Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 18, 2017

"Zero Day" for Violent Regime Change in Venezuela

The U.S. supports the right-wing opposition in Venezuela against the socialist government of President Maduro.

Since April the opposition tries to dislodge the government by instigating a regime change by force. Its protests and street fights with the police are led by violent, militarized gangs:

Venezuela’s ongoing street protests are increasingly looking like outright warfare. As security forces shoot rubber bullets, tear-gas canisters and sometimes live rounds at the churning crowds, increasingly restive mobs are responding with lethal slingshots, homemade mortars and Molotov cocktails.

This week, seven National Guard members were injured in Caracas when a roadside bomb exploded as they drove by on motorcycles.

Leading the opposition shock-troops are loose-knit groups of young men and women that have names like The Templars, The Warriors and The Arcadias. Collectively, they’re known as the Chamos de la Resistencia or, roughly, the Youth Resistance.

This is not just by chance a similar development as was seen during the U.S. instigated color revolutions by force in Libya, Ukraine and Syria. Para-military forces hiding behind "peaceful protesters" attack police, military and civil government institutions to provoke an escalation towards a civil war. Last week the opposition in Venezuela announced that today is the "zero day" for another violent coup attempt against President Maduro:

The fugitive police pilot who allegedly stole a helicopter and used it to attack Venezuela's Supreme Court has appeared at an opposition rally in the capital, Caracas, attendees tell CNN.

Oscar Perez, an officer in the country's investigative police force, addressed the gathering, urging the opposition to continue protesting.
...
"A general walkout for July 18, walkout with no return. The zero-hour will start on Tuesday. The referendum we'll do it, with dignity, we'll be in the street defending the people."

The date was confirmed yesterday:

Venezuelan opposition leaders have called for their supporters to escalate street protests and support a 24-hour national strike later this week after more than 7.1 million people rejected a government plan to rewrite the constitution.
...
A coalition of some 20 opposition parties assembled in its headquarters Monday to call for a “zero hour” campaign of civil disobedience in the two weeks leading to the government vote.

On Sunday the opposition held a private poll in which less people attended than the opposition had hoped for. No results but the number of attendees was announced:

The opposition released only turnout numbers Sunday night, not tallies of responses to those questions, although virtually all who voted were believed to have answered “yes” to the central rejection of the constitutional rewrite.

There are some 19 million registered voters in Venezuela. A seven million turnout for a private poll, if real, is significant but neither decisive nor relevant. The hiding of the results lets one assume that the answers to the poll questions were not in favor of the opposition's plan.

It is difficult to ascertain what the real opinion of people in Venezuela is. Polls in the country are traditionally skewed. Maduro's economic polices, restricted by falling oil prices, sabotage by rich im- and exporters and U.S. sanction, was not successful. But the 2015 National Assembly vote won by the opposition was more a protest vote against the economic problems than a vote for the opposition's vague program.

It is obvious that the opposition in Venezuela is heavily supported by the various regime change institutions of the United States. Some of its operatives have deep ties with DEA and the CIA. U.S. media is -as usual- completely on the side of the U.S. regime change program. It has long agitated against the socialist government of Venezuela.

An official Trump statement on Venezuela released yesterday is noticeable for its lack of facts:

Yesterday, the Venezuelan people again made clear that they stand for democracy, freedom, and rule of law. Yet their strong and courageous actions continue to be ignored by a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator.

The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles. If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions.

Would Trump write a similar statement about the will of the "American people" if Democrats held a private poll against him with an assured multi-million strong turnout?

The Maduro government has called for a July 30 vote to elect members of an upcoming constitutional assembly. There is nothing "imposed" with that. The opposition will try to sew chaos in the streets up to that date and likely has planned for some culmination point of action.

The government has so far reacted passively to the violent protests. The police protects some government buildings and removes some road blocking barricades. But no arrest wave or more assertiveness for government control has been ordered. One wonders at what point such measures will become inevitable.

Posted by b on July 18, 2017 at 08:10 AM | Permalink

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Despite weekly revolutionary lectures there was no socialist revolution in Venezuela but more social democratic government with populist policies that after decades of cruel neofeudal policies of US installed predecessors was aimed at reducing horrible poverty and inequality to ease terror, pain and suffering, and in that it succeeded, Unfortunately only temporarily.

In fact land was not nationalized or given to landless in a larger scale, oligarchic and aristocratic class were not eradicated, their wealth not confiscated in fact some of them "joined" so called revolution. No significant measures of self sufficiency of local economy or cushion regarding global capital were adopted. Speculative Stock market was not closed and harsh economic policies regarding foreign speculative capital and currency (dedollarization of trade) were not adopted unlike in South Korea where speculators were sentenced to death. But most of all relying for revenues on China and US and mostly from oil keeping membership in OPEC.

Having monocultured dollar income economy, as well as dollar based import of basic goods, they set themselves up for blackmailing and manipulation by US and global finance while allowing for thriving vicious oligarchic enemy within Venezuela border to undermine government was always recepy for disaster we are witnessing now, and which was brewing even before Chaves death.

The meek actions of Maduro so far for this blatant attempt of coup Is because too many party apparatchiks have moneyed interested in the west that would have been lost if they reach in a revolutionary ways.

Posted by: Kalen | Jul 18, 2017 9:16:25 AM | 2

Abby Martin has done some good reports on Venezuela:

Empire Files: Abby Martin in Venezuela - Supermarkets to Black Markets
Empire Files: Abby Martin Meets the Venezuelan Opposition

I don't follow South American geo-politics much, but I do have arguments with friends about Venezuela. It's impossible to get them to see beyond the propaganda. Can anybody imagine what would happen if American protestors attacked a military base? I wouldn't be surprised if the government called in airstrikes.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Jul 18, 2017 9:35:17 AM | 3

- No matter what one thinks of the actions of the US in Venezuela, one also has to keep in mind that both Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro have made a mess of the venezuelan economy.
- Chavez did hope that with the Obama presidency he could improve relations with the US.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/19/obama-chavez-book-gift-latin-america

After the Bush administration tried a coupe in april 2002:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/03/washington/world/documents-show-cia-knew-of-a-coup-plot-in-venezuela.html

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 18, 2017 10:00:22 AM | 4

One wonders why the resistance bloc is not coming with strong aid for Venezuela and the Chavez revolution? Perhaps the bloc's elites in its inner most recesses sees this social revolution as more of a threat, should this people powered revolution spread to their home lands, than the elite oligarchical plutocracy of the west and its hegemonic agenda with which they share a similar agenda only under their own auspices?

Posted by: BRF | Jul 18, 2017 10:14:18 AM | 5

"A general walkout for July 18, walkout with no return. The zero-hour will start on Tuesday."

Impeccable timing. Right on the 81st anniversary of Franco's uprising.
Makes you think.

Posted by: el sid | Jul 18, 2017 10:32:43 AM | 6

Two of the problems with this latest Gene Sharp-inspired, CIA & State Dept-supported 'non-violent' regime change plot are:
1. It's worked like a dream umpteen times in the past thanks to the complicity and outright lies of the Western MSM.
2. If it follows the tr-r-aditional Gene Sharp Formula then Day Zero will be marked by the introduction of the CIA's Hired Guns to the 'non-violent' nature of the protests to date. The Western MSM will dutifully exaggerate the scope and scale of the bloodshed and blame it on Maduro. And ppl in the West will dutifully, and gullibly, agree that the best way to help Venezuelans is to impose an AmeriKKKan Military Solution aimed at destroying Venezuela's civilian infrastructure and thereby creating a Refugee Crisis in Venezuela and its neighbors.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 18, 2017 10:36:50 AM | 7

Venezuelan "socialists" call themselves Bolivarians and in terms of economic policies they could be classified as social democrats, they changed the distribution of the national income using oil revenue. One can appreciate Russian economic policies by comparing with Venezuela (or Nigeria?).

Venezuela is a deeply split society and the business class was consistently in the opposition. By the way of contrast, Russian oligarchs never developed "class solidarity", and Putin/Medvedev policy was to support those who support them. Sanctions on Russia have a helpful effect of restricting foreign investment opportunities. Mildly corrupt capitalist oligarchy can function OK if the capitalists invest back at home -- China is the premier example. Unbridled kleptocracy is combined with capital flight that hollows the economy, I would put Nigeria and Angola as premier examples, one could add Egypt and Ukraine.

With hostile business class and smallish economy Venezuelans had hard time running the economy, additionally the impression is that Bolivarians just do not know much about it. Right now, I would not criticize "the meek actions of Maduro". Avoiding or minimizing bloodshed is a decent thing to do in itself. Additionally, a measured reaction can be politically astute, this is a democracy after all, the times are hard, the government has to make a case that the opposition is even worse, and without military or police rebellion they will weather the crisis and become stronger.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 18, 2017 10:45:50 AM | 8

The only bright note is that Russia and China can't afford to sit on their hands while Venezuela is systematically Stone-Aged because they know they're on the same Yankee list - just further down...
Time for some Ru/Cn thwarting practice?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 18, 2017 10:49:56 AM | 9

Greg Wilpert runs the Venezuela Analysis website, observing Venezuela's politics since the rise of Chavez, https://venezuelanalysis.com/ His recent essay was republished by CounterPunch, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/17/time-for-the-international-left-to-take-a-stand-on-venezuela/

The Outlaw US Empire has meddled in Venezuelan politics for decades, and its actions are at the root of today's problems. Chavez made a very large mistake after the 2002 coup attempt failed--he failed to prosecute its leaders. That failure also contributes mightily to today's problems, but it was--again--brought about at the instigation of the Outlaw US Empire. Trump's campaign promise of ending the regime change policy was proven to be a lie, with his attitude differing little from the Neocons and Neoliberals toward that oil-rich but still impoverished nation. So far, the Chavistas have managed to stem the counter-revolutionary tide financed by the Outlaw US Empire and its vassals, for the so-called opposition is very much in the minority, which is why its opted for violence as it cannot win legitimately.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 18, 2017 10:56:48 AM | 10

@4 Willy2

"one also has to keep in mind that both Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro have made a mess of the venezuelan economy." Yes, Chavez really made a mess of things when he cut extreme poverty by 2/3 and doubled the GDP.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jul 18, 2017 11:32:18 AM | 11

Wait, so the guy who took a helicopter & opened fire on a Courthouse is a free man and addressing crowds? Unbelievable. It's no wonder these Yank puppets are running riot and causing mayhem. Mind you, the Western media will immediately say Maduro is "violently crushing pro-democracy activists" as soon as he orders the police to go in hard, so he's between a rock and a hard place. As we saw in Ukraine though (Syria too), if you don't crush these fascists quickly, you are just digging yourself into a deeper hole.

Posted by: Nick | Jul 18, 2017 11:56:47 AM | 12

Willy2 10:00:22 AM | 4
How can you possibly post a guardian link to prove your assertion about the economic mess supposedly caused by Chavez and Maduro? Don't you know that the MSM is working against the Chavismo since almost before his very birth? Venezuela is a rerun of Chile 1989 and Egypt 2013, where shortages are produced in order to make the masses angry and ready for regime change. Yes, as Petras stated again and again Chavez didn't change the fundamentals of the Venezuelan society. He probably was to shy to. The Venezuelan Sucker-Class proved again and again to have an equal fascistic mindset as their 'brothers' in Argentina and Chile. If they succeed there will be a mass slaughter. It will work out like in the Philippines where the president kills scores of people every day and nobody gives a damn.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jul 18, 2017 12:39:15 PM | 14

thanks b.. many good comments.. @3 tobin and @11 nick - i agree with you..

is anyone handing out cookies yet?? wheres nuland when she has a role to play here?

Posted by: james | Jul 18, 2017 1:03:46 PM | 15

Watching the talking heads on the various news outlets that I watch on teevee such as BBC, France24, Euronews, CNBC, and Al Jazeera there was a common theme and that was Venezuela. They filmed the protest speaker in and tight which normally means there was a mere handful of people listening to him. They use other tricks like showing huge crowds of government supporters while talking about protesters.

its on.

and of course Trump had to tweet that Maduro is a bad president. pot, meet kettle

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 18, 2017 1:35:05 PM | 16

Nice to read a balanced article about Venezuela and nice to see many commenters are not misled MSM bullshit. Thanks.

Posted by: Ike | Jul 18, 2017 2:42:04 PM | 17

It is safe to say that whatever the leader of country in the US cross hairs is allegedly guilty of, the US replacement will actually be that and worse. It is not about corruption, tyranny, whatever. It is purely about subservience to US corporate wishes.

The Venezulean chief economist states Venezuela's problems arise from sabotage, not socialism.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk1qlKu_RJo

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 18, 2017 3:26:11 PM | 18

@ el sid 5

Nothing accidental about this. The date of the 1936 assault on the Republic in Spain is still called "El alzamiento nacional " or " The National Uprising" :

https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alzamiento_Nacional

Posted by: Cortes | Jul 18, 2017 3:37:46 PM | 19

Addendum to earlier post "by its beneficiaries."

Posted by: Cortes | Jul 18, 2017 3:38:56 PM | 20

@ Ike 16

Was thinking the same here.

I live is Spain and am surprised how the local media follows the Gladio line.

Thought it was just the Yanks that were bonkers, but whether its Syria, Ukraine, Trump or Venezuela we're all good NATO vassals.

Remember hearing the same thoughts here on MoA from a German reader about how there seemed to be more "diversity" of thought in American blogs/media than in his home country.

It goes to show you: we're all Occupied Territories.

Have a nice evening.

Posted by: el sid | Jul 18, 2017 4:22:02 PM | 21

@20 el sid.. i am in canada and it is the same deal here as well... ''all good nato vassals'' is exactly it..

Posted by: james | Jul 18, 2017 4:29:15 PM | 22

Time for the “International Left” to Take a Stand on Venezuela
https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13245

Posted by: Anon | Jul 18, 2017 4:49:01 PM | 23

I haven't read a shout out for The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein that goes a long way to explain how the money boys have R2Ped all of South America over the past 50+ years....and continue to hold debt over the country's heads like all the rest of the countries of the world by now......sigh

And to those that write that Chavez or Maduro should have just defeated the oligarchy, show me a country that has done so.....the China/Russia axis may be doing so but it is not clear yet.

We have an outdated and may kill us form of social structure that has the money boys and their families in charge for centuries resulting in the God of Mammon and riches for a few class system we live in. I hope humanity stands up and says to itself it can do better and then makes it happen.......we have the skills I believe but only lack the common vision and motivation.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 18, 2017 5:01:25 PM | 24

I don't like Maduro's chances. Too many people willing to be US tools and Venezuela is in the US backyard so to speak.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 18, 2017 5:19:09 PM | 25

If a violent colour revolution does not work, the US would most likely conduct a strike on the "horrible dictator who is killing his own people".

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 18, 2017 5:26:13 PM | 26

The US has removed many democratically-elected leaders by force. Whenever there is a chance that a government might do something of value for its common citizens, the US is ready to eliminate the threat. Austerity for the commons. Socialism is only for Corporations and other billionaires.

Expenses and Costs for Billionaires are socialized, while profits are privatized. Pick yourselves up by your own bootstraps and dream the American Dream. /s

Posted by: fast freddy | Jul 18, 2017 5:33:56 PM | 27

I guess that Maduro chances improved a bit because of Brazil where leftist "mismanagement and corruption" was replaced recently with the right wing version of both. Popularity of the parliament (Congress?) and the presidency seems in single digits. When you want to make the case that the opposition would be simply worse, a fresh example across the border is more convincing than a million words.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 18, 2017 5:39:44 PM | 28

While Brazil shares a long border with Venezuela, it is actually rather remote from regions with significant population. The only border that crosses reasonably populated areas is with Colombia, which according to Economists Intelligence Unit seems a shining example of democracy, compared with authoritarian Venezuela. Colombia is also the world leader in killing journalists and issuing credible death threats to journalists, issuing life insurance to labor organizers also seems a loosing line of business over there.

And across the Caribbean Sea there are two countries where populists government were successfully removed, Honduras and Haiti. From the point of view of our media lords, the less is reported from there the better.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 18, 2017 5:51:11 PM | 29

Peter AU--

What's happening now is close to a re-run of 2001-2004 antics, albeit using somewhat different tactics similar to those of the Arab Spring and Ukrainian Maidan. The "opposition" consists of the same socio-economic players from 15 years earlier--essentially the younger generation brainwashed by opposition media and parental indoctrination. If you take the time, you'll note all the rioting takes place in middle/upper middle-class neighborhoods--never in the many slums whose residents benefited from the uplifting policies instituted by Chavez et al. What's waning is the revolutionary solidarity and zeal of the Chavistas from the early 2000s against the fact that the counter-revolutionary forces have very deep resources and are willing to wait since their bodies aren't actually on the line. Constantly having to fight for your freedom is very exhausting where it seems to take a special type of people/culture to prevail--why do you think the Outlaw US Empire plans to continue to hang-out in Syraq? It's willing to bet the people don't have what it takes to ensure their freedom in the longterm.

There are two nations where the forces of Reaction dwell--The Outlaw US Empire and its vassal the UK. France could be included, but it isn't nearly as important or have the same clout. For Peace to ever be established on this planet, the forces of Reaction must be euthanized--eradicated--as they are a pestilence far worse than any insect or rodent.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 18, 2017 5:52:06 PM | 30

ff @ 26 said:" Whenever there is a chance that a government might do something of value for its common citizens, the US is ready to eliminate the threat. Austerity for the commons. Socialism is only for Corporations and other billionaires."

Thanks for that ff. Absolute truth is always worth repeating.

The "Corporate Empire" will tolerate no other system. Especially one that works well for the commoners...

Posted by: ben | Jul 18, 2017 5:57:04 PM | 31

'Venezuelan opposition leaders have called for their supporters to escalate street protests and support a 24-hour national strike later this week after more than 7.1 million people rejected a government plan to rewrite the constitution. '

7.1 million? fake as people could vote more than once

Posted by: brian | Jul 18, 2017 6:25:40 PM | 32

Hopefully Russia may tip the scales:
""We are ready, all the documents have already been signed, and very soon Russia will supply Venezuela with 60,000 tons of wheat per month on a regular basis starting from this year," Maduro said. He added five enterprises to assemble Russian trucks would start soon in Venezuela.Maduro and Putin discussed strategic partnership and the implementation of mutually beneficial projects.
https://www.rt.com/business/388916-venezuela-russian-wheat-exports/

Posted by: frances | Jul 18, 2017 6:30:09 PM | 33

looks like a re-run of the brazilian dynamic from the past few years... i guess it is different, but amazing how easily these things can be pulled off, with or without the cookies...

Posted by: james | Jul 18, 2017 6:36:20 PM | 34

james @33--

When you have a Propaganda System that overpowers all other voices, then they do look easy. In Venezuela, a long-entrenched oligarchy and its retainers was overthrown by People Power, not once but twice, and greatly upset the Imperial Master. People Power will always win--if--it's a fair fight--the People greatly outnumber the Opposition. Look for 2002 to recur should the Opposition somehow capture control of national government.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 18, 2017 7:25:29 PM | 35

Kudos b, your article was picked up on Information Clearing House..

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47469.htm

Posted by: ben | Jul 18, 2017 7:36:07 PM | 36

Not to lose sight of the implications if VZ gov goes down. Ecuador and Bolivia are not far removed from the struggle, and a Maduro fail could encourage the dogs.

Nevertheless, without a raw popular force like the Sandinistas to fight a righteous enough cause as the Somoza rule, we'll see if the VZ scenario expands from agitprop and sabotage to outright insurrection. As Karlof1 points out, the struggle is narrowed to the middle economic tier. Sophomores.

Posted by: stumpy | Jul 18, 2017 9:48:55 PM | 37

Sadly a lot of lefty brainwashing here seems to be going on. I don't know how knowledgeable most of you guys (including b) are when it comes to Latin America (speaking the language, having travelled to the countries etc). I for one do not comment as much on Middle Eastern affairs here as I am not nearly as much an expert as many of you but I do know plenty about Venezuela and its failures, graft, corruption and decay that has set in under Chavism. (It was always there before him, but it has since reached new heights).

Yes, no doubt the previous oligarchic class has directly contributed to rise of a populist such as Chávez. They whole-heartedly supported the Washington Consensus in the 80s and lowered benefits for the poor such as subsidies. Chavez who secretly admired Castro-Communism did not shy away from nationalizing whole industries and by doing so these industries fell prey to the Caribbean governmental structures that are at best inefficienct at worst non-existent. There are huge farms lying idle, they had been nationalized a decade ago, all that remains are withering faces of a smiling Chavez, nobody is working there. Eastern Europe in the 80s immediately comes to mind. Insecurity rose manifold during his and Maduro's tenure, these statistics are not made up, and I've spoken to lower-middle income people who all say the country is now much unsafer the homocide rate has spiked. The fact remains that a lot of poor neighbourhoods in Caracas have participated in the protests and unlike some claims here in this comment section. Twitter has shown ample videos and images of whole slums posting anti-Maduro slogans. People are fed up with queuing for hours on end to find some basic stable foods and that includes the poor. When there I do not experience a split country at all, the vas majority of people I speak to is anti-Maduro and they are by no means rich especially since their currency is now worth less every month.

Maduro is basically a puppet of the military generals such as Padrino that act in the background but really control the show together with Cubans who depend on Venezuelan free oil. If they were capable leaders I would say this all wouldn't be so bad but sadly they are anything but. A kind of low-scum low-IQ group of thugs that managed to come to power thanks to Chávez, as buddies from his military days. There is ample proof that they are deeply involved in drug business as the Venezuelan military established contacts with the drug smuggling ELN/FARC from Colombia early on. It is possible that the CIA is unhappy with Venezuela for those reasons as it interfers with their own business in Colombia.

While travelling in the border region to Colombia in 2015 I also visited sights in the Amazon by indigenous communities and they confirmed me the presence of 'Colomobian paramilitares' in Venezuela that stayed under the radar while Maduro remains in power.

As for the regime's anti-imperialist 'freedom struggle'. It was Maduro that pledged Venezuela's national gold reserves to Bank of America/Merril Lynch and sold large chuncks of it just to keep the show going for the time being. Directly collaborating and aiding the global banking cabal. It was Maduro/Military that has designated huge swaths of untouched rainforest in the south of the country as 'Arco Minero' mining arc and is working together with Canadian gold firms to exploit these regions, regardless of the environmental cost and despite strong protests from Indigenous groups. This policy wasn't even pursued by the previous 'oligarchic' leadership of the country. The US mute response to Venezuela in my opinion is because they like Maduro's policies, it absolutely ruins and bankrupts state owned PDVSA, him selling the national gold also helps Wall Street, and when his government does fall, the IMF and World Bank will stand ready for whoever comes after and has no choice but to bow to any demands, as this wealthy country will have been so utterly ruined. The US can just wait and bide its time, unlike with Assad or Gaddaffhi we are dealing with a truly incompetent pack.

They may use anti-imperialist rhetoric because it suits their agenda, Chavez probably had the right idea when he tried to strengthen South American union to counter US influence but his leftist ideology kept him from truly including all countries in the region so this process was flawed from the beginning. As for violent protests, yes violence now sadly exists but painting a rosy picture for the security forces and demonizing young protesters who often don't come from wealthy backgrounds (the rich kids left the country) is not a very objective assessment. Also do remember that the opposition has tried for the last few years to bring about democratic change, via referendum all of this has been made impossible really the military didn't give the people a choice other than the streets, this whole mess has been brewing for years, it's very different from Ukraine's Maidan any parallels drawn to it show a lack of understanding of the situation.

I am sorry b, I really like your sharp analysis for Syria and the mid-east overall I feel you are spot on there, here however, you let yourself be dragged on the usual bandwaggon of black and white thinking. Just because the opposition are the usual 'actors' with pro-US attitude doesn't make a corrupt and utterly useless government suddenly competent or less violent and an objective site such as yours should do its homework.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 18, 2017 9:55:28 PM | 38

AP @ 37: Maybe, just maybe, if the following historical list, wasn't a fact, the people of

Venezuela might figure out, by themselves, what they want to do with their country. I might suggest you investigate U$A history, aND YOU MIGHT UNDERSTAND why so many here view the world the way they do:)

https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list

Posted by: ben | Jul 18, 2017 10:09:26 PM | 39

@38 You don't need to send me a list of US interventions, having read my comment you should have noticed that I am keenly aware of US imperial/hegemonic policy. However, in what sense does that constitute a white sleeve for Maduro and his cronies to do whatever they want? My argument is that he actually aids 'the empire's' cause by destroying the national oil industry and country's ability to stand on its own feet. Production output has been steadily falling and Venezuela's clout in the energy market with it. I'd love nothing more for the country to partner with Russia and China and become an independent multipolar actor. Sadly this is not what is happening with the current leadership - the country is being ruined.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 18, 2017 10:16:57 PM | 40

@37 Alexander

Thank you for the food for thought. Nice, long, thoughtful comment that, for me, cements the idea that Maduro and co. have, either through incompetence or naivete, bungled their oil enterprises and were caught unprepared for the oil crashes of the last few years (whereas Russia has been very able to weather this downturn with aplomb).

Perhaps Saudi Arabia will be next in terms of oil states falling from the weight of their own bungling economic policy. We can hope.

As for Venezuela, Russia stepping in with huge grain exports might help, but the BRICS and co. have got to do better because you know Uncle Sambo only needs one party guest to leave the back door propped open to piss in the punch bowl and vomit in all the house plants.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jul 18, 2017 11:02:50 PM | 41

@39 said: "Sadly this is not what is happening with the current leadership - the country is being ruined."

It's their country, let them ruin it. The U$A isn't offering real help, we're offering coup to enrich the already rich. The historical record is clear and quite damning.

Have a good day..

Posted by: ben | Jul 18, 2017 11:08:23 PM | 42

@ Alexander P who seems to write that Maduro is worse for Venezuela than the money boys of the West.

I don't buy it. I think Maduro has to go a long ways to R2P Venezuela like the IMF/World Bank and US installed oligarchy has.

Are we sure we are sure, we are sure, we are sure, we are sure that global private finance run by the ruling families is worse than Maduro?

YEP! But a nice piece of agnotology on your part.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 18, 2017 11:13:42 PM | 43

@42 psycho

I think his thesis was that Maduro and co. have pissed away a proper chance at a sustainable social state. They are literally sitting on black gold but can not for the life of them throw together a working plan to counter their current downturn. And he has his suspicions that this bungling of policy might be on purpise, otherwise only an inept gov't could squander such riches.

I didn't see his comment as cheerleading the opposition. But perhaps he is on to something when he mentions that no criticism can be leveled, ever, against a socialist state, even if the policy does not befit a true socialist strategem that can counter the imperial hegemony ad infinitum.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jul 19, 2017 12:02:04 AM | 44

@ NemesisCalling for supporting the Alexander P position

Look at what happened to Cuba. Even Castro was forced to compromise his socialist ideals to survive in our world of finance led empire.

The only excuse I am making for Maduro is the same as the rest of the world countries get....that is, that the power/control of empire makes if extremely difficult for any country to attempt to not go 100% with the God of Mammon way.

Your statement:
"
I didn't see his comment as cheerleading the opposition. But perhaps he is on to something when he mentions that no criticism can be leveled, ever, against a socialist state, even if the policy does not befit a true socialist strategem that can counter the imperial hegemony ad infinitum.
"
is why I called his comment a "good" example of agnotology. Evidently it works for you. Socialism, like capitalism does not exist except as myth talking/derision points in discussions like this. What exists is the world we have and b's posting is about the forces of empire trying to continue to impose itself/God of Mammon culture on Venezuela. And so we should expect the folks that come here to say that some current attempt at implementation of socialism is a failure (worse than the R2P by the private finance folks).

Are we sure that smoking nicotine causes cancer yet? (see book on agnotology)

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 19, 2017 12:26:44 AM | 45

@34 karlof1.. i agree... learning about what is going on in other countries is made more difficult with an msm that is corporate owned and driven.

@ alexander p.. there are always 2 sides to any story, including one on venezuela..do you think the usa has a vested interest in seeing a certain outcome in venezuela? you don't say on the topic of ukraine, although you're quick to characterize anyone who makes any parallel as ignorant or worse... you come across as an apologist for more exploitation and empire building on the part of the usa.. the usa has a terrible history of meddling in south america, murdering countless innocent people, propping up pinochet and etc. etc.. it really ought not be a surprise that the usa is viewed unfavourably by the vast majority of those living in south america, even if the usa has managed to help install leadership in places like columbia, or even brazil at present favourable to it's own fucked up interests... and according to you chavez was supposed to work with them!!! i get a laugh out of your comment about the imf and world bank coming in to help afterwards... that is the same banking cartel that would like to impose it's will on countless countries, including argentina.. most folks are well aware of how that works and who benefits..

i am sorry alexander, but while chavez or maduro may not be the wonderful leaders (the usa demands, nor castro, rousseff and etc etc. - the list is long!), these people can work it out themselves without the constant interventionist agenda of the usa.. they have seen enough of that to last many lifetimes... fuck off usa with it's imf/world bank agenda in tow and anyone who wants to make a case for the benefit of any of that either which appears to be you..

Posted by: james | Jul 19, 2017 12:53:28 AM | 46

@44 psycho

1) Did Cuba have vast reserves of oil?

2) notice "socialist strategem" in my comment. I agreed with you in advance that these terms are bs. If anything, Iran's "revolutionary" terminology is on because it does not limit itself and instead seeks a constantly emerging power/force to invoke.

3) I agree with you in that people see failure in Venezuela and all of a sudden it is the result of "socialism," full stop. I don't buy it. You can smell it over at zerohedge. Blood in the water. But just because Uncle Sambo is frothing at the mouth, doesn't mean that we should shed a tear for bad policy. Don't you think that it is a disservice, if there was a problem with Maduro and co., to the people in Venezuela to make excuses for preventable downturns? Would you like to stand in a bread queue?

Furthermore, when Putin talks about Ukraine, he concedes the point that Yanukovych did not implement the necessary policy changes to ensure stability. Something to think about Psycho...you can't just ram policy through or, OTOH rest on your laurels. It's called outwitting. The long game. The way.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jul 19, 2017 12:56:44 AM | 47

@42 psycho-historian, Latin America's misery is due to that, people either get to chose the neo-liberal oligarchy raping the land and selling it to western multinationals or they get socialists that equally mismanage the wealth of the state and squander it, usually combined with abysmal monetary and fiscal policies. In the worst case these systems turn totalitarian as happened on both ends of the political spectrum in the past (Chile, Brasil on the right but also Cuba and now Venezuela on the left). A middle ground seems impossible to find and I do blame our global capitalist system for that, banks thrive in either system. I completely agree with you on that. Whatever the solution to this, it is not communism. The sad story about Venezuela is that in the early days 40s/50s they did have a more right leaninng dictator called Perez who actually invested in infrastructure, kept the role of government relatively low and led the foundation of Venezuela's heydays and relative overall prosperity (albei unequal) in the 60s and early 70s. Of course, Venezuela squandering its opportunities is partly due to its politicians and the global capitalist system we live in.

As for Venezuela's opposition you can find a whole blend of people, some closer to Washington and Wall-Street (Radonski, Borges) others more socialist themselves just not as radical as Chavism (more the kind of soft socialism we saw with Rousseff in Brasil). Definitely more elitist than Maduro, a bus driver, but then Correa was also from a well-off family and he still politicised left. Regardless who takes over the country, an IMF dictate at this stage seems anything but guaranteed unless China and Russia step in, make an effort and offer alternatives. Venezuela already has massive amounts of debt with the former one in oil for money deals that Chavez initiated and Maduro continued, so China has every interest to keep the oil flowing and the country somewhat stable.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 1:07:41 AM | 48

@ NemesisCaloing who requires policy perfection in opposition to empire.

The only excuse I am making is that empire controls all the dials on the machine and so failure is guaranteed if you don't conform, sometimes in spite of policy perfection.

If you are China, you can play the long game and potentially stand up to empire............. I think you are asking way too much from Venezuela....and please explain this "preventable downturns" concept.... you seemingly now accuse Maduro of failing to navigate the global private financial waters roiled against them.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 19, 2017 1:13:42 AM | 49

@ Alexander P

As you can tell I am quite sensitive to ignoring the 800 trillion pound gorilla pissing all over humanity's legacy as a species.

I keep trying to maintain the focus on the basic tenets of our current form of social organization that are so dysfunctional now and have been for ??? Fealty to the God of Mammon may have been doable when war could be used to enforce usurious contracts over subject countries but now that option seems to have been neutered. That means we need to learn how to get along in a multi-polar world or go extinct.....but this is not yet a reality and not even on the event horizon for many so ????...and then there is empire that is waging a hidden (or not so) war against a multi-polar world.....and this is just one of the battle fronts.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 19, 2017 1:31:44 AM | 50

Alexander P | Jul 18, 2017 10:16:57 PM | 39

Sadly all small countries become ruined when they go up against the US empire through their own mismanagement.. whatta dick...

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 19, 2017 1:46:02 AM | 51

@48 psycho

Please refer to my first question from comment #46.

Preventable downturns (noun); from Olde English "arse-cavity policy-maketh": the state in which a community with a central gov't finds itself when they are unable to harness foresight in fiscal and economic policy to minimize the risks of a globalized economy even as they are sitting on a vast wealth of liquid gold.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jul 19, 2017 1:53:57 AM | 52

Peter seems like you've taken ample time to read my statement above. No need to further elaborate then...keep your black and white worldviews to yourself though.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 2:09:37 AM | 53

Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 2:09:37 AM | 52

No black and white. If you want to cheer for the US.. a quick glance through your comments.. lefty.. Maduro..
Lefty.. Democrats in the US are left. Supposedly. You really are a dick once you go the left right thing.

Have a scroll through this shit
https://twitter.com/search?q=liveuamap%20venezuela&src=typd

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 19, 2017 2:24:06 AM | 54

Peter are you really interested in an argument or just here to throw around political terms? Calling Maduro left is not even appropriate, I do it for simplifcation as this is what most of his admirers/followers would describe themselves to be. I did provide a lot of explanation who the people in power really are, a military junta, involved in drug trafficking, professing to be marxist or Castro-communist but in reality as much in bed with big banks, debt enslavement of its people and destruction of the environment as most other governments these days. Worse than that, it's an utterly incapable bunch running a country that once belonged to the better-offs on the continent.
If you had taken the time to read my comments you would have seen that I never cheered for the US. Of course you didn't. Quite frankly placing words in other people's mouths and linking some lame Twitter account as a counter argument is not why most of us are here for, a substantiated discussion that is.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 2:41:45 AM | 55

@ Alexander P who wrote: "Worse than that, it's an utterly incapable bunch running a country that once belonged to the better-offs on the continent. "

You came to the MoA bar and told the keep that he should stick to ME discussion and that Maduro and socialism were worse than the ongoing empire R2P of Venezuela and have been backpedaling ever since.

The comment of yours I quoted above is quite interesting. Smacks of entitled oligarchy over commons for the masses to me. Please explain.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 19, 2017 2:56:35 AM | 56

Alexander P

In your analysis I miss the fact, that Maduro is democratically chosen.

Posted by: From The Hague | Jul 19, 2017 2:58:21 AM | 57

@55 psychohistorian "that Maduro and socialism were worse than the ongoing empire R2P of Venezuela and have been backpedaling ever since."

Again, the 'empire' is glad they have Maduro, the Junta is selling oil to the US freely, they never stopped nor suggested trading in a currency other than the USD, they work with Wall-Street banks shipping away Venezuela's gold. They are afraid of PDVSA defaulting on international markets and prefer that people go without food than missing bond payments. Maduro is signing new mining deals in the Guayana region of Venezuela with Canadian mining firms. If anything the junta has helped in the demise of a state that could have potentially been a thorne for the US in the Americas, had it been run well.
The whole R2P discussion is totally out of place in the case of Venezuela, this is not Syria nor Libya. Had it really been this pressing for Washington to 'regime-change' they would have acted under Obama already, which they didn't. The comment above referred to the overall wealth (average income) of the country, compared to its neighbours on the continent. Right now Venezuela only ranks ahead of Cuba and Haiti. You guys seem to see oligarchy written everywhere.

@56 The election process was deeply flawed and mired in irregularities but even assuming Maduro has a full democratic mandate, he lost it the moment he refused to hold a constitutionally binding referendum on his mandate. Elections for state governors that should have been held early this year have been postponed until 'further notice', so far it's still unclear when they will be held. Probably after the Junta introduces the constituent assembly it will fully controls and change the constitution barring the opposition from running altogether.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 3:23:15 AM | 58

Alexander P
even assuming Maduro has a full democratic mandate, he lost it the moment he refused

1) Was he allowed to refuse?
If "no":
2) After that moment "the street" had a full democratic mandate?

Posted by: From The Hague | Jul 19, 2017 3:33:59 AM | 59

NemesisCalling @ 43

I have to feel sorry for the people of Venezuela in the face of the attempt by the US to destroy oil producers worldwide in hope of crushing Russia. You will recall that the US and Saudi Arabia used this globalist trick to cause the economic collapse of Russia in the early 1990s by forcing the price of a barrel of oil down to about $10/barrel.

Venezuela had no way of knowing that the US would expand fracking production to the point that it represents about 50% of total domestic oil production causing the associated world oil price drop. Such a market manipulation is causing widespread suffering which will only get worse.

The US is also suffering from the fracking "boom" by the socialization of environmental issues from fracking:
"The Real Cost of Fracking: How America’s Shale Gas Boom Is Threatening Our Families, Pets, and Food"
https://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/real-cost-of-fracking-how-americas-shale-gas-boom-families-pets-and-food/

There is also a delay loop concerning extensive property damage and loss of life from earthquakes caused by deep injection of fracking wastes.

The US doesn't care that fracking is also generally a losing economic game so long as other countries suffer more than the US does. There is good documentation that most US fracking wells are losing money on every barrel pumped as shown in this example:
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/28/drilling-for-wattenberg-oil-is-not-profitable/

The fracking losses have often times been spread to the financial sector via derivatives which cover the losses. As the sink costs (pun intended) are high the companies have no choice but to continue pumping the wells, that show rapid declines in extraction volume after 2-3 years.

Ultimately low oil prices are not only a problem for countries such as Venezuela but also ultimately for US and Canada, but for reasons most observers would not expect:
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2017/05/05/why-we-should-be-concerned-about-low-oil-prices/

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 19, 2017 3:34:40 AM | 60

@58 First question, no he was not allowed, the junta did it anyway.
Second question, the street is a reaction to the lack of political mandate of the rulers. I am not in favor of street violence but blaming people for wanting a better life, with lower crime rates (way more people have died due to soaring homicide rates than the street clashes), than what they are currently receiving from a leader without democratic mandate, I cannot condone.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 3:38:47 AM | 61

Alexander P@ 52

The left and right are just two wings of the same bird of prey. As Upton Sinclair expressed in his book "oil" which inspired the movie "there will be blood", oil exploitation easily leads to corruption. One only has to look at the US, Nigeria, Canada, Mexico, etc.

For a US propaganda piece on Russia and oil see "The Angola Variant":
https://www.rferl.org/a/1093703.html
Ironically, this thesis also applies as well to US backed governments! Then again, "Animal Farm" applies to the Western globalist empire even though it was originally an attack on communism (bureaucratic socialism).

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 19, 2017 3:54:48 AM | 62

Alexander P @ 60

I am concerned that you appear to express the neocon agenda of the American Conservative website in regards to foreign countries. Have you taken a look at the homicide rate of US cities vs whole countries, say Chicago for instance?

Strange that the US propaganda machine that you cite is not also directed to Mexico which has a really high corruption rate with the army killing a lot of innocent people as well as managing to lose wars with the cartels.

Russia, China and Iran have thus far blocked the empire and it is currently being redirected to South America which escaped some of the destabilization when "Mordor's eye" was directed toward the Middle East.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 19, 2017 4:05:13 AM | 63

@Alexander P 49

I think you're cherry-picking a bit. Or maybe over-focused on the extremes as representing the actual.

For example I don't believe "Latin America's misery is due to" is much of an accurate description overall, and some Latin Americans may even find that insulting or paternalistic. Almost, and very ironically, reminds me of White Man's Burden. Latin America (as a group) being in misery is an unfounded and unjustified axiom. I'm hoping that was just a minor rhetorical error, and you don't really believe that (?)

States such as Uruguay have done just fine and are doing just fine after throwing off the shackles of the West. Or joining it in your rather unrealistic complaint re: selling gold to banks of imperialistic nations. You seem to have issues with the extremes of capitalism/dictatorship/West-influence, or socialism/supposed-dictatorship/individuality, but also even just doing what countries such as Sweden or Mongolia etc. do all the time, which is trade resources so as to raise the country's, or the people's wealth, or to gain needed goods.

Finally, I'd posit that the Castro regime for one has been very successful; amazingly so considering the embargo. Seems a decent model of a benevolent dictatorship which also sometimes crushes opposition. Not that I favor any type of dictatorship, but it is successful, and it's still unclear what you favor. Are you a pragmatist? An anarchist? Do you value democracy over quality of life, or vice-versa, or what?

Granted, I may not fully understand your position and sorry if strawmanning. But could you give an example of a (the) current nation that you view as most ideal according to your standards? Or if no nation is even close--what your ideal nation would be?

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Jul 19, 2017 4:24:58 AM | 64

@Alexander P
It's the height of cynicism to juxtapose the parasitic and murderous Latin American oligarchs with the socialist-leaning movements and their "economic mismanagement" (mismanagement for who? The millions lifted out of poverty or the upper and upper-middle classes?) and claim they are in any way equally bad choices.

You blame socialist-leaning governments for not being strong enough to stand up to the imperialist economic system and the pressures brought to bear upon them, rather than blame the ones responsible for this system. You claim this to be some sort of failure on the part of "socialism", when in reality if anything the problem is that Latin American socialists are far too NICE to their enemies, seeking reconciliation and peace from a parasitic class that needs to be crushed entirely.

After decades of virulent anti-communist propaganda even most "socialists" nowadays believe in the fetish of "democracy" and denounce the purges that took place in the former communist states. That is exactly their problem: Marx himself realised after the failure of the Paris commune that to allow the enemies of the people the freedom to act against you is to invite your own failure, hence a "proletarian dictatorship" is necessary; history has proven him to be correct. Even if we might make criticisms about the specific forms in which these dictatorships have historically been implemented, nothing has changed about its necessity.

Of course it is somewhat unfair to the Latin-American Left to reproach them for this; the Soviet Union and China were huge countries, not easily invaded even when they were still largely in their pathetic pre-communist state. Latin-America on the other hand is divided, there is no militarily strong independent state to lend them protection, and no-one wants to end up in a Vietnam-type genocidal war.

The Latin American left is out of necessity trying to walk a tight-rope to do what is necessary and to avoid war by the U.S. Unfortunately, these are mutually exclusive. I am not very impressed with Maduro, who seems like a weakling squandering the potential that Chavez left him. Still, if you are going to criticise him and the entire LA left like you have done, I have to ask: do you advocate for surrender to Empire, or for its destruction? Sure seems like you're not very worried about remaining in the status quo of subservience!

Posted by: A Stranger | Jul 19, 2017 4:44:03 AM | 65

@63 It was an unfortunate wording from my side. I do not believe in inherent misery other than the usual abuse that those in power exhibit towards those they control, no matter where this may be. Maybe failing its potential would have been better phrased.

An ideal nation I think would be utopian to ask for, as it would probably run against human nature to leave behind all self-interest and work for the good of everyone and the state. For me an ideal nation above everything has a law that applies to everyone universally (within that nation) and a truly independent judiciary. This may be impossible to achieve in our capitalist society or in any society but the closer we get to it, the better. Most laws I have come across in many countries around the world are sensical and accepted by most in society, yet laws are always broken. Also, I prefer local rule and federalization over centralized power. Again in what system this is best established is up for debate, capitalism is probably not it.

@64 I do not have enough time to respond you in all details. Am I right in assuming you follow Marxism as your guiding principle? I think the dictate of the proletariat was actually a misinterpretation of Marx and never meant as such by the man himself. Some of the most vicious and horrendous dictatorships in the 20th century have claimed to work for the proletariat all the while destroying it. I know it, I currently live in a country that lost a large percentage of its citizens to it.

"The Latin American left is out of necessity trying to walk a tight-rope to do what is necessary and to avoid war by the U.S." The Latin American left is also out to enrich itself,, scandals from de Kirchner, to Lula, Ortega and of course Maduro surface constantly. (Just to name one is Odebrecht, but there are many more). Again it's two sides of the coin, left - right really is the wrong dichotomy here.
It is naive to believe these leaders were somehow just forced by the capitalist system to break the laws of their own countries and become corrupt. I know I write more than I had planned in this thread already but a few rows above I posted somehwere that I wanted an independent Venezuela that supports the multi-polar world. It won't happen with mere rhetoric and military opression by Maduro. That has never ended well for any leader in the long run. Which is why Maduro will fail where others - less extreme leaders succeeded.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 5:33:18 AM | 66

While I can understand ur support for leftist govts' coming from an ex-communist country it does not look nice from the inside.

Especially when the economy goes down. Maduro and co had their chance, and failed. You cannot govern against the majority of the population except by dictatorial means.

Posted by: UrsaMaior | Jul 19, 2017 5:43:46 AM | 67

What is happening with the Goldman Sachs? It suffered a 40 per cent collapse in revenues.

Posted by: Nick | Jul 19, 2017 6:06:39 AM | 68

Alexander P 65
That is complete nonsense (except maybe for Cambodia ) that any system/ country lost a LARGE percentage of its population because of Marxism and Leninism . The blood baths of last century have complex causes. It is a gross simplification to say as you did that Communism was the essential catalyst of these happenings , war , famine etc.

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jul 19, 2017 6:28:37 AM | 69

@ashley albanese
Not even Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge is to Marxism like Scientology to Christianity. Actually the Marxist Vietnamese finished their rule, with strong US disapproval.

Posted by: nyolci | Jul 19, 2017 7:10:32 AM | 70

Reading Alexander P's comment at 37 and some of his subsequent comments left me with the vague feeling that he has come to MoA to troll. His comments about the Maduro government and its supposed links to the military, and his descriptions of his visit to Venezuela sound artificial. What places did he visit, which indigenous groups did he meet and where did he talk to the poor people who he says were protesting Maduro's policies? What does he have to say about US economic sanctions against Venezuela or about the fact that the food shortages are for the most part due to privately owned food-importing companies (several of whose heads support the anti-Maduro opposition) in the country withholding food from the public?

Posted by: Jen | Jul 19, 2017 8:27:29 AM | 71

Canada is with the US-backed 'Opposition' of course...

http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2017/05/16/prime-minister-justin-trudeau-meets-venezuelan-human-rights-activist-lilian-tintori

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jul 19, 2017 8:55:23 AM | 72

@65

Your perspective is way too all over the place to understand.

At one point, Venezuela is wrong in selling oil to the United States 'freely' (I assume low tariffs is what you meant) and selling gold reserves to U.S. banks (this is a compromise most former colonies use because a lack of alternative), and not trading and borrowing in non-American currencies (this is a compromise most former colonies use because a lack of alternative), and accepting (or not accepting) Western credits (the alternative at the time credits were received?), and not accepting Russian and Chinese credits and imports (this policy is gradually shifting, and I agree with you it's the right course of action) and not outproducing the OPEC states, including Saudi Arabia (which isn't possible), and not accepting lower state salaries for state employees (standard populist rhetoric, which never works in relieving petit-bourgeois populist sentiment), and not accepting a populist referendum with a 'constitutionally binding mandate' (which has never been a standard used anywhere in 'the West,' so why should a former colony need one to justify itself?), but the government is too 'extreme' (except when it isn't) and too 'authoritarian' (except when it isn't).

I'm going to just assume you're a Trot, purposely wasting the time and energy of everyone involved here. You're lucky I don't have the time to study Latin American issues in any depth, little Trot.

Posted by: anonymous | Jul 19, 2017 9:04:40 AM | 73

Sadly a lot of lefty brainwashing here seems to be going on. I don't know how knowledgeable most of you guys (including b) are when it comes to Latin America (speaking the language, having travelled to the countries etc). I for one do not comment as much on Middle Eastern affairs here as I am not nearly as much an expert as many of you but I do know plenty about Venezuela and its failures, graft, corruption and decay that has set in under Chavism. (It was always there before him, but it has since reached new heights).
...
...
Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 18, 2017 9:55:28 PM | 37> etc> etc

Well, it's quite obvious how knowledgable Alexander P isn't, how long-winded Alexander P can be when flailing around making stuff up, and how many relevant Venezuelan facts Alexander P "forgot" to mention.
We've already guessed how desperate things are in Langley, VA.
Next time you want to remind us, please spare us the reams of drivel or familiarise yourself with the gentle art of précis.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 19, 2017 9:26:20 AM | 74

Maduro is an illegitimate military dictator with a veneer of electoral legitimacy. His governments incompetence has led Venezuela into a revolutionary state. Let him fall so the rebuilding can begin. This goes beyond ideology or left right cheer-leading.

Posted by: Northern Observer | Jul 19, 2017 10:08:04 AM | 75

Are these protests really more violent and "inappropriate" than the protests in Turkey against Erdogan? Neither Maduro or Erdogan are "dictators", but both protests are responses to their attempts to aggrandize power.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jul 19, 2017 10:17:59 AM | 76

Monsieur Horsewhisper @73, Yet again someone here who accuses me of making stuff up yet offers zero insights him/herself about the situation on the ground. But of course if I don't support an opressive military junta and its maniac mouthpiece Maduro I must be working at 'Langley'. Next time someone writes something negative about Erdogan it must automatically be Langley, what a logic.
@70 Why would I? I respect this site way too much to suddenly start trolling it. This is my view and it's substantiated by following politics in that country for years, listening to Maduro's speeches, travelling there (Indigenous communities near Puerto Ayacucho if you must know). And knowing many Venezuelans - poor ones. Food is primarily imported by militaries loyal to Maduro, the only still privately held larger food company is Polar and their domestic production has been hampered by missing raw material which Venezuela does not produce, such as Malt and Maize.
This is my last comment on this topic. Look if you guys like to keep your views that's fine, of course. I never tried justifying the US attempts to meddle in other country's affairs or troll you for agreeing with b. We can only know so many places at a time and be experts for so many regions. I for one don't opine a lot on the mid-east just read your comments. At least some users seem to have understood what/who Maduro and the military truly are. Interestingly when comparing with similar Spanish speaking blogs the mood is a lot less supportive of Maduro, I wonder why?

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 10:51:38 AM | 77

This Alexander P is a good fit for the creepy "Matt" who recently infested Kremlin Stooge with colossal lies that fly in the face of actual evidence or even a cursory understanding of cause and effect: Maduro likes the sanctions because they "keep his Raygime in power"; he's Killing his own People(tm); he's actually colluding with the banks but his supporters are too naive to see it...etc.


But we know the drill, we've seen similar all over central and south america to
mistake a ground up revolution for a boughten putsch conceived elsewhere.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 19, 2017 11:11:25 AM | 78

"This is my last comment on this topic. Look if you guys like to keep your views that's fine, of course. I never tried justifying the US attempts to meddle in other country's affairs or troll you for agreeing with b"

Yup! "Matt" right down the line. With the same sign off, lol. "I'm taking my jacks and going home, you meanies!"

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 19, 2017 11:15:21 AM | 79

76
As civil war is always the worst option.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19, 2017 11:43:12 AM | 80

Monsieur Horsewhisper @73, Yet again someone here who accuses me of making stuff up yet offers zero insights him/herself about the situation on the ground.
...
...
Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 19, 2017 10:51:38 AM | 76

You were commenting in response to b's insights which reflect the views of the Reality-based Community whose opinions were disparaged with such hubris by Karl Rove, and your good self. It was thus unnecessary to articulate my insights on Venezuela. My comment isn't about Venezuela; it's the result of comparing your insights with b's and expressing my insights into Alexander P's motives. And skill...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 19, 2017 12:18:02 PM | 81

- Precisely because the lifting of people out of out poverty has helped to tank the venzuelian economy. Chavez also gave a number of countries money/loans.
- The economy can recover but that requires that a lot of government spending has to be cut. And that won't go down too well with a lot of people in Venezuela.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 19, 2017 12:33:17 PM | 82

82 with 800 percent inflation government spending is cut - people can't buy anything for their money, effectively Venezuelan currency is the dollar - government programmes pay local currency.
They need some diversification from the oil industry.
But with a civil war nothing will get done.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19, 2017 2:27:20 PM | 83

This company has a name?

Venezuela Signs Deal With US Company to Improve Oil Production

Venezuela has signed an agreement between the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, PDVSA, and a U.S. oil company, which is intended to improve oil production in the South American country.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19, 2017 2:54:57 PM | 84

Sputnik has more on Horizontal Well Drillers and Maduro

Tell President Donald Trump that we are open to the new negotiations and I want to have good relations with Trump despite our differences," Maduro said at the meeting with the representatives of US Horizontal Well Drillers oil service company, the Globovision broadcaster reported on Friday.

The Venezuelan president added that the country welcomes the investments from the United States and expressed hope that one day he will have a meeting with Trump.


Posted by: somebody | Jul 19, 2017 3:06:10 PM | 85

Somebody @84 replaced the second paragraph in the linked article with a question answered in that paragraph:

The document was signed by the Minister of Popular Power for Petroleum, Nelson Martinez, and the chairman of Oklahoma-based Horizontal Well Drillers, Todd Swanson, at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 19, 2017 3:10:10 PM | 86

@75

Winning a majority vote in presidential elections, conceding the majority vote to the opposition party in a later parliamentary vote, using legitimate investigations of large scale petition fraud to obstruct a pre-mature election and referendum vote, not using the military to nationalize the half of the economy that is made up of privately owned companies (including half of the oil companies and full grocery stores), not engaging in comprehensive arrests of oppositional figures (including figures illegally calling for anti-police street riots), apparently organizing a 'rejected' referendum on constitutional reform this year, and organizing a C.A. vote in the next month. This is the 'illegitimate military dictator.' Stalin is rolling in his grave.

Ninety percent (or more) of Venezula's (core) oil revenue (used to pay for most public goods and social programs) is the result of 'incompetence,' not the global glutting of the OPEC states reducing global demand for Venezuelan oil.

A vague neo-liberal platform (which the majority of Venezuela are naturally opposed to) in the context of quasi-fascist, petit-bourgeois, and anti-police street riots is a 'revolutionary state.'

Neo-liberalism is somehow good for 'rebuilding.' Ask Russia and Greece.

Opposing social democracy and the independent state of Venezuela is somehow 'beyond ideology.'

You forgot Zionism isn't racism.

@76

I know little about the situation in Turkey, but in Venezuela, it's more about an active (minority) lower-middle-to-middle class using street riots to force a replacement of leadership, later forcing economic liberalization on a passive (majority) working class. This is done by appealing to practical issues (the obstruction of early referendums and elections, which were obstructed by the Executive and the Supreme Court, when impartial investigations revealed the oppositional party was engaging in large scale petition fraud in the first of a two round petition drive).

@82

Greece seems like a good example of total privatization, de-regulation, de-socialization, and de-welfarization, and the debt is accruing at higher rates every year (if reducing debt is all that matters).

Posted by: anonymous | Jul 19, 2017 3:24:59 PM | 87

I am sorry, this is a wrong thread, but The Guardian simply out-did itself by inviting this commentary:

Manchester has a Soviet statue of Engels. Shame no one asked the city’s Ukrainians

Kevin Bolton

The monument is a piece of propaganda. Efforts to celebrate it have ignored the voices of all those Mancunians who suffered under communism

• Kevin Bolton is an archives consultant living in Stockport

This is really going out of hands. What next: ask the Irish? That actually can make sense. You see, according to Mr. Bolton, Mancunians of Ukrainian descent (like his wife) were happy that Ukrainians decided to destroy all monuments raised by Communists, but the Mayor of Manchester brought in a broken defaced statue of Fridrich Engels (who lived in Manchester for a while) and installed his monument (presumably after cleaning and re-assemblying). And Engels inspired Bolsheviks who made Holodomor (Ukrainian for "hunger death", "mor" refers to mass death like pestilence), so in-laws of Mr. Bolton are unhappy. I bet that Engels wrote something explicit about Irish Hunger, a free market + parliamentary democracy equivalent of Holodomor.

After a brief check: Karl Marx commented on Irish Hunger: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867/12/16.htm

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 19, 2017 3:55:23 PM | 88

87

It is all relative. Greek people are a lot better off than Venezuelans despite Venezuela's oil wealth.
I guess it is a heritage of colonialism and racism against the indigenous population. What is going on in Venezuela is a fierce fight about its resources and elite privilege.
This has never worked economically in history - neither elite privilege nor class war.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19, 2017 4:01:22 PM | 89

"class war doesn't work"

EG, the emerging merchant class toward the close of the middle ages waged a class war against the landed aristocracy and won, eventually. Catholics versus Hugenots, eg; do you think that that was about religion? The so-called War of the Religions was a class war.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 19, 2017 4:58:49 PM | 90

90
Emphasis on economically. Historically, I don't know of any country where one class has won. What I see are successful murky compromises. Kind of imperfect synthesis.

Back to Venezuela and Greece, patronage systems are awfully ineffective.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 19, 2017 5:05:42 PM | 91

Capitalists won in North America. All of it. Over and under it. Unless you think kvetching on a blog is some sort of victory for the proletariat.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 19, 2017 5:29:22 PM | 92

92
Yep, by paying an average wage of 44.148 per year.


Posted by: somebody | Jul 19, 2017 5:57:57 PM | 93

@91

I agree there are 'murky compromises,' regarding the class struggles of general history, but do you think it's unfair to say the upper classes (including the lower-middle classes in the 'Western' colonial empires) have 'won' a very disproportionate piece of the compromise pie (especially globally), and if so, is it wrong for young and obscure Communists, who are conscious of the failures of early revolutionary socialist movements, and potential failures in the future, to continue finding creative ways of educating and influencing the working masses on the model of class struggle? It did take centuries for liberals and Republicans to 'reform away' the institutions of feudalism and slavery.

Posted by: anonymous | Jul 19, 2017 6:01:28 PM | 94

What's your point "somebody"? Merka can afford more bread and circuses for the
locals? Of course they can, having extorted "fair" agreements for themselves from furriners who don't really matter much.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 19, 2017 9:15:27 PM | 95

We don't fail! We win or we learn!

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 19, 2017 9:17:05 PM | 96

@71 Jen

Reading Alexander P's comment at 37 and some of his subsequent comments left me with the vague feeling that he has come to MoA to troll

So "vague" it motivated you make a post about it.

Alexander P's opening line about "lefty brainwashing" (@38) is needlessly provocative and implies that he thinks his view of Venezuela's recent history was not influenced by propaganda. This suggests a certain level of arrogance on his part. The rest of his post, however, is not very troll-like and his criticism of Venezuela's government are coming from a leftish perspective.

I don't know enough about Venezuela's leaders to take a stand here but I must (again) comment on the intolerance displayed by people across the ideological spectrum to ideas, opinions, analysis and criticism that challenge their own views. I see a fanatical need to "be right" that, ironically, mimics the intolerance of the MSM.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jul 19, 2017 11:45:41 PM | 97

95
My point is that in Venezuala the choice is between a vile right wing "elite" and a left wing ineffective patronage system.

If they don't want to go the route of civil war - which would be the worst case for everybody involved - they have to come to some kind of accommodation as unfair and unjust it might be.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20, 2017 12:58:09 AM | 98

Alexander P. doesn't seem a troll. Or if he is, I'd like him to stay on as he gives a different perspective. This site shouldn't call anyone not agreeing with the author a troll.

And even in that, troll or not-troll--much more attention should be paid to rationality and refuting arguments via logic and such than trying to figure out a biography of an internet poster.

Not that there isn't also an avenue for troll-pointing-out. But it's kind of ancillary and a fallacy unless strong evidence is presented. The easy stab of the wilted mind.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Jul 20, 2017 1:09:42 AM | 99

plus 98 - this is a - fair - assessment of what is going on in Venezuela, as an exception to the rule in Western media

Venezuela does not have the religious or sectarian divisions that have fueled the civil wars, mass slaughter, and chaos of Libya, Syria, or Iraq ― all countries where the U.S. media narrative about the results of successful or attempted regime change turned out to be horrifically wrong. But the political polarization in Venezuela since Chávez was elected in 1998 has been overwhelmingly along class, and therefore, racial lines (the two are highly correlated, as in most of Latin America).

This is obvious to anyone who has ever witnessed opposition and pro-government demonstrations there over the years. Although the street demonstrations today have a broader middle class base than those of 2014 ― unlike back then, many middle class people today are really hurting ― they have generally not been joined by poorer Venezuelans. At a large opposition mobilization in May, sociologist David Smilde noted “how different the people selling water, beer and snow cones looked from those attending the demonstration in terms of dress and skin color.”

The lynching in May of 21-year-old Orlando Figuera, an Afro-Venezuelan man, who was stabbed and burned to death by a mob of opposition protesters, was an ugly reminder of these racial and class divisions and a warning of what civil war could look like.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20, 2017 1:26:08 AM | 100

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