Venezuela: Well on the road from “malgoverned space” to failed state

September 3rd, 2015

What makes a “malgoverned space”? According to R. Evan Ellis,

The defining characteristic of a malgoverned space is that the ability of the formal authority
to enforce its laws and regulations, and the possibility of residents to rely on those authorities
and the formal legal system to protect their property and physical well-being there is severely
curtailed

The Dictionary defines failed state as (emphasis added)

a nation in which the government has lost political authority and control and is unable to fulfill the basic responsibilities of a sovereign state.

Venezuela is now veering on the edge.

For instance (via Instapundit), Livid over crime, some Venezuelans resort to mob justice

The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV), a non-governmental organization, estimates there were 40 cases in 2014 of lynchings, usually defined as extrajudicial killings by mobs.

The Observatory does not yet have figures for 2015, but a Reuters tally of media reports shows that in the last month alone there have been over a dozen mob-led beatings or lynchings.

Not surprising in a country where Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub. U.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering.

The government has created a border crisis with Colombia and accusing enemies in Colombia of trying to assassinate him, while

The word is taking its time in condemning the regime abuses on the Colombians it unjustly expels because they are mesmerized by the fact the regime is seriously wanting them to believe that these scared house wives wading dirty water are the cause of all of Venezuela trouble.

The pretext for the border crisis is bachaqueo (arbitrage) which the Venezuelan regime blames on poor Colombians living at the Venezuelan border town,

Bachaqueo is an activity that, until recently, was nothing more than the geographical arbitrage of gasoline. Over the years, Colombia has always had higher gasoline prices, not only because its price has always been at international levels, but also because it imposed higher taxes than Venezuela on it. Meanwhile, on this side of the border, gasoline has always been cheaper at the wholesale level, because Venezuelan politicians have always set the price below international prices. There has always been a feeling that this was some form of “birth right”.

This crisis is manufactured by the Venezuelan regime, in economic and political ways. The WaPo editorial board believes that

Venezuela’s populist government appears headed toward a major defeat in legislative elections scheduled for December, if the vote is free and fair.

I have no reason to believe that the December vote will have any chance at all to be “free and fair” in any meaning of the words, but when it comes to this border crisis,

Sadly, the Organization of American States has proved unable to address this outrage: Venezuela’s allies, including Caribbean countries it has supplied with discounted oil, on Monday blocked a motion to convene a foreign ministers’ meeting on the expulsions. The Obama administration, which has recently pursued a diplomatic dialogue with the Maduro government, has limited itself to a tepid expression of “concern” about the “worsening humanitarian situation.”

Not surprisingly, Venezuela rejects US’ ‘interventionist’ offer to help solve Colombia border crisis.

Earlier,

Mr. Maduro’s go-to boogeyman has been the United States, which he’s accused of working underhandedly to oust him from power. But as relations between Washington and Caracas have marginally improved, Mr. Maduro has chosen to deflect attention from the country’s problems by picking unnecessary fights with his neighbors. Earlier this year, he reignited a long-dormant territorial dispute with Guyana after learning that Exxon Mobil had discovered offshore oil reserves in Guyana’s waters, asserting a right to as much of two thirds of Guyana, a tiny country of roughly 800,000 people.

Maduro is following a long tradition of stoking nationalist fervor, but, as the NYT points out,

Further alienating his neighbors will only deepen Venezuela’s many problems.

And those problems point the country in the direction to failed state.

Last night’s podcast

September 3rd, 2015

archived for your listening convenience,

Haiti: Hillary’s “campaign against the negative stories concerning our involvement in Haiti”

September 3rd, 2015

Jonathan Katz reports,
The Clintons’ Haiti Screw-Up, As Told By Hillary’s Emails

The family still doesn’t know how to wield its own power.

As the latest release of Hillary Clinton’s personal emails by the U.S. State Department Monday revealed, that perception was not an accident. “We waged a very successful campaign against the negative stories concerning our involvement in Haiti,” Judith McHale, the under-secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, wrote on February 26, 2010. A few weeks before, the public affairs chief had emailed newspaper quotations praising U.S. efforts in Haiti to Secretary Clinton with the note “Our Posts at work.” Clinton applauded. “That’s the result of your leadership and a new model of engagement w our own people,” she replied. “Onward!”

But one person even closer to the secretary of state was singing a different tune—very, very quietly. On February 22, after a four-day visit to the quake zone, Chelsea Clinton authored a seven-page memo which she addressed to “Dad, Mom,” and copied their chief aides. That informal report tells a continuing story of the unique brands of power and intelligence wielded by the Clinton family in Haiti and around the world—and of the uniquely Clinton ways they often undermine themselves.

Chelsea recognized that

disaster survivors are best positioned to take charge of their own recovery, yet often get pushed aside by outside authorities who think, wrongly, that they know better.

Which is quite obvious to anyone who has suffered through a disaster; however, the Clinton’s record on Haiti is awful. Here’s a sample:

Haiti Fraudster Had Line to Clinton at State Department

Clinton donor defaulted on $10 million federal loan

A Clinton donor was granted a $10 million federal loan for a Haiti house-building scam around the day his lobbyist was in contact with Hillary Clinton about the project, emails released by the State Department show.Lobbyist Jonathan Mantz, who served as Clinton’s 2008 finance director, reached out to Clinton with details about his client Claudio Osorio’s Haiti house-building efforts in January 2010. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a federal agency that works closely with the State Department, was in the process of approving a $10 million loan for Osorio’s company InnoVida around the same time.

InnoVida later defaulted on the loan and the houses were never built. Osorio, who has contributed to both the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, is currently serving 12 years in federal prison on fraud charges related to the loan.

Role of Hillary Clinton’s brother in Haiti gold mine raises eyebrows

In interviews with The Washington Post, both Rodham and the chief executive of Delaware-based VCS Mining said they were introduced at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative — an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation that critics have long alleged invites a blurring of its charitable mission with the business interests of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their corporate donors.

After which, Tony Rodman was appointment to the VCS advisory board.

In December 2012, VCS won one of the first two gold-mining permits the Haitian government had issued in more than 50 years. The project was immediately slammed by members of the Haitian Senate, who called it a potential environmental disaster and “a waste of resources.” The backlash caused the government to put the permits on hold.

Video: Pay-for-play at Clinton Foundation for Haiti relief?

The Clinton Foundation and Haiti Contracts. After the earthquake in 2010, the Clintons’ outsize influence in the small nation increased.

Hillary Clinton’s Scandalous Conduct in Haiti: Charity Begins At Home. Another example in a continuing lineup of scandals that make Hillary Clinton toxic and unfit to be considered for the presidency of the United States.

From 2013: Clintons Pushed Most Wasteful of U.S.-Funded Haiti Projects

Roughly half of the $1.14 billion that the U.S. government allocated to help Haiti recover from the 2010 earthquake has gone to wasteful projects with the single largest chunk—$170.3 million—going to a failed port and power plant adventure heavily promoted by Bill Clinton and the State Department under the leadership if [sic] his beloved wife.

In other Clinton news,

Breaking: Obama Clinches Vote to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

September 2nd, 2015

My initial reaction:

Read my post, Breaking: Obama Clinches Vote to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

Pedro Pan exhibit and panel coming up

September 2nd, 2015

At HistoryMiami, OPERATION PEDRO PAN
The Cuban Children’s Exodus
June 26, 2015 – January 17, 2016

In partnership with Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc., the organization that connects the children of the Pedro Pan exodus and preserves its artifacts and memories, HistoryMiami museum opens its doors to the exhibition documenting the emotional journey these children – and their families – underwent to escape indoctrination.

The exhibition not only displays the artifacts but also tells the story of how these families came to make this life-changing decision and what became of the children. Using video testimonials, private letters, journals and photographs, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey from Cuba to Miami and beyond; giving visitors a glimpse of the children’s past and the camps they lived in once they reached the United States.

I learned from Carlos Eire that he’ll be a panelist:
PANEL DISCUSSION:REMEMBERING OPERATION PEDRO PAN

September 19, 2:00pm

HistoryMiami

101 West Flagler Street

Miami, FL 33130

SPEAKERS:

Dr. José Azel, senior scholar at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami and the author of the book Mañana in Cuba. Arrived to the United States in 1961; age 13.

Elena Muller Garcia, director of Parish Social Ministry in Catholic Charities, Diocese of Palm Beach. Arrived to the United States in 1962; age 13.

Dr. Carlos Eire, T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University and author of the award winning books Waiting for Snow in Havana and Learning to Die in Miami. Arrived to the United States in 1962; age 11.

Antonio “Tony” Argiz, chairman and CEO of MBAF, one of the top 40 accounting firms in the nation, and immediate past chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Arrived to the United States in 1961; age 9.

Moderator: Dr. Victor A. Triay, Cuban American historian and author of Fleeing Castro: Operation Pedro Pan and the Cuban Children’s Program and Bay of Pigs: An Oral History of Brigade 2506.

Register online or call 305-375-1492 for more information.

FREE WITH MUSEUM ADMISSION

Wikileaks is a Front for Russian Intelligence

September 1st, 2015

says this report at The XX Committee:

It’s long been known that Wikileaks, by their own admission, counseled Ed Snowden in June 2013 to leave Hong Kong and head to Moscow. Contrary to the countless lies propagated by Snowden Operation activists, Snowden’s arrival in Russia was his choice; it had nothing to do with  canceled passports in Washington, DC.

An important gap has been filled this week by Julian Assange, who admittedthat Snowden going to Moscow was his idea. Ed wanted to head to Latin America, Julian asserted, especially Ecuador, whose London embassy Assange has been hiding out in for years on the lam from rape changes in Sweden. As Assange explained, “He preferred Latin America, but my advice was that he should take asylum in Russia despite the negative PR consequences, because my assessment is that he had a significant risk he could be kidnapped from Latin America on CIA orders. Kidnapped or possibly killed.”

Only in Russia would Ed be safe, Julian counseled, because there he would be protected by Vladimir Putin and his secret services, notably the FSB. One might think that seeking the shelter of the FSB — one of the world’s nastiest secret police forces that spies on millions without warrant and murders opponents freely — might be an odd choice for a “privacy organization.” But Wikileaks is no ordinary NGO.

Why Assange knew Russia would take in Snowden — it could be a big political hassle for Moscow — is a key question that any counterintelligence officer would want answered. Was Julian speaking on behalf of the FSB or did he just “know” Ed could obtain the sanctuary plus protection he sought?

Just as telling is the recent report on Assange’s activities in Ecuador’s London embassy, where it turns out Ecuadorian intelligence has been keeping tabs on him.

Assange wanted Russian agents as bodyguards.

Read the whole thing.

While you’re at it, you may be interested in Edward Lucas’s The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster (Kindle Single), ($0.99)

“The Snowden Operation” highlights the inconsistencies and puzzles in the account of events given by the “Snowdenistas”. It explains how Russia could have sponsored Snowden’s data heist — the greatest disaster ever to hit Western intelligence, and one whose effects have neatly suited Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Lucas published The Snowden Operation in January 2014.

Related:
wsv-783361Play me the world’s smallest violin: WikiLeaks’ Assange stays indoors, fears CIA drone attack

Guatemala: Central America’s Next Flashpoint

September 1st, 2015

Mary O’Grady names Guatemala as Central America’s Next Flashpoint, and a leftist group is on the rise, demanding that no elections be held (emphasis added),

Its leadership includes Edgar Gutiérrez, an ally of the Marxist guerrilla movement during the Cold War, and Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight, the chairman of Oxfam International.

Semilla’s plan is outlined in a July document titled “In the face of the corruption of the democracy, let’s construct a Government of National Renewal.” It says that the country’s political system is too corrupt to hold fair elections on Sept. 6. Semilla complains, among other things, that an electoral reform that it favored—which included gender and racial quotas for Congress—has not become law. “In these conditions, we don’t want elections,” the document says.

Instead, Semilla wants to oust the president and create a new “national unity government” with a vice president chosen “with the solid backing of civil society.” In other words, Congress can choose the next vice president as long as Semilla’s unelected activists approve.

In pain words, a coup.

Chile: Bachelet’s proposal for failure

September 1st, 2015

Following Michelle Bachelet’s proposed labor reforms, companies are leaving the country and employers are laying off workers. Hana Fischer explains why:
Bachelet’s Labor Reforms Have Already Failed, in Uruguay
Empowering Unions a Sure Path to Economic Doom

The proposed labor reform currently being debated in the Chilean Senate presents several issues that are a concern:+

  • Inter-company unions will be in charge of collective bargaining for all workers.+
  • Employers will be prohibited from granting union benefits to non-unionized workers.+
  • Union leaders will be allowed to disrupt a company’s activities, because employers will be banned from replacing workers on strike.+
  • The reform would deny an employee the option to return to work, on an individual basis, after 15 days on strike, and consequently his right to continue working.+
  • Employees would be prohibited from censuring union leaders during a strike.+

52% of Chileans oppose the proposed law.

$5 says Bachelet will still go ahead.

En español: Mensaje a Jorge Ramos (with English excerpts)

August 31st, 2015

Discurso del joven Abogado Cubano Rafael Alejandro Hernández Real, quien vive en Mexico:

Humberto Fontova did a little translating,“Cubans migrants to Mexico are arrested, beaten, extorted, deported by the Mexican gov. in collusion with Castro! Where’s your indignation Mr Jorge Ramos (a Mexican citizen!)”

* “You claim to be a journalist not a politician. But Trump threw you out only because you were out of line. Your behavior was shameful.

* “Every week thousands of Cubans migrants to Mexico are arrested, beaten, extorted and swindled by the Mexican gov. in collusion with the Castro tyranny! But I’ve never heard you utter a peep against the Mexican government over this, Mr Jorge Ramos! And you claim to be a proud and vocal Mexican citizen, Mr Jorge Ramos!”

* Why not come to Mexico and try telling President Pena Nieto that deporting Cubans to Castro means they’ll live in a prison. Why not practice what you preach, Mr Ramos?!

* You denounce the U.S.–a country that opened its doors to you, yourself, sir–but you refuse to utter a peep against your native Mexico, that deports Cubans not because they’re delinquents–but as a matter of policy.”

* I’m speaking to you as someone who was jailed for 49 days in a Mexican prison for migrants and freed only after a hunger strike where I almost died.”

* “Next time you attend a Trump press conference you might ask permission to speak, and wait your turn like all the others. And since you seem to like to talk without permission come to Mexico and try that stunt!”

And,
If Ramos wants to report on crisis at the border, let him travel to the Colombia-Venezuela border.

UPDATE
Linked to by McNorman. Thank you!

The cone of uncertainty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

August 31st, 2015

ARGENTINA
Ariel Velázquez: Young Activist’s Murder Becomes Political Football in ArgentinaAs Elections Near, Rival Parties Rush to Claim Slain 20-Year-Old as Their Own

Insight – Manufacturers in Argentina starved of dollars ahead of election, hurting output

BOLIVIA
Oil Exploration Campaign Kicks Off in Bolivia’s Amazon Region

BRAZIL
Río de Janeiro bars poor black youths from its most famous beachesPolice arrest slum youngsters en route to Ipanema and Copacabana in bid to fight theft

Brazil’s Recession Marks The Beginning Of A Long, Painful Contraction: Argentina, Venezuela, Rest Of Latin America Could Be Affected

Head of Brazilian State Bank Rebuts Accusations against Lula

CHILE
Clashes erupt as truck drivers protest arson attacks

COLOMBIA
The more you give them, the more they want: FARC Slams Santos-Backed Plans for Implementing Possible Colombia Peace Deal

Colombia will face 10 years of economic slowdown, analysts predict

CUBA
Human rights activists fear arrest ahead of Pope’s visit to Cuba

When Was This Cuba Story Written?, Pt. 2

DOMINICA
Tropical storm Erika heads for Florida after killing 20 on island of Dominica

ECUADOR
Sweden and Ecuador to begin Julian Assange talks next weekEcuador seeking formal agreement on judicial cooperation before Swedish prosecutors can interrogate WikiLeaks founder

FALKLAND ISLANDS
Britain orders £46m air defence radar to protect Falklands from ArgentinaThe new vehicle-mounted radar will be able to spot threats up to 75 miles away and the first systems will be delivered before the end of the year

GUATEMALA
Guatemalans Rally Against PresidentTens of thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets Thursday to demand that President Otto Perez resign, amid the country’s biggest political crisis since the end of the civil war nearly two decades ago.

MEXICO
Mexican Film Defrocks the Political Pimping of a Massacre
Young Idealists Serve as Cannon Fodder in Petty Power Struggles

HUMAN SMUGGLING, KIDNAPPING, SLAVERY AND EXTORTION RING BUSTED IN TEXAS

PANAMA
Panama Canal suspends planned draft restriction due to recent rains

PARAGUAY
11-year-old Paraguay rape victim has baby, stokes abortion debate

PERU
The Fascinating Afterlife of Peru’s MummiesFrom atop bejeweled thrones and sacred mountaintops, the Inca dead continued to wield incredible power over the living

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico bond deadlines loom: What you need to know

URUGUAY
Ten things you never knew about… UruguayToday is Independence Day in Uruguay, celebrating the country’s independence from the Brazilian Empire on August 25, 1825.

VENEZUELA
Woman, 80, trampled to death in Venezuelan supermarket stampedeRush for subsidized goods sees 75 people injured as thousands besiege supermarket

Scapegoating: Crime in VenezuelaJustice decayedThe government wrongly blames Colombia for its high murder rate

The government has paved the way by allowing the institutions of law enforcement to decay. The police force is underfunded and mistrusted. Venezuela has many fewer prosecutors and judges than it should. Chile, a country with much lower levels of violent crime, has a third more prosecutors than Venezuela in relation to the size of its population. Courts are reluctant to sentence criminals to serve time in crowded and violent jails: 90% of murders go unpunished. Gun control is weak.

And it all came to that

The week’s posts:
Brazil and other fallen BRICs

Why the knives are out on Menendez

Cuba: Getting Gitmo closed

What about the Trump/Ramos thing?

Argentina: The #tucumanazo, stories of a fraud foretold?

Heading to the World Meeting of Families in a VW bus . . . all the way from Buenos Aires

Crisis at the Venezuela-Colombia border

Bolivia: What’s with the proposed nuclear plant?

Brazil: Cunha charged with corruption and money laundering

En español: Los spots de campaña de Sergio Massa

Bolivia: The catch in the numbers

Puerto Rico: Don’t expect payment anytime soon