Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Venezuela: Was Iran behind the colectivos?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

From the [pdf file] WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF
JOSEPH M. HUMIRE
CO-AUTHOR
IRAN’S STRATEGIC PENETRATION OF LATIN AMERICA
BEFORE THE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE (WHEM)
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
HEARING ON
“IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH IN THE WESTERN
HEMISPHERE”


To most, the Venezuelan government’s ability to brutally stifle student protests, is a capacity developed by the Cuban regime whose intelligence and military direct many aspects of Venezuela’s national security apparatus. While mostly true, this excludes another vital player that has enhanced Venezuela’s foreign internal defense, the Iranian paramilitary force known as the Basij.

In April 2009, the current Iranian commander of the Basij paramilitary force, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, accompanied then-Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on a high-level visit to Caracas at the invitation of then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his foreign minister (now President) Nicolas Maduro. Gen. Naqdi’s role in these high-level meetings was to serve as an advisor to Venezuela’s Ministries of Defense and Interior to aid in training their civilian militias, known as the infamous colectivos’. Years later, the results of this advisory support are evident on the streets of Venezuela as the colectivos’ tactics are a step-up in its previous capabilities, to include new clandestine communication and infiltration/espionage techniques.

Gen. Naqdi, who previously served as the Iranian Police Force’s counterintelligence chief, has a long list of human rights violations dating back to the 1999 student protests in Iran.

Venezuela healthcare system approaching Cuban levels

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

One of the most tragic consequences of Venezuela’s premeditated Cubanization is the descent of its healthcare:
Venezuelans Suffer Amid Crumbling Health System
As country’s economy struggles, lack of hospital funding and widespread shortages of medicine and surgical supplies put patients at risk

For instance:

In late November, the director of cardiovascular surgery at the University Hospital sent out letters to the cardiology ward’s patients, telling them they were being discharged. The reason cited: a dearth of operating-room supplies—no catheters, no working blood-processing machine, no heart valves.

A comment on the following graph: Any information on Cuba’s spending is provided by the government, and, therefore, dubious,

Read Juan Forero’s article in full, and browse through the comments.

Venezuela headlines today

Friday, March 13th, 2015


BBC:
Muere en prisión Rodolfo González, opositor detenido en manifestaciones en Venezuela, Rodolfo González, opposition member arrested during protests in Venezuela, dies in jail

At the blogs:
That South African feeling…

Chavismo: No Scruples, No Compassion

At Drudge:
Maduro threatens faceoff with Obama…

Latin Americans unite against USA…

Red shirts fading at Venezuela oil giant…

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

following Obama declaring Venezuela a “national security threat”,

More from Noah Rothman.

Venezuela, “national-security threat”

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 09, 2015
FACT SHEET: Venezuela Executive Order

President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela. The targeted sanctions in the E.O. implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which the President signed on December 18, 2014, and also go beyond the requirements of this legislation.

At the WSJ:
U.S. Freezes Assets of Seven Venezuelan Officials
President Obama declares Venezuela a national-security threat

President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a national-security threat and froze the assets of seven senior officials over alleged rights abuses and political repression.

The move puts all seven officials on a U.S. government blacklist that freezes any assets in the U.S. and prohibits American citizens from dealing with them.

Declaring a country a national-security threat is a formality that allow the U.S. government to impose sanctions on individuals or other countries.

Seven Venezuelan officials targeted by US The seven are:
The President imposed sanctions on the following seven individuals listed in the Annex to the E.O.:

1. Antonio José Benavides Torres: Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Central Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and former Director of Operations for Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
2. Gustavo Enrique González López: Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and President of Venezuela’s Strategic Center of Security and Protection of the Homeland (CESPPA).
3. Justo José Noguera Pietri: President of the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG), a state-owned entity, and former General Commander of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
4. Katherine Nayarith Haringhton Padron: national level prosecutor of the 20th District Office of Venezuela’s Public Ministry.
5. Manuel Eduardo Pérez Urdaneta: Director of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police.
6. Manuel Gregorio Bernal Martínez : Chief of the 31st Armored Brigade of Caracas of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army and former Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN).
7. Miguel Alcides Vivas Landino: Inspector General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and former Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Andes Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces.

Caracas Chronicles applauds it

In that regard, the language in the Executive Order makes perfect sense. In sidestepping sanctions for ordinary Venezuelans while targeting the actual human rights abusers, the Obama administration is zeroing in on the problem without creating unnecessary controversies regarding “embargoes” or other nonsense.

It has also chosen the perfect time for its offensive, right when the Maduro administration is at its weakest. It is most certainly creating tension and conflict within the ranks of chavismo. After all, it’s probably more difficult to target sanctions against someone like Diosdado Cabello, who has probably prepared for years for something like this, than it is to zero in on the guys in the second-tier of decision making, the ones actually implementing the orders from Miraflores. I doubt poor old Katherine Harrington-Colby has the testaferros that Diosdado has.

Maduro and his cronies are a threat to US national security. Let’s hope the pressure makes Maduro bend a little and free some of the political prisoners. After all, how much worse can things get for them?

VN&V is skeptical: Another day, another US sanction against Venezuelan apparatchicks [sic].

So is Carlos Eire:

Get ready for a wild ride. The current occupant of the White House and his acolytes are slapping Venezuela on the wrist for its human rights violations at exactly the same time that they are rewarding those in Havana who are ultimately responsible for those violations with all sorts of outlandish concessions, including the agreement to never, ever bring up the issue of human rights abuses in the “normalization” talks between the U.S. and the Castro regime.

Heading the race to the bottom, Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Is Now $20 A Month; Congratulations To Bolivarian Socialism

Cuba: Tweet of the week

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Related:
Joke and dance about this, Conan: children of jailed Cuban dissidents face rape threats

En español: Las colas en supermercados venezolanos

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Programa de AR logró filmar lo que nadie ha podido en Venezuela. (h/t HACER)

In English:
Chavez’s Legacy: Venezuela in Shambles
Venezuelans are quickly discovering that Chavez’s promised paradise was really a ticket to hell.

Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

From the U.S. State Department website:

State Sponsors of Terrorism:

Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. Currently there are four countries designated under these authorities: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria

In the news:
Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba (emphasis added)

Colombian authorities have intercepted a Chinese-flagged ship loaded with “war materiel” headed for Cuba.

Headline in Spanish: Autoridades Colombianas interceptan barco de bandera china cargado de armamento de guerra de largo alcance con destino a Cuba.

It was intercepted near the Port of Cartagena. The cargo includes long-range weapons systems.

According to El Tiempo, the ship did not have appropriate documentation — indicating that this was a clandestine shipment.

Capitol Hill Cubans point out,

Cuba was found to be in violation of U.N. sanctions — the most egregious violation of these sanctions to date.

Yet, Castro’s regime got away scot-free — despite a U.N. Panel of Experts documenting how the Cuban authorities lied and sought to conceal the weapons shipment.

Instead, the Obama Administration rewarded Castro’s regime with the normalization of diplomatic relations and eased sanctions for travel and trade with the Cuban military’s monopolies.

While everybody’s talking about Paris Hilton in Havana, the Communist regime’s importing long-range weapons systems; That’s today’s news in “smart diplomacy.”

Cuba: The long and the short of it

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The long: The Cuban Culture of Poverty Conundrum

The short:

One can surmise that, despite its human and material toll, the Castros regime not only failed to solve traditional social problems, but exacerbated at least some of them, and moreover created new ones

H/t the excellent Ziva.

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The Economist itemizes how the Maduro regime continues to criminalize dissent:

VENEZUELA’S “Bolivarian” regime is lurching from authoritarianism to dictatorship. On February 19th it arrested the elected mayor of metropolitan Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. Then it moved to expel Julio Borges, a moderate opposition leader, from the National Assembly—a fate already suffered by his colleague, María Corina Machado, ejected last year. Leopoldo López, another opposition leader, has been in jail for a year and is now on trial. Almost half the opposition’s mayors now face legal action. The regime’s favourite charge to level at hostile politicians is plotting to overthrow the government, often in conspiracy with the United States. But it is the president, Nicolás Maduro, who is staging a coup against the last vestiges of democracy. Venezuelans call it an autogolpe, or “self-coup”.

Hugo Chávez, who created and presided over the Bolivarian state-socialist system until his death in 2013, was repeatedly elected by Venezuelans, thanks to windfall oil revenues and his rapport with the poor. He took his majority as a mandate to squeeze the life out of Venezuelan democracy, seizing control of the courts and the electoral authority, and suppressing opposition media.

The Economist calls for other LatAm countries to become involved:

For too long Latin America has tolerated Venezuela’s abuse of democratic norms. The latest outrages have provoked expressions of concern from Brazil, the Organisation of American States and others. They must do more. They should demand the release of Mr Ledezma and Mr López and call for guarantees that the election will be fair. If they fail to get them, they should suspend Venezuela from regional groupings, such as the South American Union, which require their members to be democracies. The threat of becoming a pariah might just give Mr Maduro pause.

Over in Colombia, President Santos has offered to mediate between the Communist regime and the opposition, since “only dialogue can save Venezuela from its current crisis,” adding that the presidents of Brazil and Ecuador are also willing to help.

By calling for dialogue instead of demanding a stop to the government’s abuse, Santos and his buddies are willing to turn a blind eye to Maduro’s egregious violations.

The opposition in Brazil, however, are the ones on the right track as they passed by a large majority yesterday a motion repudiating Venezuela’s “violation of democratic principles” and demanding that Rousseff’s administration to harden its stance on Venezuela. The only three parties that didn’t join in were Rousseff’s own, the Communist Party, and the far-left PSOL Socialism and Liberty Party.