Friday, March 13, 2015

That South African feeling...

Unfuckingbeleivably there are those among the opposition that actually think we should condemn the US for the "sanctions" against a whole brunch of crooks and criminals. Apparently that opposition light, which I shall not mention at this time so embarrassed I am by them, would want us to support the regime in this particular issue, brandishing useless arguments like "avoiding" an enabling law that would "give more power" to Maduro. Apparently there are people that still are not aware we live under a dictatorship, a new type of course, but a tyranny nevertheless.

That a portion of the opposition is unable/unwilling to make a campaign stating the obvious, that the sanctions ARE NOT AGAINST Venezuelans, just against corrupt/human rights abusers Venezuelan officials, has to be considered as either mental laziness, sheer stupidity or outright corruption.

I am reminded that once upon a time there was that argument in favor of limiting sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa, that the people would suffer more than the whites, etc. Eventually it was ANC and the people that demanded tougher sanctions, that they were willing to put up with the consequences in the search for freedom. That was a courageous people! And in the end they won.

I would hate to compare Venezuela to South Africa, their epic being of a different nature. But comparison points abound. The Venezuelan regime is based on a political apartheid. Only those associated with the regime benefit from it. There is no justice for any side, which is an obvious suffering for the opposing side but also visible for the regime side as none inside can express any criticism under the risk of a worse fate than the actual opposition critic. The differences are also notable: at least the Afrikaners did run a solid economy that took years to be affected by the sanctions. Corruption in Venezuela goes beyond the pale as I cannot think of any regime in the past century that has been as corrupt as the Venezuelan one today.

But in the end the big difference is that we have a spineless leadership that is willing to put up with a lot as long as they can keep some of the chips. And a populace that the regime has learned to control though hand outs, something that the apartheid never truly could manage  because of its "racial superiority ideology" rather than the plain scoundrel ideology that drives our locals...

Today the opposition should be in unison demanding that more and more Venezuelan corrupt officials be pointed, no matter what the repressive risks are. Instead there is either a deafening silence or an actual support. Few have the guts to speak out, clear and loud. As long as we have leaders like Ramos Allup of Henri Falcon, and even Capriles that seems to wake up a little bit lately, but too late, we will never get rid of the tyranny. As long as the populace is willing to accommodate itself with long lines, murdered students, lack of medicine while refusing to talk real principles of universal equality, we have the fate we deserve.

I admire more than ever Mandela and his people.

PS: I, for one, thank Obama`s administration and demand that the whole list of sanctions is made public and expanded. I wish he had started earlier, but at least he has started.


  1. "And a populace that the regime has learned to control though hand outs.."

    Today's neo-dictatorships control their populaces much the same way the Chinese, Romans, Egyptians, French or Spanish did:

    1/ Proclaim that the leaders are direct descendants of Gods, Semi-Gods and in contact with with such deities, thus entitled to rule as they please. In our case, the uneducated and superstitious pueblo criollo is to believe that Chavez/Bolivar are Semi-Gods, in contact with Jesus and the Church through Maria Lionza and the Pajaritos, thus Masburrismo leaders today are entitled.

    2/ Oppression and violence, totalitarianism, repression. Public displays of force scare the malcontents, after they thinks the Semi-God appointees have the right to rule: For today's Islamic moslems, that means public stoning, cutting of hands and tongues or mass beheading. In Rome, you had public hangings, crucifixions, etc. The Nazis had all sorts of techniques. Our Chavismo/Masburrismo can only get away with firing people, police shootings, prison tortures, and such scare tactics.

    3/ You are correct: hand outs. Corruption, fake payroll checks, phantom jobs, special favors, apartments, entire bank accounts,, and good entertainment (free cable TV and electricity, novelas, Imperialismo movies..) What we called in Rome Bread and Circus.

    Problem now is there's not enough bread, since the uneducated Indians in power are so inept and so greedy, they can even come up with the bread. So even the millions of Enchufados getting the "handouts" mentioned here are getting pissed off.

    1. I think the term "Islamic Moslem" is the wrong usage. If you want to refer to a particular regime, ie Saudi Arabia, it's better to use the term Saudi or KSA. If you refer to radicals like Osama, I would use the term "radical Islamist". Many Moslems live in countries practicing democracy, and many are opposed to the radicals. I think Moslems in general tend to dislike Israeli policies, this sets up tensions and conflicts which lead to wars. The net result is islamophobia and blowback.

      The Venezuelan people fell victim to a unique set of circumstances. A charismatic populist communist allied with and mentored by Fidel Castro, one of the most evil dudes the planet has seen, a very incompetent political class, an oil price spike just in time to give Chavez an enormous cash flow he could mismanage and also use for handouts, incompetent usa presidents who were focused elsewhere, and an incredibly corrupt and venal group of leftist Latin American and Caribbean leaders who have looked the other way or helped the regime cover up its numerous crimes. These factors lined up, and that's it. I don't think venezuela has a future. It's destroyed, gone.

    2. Our lover of Mandela just can't hold himself in. It's good to know, I guess, that the problem, according to Daniel, is "uneducated Indians"

  2. Anonymous10:34 AM

    Mandala was really unique... educated and with a clear vision for the future of his country. I'm not sure the ANC will follow that vision actually - there hasn't been regular changing of those in power which leads to maladministration and corruption as the civil institutions are weak relative to party institutions. So the South African story is not finished, but he was an absolutely amazing figure!

    I think Maduro overstates how interested in Venezuela the US is. Except for occasional arguments with local venezuelans defending the regime (much less now!!) many American's may not really even know where Venezuela is, they are self-focused.

    The previous comment makes a lot of good points... What's impressive is that these tactics can work for the long run (Cuba etc) .

    1. Well, Mandela cannot be responsible for the short comings of his followers. That is the way, unfortunately, that history works.

    2. I think Maduro overstates how interested in Venezuela the US is.

      That has been true for a long time. Chavez liked think of himself as a "rival" to George W. Bush and Obama, so he would talk about the big bad U.S. President all the time. The U.S. President would hardly ever mention the name "Chavez" or "Maduro" because they aren't that important and contrary to the chavista propaganda, there is zero chance of a "yanqui invasion" because the U.S. military is focused on real threats to Americans.

    3. Venezuela must be important to the leaders of the US, he decided to declare a national emergency. The US tried mightily to prevent Venezuela from taking the seat in the Security Council. Venezuela does have all that oil...

  3. "I cannot think of any regime in the past century that has been as corrupt as the Venezuelan one today."
    For your consideration:
    North Korea
    Cambodia (under Pol Pot)
    East Germany
    Any government of the territory around the Congo River

    1. I am taking "corrupt" in the financial context, as in money corrupting all. Corruption agents in those countries are equally nefarious, or worse, but are based on something else than just cash.

    2. For sheer corruption? Venezuela under Chávez and Maduro.

    3. Greetings from the land of "too big to fail."

  4. Daniel, please, think this through. Venezuela has suffered long enough from outside interference. Whether US or Cuban doesn't matter, the results have been bad:

    Maduro’s “Paranoia” About U.S. Regime-Change in Venezuela
    by Jacob G. Hornberger March 12, 2015

    Good for the Venezuelan domestic opponents of President Nicolas Maduro. Although fiercely opposed to Maduro, they have come out publicly against President Obama’s meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs. According to the Washington Post,

    'Opposition leaders, who generally are close with the United States, said they rejected the use of unilateral sanctions. “We appreciate and are grateful for the support of the international community, but we neither want nor accept that any of its members take on roles that are ours to assume,” read their statement.

    ' “Just as we reject Cuba’s offensive meddling, we cannot support nor accept any other nation’s,” the statement continued. “This is a struggle among Venezuelans for Venezuela.” '

    That’s what I call a principled position, unlike the pure, good, old-fashioned hypocrisy that characterizes both U.S. officials and the U.S. mainstream press. (snip)

    Not to mention that sanctions violate the rights of Americans. Specifically the right to freedom of association. When the US govt thugs prohibit us from doing business with people who live under other thugs they exercise oppression here. It's none of the govt's business who we do business with.

    1. Yes it is.

      Corruption affects all parties, ALL.

      Never mind the failure of paying taxes, of violence implied in corruption (and its monetary cost in addition of lives), etc, etc...

      Whomever Hornberger is, he is full of shit, this is the same rehash of anti US argument that has been driving all sorts of corrupt regimes because they are anti US. That is enough justification for too many cowardly people that refuse to admit the failure of their ideas.

      I have been writing this blog for over a decade and NEVER have I found a solid argumentation on such arguments as you offer from Hornberger. When everything is said and done, we have a leftist anti US, or even worse, a naive flower child. I have yet to read a solid, credible, condemnation if the Cuban tyranny from such people. In fact they use the approval of some misguided opposition leaders as a way to indirectly justify the anti US link between Venezuela and Cuba for some "greater good" of their fertile imagination. In the end they do NOTHING to remove the Castros from their island warden position.

    2. Darren, on the other hand nobody is telling you not to visit Venezuela and start a business. As a matter of fact, I recommend it so you get a feeling for it. Move to a safe place, and be prepared to do business in ways you never imagined were possible. If you can, talk Sean Penn into becoming your partner.

    3. No one's right to 'freedom of association' in the US is being violated by these sanctions. It takes a lot of time, planning and international partners to steal as much as has been stolen from Venezuela. If some US bankers, who have benefited greatly from money-laundering stolen assets, wind up facing charges for their collusion with the minions of the dictator, I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep over it. Neither should you.

    4. Daniel, neither Hornberger nor myself are leftists we're libertarians. There's no rehash of anything here. There's no supporting of leftist dictatorships either. All we're saying is that countries shouldn't interfere with each internally. It may be tempting to seek outside help when dealing with Masburro but it will only come back to haunt Venezuela later. Supporting the US empire doesn't help us regain our liberty here either.

      Fernando, been there & done that except for the part about Sean Penn. Again I'm not a leftist.

      Rich, how is threatening people with force to stop them from associating with certain others not a violation of their rights?

    5. Darren

      There is that US tradition of isolationism . It has served nothing. In fact, in the end it helped promote imperialism .

      You may want to ignore the world but the world will not ignore you.

    6. Daniel,

      Isolationism or peacefully relating to the rest of the world? Let's chop down a few straw men. No one wants to ignore the rest of the world. What I want is peaceful commerce rather than conquest & manipulation. This isn't the promotion of imperialism but the opposite, the antidote to it.

      "Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.... "

      --John Quincey Adams

  5. Anonymous12:04 PM

    I would believe more that the "opposition" that remains silent under current circumstances, or speak up actually supporting these clowns are not opposition at all, but are only showing their true colors as bought and paid for plants injected into the opposition camp to keep them weak and indecisive. Nothing more...

    It is time for the opposition to clean house and go on a unified offensive, or as you pointed toward "Accept the fate you deserve."


  6. Anonymous12:57 PM

    "Unfuckingbeleivably there are those among the opposition that actually think we should condemn the US for the "sanctions" against a whole brunch of crooks and criminals."

    A quote for all time...great...says it all, and I agree with concerned...not all opposition are opposition


  7. Anonymous1:17 PM

    Can't wait for the Summit of the Americas! The clock is ticking.

  8. Anonymous1:22 PM

    What is interesting is that everyone is on a different tangent. We can expect that from the PSFs and communists but even our own side is off the mark. That is understandable because of the silence the US administration maintains. Daniel is on the ball and those that follow understand, the fundamentals are very different this time around and things are going to be different. Those who want to support the regime and those that want to write in support such as Glenn Greenwald and Greg Grandin are in for a very big surprise. Glenn has been a big dissapointment but to each their own. They just exposed themselves to the world for what they really are: naive, ignorant and anti-american.

  9. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Call it chicken shit, but to survive as a player in the public opinion battle sometimes you need to create some insolation between you and your enemies perceived enemy. Agree with Obama and the "traitor" label will stick enough to put you in jail. Wait a couple of news cycles and then start to highlight the corruption allegations.

  10. Anonymous2:22 PM

    “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

    [Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]”
    ― Harry S. Truman

  11. Charly3:58 PM

    Yes Mandela was unique, truly unique. I was living in Southern Africa when he became President and I go to South Africa at least once a year, so the difference is striking between Mandela and the clowns who followed him, Mbeki a bit of a lunatic with his theories about AIDS, Zuma a straight corrupt hood and little Maluma, scary as hell.

    One positive point however, they steal the money that comes their way but have interfered relatively little with private enterprise. So South Africa is still the largest sub-Saharan economy by far. How does that compare with Venezuela? Uhhh!

    1. Anonymous10:04 PM

      This is a good point. Aside from some of the tenderprenures who get rich on the bogus ANC contracts (Maluma I include here) a fair bit of SA business is left alone which is kind of incredible (though I could see that changing with labor groups as the leaders). Right next door we have Zimbabwe which is engaged in an entirely different approach around liberating land.

      But Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, there were some really very impressive leaders in SA history - I'm much more impressed by them than Maduro, Mugabe and many many of the Caribbean and LatAm leaders.

      But people do get to choose their leaders, and Chavez / Maduro were chosen, and few other systems work as well as elections. I just wish the opposition would focus on generating support for fair election and other issues and stop with the anti-us language.

    2. Charly10:14 PM

      non, these entrepreneurs, in RSA they call them "emerging businessmen". With those, the Rolls Royce is de rigueur.

  12. Anonymous7:43 PM

    Marxists always stick together no matter what ever until the boat sinks. All you have to do is profess to be a socialist and hate America and Israel and love Islam, and you are immediately welcomed to the club with open arms. Remember Idi Amin? Pol Pot? Stalin? Castro? Idiots like Noam Chomsky and the Hollywood moonbat brigade are still defending them and mitigating their evil deeds even today!

    1. Charles Lemos1:00 AM

      Venezuela isn't really Marxist. The regime's ideology is a means to end. Bolivia and Ecuador have socialist systems akin to Venezuela's though there are significant differences. Private property is largely respected in these. In Venezuela, the PSUV has used the state to coercively take over large sectors of the economy. Uruguay is socialist. It has none of these problems. Venezuela is a kleptocracy and its government may call itself "socialist" but it is anything but.

      As for Chomsky, he became disenchanted with Venezuela even when Chávez was still alive. In fact, much of the intellectual left has. At this point only the thuggish left supports the regime.

  13. "Corruption agents in those countries are equally nefarious, or worse, but are based on something else than just cash."

    Corruption. Yes. That's exactly the problem.

    Not only in Vzla, everywhere throughout history, heck, I was just reading how it brounght down the entire Ming dynasty, just to name one..

    CORRUPTION = THEFT of public monies.

    Don't waste your time thinking about fancy financial theories, macro-economic faux-pas, socio-political international tendencies.. it all comes down to mismanagement of public funds, especially on filthy rich countries like Vzla. Always. Brought down the Roman Empire.

    The only reason Europe and the USA and some nations like Chile or Uruguay work much better than disasters like Vzla, Cuba or Iraq is they are much less corrupted. They STEAL a much smaller percentage, and they give something back, even into EDUCATION and long-term infrastructure.

    But why? "Money is the root of all Evil?" Not really. It's Ignorance. Lack of education. You can't give too much gold to greedy Indians.

    Governments and people will always STEAL, especially when you're not stealing directly from people you see, (politicians steal from the system, bank accounts, papers.. not wielding guns to our heads). But when countries are led by the Elite, more educated officials, better systems are in place, there is more accountability, transparence, and most importantly, they have some sense of Morality left. To do the right thing. That's education. They are not greedy Nouveaux Riches like the Masburros and SatanDado's of this world. They already had some $ for generations. They steal a lot, lot less.

    Even after what we saw in the Swiss bank system. Sure, the are billions stolen there, and other big money laundry centers, but notice how the bulk of it comes from third-world nations, or comparatively speaking, smaller countries with less population than say the US or France or Even Greece and Portugal. (who are also in trouble because they also steal, but less)

    So it's a Character problem: CORRUPTION = Theft, due to the infirmities of the uneducated Human Character. You give Monkeys too many low-lying bananas and Mangoes, and there's nothing left in 5 minutes. Even the "police monkeys and the Gorillas in power get into the action.

    Only solution: that our species keeps on evolving, painfully slowly, with more technology and Education, until the moral character of the people improves, and they STEAL a bit less.

    1. Oh and this blog mentions a parallel with Africa.. Well, that's exactly where they steal the most: uneducated people with stupid religions and natural riches: classic recipe for disaster.

    2. Charles Lemos12:50 AM

      Venezuela even by Latin America standards has always been one of the most corrupt states. Even before oil, the country veered between instability and interminable dictatorship. But after oil, the country lived on its largesse. PDVSA was always the exception. It was remarkable well run until chavismo destroyed it. But in 1999 when Chávez took power, Venezuela was more corrupt than every other Latin American country save Haiti, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay and Honduras. Hardly an accomplishment. Today, Venezuela is far worse. It ranks 178th out of 190. Only Iraq, Afghanistan and ten African countries are deemed worse by Transparency International.

    3. Thought so, thanks for the info.

      We all know Vza was highly corrupt before Chavismo, which is why the infrastructure never improved, nor did the Education, during the AD / Copey decades. Therefore, the stupid populave was dumb enough to elect one of their own, Chabruto, almost as uneducated as your average criollo, so the mass Corruption went into overdrive.

  14. I am looking at the situation differently. The regime is responding two very different kinds of stressors. Internal stressors and external stressors, where internal stressors include those that stress the regime "internally" and erode the loyalty of those within the regime, and external stressors that can attack the regime "externally" by expressing opposition through political demonstrations, elections, international pressures, or economic activities that aggravate the decline of the economy.

    The USA sanctions that target corrupt officials creates internal stress on powerful people within the regime by blocking their escape should the regime fall. It means that as officials within the regime have to worry and make a choice. They have to decide how far they are willing to go in defending the regime, because going too far could place them danger of becoming international outlaws. As external stressors intensify as the economy implodes, the actions that the regime uses to control and resist the outrage will not be forgotten if the regime falls.

  15. Anonymous11:00 PM

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  16. Charles Lemos12:43 AM

    Perhaps your best post ever.

  17. Milonga9:42 PM

    Unfuckingbeleivably frustrating and infuriating! Great post Dano! And don´t forget unfuckingbeleivably Almagro is going to be voted as OAS Secretary General, killing all hope of putting some sense, to say something, in people´s heads. Please wake me up from this nightmare!

    1. Charly8:47 PM

      Yes this Almagro dude is running unopposed which to me confirms something I have now suspected for some time. GOTUS is scuttling the OEA with sheer inertia but scuttling it nevertheless. Why should they care about what the Latinos think politically when they know that the USA is the natural outlet to theirs exhortations others than natural resources. After Obama's intervention towards the Venezuelan Government, it is obvious they got them by the short and curlies. Only have to squeeze a tiny bit at a time. Ouch! This UNASUR, CELAC, whatever look like a bunch of teethless elders.

    2. Anonymous4:57 AM

      At this time Almagro is running uncontested and has about 20 votes for sure.

      Tomorrow is the day we find out.

      Anon 242

  18. Correct me if I am wrong but with these sanctions it empowers the USA to domestically and internationally (direct and not direct) do a lot of investigating into the inner laundering of the regime. Likely through the turned bodyguard's advise they selected these 7 in order to widen the net that will expose many more involved in the great Venezuelan heist and will be able to further expose them down the road.


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