Nick Cohen takes to task “lefty westerners who trawl the world for revolutions to praise:” Radical tourists have been deluded pimps for Venezuela, in The Guardian, no less.
Viviana Fein still trying to justify herself: Alberto Nisman may have been forced to kill himself, says Argentine prosecutor. Shot in the back of the head, no less.
— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) May 22, 2016
Brazil Partners with WHO to Track Tobacco, Alcohol Industries. Country Also Plans to Monitor Use of Alcohol and Sugar Intake. I don’t drink or smoke, but this gives me a craving for a Derby and caprinhas.
Chileans are angry because of an economic downturn and a corruption scandal involving Ms Bachelet’s family.
FARC has said in the past that it no longer recruits child soldiers. But during a visit this year by a New York Times reporter to a rebel camp,minors said guerrilla fighters had taken them into custody in recent months.
At Drudge: Hell opens? Costa Rica volcano erupts…
Furthermore, how this arrangement stems from a confidential military cooperation and intelligence-sharing agreement that North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with Cuba’s Castro regime in March.
Venezuela’s Maduro stopped by: Venezuelan president in Jamaica for working visit
‘El Chapo’ Extradition to the U.S. Approved. The Mexican Foreign Ministry said Friday that the government has authorized the extradition of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the U.S. where he faces drug trafficking and other charges.
Lord Rolls Royce (en español),
Paraguay battles over land rights in the courts and across the airwavesAs soya companies appropriate land in Paraguay, many small-scale campesino farmers are forced out to cities. For those who stay to fight for their land, the conflict can turn bloody
Peru’s Fujimori faces money laundering investigation ahead of election. Prosecutors have opened an investigation against Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori and her husband. The probe comes shortly before nationwide polls and will look into suspicious campaign contributions.
Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro is ‘Crazy as a Goat’, says former Uruguayan president. The colloquial equivalent in American English is “batshit crazy.”
Good luck with that, Oil-for-Drugs Swap: India’s Answer to Venezuela’s Unpaid Bills
As you may know, I follow Venezuelan news every day. As in everything else, the headlines follow trends, and the latest trend in Venezuelan news is “democratic socialism.”
Some of it has to do with Bernie Sanders, whose platform actively promotes the so-called “democratic socialism.”
According to Wikipedia,
Democratic socialism is a political ideology that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production, with democratic management of enterprises within a socialist economic system. The term “democratic socialism” is sometimes used synonymously with “socialism”; the adjective “democratic” is often added to distinguish it from the Marxist–Leninist brand of socialism, which is widely viewed as being non-democratic.
Which, in practical terms, means that communism is palatable if everybody votes for it so nobody has a right to complain. Your rights to private property and self-determination are done for either way, no matter what color lipstick that pig wears.
It’s like being a little pregnant.
Yesterday John Hinderaker posted on THE TRAGEDY OF DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM (emphasis added),
The Times does a good job of describing the disastrous state of health care in Venezuela–there is much more at the link–but never mentions the cause of the disaster, democratic socialism.
. . .
For a more perceptive analysis of Venezuela’s problems, see this excellent roundup by AEI’s Mark Perry. Among other headlines: “Hungry Venezuelans Hunt Dogs, Cats, Pigeons as Food Runs Out.” That is what happens under Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialism. Currently, inflation is running at stratospheric rates, and Venezuela can no longer afford to buy the paper needed to print more worthless currency.
The Washington Examiner explains how Venezuela is ‘democratic socialism’ in action, and concludes,
In recent years, polls have shown that younger Americans have become less wary of socialism. Many of them now “feel the Bern” in the current presidential elections. They were still children, or not even born yet, when the Berlin Wall fell. They have had few opportunities to see socialism in action because (for good reasons) there have been few new experiments with it in the time since.
They need to be told the full story of Venezuela, so that they can see how even a democratically elected socialist regime can bring a once-prosperous country to its knees. The unbending Maduro is giving them a unique chance to see it all play out in real time.
I hope they will listen. However, I am skeptical.
Almost ten years ago hundreds of emails and comments rained down abuse on me when I reported that Hugo Chávez declared himself a Marxist, because, after all, he was a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” and I could not understand the difference.
Here’s the thing: I was quoting Chávez’s own words to the National Assembly, (starting at 0:16 in the video)
“Como ya le dije, pues, y entonces dije, bueno, yo además de cristiano, yo no soy sólo cristiano, yo soy un revolucionario, ¡y también soy marxista!”
(My translation) “As I told him, then, I then said, well, in addition to being a Christian, I’m not only a Christian, I am a revolutionary, and I am also a Marxist!”
As for Venezuela’s failure, true Bernieskees will assert that Maduro failed to follow Hugo’s stellar policies, as a former friend insisted two years ago, and that’s why things went wrong.
And let’s not forget the ones who think thins are bad in Venezuela because their currency exchange system is a mess, and after all,
Venezuela isn’t quite as socialist as many people assume.
As I said, Venezuela’s just a little pregnant, in their eyes.
THE OAS IN THE NEWS:
The OAS has a new Secretary General, Luis Almagro, following former Marxist José Miguel Insulza‘s retirement last year. Almagro is taking a hard line on Venezuela:
OAS Head Blasts Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro. Former Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro says leader verging on becoming ‘petty dictator’.
Mr. Almagro said he was considering applying the OAS’s Democratic Charter to Venezuela, as requested Monday by New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch, and earlier by Venezuela’s opposition-led Congress.
As I explained last Saturday, were the OAS to declare that Venezuela had violated its Democratic Charter, the country could be expelled from the OAS [See OAS Democratic Charter], which would mean pariah status for the country that Hugo Chávez envisioned leading the Hemisphere.
Maduro called Almagro a CIA agent, and Almagro hit back,
Mr. Almagro accused Mr. Maduro and his allies of stealing public money and called on him to release “the people you hold prisoner for their ideas.” He also urged the Venezuelan president to stop subverting the opposition-run parliament.
“You will never be able to give back the lives of children who have died in hospitals because they did not have medicine, you will never be able to free your people from so much suffering, so much misery, so much distress and anxiety,” Mr. Almagro wrote.
The secretary general exhorted Maduro to allow the referendum to take place this year, arguing that “when politics are polarized the decision must go back to the people.” To continue resisting a vote, which Mr. Maduro seems determined to do, “would make you just another petty dictator, like so many this Hemisphere has had.”
Mr. Almagro is expected to convene a special session at the OAS to discuss the erosion of democracy in Venezuela. Adhering to democratic principles is a requirement for membership in the OAS, which was established in 1948.
Of course, Maduro could take the same attitude Evo Morales had when Evo declared himself a Marxist seven years ago,
(My translation:) “One can not understand that anyone would be expelled from the OAS for ideological reasons. I am a Marxist-Leninist, too, so what? Are they going to expel me?”
However, since Maduro no longer has money to buy himself the love of other heads of state as Hugo used to, the OAS decision may actually carry some weight. It certainly opens the door to other leaders to take on Maduro, not only at the OAS but also Mercosur and Unasur.
Things are getting interesting in South America.
on charges that she illegally moved money between state-controlled entities to make her government’s budget deficit appear smaller than it really was
The following day in Argentina, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other officials were indicted on charges of manipulating the nation’s Central Bank during the final months of her administration.
Then last night rumors of a coup popped up on Twitter regarding Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, after he declared a three-month state of emergency “to neutralize and defeat foreign aggression,” i.e., he thinks the U.S. is trying to overthrow him,
Maduro said the measures will likely last through 2017, but he did not specify if they will limit civil rights.The announcement, made with his full cabinet at his side, broadens the scope of an economic emergency decree in effect since January that was set to expire on Saturday.
Venezuela is in chaos. The country is broke, the oil industry – on which the country depends for 95% of its revenues – is in shambles, and tourism is dead,
— Joel D. Hirst (@joelhirst) May 14, 2016
The headlines are horrific,
Growing Venezuela lynch mobs burn thieves alive.
Raw Venezuela: Looter Burned Alive, While “Streets Filled With People Killing Animals For Food”.
Add to that the food shortages, power outages, and medical crisis I’ve been posting about for years. And you can forget about the Chinese bullet train.
Not surprisingly, rumors of a coup are on the increase.
Joshua Goldman reports,
U.S. intelligence analysts are increasingly convinced that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is likely to be pushed aside by members of his own socialist movement before finishing his term.
Juan Forero explains,
The officials, who have extensive experience in the region, said that they and others in the intelligence community increasingly believe that President Nicolás Maduro could be removed from office, either in a “palace coup” led by associates close to him or in a military uprising. They said that the possibility of an overthrow or street violence is of concern to American officials, who want to avoid anarchy in an oil-rich country just a three-hour flight from Miami.
Daniel looks at the timing in the context of Mercosur: Daniel speculates that removing Maduro from office may be an option by the Cuban-controlled military as a means to avoid full pariah status for the country, now that Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, may not want to countenance Maduro’s regime (and Temer may bring powerful allies to his side),
If Brazil goes against Venezuela it is likely that Uruguay will follow and Mercosur will be unanimous in its condemnation. Once Peru election is held in June even Unasur would go against Venezuela (and the recent hurried support to Dilma by Unasur secretary, the highly discredited puppet Samper, betray that worry).Thus the time for Castro to give the order to Maduro, and/or the narco-military to take the initiative to dissolve the national assembly once and for all is now. It is still possible that the OAS could fail to get enough votes to apply the democratic charter to Venezuela after Maduro acts. But once Temer decides to act against Venezuela, with the support of Macri in Argentina, the US and Canada, Mexico would follow. Small countries then will chose the big countries against a flat broke violent Venezuela and game over: Venezuela would be a pariah state and go the way of Cuba out of regional organizations.
But with the narco-military still in charge. Or that is the plan anyway.
And thus it is the time to act for them, the thugs, now, before Temer even has a chance to look at Venezuela. All that has been going on since last Monday points that way.
What Daniel means re: the OAS applying the democratic charter is that, were the OAS to declare that Venezuela had violated it, the country would be expelled from the OAS [See OAS Democratic Charter], which would mean pariah status for the country that Hugo Chávez envisioned leading the Hemisphere. (UPDATE: See note* below). What kinds of accommodations would the new narco-military “administration” be willing to make to avoid expulsion from the OAS leads you into the realm of pure speculation.
Participants at this week’s Concordia Summit in Miami, Spain’s José María Aznar, Colombia’s Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana, Chile’s Sebastián Piñera, Uruguay’s Luis Alberto Lacalle, and Bolivia’s Jorge Fernando Quiroga, discussed the failure of 21st Century Socialism in Latin America.
As Álvaro Uribe said on Thursday night, “Chávez died without having to experience the tragedy of his legacy.”
Fifty ways to say ‘debacle’.
Replacing Maduro is no simple task. Last month I mentioned several factors,
Maduro’s term ends next year. Why should the government hurry?
Cuba is getting new funds from the US, and is in no hurry to pressure Venezuela to improve.
The other actors in the region (drug cartels, FARC, Iran) have no incentive to precipitate a risky change.
The purpose of the regime is to consolidate power around itself, not to act in the benefit of the country.
So a replacement would have to be agreeable to the Cuban-controlled military, the Cartel de los Soles, others in the power elite, the FARC, and the Iranians, while being passable enough to the OAS to prevent the country’s expulsion.
And a military junta is not an attractive option, either.
Linked to by the Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!
Linked to by the Daily Gator. Thank you!
Trending at BadBlue.
Venezuela’s opposition marched to National Electoral Council in support of the petition to remove Nicolás Maduro from office. They were met by the National Police with tear gas, rubber pellets and drones:
Venezuela’s National Guard has clashed with opposition demonstrators who were marching on the headquarters of the country’s election commission.
Venezuelan police used tear gas twice against opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles as he was trying to participate in a march to the National Election Council in downtown Caracas, the access to which was blocked by officers.Capriles, who is also governor of Miranda state, was affected by tear gas sprayed at him by a Bolivarian National Police officer as he was trying to negotiate passage for the protesters into the downtown area.
. . .
The demonstration was intended to pressure the CNE to move to the second phase of organizing a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro.
From Vanessa Neumann‘s FB post,
Let me see if it posts bigger this time. This is Caracas today. These are hungry Venezuelans protesting that their children are dying from lack of food and medicine. That they have not enough water or electricity. This is a country with more oil than Saudi Arabia. And the government has stolen all the money and now they bottleneck peaceful protesters and threaten them with bombs (I know: I have friends in the crowd). Or haul them to prison and torture them. Are you still thrilled with your Bolivarian Revolution all you buddies of the late Hugo Chávez: Oliver Stone, Naomi Campbell, Sean Penn and the editors of The Guardian newspaper? Is this what you wanted all you idiot celebrity apologists? Are these the human rights you had in mind for us? Your silence is deafening. Stand up and be counted. Admit your mistakes and turn on the oppressors you once so vehemently supported and used your media power to enable. Why don’t you go make a documentary about this, Oliver Stone?
Venezuela: Tanks, helicopters, 4 dead
What you have in the fridge doesn’t matter if there’s no electricity,
His [Nicolás Maduro’s] adversaries first need to collect nearly 200,000 signatures, representing 1% of the nation’s more than 19 million voters. The National Electoral Council, which is closely allied with the government, has 20 days to authenticate them. If that drive is successful, the opposition must then collect nearly four million signatures over three days before the end of the year to trigger an actual recall vote. To win that new election, they would have to garner more votes than the 7.5 million Mr. Maduro got in the 2013 election.
The hashtag is #VenezuelaFirma
Here’s the perfect photoshop,
The Macri administration is ending its 20% stake in Telesur, the propaganda cable network started by Hugo Chavez:
Argentina pulls out of leftist TV network Telesur.The pro-business government said it was shut out of financial and editorial decisions and said the leftist-leaning network blacklisted alternative viewpoints
The country is leaving because it was shut out of financial and editorial decisions, said Argentinian Minister of Communication Hermann Lombardi.
“Argentina was a partner prohibited from sharing our view,” he told radio station Vorterix. “It’s an interesting South American television project, but there was no pluralism at Telesur.”
Venezuela’s dictator Nicolás Maduro threw a snit
“The same actors who disappeared 30,000 young people in Argentina are trying to disappear Telesur,” Maduro said of the conservative Argentine government that announced Sunday it would pull its nearly 20 percent stake out of the Spanish-language network.
Maduro, whose government is broke, is now stuck footing a larger share of Telesur expenses.
The Senate voted 54 to 16 to let Mr. Macri issue $12 billion in bonds and use part of that to pay $4.65 billion to the hedge funds, which had sued Argentina for not paying out on bonds they bought after the country defaulted on its debt 15 years ago.
The vote, the last domestic hurdle Mr. Macri faced in making a deal, allows Argentina to tap global credit markets for the first time since 2001.
Two good news in one day.
The Venezuelan National Assembly has passed an amnesty bill which could free dozens of jailed opposition leaders, among them Leopoldo López. It’ll be uphill all the way,
Legal battle ahead
Under the Venezuelan constitution, the president can send a bill back to the National Assembly, but the latter can override the veto with an absolute majority (half of those present at the time of the vote plus one).
President Maduro could also send the bill to the Supreme Court if he has doubts about its constitutionalit
In a way it is irrelevant whether the regime will release Lopez from jail, or allow for a limited dissent at the TSJ [Supreme Court]. It is quite clear now that the regime faction aligned around Maduro and Cabello will go out of its way to avoid any move that could undermine its power and drive through regime change, a change that would find soon in jail Maduro, Cabello, Ramirez and scores of other corrupt and abusive office holders.