Venezuela: “Don’t you get weary!”

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz | February 26th, 2014

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Venezuela: "Don't you get weary!"

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

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“He who tires, loses.”

Venezuela is at a crossroads.

For over two weeks, the peo­ple have been protest­ing against the gov­ern­ment. What started as a stu­dents’ protest has spread through­out the coun­try — even the beauty queens are protest­ing. Why?

The protests accom­pany infla­tion offi­cially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-​highest mur­der rate of any coun­try in the world; and, accord­ing to an offi­cial index, scarce sup­plies of one out of four sta­ple items needed in every home, such as cook­ing oil, corn flour, and toi­let paper.

Nation­al­iza­tion and expro­pri­a­tion of pri­vate busi­nesses, price con­trols, huge cor­rup­tion, gov­ern­ment print­ing money to finance itself (includ­ing hav­ing to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerg­ing mar­kets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and par­cel of a ruined econ­omy. The scarce ben­e­fits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the cri­sis.

One of the causes for the ram­pant crim­i­nal­ity is due to the mul­ti­ple times when, urg­ing his “Boli­var­ian Rev­o­lu­tion,” Hugo Chavez encour­aged the poor to steal while he cre­ated a favored class, instead of direct­ing his régime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed oppo­si­tion demon­stra­tions (and, make no mis­take, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cab­i­net men who were des­ig­nated as “Tier II King­pins”  by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of For­eign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

Add to how social­ism has destroyed Venezuela, the régime’s sup­pres­sion of the media:

  • inter­na­tional net­works have been blocked from cable and satel­lite TV,
  • TV and radio sta­tions had their licenses revoked,
  • news­pa­pers are denied the hard cur­rency they need to buy paper,
  • news web­sites are taken down,
  • the gov­ern­ment blocked Twit­ter images and dig­i­tal walkie-​talkie apps like Zello.
  • pres­i­dent Maduro calls CNN “fas­cists”, throws them out of the coun­try, and them changes his mind, allow­ing them to stay if they toe the line,
  • all while the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to assert that Venezuela is a free democracy.

YouTube, Twit­ter and other social media carry the opposition’s mes­sage as the inter­na­tional media has ignored until this week the Venezuela story. Wor­ry­ingly,

influ­en­tial news out­lets have started describ­ing stu­dents protests in the coun­try as the domain of “con­ser­v­a­tive” kids (here’s look­ing at you BBC). To those who dis­cov­ered Venezuela only a cou­ple of weeks ago, and are bent on pro­ject­ing racial and cul­tural prej­u­dices on the sit­u­a­tion, let me just leave with this lit­tle fac­toid to pon­der on: chav­ismo has never won a gen­eral elec­tion in Venezue­lan uni­ver­si­ties. Ever. Since 1998. In other words, where the vot­ing is man­ual (rather than with Smart­matic /​offi­cial elec­toral body), chav­ismo is yet to win one elec­tion, of either author­i­ties or stu­dents bod­ies in uni­ver­si­ties across Venezuela.

Much to their credit, CNN en Español sent cor­re­spon­dent Fer­nando del Rincón to inter­view retired Brigadier Gen­eral Ángel Vivas, who had armed and bar­ri­caded him­self in his home when the National Guard came to seize him for denounc­ing that Cuba’s giv­ing the orders to the military.

There’s even a photo claim­ing to show Cuban Gen­eral Leopoldo Cinta dic­tat­ing his orders to the Venezue­lan army.

Sen­a­tor Marco Rubio explained Cuba’s influ­ence on Venezue­lan affairs:

Like its Cuban over­lords, the Venezue­lan régime’s human rights vio­la­tions are egre­gious:

the human rights abuses tak­ing place every day with gov­ern­ment over­sight. In the past 14 days, Venezue­lan pro­test­ers, com­prised mostly of stu­dents and the mid­dle class, have been shot; tear-​gassed, beaten and arrested by National Police. Fif­teen peo­ple have died as a result of the protests, seven of them were shot in the head. In addi­tion, two local human rights orga­ni­za­tions, Provea and the Venezue­lan Penal Forum, have also called for inves­ti­ga­tions on the ongo­ing tor­ture of detainees.

Here are two tragic (and very graphic) sto­ries that haven’t made their way into Amer­i­can head­lines: Geral­dine Moreno, a stu­dent, died this past Sat­ur­day after troops shot numer­ous plas­tic bul­lets at her eyes. Juan Manuel Car­rasco, 21, y Jorge Luis León, 25 — two male stu­dents detained in the city of Valen­cia — were allegedly raped with long guns by mil­i­tary troops and hand­cuffed for 48 hours. There is has been no word of an offi­cial inves­ti­ga­tion, and the two are only being helped by an NGO, Venezue­lan Penal Forum.

Today there’s a women’s demon­stra­tion tak­ing place. Tomor­row the Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can States will be meet­ing on Venezuela — I doubt they will denounce the régime’s abuses. Jimmy Carter wants to go to Venezuela, Next week Car­ni­val cel­e­bra­tions are sched­uled but the oppo­si­tion has already said no to the Car­ni­val.

Venezuela’s régime has no ace-​in-​the-​hole mon­e­tary allies; there are signs that some of the mil­i­tary may side with the pro­tes­tors. Yet, things will have to get a lot worse before they get better.

Venezuela’s oppo­si­tion, in order to be effec­tive, must con­tinue its strug­gle. Their motto, so far, is “He who tires, loses.” As Jay Nordlinger said,

The Cas­tros and the Chávezes and the Maduros and their apol­o­gists never tire — ever. Their oppo­nents must not either, if they can pos­si­bly help it.

Let this be their anthem, then:

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes at Fausta’s blog on Latin Amer­i­can and US pol­i­tics and culture.

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Embedded image permalink

“He who tires, loses.”

Venezuela is at a crossroads.

For over two weeks, the people have been protesting against the government. What started as a students’ protest has spread throughout the country – even the beauty queens are protesting. Why?

The protests accompany inflation officially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-highest murder rate of any country in the world; and, according to an official index, scarce supplies of one out of four staple items needed in every home, such as cooking oil, corn flour, and toilet paper.

Nationalization and expropriation of private businesses, price controls, huge corruption, government printing money to finance itself (including having to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and parcel of a ruined economy. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.

One of the causes for the rampant criminality is due to the multiple times when, urging his “Bolivarian Revolution,” Hugo Chavez  encouraged the poor to steal while he created a favored class, instead of directing his regime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed opposition demonstrations (and, make no mistake, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cabinet men who were designated as “Tier II Kingpins”  by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

Add to how socialism has destroyed Venezuela, the regime’s suppression of the media:

  • international networks have been blocked from cable and satellite TV,
  • TV and radio stations had their licenses revoked,
  • newspapers are denied the hard currency they need to buy paper,
  • news websites are taken down,
  • the government blocked Twitter images and digital walkie-talkie apps like Zello.
  • president Maduro calls CNN “fascists”, throws them out of the country, and them changes his mind, allowing them to stay if they toe the line,
  • all while the government continues to assert that Venezuela is a free democracy.

YouTube, Twitter and other social media carry the opposition’s message as the international media has ignored until this week the Venezuela story. Worryingly,

influential news outlets have started describing students protests in the country as the domain of “conservative” kids (here’s looking at you BBC). To those who discovered Venezuela only a couple of weeks ago, and are bent on projecting racial and cultural prejudices on the situation, let me just leave with this little factoid to ponder on: chavismo has never won a general election in Venezuelan universities. Ever. Since 1998. In other words, where the voting is manual (rather than with Smartmatic / official electoral body), chavismo is yet to win one election, of either authorities or students bodies in universities across Venezuela.

Much to their credit, CNN en Español sent correspondent Fernando del Rincón to interview retired Brigadier General Ángel Vivas, who had armed and barricaded himself in his home when the National Guard came to seize him for denouncing that Cuba’s giving the orders to the military.

There’s even a photo claiming to show Cuban General Leopoldo Cinta dictating his orders to the Venezuelan army.

Senator Marco Rubio explained Cuba’s influence on Venezuelan affairs:

Like its Cuban overlords, the Venezuelan regime’s human rights violations are egregious:

the human rights abuses taking place every day with government oversight. In the past 14 days, Venezuelan protesters, comprised mostly of students and the middle class, have been shot; tear-gassed, beaten and arrested by National Police. Fifteen people have died as a result of the protests, seven of them were shot in the head. In addition, two local human rights organizations, Provea and the Venezuelan Penal Forum, have also called for investigations on the ongoing torture of detainees.

Here are two tragic (and very graphic) stories that haven’t made their way into American headlines: Geraldine Moreno, a student, died this past Saturday after troops shot numerous plastic bullets at her eyes. Juan Manuel Carrasco, 21, y Jorge Luis León, 25 – two male students detained in the city of Valencia – were allegedly raped with long guns by military troops and handcuffed for 48 hours. There is has been no word of an official investigation, and the two are only being helped by an NGO, Venezuelan Penal Forum.

Today there’s a women’s demonstration taking place. Tomorrow the Organization of American States will be meeting on Venezuela – I doubt they will denounce the regime’s abuses. Jimmy Carter wants to go to Venezuela, Next week Carnival celebrations are scheduled but the opposition has already said no to the Carnival.

Venezuela’s regime has no ace-in-the-hole monetary allies; there are signs that some of the military may side with the protestors. Yet, things will have to get a lot worse before they get better.

Venezuela’s opposition, in order to be effective, must continue its struggle. Their motto, so far, is “He who tires, loses.” As Jay Nordlinger said,

The Castros and the Chávezes and the Maduros and their apologists never tire — ever. Their opponents must not either, if they can possibly help it.

Let this be their anthem, then:

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes at Fausta’s blog on Latin American and US politics and culture.

DaTechGuy on DaRadio Saturday Noon EST. WBNW AM 1120 Concord WPLM 1390 Plymouth WESO 970 Southbridge, FTR Radio, the 405 Media

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