Friday, August 08, 2014

Open letter to Senator Mary Landrieu, of Louisiana

Dear Senator Landrieu

I am writing to you in respect of you accepting lobbying money to defend CITGO refineries in Louisiana. You have in an ill advised way blocked a US Senate bill that only aimed at putting some personal sanctions over some of the main culprits of human rights violations and drug traffic in Venezuela. Allow me to straighten you up.

First, whatever "protection" you may give Citgo, it is likely going to turn out to be a lousy investment. The dictatorial regime of Venezuela is planning to sell Citgo, to pay off the huge debts accumulated, to continue its rapacious corrupt nature, and why not, to get some more cash to buy repressive violent tools against its population. You can be assured that whenever Citgo is sold, a major adjustment plan will be needed and many jobs will be lost in Louisiana. Not to mention that Citgo today depends heavily on Venezuelan crude of low quality and thus may give up that dependency; while it gets new oil sources the new management will not have qualms in cutting down whatever needs to be cut down in Citgo.
Suitably dressed in chavista red

In short, the odds of you getting plenty of egg on your face are big. It does not matter how much you may help the Venezuelan dictatorial regime, this one will drop you as it wishes, as it has betrayed whenever convenient ANY political ally it has harbored.

Second, I do hope that you are aware that you are supporting a regime that was friend with Qaddafi, that supports Assad from Syria, that is supporting Hamas without any condition, that is antisemitic, homophobic and what not. And this I mention before I would start listing all of its human rights record, its violations of all legality in Venezuela, its dictatorial nature, that Venezuela has become under Chavez and his successor the main through-way for drugs going to the United States, etc. I hope that even the dumb staffer that advised you on such a position will redo his or her homework and come to grips about the price to be payed by your reputation for a few hundred jobs in Louisiana, which do not assure reelection to begin with. Because, dear Senator, you are supporting an avowed enemy of the United States.

Third, if the above rational, logical, public knowledge only missed by your staff but well managed by Patton Boggs who cashed hundred of thousand of dollars from Citgo giving you only 75,000 (how profitable for you is that?) is not enough allow me to give you the human touch.

I have been blogging for over a decade to denounce the Chavez regime in Venezuela. My blog is well known and even brought me to the attention of major communication networks. I am not writing this to brag, I am writing to let you know that I know what I am writing about and my credibility has been gained over a decade of coherence in my analysis. This is not a miffed letter like the one that could have been fired by a miffed constituent of yours.

Right now in Venezuela I am facing a deep personal crisis because my partner of 15 years has an incurable but somewhat treatable form of cancer. I cannot describe the excruciating toil that it is in Caracas to find adequate treatment, adequate help, to bring my debilitated partner to his appointments, to be afraid that any new hospitalization may bring us to bankruptcy, etc. All of this because the public health system of "socialist" Venezuela has failed and we have been forced to take expensive and yet limited private heath coverage. And this at a time where the deep mismanagement and corruption of the country has left it without cash reserves to even import basic medical supplies (and food, and spare parts, etc.)  Thus you will forgive my outrage when I learn that my government has spent 550,000 US dollars to lobby so that the corrupt officials of Venezuela could count on you to stop sanctions so that they can go to Disney World with their families this summer, or maybe for the more daring ones, Bourbon Street.

Senator, I am finishing this letter by letting you know that I am gay, Liberal, and I have even a French origin like you. In the my many years I lived in the US I did develop a strong liking to the country and its people. You do not seem to be like the people I knew and which I was intellectually close to. I lived in North Carolina when Jesse Helms was a Senator and somehow I suspect that for all the justified dislike I had for Helms, he would have never supported Venezuela today they way you are doing. Please, prove me wrong. Otherwise I will have to root for Bill Cassidy of which I know little. That is, he may be the worse homophobe from the Tea Party for all that I know, but in politics it is sometimes preferable to have an enemy you can predict than an unprincipled friend that can set you loose at any time.

It is up to you to correct your mistake. Just do it.


  1. I think Citgo officials must have threatened job cuts at the Lake Charles refinery. That refinery has been set up to handle Venezuelan extra heavy crudes. However, it doesn't have to buy Venezuelan crudes. What we have here is a simple case of Madurista strong arm tactics.

    Laundriieu has to focus on her voters first of all. So when faced by Citgo officer pressure then she punted. The question we have to ask is whether the Citgo claims were right. If they weren't then those Citgo officers were serving as lobbyists representing a foreign government. Or was the contact made by individuals who were properly registered as foreign government lobbyists?

    I would take this with patience. The hold doesn't block the bill from moving forward. Eventually it will go for a vote. We also have to consider the bill itself isn't going to achieve that much. So they can't get to Disney? Hell, they can't get to Disney right now. And the ones who could already moved their money to Europe or the Cayman Islands. Or maybe Aruba?

    I have written about this in the past, but here it goes again: the Venezuelan people don't understand very well they are now a Cuban dependency. This means putting pressure on a few Chavistas sitting in Caracas doesn't really hit their weak spot. The key is in Havana. And because the USA already has sanctions on that regime then the pressure has to shift to Canada and Brazil. Canada won't do much, they invest in Cuba, and send them wads of tourists. So this tells me the answer is Brazil.

    So what's left? Simple. Mobilize USA politicians to work on Brazil. That's a tall order. But it could get the chess board in the right shape. Anything else is fairly weak and meaningless.

    1. That is not the point. The point is that she caved in for the wrong reasons, because her staffers did not do good research, because she did not check on who financed Patton Boggs. A US Senator is subjected to higher standards, the more so when all of her other colleagues are on board with that bill.

    2. El Tejano and I are on the same wavelength. I used to live close to that refinery, and I know their work force and oil company power is what counts for La politicians. To them Venezuela is on another planet.

    3. Anonymous6:51 PM

      Keystone XL built and it's a non-issue for Citgo. This is the same type of crude oil as comes from Venezuela. They've already sourced Canadian heavy blend to replace Venezuelan because it is economically better for their Lemont, IL refinery.

  2. Boludo Tejano4:35 PM

    What else can you expect from a Louisiana politician?

    1. Boludo Tejano4:38 PM

      And a Democrat, to boot.

    2. Anonymous5:48 PM

      With an IQ below 70...

  3. Anonymous5:20 PM

    Well Done Daniel. Senator Landrieu's polls are in the gutter anyway. Eighteen years in the Senate is enough. She hasn't been concerned about what is Right for her constituents in years. I doubt she will correct herself. Time for her to move on.

    1. Did she not have a primary challenger? Or are Louisiana politics of the hereditary kind?

      At any rate, the idea of the Senate is to be an assembly of wise wo/men, of annalists, of people more interested on matters of state than state minutia. But all that has been killed by the imposed immediacy of modern media avid of headlines and scandals. Our loss... [sigh...]

    2. Anonymous6:54 PM

      Cassidy is her competition this year and stands a good chance to beat her.

  4. Boludo Tejano7:39 PM

    As an example of the fetid swamp that is Louisiana politics, consider the 1991 race for governor: David Duke, a Klansman , for the Republicans; Edwin Edwards, for the Democrats. Some campaign slogans for Edwards: "Vote for the crook, not the kook" and "Vote for the Lizard, not the Wizard."

    Edwards won in a landslide. He served 16 years as Governor, and later served 8 years in prison for corruption.

    David Duke made a pilgrimage to Damascus in 2005 to protest Dubya's evil policies in Iraq. Other politicians to make a similar pilgrimage to Damascus to tell the peace-loving Assad how evil Dubya's Iraq policies were: Nancy Peolosi and John Kerry. Birds of a feather....

  5. I remember how happy I was when I read our old Sheriff had been arrested for stealing. I used to joke it was an excellent training ground before we went overseas, we had to speak a foreign language, live in the swamps, fear the mosquitoes, deal with religious freaks, the KKK, corrupt cops and even had nice pot holes and power cuts. But I hear it's much better now that New Orleans has had some re arranging.

  6. Again a great post from the heart. I hope you and your partner will be able to work through all this disaster. Our prayers are with you in Toronto.

  7. Anonymous2:34 AM

    Democrats - Absolutely worthless.

    1. Anonymous4:32 PM

      Such a measured and reasoned response, Anonymous 8:04 PM. Bravo for the intellectual rigor it takes to lay out your position so eloquently.

  8. Boludo Tejano6:34 AM

    I lived in North Carolina when Jesse Helms was a Senator and somehow I suspect that for all the justified dislike I had for Helms, he would have never supported Venezuela today they way you are doing.

    True, that. Given the long-standing dislike Daniel has for Jesse Helms, expressed numerous times over the years, that is quite an admission.

    I don't share Daniel's dislike for Jesse Helms, but I never lived in North Carolina as Daniel did, so Jessee was just a distant voice in the paper for me. Not so for Daniel. I do recall some NC cousins chuckling about him, though.

    I suspect that you need some proximity to a pol to ratchet up a dislike. I have a strong dislike for former Senator Chris Dodd. There is some proximity: a cousin of Chris Dodd was in my high school gym class one year. A friend of mine ran against him one year- got swamped. Dodd was in the Peace Corps in Latin America. I was in Latin America as a worker and as a tourist. We formed different opinions on Latin America. Chris Dodd turned out just as corrupt as his Senator Dad, whom I met as a kid when he was campaigning.

    Daniel once wrote a praise filled eulogy for Ted Kennedy. In part because a childhood friend told me some tales from his having worked at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport one summer, I have great contempt for most of the Kennedy clan. Proximity breeds contempt.

    1. My, oh my! We do keep track, don't we.....

  9. Yngvar7:54 PM

    While the American civil war raged English cotton merchants urged the UK Government to send the Royal Navy to break the Unionist blockade. The cotton industry workers in Britain went on strike to protest against this suggestion. They'd rather lose their jobs than make a living on the backs of slaves. Doesn't the American workers at CITGO care about the very real human cost undergirding their paychecks?

    1. I bet they do not give a shit. Times have changed, there is that mortgage and cable TV bill to pay.

    2. Anonymous5:20 PM

      Yes we care!!! I work at CITGO and it provides me a job that I work hard at for my family. You don't want to bashed because your gay I don't want to be bashed for where I work. Think about the people in SW Louisiana who would be affected by this we are people too. PROTECT us Americans because this is America. My prayers are with the people in Venezuela

    3. To the incredibly courageous anonymous at 10:50

      I am sorry but you cannot win that argument. Citgo is a Venezuelan owned company and whatever happens there is going to affect me more than you. And let not me start about the economic crisis, the repression, the human rights violation, etc, etc.

      As for gay bashing. The Louisianan red neck you seem to be should know that gay bashing is the least of my concerns in Venezuela where I am at a much worse risk to die from crime, from lack of medicine, from epidemics, etc... amen of lack of work, lack of food, lack of personal hygiene items.

  10. Anonymous2:52 AM

    I am gay, I am gay. YES WE KNOW! You keep telling us five times a week every freaking week.

    French and gay, deadly combination, literally. Intellectual my ass.

    1. Oh what a tough mistress are thou homophobia when thy possesses us!

      (also rhymes with xenophobia but not with anonymous assholeness).

  11. Anonymous3:59 AM

    Sen Landrieu will regret this corrupt act. My relatives in Louisiana, among the Old Irish who arrived when the place was still Spanish to report for duty to Don Alejandro O'Reilly, will no longer support her, and the US Intel community and IRS are looking for a way to cash her in for taking money from allies of Fidel. She lost her moral compass years ago, putting it simply, she is history unless she relents and fast. Could wind up doing time like a certain Mr Jonathan Pollard who betrayed the interests of the USA to another country.


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