The Ukrainians are revolting, in a big way: After their president Viktor Yanukovych essentially sided with Putin and gave the European Union the raspberry by withdrawing from the EU association agreement just as it was due to be signed last month, hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Kiev, blocked and occupied government buildings, and took down a statue of Lenin.
While Yanukovych has said that government officials could visit Brussels this week to resume talks on the EU association agreement, the protestors are braving the snow and staying put.
- Full ruling party Chavista/PSUV control of all government institutions and branches of government,
- Massive electoral fraud through voting machines where the PSUV, has the pass codes that allow it to sabotage the voting process on election day,
- Confiscation of private land, nationalization of foreign holdings, attacks against independent labor unions,
- Implied annual inflation rate of 285%, food shortages and rationing, the entire medical system collapsing,
- And, last month, enacting a law setting price controls on all goods, and another law creating a National Foreign Trade Center monopoly that will handle all imports entering Venezuela.
Thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country (with some boosting Miami real estate prices). Following Sunday’s municipal election and its predictable results, a friend snarked, “What Venezuela needs is a few hundred thousand Ukranians.”
It’s unlikely that Venezuelans will rise en masse:
- Chavismo is still popular among the larger number of uneducated, poor people who may actually believe that raiding electronics stores is a good idea. There’s no equivalent of Putin to hate or fear, in spite of the pervading Cuban presence.
- Opposition leaders are demonized, de-humanized and physically attacked on the floor of the National Assembly.
- There’s still a mindset of “every man for himself“.
- The government controls all propaganda outlets – even using ambulances to post campaign materials.
- Proceeds from oil still pay for a lot of “freebies”.
- Venezuela is new to Communism.
- Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski took a step back from the brink of a mounting confrontation with the government by calling off a march to protest the results of the April 14 presidential election.
So don’t expect millions of Venezuelans to storm downtown Caracas anytime soon.