Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

This just in: Cuba off sponsors of terror list

Friday, May 29th, 2015

U.S. Takes Cuba off Terror List, Paving the Way for Normal Ties

Removal from the list, announced by the department on Friday in an e-mailed statement, came as a matter of course because Congress made no move to block the action within 45 days after President Barack Obama announced plans to do so on April 14.

Related: Cuba and terrorism.

UPDATE
Linked to by The Universal Spectator. Thank you!

Is Venezuela dollarizing?

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Officially, they won’t, but in practice, yes:

Venezuela Embraces the Dollar—Reluctantly
Increasing dollarization reflects doubt in President Maduro’s ability to boost a sclerotic economy and halt a plummeting currency

From real estate to cars to even some cheaper goods like health-care products, an increasing number of vendors demand dollars—or its black market equivalent in bolivars, now about 350, several times the official rate. That prices out most Venezuelans, who can’t get greenbacks because of complex currency controls the government uses to prevent capital flight.

Those controls have helped exacerbate class divisions between those who hold only bolivars and those with access to dollars, undermining Mr. Chávez’s so-called Bolivarian Revolution, the social movement embraced by his successor, President Nicolás Maduro, which aims to equitably distribute wealth.

Steve Hanke saw it coming.

Worthless bolivar, replaced by hard currency, ought to not surprise anyone, or, as Capt. Louie said, “I’m shocked, shocked, there’s gambling going on in here.”

I wonder what became of my former friend, the liberal, who told me that Chávez had improved the economy. She’ll blame Maduro for not getting Communism straight, unlike Hugo.

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Additionally, just because you have dollars doesn’t mean you can get necessities.

For example, buying car tires: A contrast between a command economy, and a consumer-oriented economy.

At the command economy: Where gasoline is almost free, but two months go by and you can’t get tires for your car.

Gustavo Hernandez Acevedo describes Chavismo on wheels,

In early April, a close relative of mine was looking everywhere for new tires. He hasn’t found anything yet.

. . .

The root of the problem is (as expected) the fall in domestic production and the lack of currency to either reactivate local factories or bring enough imports to satisfy demand. Representatives of three major tire brands have met with government representatives, but they didn’t get any specifics about when they will get the resources to keep working.

But another factor is affecting the vehicle tire market: Proveeduria (Procurement)

What’s that?

It’s a state-led initiative thought up the central government back in 2013 to directly provide spare parts and tires to public and cargo transportation drivers, under the control of the Transportation Ministry. At the beginning, those State procurement stores got their tires from illegal units that were seized by the authorities.

But in March of this year, Land Transportation Minister Haiman El Troudi published an administrative order in which tiremakers are forced to sell 20% of production to proveedurias in order to keep public transportation up and running.

At the consumer-oriented economy: Tires replaced, car serviced, in less than three hours.

The other day I needed tires. I drove to the local service station, talked to the gentleman at the desk, and dropped off my car.
About an hour later, they called me back, we discussed price and what was needed.
Two hours later, the car was ready, I went, paid, and happily drove off.

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According to this official website of the Venezuelan government (link in Spanish), the Tower of David has been evacuated and its squatters placed in government housing. The structure will be used as an Emergency Coordination Center – hopefully after a great deal of refurbishing.

Previous reports mentioned that the Bank of China would be using “La Torre de David” as its South American HQ.

The era of moral imbecility

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Welcome to the era of moral imbecility, where “realism” wins over moral clarity..

Read also Esther Goldberg’s The Realism of Moral ImbecilesHoping our enemies will treat us extra nice.

Cuba and terrorism

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Today’s must-read is by Alejandro Chafuen:
Cuba’s Twisted Definition Of Terrorism (h/t Babalu). You must read the full article, but here’s a clip,

Communist terrorism in Latin America was inspired and trained in Cuba, with frequent trips to the specialized “schools” in the Soviet Union. Cuba also acted as the banker, especially with the help of Czechoslovakia, and even of major Swiss banks who preferred to look the other way.

At the peak of the oil boom, analysts estimated that Venezuelan subsidies to Cuba reached $13 billion per year. In one of the most successful operations, the Argentine terrorist group, Montoneros, netted $60 million in 1974. That would be over $300 million in today’s dollars. They kidnapped brothers Jorge and Juan Born, businessmen and heirs to a fortune. The money ended up in Cuba, and then, after a short laundering stop via Switzerland, it was parked in the Central Bank of Czechoslovakia. The Cubans also acted as couriers and bankers for other South American terrorists groups, such as the Uruguayan Tupamaros. That was then. Today, if the Cubans need money, or if leftists want funds to subvert other governments, they can ask Venezuela to send them cheap oil, Argentina to provide cheap foreign exchange to one of their crony companies, and ask Brazilians for a big bribe for an infrastructure project. Why bother with killings? They are too dramatic. Bombings? Too messy. Bureaucrats will do.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Communist regime has asserted its commitment to remain unchanged.

Also in today’s news, U.S. and Cuba Meet for Talks to Fully Restore Diplomatic Ties

Communism: When the only way out is death

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, Communism: When the only way out is death, is up. Please read it!

Venezuela: Diosdado and drugs – whose powerplay?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

José De Córdoba and Juan Forero report at the WSJ:
Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine HubU.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering. Diosdado is not alone:

In addition to [Interior Minister Tarek] Mr. El Aissami, other powerful officials under investigation include Hugo Carvajal, a former director of military intelligence; Nestor Reverol, the head of the National Guard; Jose David Cabello, Mr. Cabello’s brother, who is the industry minister and heads the country’s tax collection agency; and Gen. Luis Motta Dominguez, a National Guard general in charge of central Venezuela, say a half-dozen officials and people familiar with the investigations.

Diosdado’s reaction?

In an appearance on state television Wednesday, Mr. Cabello said he solicited a court-ordered travel ban on 22 executives and journalists from three Venezuelan news outlets that he has sued for publishing stories about the drug allegations earlier this year.

Jaime Bayly interviewed one, Miguel Henrique Otero, editor and director of El Nacional daily, last night (video in Spanish),

Daniel sees Diosdado as Hugo Chávez’s creation,

Because let us all be clear about one thing: this has happened because Hugo Chavez, the hero of the left, has allowed for it to happen, has encouraged it to happen. Diosdado did not come out of thin air. That maybe he became too strong for Chavez to control is another story, but Diosdado Cabello is a Chavez creation, just one of the cogs in the drug machinery that Chavez set up to help the FARC against Uribe. And the cogs are many, including noteworthy high ranking pieces like current Aragua state governor.

Daniel expects that

Diosdado Cabello will take down with him as many as he needs to take down. He will take the country down with him if he needs to.

Caracas Chronicle’s Juan Cristóbal Nagel believes

the unraveling of the Suns Cartel has tremendous implications for the power balance within chavismo.

Nagel calculates it’s a US$27 billion/year enterprise, which was “was anything but clandestine, and anything but competent,” and

Maduro has an obvious choice: either tie his sinking presidency to the fate of clumsy, leaky, “stocky and bull-necked” (loved that) drug smugglers, or turn Diosdado and crew over and save face. And just what do you think the Cubans will suggest he do? Maduro’s handlers, after all, are the folks who murdered Arnaldo Ochoa.

Of course, this is all speculative, but if you think Maduro isn’t mulling what to do at this point, then I think you’re being naive.

Nagel has the perfect photo and caption in his post,

Clubbing with Godgiven

Miguel Octavio ponders, Is Maduro so strong that he can get rid of the most powerful former military in Government just like that?

Amid all this speculation, the only thing you can rely on is that, no matter the outcome, the U.S. will continue to be portrayed as the root of all evil.

The Pope and Raul: Why?

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Mary O’Grady writes on what’s Behind the Pope’s Embrace of Castro
Speculation runs from a Trojan horse plan to Latin American antipathy of the U.S.

There is another more plausible explanation for why the pope shows disdain in his exhortation for “a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” It lies in an Argentine sense of cultural superiority over the money-grubbing capitalists to the north and faith in the state to protect it.

Mexican historian Enrique Krauze traces this to an intellectual backlash against the U.S. after the Spanish defeat in the Spanish-American war. Examples he cites in his 2011 book “Redeemers” include the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío and the Franco-Argentine historian Paul Groussac, who both painted Americans as uncivilized beasts. According to Mr. Krauze, the southern cone—especially Argentina—also had imported the idea of a “socialism that fought to improve the economic, cultural and educational level of the poor, while generating a nationalist state.”

During his visit,

Castro gave the pope a commemorative medal from Havana’s Cathedral of The Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, along with a painting by a Cuban artist depicting a migrant praying to a cross made of wrecked barges, a statement onthe plight of migrants and refugees throughout the world.

As O’Grady points out,

Raul mocked every Cuban refugee, dead or alive, by giving the pope, of all things, a piece of art depicting a migrant at prayer.

No need to wonder if the pope pointed out the thousands dead attempting to leave the island-prison; if he had, the meeting wouldn’t look as congenial.

Again, I ask, If the Pope were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

UPDATE:
Read Melanie Phillips’s As I see it: The Vatican channels war against Israel

Venezuela: The dark side of price controls

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Rachel Cunliffe looks at The dark side of price controls in Venezuela

Shortages of basic goods, from food to fuel, have led to a sharp increase in crime and situations “where police officers are gunned down for their weapons, trucks ambushed for merchandise and commuters held up for cellphones.” Now the shortage of motorcycle parts is so severe that bikers are being attacked for their vehicles, and in some cases murdered.

This is the reality of price fixing and currency controls.

Read the whole thing.

Related:
Grenades galore

The central government prefers to blame violence on drug traffickers and politically-motivated paramilitaries. But that view isn’t that far from the truth: these criminal gangs sort-of fit the basic definition of a paramilitary body, and many of those groups (such as the infamous “El Picure” gang) are involved in drug-related activities. However, the political angle the government desperately wants to stick onto the problem simply doesn’t match the evidence available.

Our crime epidemic is surpassing all estimations, to the point that Venezuela is (according to the Brazilian think tank Instituto Igarape) the second most murderous country in the planet. If you are being murdered, there is a high chance you are in Venezuela.

Godgiven Traps His Enemies With Him In Venezuela

UPDATE:
Linked to by Rantburg. Thank you!

If the Pope were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Recently, Pope Francis

  • met with Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutierrez, the self-declared founder of liberation theology.
  • Restored to the priesthood Miguel d’Escoto, the Sandinista who expounded liberation theology as a priest and turned Nicaragua into a Cuban-ruled hellhole. D’Escoto also considers Fidel Castro a saint.
  • Brokered the “easing” of U.S.-Cuba relations that left the Cuban dissidents out in the dark.
  • Welcomed Raul Castro for an hour-long private audience.
  • UPDATE: Recognizes the Palestinian state.

To quote the estimable Mark Steyn, “If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?”

More on the Pope and liberation theology at IBD: Liberation Theology’s Comeback Comes With A KGB Caveat

UPDATE
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Cuba: Fidel’s fantasy islands

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

.The murderous dictator has a getaway from the misery he inflicts on his enslaved people:

An excerpt from Juan Reinaldo Sanchez’s book The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo

Inside Fidel Castro’s luxurious life on his secret island getaway

Fidel instantly fell in love with this place of wild beauty worthy of Robinson Crusoe and decided to have it for his own. The lighthouse keeper was asked to leave the premises and the lighthouse was put out of action and later taken down.

To be precise, Cayo Piedra consists of not one island but two, a passing cyclone having split it in half. Fidel had, however, rectified this by building a 700-foot-long bridge between the two parts.

The southern island was slightly larger than its northern counterpart, and it was here, on the site of the former lighthouse, that Castro and his wife, Dalia, had built their house: a cement-built, L-shaped bungalow arranged around a terrace that looked out to the east, onto the open sea.

While ordinary Cubans suffered, this is where Castro would relax.

Socialism or death, he said.

If Pope Francis is really really nice, maybe he’ll get to visit Cayo Piedra next September. Or will Obama?