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There is a reason why the socialist government of Venezuela is (and has been) in the crosshairs of the international neo-liberal cartel.  What Chavismo has been able to accomplish in Venezuela if allowed to stand, it would represent one of the most serious ideological challenges to the U.S.-led international Neo-liberal agenda.

That is why the U.S. is currently engaged in a clandestine destabilization campaign against the Venezuelan government, in collaboration with Venezuelan oligarchs and right wing extremists.  And that also explains the almost-comical (but not funny) massive propaganda campaign we're being subjected to here in the U.S., when it comes to the current situation in Venezuela.

To illustrate how grotesque and woefully transparent the U.S. propaganda against the Venezuelan government is, I'll use two recent examples.

Here's the pablum published by The New York Times today: "Response From Latin American Leaders on Venezuelan Unrest Is Muted."

The United States may finance civil society groups in the region, but it would be a stretch to attribute last year’s huge street protests in Brazil, the indigenous protests in Bolivia or the police uprising in Ecuador in recent years to American “imperial interests.”

~ SNIP ~

Other countries that have benefited from Venezuela’s “petro-politics” — with favorable energy deals doled out across Central America and the Caribbean — have been silent or have backed Mr. Maduro. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, a close ally who is allowed to buy Venezuelan oil on favorable terms, has spoken publicly several times to support Mr. Maduro and to accuse the United States of trying to destabilize Venezuela.

I read that article (written by Damien Cave) a couple of times just to make sure I soaked in all its manifest (and historical) mendacity and shallowness.  The authors' conflating the protests in Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador with the situation in Venezuela (for some reason) reminds me of the type of strawman logic I often see displayed by pro-establishment trolls here, but I digress.  

It's interesting that the author's title points to a "muted" response by Latin American leaders to the current unrest in Venezuela, while attributing actual responses (i.e., Bolivian president Evo Morales) to "petro-politics."

Another propaganda hit piece can be found at The San Francisco Chronicle: "Venezuelan violence has roots in obscure incident."

The violent protests that have roiled Venezuela's major cities and challenged its socialist government have their roots in a little-known incident on a college campus in a city far from the capital.

Just over a week before the Feb. 12 opposition rallies across Venezuela, students at the University of the Andes in San Cristobal in the border state of Tachira were protesting an attempted rape of a young woman on campus.

The students were outraged at the brazen assault on their campus, which underscored long-standing complaints about deteriorating security under President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez.

Those are the first three paragraphs of the article... Hopefully the banality and absurdity of the "analysis" provided by the writer, AP's Vivian Sequera, is obvious enough to the reader that I won't have to elaborate any further.

Now, after that painful example of outright propaganda, let's examine information provided by people who are really interested in providing accurate information.  Let's start with excellent analysis by Jerome Roo of Roar Magazine: "Venezuela: it’s the opposition that’s anti-democratic."

[ ] The protests in Venezuela are orchestrated by the right-wing oligarchy. Let’s get the facts straight: plenty of Venezuelans are taking to the streets with legitimate grievances about violent crime, high inflation and food shortages — and there is no doubt that the Venezuelan riot police are indeed behaving violently towards many of these protesters. All police brutality should be roundly condemned. The people of Venezuela should be allowed to freely express their indignation in public without fear of repression. But it bears emphasizing in this respect that at least two of the protesters’ main grievances have been deliberately escalated by the oligarchic elite itself: through extensive hoarding and smuggling of consumer products (giving rise to shortages and fueling price inflation) and massive speculation on the foreign currency market (pushing down the Bolívar and feeding into further inflation). This is precisely the type of economic warfare that the US-backed Chilean opposition drew upon prior to the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973.

Moreover, even though the protests initially began as a student mobilization on Venezuela’s national Youth Day (February 12), they have in the past week become effectively subsumed under the leadership of the most right-wing section of the opposition alliance, Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), led by Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo López. As the firebrand leaders of the most anti-democratic faction of the oligarchic elite, López and Machado have been actively calling for the overthrow of Nicolas Maduro’s democratically-elected government and have urged the continuation of violent protest until he resigns. In the last 15 years, these people have shown themselves to be intent on restoring their class privilege at any costs, even if it requires casualties among the general population. They are deliberately fueling violence and social unrest in order to delegitimize and oust the government.

He goes on to report about the tens of millions of dollars U.S. right wing organizations ($45 million) and the Obama administration (earmarked $5 million) have provided to the opposition in financial support, "not to mention the secret ties that undoubtedly exists between the opposition and the US intelligence community. "

But the most important part of his report, when it comes to why Venezuela is seen as a threat by the corporate-controlled U.S. government, is this:

[ ] The democratic credentials of Maduro’s government are not in question. The US-backed opposition, which is now openly calling for Maduro’s salida (exit) considers his government “illegitimate”. This is absurd, because even judging by the limited standards of liberal constitutionalism, the democratic legitimacy of Maduro’s administration is unsurpassed. In 15 years, the United Socialist Party has won 18 elections and lost only one. Venezuela’s electoral system has been described by former US President Jimmy Carter — who has observed elections in 92 different countries on all continents — as “the best system in the world.” Just two months ago, in December 2013, the government won 76% of all local municipalities in midterm elections and decisively defeated the opposition, led by the “moderate” Henrique Capriles, by more than 10 percentage points. Much more than this, the government has been actively working together with grassroots movements to create one of the world’s most vibrant experiments in direct and participatory democracy, giving rise to thousands of communal councils, hundreds of communes and tens of thousands of worker-run cooperatives. In no other country in the world is citizen participation in politics and the economy as actively stimulated by the state as it is in Venezuela.
Now, before I go on to make my final point, let me acknowledge that perhaps Maduro's government is making a number of mistakes as he deals with the crises, and that I don't condone the violent suppression of peaceful protesters.

But here's the thing... When it comes to direct participatory democracy, communal councils, and worker-run cooperatives, if those institutions are allowed to flourish in such large numbers in a country like Venezuela, their success would represent a clear threat to the system of neo-feudal control the international neo-liberal cartel have put in place during the last several decades.

And I'm not talking about far-away lands.  I'm talking about right here in the "homeland."  As the brutality and exploitation caused by the wholesale takeover of our institutions by corporate cartels increases, more and more people are beginning to look for alternatives, for ways of getting the corporate fascist boots off their necks.

And as people begin to look for alternative systems, they are realizing that communal councils and workers-run cooperatives may meet their expectations (and needs).  A good source of information about this topic is democracy at work:

There has been no greater example of Worker Self-Directed Enterprise than in the Basque region of Spain. In a small town still reeling from the Spanish Civil War, Catholic priest José María Arizmendiarrieta introduced collective cooperative enterprises. These have grown, multiplied, and integrated themselves (now 85,000 members strong) into the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation.

Cooperative movements, big and small, have contributed to a modern society in which collectivity is involved in everyday life. From the industrial giant Mondragon to the microfinance organization Grameen Bank, to the local credit union or grocery cooperative, hundreds of millions of people choose to collaborate collectively and cooperatively with one another. From national legislation to grassroots organizing, the local has become global to the extent that the United Nations declared 2012 to be the Year of the Cooperative. If history serves as any guide to the present Economic Crisis, global capital will do what it can to assuage the minimum of working class concerns while preserving the larger capitalist structure. As Mondragon and Argentine factories and Chicago’s New Era Windows have shown, capitalism’s recurring crises provoke workers to remember, revive, and rebuild alternative, non-capitalist enterprises. Now more than ever, the opportunity exists for a major step forward for Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises as a creative, positive alternative to capitalism’s failures and those of governments to prevent or overcome capitalism’s latest deep crisis. Democracy at Work aims to help achieve that forward step.


The other day I had a long conversation with a worker-owner of a business here in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I was actually on site watching the entire operation, how they interacted with customers... I was very impressed with not only the quality and professionalism they demonstrated, but with how much they believed in the worker-owned cooperative concept.  And with their sense of activism when it came to their interest in encouraging other people to do the same.

Again, when it comes to the current neo-feudal system we're living under, enforced by the mind-numbing effects of corporate state media conglomerate propaganda and an increasingly oppressive security surveillance state, collectivism (and democratic socialism) could very well provide the pathway to freedom and democracy.


And that's why, both, supra-national corporations (and their puppets in government), and the Venezuelan oligarchy have the Venezuelan socialist experiment in their crosshairs--and because of the oil, of course.

Given the (reported) widespread popular support of the current government in Venezuela, and most importantly, the widespread expansion of communal councils and (tens of thousands of) workers-owned cooperatives, I don't think the Venezuelan oligarchs and the U.S.-led clandestine operations against Chavismo are going to succeed.

 


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Market For The People |Ray Pensador | Email List | Twitter | Facebook

Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues.  Their tactics include casting aspersions (attack on the reputation or integrity), and ad hominems, where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people.  They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies.  A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption."  Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll.  Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them. [Image credit: Jacob Bøtter from Copenhagen, Denmark]
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  •  Tip Jar (163+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976, LieparDestin, Pluto, reflectionsv37, roseeriter, artisan, markthshark, marina, bobdevo, irate, bluedust, nuclear winter solstice, banjolele, DRo, a2nite, cordgrass, Russ Jarmusch, DKBurton, TheMomCat, pioneer111, Zadatz, Unitary Moonbat, maryabein, arlene, lostinamerica, golem, run around, Rachael7, Mostel26, FrY10cK, onionjim, cybrestrike, Grandma Susie, mickT, Kingsmeg, Blueslide, PhilK, citizenx, dharmafarmer, Paul Ferguson, unfangus, rapala, SphericalXS, corvo, ypochris, daveygodigaditch, shaharazade, gnothis, johanus, pat bunny, karmsy, Haningchadus14, lcrp, lotlizard, Halfton81, JusticeSeeker68, Sandino, Justus, countwebb, Gowrie Gal, rmonroe, opinionated, Dianna, whizdom, ichibon, TracieLynn, The Hindsight Times, zerelda, Joieau, red ear slider, WheninRome, RFK Lives, humphrey, janemas, side pocket, timethief, BigAlinWashSt, LillithMc, Deward Hastings, letsgetreal, GAS, Hirodog, quill, Shockwave, madgranny, BusyinCA, mookins, New Minas, DeadHead, claude, martini, cailloux, Rhysling, Things Come Undone, unclejohn, Wreck Smurfy, Brecht, Barbara Marquardt, Mr Robert, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, MartyM, houyhnhnm, Galtisalie, One Pissed Off Liberal, devis1, poliwrangler, The Free Agent, eru, bobatkinson, hotheadCA, filby, lunachickie, Al Fondy, turdraker, randallt, Cofcos, Habitat Vic, akze29, Anastasia Castro, Betty Pinson, FarWestGirl, Sharkmeister, tegrat, Pablo Bocanegra, historys mysteries, Jackson L Haveck, Laconic Lib, Johnny Q, amparo fan, Lily O Lady, Miss Jones, dharmasyd, kevinpdx, blueoregon, rat racer, enhydra lutris, Take a Hard Left, maggiejean, decisivemoment, Garfnobl, apimomfan2, AliceNYC, Ironic Chef, cpresley, your neighbor, thomask, Jeff Y, peachcreek, Nulwee, Cassiodorus, JVolvo, priceman, walkshills, blueoasis, kdnla, Indiana Bob, pcl07, LeftHandedMan, catilinus, goodpractice, bunsk, gerrilea, 420 forever
  •  Great diary Ray (63+ / 0-)

    thanks for your work. I would be interested in your take on the Ukraine events.  The US/Neo-Cons have been meddling there for years, most recently led by Victoria Nuland former foreign policy advisor to Cheney, and then as an Obama State Department spokesperson. Nuland is also the wife of Robert Kagan, co-founder of the Project for A New American Century.  

    In an eight minute, 46 second speech at the National Press Club sponsored by the US-Ukraine Foundation, Chevron, and Ukraine-in-Washington Lobby Group, Nuland boasted that Washington has spent $5 billion to foment agitation to bring Ukraine into the EU. Once captured by the EU, Ukraine will be “helped” by the West acting through the IMF. Nuland, of course, presented the IMF as Ukraine’s rescuer, not as the iron hand of the West that will squeeze all life out of Ukraine’s struggling economy.
    O' how the rich love their wars.

    If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

    by LieparDestin on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 02:56:16 AM PST

    •  Two things that have never gone well together (18+ / 0-)

      Democracy and nationalized oil reserves.

      Every country that has done this has become incredibly corrupt and decidedly anti-democratic. The ruling party becomes quite invested in the wealth it is personally accumulating at the expense of the country, and does what it can to cement its rule. It took almost sixty years to oust the PRI from power in Mexico and in their death throes, the PRI stole an election or two by outright fraud in the vote count. Chavez and Maduro have actually created an even greater stranglehold on the media, They have also done more to sabotage those in the opposition that have won elections than the other way around, including most famously ransacking the city hall in one town and appropriating all the city-owned vehicles.

      You might want to justify what Chavez and Maduro have done, in the way that Castro did -- to say they are under siege and that therefore they have had to respond to the oligarchs or whomever to prevent some illegal overthrow. However, winning elections doesn't make a movement democratic. Chavismo is decidedly authoritarian. They rule by bullying and intimidation, as well as using the classic trope of identifying a foreign bogeyman to rouse nationalists to their cause.

      Perhaps they're not as bad as the Ukrainian leadership -- not as blatantly corrupt, nor as willing to use deadly force to enforce their rule -- but that doesn't make them democratic.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:00:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think we have several decades' worth (32+ / 0-)

        of evidence demonstrating that the opposition to Chavismo is much more authoritarian.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:24:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So educate us - (8+ / 0-)

        Define "democratic" according to you, since you reject the common definition of that term.

        •  The common definition of the term "democratic"... (25+ / 0-)

          ...among political theorists has never simply meant "they vote on things."

          For a community, state, or nation to be democratic, they must also have the conditions necessary for the populace to be self-governing through democracy—including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and due process protections.

          Democratic governments do not shut down critical press outlets. Democratic governments do not arrest political opponents. Democratic governments do not shut down or censor political speech. That has always been part of the definition of liberal democracy among political theorists.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:42:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So in your eyes there is no true democracy? (12+ / 0-)

            Because no government I know adheres completely to these principles.

            And as far as the populace being self governing, the entire purpose of government is NOT to allow people to govern themselves. At worst it is the vehicle for the imposition of what rules an elite, or the tyranny of the majority, wish to impose; at best its function is to prevent the oppression of the minority that might occur if the people were allowed to govern themselves. The function of government is to impose rules through threats of force imposing punitive actions, not to allow "the populace to be self governing".

            One thing is clear - there is a man who is a master of the American political system, a man who managed to get elected President of the United States of America; a man far more informed about democracy than you could ever hope to be -  James Earl Carter, and he says that Venezuela is a model of democracy.

            •  oh? (3+ / 0-)
              James Earl Carter... says that Venezuela is a model of democracy.
              I'm aware that Carter has said that "the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world." I'm not aware that he has described the country as a model of democracy. In this context, that is a big difference.

              "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

              by HudsonValleyMark on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 11:20:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Democracy is an ideal. (5+ / 0-)
              So in your eyes there is no true democracy?

              Because no government I know adheres completely to these principles.

              To the extent that a country adheres to those principles, it is democratic. So I don't think we've ever seen a "perfect" democracy; in that way, democracy is just like every other political, economic, or moral ideal that exists. It is something to strive toward, but something that has yet to be perfectly achieved.
              And as far as the populace being self governing, the entire purpose of government is NOT to allow people to govern themselves.
              Which is why I wrote that democracy is the means by which the populace governs itself, rather than suggesting that it is somehow a means by which individual people govern themselves. The populace decides on what rules they as a whole will follow.
              The function of government is to impose rules through threats of force imposing punitive actions, not to allow "the populace to be self governing".
              Except insofar as the rules being imposed are imposed by the overall consent of the populace, by people whom the populace elected, in line with larger democratic principles such as basic human rights.
              One thing is clear - there is a man who is a master of the American political system, a man who managed to get elected President of the United States of America; a man far more informed about democracy than you could ever hope to be -  James Earl Carter, and he says that Venezuela is a model of democracy.
              First, I wouldn't necessarily suggest that someone who gets elected President of the United States is a "master of the American political system," particularly when that man lost reelection four years later. Or are you suggesting that every person who has been elected President is a "master of the American political system"?

              Second, I also wouldn't necessarily suggest that anyone who is a "master of the American political system" is an expert on democracy; in fact, given the present realities of our political conversation (including the need to massively fundraise for elections at virtually any level), one could argue that mastering the American political system is an exercise in learning how to overcome democracy. Or are you suggesting that the American political system is a model of democracy?

              But even if we assume for the sake of argument that Jimmy Carter is a "master of the American political system" and "far more informed about democracy than [I] could ever hope to be," you are arguing here that he approves of the actions of the present Venezuelan government. Can you present a quote from him to that effect, in which he says that the current actions of the present government of Venezuela are "a model of democracy"?

              (Such a quote would, of course, need to be from the past few months, and ideally from the past few weeks, in order to ensure that his statement is about the current Venezuelan government and its current actions, rather than former governments and former actions.)

              "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

              by JamesGG on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 11:25:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  While you argue the basics of democratic priciples (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cybrestrike, Jackson L Haveck

                well, what I do not see is the specifics of why you think, according to this set of principles, that the government of Venezuela is undemocratic. Particularly in consideration of your admission that no government is perfect, and in contrast with the actions of the United States, which I presume you DO consider to be democratic.

                Of course, if you also don't think the United States is democratic, then I will cede you point as simply reflecting a higher standard to merit the term.

                •  I'm not sure where you got that impression. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  serendipityisabitch, lunachickie
                  Particularly in consideration of your admission that no government is perfect, and in contrast with the actions of the United States, which I presume you DO consider to be democratic. [...] Of course, if you also don't think the United States is democratic, then I will cede you point as simply reflecting a higher standard to merit the term.
                  Where in my comment did you see the presumption that the United States is democratic? I think we have a very long way to go in that regard. But that doesn't mean that those of us who are critical of the American government and want greater democracy in the United States aren't allowed to criticize undemocratic actions abroad as well.

                  Much of the thinking throughout this conversation seems to be "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"—if someone is considered an opponent of "the oligarchs" (in Venezuela) or "the West" (in Ukraine), then there must be no criticism of his or her actions, because the ends of defeating those against whom they are supposedly fighting is so important that the means necessary to that end are irrelevant at best. Any evidence suggesting their complicity in what we would consider unbearable atrocities if they were done in the United States must be either brushed away as a product of Western propaganda or rationalized as necessary for fighting an equally-unscrupulous Other.

                  I think we need to think more critically about this, rather than engaging in a form of social-scientific Lysenkoism.

                  "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                  by JamesGG on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 12:00:03 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I didn't see you presuming any such thing, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    unfangus

                    it was MY presumption, as I clearly stated.

                    If you simply have a higher standard as to what qualifies as democracy, more power to you!  Because I, too, have trouble viewing any large government as truly democratic. My point was simply that they are no worse than pretty much any of the other so-called "democracies" around the world. (And, I might add, better than many.)

                    But you are right, we should not condone oppression in any form, even if it is the government of the vast majority trying to prevent an insurrection by a minority. However, we should also recognize that it is a function of government to ensure that no faction interferes with the exercise of free movement by others. If they are blocking the streets, it is the duty of government to keep a clear pathway for those who would pass. And thus the problem begins - how far can, or should, they go to ensure the rights of others?

          •  Democracy = (0+ / 0-)

            I think the best way to define democracy is free elections for all adults with no state sponsored party.

            Democracies come in all flavors from republics to monarchies to socialist and beyond. I believe not writing laws to favor one group over another means a lot too but if you look at the first 100 years of our country; we were a democracy but slaves had no say. Did they live in what they would consider a democracy?

            Are the Chavista's a state sponsored party?  I think they toe the line pretty close even if it is a little subtle.  Clinics, schools, cultural institutions funded and often run by the party locals. If you don't vote for them, you are sort of voting against the local civic benefits. I can see that being used as a hammer.

            But no one can argue what the people at the bottom lived like before the revolution. The middle class is getting pinched and the oligarchs are under the boot heel. Since the Monroe Doctrine we have kept our heel on S. America and the people at the bottom have suffered the most under our guidance. S. America was always led by the oligarchs controlled through our corporate interests like United Fruit.

            I've been to Venezuela on business and I thought it was the most lawless country I have ever been in. I did not feel safe and would prefer not to go back unless I was visiting a local and going out with them. I sort of see their system heading toward the old Soviet system with even tighter state control. But the oligarchs are certainly no long term solution to the majority of the people.

            The legs of the crane have become short in the summer rain. Buson

            by Travelin Man on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:20:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How do you figure? (4+ / 0-)
              I've been to Venezuela on business and I thought it was the most lawless country I have ever been in. I did not feel safe and would prefer not to go back unless I was visiting a local and going out with them. I sort of see their system heading toward the old Soviet system with even tighter state control.
              If it's the "most lawless country (you) have ever been in," then how do you figure that they're going to be "heading toward the old Soviet system with even tighter state control"?  Say what you want about the Soviet Union, but it wasn't a "lawless" country.

              "If you sing a song a day/ You will make a better way" -- Earth, Wind, and Fire

              by Cassiodorus on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:24:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  It seems to work (4+ / 0-)

        for Alaska - at the state level.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:50:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Norway and Denmark do OK (26+ / 0-)

        with nationalized oil and gas reserves.

        Democracy needs a culture compatible with it.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:15:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  To the contrary, the privatization of natural (19+ / 0-)

        resources, including oil, is at the root of rampant corruption and destruction of the environment.

        The main reason democratic socialists haven't been to establish a stable model is because they have been under a decades-old relentless (overt and undercover) attack by the corporate-controlled U.S. foreign policy establishment.

        The rest of your post is pure nonsense, regarding who controls the media in Venezuela, etc.

        I do agree with this: Winning elections doesn't make a movement democratic.  We are living it right here in the U.S., where "a movement" brought about the presidency of Barack Obama, only to be stabbed in the back by his full-blown embrace of Wall Street, corporate cartel, and neo-liberalism.

      •  Norway? stayed democratic and spread its oil (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        goodpractice

        benefits among its people and maintained democracy.
        Of course they concentrated all their attention on ski wax.
        But maybe that's a good thing.  I wish I lived in a country where the most important thing on anybody's mind wazs waxing skis.  and then getting out and skiing.

        WE must hang together or we will all hang separately. B.Franklin

        by ruthhmiller on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 05:10:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  article by Eva Golinger (18+ / 0-)
      2/21/14....Those protesting do not represent Venezuela’s vast working class majority that struggled to overcome the oppressive exclusion they were subjected to during administrations before Chavez.
      The youth taking to the streets today in Caracas and other cities throughout the country, hiding their faces behind masks and balaclavas, destroying public buildings, vehicles, burning garbage, violently blocking transit and throwing rocks and molotov cocktails at security forces are being driven by extremist right-wing interests from Venezuela’s wealthiest sector. Led by hardline neoconservatives, Leopoldo Lopez, Henrique Capriles and Maria Corina Machado – who come from three of the wealthiest families in Venezuela, the 1% of the 1% - the protesters seek not to revindicate their basic fundamental rights, or gain access to free healthcare or education, all of which are guaranteed by the state, thanks to Chavez, but rather are attempting to spiral the country into a state of ungovernability that would justify an international intervention leading to regime change.
      http://venezuelanalysis.com/...

      "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

      by MartyM on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 11:40:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a load of bunk (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch

        Is this supposed to be more objective than CNN?  Eva Golinger on the Chavista apologist web page venezuelaanalysis? The site that doesn't even allow comments any more because too many people have called out their fictions?

        Just start with this quote from what you cite:

        Led by hardline neoconservatives, Leopoldo Lopez, Henrique Capriles and Maria Corina Machado
        Neoconservatives?  Really?  

        So, Leopoldo Lopez has issued public statements in favor of US military intervention in the Middle East on behalf of Israel?  Because that's what neoconservative means.  It has nothing to do with neoliberalism, which Eva seems to be confused about here.

        I think what Eva means is that Lopez and the others are "bad guys," and she simply resorts to name-calling of the kind we expect from places like Fox News, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh.  Whatever she is doing, it isn't journalism as most of us understand the word or want to see it practiced.  

        •  not the weakest part of the quote (2+ / 0-)

          I don't know much about Lopez, Capriles, and Machado, but I do know that "neocon" has taken on a variety of meanings, certainly not limited to favoring "US military intervention in the Middle East on behalf of Israel."

          The youth taking to the streets today in Caracas and other cities throughout the country, hiding their faces behind masks and balaclavas, destroying public buildings, vehicles, burning garbage, violently blocking transit and throwing rocks and molotov cocktails at security forces... seek not to revindicate their basic fundamental rights, or gain access to free healthcare or education, all of which are guaranteed by the state, thanks to Chavez, but rather are attempting to spiral the country into a state of ungovernability that would justify an international intervention leading to regime change.
          I'm not in Caracas; I have never been in Caracas; I'm not in a position to generalize about what youth were doing in the streets of Caracas and why. But that right there — even without the cabal of evildoers in the background — reads like stock propaganda. It doesn't provide evidence; it cries out for evidence.

          "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

          by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:30:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  do some reading (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          before displaying such utter ignorance.You clearly have no idea who Lopez,Capriles, and Machado  and the right wing oligarchs they represent are.Max Blumenthal posted on Lopez a couple days ago (and sorry no link,but it's posted on Alternet and other sites or you could just Google) a withering and complete assessment of this aristocrat whose relatives are implicated in global neo-nazi hate groups.There is a wealth of information available (starting with Democracy Now) giving background on the shock-doctrine economic terrorism being perpetrated on the democratically elected Venezuelan government by these stooges and their US corporate  neoliberal funders.By comparing the lucid,insightful article by award winning author Eva Golinger to Fox and hate radio gasbags whose commentary is shallow imbecilic vitriol,you reveal that either you didn't read it,or you have a complete lack of discernment.Read before you rant.

          'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A.Einstein

          •  Whatever Lopez may be, (0+ / 0-)

            "neocon" just isn't it.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is obvious from the context of Bolinger's use of the term "neoconservative" that the meaning of the word was unimportant, just that her audience new it meant "bad."  

            That's called an ad hominem attack, and we rightly call it out when we see it from the right.  You need to recognize your use of it on the left as well.  And if you're right about Lopez's background, Bolinger should have been able to say that without using a term that means nothing with respect to Latin American politics.  Again, has Lopez, Capriles, or Machado ever said anything about supporting US military intervention abroad to introduce democratic institutions by force (even if not related to the middle east), to put the broadest possible definition of "neoconservative?"

    •  I still say Maduro is a clown. (10+ / 0-)

      Again, this dude said the U.S gave Chavez cancer and went full Wayne LaPierre to explain Venezuela's absurd murder rate.

      I just hope that whoever succeeds him is to his left.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 12:17:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. Interesting article all around, (3+ / 0-)

        including this

        Reflecting high levels of impunity, Venezuela’s criminal justice system was ranked the lowest in the world in a recently published study on the rule of law in 97 countries by the Washington-based World Justice Project.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:11:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you and theHalfrican (3+ / 0-)

          would read the Eva Golinger article referenced above by MartyM or some of the other links in this thread by legitimate independent journalists you might have a different opinion about the political realities in Venezuela.You would at least be better informed.The 'article 'you refer to is pure fact free fish-wrap agitprop.

          'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A.Einstein

          •  I spent most of the day reading all sorts of (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sky Net, HudsonValleyMark

            articles on a number of different sites. My method of reading may be different than yours. I downrate by a point for each instance I find of pejorative adjectives being used to describe a person, agency, or phenomenon. (I do this with FP diaries too, btw.)

            I am also inclined to be wary of writers who cannot seem to help attributing motives to actions, rather than simply reporting the actions.

            Since you chose to describe the article as "pure fact free fish-wrap agitprop" rather than being specific about which of the statements in the article are incorrect, I'm afraid that I cannot give your comment the weight it may deserve.

            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

            by serendipityisabitch on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 05:21:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yep,that's different (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador

              than how I read,but I don't care how you do it,re-read the fish wrap then compare it with the Golinger piece,see if you can't tell the difference.

              'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A.Einstein

            •  Some of the worst sophistry (2+ / 0-)

              comes in the politest, most professional style. And some of the most honest does not.

              I don't think your system is soundly based. To get at the truth, you sometimes have to get your hands dirty.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 12:03:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah, but I read it all, on all sides. Can you say (0+ / 0-)

                as much?

                At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                by serendipityisabitch on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 02:33:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You've read all sides? I doubt it. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador

                  I've read and am still reading. And I'm reading a very astute and deft "side", not part of the binary, which I'm pretty sure you have NOT read, and with which all sides here would likely disagree.

                  I'll spare myself the argument for now, since both the status quo left, and the actual left, are too conventional to appreciate my perspective.

                  I may come forth with a view later.

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:41:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Really? Ray is too conventional to appreciate (0+ / 0-)

                    your perspective? Now I really want a link.

                    If you think there's information I haven't read, and should to get a better perspective on the Venezuelan mess, keeping it to yourself and snickering that I wouldn't appreciate it sounds a little silly.

                    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                    by serendipityisabitch on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:47:54 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My perspective (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador, unfangus

                      is complicated. I'm not interested in supplying you with information you would digest incorrectly, and use to support a simplistic, pro-capitalist point of view.

                      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                      by ZhenRen on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:54:42 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Okay, here's your link (2+ / 0-)

                      This first link is to a statement from the libertarian-socialist left (anarchists) in Venezuela, writing in the journal La Libertaria. It was republished in several English speaking anarch-socialist websites, and is thus widely read:

                      Express summary of Venezuela’s situation for curious people and/or the poorly informed

                      Here's another, but is poorly translated from the original Spanish.

                      But first, let me put this in context for you, if still reading here.

                      The first link above is from the anarchists in Venezuela, which I’ve found translated on English speaking anarchist websites, including the website ROAR (ironically, a site which Ray used as a source for material in this present diary). Here’s what the writer of one of Ray’s most important sources says today, in an update to his previous remarks:

                      Today, we would like to share a short article by Rafael Uzcátegui for the Venezuelan autonomous-anarchist newspaper El Libertario, which highlights the violent repression of the protests by the Socialist government and criticizes its narrative of an anti-government “coup” being in the making.

                      The situation in Venezuela is complex and still in flux. The unfolding events therefore need to be assessed from multiple independent and critical perspectives that recognize both the violent means through which the US, international capital and the Venezuelan elite are trying to oust a democratically-elected government, as well as the reproductive patterns of state violence to which this Socialist government itself is now resorting. As we have written elsewhere, the Bolivarian Revolution is riven with internal contradictions, and it takes openness to seemingly contradictory perspectives to be able to recognize both its achievements and its limitations.

                      Now, I agree with much of what Ray has said, and it is coming from a libertarian socialist source (ROAR). But that same source is now quoting Venezuelan anarchists who have been highly critical of the authoritarianism of the Chavez government from the beginning.

                      I'm introducing an alternative view from the left of Maduro that likely won't be shared by the left on dkos. I will likely be thought to be jumping in to criticize along the lines of the more pro-establishment types, but I'm actually coming from their left.

                      The left instinctively defends authoritarianism in countries like Venezuela when when an otherwise progressive, socialist administration, which is factually benefiting the poor and helping to end economic inequality, is threatened by powerful capitalistic interests. And there is a degree justification for this. But while this is understandable -- because a leftist government certainly deserves credit and support when trying to serve the working class -- we should not defend instances of violent persecution of dissent and violation of human rights, even when committed by people whose overall goals we may want to support.

                      Compounding the problem, the pro-capitalists (and a few who call themselves social democrats) are exploiting the authoritarianism of Maduro to criticize him for purposes of attacking anti-capitalism, while excusing the even worse authoritarianism, imperialism, and militarism of the US and global capitalist interests.

                      The criticisms of Maduro from his economic right sound hollow when the critics turn a blind eye to the authoritarianism of capitalist countries like the US, which, rather than respect the autonomy of the Venezuelans, supported a coup against their democratically elected officials. The US has no respect for democracy when it happens to be a socialist state adopting democracy. It has shown over and over again that it prefers fascism over democracy when capitalism is threatened.

                      This brings us to the views of anarchist dissenters in Venezuela, who, being firmly socialist, are no friends to capitalists, or to the US, and they, of course, would generally support a turn to socialism, as long as it doesn’t resort to the authoritarianism so often seen in Marxist regimes. In anarchist analysis, Marx was good with analyzing capitalist economics (taking many of his cues from the preceding works of the older Proudhon, who famously declared "Property is theft!" and was the first to call himself an anarchist), but to all of our misfortune Marx left out of his study a crucially important analysis of authoritarianism and the crucial part it plays with capitalist and socialist economics, without which Marxists who end up running countries have no foundation which adequately informs them about the perils of socialist authoritarianism. Bakunin, an anarchist activist and writer who was a contemporary of Marx predicted long before the USSR that Marxism would result in authoritarianism and repression.

                      So we end up with heavy handed abuse of top-down hierarchical power, suppression of dissent, violation of rights, all in the name of the revolution, rather than the more democratic and bottom-up alternative.

                      Anarchists in Venezuela are reporting a different story about what is happening on the ground there. According to their reports, violent persecution of dissent coming from Maduro's left is rampant and widespread. It isn't all about the right wing fomenting rebellion. People are protesting due to shortages, lack of essential necessities for survival, such as food, electricity, water.

                      And they confirm that the protests began with the sexual violation of a student, resulting in student protests, and the subsequent crackdown and detainment of students by Maduro, leading to an expansion of protests. The right wing certainly took advantage of these protests, but it is by no means the right wing that constitutes all of the protestors.
                      Anarchist dissenters in Venezuela have been violently suppressed by the government despite their peaceful form of protest. These writers are telling a different story than the conventional left about the events in Venezuela.

                      Here's an example of the anarchists reporting from 2007:

                      Chavistas open fire, injure eight protestors in Caracas
                      On 7 October, masked gunmen opened fire on student protestors in Caracas, Venezuela, who were returning from a protest against President Hugo Chavez’s proposed Constitutional reforms. Thousands of students marched on the Supreme Court protesting the reforms, which Chavez proposes to pass by referendum and critics say consolidate executive powers, giving the President control of the Central Bank, abolishing presidential term limits, expanding state of emergency powers, and creating new provinces to be governed by centrally appointed officials. These authoritarian changes are paired with populist measures like reducing the voting age and decreasing the hours of the maximum work day.
                      After the protest, as students were returning to the Venezuela Central University (UCV), they were attacked by an armed group of Chavistas with gas grenades, knives, clubs, stones, and pistols.

                      Anti-authoritarian students who had participated in the protest, though they lacked firearms and all but improvised weapons, counterattacked and forced the “pistoleros” to take refuge in a university building.

                      Shortly, a much larger group of armed Chavistas arrived on motorcycle to rescue the first group. In total, eight student protestors were injured.

                      Two of the those injured are members of Venezuela’s Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), a prisoner support group that opposes Chavez’s dictatorial rule. They and other libertarian opponents of the Chavez regime have experienced heavy repression. One week earlier, police dispersed a major protest against the Constitutional reforms with water cannons and tear gas.

                      http://theanarchistlibrary.org/...

                      Here's an excerpt of a statement from the anarchists who publish El Libertario:
                      The backdrop to this load of petty opportunism – from both the Gran Polo Patriótico [the Chavista coalition] and the Mesa de Unidad Democrática [the opposition coalition] – is Venezuela, a country that faces its own problems: out of control inflation, rising unemployment and precarious jobs, the devaluation of the currency, shocking personal insecurity, crises in electricity and water provision, education and health systems in decline, a housing shortage, obsolete – or incomplete – public works, a demagogic approach which pays attention to only the most extreme scarcities experienced by the most desperate people… a whole host of other problems which are equally disastrous.

                      These issues are not the central concern of the two gangs in competition for Miraflores [the President palace/seat] and the oil booty. Our collective response must be to not relent to their blackmail: support at the ballot box in exchange for ‘solutions’ that either never materialise or are ludicrously inadequate. Now is the time to overpower the rotten powers that be and build – from below – a real equality, social justice and freedom. We must unleash the generalised anger caused by our suffering, and convert it into autonomous social struggles, self-managed and extensive. We must spell out for the politicians in power that we don’t need them, neither as intermediaries nor as gracious givers of what we ourselves can construct – united and from the base – without any need for “clean hands” or “red berets”.

                      El Libertario Editorial Collective
                      http://325.nostate.net/...

                      And even Chomsky, who had been reticent to criticize Chavezhas backed off somewhat from his previous support, it seems.

                      So there is another side from the left about Maduro and Chavismo. We have to be careful not to become blind to authoritarianism from the left.

                      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                      by ZhenRen on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 12:19:02 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I have no problem with this analysis. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ZhenRen

                        You might want to check out this diary http://www.dailykos.com/... as another source which gives an admittedly shorter but no less complex view of some of the events recently. My comment there was that it sounded like an incredibly tangled can of worms.

                        I have no doubt that there are players from every faction imaginable, many of them opportunists rather than conspirators or planners, who are making sure that their rights, and needs, will be less likely to be overlooked as the situation plays out.

                        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                        by serendipityisabitch on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 01:32:03 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  I doubt the user would follow your advice. n/t (0+ / 0-)
          •  Eva Golinger is paid by the Venezuelan government (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sky Net, serendipityisabitch

            You might want to re-think which article is more obviously propaganda.

            •  After reading (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador

              a half dozen of Fabiola Sanchez' posts about Venezuela for the AP,I most certainly think him to be an obvious shill for American neo-liberal interests and have no doubt he is paid to smear and defame Maduro.The award winnig author Golinger is in another class as a writer but you wouldn't know that unless you read her work instead of the first line of a Google bio.The fact that she is an editor of a Caracas newspaper with some government funding does not diminish her insight and eloquence in relating her countries present turmoil,and in fact is more transparent than the dubious paymasters of the AP stringer.In any event her account of events rings truer and is far more compelling to me than Mr.Sanchez' mendacious tripe,but to each his own.Clearly it is difficult for some to accept anything but the script from party central parroted ad nauseum on MSM corporate media and that ties right into my sig line.

              'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A.Einstein

              •  Government press is by definition PROPAGANDA (0+ / 0-)

                Look, it's possible that Golinger's stories are more accurate, but they are produced, financially, by the government. That is propaganda. Plain and simple. Might be true, a refutation of the lies of the mainstream press. But it's laughable to think it is reliable, because there's a long history in this world of government-paid pseudo-journalists saying total nonsense (including a few in the Bush 43 Administration).

                I'm trying to think of government-paid newspapers with a reputation for accuracy. I suppose you think Granma is the epitome of journalistic integrity? Especially the Kool-aid recipes.

                •  How do you explain that the U.S. corporate-owned (0+ / 0-)

                  media is the most powerful propaganda machine the world has ever seen?

                •  not that simple (0+ / 0-)

                  there is a difference between 'Pravda','Radio Free Europe',and PBS for example,but no doubt whatsoever about Sanchez' spin,he fits your (accurate) description of the Bush 43 flacks.

                  'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable

                  •  Odd idea of a flack (0+ / 0-)

                    Until you find Sanchez getting paid by the neoliberal conspiracy (Exxon? Amnesty International?), he isn't like a Bush 43 flack, even if he is mistaken.

                    Meanwhile, you are suggesting we get our impartial information from someone paid to promote Chavez' legacy. Right. You're just asking to be a dupe, but All for the Revolution, eh?

                •  So does getting paid by an oligarch, (0+ / 0-)

                  as most of the journalists whose reporting you are relying on, magically make one not a propagandist?

                  •  No, although your premise may be dubious (0+ / 0-)

                    I suppose you can see the world press as part of the oppressive oligarchy, but expecting any government to be forthright about its failures in its own media is, well, jejune.

                    •  I was referring to the domestic opposition press (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador

                      which, contrary to the claims of the international media, is not censored. Just go to the websites of the major newspapers to see how they're reporting things.

                      •  Yeah, web, since they are running out of newsprint (0+ / 0-)

                        At least, that's what neoliberal oligarch NPR reported.

                        Venezuela is running out of newsprint and newspapers are shutting down.
                        Whereas the government media reports imported that the government more newsprint than the year before. Now, both statements might be true, because at the beginning of last year the newspapers had independent access to dollars, while now the government controls all dollars, whence, all imports. So the government might increase its own imports while not replacing supplies independently imported in the past, or reserving them for political allies.

                        Non-convertible currency combined with inflation is likely to wipe out a lot of businesses and also personal savings. I'm starting to think this is the idea, and under the guise of punishing the oligarchs, the government will leave everyone dependent on distribution of oil revenue. Yet another failed petrostate. I'm also thinking this is just what the author of the diary and his supporters are looking forward to, vicariously sticking it to the thoughtless upper classes—while enjoying the toilet paper we take for granted in North American life.

                        •  The country is under a destabilization campaign. (0+ / 0-)

                          But it will be able to pull through.  The Venezuelan oligarchs and their backers in Washington will fail to undo Chavismo's democratic socialism.

                          •  So they are lying about lacking newsprint? (0+ / 0-)

                            The oligarchs' newspapers are pretending to be out of newsprint, shrinking pages, stopping publication as some deep game to rally anti-Chavista sentiment. Somehow, they feel disappearing from public view is better than continuing to publish anti-regime views.

                            OK, it's possible. It probably isn't the stupidest idea in the world, although it's a contender.

                            Here is another possibility. Part of the regime's heroic defense is driving the opposition newspapers out of business, while sending useful idiots out to claim that they are doing no such thing and there is no censorship. The idiots are glad to comply because they have a crush on tyranny with a socialist face.

  •  The interventionists are in full cry . . . . (36+ / 0-)

    as if turning the country back over to the oligarchs would not be worse for the people than what they have.

    Thanks, Ray.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:34:06 AM PST

  •  Two things: (22+ / 0-)
    The protests in Venezuela are orchestrated by the right-wing oligarchy. Let’s get the facts straight: plenty of Venezuelans are taking to the streets with legitimate grievances about violent crime, high inflation and food shortages — and there is no doubt that the Venezuelan riot police are indeed behaving violently towards many of these protesters. All police brutality should be roundly condemned. The people of Venezuela should be allowed to freely express their indignation in public without fear of repression. But it bears emphasizing in this respect that at least two of the protesters’ main grievances have been deliberately escalated by the oligarchic elite itself: through extensive hoarding and smuggling of consumer products (giving rise to shortages and fueling price inflation) and massive speculation on the foreign currency market (pushing down the Bolívar and feeding into further inflation). This is precisely the type of economic warfare that the US-backed Chilean opposition drew upon prior to the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973.

    Moreover, even though the protests initially began as a student mobilization on Venezuela’s national Youth Day (February 12), they have in the past week become effectively subsumed under the leadership of the most right-wing section of the opposition alliance, Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), led by Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo López. As the firebrand leaders of the most anti-democratic faction of the oligarchic elite, López and Machado have been actively calling for the overthrow of Nicolas Maduro’s democratically-elected government and have urged the continuation of violent protest until he resigns. In the last 15 years, these people have shown themselves to be intent on restoring their class privilege at any costs, even if it requires casualties among the general population. They are deliberately fueling violence and social unrest in order to delegitimize and oust the government.

    The first is that if this corruption is so widespread, then let the Venezuelan government investigate and prosecute the people responsible and make it as public as possible.

    The other thing is that just because Maduro won free and fair elections doesn't give him special rights to censor the Internet for 36 hours in certain places. And the fact that he's called out the military means that civil war is a likely possibility, no matter how much he angrily denies it.

    None of this is an argument for intervention. The fate of Venezuela has to be in the hands of the people.

    "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

    by Eternal Hope on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:52:45 AM PST

  •  You've lost me on this one Ray. (35+ / 0-)

    I do believe the situation in Venezuela is complicated. I don't think the press has done a very good job of analyzing the situation at all.

    But inflation has been rampant in the country. They can't get some of the most basic items and extreme controls by the government are hurting rather than helping. I think we have a government that doesn't understand the economy in ways that can promote socialism while still bringing in needed dollars in a capitalist global economy.

    So while I get that the US and other nations set the standards for the global economy, they aren't necessarily fomenting revolution in places like Venezuela.

    I find it interesting that you don't mention the commonly shared rumor that the US is working with the former president of Columbia. Or tell us about the little bird that advises Maduro.

    •  So after all the history (39+ / 0-)

      and all we know of how the US has been monkeywrenching the Latin countries, you don't get it.

      There's a crapload of oil off the coast of Venezuela and great powers are angry, because some of that money has been spent on roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, housing for the poor. This is a travesty to the wealthy folks. They will try to take it down, and they cheat and lie.

       

      A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

      by onionjim on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 05:46:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I find that difficult to go along with. (13+ / 0-)

        First, I don't think the major oil companies are lacking for places to drill and frack. Especially in politically risky places like Venezuela. You can, for much lower prices and risk, drill anywhere in the United States where opposition is weak, courts are compliant, and the government is completely bought. I don't think any oil baron is sitting in his office thinking 'boy...I sure would like to risk a billion or so in Venezuela! Lets destabilize the government!'

        Second, one cannot simply discount the fact that Venezuela's government uses rhetoric that is openly hostile to the United States as a domestic political tool. I have no problem with this, as we do the same shit. But we can't just ignore the fact that...you know...there's a hostile government over there telling their people we're evil. We'd be fools not to go about trying to stick up for ourselves.

        US policy towards Latin America is basically racist, and that's what is at the foundation of it. Not greed, racism. White Venezuelans want to rule over browner and blacker ones and they want White America to help. That's the issue there just like it was in Cuba. Like it is in Boliva and Ecuador and everywhere else in South America.

        The issue in Venezuela is White Folks. Pure and simple.

        •  You don't know what you're talking about (25+ / 0-)

          Seriously dude. What planet are you on. Venezuela has the largest known oil reserves of any country on Earth. No, it's not sweet crude like the Saudis have. But once the price per barrel exceeds $100, that doesn't matter. Now do I really have to explain the significance of that?

          Of course it's the oil. And these damn bleeding hearts have taken it. No one can sell an outright invasion, so as usual, the State Dept and it's toys of thew alphabet are trying to pull off another fake coup/revolution/people's uprising.

          It's all so obvious it's silly to try and dispute it. Great diary Ray.

          •  May make you feel better (15+ / 0-)

            with your grey beard, pony tail, and Che t-shirt, but its pretty unpersuasive as an explanation of motivation for US policy.

            I can see it in Iraq, because the Bush Administration was willing to wage war over that. Every US Administration, no matter party, keeps large quantities of military forces nearby to keep the oil from that part of the world flowing.

            But not even the Bush Administration took Chavez very seriously. He was a sideshow for them, not an 'existential threat to neoliberal hegemony.'

            Like it or not, but the vote for the Chavez movement is not about some mass intellectual awakening of anti neoliberalism on the part of the people. What its really about is the brown and black people there sick and tired of rich white folks eating all the pie...and voting accordingly.

            You'll find that in Bolivia and Ecuador too.

            •  One can argue that (6+ / 0-)

              the impact of neoliberalism is what the people are protesting.

              Just because they don't know the concept, 'neoliberalism,' as we speak about it doesn't mean they don't understand what is going on and how it affects them.

              Just like the teapartiers probably couldn't cite the repeal of Glass-Steagall [sp?] doesn't mean they didn't understand that the big banks cleaned our clocks to the detriment of regular people.

              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:02:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  They know more than just the impact (0+ / 0-)

                They know who the rats are and what they're up to. This is true across the world. Most people don't know that the Egyptian uprising actually started in 2010, a year before the big events in 2011 that gained world recognition, over the mere rumors that Mubarak's son, Gamal, would succeed him. Gamal, who actually began his career at Bank of America, was a big neoliberal who pushed the globalist banker agenda of selling off national assets, trade liberalization and do-called "free markets."

                The people of Egypt saw through this little slimeball just the way the people of Venezuela see through oligarchs of their own country. They are opposed to the World Bank, the IMF, and the neoliberal agenda.

                brooklynbadboy's comment is such rubbish I really don't even feel compelled to correct it. I mean, wow. Idiot. But I thought you might be interested in the bit about Gamal Mubarak and Egypt.

                •  Interesting.... (0+ / 0-)

                  yes, I'm beginning to think that we should pass laws to keep family out of office, such as the bushes in Florida, Texas, the Udalls in Colorado and New Mexico; state legislators' progeny, etc., who have the waters parted for them when they run for state lege.  

                  The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                  by dfarrah on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:20:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You kind of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo, cybrestrike

              contradict yourself.

              First you say it's all about racism, then you say it's because nonwhites want part of the pie that whites have.

              It's always about money, always.

              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:04:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Racism (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PatriciaVa, DaNang65

                It's no contradiction to say that Whites violently, covertly and insidiously opposing non-Whites getting a piece of the pie Whites have is racism.

                "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                by DocGonzo on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 12:03:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, but that (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dianna, Ray Pensador

                  is an economic argument.

                  The poster I replied to said that the foundation of the whole issue in Venezuela is racism.

                  I say it isn't.  

                  The issue would exist regardless of the race of the underlings.  The wealthy want everything and they want to turn everyone else into their slaves, regardless of race.

                  But this doesn't mean that the overlords don't harbor animosity toward other races.

                  The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                  by dfarrah on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 05:28:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If you heard what they called Chavez, you may... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cassiodorus

                    ...reconsider.

                    Do a search, Hugo Chavez Mono, and you'll see how much hatred the useful idiots harbor in Venezuela.

                    Far more racism in Venezuela than in the US.

                    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

                    by PatriciaVa on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:13:53 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Reconsider what? (0+ / 0-)

                      That the rich wouldn't be hoarding but for race?

                      I'm sure race is a problem.

                      My original response was to BBB's assertion that the foundation of the problems are racism.  Sorry, I think the foundation is richism.

                      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                      by dfarrah on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:58:42 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Racism Over Money (0+ / 0-)

                    Look, you said that putting the problem down as racism while saying Whites resent non-Whites getting some of the White pie is contradictory. It's not. Now you're saying that racism excludes economics. It doesn't.

                    All this is simply tribalism. Yes, the racism is one kind of tribalism, and the wealthy tribe (which includes non-wealthy who identify with the wealthy tribe) would keep down the non-wealthy to benefit the wealthy tribe. For money, but more importantly for power - and not just over money. You can see this because the wealthy would be wealthier if the rest were freer to make more money to give to the wealthy. It's not just the money.

                    It's class - tribalism. Tribalism uses race and money for tribal purposes, starting with defining foreigners to the tribe, by treating them inhumanely.

                    But it's so old and effective that racism and economic civil war are their own purposes. Racism and economic civil war are their own driving forces, even though it's tribalism that drives them in turn.

                    Racism over money isn't a contradiction. It's a vicious cycle.

                    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                    by DocGonzo on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:17:59 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Yo, nice attempted put down with the Che t-shirt (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobatkinson, Haningchadus14

              and such, but really, you are not making sense so far.

          •  But any and all unrest in Venezuela (18+ / 0-)

            are the result of "the international Neo-Liberal Cartel Hegemony" and not the decisions of Chavez and Maduro.

            Inflation? International Neo-Liberal Cartel Hegemony.

            Record crime? International Neo-Liberal Cartel Hegemony.

            Chavez dies? International Neo-Liberal Cartel Hegemony. (that's what Maduro said, remember. THE US GAVE HIM CANCER)

            "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

            by TheHalfrican on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 12:07:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Love it! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheLizardKing, fcvaguy

              What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

              by agnostic on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 12:20:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Is it that far featched (0+ / 0-)

              Over 18 months period four progressive leaders of Latin America and their fellow citizens were shocked by the diagnosis delivered by their physicians - cancer. Fernando Lugo, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Hugo Chavez, and recently Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner were given this diagnosis. The Presidents of Paraguay, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina suspiciously simultaneously turned out on the verge of survival. Castro too, all around the same time? How many times has the USA tried to kill Castro. In cancer research they give cancer causing  viruses to rats. It's not that hard to do.

            •  I thinks he said Obama gave Chevez cancer. (0+ / 0-)

              But now he'll meet with him. These guys are politicians. Bad politicians.

              For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

              by Maroon watch on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 02:31:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  its not oil as much as it oil profits (16+ / 0-)

          I am not up on the current political crisis in Venezuela, but I do know what is always at the core of Venezuelan politics.

          Its not that oil companies want to drill there so much, Venezuela has controlled their own oil and such throughout the 20th century. It is about what to do with the profits made from the oil. Foreign investors wanting to start business ventures with the Venezuelan state to get those profits and keep them. And the old method is tried and true for these f'ers: Make a few locals very wealthy (in this case politicians with business interests) so you can do what you want to everyone else.

          Historically, these profits and the oil in general have become synonymous with the state and with power. And historically, the president of Venezuela becomes synonymous with the State.

          The Neoliberalism only cares about the $. Its just like how they want our pensions and savings and to turn us all into renters here in the USA. In Venezuela, they want to take the oil money...and NOT reinvest it back into the country.

          And it is best to keep an eye to the flip side of this. Chavez, for instance, was NO Sadam Hussein or Pol Pot or Papa/Baby Doc or Kim Jong Crazy. But he was not that different from Peron or Vargas or even Porfirio Diaz or Castro. (Argentina late 40s.early 50s, Brazil 40s and then 50s, Mexico end of 19th century through Mexican revolution early 20th century...and Fidel). These guys "gave" to the people in order to maintain power. THe stuff the GOP says Prs Obama is doing but really isnt--giving entitlements to lower income (which they read as "black") in order to insure his power base--is exactly the stuff these old school Latin American fascists (and in some cases Nazi sympathizers) did.

          Vargas, Peron, Chavez....these guys pissed off their elites. Vargas shot himself in the head. Peron was taken down (to come back later and to then be replaced by the Junta which disappeared so many many people). Chavez is on people's minds more because he was more recent (and rightful pointed out the sulfur smell at the UN after W talked).

          The repression is real. The protestation, however, does not necessarily imply a Latino Spring in South America. And at the same time, the USA and Europe WANT the money. They always have. Chavez didn't want to play ball by their rules. Maybe the new guy does, if so he will make alot of $ himself. I doubt Spain would, but Chile will give him asylum if it goes bad, they're our "b*tch".

          I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

          by Evolution on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:54:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  U.S. policy towards (19+ / 0-)

          Latin America has always been about taking their resources--this includes countries that have approx. 95% white European ancestry like Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile. It's Realpolitik, not racism. We're stronger and we're taking your stuff. There is a long history of us supporting and coordinating attacks on any attempts to democratize, decrease inequality, or to pursue their own national interests as opposed to our interests and the interests of the oligarchic elite that we control.

          You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

          by gnothis on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:57:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's ALWAYS been about the oil (11+ / 0-)

          Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, more than Saudi Arabia.

          If Venezuela weren't sitting on those reserves, the US, nor any other foreign country, would care a whit about it's government or citizens.

          Venezuela has been fighting oil companies to control its own resources for decades.  The government has nationalized its own oil resources numerous times in the past.  Companies who drill and refine there have a long history of not sharing the wealth earned from the oil and exploiting the government and citizens for private profit.

          Venezuelans have worked hard over the decades to have a democratic government (first elected in 1958), a strong economy and an actual middle class.  They've always fought the corruption of their government by oil companies, at least since the early 1900's. They've always been very proud of the fact that they're one of the few central and south American nations to have the oldest and strongest democratic government and a real middle class. That's much more than can be said about any ME oil producing nation.

          Unfortunately, those Venezuelan values and priorities have sometimes put their government at odds with the US, when US leaders take the side of the oil industry.  

          This isn't the first time, nor will it be the last, as long as there is oil under Lake Maracaibo.

          It's not the place of the US to overthrow the democratically elected Venezuelan government to advance the interests of foreign oil companies.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:39:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Have you BEEN to Venezuela? (18+ / 0-)

        I have, several times, both before and after Chavez.

        Before Chavez, there was a striking hill rising from Caracas, a hill of poverty, death, illness, and a lack of water or power.
        I will agree that he changed that, and improved their lives and education immeasurably.

        But all that new access, new education, and new investment has gone down the tubes. The experiment is not working, and everyone is worse off.

        I do not agree with the original diary, as it seems almost childish in its promotion of a failed system, and its refusal to acknowledge the serious (and growing) problems throughout the country.

        About his bullshit on the reaction to the rape? Hogwash. The country was a powder keg of unhappiness, grime, crime, and governmental fuckups. It is not surprising that one event catalyzed the current riots and second revolution. Any crystalizing event would have done the same thing.  

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:07:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok, I am not getting the rape story, either, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador, cybrestrike

          because that issue is worldwide. No reason why it should suddenly be a game changer in one little place. Maybe.

          However more to the point, you claim that although Chavez made huge social investments in raising the poor and education, its all a failure. No evidence offered.

          They are better off. Now they see more clearly, so they protest. Is it so hard?

          A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

          by onionjim on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 11:17:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The user offers no evidence because he/she has (0+ / 0-)

            none to offer.

            •  If you bothered to do real research: (0+ / 0-)
              Just over a week before the Feb. 12 opposition rallies across Venezuela, students at the University of the Andes in San Cristobal in the border state of Tachira were protesting an attempted rape of a young woman on campus.

              The students were outraged at the brazen assault on their campus, which underscored long-standing complaints about deteriorating security under President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez.

              But what really set them off was the harsh police response to their initial protest, in which several students were detained and allegedly abused, as well as follow-up demonstrations to call for their release, according to students and people who live in the city of San Cristobal

              .

              What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

              by agnostic on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:33:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I've been to Venezuela quite a few times. As to (5+ / 0-)

          your assertions, they're nonsense.  Read the relevant reference material; it may help you avoid shooting from the hip displaying ignorance.

        •  I've seen it. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PatriciaVa, Ray Pensador

          I think I even still have some photos and slides of the poverty in Caracas, from back in the early 80's.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:41:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If, as you claim, the "experiment" isn't working (10+ / 0-)

          the citizens are free to stop it and replace their political leaders.

          Venezuela has had a strong, real democratic government since 1958.  If the citizens of the country feel the experiment isn't working they can vote out the leaders in the next election.

          There's absolutely NO justification for the US and corporations to overthrow their government leaders.  The people of Venezuela have long had free and fair elections (monitored by the UN) to replace those leaders.

          Heck, Venezuela probably has a better and more fair system of elections than the US has today.  Leave them alone, they've been managing their own government for a very long time. They can handle this, they don't need anymore US interference.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:54:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is precisely what the citizens are doing (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sky Net, fcvaguy, Andrew Lazarus, doroma

            Not the CIA, not our DOD, not texaco, not esso, and not sun oil.
            But some here cannot imagine that their dream world might be unpopular with folks who have to live there.

            The hysterical ramblings here against those who are tired of the current corrupt leaders are so ill-informed, that it is sad.

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 04:27:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just labeling something hysterical doesn't give (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SpecialKinFlag, unfangus

              license to the misinformed.

              •  Have you a mirror handy? If so, (0+ / 0-)

                I have a suggestion where to place it.

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:34:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Then they should do it legally (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador, unfangus

              Through the courts via impeachment or through elections.

              No its not a citizens rebellion, its a US and oil company financed coup attempt.

              This isn't the Ukraine or Mideast.

              Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

              by Betty Pinson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 10:55:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The courts are virtually shut down, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                serendipityisabitch, AnnetteK

                Gov. Forces enforce censorship, and paratroopers are attacking college kids.

                Or are you claiming that the CIA and big oil have hired college kids to start pro western riots?

                The disinformation here is scary.

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 02:05:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador

                  Venezuelans have had to deal with unnecessary US intervention in their government for far too long.  The more the US (and their oil company backers) meddled in Venezuela's affairs, the more defensive their government became.  The worst of this began during the Bush II years, but sadly Obama has continued it.

                  Had the US not worked so hard to undermine their government, they probably wouldn't be forced to such extreme measures to keep the US out of their affairs.

                  The US and the oil barons need to back off and let the political situation in Venezuela unwind itself.  This country isn't like Saudi Arabia or Iran or any other major oil producing nation. It has a long tradition of supporting democratic government and the lower classes (the national hero is Simon Bolivar, the George Washington of South America.)

                  We need to back off and make the oil companies back off as well.  Once the outside threat is removed, Venezuela has the tools and the history to restore equilibrium.  

                  Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

                  by Betty Pinson on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:53:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  It doesn't matter how many pro-establishfment (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  unfangus

                  posts you pepper this diary with, the truth remains that the U.S. government is engaging in destabilizing campaign against Venezuela, in collaboration with Venezuelan oligarchs.

      •  Narrative über alles, no evidence at all. (9+ / 0-)

        These protests just gotta be a set-up by the CIA, because fifty years ago...

        It must be awfully  nice to be able to know exactly what's happening thousands of miles away, without needing to know anything.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:00:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  MAduro sure isn't winning any friends in SA (11+ / 0-)

      according to the Santiago Times.

      Speaking at the helm of a mass rally of government supporters, Maduro accused Piñera and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of “interfering” in the country’s ongoing political crisis.

      “The problems of Venezuelans will be resolved here, ‘carajo,’” Maduro said to applause Tuesday, using the same same Spanish curse word Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez famously levelled at the George W. Bush administration. “Enough of this, ‘carajo.’ Enough meddling in the affairs of our country.”

      Carajo means, basically: shit. And what had they done to deserv this? Protested human rights violation, which of course NEVER happen in a socialist country.  Maduro called the presidents of Chile and Colombia "shits" for protesting human rights violations. Real classy guy
      Piñera had earlier issued a public statement “unequivocally condemning” violence against protesters in Caracas while at a ceremony outside Santiago’s Metropolitan Cathedral, while also calling on protesters to respect the rule of law.

      “I strongly and categorically condemn the violence that has occurred in Venezuela and has already cost three lives,” the president said.

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 05:52:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Somehow I wouldn't expect Maduro (21+ / 0-)

        to win the friendship of two of Latin America's few remaining right-wing regimes.

        Of course, Piñera is on the way out; we'll see what happens next in Chile.  But Colombia is pretty safely in the column of the right wing.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:28:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Chile's not a RW regime (6+ / 0-)

          They just elected a liberal again.

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:32:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I believe you mean to say (15+ / 0-)

            that once Bachelet reassumes office, it won't be RW.  But its currenty leadership is.  Which is precisely why nobody should be surprise if it doesn't wuv Maduro.

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:42:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Its the same government Bachelet will get (6+ / 0-)

              Like Bush took over from Clinton and Obama took over from Bush.
              There's no separate regimes, just elected presidents. Chile has one of the most stable governments in SA, its not 3d world at all. Its also one of the safest countries in SA to be in, unlike Venezuela.  Don't say Chile is controlled by the US, its not.
              Venezuela should wish it was  as safe as Chile. Maduro calling Pinera a shit for speaking out against human rights violations shows what a thug he is.

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:49:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's all very nice (14+ / 0-)

                and has nothing to do with my point (especially the words you so thoughtfully put in my mouth at the end of your first paragraph).

                In the final analysis: RWer doesn't wuv LWer.  Stop the presses.

                Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                by corvo on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:43:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nothing that John Kerry doesn't say (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AnnetteK

                  Um here's  that notable RW Fanatic John Kerry on the subject. Surely you're not going to claim John Kerry is just a RW tool are you? (I'm  sure Ray would) Another  "RWer that doesn't like LWer?"

                  Whats the attraction for you for MAduro, anyway? I know he and Ray share the same philosophy: "The USA Is To Blame for Everything!"
                  Is that you too?
                  Your man's an uneducated busdriver who is way above his head with international diplomacy, that's why we get the "Carajo's". he has no cred at all outside his country other than with Evo Morales who he pays off.
                  You and Ray want to take his word for things, you really have to suspend disbelief

                  And if you next question is "Would I take John Kerry's word about the situation over yours, Ray's and Maduro's the answer is yes.

                  I am watching with increasing concern the situation in Venezuela. Despite calls from that country’s democratic opposition and the international community, the Venezuelan government has confronted peaceful protestors with force and in some cases with armed vigilantes claiming to support the government. It has imprisoned students and a key opposition figure. It has limited the freedoms of expression and assembly necessary for legitimate political debate, and just today tightened restrictions on the media, revoking the credentials of CNN en Español reporters. This is not how democracies behave.

                  Every government has a duty to maintain public order, and all sides, including the opposition protestors, must refrain from violence. The government’s use of force and judicial intimidation against citizens and political figures, who are exercising a legitimate right to protest, is unacceptable and will only increase the likelihood of violence.

                  I call on the Venezuelan government to step back from its efforts to stifle dissent through force and respect basic human rights. The government should release incarcerated members of the opposition and initiate a process of genuine dialogue with the democratic opposition. The solution to Venezuela’s problems can only be found through dialogue with all Venezuelans, engaging in a free exchange of opinions in a climate of mutual respect.

                  Happy just to be alive

                  by exlrrp on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:18:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "Your man's an uneducated busdriver"!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ray Pensador

                    What did the Right say about Brazil's most successful president, Lula da Silva?

                    That he was nothing more than an uneducated steelworker

                    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

                    by PatriciaVa on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:31:23 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, John Kerry is a right winger in a LA context (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ray Pensador

                    Pretty much every elected official in this country is.

                    •  On this point, you are quite correct (0+ / 0-)

                      The US Democratic Party would be a competing as a center-right political party in just about any other country in the world.  

                      Which is exactly why it is hyperbole to talk about people like Cabriles and Lopez being "oligarchs" and far-right "fascists."  Most of their published policy positions are to the left of current US Democratic Party positions regarding economic policy, or, on social policy such as abortion rights and gay marriage, Cabriles is (I don't know about Lopez)to the left of Chavez, who was ambivalent about gay marriage at best and very much in the pro-life, antiabortion camp with respect to reproductive rights.  

                      •  Congrats, you win the dumbest comment award (0+ / 0-)

                        1) Its the oppositions tactics that make them fascists.

                        2) Capriles lies about his positions every time he runs. He does not want to expand the missions, he wants to get rid of them so oil revenue can go to the oligarchy again. Carlos Andres Perez pulled the same shit in 1989, and when he reversed course and embraced IMF austerity instead of rejecting it it set off a major insurrection.

                        3) Capriles has not made any pro-abortion or pro-gay rights statements.

                        4) Chavez wasn't pro-life, but he didn't make any effort to change the country's abortion laws either.

                        3 and 4 are because Venezuela is still an exteremly Catholic country. The only thing that can change that are social movements, which the opposition would suppress if they got back into power.

                        •  Fact checking is sometimes helpful, as usual (0+ / 0-)

                          Chavez was certainly pro-life and strongly so.  On gay marriage he was less supportive than Capriles.  Here's the money quotes from an interview with the two presidential candidates in 2013.

                          Capriles:

                          “Soy un defensor de la vida, pero estoy de acuerdo con el aborto terapéutico y cuando hay violencia. En cualquier caso, ésa no es una decisión de los políticos”, afirmó el antichavista.
                          translated:
                          "I'm a defender of life, but I agree with the therapeutic abortion and when there is violence. In any case, this is not a political decision, "said the anti-Chavez candidate. (So, he's pro-choice, since this is exactly what most US Democratic Party politicians say on this issue.)

                          Chavez:

                          “En otras partes, aplican el aborto. Califíquenme de conservador, pero no estoy de acuerdo con el aborto para detener un parto. Sencillamente nació el niño con un problema, ahora hay que darle amor”.
                          Translated:
                          "In other countries, abortion is practiced. Call me conservative,  but I do not agree with abortion to stop childbirth. Simply speaking, if a child is born with a problem, you have to give the child love."

                          Post Chavez, abortion remains highly restricted in Venezuela.

                          On gay marriage, both held back in completely supporting it, but Capriles again comes out more in favor, especially since gay marriage was deliberately blocked from inclusion in the 2007 Constitution which Chavez essentially supervised, where it was proposed and debated:

                          Capriles:

                          “Yo lo llamaría unión civil. Lucho por una sociedad en la que no haya discriminación. Si las personas del mismo sexo quieren ver cristalizada su unión, no hay por qué ponerle trabas”, dijo Capriles.
                          Translated: "I would rather call it civil union.  I struggle for a society without discrimination.  If people of the same sex want to see their union crystallized, there is no reason to put up obstacles. "

                          Chavez:

                          “Todos somos iguales, hay que respetar las particularidades de los individuos. Yo pienso igual que la mayoría de los venezolanos, que no lo vemos bien, pero es un estado de opinión, lo cual no significa que estemos en contra de lo que piensen ustedes”
                          Translated: "We're all equal.  You must respect particular individuals.  I think for the majority of Venezuelans, we don't look upon it well, but that is a state of opinion and doesn't signify that we're against what you might think about it."

                          Opposition to abortion is one of the hallmarks of the "New  Democracy" leaders in South America, in fact.  And even ally Fidel Castro is pro-life.  Just recently, a group of women protesting the governing party's anti-abortion policies stripped naked in Ecuador's National Assembly as a protest.  Unlike the kind of thing that might happen in Venezuela's legislature, no fights broke out and the protest was allowed to occur, however.

                           

      •  Hey, buddy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        Do you know anything about Columbia and Chile's human rights record? Do you know how (soon to be ex-) President Pinera treated an actual, legitimate student movement that had actual, real demands?

        No, you don't. Go educate yourself.

    •  Perhaps your willfully lost? Here's a suggestion: (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      onionjim, Dianna, cybrestrike, unfangus

      Read the diary and the reference materials, and dig into the links provided.  You won't be lost after that, unless you pretend to be.

    •  remember, Maduro = Good, no matter what (5+ / 0-)

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 12:04:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is this related to the coup in Honduras in 2009? (8+ / 0-)

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 05:19:21 AM PST

    •  Yes,of couse it is (12+ / 0-)

      The imperialist tool box would be incomplete without the ever popular coup option,but 'yankee imperialists' have shown a willingness to use everything they've got to control the governments of this region in the exploitation of it's labor and natural resources for transnational (formerly US) corporate greed.From direct military intervention (invasion?) in Cuba,Grenada,Panama,and Guatemala,to assassination in Costa Rica,Mexico,Argentina,and El Salvador,to shock doctrine economic terrorism in Chile,Argentina,Brazil,Columbia (hell the entire region really) and now again in Venezuela,to the ever popular coup,The agents of Manifest Destiny have ruthlessly suppressed any threat to their stranglehold of power.Manifest Destiny is the underlying mantra here as the  economic and spiritual tribalism that enabled the genocide of Native Americans in the 'Indian Wars' is the same force empowering the suppression of indigenous democratic movements in Central and South America.US governments have aligned themselves exclusively with ruling factions composed of descendants of the rich plantation owners of European ancestry.The rise of Bolivarian democratic movements that would share control of power and economic resources with the majority indigenous population is,of course,unthinkable to both them and their US partners in crime.The extent of the US governments patronizing view was underlined recently by Sec. of State Kerry,in his comment referring to the region as ''our back yard'',and the real threat to US neoliberal interests is that a genuine power-sharing regional democratic Latin America resisting the hegemony of US interests on our back door...might give the neighbors thoughts.

      'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A.Einstein

  •  The Neoliberals are at it again. (30+ / 0-)

    The government in Venezuela is a direct challenge to their final goal of rule by super-national corporate power, and they cannot have that work.

    Why?

    Because Neoliberals do not believe in democracy.

    What Maduro's government was doing was handing the power back to the hands of the people. Neoliberals believe that elites (they define elites as people who have successfully made it to the heights of financial dominance, and consider that to be a sign of expertise and high intelligence) should have the responsibility for making the rules that the rest of society must follow.

    That's why neoliberals love charter schools. It crafts a future society that is pliable and submits to authority without question. It prepares children to thrive and be content in a society where independent thought is outright discouraged. The children of elites, however, receive nearly the exact opposite, so they can take over as the new elites.

    It's why neoliberals love the TPP. It's their big get, the first step in supplanting democratic society into a world where the rights of super national corporate dominion is the law of the land. A world where the Market is the new religion.

    That's why neoliberals offered empty lip service and happily applauded behind closed doors when Citizens United codified that money=speech. It allowed them to purchase politicians and legislation a-la-carte.

    This all naturally dovetails into what they really want in the end--neofeudalism...with them at the top and the plebs swearing fealty to them.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 05:36:44 AM PST

  •  It's the Usual Suspects (20+ / 0-)

    The same folks are involved here that were involved in the U.S.-backed coup attempt of 2002. The "opposition leaders" are all folks with decades-long ties to U.S. intelligence agencies. Same story.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:10:47 AM PST

  •  Venezuela is not the model you think it is (60+ / 0-)

    Look to Chile or Uruguay for transparent, DEMOCRATIC leftist governance. Cuba and Venezuela are not models anyone should be applauding.

    Shutting down the free press (yes even the Venezuelan equivalent of Rush Limbaugh and FOX news should have the right to publish) and dismantling democratic institutions is not something that should be applauded.

    The Venezuelan economy is awash in corruption, supermarket shelves are empty, oil production is declining, inflation is out of control and crime is reaching the levels of a failed state. Demonstrators were murdered by armed thugs. If Neo-Liberals ever wanted a poster child to scare people away from "Socialist" policies Venezuela's current rulers today are a Neo-Liberal dream come true. Blame it on outside agitators and sabotage but Uruguay and Chile manage thriving economies ruled by leftists. Why is it Venezuela with it's oil wealth can't do the same?

    Painting the students that were former Chavistas and are now in the streets as CIA stooges is what you would expect in Putin's Russia or Castro's Cuba. Would the Oligarchs and right wing like to see Maduro gone? Yes but so would millions who have no interest in a return to Oligarchical rule. The choice should not between 2 groups of corrupt thugs, one using leftist rhetoric the other rightist. Venezuelans deserve real democracy and transparency.

  •  Good write up but let's not insult (35+ / 0-)

    the intelligence of the Venezuelan people who are out there on the streets fighting and sometimes dying for what they believe to be true.

    Those people on the streets are not a bunch of dupes who have been had by the CIA, they are real people with real beefs against there government. I support them wholeheartedly, that country stinks on ice.

    It was BS when people claimed that OWS happened because of the communist groups influence and it is insulting and stupid to claim that those people out on the streets in Venezuela are there because they are just too stupid to not swallow CIA propaganda.

    It reminds me of the ancient astronaut theory. Obviously they had to have extraterrestrial help because they were just too stupid to do this by themselves.

    I give the Venezuelans credit enough to know what is really happening in their own country and I, and all of us should, applaud their bravery in standing up to what they perceive is a horrible and untenable situation. Let's not discount their problems, as you have learned Ray, it takes a lot to get people off their asses and into the streets.

    Power to the people, no matter who is sitting in the palace, right?

    •  Of course they have their beefs (11+ / 0-)

      They want their power back. Power they believe is theirs by right. Power they believe was stolen from them by the Bolivarian Revolution which seeks to empower the Venezuelan People, all of them, not just the few, the privileged and the wealthy.

      Apparently the State Department, the American mass media and the numerous US funded NGOs operating in Venezuela agree with the rebels.

      Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

      by felix19 on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:09:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did you not (15+ / 0-)

      understand what Ray said about the inflation and shortages being caused by the oligarchic opposition? Watch The Shock Doctrine and pay attention to the case study of Chile--it is the playbook being used here. Whether you think other countries are better models or not has nothing to do with what's going on in Venezuela--US policy, at least since the 1930s, is to destroy people's movements for justice, equality, and control over their own natural resources.

      You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

      by gnothis on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:09:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Snowball is the reason there is no toilet paper (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Andrew Lazarus, joe from Lowell

        Got it.

      •  100% correct (5+ / 0-)

        too bad most, like the commenter you respond to,refuse or are too uniformed to see the man behind the curtain.

        'The tyranny of the ignoramuses is absolute and inescapable' A.Einstein

      •  We understood it, the issue is that it's (8+ / 0-)

        unproven conspiracy-theory garbage, and there is a good deal of evidence that shows it is the corruption and ineptness of the current Venezuelan regime that has done the lion's share of the damage to their economy.

        You can't blame the oligarchs for the utter disaster that has been the mismanagement of the nationalized oil companies.

      •  What? How do the oligarchs create inflation? (7+ / 0-)

        They are counterfeiting Venezuelan currency and driving prices up? Seriously: what is the mechanism by which even the rich create inflation? I suppose they could raise prices in some vast conspiracy (in all those commodities?! and not one retailer breaks ranks?!) for only political reasons, but in that case we would not expect product shortages: we would expect unsold surpluses!

        The standard explanation that the government is printing money out of think air to pay its supporters (see: Zaire, Zimbabwe) is a lot more likely, since that explains both higher prices and shortages.

        Meanwhile, the inability to import goods that are not produced in Venezuela is not caused by the oligarchs: it is caused by exporters in other countries not wanting to deal with a non-convertible currency on its way to worthlessness. Now, you can claim that the exporters are part of the neoliberal conspiracy, but it's a strange economic system that can't succeed without coercing players who don't even live in the same country.

        Chavista economics is starting to sound like a child throwing a tantrum because the foreign exporters and the local bourgeoisie aren't playing the game by its rules. Jejune socialism.

        •  The oligarchs raise prices (0+ / 0-)

          so that they can exploit the people, and the government raises wages so that people can afford basic goods.

          It's a game of tit-for-tat.

          "If you sing a song a day/ You will make a better way" -- Earth, Wind, and Fire

          by Cassiodorus on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:01:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Governments don't raise all the wages (0+ / 0-)

            Nor does this explain the shortages. I mean, this is a story, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. There are shortages in perishable goods… those aren't being hidden in the secret warehouses.

            Here's another issue: if the oligarchs are just on a supplier version of a general strike, why can't the government create strikebreaking stores? If you could sell, for example, TVs (or toilet paper) at the prices the government thinks is "reasonable", they could import them (using the dollars they don't let the oligarchs have) and sell them. Believe me, exporters will do business with Maduro, if they get paid.

            The government could have continued to use oil revenues for infrastructure construction and other ways of improving the economy for everyone. They seem to have gone off, instead, on a campaign to prove that quid pro quo economics (not just capitalism, Communism didn't make products out of thin air) is obsolete, you can just will people to sell goods, and you can pay people without income.

            •  Is it that vast reduction in poverty in Venezuela (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              unfangus

              that leaves you so disappointed?  Mark Weisbrot:

              Meanwhile, the poverty rate dropped by 20% in Venezuela last year – almost certainly the largest decline in poverty in the Americas for 2012, and one of the largest – if not the largest – in the world.

              "If you sing a song a day/ You will make a better way" -- Earth, Wind, and Fire

              by Cassiodorus on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:02:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your poverty number is mistaken (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                IM

                The poverty rate fell by 20% over the course of the Chavez government. If you don't like Wikipedia, the Venezuelan government says the same. That's not to be sneezed at, but it doesn't appear to have moved in the last six years. If the government has all these dollars and great financial statistics, why doesn't it pay its bills? Perhaps screwing up the economy to encourage polarization and hope to come out with the larger half is the plan.

                While talking numbers, the murder rate is 15 times the United States'.

                •  Or, in plain English: (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador, unfangus

                  cut nearly in half:

                  The ECLAC found that, from 2002 to 2010, poverty was reduced by 20.8 percent, descending from 48.6 percent to 27.8 percent, while extreme poverty went from 22.2 percent to 10.7 percent, which translates to a reduction of 11.5 percent.

                  The report also states that from 1999 to 2010 Venezuela achieved the second highest rate of poverty reduction: 21.6 percent, falling from 49.4 percent to 27.8 percent. The first country was Ecuador, which reduced poverty by 26.4 percent, down from 63.5 percent  to 37.1 percent.

                  As for this claim:
                  but it doesn't appear to have moved in the last six years.
                  seems to be contraindicated here:

                  http://www.indexmundi.com/...

                  "If you sing a song a day/ You will make a better way" -- Earth, Wind, and Fire

                  by Cassiodorus on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:07:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Your chart ends in 2011 and it is now 2014 (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    IM

                    There apparently being no figures yet for 2012 or 2013 (wonder why?). But there are no data points between 2005 and 2011, just a linear interpolation. If you look at the annual numbers on Wikipedia, they haven't been moving.

                    Your original source claimed a drop in poverty of 20% last year. I certainly read that as a one-year phenomenon, and I think we can agree, that is a mistake.

                    •  I'm quite clear about that. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador
                      There apparently being no figures yet for 2012 or 2013 (wonder why?)
                      Because the group posting the statistic didn't update.
                      I certainly read that as a one-year phenomenon, and I think we can agree, that is a mistake.
                      I'm not agreeing with anything I haven't seen.

                      "If you sing a song a day/ You will make a better way" -- Earth, Wind, and Fire

                      by Cassiodorus on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:57:57 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Then look at Wikipedia again (0+ / 0-)

                        as it is just echoing the official Venezuelan figures. They don't show a sudden drop in poverty last year. Indeed, another 20% drop would bring the rate down below that of the United States and United Kingdom, countries where toilet paper is readily available, even to the poor. So the conclusion seems quite unlikely. They do show a 20% drop over the course of several years earlier in Chavez's Administration, and no sustained drop after that. I can't help it if you don't want to read even Venezuela's own statistics to disabuse yourself of a belief in an ongoing economic miracle, except for toilet paper.

                        The Venezuelan government has apparently stopped releasing data—I can't find any site with 2012 data, much less 2013.

                        •  Oh, hey, look what I found with one Google search (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Ray Pensador

                          http://venezuela-us.org/...

                          Yeah, I bet you looked real hard.

                          •  It is definitely an interesting read, especially (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Andrew Lazarus

                            when you go back to the original ECLAC report. The article says

                            He said that 2013 saw a continued “downward trend in [the rate of household] poverty in Venezuela, and we went from 21.6% in 2012 to 19.6% [last year] despite the economic war.”
                            which would be wonderful, indeed, except that ECLAC's figures for 2013 are projected. The last actual data in the report are from 2012.

                            I won't call it propaganda, because it isn't - merely positive spin, which is expected from government publications at the best of times. But there are no data from 2013 available in that report.

                            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                            by serendipityisabitch on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:30:42 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  As I said, I found the link in about 2 seconds (2+ / 0-)

                            And what's-his-face was asking for 2012 statistics.

                            Additionally, I don't see any reason why the poverty trends would reverse, even given the high rate of inflation. Most of the poor buy their food from subsidized Mercal supermarkets, and the minimum wage was increased to keep pace with inflation (which, obviously, isn't going to match it perfectly but it'll mitigate the negative effects.)

                          •  Except - why tout the ECLAC report to suggest (0+ / 0-)

                            that 2013 continued the downward trend? There had to be numbers available for the first three quarters of 2013 at the time of the article, at least, even if they haven't been disseminated. Choosing to go with projected figures rather than actual could suggest that the actual figures weren't as positive. It could, of course, also suggest that the author was lazy, or didn't have access to the actual figures, or...

                            I'm waiting for data, but it strikes me that this entire mess began percolating strongly in 2013, and that is the period we have the least data for, whether by design or happenstance. Without the data, none of the theories about the causes of the current situation have much support.

                            So far, the only solid reporting we have suggests that there has been a massive overreaction on the part of the government to demonstrations, no matter what the actual causes.

                            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                            by serendipityisabitch on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:08:02 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks for making my case (0+ / 0-)

                            So last month (!) they released 2012 and it doesn't show a 20% drop in poverty! One percent.

                            I don't see an explanation of why they are so far behind.

                          •  Not one percent (0+ / 0-)

                            Five percent. And extreme poverty fell by 2.

                            Who's so far behind what?

                          •  Also, I read back up thread. You're wrong, bro (0+ / 0-)

                            And also a fucking idiot. Weisbrot says it dropped by 20%. A 5% drop from 29% to 24% IS a reduction by 20 percent.

                            Learn some math.

                            You also claimed that poverty "hasn't moved in 6 years", which you've thankfully backpedaled away from. Or have you? Do you still wanna try and pretend that's true?

                          •  Don't fall into the trap. These folks push (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Clever Handle

                            buttons (with a barrage of logical fallacies) until they make people loose their temper.  It's formulaic.

                          •  Changes in these statistics are quoted in points (0+ / 0-)

                            And you know it. And I suspect the original author knows it, and does it otherwise to make it look better.

                            Here's an article about USA poverty.

                            From a quantitative standpoint, the numbers show progress. Adjusted for historical inflation, the U.S. poverty rate between 1967 and 2012 declined by 10 percent -- from 26 to 16 percent -- according to Columbia University researchers. [emphasis added]
                            Wait! By your figuring, US poverty dropped by 38.5% (10/26). We should really pat ourselves on the back! Are you going to write them a letter telling them how much better the USA is at fighting poverty than their article shows?

                            No, because that's the usual way of reporting poverty, unemployment, and a host of other statistics.

                            As per the estimates of Planning Commission, the percentage of people living below the poverty line in India has come down by 15.3 percentage from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 21.9% in 2011-12,”  Indian Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Dr Girija Vyas informed Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian parliament [emphasis added]
                            This, by the way, includes Venezuela's own site.
                            Social policies implemented under Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution helped reduce the country’s rate of extreme household poverty during 2013 by nearly one percentage point, from 6.3% to 5.5%. [emphasis added]
                            I've forgotten more math than you know, but I remember how to find misleading statistics.
                          •  Yes, and if you'd read Weisbrot's whole piece (0+ / 0-)

                            It'd be clear which one he meant.

                            This is all semantics anyway. The point is: poverty reduction in Venezuelan has not stopped in the past 6 years.

                          •  Incidentally, households vs people (0+ / 0-)

                            If you look at the number of households in poverty over the last six years, it has gone down, but the percentage of the population in poverty has not gone down. (Guess they need to import more birth control.)

                          •  Where are you getting that? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador

                            By my reading, the ELAC report we're talking about reports on page 13:

                            Latin America (18 countries): persons living in poverty and indigence, around 2005, 2011 and 2012 a
                            And then the numbers Weisbrot cites are listed there.

                            Given your history in this thread, I'd like to see you post some evidence for once.

                          •  Also: (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador

                            That's extremely racist.

        •  Simple (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          unfangus, Ray Pensador

          They hoard goods, refuse to invest their money in the economy, illegally smuggle goods out of the country to avoid price controls, and use their vast wealth to drive up the price of dollars on the black market.

  •  Amnesty International (32+ / 0-)

    The human rights organization condemns the assault on democracy in Venezuela:

    The charges brought against Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López smack of a politically motivated attempt to silence dissent in the country, said Amnesty International.

    “Venezuelan authorities must either present solid evidence to substantiate the charges against López or release him immediately and unconditionally,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International Americas Programme Deputy Director.  

    “These charges appear to be politically motivated because of his leadership in the recent anti-government protests. Currently, Amnesty International has not seen evidence to substantiate these charges. This is an affront to justice and free assembly.”

    I guess AA - like the NYTimes - is just another "fascist, neo-liberal front" organization.

    The opposite of "good" is "good intention" - Kurt Tucholsky

    by DowneastDem on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:47:44 AM PST

  •  Whenever I hear corporate news (23+ / 0-)

    begin cranking up the slam on events anywhere in the world my first instinct is to wonder what oligarchic interest is behind it.  They all have the same basic structure:

    1) Claim 'democracy' is being violated by citing some grievance from the local oligarchic stooges.
    2) Blow a few anecdotal but emotional incidences out of proportion (preferably having to do with sex);
    3) Make a few idiotic red-herring type confusing arguments;
    4) Hand the microphone to an 'expert' (whose affiliations are never disclosed) who then intones solemnly how this situation has to change;
    5) Cite without context some economic problem (such as a toilet paper shortage).

    The one cause for hope is their complete lack of imagination.  Note the formulaic hit pieces could have been written by well-designed word processor.  The start menu would only require a few names and dates to be entered.  A random number generator could be used to pull the key propaganda terms from a table.  Hell, that may actually be how these things get written.  

    All the major news outlets are on this one in coordination.  The coup is underway.  Hope and change is on the march no matter who is president.

    Happy Saturday!

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:43:40 AM PST

  •  Way too biased a diary here. If there was a more (19+ / 0-)

    balanced analysis it would be more informative. MSNBC just had a more objective study of the situation. There was some intimitation in past elections, the left is not pure as the driven snow as portrayed above.

  •  You present an important viewpoint (5+ / 0-)

    on an important topic, which is why I'm tipping and recommending this diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:53:22 AM PST

  •  Thank you for reminding me... (5+ / 2-)

    why I routinely skip your diaries and how little you are different from the most rabid teabaggers.

    A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

    by Tempus Figits on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:17:19 AM PST

  •  As always, the 'truth' likely lies (6+ / 0-)

    somewhere in-between the claims in this diary and those that hold Maduro=devil.

    However, it is sad to see these diaries and comments from folks who wouldn't tolerate HALF of the reaction from the Maduro government from US authorities on protests here.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:21:38 AM PST

  •  Ray, an observation... (39+ / 0-)

    A recurring theme in your writing is outing corruption. You have written about the revolving door from government to lobbying/big business many times. You have written that we need to shine a bright light on corruption in order to clean up government and take power away from the corrupt corporate cartels and their lackeys and return it to the people.

    By all accounts -- even by the accounts you quote in your diary here -- endemic corruption in the government and among the power elites in Venezuela has led to devastating shortages of basic goods, a massive uptick in violent crime, soaring unemployment and runaway inflation.

    How do you let Maduro off the hook for corruption when that is one of the very issues you write about over and over?

    Secondly, you once again intimate that many of those taking to the streets to protest these corruptions, and, in some cases, putting their lives on the line to do so, are somehow dupes of a propaganda effort foisted upon them by powerful oligarchs and the U.S.

    You display a general disdain for people for whom these problems are very real. So real, in fact, that they are risking their lives to expose the very types of corruption you so often rail about.

    So these poor saps in Venezuela are being manipulated by people much smarter and more powerful than them to protest against a leader who is demonstrating corruption of the worst sort merely another pawn, unable to ferret out the very corruption of the government and the oligarchs that, apparently, is beyond his control.

    According to you, the protesters and Maduro are all victims -- the protesters, victims of their own ignorance, and Maduro, the victim of outsider manipulation by the U.S. and powerful oligarchs.

    Do you think Maduro's government is in any way responsible or involved in this endemic corruption?

    You work very hard to absolve Maduro of any blame in the current situation by framing him as a target of powerful special interests because he's a socialist and poses a threat to oligarch, plutocrats and the U.S. government (which is in the hands of oligarchs, plutocrats and criminal corporate cartels).

    How very convenient for Maduro.

    "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

    by Bob Johnson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 08:47:25 AM PST

    •  Bob, Inequality in the US is as bad as 1929 (6+ / 0-)

      The median wage is lower today than it was six years ago.

      And countless diaries have been written regarding how corrupt US politicians have funneled billions to Wall Street without bailing out Main Street.

      Does that give the average family a license to demonstrate violently against President Obama in Washington DC?

      Of course not.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:41:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those Maduro apologists and Putin apoligists (10+ / 0-)

      and Gaddafi apologists and Assad apologists.  There are reasons other than the Venezuelan government for the problems there.  The U.S. and others have been fucking with that country for a long time.  
      All governments suck, some worse than others. Ours sucks big time.   But it doesn't give the U.S. the right to literally fuck with millions of people's lives over oil and power.

      "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 10:00:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I never said it gave the U.S. or anyone else (19+ / 0-)

        ... permission to fuck with Venezuela.

        But reread Ray's diary. He should apply for a job with Maduro's state-run media.

        Ray gives complete cover to a corrupt regime.

        "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

        by Bob Johnson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 10:12:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps. But it's the same every time. When (13+ / 0-)

          those of us point out the United States and it's allies are doing certain things to instigate or manufacture, i.e., regime change operations or country destabilization projects, the focus from those that support Obama and the democratic party is on the evil dictator instead.  Every time. I've been called an apologist for Gaddafi, Assad, and Putin myself just from pointing out the U.S. role in these situations.  
          If it was Bush or Romney in office, it would be different. That's the primary reason the antiwar/anti-imperialism movements have died out.

          "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

          by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 10:42:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My entire comment was about Maduro and the (4+ / 0-)

            ... corruption endemic to his regime. Do you agree or disagree that the regime is corrupt and that the people suffer as a result?

            Does Maduro get a free pass because he's a (supposed) leftist?

            Left or right, a dictator is a dictator.

            "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

            by Bob Johnson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 05:50:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No government should get a free pass, not in (3+ / 0-)

              this day and age for sure.  The problem is the U.S primarily thru the CIA and the State Dept are down there instigating and manufacturing the situation into violence, as they're doing many places including Ukraine.  And they aren't doing that for the Venezulean people's benefit, it's for the western oligarchs interests.  They're pushing the right wing elements to overtake the current regime which will only make it worse for the people.  The people suffer with this approach.  The U.S. and the western oligarchs make it much worse with their meddling for hegemony and money. We have plenty of evidence for that.  
              That has to be stopped Bob.  That's U.S. imperialism.  
              And relative to governments, look at ours, it's a joke.  Fifty million people around the world killed since the end of WWII.  Illegal wars, regime changes, full spectrum dominance.  Our government is the primary problem, those that control it and it's getting very dangerous.  

              "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

              by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:15:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Agreed, Al. (3+ / 0-)

                But the corruption of a regime, left or right, should be called out. Ray gives the regime a complete pass. Ray spends a great deal of time calling out the corruption in the regime here in the U.S. And the calling out is well-deserved. But Maduro is no innocent. He's no hero, either. He's just another corrupt dictator. He is doing his people no favors.

                "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

                by Bob Johnson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:20:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's a good point, like trying to paint Putin in (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Bob Johnson

                  a good light.  That's why I concluded we need a global people's revolution.  We're all trapped right now.  I can understand the tendency to primarily focus on the U.S., it's the leader of the pack, but yes, we can't lose sight of the fact that pretty much all governments have their evil ways.  
                  Reminds me of an old joke about a Happy Medium.  But another time.

                  "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

                  by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:57:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. That way I don't have to engage in a (4+ / 0-)

        nonsensical circular argument.

        •  Your Circular Argument (12+ / 0-)

          When someone writes a detailed and sympathetic post disagreeing with you, you just dismiss it as a "circular argument". Even though it's not.

          Even though the circular argument is yours: "if you don't agree with me, you're corrupt and negligible."

          Your diaries are discouraging because they are monomaniacal, paranoid, and dismissive of disagreement nearly to the point of schizophrenia - but cover important subjects where there is real corruption and real questions. Yes, I mean they are kinda crazy, especially the way your responses to comments treat dissent from your propositions.

          If there were another one of you reading your diaries, they'd probably say you're a CIA plant undermining the anti-CIA point of view with fatally flawed arguments and engagements.

          Yours are the most circular arguments in your diaries.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 12:12:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That has everything: monomaniacal, paranoid, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cybrestrike, TheMomCat, lostinamerica

            an schizophrenia, and a CIA plant to boot!  Wow, haven't seen one of those in a while!

            I'll check out your record here and metrics to learn how to write diaries you may like.  What do you think?

            •  Face Reality (0+ / 0-)

              Even the part where I exposed your circularity with a CIA reference to something impossible ("another one of you") interests you only because you see an accusation of your being a CIA plant. Which obviously I did not say.

              You don't even read comments disagreeing with you that you reply to. You just dismiss them with inane glib armor of your extremely self-referential positions.

              Because you are monomaniacal, paranoid, nearly schizophrenic. As I said, your obsessions do your legitimate subjects a disservice, by making people who need a reasonable guide to them reject you because you're unreasonable.

              By all means please check out my record here and metrics. I like the diaries I write because they have good standards of logic and reality. I tend to like other diaries better, which also have those standards or higher.

              I dislike yours because they're crazy. And they're metastasizing a corrupt worldview of leftwing crazy insulated from reality on important issues.

              If you were even just capable of listening to sympathetic, constructive criticism you'd have something worthwhile. Instead you're making it worse.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:06:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Speaking of reality. Here's a direct challenge, (0+ / 0-)

                and I think (speaking of metrics), it can be objectively measured.

                As I (and many other readers have mentioned) there has been a tiny (but very persistent) group of users, which average 4 to 6 in my diaries (with a couple of them landing on every single of them) desperately trying to attack my character for several months now.

                Their technique is standard text book character assassination, using labels like crazy, paranoid, narcissistic,  and others which allude to mental instability.

                This tiny group of users is very persistent and disciplined, but they have failed so far, and will continue to fail.

                Here's the challenge for you (if you are serious about dealing with reality)... If you are correct in your assessment where you engage in H'arable direct insults, readers will end up brushing aside my arguments (and my writing).

                On the other hand, if my writing is well thought out (and resourced), readers will keep reading.

                The site's metrics (recs, followers, and others) will show which way things will go.

                Throughout, (it is likely) the fab-six will continue peppering my diaries with highly offensive H'rable insults and character assassination efforts.

                Regarding your metrics, it looks that you've been here since 2005 and your diaries average recs are 5 to 20.

                Now, keep coming around and watch what happens... If you want to suggest any other objective measures (metrics), let me know.

                •  Self Serving (0+ / 0-)

                  Just because your kind of thinking and refusing argument are (somewhat) popular, doesn't mean they're valid. Red State, Fox News and many others come to mind.

                  One reason your diaries have a relatively small number of critics is because it's quixotic to do so: you ignore or glibly dismiss divergence from your personal model of the world, never changing. It doesn't have much effect. But enough do in the comments that a casual reader has a chance to see that valid criticism falls on your deaf ears. So occasionally I will do that public service myself. But it's tedious.

                  I used to occasionally diary mostly to get Democrats and geeks to share community values - a difficult subject. It's been years since I even bothered - I'm not that interested in the hobby. Hyperbolic conspiracies are easy to draw a crowd to, especially if you keep it up for years. Not my bag.

                  I could of course select any number of diaries and diarists who use valid logic and are far more popular than yours and you.

                  Just another example of your self-selecting logic.

                  "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                  by DocGonzo on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 11:33:20 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not surprised you'd continue the personal (0+ / 0-)

                    attacks.  Your excuse for failing in your writing is that your stuff is so good that the 2 to 5 recs you get on average must be coming from serious people who do not like "hyperbolic conspiracies."

                    Suit yourself with that fantasy.  We go full-circle as to demonstrated who is really believing is fantasies.

                    Regarding the "hyperbolic conspiracies," it seems like some  point out the nefarious (behind the door) things our ruling elites are doing (many of which are fully documented), and they're call conspiracy theorists... Others who deny (in the face of evidence) that these things are occurring want to be considered "serious people," but are in fact the ones wanting to live a fantasy.

                    •  They don't get further left than DocGonzo (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      serendipityisabitch

                      To see you arguing with him the way you are, tells you how far you've gone with your own brand of propoganda.

                      KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                      by fcvaguy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:35:48 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  No Personal Attacks (0+ / 0-)

                      I'm describing the problems with your logic and your dismissal of any point that isn't consistent with your conclusions, which naturally reflect on you personally. Other than that, there's no "continue the personal attacks".

                      You see it that way because you're paranoid. That's not a personal "attack": it's an observation of your clear and consistent paranoid behavior.

                      As for the "failure" of my writing, you are the one now resorting to irrelevant personal attacks. You're insisting on equating popularity with validity. While ignoring the obvious disproofs of that idea. Except that it's self-serving, and you're monomaniacal.

                      Look, you've got problems that you shove into everything you write. I'm not going to change your mind - you're pathological, and require either a professional or some major confrontation by reality. Neither is my job, nor my interest. I post to counter your posts so others can see it and judge your posts without wondering if they're the crazy one. That's done.

                      Goodbye.

                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                      by DocGonzo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:26:12 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Why can't Venezuala (9+ / 0-)

    have a nice neo-liberal money-based 'Democracy' like us? You know, where the President is 'elected' three years before the election by people with money. It is then accepted by the political professionals. And the only thing left is for the people to vote for person already shoved in our face.

    That is the preferred 'Democracy'. If that doesn't work, mob rule outside of democratic institutions by right-wing fascists is always a good thing (see Ukraine).

    •  It least be half as competent as Evo Morales. (0+ / 0-)

      For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

      by Maroon watch on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 03:03:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You are much too glib (28+ / 0-)

    You should visit Venezuela rather than pontificating from afar. Consider these items:
    University Hospital in Caracas is barely functioning and has been that way for months. Doctors complain of shortages of nurses, sutures, gloves, syringes, catheters etc and say that only 4 of 10 operating rooms can be used.  See this report from El Universal in Caracas, no money for University Hospital
    The Committee to Protect Journalists https://www.cpj.org/... denounces continuing violence against and detentions of journalists in Venezuela.

    Yes, some ideologues insist that all is well in Venezuela, Chavez admirer Maria Páez Victor wrote this month,    

    "The Venezuelan economy is doing very well. Its oil exports last year amounted to $94 billons while the imports only reached $59.3 billons - a historically low record. The national reserves are at $22 billons and the economy has a surplus (not a deficit) of 2.9% of GDP. The country has no significantly onerous national or foreign debts."  
    Sounds pretty good, eh? Why then is Venezuela importing food and toilet paper? It should be a food exporter.  If the government has so much money, why don't they fund public hospitals? They support Cuban doctors working in Venezuela who don't man hospitals. Venezuela continues selling oil to Cuba, which can provide medical supplies if not food and toilet paper. The Venezuelan government claims that the murder rate peaked in 2008. Why don't you ask the Venezuelan man in the street about that?

    Violence against journalists (less lethal than in Mexico, I admit) goes with violence against places where Chavez was never popular. The current wave of protests began in San Cristobal, in the state of Tachira, which is now under military occupation. See Paratroopers sent into San Cristobal in the border state of Táchira and an Internet blackout imposed, as residents say they are living in a 'war zone'
    paratroopers in San cristobal

    These are not simple times. Don’t be a hedgehog and don’t buy a used government from the Chavistas. Power corrupts, it corrupts socialists and capitalists. Chavez and Maduro have a long history of problems with students and reporters, not a good sign. Yes, you may call MUD a conservative right wing organization. As in Syria, opposition to the government is divided among many groups. The enemy of stupid imperialists like John Bolton may not be our friend.

  •  Blog from Venezuela w/video (23+ / 0-)

    Not a good situation down there. The state-controlled media is busy shutting down everything (including Internet access is some places), and the state military and police, along with unofficial "militia" members are shooting and beating people and rounding up students:

    Caracas Chronicles

    "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

    by Bob Johnson on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:22:12 AM PST

  •  Venezuela has suffered under grossly incompetent (6+ / 0-)

    government for decades.

    Venezuela has the worlds largest proven oil reserves, and many other natural resources but due to corruption and incompetence the country lives in poverty.  

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 10:03:44 AM PST

  •  Venezuela has less than a democratic tradition... (4+ / 0-)

    ...if you look at its history.

    I personally don't like Maduro or Chavez his predecessor.

    The biggest problem they have is too much oil and the largest oil reserves of any country and is one of the top exporters of oil to the US.

    This combination is corrosive but it does attract the attention of the oil industry the way it influenced the invasion of Iraq and now pushes for intervention in Iran.

    I have been to Venezuela and I know how corrupt and dysfunctional it is. In a bar after a couple of beers I may tell you a few stories.

    Ray has it right, there is a Venezuelan oligarchy that has been an ally of the US oil industry and the CIA for generations.  Venezuelan oil riches are way to attractive to the US powers to be.  

    The CIA probably has a special group just focusing on Venezuela.

    Regardless what Jimmy Carter said, the Venezuelan democracy is far from perfect.  But it is clear that our greed and imperialistic tendencies are making it all worse.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 11:01:36 AM PST

    •  Venezuelan democracy is far from perfect (5+ / 0-)

      but it sure as hell is better then the USA.  Just because the lower classes are being enfranchised in Venezuela, people claim that "democracy isn't working" while in the USA most elected officials are millionaires who lie, cheat, and steal so that they can further clamp down on American freedoms.  Venezuela doesn't have a patriot act.  They don't have an NSA spy agency that spies on all citizens.  They don't have voter purge lists that target minorities in the millions.  Nor do they have gerrymandered districts to further disenfranchise massive numbers of voters.  Nor are they restricted to two parties that offer no alternatives.

      You are correct that Venezuelan democracy is far from perfect.  It just is a far better democracy then the one you live in.

      •  Actually, Chavez/Maduro do have enemy lists akin (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doroma

        with what Richard Nixon did in the US.  If you sign a petition expressing your disagreement with some government policy, you will find yourself quickly out of a job!

        •  Well, a Harvard-educated Latina, wkg at the Fed, (3+ / 0-)

          disagreed with how the Fed was "regulating" Goldman Sachs.

          She found herself out of a job as well.

          Carmen Segarra is her name.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

          by PatriciaVa on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:16:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  And Obama has (3+ / 0-)

          kill lists.

          •  Whoa, let's not get too carried away with the (0+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            Hidden by:
            Anastasia Castro

            teabagger conspiracy theories.

            •  Thanks for the insult (0+ / 0-)

              Is that all you offer?  The only thing you do by insulting me is deny the truth.  Are you that delusional that you think Obama doesn't have kill lists?  

              You are a sorry ignorant sack.  

              HR for accusing me of being a teabagger using conspiracy theories.

              •  Unlike what you just did above, I did not make (0+ / 0-)

                a personal attack against you.

                As of this moment going forward, I will have nothing further to do with you.  Have a nice day.

              •  Anastasia, here's a friendly advice... (0+ / 0-)

                In general, from research I'm doing, I've determined that there are some users that are not debating in good faith, i.e., they are engaging in disruptive behavior on purpose.

                When one debates with that type of user in good faith, one is at a disadvantage because one's arguments are based on reason and logic...

                The other side on the other hand is just pushing buttons, something that's easy to do with "logical fallacies" and personal insults.

                If one keeps this in mind when dealing with trolls (bad-faith commenters), then it is easier not to fall into their trap.

                Mind you, I'm fully aware that there are many who are just regurgitating nonsense, or who are blinded by hyper-partisanship, or just don't have the intelligence to comprehend complex issues, and therefore may act like trolls, but are "innocent" in that they are not engaging in systematic disruption tactics.

                But, on the other hand, we have to assume we do have some professional disinfo artists here as well, and one way to ascertain whether a user may be one is by noticing their patterns (over a long period of time).

                I hope you don't mind me bringing this up.  I just hate to see good people here being targeted in this way.

        •  That story's bullshit just FYI (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          The HRW survey it's based on was anonymous and no one has ever been able to point to anyone that was actually fired for signing the recall petition.

  •  It can't stand, because it's based on fantasy econ (14+ / 0-)

    There's something of a difference between democratic socialism and making promises of government money that can't be backed up by revenue, even oil revenue, without resort to plundering the existing middle (and, yes, upper) classes. The neoliberal cartel doesn't, frankly, have to do a thing, other than sit back and let a medium-sized economy without sufficient local production of consumer goods collapse under the weight of inflation and a non-convertible currency.

    Chavez/Maduro force the electronics stores to open up and sell TVs and computers rather than "hoard" them. New shipments don't come. Who is surprised?

    Why is it that in the United States, government policies that hollow out the middle class are bad, but in Venezuela they are good? I guess it is that in the USA, the beneficiaries are the upper classes, while in Venezuela, it will be that portion of the poor who swear fealty to the régime and act as its death squads. Color me unimpressed.

    •  Oil revenues are almost double imports (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      You don't have any clue what you're talking about.

      •  What the hell does that matter? (0+ / 0-)

        Maduro defenders have a roster of non sequiturs appearing here. In this case, we agree that imports are low: since the government has total control of dollars (other than the black market), opening up the electronics stores as gunpoint and making them sell "hoarded" TVs is a one-time gimmick. These are imported goods, and they won't be replaced. The idea that they will be is fantasy economics, and if you want another example, several international airlines have stopped selling tickets in Venezuelan currency (or withdrawn service entirely). This is good, because—what? (There's an honest answer buried in that pro-Maduro think tank paper cited in many comments here: it will keep the "oligarchs" from leaving the country with any of their money, which I less charitably describe as trying to maintain the economy by one-time plunder of the upper and eventually middle classes.)

        None of this is the least bit related to oil revenues. Nothing about high oil revenues guarantees successful internal economic development: see Nigeria. Nothing about a trade surplus guarantees a healthy economy: From 1980–1989 Nicolae Ceausescu created a large trade surplus in Romania, which he did largely by lowering the standard of living.

        I do have a clue what you are talking about: you're pulling out some random attractive-looking statistics as a way of putting lipstick on a pig. Fifty-six percent inflation and shortages of toilet paper and even perishable food (e.g. milk) say: the economy is sick.

        •  You said "promises not backed up by revenue" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          I'm telling you that, yes, they are backed up by revenue. Exports are almost double imports.

          There is no structural reason for the current increase in inflation. Why would it take 10 years of supposedly "sick" economic policies for inflation to return to the levels of the 1990s, where it topped out at over 100%? Why would it suddenly happen, oh so coincidentally when Chavez died? Why do shortages tend to cluster around elections?

          Nigeria doesn't grow because it doesn't invest it's oil wealth in the real economy. Venezuela before the Revolution didn't either. Now it does. The results were clear:

          The current economic expansion began when the government got control over the national oil company in the first quarter of 2003. Since then, real (inflationadjusted) GDP has nearly doubled, growing by 94.7 percent in 5.25 years, or 13.5 percent annually.

          Most of this growth has been in the nonoil sector of the economy, and the private sector has grown faster than the public sector.

          •  Then why compare to imports? (0+ / 0-)

            Half of what you are saying, about revenues, is relevant—but that needs to be compared to expenditures (and those to promises). The government claims to be running a surplus. That's possible, oil is valuable. But they don't seem to be able to translate that into consumer goods, not just luxury goods.

            I well believe the previous governments were incompetent at finance, and less interested in pulling people out of poverty. The odds that crony socialism will do that, however, are not all that much better than the odds on crony capitalism. Venezuela has a stroke of luck in quantities of a valuable natural resource. But then, so does Nigeria.

            Ecuador also had very high inflation in the 1990s, reaching 100%+ in 2000. But inflation there is low now, and elsewhere in Latin America. And: if the oligarchs are so good at creating inflation now—which I suggest is much more a result of exchange controls and other centralized planning—why couldn't they stop it in the 1980s and 1990s. Inflation is a phenomenon of large-scale economic decisions, not a cabal of businessmen no matter how wicked they may be.

            •  Revenue exceeds spending as well (0+ / 0-)

              but that's another matter entirely. As is connecting budget deficits to a lack of consumer goods. The current shortages have a lot more to do with businesses hoarding goods and smuggling them into Columbia illegally than they do with whether the country is running a fiscal surplus.

              Define crony socialism. There is certainly corruption in Venezuela, but that doesn't explain why (not to sound like a broken record, but this point is important) the black market for dollars only started to explode after Chavez died.

               Here's a chart. As you can see, it started to spike around the October 2012 elections (as it tends to around elections in general, another indication that this is politics and not economics), and really took off once Chavez died.

              Also, you're creating a false dichotomy. Inflation can be caused by problems in an economy (any economy, not just those with left-wing governments) but it can also be induced. And just because you know how to induce inflation doesn't give you any idea how to solve it when there are real structural issues.

              Venezuela has a higher base level of inflation than Ecuador generally because it has what is known as "the Dutch disease", which is common in petro-exporting states, especially in the Third World. That's why inflation has averaged ~25% in the past decade.

              •  Chicken and egg? (0+ / 0-)

                The government created more restrictions on dollars; now they basically control the entire supply. Obviously, that's great for the black market. Similarly, since the exchange rate is set by fiat, the attractiveness of the black market has to do with the discrepancy between the legal and illegal rates. Given that there is high internal inflation, you would expect to see a "flight to quality" (e.g.., dollars), the more so as the official exchange rate loses touch with external value.

                Now, it does go in the other direction: capital flight encourages governments to try currency controls. But given the variety of goods Venezuela does not produce internally and the apparently tight-fisted (or inept) release of dollars for trade, that's a guarantee of shortages and inflation right there.

                The alternative requires a huge conspiracy with the oligarchs losing money through loss of sales (at allegedly-profitable officially tolerated prices). The other commenter who referred to this as blaming Snowball has a point.

                •  No. (0+ / 0-)

                  CADIVI was created in 2003, a decade before this inflation hit. They've reformed the system, yes, but only in response to the speculation. You're the one confusing chicken and egg here.

                  Also, "demand" for the black market, as you use it, is vague and confusing. The question is: at what price dollars are demanded. There's no reason it should be 80 bolivars for one dollar except out of control speculation. The Venezuelan economy grew in 2013, despite the shortages and economic problems. The basics of the Venezuelan economy are strong. In fact, if you look at the chart I posted, you can see a couple of times when the black market price appears to stabilize, only to shoot back up (down on the chart, because it reverses the y-axis).

                  And you still haven't addressed the fact that these types of disruptions, granted to a lesser extent, have always clustered around elections. Why would economics comport so cleanly to politics, in a way that helps the opposition?

                  Do you honestly think the rich don't collude to effect the economy? You're hopelessly naive. Using shitty allusions to Orwell won't change that.

                  And, anyway, there's a financial incentive for the elites as well. Once they set off a panic, they can make a killing. Once the price stabilizes, a bunch of people are going to find themselves holding a lot less money than they used to, and I guarantee you it won't be Leopoldo Lopez's family.

                  •  Your reform is someone else's mistake (0+ / 0-)

                    The availability of dollars has been much reduced, as you know. You can choose to call it reform, you can call it anything you want, that drives people to the black market. You argue that is a response to "speculation". I'm sorry, but if people are willing to offer 80 bolivars for a dollar, that's what a dollar is worth. Why not skip the conspiracy theory and think of why people would offer that much? It may be a bubble, but if that were true, you would think it would be better for the government to sell dollars at 80 (or even 60, or 20), and make an eventual profit on the deal.

                    The fact that instead, they zip the purse tighter suggests all sorts of explanations: they want to cut availability of imported goods to wreck their opponents' livelihoods; that oil revenues notwithstanding they are worried about a run on reserves (down 30% from a year ago, right?); that they want to prevent capital flight at all costs; that they are clueless, and of course this is neither exhaustive nor exclusive.

                    You seem to see a war where The People take on a tiny malevolent cabal of rich oligarchs. This tiny cabal can't make inflation double: that takes government participation. One reason is that their cartel can’t be effective in a situation where the government itself can compete against them. The electronics stores don't want to import TVs because they hate Maduro? Then let the government, or some sympathetic merchants, import them and sell them. Can you explain a reason not to do this if it is profitable? Instead, you have one-time plunder of electronics stores (calling it socialism). And then go blame Snowball.

                    My guess is you are quite wrong about who is getting rich. High inflation destroys the savings of the middle class. After the middle class is destroyed, you will look back and see they were parasites who deserved it.

  •  Written like someone who thinks that... (9+ / 0-)

    reading Howard Zinn means you don't actually have to know anything about a situation to know exactly what's happening.

    Ray's gut tells him, well, it tells him exactly the same thing it tells him about every other event in the world. He's the mirror image of a John Bircher who uses "International Communist Conspiracy" to explain why his socks disappear from the dryer.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:02:59 PM PST

  •  There are three dynamics involved. Two are simple. (5+ / 0-)

    The two simple ones are that (1) yes, the transnational corporate plutocrat-controlled global neoliberal hegemony is self-serving, corrupt, untrustworthy to speak the truth about anything inconvenient to its interests, and similarly willing to do anything to prevent emergence of and destabilize non-capitalist alternatives; and (2) non-capitalist alternatives when they do manage to democratically emerge into majority political control of countries and regions need to maintain tolerance of the free-expression of their political opponents. I found everything that Mr. Pensador wrote to be consistent with both of these concerns. He was correctly pointing out dynamic number (1), and he was in no way excusing failures of the Maduro government on dynamic number (2).

    It is not easy to remain tolerant of your opposition in Latin America, but it should be done as much as possible. Most people from the left to the center worthy of listening to, from Mr. Pensador to President Carter, would agree with that. (On the other hand, the U.S. government has ZERO credibility on this or any other issue in Latin America. If it wanted to have credibility, it would have to disband the CIA and become economically democratic itself, something the plutocrats will not allow.) I once wrote a diary critical of President Chavez on this very point, not because I disagreed with President Chavez's economic policies but rather arguing that in the long run not prioritizing treatment of the opposition undercuts the goals of global socialism. I still feel that way. I think that socialism is made stronger and more exportable around the world when the socialists prioritize respect for human rights, including political rights of the very persons who seek to undercut socialism. It is not easy, but it should be the aspiration of the Maduro government. I think on that most people in these comments would agree.

    The third issue is really complicated and was not really the subject of the diary. This is one that all people of good will need to begin to grapple with directly. It is the proper role of a "class structure," in any kind society. Its very complexity and uncertainty is constantly exploited by the plutocrats. The whole verbiage of a "middle class" is vague. It in some people's definition would include everyone other than the top 1% and the bottom third or so in a given country. Accepting this definition, it is definitely not in solidarity for the most part with the bottom third. The people in the bottom third are supposed to be content striving constantly to enter the middle class. If this sounds like capitalism has a built-in class struggle, that is because it does. The middle class is not encouraged to be in solidarity with the bottom third. It is encouraged to look down upon and ignore the pain of the bottom third. So, as in Venezuela, when "the bottom third" is actually a majority and takes democratic control, the middle class resents the fact that its class privilege is threatened. The class struggle really is only beginning. The middle class begins to experience more of the sufferings of the bottom third. It resents that and longs for the good old days. And the bottom third, which never received solidarity treatment from the middle class, does not always behave well during the continuing class struggle.

    So, I suggest that we talk about the class struggle. If the capitalist elite truly wants to avoid "bad behavior" by "the unruly poor," it should stop shitting on the unruly poor, both directly and through their mercenaries, i.e., "the middle class." But the truth is, the capitalist elite is happy with the class struggle as long as they and their allies in the middle class benefit from the labor and sufferings of the poor. The capitalist elite constantly figures out ways to strain profit from the poor, which is why the U.S. is still fighting an absurd drug war that treats marijuana as a schedule 1 narcotic and privatizes prison and probation services. And the middle class is thrown bones by getting to be the cops on the beat.

    So, "middle class," whose attention capitalist-funded political campaigns constantly craves, which side are you on? That is ever the big democratic question. The side of the 1% or the side of the folks at the bottom.

    George Orwell, a "middle class" writer who disparaged and worked to undermine privileges of class and whom I am proud to say was a wonderful democratic socialist, knew which side he was on. He talked about limiting the wealth structure so that the people at the top could have not more than 10 times the wealth of those at the bottom. The current advocates of Prout economics similarly focus on inequality and seek an even lower ratio of wealth between the top and the bottom. That is THE conversation we should be having in the U.S. if we expect to be a part of a meaningful better world.

    Meanwhile, "the U.S.," which is to say, its 1% and their middle class proxies, whether those who work for newspapers or otherwise, do not speak for its own desperate and poor so it has no standing to speak for those of the desperate and poor around the world. The desperate and poor are inconvenient truths, just like capitalism's Global Warming.

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:47:32 PM PST

  •  The Chris Hedges interview was great. Thanks for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, cybrestrike

    posting it. Imagine that, a conversation about socialism in the U.S. So much easier to assume our grand old party system's exceptionalism and seek to impose it on every other country around the world.

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 02:14:31 PM PST

    •  I've liked Hedges (0+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, his anti-anarchist and anti-ows opinions have made me lose respect. He speaks as if "associated" with OWS, while misunderstanding the basis of it. Some of his criticisms I would share, and in fact made before he went on record, but the problem is his underlying basis for the criticisms.

      I really dislike his claims of having been "associated" with it, while putting down the entire approach.

      It's basically coming off to me as an expression of the same old rift between authoritarian socialists and non-authoritarian socialists.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:21:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand. I thought the OWS association (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen

        part was not particularly strong in his talk. As for the rift, I'm honoring the strengths of all potential allies and hoping that we can find ways to avoid or actually democratically control for weaknesses going forward. Not easy but essential IMHO. I'm not authoritarian but not purely anarchist-socialist as you know, for what it's worth. Greatly appreciate your clarity and commitment to humanity and our world. Will stand with you any day. Regards.

        garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

        by Galtisalie on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:35:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Robert Mugabe is also a Socialist (4+ / 0-)

    That doesn't make him a fit leader by any metric.  

    I don't think it's true that a shitty left wing government is better than a functional right wing one.

  •  We want that oil. Real bad. All of it. Now. And (0+ / 0-)

    forever.

  •  A diary like this can only be written by someone (15+ / 0-)

    who isn't living in Venezuela and doesn't have family members living in Venezuela.  It simply reeks of kook-aid drinking, I find it rather presumptuous.

    Aside from calling itself socialist, the recent actions of the Venezuelan government fail pretty much every single tenet of progressivism: they have let their infrastructure crumble, there is rampant insecurity in the streets, they have a shortage of pretty much every basic need, they are anti free-press almost on par with Iran, Syria, North Korea, and now they are killing student protestors and jailing members of the opposition.  That sounds more like Chinese socialism than say, Danish or Swedish socialism.

    I have a dear friend in Spain who is Venezuelan and also progressive to the bone.  She helped organize in her city today a demonstration in support of the protests in Venezuela.  She is the farthest thing from a member of the "neo-liberal cartel hegemony".  If she were to read this diary, she would be yelling about how these effing gringos have no idea what is going on in her country.

    President Maduro is a buffoon.  If you understand Spanish, listen to what he says.  This guy is a total paranoid, blaming absolutely every ill of his country on the CIA and intervention by the United States.  I'd be laughing if I didn't know first hand how he is running his own country into the ground.  Just last week he offered advice to Puerto Rico on how they can gain independence from the United States.  Good luck with that!  Juts more evidence of how disconnected from reality he is.

  •  I am ashamed to be a part of this site (6+ / 0-)

    A rec listed diary with anti-American conspiracy theories directed against brave people fighting for freedom against an intolerant oppressive regime.

    As John Lennon said, "Count me out."

  •  Do you also believe the Illuminati are running (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net, Miggles, doroma, emelyn, IM

    everything?

    "Harass us, because we really do pay attention. Look at who's on the ballot, and vote for the candidate you agree with the most. The next time, you get better choices." - Barney Frank

    by anonevent on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:21:45 PM PST

  •  If there were a protest in Pyongyang— (0+ / 0-)

    Pensador and his friends, for or against?

    My guess is against, definitely CIA.

  •  Please. Don't be silly. (12+ / 0-)

    The diary reads like something straight from a government sanctioned news source in Venezuela, not something for critical minds on dkos.

    Conspiracy theories about right-wing scheming with US neo-liberal interventionists are not needed to explain why students have been involved in weeks of protests against Venezuela's incompetent heir to Hugo Chavez when the straightforward facts about the obvious incompetence of Venezuela's government is a much more likely explanation.

    Which of the two alternatives really makes more sense?

    One the one hand, the thesis proposed in this diary is that Venezuela's democratically-originated experiment with "21st century socialism" is such a threat to the US government and their neo-liberal allies in Venezuela that many billions of dollars (because that is what it would actually take) are being funnelled to right-wing schemers and trolls inside Venezuela to hoard basic food and toiletry commodities and smuggle them to Columbia (is there a shortage of toilet paper in Columbia making an easy market for such smuggled products?) and to depress the price of the Venezuelan currency below the government's fixed exchange rate for years on end.  And now those schemers and trolls, awash in cash from ... The National Endowment for Democracy (yes, that evil arm of the US Democratic Party which provides community organizing training and election training on things like financial reporting for election campaigns) are strategically mobilizing fascist college students and beauty queens to overthrow President Maduro.

    Or, we have the alternative, "running dog neo-liberal" hypothesis:

    After over a decade of replacing trained government bureaucrats with untrained, political patronage employees loyal to Chavez, and after years of literally zero re-investment in the state-owned oil industry, and after replacing market-based pricing of basic goods and services with prices dictated by the same untrained and undereducated patronage bureaucrats, Venezuela's domestic industry and workforce are no longer capable of producing either enough oil for export or enough food and consumer products and getting them to consumers who need them.

    So which story seems more reasonable?

    Especially when we compare Venezuela to most of its other South American allies -- Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and now even Chile -- we have to ask, why is only Venezuela's economy such a mess if this new brand of anti-neoliberal democracy that is growing so rapidly in Latin America is really such a threat to the mighty US Empire?  Why are the neo-liberal trolls only making trouble in Venezuela and not Ecuador (who's unabashedly leftist president, like Venezuela's opposition leader Lopez, isalso basically a "USian," having a naturalized US citizen mother, most of his extended family living in LA and Philadelphia, and living for years himself in Illinois, of all places, to get a PhD in Economics from neo-liberal haven Urbana-Champaign), for example?  

    It just seems like a real stretch and a paranoid fantasy to invent a conspiracy narrative around the protests of legitimately aggrieved students in Venezuela (I mean, roving, armed gangs really do rape and beat them up a lot more than anywhere else in the Americas, and there really was a lack of toilet paper(!)) when the the basic facts point to a problem of Maduro's own creation:

    1) Maduro is a dictator now, not a democratic president.  Venezuela's rubber-stamp congress recently voted Maduro dictatorial powers for two years.  There is simply no democracy in Venezuela right now, even if a popular vote is what got rid of that democracy.  (And no, President Carter never opined on Maduro's recent, controversial election, just on the equipment and process used in Chavez's 2006 election -- nine years (!) earlier.)

    2) Alone among oil-producing countries anywhere in the world, Venezuela alone has reduced production and exports of oil, despite the fact the US (or China or Russia) continues to buy every drop at any price that Venezuela makes available.  Production has been reduced not by policy choice, but because the state-owned oil industry is dilapidated and physically incapable of producing any more.  

    3) Venezuela's government, in an effort to combat alleged price gouging, has limited the legal prices of basic goods and consumer products (including the now infamous toilet paper) to costs below the domestic costs of production, which prevents domestic industry from producing such goods for any venue except the black market, while the reduced oil exports prevents the importing of such products in sufficient quantities from abroad.

    4) Because private business is now so risky and unprofitable in Venezuela due to the government actions described above, foreign investors, including the Chinese and Russians, are avoiding investment in Venezuela, which coupled with lower total exports is driving the real price the currency lower, exactly as so called "neo-liberal" economists (like Ecuador's Rafael Correa, for example) would predict.  There are just a lot more places for people to invest than in Venezuela right now, and it doesn't take a currency manipulation narrative to explain why no one is buying Venezuela's currency at the official government prices and trader's are speculating on it's unsustainablity instead.

    5) Venezuela really does have one of the highest murder rates in the world, much higher than Mexico's and many times higher than the US, for two ugly comparisons.  And bucking both a worldwide and hemispheric trend, Venezuela's murder rates have more than doubled since Chavez was first elected, while they have been halved  in most of the rest of the world, including the US, as well as civil war stricken Columbia, during that same time period.

    Here's the thing, though:  Lots of people in Venezuela really are better off than before, and they are legitimately supportive of Maduro today -- they make up about half the country and come from the poorest sectors, the slums.  

    But the other half, most of whom supported Chavez at first, are worse off, particularly those who were middle class merchants, farmers, professionals -- the kinds of people who might go to universities or have kids in universities now.  They are angry not just because they lost some of their wealth in redistribution, which is happening in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina now too, but because of the apparent incompetence and anti-democratic abusiveness of Maduro's leadership in doing that.  

    Is a right-wing, imperialist conspiracy theory really the better explanation for what's going on in Venezuela right now?  Or are bad policies, incompetent, poorly trained officials, and a lack of understanding of how basic economics works, even in socialism, a better explanation for Maduro's unpopularity with so many angry people in his country now?

    Whatever one might think of democratic alternatives to neo-liberalism and US hegemony, holding up Venezuela's present government as a champion of it seems irresponsible and unserious.

     

    •  Beautiful. Coherent. To the point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnnetteK

      Thank you.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 12:41:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is a class struggle going on. Please (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfangus, cybrestrike, Ray Pensador

      see my comment above. You touch on this yourself:

      Here's the thing, though:  Lots of people in Venezuela really are better off than before, and they are legitimately supportive of Maduro today -- they make up about half the country and come from the poorest sectors, the slums.  

      But the other half, most of whom supported Chavez at first, are worse off, particularly those who were middle class merchants, farmers, professionals -- the kinds of people who might go to universities or have kids in universities now.  They are angry not just because they lost some of their wealth in redistribution, which is happening in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina now too, but because of the apparent incompetence and anti-democratic abusiveness of Maduro's leadership in doing that.  

      Redistribution, and pain endured by the poor but now suddenly shared somewhat in by others, is a motivating factor for protest. I am glad you at least recognize that somewhat.

      However, positing an either/or like you do is itself not rational. Certainly the right wing in Venezuela who did the previous coup attempt against Chavez and plotted to assassinate him, which has extensive ties to the U.S., is not sitting on the sidelines. They are exploiting protest and will continue to do so as a means to achieve their objective of making Venezuela part of the neoliberal system, which makes world capital happy and allows its proxies in Venezuela to reassume their positions of power and exploitation.

      Meanwhile, there is capital flight and capital avoidance going on, which hurts the Venezuelan economy. This is always a major challenge to development of a non-capitalist economy. And it causes suffering, and the right wing is exploiting this too.

      Venezuela has a right to democratically determine its future. No one said it would be easy.

      Meanwhile, Venezuela does have bad problems with crime. So does Puerto Rico. Please tell me how to solve the latter and maybe some of it can be useful in Venezuela.

      I am not minimizing the need for protection of the citizenry from violent criminals doing murder or kidnapping. That is a serious issue. I would give my life to defend the innocent, and many of us on the left would. But it is not easy, even in U.S. territorial possession in the Caribbean with a similar mixed population. It is a terrible problem throughout Central America too, where the U.S. historically feels entitled to a virtual veto right on governance. It is a major reason Central American families flee illegally to the U.S., where they live in U.S. slums that have their own crime problems I am well familiar with.

      So it is a complicated situation going on, with a lot of tragedy, but one would be naïve, and purposely so, to assume transnational corporate interests were not wanting to have their system put back in place in Venezuela, and to hell with all those poor people in the slums that Chavez and now Maduro help.

      garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

      by Galtisalie on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:27:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's so much misinformation in this post (4+ / 0-)

      Maduro is not a dictator because he was given legislative powers. That requires a 3/4th vote of the National Assembly, and can be removed at any time.

      Goods are exported to Columbia because they don't have price controls there. The US sends plenty of money to the opposition, but the economic war is mostly being waged using the oligarchy's own fortunes. All you need to do to see is look at the timings of the shortages: they always cluster around elections. Most recently, the black market price of dollars exploded after Chavez died. There was no economic basis for that: it was clearly a political move.

      The price controls apply to the rate of profit, so you're wrong, it won't push prices below the cost of production. They're, way, way higher than that now; those businesses you claim were being unfairly expropriated were charging 10x import costs.

      Finally, you are right that crime is a problem. Partly, this is the fault of the Bolivarians: they assumed reducing poverty would also reduce crime. That unfortunately has proven to be overly simplistic. You leave out, though, that the major areas of crime are in areas that the opposition controls, and that the crime rate has started to reduce in recent years as the government has focused on the problem more.

      In fact, the current protests have disrupted a major joint initiative between the central government and opposition mayors to tackle the crime problem. The opposition was finally brought to the table because of their loss in the municipal elections, and Lopez exploded all that with this attempt to shift the opposition to a more radical, anti-electoral direction.

      •  We almost posted the same reaction at the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clever Handle

        same time!

        Thanks for your more in-depth (and totally accurate) answer, and for calling the argument "misinformed," which is actually a charitable characterization.

      •  I don't think that word means what you think it (0+ / 0-)

        means.

        Almost all dictators in history have received their powers from an uncoerced, consensual vote from a legitimate legislative body.  Napoleon, Hitler, even the great Liberator, Simon Bolivar himself, each received legislative mandates, with worded limitations on their powers to rule, but all were dictators.  To pretend that the situation is different somehow with Maduro is just playing games.

        I don't think you understand how price controls work.  They are imposed to limit profits to a reasonable sounding 10% (or something similar if different in certain cases).  However, how that 10% is determined is where the costs become higher than the costs of production.  A bureaucrat, one who has his or her job not because of a degree of expertise or educational background but because of political patronage, looks a list of costs rather arbitrarily arrived at and declares what 10% profit must be, and then applies that to all similar commodities without regard for any contextual matters at all.  As a result, in many goods it becomes impossible to produce them except through some illegal means to cover up the true costs, putting such businesses at risk.  Rather than risk such failures, business owners sell out to government supporters or just leave town, all of which reduce the amount of goods available to the public.

        Furthermore, in shortage situations, markets work to restore shortages by allowing higher than usual profits, creating conditions where profit-seekers can quickly provide more products to a needed area by accepting higher costs on a temporary basis.  By making that illegal, Venezuela is preventing the ability of domestic producers to ever respond to domestic shortages, leaving only foreign producers  -- The Chinese and Americans, ironically, that opportunity.  That's why a smart socialist is quick to accept the neo-liberal solution when it fits the problem, like Kirchner and Lula often do, and Correa of Ecuador does as well, although more quiet about it.  Muduro is just too ignorant of basic economics, and the effects are becoming more acute in the population.

        It is true that the crime problem is not only a Venezuelan problem, although it is worse in Venezuela than almost everywhere else.  The Caribbean has a crime problem toothat is bucking world and regional trends.  However, in Venezuela what gets people mad is that it is armed groups who actively campaign for and support the government -- criminal gangs who rule in the slums and also help get out the vote in the slums -- that are causing so much of the visible violence and are allowed to get more and more arms from abroad while individual citizens are disarmed.  Blaming opposition mayors for such criminal activity that occurs in their areas is like blaming President Obama when Al Qaeda terrorists are found to be US citizens.  The armed groups are active in opposition areas because that is where they are sent to cause problems and earn a living at opposition expense.  Too much armed criminal violence is politically directed and permitted in Venezuela, and that is why people are so angry about it.

    •  Misinformed. Inaccurate word salad. Numbering (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfangus

      your arguments do nothing to make them look cogent.

      Fact: Maduro is not a dictator (as per Carter, the UN, and many other third-party organizations).  The oligarchy in Venezuela is engaging in hoarding (and the destruction) of goods in order to help create shortages and instability; they are also (in collaboration with U.S. intelligence forces) engaging in financial manipulations (to drive up inflation and mess up the currency).

      Nice try.

      •  I've seen a lot of accusations of hoarding, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch

        mostly by apologists of the Chavez administration here in the US or writing for the Guardian, or from Chavez or Maduro himself.  What I have never seen is a detailed analysis which shows evidence that this is, in fact occurring, and that explains how much money would be needed to do it.  My guess is that it is because no such detailed analysis or evidence exists, just the kind of conjecture and CIA-conspiracy blaming that Democracy Now, Weisbrot, or Venezuelaanalysis.com like to engage in.

        Fact: Maduro is a dictator in every sense of the word.  The fact that he was voted dictatorial powers by a willing legislature does not change the fact.  Even Hitler received such powers like that, as well Julius Caeser, with whom the concept originated in the occidental history sense we use the word today.  Most dictators receive their powers by uncoerced votes from a legislative body.  The fact that Maduro is of the left and our recent history has been bloody dictators from the right does not change the fact that today, and for at least the next two years, Venezuela is NOT a democracy and to say that it is is to  perpetuate a lie.

  •  This post frustrates me to no end (0+ / 0-)

    But I'll let Michael Moynihan at the Daily Beast make my argument for me in his article, "Venezuela's Useful Idiots"  An excerpt:

    Because one wonders the reaction of these faux progressives if Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel--pick your the imperialist lackey!--arrested an opposition leader who had organized peaceful street protests? Or if the CIA shut off the internet in politically restive cities like Berkeley and Brooklyn; blocked Twitter traffic it found politically suspect; and took over PBS, forcing it to broadcast only pro-administration agitprop, never allowing the opposition party to traduce the government across public airwaves? Or if the president forced the removal of BBC America from all cable providers for being too anti-American?
    Perhaps reactions would be muted if motorcycle gangs loyal to President George W. Bush circled anti-Iraq War protests physically attacking--and occasionally murdering--demonstrators. How about if a judge ruled against President Obama’s domestic spying apparatus and, in return, the White House ordered that judge thrown in prison? How long would an American president be allowed to run up massive inflation, despite massive oil revenues coming into government coffers? How long would it be considered reasonable--and not the president’s responsibility--to preside over 23,000 murders in a country of just under 30 million people, a rate that would horrify the average resident of Baghdad? How long could supermarket shelves remain bare of basic staples like bread and milk before The Nation or The Guardian would gleefully decide that America was a failed, kleptocratic state? Or if Bush or Obama’s economic policies meant that toilet paper could no longer be found on the open market?
    So I ask a rather straight-forward question to those who pretend to care about the Venezuelan people (much like those who miraculously lost interest in the Vietnamese people after 1975 or the Nicaraguan people after 1990), those who care so deeply for the poor and destitute in Latin America: Why the double standard?
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