Monday, June 15, 2015

Cabello's adventures, or when the US of A pays its failed foreign policies

WSJ front page narco national assembly chair Diosdado Cabello was on quite a grand tour this past week. Before we run into all sorts of speculations let's look at the pictures and then stick to the bare facts of the situation. You'll find out, I trust, that things may not be as complicated as you may think.

The little friends Diosdado went to visit were the ones from Brazil: ineffable Lula who has helped actively the red corruption spread all over the continent and,

All smiles, presents exchanged, luncheon awaiting in the back.
The HSBC 14 billion man, the Memsalao/Petrobras man and the NarcoCapo man

the woman that replaced him and who barely managed reelection, that is deeply challenged with the Petrobras corruption scandal, but that is also aware that Venezuela is to Brazil a little bit what Greece is to Europe.

Don't we all just look presidential, don't I just hold unto that hand for my dear life!
And can't we all have a faker smile?

Then after a stopover in Caracas where supposedly Diosdado informed a bed ridden Maduro (he missed a trip to the Vatican because, hold tight, he had an ear infection) he surprisingly flew to Haiti from where we got this pictures all smiles out with Thomas Shannon of US Executive Branch and Co., presumably a different branch than Judicial Power and Co.

It seems that the ones in the middle can smile more openly as they may be more clueless? 
Let's look at the facts/obvious-questions now, in no particular order.

How is it possible that a high ranking US officer meets publicly, and friendly, with someone that the justice of his country is investigating on several counts of drug trafficking and assorted racketeering activities? Is it even conceivable that Haiti president could, say, entrap Shannon in Port au Prince to talk to Diosdado Cabello?

Even if we make plenty of room for the amorality of Lula and Dilma, do they need to be seen so close to Cabello at this point?

If in Venezuela there is separation of power, how come Maduro sends as his special emissary the chair of the National Assembly when he has a foreign minister who is supposed to do those things? The seat is not vacant, she was the woman in the picture in Haiti even if we all know she counts for nothing, but I digress.

Obvious questions out of the way, a few facts.

Venezuela owes a lot of money to Brazil. In fact with all that Venezuela owes to Brazil, Colombia and to a lesser degree to other LatAm countries a Venezuelan default could be enough to trigger a financial meltdown of possible dire consequences, not only local. On this Fidel taught Chavez well: indebt yourself so much to them that they will always go to the bargaining table no matter what you do (Greece is doing that by the way, and look for Spain doing that anytime soon as the PSOE is caving much faster than expected to PODEMOS, but I digress again).

For the US, the price of years of neglect on Venezuela is heavy. While George Bush went on to nothing in Iraq he was too happy to have Chavez not only keep up oil supply to the US at war, but also prop up the Caribbean and Central American economies. Now the carpet has been pulled off under the US feet and no matter what the GOP Congress says and no matter how people criticize Obama's Castro opening, the US needs to do something about the whole mess. Because if the US does not find a way to prop up a collapsing Cuba and a Caribbean deprived of oil money support it can see a million or more illegal immigrants any time soon. Very soon.

And there is also the collapse of Venezuela which, due to possible local violence and narco state condition, could send waves of illegal immigration to Colombia and to the US. Amen of destabilizing Colombia.

And speaking of Venezuelan collapse, it is clear that Maduro has no control of the situation. He may have some power but whatever power he has is not enough to do something about the sinking ship. Whomever has some power in Venezuela is the army and this one needs a spokesperson as it is obvious that neither Lula nor Dilma nor the US can speak directly with a green fatigue goon.

Those are some of the reasons that have pushed the US (and Europe) to seat down and talk to Raul and Fidel and now it is time to sit down with someone inside Venezuela and force Brazil to also sit at the table.

To talk about what?

We enter speculation here. However if you see what I wrote above then you surely will agree at least in part with the following: no matter how repulsive Diosdado Cabello is, no matter what evidences are already stacked against him in court, he is the only person that Brazil and the US can talk with. There is no other possible intermediary, country or person. At least as I type this. Brazil, the US and Cabello have three sets of diverging interests but they need to find an agreement somewhere because the three of them could lose a lot.

Cabello can go to jail. As simple as that. But he represents the narco state, at least a large sector of the army, and he can negotiate enough scapegoats for a smooth transition that would include himself being president for a while and maybe some light jail term through a Venezuelan court later on that would allow him to finish his days "honorably". He can always hope anyway. One thing I am sure he knows is that holding to power as a narco thug is going to get him killed not by the US but by other narco thugs he will cross.

Brazil can lose a lot financially. But Lula also risks to lose a lot of the influence he established across Latin America though a Venezuelan collapse. His Foro de Sao Paulo could be revealed for the fraud it always was, his Nobel escape. Dilma is probably more concerned about the cash in a time of trouble for her but the end result is the same for both of them and the Brazilian lenders: you are going to have to accept to lose some if you want to avoid to lose a lot. That negotiation is starting.

For the US it is of course how to avoid a debacle in the Caribbean for which they have only themselves to blame after, oh, 60 years of way more failures than successes in the area. To which you add less than stellar LatAm policies. At least this time around they have found a reluctant partner to share the burden in Brazil even if it means possibly the final loss of South America as a privileged sphere of influence for the US. But in foreign policy you always pay for your mistakes.

A final note. Considering the debacle in Venezuela, food and medicine wise, the only two countries that can supply the big deficits coming to Venezuela are indeed Brazil and the US. I suppose that part of the negotiation is also going to be around that, on how the US and Brazil are going to be willing to help but bypassing the usual Venezuelan corruption route. And of course, one way to do that could to use those that are already rich enough, people like Cabello...

A master class of despicable realpolitik.


As a an end bonus for those who can manage some Portuguese this blog from Veja in Brasil, the noted magazine unforgiving of political malpractices of Lula and Dilma "O amigo Narco de Lula, um sujeito que se julga acima das leis". (Lula's narco friend, a guy that thinks himself above the law)

Beard and Hair (bad pun). Only the one of the Moustache was missing,
but he was repressing opposition in Venezuela


  1. I don't buy the argument that fear of illegal aliens from the Caribbean supports Obama's rather obtuse foreign policy. I see an emerging Venezuelan willingness to toss Cubans into Castro's grinder, there's a strange connection to Israel lobby higher ups, who are also working hard to shaft the Cuban people. What is this, an alliance between Venezuelans and the neocons? What is it supposed to achieve?

    1. It is not the lone argument, but it it is a big one. If Cuba restrictions are lifted and economic pinches spread through CARICOM you can see easily a couple of million extra trying to make their way north.

    2. I hope so. We need more immigrants into the USA.

    3. Daniel, I don't think you get it. Cuba has nothing to do with Caricom. You also need to learn a bit about rafting in the open ocean. Taking a raft from northern Cuba is really risky, taking a boat from Jamaica and getting around the USA coast guard is nearly impossible.

  2. David Corn9:50 AM

    JA JA JA y ustedes que creian que Obama los iba a ayudar. Obama es tan bolche como Maduro y los Castro. La lista de narcos publicada hace unos meses fue un error burocratico.
    Obama saco a Cuba de lista de paises terroristas porque? no porque los Castro han cambiado sino porque son hermanos ideologicos. Y asi mismo va a desaparecer esa lista de narcos porque Cabello y Maduro son hermanos ideologicos.

    Adios muchachos y buena suerte consiguiendo papel higienico o apredan de los hindues y usen los dedos.

    1. Siempre es interesante leer comentarios esclarecedores y constructivos. Gracias.

    2. Anonymous12:40 PM

      Si vale, la madurez e inteligencia le brotan por los poros al Sr. Corn.......

      Anon 242

  3. Brazil's Luladron, Diablodado and the new Mega-Thug from Haiti, what a wonderful picture!

    Look at this Michel, a freaking carnival singer, what a Mega-Thug !!

  4. Charly10:21 PM

    Rumor mill in full swing (or is it full revolution):

  5. Anonymous11:26 PM

    Nothing happened except strengthen U.S. resolve. Before they where assuming narcotics indictments would not see light of day. Now they probably will indict Diosdado for sure and if no headway made, unseal the indictment(s). I really think brother David is going to be rolled up and Adan Chavez too.


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