Monday, February 4, 2019

My Log 293; Chronicles from my Tenth Decade: 126; Dangerous times in Venezuela; it makes me wonder whether our own little Justin and Chrissie are way out of their depth

You have to take your hat off to the lads who run capitalism. Once they hear of some upstart who is questioning their doctrine or their god-given duty to propagate and run it, they zero in on him or her without mercy.
         Such is the fate of the ill-starred president of Venezuela, Nicholas Maduro, inheritor of the Bolivarian revolution, which was initiated by his predecessor, the remarkable Hugo Chavez. Senor Chavez earned the enmity of the capitalist managers because he devoted a part of the profits earned by his country’s oil sales to social programmes such as relieving poverty, improving education for the poor, and building housing for them.  These are all terrible sins in the eyes of the capitalists.  They decided to teach Chavez the lesson that money is for one sole purpose, which is to make more money, and is no business of the poor. So they initiated their own  coup d’etat in 2002 to depose Chavez. They succeeded, too, for a day or two, but the people who had profited from his programmes poured out of their houses  and insisted that he return.
Seventeen years on, and they are determined to bring this whole thing to a halt, once and for all.  The money bosses have their own guy in power in the United States --- mind you, that is always true, regardless of the individual occupant of the office ---  and he has had a team working on this objective for at least a year and a half, according to the best reports, a team headed by the all-but-insane John Bolton, now enshrined as the top man in handling America’s National Security.
It is reported ---- not in our mainstream media, of course, but elsewhere, and I am indebted to the US programme Democracy Now! For this information --- that a meeting was held in Puerto Rico  eighteen months ago at which Venezuelan opposition members discussed the possibility of a coup to get rid of Maduro. Their conclusion was approved by Bolton, and the coup was scheduled for between January 10 and 15, but was delayed somewhat by their indecision as to who should be the leader.
Alejandro Velasco, a New York University professor who is in close touch with these events, and has written a book on the subject, said on  TV on Democracy Now! that the timing of the recent announcement by Juan Guaido, as he declared himself to be the interim President of Venezuela, “would lead me to believe there was not much spontaneity about this announcement.”   First, he noted, President Trump announced the U.S. would probably support an alternative for President, then within minutes Juan Guaido stood before a Caracas crowd with his dramatic challenge, and a few minutes later came the support of the U.S., the OAS, and the European Union in quick succession.
Professor Velasco said that for the last two years, during which the opposition has been boycotting elections, anyone who suggested sitting down and talking to the government, or voting in an  election would be denounced as “a traitor.” 
”That’s the language they used, and to me it signalled the subject has been transferred from the domestic to the international dimension,” he said.
It is worth recalling that in Canada, our own little Justin and Chrissie (as we all affectionately call Chrystia),  have never been far behind their master in the White House. Indeed, they are now taking credit for having created the so-called Lima group, which is comprised of Canada and the right-wing regimes of Latin America, all except Uruguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba and Mexico, the latter of which was the sole member of the Lima group to hold out from the rush to judgment.
The noise of his Venezuelan bug being mercilessly crushed as I wanders across the beautiful tiled floor of the capitalist palace, has been almost drowned out by the protestations of the war party (as one might call Trump’s followers, since he keeps on insisting that war is one of his options) as to their love of democracy, their concern for freedom, their insistence that only they follow the rule of law, and so on.  One might wonder why such law lovers should be so solidly behind the urban elite of Venezuela that over several decades has been noted as one of the most politically irresponsible to be found anywhere.
As to the sacredness of the electoral process:  since Chavez was elected in 1998, Venezuela has held five presidential elections and 25 asssembly or gubernatorial elections.   All of these have been observed by foreign election observers who have found them free and fair, so declared for example, by the Carter Centre, which has made something of a specialty of examining election processes. 
Caracas, October 16, 2017 ( – The Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) has confirmed that Sunday’s vote in Venezuelan gubernatorial elections was clean and transparent.

“The vote took place peacefully and without problems… the vote reflects the will of [Venezuelan] citizens,” declared CEELA President Nicanor Moscoso during a press conference Monday morning.

The CEELA delegation was comprised of 1300 international observers, including former Colombian Electoral Court President Guillermo Reyes, ex-president of the Honduran Supreme Electoral Court, Augusto Aguilar, and former Peruvian electoral magistrate Gastón Soto.

According to the body’s report, the vote was held under conditions of “total normality” and the right to a secret ballot was “guaranteed”.

Sunday’s elections pitted President Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela against the right-wing MUD coalition, with the former scoring a surprise win in 17 of the nation’s 23 states.

The last election was boycotted by the opposition.
Venezuela’s election board put turnout at just 46.1%, way down from the 80% registered at the last presidential vote in 2013, due to a boycott by Venezuela’s mainstream opposition. 
Tibisay Lucena, the head of Venezuela’s electoral commission, told reporters Maduro had received more than 5.8m votes compared to the 1.8m of his nearest rival, Henri Falcon.
Since thy are so well schooled in elections, they must be feeling they don’t need lessons from our sweethearts,  little Justin and Chrissie, on how to run them. It was kind of sad to hear Justin talking about how brutal this dictatorship is as he welcomed the Lima group to Ottawa this weekend, especially since, in the research I have done for this article, almost everyone who has visited Venezuela regularly and knows something about what is happening there, has an entirely different slant on events.
None of this is to express much admiration for Maduro, who is clearly not a patch on his predecessor and inspiration, Senor Chavez.
But just as a final little twist of the knife, as it were, here is Donald Trump on the issue as he sees it, and as he clearly explained it  in a recent interview:

We would end up taking over the country eventually, but the people will appreciate it, better than if we hadn’t gone because of the lives we saved. They should pay us back. We have to go in on a humanitarian basis, knock out this guy very quickly, very surgically, very efficiently  and then we should go to the protesters who will be running the country and we should then say, by the way from all of your oil we want reimbursement. We should have said we will help you but we want 50 per cent of your oil. We could have had anything we wanted. They would have said okay 100 pc or 75.  In the old days when you had a war, to the victor belongs the spoils. When they came to us we should have said, we are going to help you, we want 50 pc of your oil, instead we help,  we get nothing.
It’s odd the kind of thing you can end up supporting if you follow the “happy days” philosophy to its logical, vacuous conclusion.

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