Archive for the ‘Hugo Chavez’ Category

New book: Chavistas en el Imperio

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Miguel Octavio reviews Casto Ocando’s new book, Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos (Chavistas in the Empire: Secrets, Tactics, and Scandals of the Bolivarian Revolution in the United States):

Perhaps nothing summarizes better the book, as Ocando’s revelation in the introduction, that Chavez spent US$ 300 million in propaganda in the US during his first ten years in power. Thus, while Chávez was accusing Washington of trying to destabilize Venezuela, he was outspending Bush and Obama in promoting his revolution. And his buddies in Government, were always (or are?) trying to make friends in the US, to defend their money, their properties and even guarantee protection sometime in the future.

In fact, the promotion was not only of the revolution, but even paying companies in the US to regularly show that Venezuela’s economic numbers were doing well. ironically, while Chávez formed the Venezuelan Information Office and Eva Golinger was hired to show the US was conspiring in Venezuela, there was proof of all the money being spent very directly by the Venezuelan Government to promote itself in teh US and very little proof was ever shown that the US was ding the same thing in Venezuela or elsewhere.

In the end, the book just tells us how Chavismo went from corruption to drugs, joining forces with the FARC, the Iranians and drug cartels, showing that Chávez was willing to allow anything to his buddies in order for the revolution to survive.

This alone would make a valuable contribution to the literature of Latin America’s history.

Ocando, as his Twitter feed notes, is an

Investigative Reporter & Writer with Univision Network. Interests: Public Corruption, Narco-Terrorism, US-LatAm Relations, Venezuela. http://www.univision.com.

I bought the Kindle edition, and will post on it.

Venezuela: How Hugo Chávez turned the country over to Cuba UPDATED

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Cuba and Venezuela’s disproportionate relationship:
Cristina Marcado of Spain’s ABC.es writes about the disproportionate relationship in Las relaciones desmedidas (article in Spanish – my translation):

  • It all started with 29 agents who arrived in 1997 to help Hugo Chávez 
  • Now thousands of Cubans work and control Venezuela’s public administration
  • Not allowed to have Venezuelan friends.

Thousands of Cubans currently work in Venezuela’s public administration. In the presidency, ministries and state enterprises. As bureaucrats, doctors, nurses, dentists, scientists, teachers, programmers, analysts, farm technicians, electricians, laborers, and cultural collaborators. Also in security, intelligence, and, including, the Armed Forces.

Most of them also belong to the militia. “In Venezuela we have over 30,000 Cuban cederristas from the 8.6 million members of our organization,” Juan José Rabilero, then-chief of Cuba’s Committees for the Defense of the Revolution [Comités de Defensa de la Revolución, or CDR, from which the word for its members, cederristas, originates] disclosed in 2007 during a public event in the state of Táchira, in western Venezuela. There is no reason to believe this number has decreased. Nearly 70% of Cuba’s population belongs to this system of vigilance and denunciation.

The Cubans manage Venezuela’s ID system, its identity cards and passports; its mercantile registries and oublic notaries. They also know who owns what properties and what transactions they conduct. They also jointly manage its ports and maintain a presence at the airports and immigration control, where they do as they please. The Cuban organization Albet, SA, of the Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas (Information Sciences University, or UCI), which manages the systems for the SAIME (which translates to Management Service for Identification, Immigration and Foreigners), is so powerful that it does not allow Venezuelans access to the top floor of SAIME headquarters in Caracas. The computer systems for the presidency, ministries, social services, police, and state oil company PDVSA are also Cuban, run by the Guardián del Alba joint venture.

The name of the article, Las relaciones desmedidas (Disproportionate Relations) refers to the ban on friendships with Venezuelans.

This is a must-read.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Extrano’s Alley and Babalu. Thank you!

UPDATE 2:
Capitol Hill Cubans translated also,

According to the latest official figures, in mid-2012, in Venezuela there were a total of 44,804 collaborators in so-called social missions; 31,700 in health care (11,000 doctors, 4,931 nurses, 2,713 dentists, 1,245 optometrists and 11,544 non-specified), 6,225 in sports, 1,905 in culture, 735 in agricultural activities, 486 in education and 54 in handicapped services. Yet, it is believed the actual numbers could be double. There are no officials statistics regarding those who work in the electricity sector, construction, information technology and security advisers to the government, among others.

“The Cuban doctors are sent in a form of modern slavery,” according to the NGO, Solidarity Without Frontiers.

Retired General Antonio Rivero, a former Chavez collaborator, assures that there are currently more than 100,000 Cubans in Venezuela, among them 3,700 in the intelligence services, the G2. “Just in security and defense, we estimate there are around 5,600 of them.” And he confirms that there are Cubans in the most important military bases in the country. “In the Armed Forces, there are some 500 active Cuban military officers serving as advisers in strategic areas, such as intelligence, weaponry, communications and military engineering. Also, in operations and in the office of the Minister of Defense, which has a permanent Cuban adviser with the rank of General.”

According to Rivero, which served chief of communications for the presidency and was the national director of Civil Protection, the presence of Havana goes back to 1997, when 29 undercover Cuban agents established operations in Margarita and in 1998 helped Chavez’s electoral campaign with intelligence, security and information technology.


#SOSVenezuela: Who’s doing the killing? UPDATED

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Mary O’Grady has the answer: Who Is Killing Venezuela’s Protesters?
New evidence suggests that Chávez recruited today’s political militia from among the army.
(emphasis added)

Six documents stamped with the seal of the Venezuelan army show clearly that as far back as December 2001, agents of then-President Hugo Chávez —Mr. Maduro’s mentor—sought to build a paramilitary. What is more, the recruitment efforts targeted military bases in order to incorporate army personnel into this nonuniformed militia. In other words, the Chávez government was looking for trained professionals who could handle weapons.

Miguel Rodríguez Torres, then a lieutenant colonel, was one of the recruiters, according to one document. Today Mr. Rodríguez is Venezuela’s minister of the interior, the cabinet post charged with state security. The interior ministry’s mission includes supporting “grass roots organizations.” That would include the country’s “Bolivarian Circles,” which are modeled on Castro’s “committees to defend the revolution.”

Ostensibly the Bolivarian Circles are civic-minded community groups. But chavista street violence is carried out by organized, trained and well-armed civilians, another aspect of the Cuban model. If they aim their guns well, now we know why.

Back in June of 2012 Chávez was bragging about the rifles he was producing with Russia’s financing, and bullet-proof vests made under a joint enterprise with China. Are they now being put to use?

Related:
Venezuela acquired 1,800 Russian antiaircraft missiles in ’09

UPDATE:
Venevision News in mourning! Our sign language interpreter, Adriana Urquiola, was murdered, was pregnant.”

Sean Penn: Photoshop, or nitwit?

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

There’s a photo of Sean Penn which, if it’s real, really shows him as a nitwit. It shows him holding a sign showing Hugo Chavez, among others; the sign reads,

Men like them do not die
THEY ARE PLANTED
Homage to the Big Motherland
[i.e., South America]
with the presence of Venezuela’s President
NICOLAS MADURO
May 8 UNITED Stadium

 

The sign appears to have been poorly cropped, leaving out the name of the stadium where the event will take place.

However, Doug Ross’ commenter tells us there’s another photo of Sean Penn, identical in everything except the sign:

which in turn seems to have been altered from this,

Real Men Don’t Buy Girls is a campaign against sex slavery.

So, to answer the first part of the post title question, “Sean Penn: Photoshop, or nitwit?”, the photo of Penn holding the pro-Maduro sign appears to have been photoshopped and someone inserted the sign.

And now for the nitwit part:
Nicolás Maduro met with Sean Penn on March 9th and asked him to be the spokesman for the Venezuelan regime to help spread its message in the United States

In a meeting with local artists in a plaza in the center of Caracas, transmitted by state radio and television, Maduro revealed that last night, in a meeting with Penn, he expressed a similar sentiment and asked the actor to spread the word in the United States. Maduro insisted that if “they had defeated the Bolivarian Revolution in 2002, Petroccaribe would never have come into existence, which is the economic and social guarantee for eighteen countries.”

While the international Left turns a blind eye to Venezuela’s human rights abuses, Sean Penn has not come out yet to speak in Maduro’s behalf. He does, however, have a long record of cozying up to Communists:

So, to answer in full the question, “Sean Penn: Photoshop, or nitwit?”, the reply is a resounding YES on both counts:


Sean Penn: Photoshop AND nitwit!


Venezuela: Hugo Chavez is still dead

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Today is the anniversary of the official announcement of Hugo Chávez’s dead. The Communist regime held a parade:

We don’t really know for sure if he actually died on March 5, 2013, or what he died of (other than an unspecified cancer that the “excellent Cuban healthcare system” couldn’t do anything about), but a year later, he continues to be the fraud that keeps on giving:

All of his promises were a fraud because at the end we had become a more divided society, a more dependent society, a less creative society, a poorer society. And a morally miserable society.

But he reserved his two biggest frauds for last.

One was that for a nationalist he had no qualms in surrendering the orientation of the country to a colonial power that was so much inferior in quality than the colonized victim.

The other was that he run for reelection in 2012 knowing full well that he was going to die within months of the vote. To make sure that yet again an election under false pretenses could be carried out he decided late 2010 to destroy the economic independence of the country, starting with the destruction of parliament.

His place of burial, the Cuartel de la Montaña, is “a monument to an unknown legacy” to Venezuelan blogger Emiliana Duarte; to former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe the legacy is clear:

(In Venezuela), little by little, (the Maduro regime) is erecting another Cuba, not one with 11 million inhabitants but with 28 million, with petroleum, in alliance with nuclear powers from the East, with 2,216 kilometers of frontier with (Colombia), which is eliminating the independence between institutions, which is eliminating private enterprise, and creativity, and which is confident that it won’t fail like the old communism (failed) because petroleum makes the difference.

But it is condemned to fail, even if it has petroleum.

The history of humanity has demonstrated that economies fail without private initiative because people become dull and creativity disappears.

The people of Cuba are a poor people, education and health care did not work because since there was no private enterprise the advances (made) in education and health did not translate into the wellbeing of the citizenry and since today there (still) is no private enterprise education and health care (in Cuba) have stagnated, among other things…all communisms have failed because they don’t have the revolution of communications.

And in good measure the failure of Cuba…what is owed to? To the Latin American permissiveness towards the Cuban dictatorship… and I fear greatly that the Latin American permissiveness towards the dictatorship of Venezuela is doing great harm to the people of Venezuela. (continues here)

At least Panama has cut off diplomatic relations. CORRECTION: Maduro cut off relations. See follow-up post.

While clinics are tear-gassed,

the Maduro regime continues its propagandizing; take the time to read Debunking the Venezuelan Government’s Defense.

Chávez’s legacy? A broken country, a broken society.

It will take years to undo the harm Chavismo is inflicting on its people.

Related:
Is Venezuela Next [on hyperinflation]?

Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

I’ve been looking at headlines like “Chavez’ legacy fades in Venezuela as crowds fill the streets”. Whoever came up with that one misses the point altogether: It is Hugo Chávez’s legacy that has brought people out on the streets. As I have explained before,

For over two weeks, the people have been protesting against the government. What started as a students’ protest has spread throughout the country – even the beauty queens are protesting. Why?

The protests accompany inflation officially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-highest murder rate of any country in the world; and, according to an official index, scarce supplies of one out of four staple items needed in every home, such as cooking oil, corn flour, and toilet paper.

Nationalization and expropriation of private businesses, price controls, huge corruption, government printing money to finance itself (including having to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and parcel of a ruined economy. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.

One of the causes for the rampant criminality is due to the multiple times when, urging his “Bolivarian Revolution,” Hugo Chavez  encouraged the poor to steal while he created a favored class, instead of directing his regime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed opposition demonstrations (and, make no mistake, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cabinet men who were designated as “Tier II Kingpins”  by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

Add to how socialism has destroyed Venezuela, the regime’s suppression of the media

Daniel Duquenal put it more succinctly:

The protests come from people who realize that their future has been robbed by a narco-kleptocracy. Almost anyone in Venezuela that has aspirations to a better future through education, hard work, you name it, questions more or less actively the regime.

Chávez publicly declared himself a Marxist almost a decade ago, urging even the Catholic bishops to read “Marx, Lenin and the Bible“, but the WaPo says, “In Chávez’s big shoes, Maduro stumbles“.

Well, what the hell else do you expect, when the “big shoes” beat the country’s path to ruin?

Then there’s the outright dishonesty of some reports: Does this look like 5,000 people to you?

It did to AP’s Venezuela Bureau Chief Joshua Goodman. Alek Boyd takes Goodman to the woodshed over Misreporting Venezuela. Not that Goodman is alone. Why do they do it? (emphasis added)

In the opinion of Goodman et al, what we have here is a government supported by brown-skinned, poor, disenfranchised people trying to survive a wave of violence, unleashed by radical, conservative, educated middle classes, bent on wresting control through undemocratic means, to then surrender sovereignty to U.S. interests. Never mind the brutality, torture, and assassinations of innocent, and unarmed, students and civilians. Never mind the excessive use of military force to placate peaceful demonstrations. Never mind the presence of a de facto Cuban occupation army. Never mind the fact that chavismo has never won overall control of student and authorities bodies of Venezuelan universities, where voting is still done manually.

Chavismo needs / must advance this notion of it being democratic. Since parts of its discourse marries well with widespread anti Americanism, the BBC, Goodman et al do a fantastic job at misinforming the uninformed and the ignorant. Not only do they misrepresent the crisis, they also misrepresent the parties. No word would be read from this lot on how the “moderate” wing is supported by utterly corrupt chavista bankers and political operatives that are, in no small part, responsible for the current situation.

The “moderate” wing, by the way, that some refer to as the “official opposition”.

Boyd’s essay points to the importance of social media when the MSM abdicates its duty to present facts:

However, no amount of manipulated subjectivity passing as objective journalism can win the day against social media. While the reach of BBC and AP is, most certainly, global, it pales next to that of Twitter and Facebook, where the Venezuelan crisis is being reported in real time, unedited, by hundreds of thousands of citizen reporters armed with smartphones.

Go read the whole thing.

And while you’re at it, get rid of those “big shoes” of Chávez “reporters” are trying to throw at you.

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Related:
A YEAR INTO MADURO REIGN, MORE PROTESTS AND AN OSCARS CRACKDOWN IN VENEZUELA

This is not Ukraine: Venezuela will erode, not explode

Most deeply buried news item of the day: Iranian envoys in Cubazuela

#SOSVenezuela: Hugo loses his head in Táchira

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Details at Gateway Pundit.

In other headlines,
Venezuelan Protests Mark Start of Six-Day Holiday

Venezuela Will Not Accept International Mediation – FM Jaua

Venezuela prosecutor: 5 more from domestic spy agency arrested in deaths of 2 at protests

The Christmas week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
The Kirchner-Baez scandal

Argentina’s socioeconomic statistics
Still lying after all these years
Official figures paint a rosy picture. So why are Argentines rioting?

BARBADOS
Barbados Bonds at Record Yields as IMF Urges Restraint

BOLIVIA
Bolivians cheer satellite launchBolivian indigenous rituals ahead of satellite launch
Thousands of people in La Paz celebrate the launch of Bolivia’s first telecommunications satellite from a base in China

BRAZIL
An Open Letter to the People of Brazil

CHILE
Bachelet y el triunfo de los idiotas

CUBA
Why did Barack Obama shake the hand of my father’s killer, Raul Castro?

RAUL CASTRO ISSUES STERN WARNING TO ENTREPRENEURS

Over 3,000 Cuban Doctors Defected From Venezuela

ECUADOR
How China Just Grabbed 90% of Ecuador’s Oil

Belarus, Ecuador to set up joint laboratory for unmanned systems

JAMAICA
Jamaican bride dumps new husband 20 MINUTES after arriving in the UK… and guess who paid for her £5k visa
Heartbroken charity worker believes she ‘joined boyfriend with whom she planned scheme’
He paid £5,000 for her visa

LATIN AMERICA
EL FORO DE SAO PAULO, UN PELIGRO PARA LA DEMOCRACIA

The Pope and Capitalism

MEXICO
Mexico’s Reforms: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Mexico’s Congress has delivered an energy reform plan that could alter Mexico’s economic outlook for decades to come, but its populist tax policies and profligate spending threaten the steady growth the country has achieved in recent years.

Ciudad Juárez, a Border City Known for Killing, Gets Back to Living

JUDGE: DHS COMPLICIT IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING THAT HELPS FUND DRUG CARTELS

Crime and Growth Convergence
Evidence from Mexico

PARAGUAY
Paraguay’s new president
Cartes plays his cards
Trickle-down economics in one of South America’s poorest countries

PERU
British drug mules sentenced to six years for trafficking in Peru
Michaella Connolly and Melissa Reid have been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison by a Peruvian judge, for attempting to smuggle 11 kilos of cocaine out of the country

PUERTO RICO
Coast Guard rescues man kicked off mountain by goat (h/t Tree-hugging Sister)

URUGUAY
The Economist’s country of the year, for legalizing the mass production and distribution of marijuana.

VENEZUELA
More bad news from Venezuela

OLIVER STONE CONFIRMS HUGO CHAVEZ BIOPIC IN VENEZUELA

The week’s posts and podcast
Colombia: mayor trouble

Colombia: Don’t fire the mayor yet! And how about the GPS?

Cuba: How to starve as a Cuban for 30 days

Venezuela, the next Zimbabwe

Colombia: Maicao, Hezbollah money-laundering center

Mexico: Manufacturing jobs moving back to US

Brazil: Snowden not in asylum

En español: Terapia intensiva de esta semana

Uruguay: UN says pot law against international law

Ecuador’s poor investment climate

Venezuela: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Brazil: Edward Snowden asks for asylum

Podcast:
Venezuela elections outlook & US-Latin America stories of the week


Venezuela: “21st Century socialism” = same old Communism UPDATED

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Last month I referred to Maduro’s incarceration of business owners as the start of the really bad news: the mask dropped completely.

Must-read op-ed by Enrique Standish: Venezuela Finally Turns Communist
Maduro Follows Leninist Dogma to the Letter
. Standish tracks the evolution in four stages:

  • The first stage entailed obtaining total control of all institutions of the Venezuelan state.
  • In the second stage, Chavez

    passed 49 laws directed against the private sector. These laws eliminated private participation in the oil business, allowed for confiscation without payment of private lands, suspended constitutional guarantees for business owners, and established “military security zones” in major metropolitan areas — a de facto confiscation of prime real estate in Venezuela’s major cities. At the same time, he launched an all out attack against the country’s independent labor unions

  • Third stage:

    Chavez nationalized the holdings of international corporations in all sectors considered essential by his Cuban advisers: telecommunications, mining, steel, construction materials, oil and oil services, energy generation, distribution and transmission, gas, agricultural services, and even glass companies. At the same time, Venezuela entered into a hugely expensive and disadvantageous agreement with China, with the sole purpose of diverting its oil exports from the United States to the Chinese market.

Now in the fourth stage, Maduro has declared “Economic War” by ending what was left of free markets in Venezuela as he approved a law setting price controls on all goods, and another law creating a National Foreign Trade Center monopoly that will handle all imports entering Venezuela.

Venezuelan blogger Miguel Octavio sees A Confusing Future Ahead For Maduro And Venezuela. Let’s look at a Zara store in Venezuela, before price controls,

and a Zara store after,

Enter the black market, in force.

UPDATE:
The Pope, the State and Venezuela
Nicolás Maduro needs cover for an economy in free fall. He gets it from an unlikely source
. Pope Francis

trusts the state, “charged with vigilance for the common good.”

I hate to say this, but the Pope’s moral authority just went missing.

More on The Pope’s Rhetoric.

And, Maduro Now Set To Regulate Car (???) Sales.

Over at CNN, “Venezuela is on a fast track to ruin:”

UPDATE 2:
Linked to by Moonbattery. Thank you!

Venezuela: Nicolas loses Heinz

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Not the ketchup, the German sociologist and political analyst:
Heinz Dieterich, Father Of 21st Century Socialism, Bashes Venezuela’s Maduro. As a steadfast believer that “it’d all work, if only it was done the right way,”

Dieterich, author of “The Socialism of the 21st Century and Latin America: From Colonization to Globalization with Noam Chomsky,” is viewed as the godfather of the political ideas put in place in Chávez’s Venezuela and later in countries like Bolivia and Ecuador.

The German intellectual, however, had a falling out with Chávez over the Venezuelan’s perceived lack of rigor and understanding when it came to the idea of 21st socialism.

The economic model implemented in 2003 by Chávez has now been exhausted, Dietrich argued, and now Venezuela is suffering from rising inflation and a possible moratorium on foreign payments.

What HD fails to grasp is that Hugo and his acolytes are interested in consolidating power on themselves, and know that strong independent institutions in a truly democratic political system that respects property rights and the rule of law does not allow such concentration of power; hence, they use “21st Century Socialism” to get themselves into power.

Or maybe HD realizes that, and I’m being too kind.

Either way, Dieterich thinks Maduro will not get beyond March or April 2014,

The scenarios of [his] possible fall are obvious: street demonstrations orchestrated from Washington and the right, or an alliance between the Armed Forces and the governors,” he said, according to Venezuelan newspaper El Universal.

Dieterich does not mention Diosdado Cabello, who has plans of his own.



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