragua with "sophisticated weaponry," including "T-72 tanks, war boats, warplanes, and powerful bombs."
   Above all, President Trump must continue as he is doing now, to work towards liberating the Venezuelan people. Any hesitation will be counterproductive.
 

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor
« Reply #457 on: March 14, 2019, 12:43:18 PM »
What Happened

According to a Reuters report released March 12, partially recognized interim President Juan Guaido is preparing new legislation for Venezuela's oil and gas sector that would allow companies other than the country's state-owned energy company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), to operate oil and gas fields. The proposed reforms, which Guaido's allies are presenting at an energy conference in Houston this week, are expected to be released for debate in Venezuela's National Assembly in the coming days.

Guaido's reforms would dismantle PDVSA's monopoly over Venezuela's oil and gas sector by no longer requiring its involvement in every project. In doing so, the laws would fundamentally reverse the country's highly nationalistic regulatory environment in place since former President Hugo Chavez nationalized the industry more than a decade ago.
Why It Matters

By proposing ambitious energy reforms, Guaido is ensuring Venezuelans that he has a rescue plan for the country's recovery should he gain more power. Venezuela's oil and gas sector is the main generator of revenue for the government, and its revitalization is thus paramount to address other factors plaguing Venezuela's recovery, such as its overseas debt obligations and decaying infrastructure.

There is a fair chance Guaido's reforms will pass the National Assembly, which is currently controlled by parties that support his campaign to unseat Maduro. Actually implementing the plan, however, will be a challenge so long as President Nicolas Maduro continues to control the military and, by proxy, the oil sector.

Venezuela's oil sector will still be an expensive and high-risk investment for foreign suitors, especially if they don't already have an established presence in the country.

Even if a transition from Maduro occurred and the new plan for Venezuela's oil sector went into effect, jump-starting investment into the sector — which has seen production collapse in recent years amid the country's ongoing economic and political crisis — would be no easy feat for Maduro's successor, whether that be Guaido or someone else. The country's oil and gas fields have long been neglected, and the heavy oil fields in the Orinoco Basin are also expensive to produce. After suffering years of underinvestment, some of the reservoirs are likely damaged and in need of costly repairs and upgrades to allow the conversion of heavy oil into a more easily transported form. This will make Venezuela an expensive and high-risk investment for foreign suitors, especially if they don't already have an established presence in the country.

And even if enacted, questions over how long the proposed reforms — which are modeled off of Colombia's and Mexico's energy reforms introduced over the last two decades — would remain in effect would give investors pause. While Colombia's reforms have been consistently backed by successive pro-business presidents, new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's efforts to reverse Mexico's energy reforms show that if the political winds shift in a Latin American country prone to left-wing and populist movements — like Venezuela is — energy reforms may not last.