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30 April 2019

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Ligurio

When you say "I would love to see the Maduro government fall," do you mean that you would love to see the Venezuelan people politically accomplish the toppling of the Maduro government via regular or irregular means, or do you mean that you would love to see the US and allied states come up with and implement a successful strategy for toppling the Maduro government by force, assuming such a strategy existed? This is not intended as a snarky question. I am legitimately interested in whether you would--in principle--condone US interventionism in this case as just or whether you believe it to be unjust. You could hold the latter while still wishing the Maduro government would fall. (I would love to see the toppling of the Saudi monarchy, for example, but I also believe that it would be unjust for the US to use military force to help bring that about.)

O'Shawnessey

"Stache" is nice, but, for me, "Pussy Bolton" just seems more appropriate. And maybe "El Gordo" would represent an ad hominem attack on "First In His Class," but doesn't it also just somehow fit him better?

Why would you love to see Maduro fall? Would some US-installed Bolsonaro or Moreno or Duque Marquez will make the lives better for the people of Venezuela?

turcopolier

How about "Gordito?" I would tell both you and Ligurio that I am opposed to repressive governments of both left and right. IMO socialist governments inevitably turn to repression to enforce their ideology. IMO the Scandinavian socialist governments are showing their true colors in the effort to suppress criticism of their desire to see people as building blocks in a utopian future. This can be seen for example is the willingness of the Swedish government to suppress criticism of their immigration policy which has made Stockholm the rape capital of the world.

turcopolier

Ligurio - I am opposed to interventionism. period. I would like to see the Venezuelans get rid of the Maduro government but I don't want the US government to be involved in that.

Bill Hatch

Pence's Tweet of "We are with you" reminds me of our encouragement of the Hungarians in 1956. Before taking to the streets Venezuelans may want to review the Hungarian revolt. Of course Maduro has no Soviet Army to bail him out. But American words do not mean American troops.

Anonymous

Great sea story about the PX confrontation. Thanks, man.

I agree with your analysis, hopes, and reticence for involvement.

I figured out Stache, but had to research First-in-his-class. Didn't even realize Pompeo had been a Woop.

b

Today's clownish coup attempt failed. Guaido has no support but in the wealthy Altamira quarter where today's coup attempt happened. All he had were six or so soldiers and another 24 who were duped and he tried to sell that as "the military is on my side". It was a dangerous propaganda stunt. Luckily the Venezuelan government responded in a very cautious manner.

The government of Venezuela is barely socialist and by no means communist. Just look who owns the means of production in Venezuela. It is not the government. Its the folks behind Guaido.

Maduro seems to have the support of the general people and all the security forces.

Venezuela, despite a U.S. sanction induced economic downturn, is still better off than the neighboring Colombia which is ruled by a U.S. proxy.

It is no wonder than that the people stick to what they gained under the 'socialist' Chavista government.

erik

I have felt for at least 40 years, that overt use of military force by the U.S. to get rid of Saudi Govt. and ghetto-ize the place to curtail Wahabism would be in the interests of this country and the west in general. That would be as far as I'd go in supporting U.S. interventionism.

Hallabina

Well, as the old saying goes, "I would had wanted a colonel, but he did not want me"...

The Venezuelan people elected Maduro into government, and the rest of us just should accept it as it is, since we do not like other countries meddling in our issues.

There is no communism in Venezuela, but socialism with Bolivariann characteristics. Communism, as a final stage of socialism, has not been achieved in the world so far, the more since the label "socialism" has been hijacked by neoliberalism as a tool...

Why do you mock, quite fairly, I must say, Bolton and Pompeo, and never Abrams, who is personally in charge of events in Venezuela?

With respect to opression, how do you describe the current position of your country applying illegal sanctions to every living being out there right now because it does not pledge to serve US interests eventhough that would mean going against own interests?

rho

"IMO socialist governments inevitably turn to repression to enforce their ideology."

Yes, socialism and communism are against human nature, and therefore these ideologies strive to create new, "socialist people". And the only way to turn the people we have on this planet into such new "socialist people" is through repression.

I am not sure if Sweden has crossed the dystopian line yet, but the repression is definitely growing all over Western Europe, you can see it in free speech being more and more curtailed every year.

PacificaAdvocate

Immigration has had nothing whatsoever to do with Sweden becoming the (falsely claimed) "Rape Capital of Europe/the World". It has to do with how Sweden prosecutes sexual assault cases, and what it classifies as "rape." For instance, Assange's "rape" charge consisted of a woman claiming that he continued to have (otherwise consensual) sex with her after his condom broke. Also, Sweden tabulates crimes differently than the US & other parts of Europe:

"In Sweden, each case of sexual violence is recorded as a separate incident. So for example, if someone says they were raped by a partner every day for a fortnight, officers will record 14 potential crimes. In other countries the claim could be logged as a single incident.

Sweden also significantly broadened its definition of rape in 2005, which means the word "rape" can be used to record acts which would be called assault or bodily harm in other countries. "

https://www.thelocal.se/20170221/why-sweden-is-not-the-rape-capital-of-the-world

Secondly, I find it curious that you failed to mention Castro's visit to the US, where he asked the Eisenhower administration for official recognition and a protective alliance. In a quite famous incident, Nixon met with him only to dismiss the idea of ever cooperating with him--unless he submit to a relationship to the US based on the US colony of Puerto Rico. For obvious reasons, Castro rejected that outright.

Nixon, let us not forget, was the product of the China Lobby, which destroyed the reputation both of Gen. Stilwell and Gen. Marshall, and led the charge on the mostly fictitious and milked-to-bloody Red Scare of the 50s-80s. Nixon was a key part of the McCarthy hearings, and his entire career was built upon the shattered careers of moderate politicians he smeared as "Communist"--often (as in the case of Alger Hiss) on the basis of manufactured evidence he actually knew was manufactured.

Castro wasn't the problem.

https://constantinereport.com/the-day-nixon-met-castro/

BraveNewWorld

It is telling that the WH didn't buy into Erik Princes re-enactment plan.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-erikprince-exclusi/exclusive-blackwater-founders-latest-sales-pitch-mercenaries-for-venezuela-idUSKCN1S608F

Looks like Prince will be otherwise occupied any way.

https://www.axios.com/erik-prince-schiff-criminal-referral-house-intelligence-committee-ea4141e0-9a8b-4759-9e96-caaaadf414d2.html

notlurking

Well said b....throughout history many left leaning governments that are hardly socialist have been beaten down by embargoes, sanctions and military interventions by the giant in the north...and then we go and say hey see socialism is no good....lol

ISL

Dear Colonel,

Your SWAG seems correct. the current effort fizzled, pathetically, and rather predictably.

Recently, US well-funded overthrow attempts in Syria and east Ukraine failed; but both were within the Russian zone of influence. Overall US influence is waning as US share of the global economy shrinks (compensated by military spending rising faster than economic growth - aka, Paul Kennedy/Rise & Fall). OTH, not long ago, the US was successful in an outright coup in Honduras a decade ago, currently failing in Venezuela.

A decade ago, the US economy was significantly larger than China's - now, this is reversed or comparable - depending on the measurement, but trends are in one direction.

So: Is the Venezuela failure an indicator of waning US capacity (including political) in the western hemisphere or incompetence of the neo-cons believing their own propaganda. Its hard for me to believe that the IC did not (based on intercepts) understand that the military was firmly in Maduro's camp, as is most of the public - facts reported by a number of on the ground journalists.

On the one hand, there is a clear problem of policy by Bolton et al., who perceive reality through (neo-con) filters, that remove any objective analysis. Unfortunately, one has to go quite far back to find an administration that was realist-based - Bush 1, Reagan....

Aside from long shot Tulsi, its improbable that realists will be running US FP anytime soon.

That said, if the Venezuelan economy stops collapsing in a few months, then China is taking up the slack (in oil exports), which would signify a significant economic power shift even in the Western hemisphere. It seems like the price for Russia or China to help is to adjust the Venezuelan economy (as happened in Syria). As to whether they can succeed in forcing Venezuela to change (one commodity economies with no food security are easily screwed), well, the current Venezuela administration has few options.

Eakans

Interestingly enough, Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. The timing of this escalation coincides nicely with the Iran sanction waiver. Maduro won’t go as easy as Pompeo thinks.

turcopolier

notlurking - Which "left leaning governments" do you have in mind?

Fred

b,

"just look who owns the means of production in Venezuela. It is not the government. Its the folks behind Guaido."

Maduro, man of the people! I think most of those folks have been moving their money to Miami for a couple of years already. Was that "Coup" attempt real or similar to the one Erdogan managed in Turkey?

Fred

PA,

"....acts which would be called assault or bodily harm in other countries. "

So they are not real rapes! How wonderful. What were the numbers before the left in Sweden opened the borders?

"...if someone says they were raped by a partner every day for a fortnight, officers will record 14 potential crimes. ..."
Just like police do in the USA. BTW that article is two years out of date.

blue peacock

Venezuela is in a Depression. Their economy has contracted by half in constant dollars since 2013. Couple that with hyperinflation as the government has printed money to keep itself afloat.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/imf-sees-venezuela-inflation-at-10-million-per-cent-in-2019/articleshow/66139421.cms

"Venezuela's economy has steadily deteriorated since the crash of oil prices in 2014 left it unable to sustain a socialist system of subsidies and price controls. In July, the IMF compared the hyperinflation in Venezuela to that of Germany in 1923 and Zimbabwe in the late 2000s."

There's no comparison even when compared to other countries under sanctions like Iran or Russia. That is a convenient excuse. Argentina which has never been under sanctions periodically goes through the same busts. Out of control government spending coupled with economic repression and central bank money printing and then collapse followed by reset. The fact of the matter is that since Chavez the economy has been thoroughly mismanaged. Oil production has plummeted ever since Chavez nationalized the oil company. Prior to Chavez they had an oligarchy and to correct that concentration, he created another type of concentration - state ownership which always leads to cronyism and it shows.

Having said that, Trump in the firm embrace of the neocons should not be interfering. In due time the people of Venezuela facing utter deprivation and economic collapse will get someone else who will come up with a different program. Getting failed magical thinkers like Abrams is stupid. But he got Bolton & Pompeo first which says it all. With the neocons epic failure is a feature not a bug.

Fred

Eakans,

Venezuela has so much oil that under Chavez's leadership it couldn't keep the state afloat on a sea of cash when oil was $100 a barrel. I wonder why.

Bill H

NBC News this evening went bannanas on Venezuela, presenting it as a very dicey situation and breathlessly waiting to see how things would look tomorrow, implying that Maduro would probably be overthrown by then. They presented a clip of Pompeo saying that Maduro's airplane was parked at the airport and that he was preparing to flee to Cuba until the Russians told him not to. Hilarious.

Mathias Alexander

Perhaps the Venezuelans will vote Maduro out at the next election. I don't think Random Guido would win though.

Alves

People that think that Venezuela is better off than Colombia need a reality check badly. If that were true, there would be no venezuelan refugees in Brazil or Colombia, and yet there are thousands of them living on the streets of both countries.

That said, I do not see how Brazil would end up involved in any military coalition to intervene in Venezuela`s internal affairs, despite hearing rumors (hope?) of something like that (together with Colombia) on CNN and FoxNews. The first obstacle is our Constitution, which has a non-interventionism clause and that allows wars only for self-defense. The second obstacle are our armed forces, which do not seem to want it (probably because they know we lack the capabilities) and the third obstacle is our Congress, that would have to approve it (putting aside the legal issues I already mentioned). The same thing would go for giving basing rights to the USA.

Gerard M.

Socialism is a natural reaction to the inevitable excesses of capitalism (state-sponsored usury). The root of the problem is not socialism but liberalism. Socialism is the pus that forms when the body gets sick from capitalism.

I am currently slogging my way through E. Michael Jones’ 1456-page “Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism as the Conflict between Labor and Usury”. It is mind-blowing, eye-opening, and life-altering and I recommend it to everyone. It’s a traditional Catholic take on economic history and Jones relies heavily on the work of German Jesuit, Heinrich Pesch, S.J. Jones has an abridged kindle-format of the book on Amazon titled, “Shylock's Ewes and Rams: Economics and Morality”.

notlurking

And were do you think the drop in oil prices came from....out of thin air...there was manipulation there also...

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