Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bloomberg goes to the core of US sanctions to Venezuelan Officials

I was planning on translating the earlier post in Spanish over Obama's sanctions and the regime's reply. But the core of that entry was the message that the US sent to the rest of LatAm and Bloomberg makes a superb article on that. I certainly could not do better and it shows you that outside of the spineless opposition and brain dead but vicious chavismo there are people that clearly can see the bigger issues. Please read : Obama's wake up call to Venezuela's neighbors.ailities

There is only one thing I need to add, for the sake of avoiding extra posts.

Maduro last night announced yet another enabling law.  I have written often on the different enabling laws that have happened since Chavez came to office. NONE OF THEM has brought any good to the country, ALL OF THEM have ended up concentrating more power, more abuse capacities in the hands of the regime leadership. This new one termed something like "enabling law against imperialism" was under work for a long time and Obama's sanctions have ONLY affected the calendar for its publications. Maduro announced last night that he would request that new enabling law, a law that will be presented TODAY. That is, it was written and minor editing as to title, date and excuses were required for publication.

The regime feels that losing the control of the National Assembly in the next election is an almost certainty. To prepare for this eventuality they already packed last year all public powers with enablers of the regime, they started jailing and now they are starting to execute students that protest a tad too loud for the regime's delicate ears. And other measures are in preparation such as enabling laws that will probably include penal sanctions that will ease up the destitution of Assembly representatives as needed.

Some people should stop moaning that Obama is unnecessarily enervating the regime. I say grow up! This is a dictatorship! Get a grip! It does not matter when or how, a dictatorship by definition never takes on criticism. And the Venezuela which also double as a narco state is even less able to understand reason and logic.


  1. Charles Lemos7:59 AM

    Daniel, I'm sorry but no one, well no Latin American country, is going to come to your rescue. I read the Bloomberg editorial earlier. Here's their main point:

    " It will be up to his South American counterparts, more so than any U.S. representatives, to make the case that the harm caused by these sanctions is nothing compared with what Maduro is doing to his own people."

    After arguing for decades with the United States about the futility of the Cuban Embargo, why on Earth would Latin American governments somehow approve of sanctions against Venezuela? Moreover, our commercial interests come first. The Venezuelan people be damned. I'm sorry to be so blunt but apart from modest calls for dialogue and respect for the rights of conscience, no Latin American government is going to stick its neck out because when all is said and done, as reprehensible as this government may be it remains the legally constituted legitimate government of Venezuela.

    The view from Colombia is certainly one of lament but I will tell you that we are also adamant that we will not get involved because frankly no hay nada que hacer. Venezuela pase lo que pase y aunque estalle una guerra civil el gobierno colombiano jamás abandonaría al gobierno constitucional de Venezuela. Ningún país se va meter a crear antecedentes que después pueda sea aplicada en otra ocasión. La doctrina de la no intervención en los asuntos internos de otros países latinoamericanos es dogma sagrada.

    I don't care what Obama has to say to us. It's nothing that we don't already know. We are well aware of the corruption, of the nacro-state, of the human rights violations and we will look right past them and defend Maduro to the death. This is the reality.

    We'll ostracize the US and expel it from hemispheric meetings before we abandon any Latin head of state. This is not the 1960s anymore. The US does not tell us what to do and I'd be wary about enflaming Latin nationalism because honestly for most Latin Americans this is not a rational issue but an emotional one. As much as I personally dislike the chavista regime, I would never countenance a coup. It is not a precedent that I would want to see set. I feel the same way about indefinite terms in office. I oppose them. No question that Venezuela is an authoritarian state and one spiraling out of control but that is the fault of Venezuelans and their fault alone. It is not our problem to fix.

    1. Boludo Tejano3:43 PM

      el gobierno colombiano jamás abandonaría al gobierno constitucional de Venezuela.

      While the GOV abandons the constitution- a Chavista-written constitution- whenever it is convenient. Which is pretty much on a daily basis.

    2. @Charles what ever the USA motive is in any country it is the same with all countries, politicians are pure self serving. Obama and crew as would the Republicans or as I stated any other politician have their own motives and they have nothing to do with human values in Venezuela. As for neighboring politicians like Ecuador they were bought and paid for and have the hopes of more money from Venezuela if oil returns to $130 a barrel. Cuba conquered Venezuela without a shot had was set with its oil revenue to not only conquer all the poor countries of Latin America but Spain and onward. A major major shift in world elite.

    3. Charles Lemos6:14 AM

      Boludo, you're right but no Latin American government is going to see this way. Commercial interests will override political considerations. Venezuela owes Brazil $4 billion USD and Colombia about $2.5 billion USD. That's hefty cash. The first priority is to protect that investment. It's just reality.

    4. Charles Lemos: Are you offering a statement of fact or a prescription? Whether or not this is the (largely unconscious) mindset of most Latin American leaders they most certainly SHOULD wake up and take responsibility for what is going on in their backyard. Not to fix it, but to help, not hinder Venezuelans in trying to do so. No this is not the 60s, but neither is it the 90s or even the 00s. It is NOW. There is a regime in place that is more repressive in its way than anything that has ever been seen on the continent before. THEY are the ones that need to wake up from their time slumber.

  2. Charles Lemos, The US does not tell us what to do? Good...then I expect LA countries to remember that when they blame the U.S...when you place the blame you assume the power of the blamed.Usually it is only children who make the sort of statement " nobody tells me what to do" uncovering the underlying easily influenced nature...firepigette

    1. Anonymous2:08 PM

      For once I totally agree with you.

    2. The US does what it does because it is a superpower. If say Brazil became one too, it would also, out of necessity, adhere to the same superpower mentality. But mostly, it is the corrupt politicians of SA that enables the superpowers to act the way they do.

    3. Charles Lemos6:44 AM

      You do realize that I am being realistic. The US may get its way, and often has, because of might but publicly no LATAM government is going to criticize Venezuela with any vehemence. Privately is another matter.

      There is no question that the situation in Venezuela is a matter of concern and that Latin America generally may even agree with the US that Venezuela is a "security threat" but the public statements will be mostly supportive and at best express "concern".

      There is political perception and there's political reality. The reality is that the sanctions imposed on Venezuela are insignificant affecting not even 100 Venezuelans. Yet Maduro has played this into this grand plot against Venezuela and will get decree powers for the seventh time since 1999. Maduro has been in office just 24 months. He has had decree powers for half his term to date and is about to get another 12 months. Unfortunately the US played right into Maduro's hands creating a perception far different from the reality. Maduro may be an idiot but he's not dumb. He goaded the Americans into another round of sanctions by reducing the US embassy staff to 17.

      And the suggestion that Cuba is calling the shots in Venezuela is ridiculous. Cuba is a well-managed country. Venezuela is not. Venezuela is a kleptocracy and a narco-state. Cuba is far from this. And the fact that Cuba is seeking a rapprochement with US is indicative that Cuba is well aware that the Venezuelan path to socialism once Chávez died was over. We'll never know how Chávez would have handled the declining oil revenues and no doubt he turned a blind eye to the corruption around him within limits. But when Chávez died, that corruption became a feeding frenzy. Maduro lacks the power to control Diosdado Cabello. Chávez didn't.

    4. @Charles Maduro would have got decree powers anyways and why does he need them, he does anything he wants anyways. The whole USA angle is the Castros angle that they played for 50 years in order to justify the way people had to live as slaves within Cuba. As for Cuba being a well managed country it sure wasn't in the beginning. First goal is to get rid of all outside interference, companies etc, then allow crime and lack of resources to make the country as worse as possible, then introduce food handouts and basic services in order to look well managed and socially better as the populous will see little improvement instead of the catastrophe it is.
      The sanctions are designed two points; first to send a message that anyone making their fortune of Venezuelan corruption will need to pay and second to satisfy the USA populous especially in Florida that want to see this and are hearing the republicans lead the charge on action. Hence is the minimum action they can take within their own country in order to best satisfy all without actually interfering. Sure Maduro will play the USA card but would have anyways. The special decree powers are to take action against the crime that is over running his control..

    5. Charles Lemos5:26 PM

      Don't disagree with you on the decree powers. Democracy in Venezuela is a rara avis. The liberal republic (1958-1999) is the exception in Venezuelan history, not the norm. On many metrics, Venezuela has been the laggard among major LATAM countries. Venezuela was the last country in South America to effect a peaceful democratic transition doing so only in 1963. Even Bolivia accomplished this in the 1950s. Colombia did so in 1832. Between 1830 and 1870, a period of 40 years, Venezuela went through 25 presidents. Only nine of these were elected albeit in indirect elections. The rest came to power via coups or revolts. Eleven managed to serve more than a year.

      Then in 1870 came Antonio Guzmán Blanco who would rule until 1887 either directly or via puppets. For much of his presidency he governed by decree and from Paris via telegram. The next 12 years would see nine different presidents. In 1899 begins the Cipriano Castro Ruiz and Juan Vicente Gómez era than would last until 1935 (from 1899 to 1945, Venezuela would have but five presidents, all dictators) In the realm of Latin American caudillos, Castro stands atop with Bolivia's Manuel Mariano Meglarejo, as the most inept. It was during the Castro dictatorship that the Guyana Crisis of 1902 erupted leading to an Anglo-German-Italian blockade of Venezuela. He also managed to get into a war with the Dutch. In 1908, Castro went to Paris for medical treatment and was overthrown by Juan Vicente Gómez. Gómez has the distinction of creating Latin America's first police state.

      I could go on but the point is this: Venezuela has historically been the most backward country in South America, poorer than Bolivia and Paraguay, until the discovery of oil in the 1920s. Politically, it has waxed and waned between periods of incredible instability or long-standing brutal dictatorships, including the most brutal anywhere in Latin America until Pinochet and Videla.

      The liberal republic from 1959 to 1999 is the one short-lived period of democratic governance. Even so, there were two coup attempts during this period and two interim presidents. Compared to the other larger LATAM countries, Venezuela has suffered greater levels of corruption and political nepotism in the late 20th century. COPEI and Adeco governed the country as a modest kleptocracy. Chavismo governs the country as a reckless kleptocracy. Its return to caudilloism now is nothing but a return to the norm that has governed Venezuela since its inception.

      While much of Latin America has been able to escape its past, Venezuela has not and this has nothing to do with Cuba. It has everything to do with character, or lack thereof. If oil is the devil's excrement, then Venezuela's political class are maggots engorging themselves on said excrement.

      If Venezuela is to break with its past, it is people like Daniel who have to stand up and fight for a way out. It will not come from elsewhere. Revolutionary change, Chalmers Johnson wrote, is a ultimately a change in values. Until the Venezuelan people stop believing that the state and its assets is a piggy bank to be pilfered, Venezuela and Venezuelans by and large will continue to lag behind the rest of the continent.

    6. Boludo Tejano5:56 PM

      Charles Lemos
      Cuba is a well-managed country.

      No doubt that the Castro brothers have been adept politicians to keep a country under totalitarian control for over a half century. Regarding how well the Castro bros have been stewards for the well-being of Cuba, I suggest you read Renaissance and Decay: A Comparison of Socioeconomic Indicators in Pre-Castro and Current-Day Cuba.. As this paper was written in 1998, some of the data is outdated. For example, food supply in Cuba has jumped back to what it was during the days of the Soviet sugar daddy, thanks to the arrival of the Chavista sugar daddy. But overall, the picture is accurate today.

      Your point that the Fourth Republic was a democratic interlude in the overall military rule of Venezuela is a point well taken. Commenter Kepler has made the same point.

  3. Anonymous2:22 PM

    We elect the National Legislative Assembly the same way we elect the President. Both have exactly the same legitimacy and are equally representative of the Will of the People. The fact that we vote for the two powers of the state separately means that there is separation of powers. People who defend the Executive against a possible coup, and do not defend our legislators when they are illegally thrown out the Assembly, or even put in jail, are simply hypocrites. It is like saying that a coup against the President is bad, but a coup against the legislature is OK (as in passing an illegal enabling law).

  4. "Nicolas, are you requesting the Enabling Law to make soap, nappies and medicines appear, to lower inflation?" satirized opposition leader Henrique Capriles. "It's another smokescreen."

    Starting to like Caprilito a bit more..

  5. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Venezeula is nothing but a joke - really. Sad but nobody seems to care.

    1. Clarify what you mean when you call Venezuela a joke... Chavez conquered a republic government through buying the poor's votes which the country is majority poor. This was allowed as democratic process enabled him to corrupt positions to conquer. This will happen in any country that has a majority ignorant populous as someone promises and those who receive cannot foresee or understand the consequences. As I said the Castros using Chavez and Maduro were set to use this same money to attempt to do the same in much of Latin America and Spain. Once you rape the lands for money and wealth is no longer a desire as in what Chavez and Castros have done then your desires become power and all those beneath you are simple objects of which these elite have no care.

  6. Anonymous7:26 AM

    Charles Lemos, Cuba is not a well managed country. Cuba is the basketcase of the Caribbean alongside Haiti. Please, where else do people jump into shark infested waters to escape? GET FUCKING REAL

    1. Dominicans raft to Puerto Rico and Haitians raft to wherever, Cuba included.

    2. Dominicans raft to Puerto Rico and Haitians raft to wherever, Cuba included.

    3. Boludo Tejano8:32 PM

      Eugene, let's put this in historical perspective. Before 1959, Europeans immigrated to Cuba. Today, Cubans flee on raft. You claim that Cuba today is similar to to Haiti and to the Dominican Republic. A Cuban in the 1950s would have been appalled to have his country compared to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. A quick comparison of Life Expectancies for these 3 countries will show us how these countries compared to each other back then.
      Life Expectancy, 1950-1955
      Cuba 62.4
      Dominican Republic 49.9
      Haiti 40.7
      Cuba's Life Expectany in the 1950s was 21.7 years greater than that of Haiti, which is a rather good indication of the absurdity of claiming in the 1950s that "Cuba's similar to Haiti," a claim which you make today. Cuba's Life Expectancy tin the 1950s was 12.5 years greater than that of the Dominican Republic; today, the difference has narrowed to 6.5 years. These figures for Life Expectancy indidate that Cuba in the 1950s was markedly more advanced than Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

      That you would compare Cuba to Haiti- which then and now has been the poster child for "failed state"- and to the Dominican Republic today shows how far Cuba has fallen in the last half century.
      CEPAL/ECLA stats

  7. Anonymous7:30 AM

    "And the suggestion that Cuba is calling the shots is ridiculous...."

    you sound like a little kid, Charly Lemos. Say something new that we dont know. Enlighten us but dont bore us with your bullshit.

  8. Anonymous7:31 AM

    "Maduro lacks the power to control Diosdado Cabello. Chávez didn't."



  9. Anonymous7:41 AM

    Eva Golinger's pulling in some good numbers with yesterday's interview. It's not a lot but for it's good:



    Rodney King

  10. In the past, what could have happened is that the US would send some organizers to Venezuela to organize the opposition, provide them with money and weapons as well as information and various resources. The opposition would eventually overthrow the government.

    The problem historically with this is that the people who are good at this type of "organizing" tend to be true believers or people who tend to have few ethics other than to achieve their mission. Therefore, such people are difficult/almost impossible to keep track of and control. This has caused problems where politicians in the US are blamed for the actions of the regime changing organizers.

    Second, picking opposition to help has been problematic. The opposition leaders that have been picked have sometimes been picked mainly due to the fact that they are seen as effective and usually because they are pro-US and or anti-communist or anti-socialist. This does not necessarily make them good leaders for their country. Given these issues, and the fact that the cold war against the Soviets ended, these tactics have been abandoned. Instead, the US has tried to use sanctions to achieve it's ends. The problem with sanctions is that if country being sanction has a ruthless and reasonably competent (in keeping power) government, sanctions alone are unlikely to cause regime change.

    Given past US tactics, the pro-socialist Latin America politicians especially have been fanning the flames against the US for decades citing past abuses and patriotic values. This makes it difficult for the US to accomplish much diplomatically.

    If the US elects a pragmatic, competent and honest politician to replace Obama, what can he do about Venezuela should it continue to slide? I don't have any good ideas about that other than to continue to tighten sanctions on individuals in Venezuela. The US could reasonably easily find opposition politicians in Venezuela to back and then go in militarily to overthrow someone - but this is not really any more a feasible option that anyone will try.

    I agree with the other posters who don't think anyone in other surrounding countries will do very much. I think change has to come from within Venezuela. What Venezuela needs are a few strong and lucky opposition leader who are not afraid and will risk assassination and death. They have to organize and win elections and if that becomes impossible due to corruption of the election process, they have to organize protests and eventually overthrow the government. There is nothing easy about it.

    The alternative is that Venezuela continues to slide, inflation mounts, corruption grows and dissatisfaction becomes so great that the government will eventually fall. The problem is that if it simply crumbles this way, what replaces it might be little better.

    Finally, Venezuela has created a welfare/government assistance mentality that people deserve and are entitled to much of what they need to live from the government and that this wealth should come from oil revenues. This will be a huge monkey on Venezuela's back going forward. Anyone moderate who gets power in Venezuela will end up making those with the welfare mentality more and more angry - given that they will get less and be asked to work more. They won't like it because they believe that the oil revenues should provide them with what they want with little effort on their part. Those people who have such an attitude are going to be a huge problem for Venezuela's future.


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