Venezuela: Crackdown time

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz | May 14th, 2014

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Venezuela: Crackdown time

An update on Venezuela by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz:

The coun­try, well into Com­mu­nism by now, con­tin­ues its descent into chaos.

Nine senior gov­ern­ment offi­cials, includ­ing mil­i­tary offi­cers, one diplo­mat and pro-​government politi­cians, are in the most recent U.S. government’s list of active drug king­pins and ter­ror­ists, the Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Nation­als List (SDN).

Price con­trols wreck the econ­omy. CNN reports how fist fights have bro­ken out out­side bak­eries, and price con­trols lead to smug­gling goods to be sold in Colom­bia, where the goods can be sold at (higher) mar­ket price.

The government’s talks with the oppo­si­tion are falling apart. Cara­cas Gringo looks at the offi­cial oppo­si­tion party, the MUD, and finds,

First, the hand­ful MUD “rep­re­sen­ta­tives” par­tic­i­pat­ing in the far­ci­cal dia­logue bro­kered by the for­eign min­is­ters of Colom­bia, Ecuador and Brazil were exposed last week in Wash­ing­ton, DC as régime bootlick­ers who don’t rep­re­sent anyone.

Sec­ond, if these MUD char­ac­ters engaged in the “dia­logue” ever had any claim to being the offi­cial “rep­re­sen­ta­tives” of the “orga­nized oppo­si­tion,” it’s now clear that there isn’t any “orga­nized oppo­si­tion” and the MUD’s dirt bags only rep­re­sent themselves.

The MUD has now announced they will no longer par­tic­i­pate in the “talks”.

The gov­ern­ment, how­ever, is crack­ing down on pro­test­ers. Last week hun­dreds of stu­dents were arrested; of those, 155 were released. Eleven are being held on

charges includ­ing weapons offenses, crim­i­nal asso­ci­a­tion and incite­ment to vio­late laws, as well as drug violations.

Reuters esti­mates that 160 peo­ple remain in jail from round-​ups since Feb­ru­ary. They may remain there indef­i­nitely held up on pro­ce­dural delays, as Leopoldo López, leader of the Vol­un­tad Pop­u­lar (People’s Will) has been since turn­ing him­self in on Feb­ru­ary 28.

There’s more oppres­sion to come: Yes­ter­day National Assem­bly speaker Dios­dado Cabello sin­gled out 14 Venezue­lans as con­spir­a­tors. Cabello has been banned from entry into the U.S. from his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 1992 coup.

Human Rights Watch’s report on the state of repres­sion in Venezuela proves that

the gov­ern­ment of Nicolás Maduro, which has been bat­tling anti-​government protests since Feb­ru­ary, rou­tinely uses unlaw­ful force against unarmed pro­test­ers, and even against bystanders or peo­ple just pass­ing by demon­stra­tions. Com­mon prac­tices include severe beat­ings, the indis­crim­i­nate use of bul­lets, rub­ber pel­lets, and tear­gas against civil­ians, and the shoot­ing at close range with rub­ber bul­lets of peo­ple in cus­tody. It also proves the con­tin­ued and sys­tem­atic mis­treat­ment of detainees; in some cases, these abuses clearly qual­ify as torture.

Amer­i­can left­ies would have you believe that the con­tin­u­ing strug­gle is a mat­ter of pro-U.S. ver­sus anti-U.S., left ver­sus right, rich ver­sus poor, social­ism ver­sus cap­i­tal­ism; Moisés Naím asserts the truth:

It is between those who defend a gov­ern­ment that vio­lates human rights as a state-​sanctioned pol­icy and those who are will­ing to sac­ri­fice them­selves to stop it.

What is at stake? Assem­bly­woman Maria Corina Machado spells it out:

it is not a mat­ter of ask­ing the régime to change its poli­cies; it will not. Our strug­gle is for régime change by con­sti­tu­tional means, as soon as pos­si­ble; and it is there­fore essen­tial to main­tain peace­fully pub­lic pres­sure in the streets.

A fel­low Bar­quisimetan impec­ca­bly expressed it these days “it is not about improv­ing the con­di­tions of cap­tiv­ity , it is about liv­ing in freedom.”

Not only for Venezuela, but for the region.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

An update on Venezuela by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz:

The country, well into Communism by now, continues its descent into chaos.

Nine senior government officials, including military officers, one diplomat and pro-government politicians, are in the most recent U.S. government’s list of active drug kingpins and terrorists, the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN).

Price controls wreck the economy. CNN reports how fist fights have broken out outside bakeries, and price controls lead to smuggling goods to be sold in Colombia, where the goods can be sold at (higher) market price.

The government’s talks with the opposition are falling apart. Caracas Gringo looks at the official opposition party, the MUD, and finds,

First, the handful MUD “representatives” participating in the farcical dialogue brokered by the foreign ministers of Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil were exposed last week in Washington, DC as regime bootlickers who don’t represent anyone.

Second, if these MUD characters engaged in the “dialogue” ever had any claim to being the official “representatives” of the “organized opposition,” it’s now clear that there isn’t any “organized opposition” and the MUD’s dirt bags only represent themselves.

The MUD has now announced they will no longer participate in the “talks”.

The government, however, is cracking down on protesters. Last week hundreds of students were arrested; of those, 155 were released. Eleven are being held on

charges including weapons offenses, criminal association and incitement to violate laws, as well as drug violations.

Reuters estimates that 160 people remain in jail from round-ups since February. They may remain there indefinitely held up on procedural delays, as Leopoldo López, leader of the Voluntad Popular (People’s Will) has been since turning himself in on February 28.

There’s more oppression to come: Yesterday National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello singled out 14 Venezuelans as conspirators. Cabello has been banned from entry into the U.S. from his participation in the 1992 coup.

Human Rights Watch’s report on the state of repression in Venezuela proves that

the government of Nicolás Maduro, which has been battling anti-government protests since February, routinely uses unlawful force against unarmed protesters, and even against bystanders or people just passing by demonstrations. Common practices include severe beatings, the indiscriminate use of bullets, rubber pellets, and teargas against civilians, and the shooting at close range with rubber bullets of people in custody. It also proves the continued and systematic mistreatment of detainees; in some cases, these abuses clearly qualify as torture.

American lefties would have you believe that the continuing struggle is a matter of pro-U.S. versus anti-U.S., left versus right, rich versus poor, socialism versus capitalism; Moisés Naím asserts the truth:

It is between those who defend a government that violates human rights as a state-sanctioned policy and those who are willing to sacrifice themselves to stop it.

What is at stake? Assemblywoman Maria Corina Machado spells it out:

it is not a matter of asking the regime to change its policies; it will not. Our struggle is for regime change by constitutional means, as soon as possible; and it is therefore essential to maintain peacefully public pressure in the streets.

A fellow Barquisimetan impeccably expressed it these days “it is not about improving the conditions of captivity , it is about living in freedom.”

Not only for Venezuela, but for the region.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

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