Shoygu met with defense and military leaders in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua and signed several agreements on warship visits and military training during the visit, which ran from Feb. 11 to 14. It is not clear whether any new arms deals were completed during the visit.
Of course, everything old again,
Dan Goure, a Russia expert with the Lexington Institute, said Russia’s current moves into Latin America “are like a page Xeroxed from the Soviet political-military playbook.”
My friend Silvio Canto, Jr. was keeping track of how many times the Hotel Saratoga, where Nancy Pelosi stayed during her Havana junket, had been expropriated by the Communist regime. He found out it was expropriated twice: once in 1959, and again in 2011:
in 2011, Castro confiscated Coral Capital’s minority stake in The Hotel Saratoga.
And for giggles, he had Coral Capital’s two senior executives in Cuba, Amado Fahkre and Stephen Purvis, imprisoned in the notorious torture facility known as Villa Marista (akin to Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka).
Fahkre and Purvis spent nearly two years arbitrarily imprisoned, had all their assets confiscated and were finally expelled to Britain.
In the past week, the CEO of supermarket chain Día Día was arrested after a meeting in the presidential palace, two dozen of its store managers brought in for questioning, and all 35 stores taken over by the government.
Behind the Venezuelan government’s moves is its allegation that Día Día and other chains are hoarding food in an attempt to sow instability and overthrow the government.
The country’s economic doom can’t be blamed on fallin oil prices, either, since
Venezuela had the institutions it needed to prepare for a fall in oil prices. The main one was called FIEM and it was a Macroeconomic Stabilization Fund designed very specifically to prvent situations like the one we have today, by saving any windfall oil income above the average for the last five years in a rainy-day fund.
But we don’t even know whether Maduro is completely in charge or whether others are telling him what to do, including his wife Cilia.
But I am sorry to tell you, the Government is not acting as stupidly as many lead you to believe. To start, they got US 1.9 billion from the Dominican Republic, which purchased its Petrocaribe debt at less than half price. Then Citgo sold US$ 1.5 billion in a 2022 bond at a yield to maturity with a coupon of 11.5% and borrowed an additional US$1 billion from banks by pledging terminals and its shares. Not bad, US$ 4.5 billion at the blink of an eye in Maduro’s coffers. Jamaica could do the same and then Maduro may decide to close his eyes and send the gold to London and problem solved for 2015. Yeap, just like that, we are thinking 2016 and not 2015.
For now, since the regime will never admit that communism doesn’t work, and, unlike Cuba, it doesn’t have an embargo to blame yet, it needs scapegoats.
Nobody tracks it. Nobody even routinely asks for the return of those wanted on serious federal charges, much less more common state offenses, the Sun Sentinel has found.
The Sun Sentinel, in a recent far-reaching investigation into Cuban crime rings in America, disclosed that Cuban nationals are taking advantage of generous U.S. immigration laws to come to the U.S. and steal billions from government programs and businesses.
Millions of dollars have traveled back to Cuba, and many individuals flee there when police close in on scams the Cubans specialize in. These typically involve health care, auto insurance, or credit-card fraud; cargo theft; or marijuana trafficking, the Sun Sentinel found.
Hugo Chavez died in December 2012, not March 2013 as was claimed by his successor, Nicolás Maduro. Salazar says that Maduro and his cronies covered up Chavez’s death for three months so they could sign decrees under his name.
It is noteworthy that “eight other members of President Maduro’s personal security force have deserted Venezuela and defected to the United States, according to reports in Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.” These particular rats are well-positioned to know when the ship is about to sink. It can’t happen too soon.
True, but also true is the fact that Putin met Maduro after first having refused him – and now the Venezuelan regime’s on full crackdown mode, so I don’t expect the Communist regime to collapse right away.
The woes of the Venezuelan people may just be starting.
The armed forces are now directed to use “potentially lethal force, whether with firearm or any other potentially lethal weapon”, as last resort to “avoid disorders, support legitimate authority, and reject all aggression, confronting it immediately and by the necessary means.”
( “uso de la fuerza potencialmente mortal, bien con el arma de fuego o con otra arma potencialmente mortal”, como último recurso para “evitar los desórdenes, apoyar la autoridad legítimamente constituida y rechazar toda agresión, enfrentándola de inmediato y con los medios necesarios”.)
There’s a grim kind of tradeoff at play here: the government’s relaxed brutality when it comes to Human Rights affords them the time to hesititate over the economic shitstorm that’s creating the protests they will need to repress in the first place.
And, really, who’s to argue against expediency for the sake of peace?