View Full Version : Venezuela (2006-2018)

04-19-2006, 05:46 PM
Moderator's Note

Until October 2013 this thread was called 'Venezuela, Hugo Chavez and what next?' and was renamed 'Venezuela (catch all)' (ends).

An interesting take on their ability to see our weakness (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060418/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/venezuela_arming_the_people_1).

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez constantly warns Venezuelans a U.S. invasion is imminent.

Now he's begun training a civilian militia as well as the Venezuelan army to resist in the only way possible against a much better-equipped force: by taking to the hills and fighting a guerrilla war.......

04-19-2006, 06:03 PM
Post #55, Next small war? (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=584&postcount=55) :cool:

Jorge Verstrynge: The Guru of Bolivarian Asymmetric Warfare

09.09.05 | The new national defense doctrine adopted recently by the Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is based on the core premise that Venezuela will someday (soon) fight a David vs. Goliath war against invading U.S. military forces. This doctrine calls for a long-term “asymmetric war” in which committed Bolivarian revolutionaries and foreign (mainly Cuban) supporters would wage a “war of the people” on all fronts against the invading U.S. military forces. This new doctrine wasn’t devised overnight. It was several years in the making. Cuban military and political planners were very influential in the process from a strategic and tactical perspective. However, the national defense doctrine of asymmetric warfare also has its philosophical and ideological proponents, like Jorge Verstrynge, for example.

First there was Norberto Ceresole, the Argentine neo-fascist and anti-semite who Chavez embraced in the late 1990s because Ceresole had written at length on the need for authoritarian military-civil regimes in which civilians and military would be mobilized jointly to carry out the will of a supreme leader. However, Ceresole eventually fell out of favor with Chavez, and died of a terminal illness. Now it’s Verstrynge’s turn to bask under the Bolivarian sun. Chavez is very enthused with Verstrynge, as is Division General Raul Isaias Baduel, the Bolivarian army commander who likes to quote Sun Tzu, and burn incense in his office while Gregorian chants play softly in the background.

Verstrynge is the author of a book titled “La Guerra Periferica y el Islam Revolucionario: Origenes, Reglas y Etica de la Guerra Asimetrica.”

04-19-2006, 08:51 PM
Was the liberation of Iraq meant to stop the massive oil contracts (especially for China) before the UN embargo was lifted? At this very same time, our own oil is disrupted by riots in Venezuela(China behind it?), China attacks our steel industry and constantly hacks our computers. SARs mysteriously appears in China; perhaps our lousy attempt to seek revenge?

Who (http://www.terrorism.com/documents/TRC-Analysis/unrestricted.pdf) is training Venezuela? (http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsf/articles/20060120.aspx)

Who is buying oil and supplying weapons to Iran?

02-25-2007, 02:33 PM
ICG, 22 Feb 07: Venezuela: Hugo Chavez's Revolution (http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/latin_america/19_venezuela___hugo_chavezs_revolution.pdf)

...Three scenarios could trouble Chávez. The likeliest, at least in the next few years, is that problems will arise if oil prices drop to a point where the president can neither sustain current social spending, nor paper over the economic distortions produced by exchange rate and price controls, inflation and increasing dependence on imports....

...A second possibility is political recovery of the opposition to the point where it could take control of the National Assembly and provide a serious alternative. This is a distant prospect, since further splintering of the opposition has become apparent, but, in the event, the president might choose to use the considerable array of non-democratic tools he has amassed over the last eight years, and diehard Chavistas might be prepared to resort to violence to defend the regime....

...A third scenario involves a challenge to Chávez from within his movement. There are some fissures and tensions over where the president is taking the country, and at some point it is conceivable that elements within the administration might challenge Chávez´s handling of power....

...There is also the question as to what kind of country any non-Bolivarian president would inherit. If current trends continue, an opposition president would face a partisan military, the ultimate arbiter of power, with limited means by which to control it....

...As in Colombia and Mexico, there is an additional danger of crime, particularly drugs, creating a destabilising dynamic, corrupting institutions on a scale that causes the public to lose what little faith remains in the police and judiciary. Corruption of the armed forces, already evident, could also undermine security. More dangerous still would be a transformation of the armed, irregular Chavista groups into criminal mafias....

...Violent internal conflict is only potential in these scenarios and situations, not inevitable, but if President Chávez continues to polarise society and dismantle the checks and balances of representative democracy as he has for eight years, the risks are considerable.

05-29-2007, 09:49 AM
29 May LA Times - Venezuelan TV Station Goes Dark (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-ventv29may29,1,697130.story?coll=la-headlines-world) by Chris Kraul.

Venezuelan folk music, a Cuban documentary and heavy doses of government propaganda glorifying "21st century socialism" highlighted the first day of a new television channel that on Monday took over airspace of this nation's oldest and most popular station, a frequent critic of leftist President Hugo Chavez.

At midnight Sunday, Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, went dark for the first time in 53 years after the Chavez government refused to renew its broadcast license, alleging violations of telecommunications law. That decision, announced in December, has been slammed by international press freedom groups, several governments and even some Chavez supporters.

Protests that began Sunday night around the national telecommunications regulatory commission's office continued into the morning at several universities in the Caracas area...

Steve Blair
05-29-2007, 01:49 PM
Ol' Hugo reminds me more and more of ol' Adolf (or kindly Uncle Joe) every day.

05-29-2007, 03:14 PM
I wonder if there will be some book burning too?

05-29-2007, 03:17 PM
Reminds me more of this guy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Per%C3%B3n)

John T. Fishel
05-29-2007, 05:27 PM
Way to go, tequila!:D Parallel is great in more ways than one.

Steve Blair
05-29-2007, 05:31 PM
Ah, yes...too true.

Tom Odom
05-29-2007, 05:33 PM
Does his wife look like Madonna? :cool:

Tequila, that is a great comparison. Chavez seems to have those iconic qualities for those inclined to despise the Yankees.


Steve Blair
05-29-2007, 07:20 PM
And now he's going after another one....BBC story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6699383.stm).

Venezuela's government has accused a TV station of inciting a murder attempt on President Hugo Chavez, hours after taking another network off the air.

05-30-2007, 09:29 AM
The other side - RCTV and the Venezuelan media establishment (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-jones30may30,0,2422791,print.story?coll=la-opinion-center)are hardly innocent.

... After military rebels overthrew Chavez and he disappeared from public view for two days, RCTV's biased coverage edged fully into sedition. Thousands of Chavez supporters took to the streets to demand his return, but none of that appeared on RCTV or other television stations. RCTV News Director Andres Izarra later testified at National Assembly hearings on the coup attempt that he received an order from superiors at the station: "Zero pro-Chavez, nothing related to Chavez or his supporters…. The idea was to create a climate of transition and to start to promote the dawn of a new country." While the streets of Caracas burned with rage, RCTV ran cartoons, soap operas and old movies such as "Pretty Woman." On April 13, 2002, Granier and other media moguls met in the Miraflores palace to pledge support to the country's coup-installed dictator, Pedro Carmona, who had eliminated the Supreme Court, the National Assembly and the Constitution.

Would a network that aided and abetted a coup against the government be allowed to operate in the United States? The U.S. government probably would have shut down RCTV within five minutes after a failed coup attempt — and thrown its owners in jail. Chavez's government allowed it to continue operating for five years, and then declined to renew its 20-year license to use the public airwaves. It can still broadcast on cable or via satellite dish.

Granier and others should not be seen as free-speech martyrs. Radio, TV and newspapers remain uncensored, unfettered and unthreatened by the government. Most Venezuelan media are still controlled by the old oligarchy and are staunchly anti-Chavez ...

Men like Peron and Chavez do not gain widespread popular support out of nowhere.

05-30-2007, 09:49 AM
This Reuters report - Venezuela's last opposition station on notice (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-venez30may30,1,6407937.story?coll=la-headlines-world)

As tens of thousands of people marched here Tuesday in protest of President Hugo Chavez's closure of opposition television station RCTV, the leftist leader called the news channel Globovision an enemy of the state.

The protests were in their fourth consecutive day, but state television showed hundreds of government supporters marching in downtown Caracas to celebrate Chavez's move.

"Enemies of the homeland, particularly those behind the scenes, I will give you a name: Globovision. Greetings gentlemen of Globovision, you should watch where you are going," Chavez said in a broadcast that all channels were required to show...

06-07-2007, 12:33 AM
When you have a country with possibly the largest oil reserve in the world link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orinoco_Belt), there's a lot for the leader of Venezuela to be paranoid about.

08-25-2007, 01:15 PM
SSI, 24 Aug 07: Latin America's New Security Reality: Irregular Asymmetric Conflict and Hugo Chavez (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB808.pdf)

In 2005, Dr. Max Manwaring wrote a monograph entitled Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivarian Socialism, and Asymmetric Warfare (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB628.pdf). It came at a time when the United States and Venezuela were accelerating a verbal sparing match regarding which country was destabilizing Latin America more. The rhetoric continues. Moreover, President Chavez shows no sign of standing down; he slowly and deliberately centralizes his power in Venezuela, and carefully and adroitly articulates his Bolivarian dream (the idea of a Latin American Liberation Movement against U.S. economic and political imperialism). Yet, most North Americans dismiss Chavez as a “nut case,” or—even if he is a threat to the security and stability of the Hemisphere—the possibilities of that threat coming to fruition are too far into the future to worry about.

Thus, Dr. Manwaring’s intent in this new monograph is to explain in greater depth what President Chavez is doing and how he is doing it. First, he explains that Hugo Chavez’s threat is straightforward, and that it is being translated into a consistent, subtle, ambiguous, and ambitious struggle for power that is beginning to insinuate itself into political life in much of the Western Hemisphere. Second, he shows how President Chavez is encouraging his Venezuelan and other followers to pursue a confrontational, populist, and nationalistic agenda that will be achieved only by (1) radically changing the traditional politics of the Venezuelan state—and other Latin American states—to that of “direct” (totalitarian) democracy; (2) destroying North American hegemony throughout all of Latin America by conducting an irregular Fourth-Generation War “Super Insurgency”; and, (3) country-by-country, building a great new Bolivarian state out of a phased Program for the Liberation of Latin America....

03-03-2008, 02:49 AM


Ah Hugo, in my opinion you are a dollar store version of Cesear. But you do keep South America interesting. I wouldn't put invading Colombia beyond his mindset, could he pull that off? Would Venezuala support him and if so for how long.

I think he could launch an invasion but beyond a few weeks it would bog down, certaintly not worth the costs. Unless he really believes his investigation into the "real reason" for Simon Bolivar's death was by Colombian Agents...


Ron Humphrey
03-03-2008, 03:16 AM

Ah Hugo, in my opinion you are a dollar store version of Cesear. But you do keep South America interesting. I wouldn't put invading Colombia beyond his mindset, could he pull that off? Would Venezuala support him and if so for how long.

I think he could launch an invasion but beyond a few weeks it would bog down, certaintly not worth the costs. Unless he really believes his investigation into the "real reason" for Simon Bolivar's death was by Colombian Agents...


Mr. Chavez is extremely good at doing and saying whatever he wants without thinking through the end results. Me thinks Some of his neighbors might have a word or two on this and what they say will end up doing more to determine what happens then anything he dreams up.

Just make sure nobody tells him the king isn't wearing any clothes:wry:

As for Equador simply put, handle your own garbage or it will be handled
for you. Sounds fair to me:D

03-03-2008, 10:44 AM
Colombia is now claiming they uncovered intel linking FARC and Ecuador. . . which is hardly a surprise given that when under pressure, the narco groups and the guerrillas cross into Ecuador for security. I still haven't heard any good analysis about whether this is a lot of bluster or a serious chance for major conflict, but it's unnerving either way.

Especially given that it could end up the subject matter for a "big wars" forum. . .



03-03-2008, 12:44 PM
for Turkey, why not for Colombia too? ;)

03-03-2008, 02:30 PM
How well does armor work in the Darian gap?

Ron Humphrey
03-03-2008, 03:11 PM
How well does armor work in the Darian gap?

It may be interesting to note how much of the overall forces ordered to the border show up in WORKING order.

As to the overall how do we suppose the Drug cartels themselves would act to new players in house. Although initially there might be some curiousity about possibilities, one would think most of the big timers didn't get where they are by being overtly stupid. I'm quite sure it would occur to them where their loyalties would end up having to be in order to continue their existence.

Suppose Mr Sulfur smeller thought about that? ;)

03-03-2008, 07:29 PM
The solution to this problem is a $.50 match round.

03-03-2008, 09:52 PM

Colombia is now making claims of recent, substantial financial ties between Hugo and the FARC. $300 million in financial ties, to be precise. The timing of this information's release seems interesting, no?

Uribe is also not redeploying his forces to meet the Venezuelan and Ecuadoran forces. He's leaving his borders more or less unprotected. That's a real melon-scratcher, in my opinion. Any idea what that's about?

Honestly, besides a few new airframes from Russia, what does Venezuela's military have to boast of? The only area in which they would be relatively free to operate would be the south, where the FARC is and where the CAF are not. But the terrain is not at all suitable to conventional military forces, so... ? Plus, the CAF have been fighting the FARC for 40 years, so they're quite experienced. It seems to me that with help from U.S. satellites and AWACS, and maybe a carrier task force in the Gulf of Panama, this would be a very brief and very one-sided defeat for the Venezuelan and Ecuadoran forces. I'm pretty sure the OAS would immediately condemn any hostile action by Venezuela as well. This seems like a one-way ticket to humiliation for Chavez.

Ron Humphrey
03-04-2008, 12:33 AM
One thing you can almost count on is for him to do something not so bright.

And I would bet you quite a few of the Venezuelan military leaders know it.:cool:

03-04-2008, 10:33 AM
Post 9/11 the US unilaterally changed the rules of the game, they had significant international sympathy - and the military/diplomatic/economic superpower status did not exactly encourage other states to be too vocal in their complaints. They significantly weakened their position on human rights (enhanced interrogation techniques, Gitmo etc.) and on the norms of international sovereignty (kidnapping foreign nationals in other countries AKA extraordinary rendition) and this week we have seen military strikes in Pakistan and Somalia (presumably by US forces).
What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Having changed the rules others have taken the opportunity to jump on the band waggon. Now it is the 'new norm' for any tin pot nasty-piece-of-work who has control of their countries military - regardless of how they got there - to call anyone they want to get rid of a terrorist and massacre them. If that includes extremely repressive tactics (Russia vs Chechen's, IDF vs Lebanon) or forays into another country (Turkey/Iraq, Colombia/Ecuador) then the new rules say no problem - as long as you remember to call whoever you want to attack a terrorist.
If the US intends to make the rules and then enforce them then they must expect to have to face vastly increased opposition across the board; friends shift to neutral, neutral to hostile and hostile to terrorist.
Just my $.02

Steve Blair
03-04-2008, 02:30 PM
But this is really nothing new. Blaming the US may be fashionable, but this has cropped up time and again in history. Call them reactionary stooges, counter-revolutionaries, Imperialist/Communist puppets...whatever. The tactic has always been there. Doesn't mean the US was wise in using it, but we certainly didn't invent it.

This seems more like Chavez trying to create some kind of internal unity after his defeat at the polls a few months back. And I think Columbia's wise to not provide any military provocation. Forces Chavez to show his true colors, if his intent is to actually commit forces and not just rattle his saber.

Ken White
03-04-2008, 05:03 PM
Post 9/11 the US unilaterally changed the rules of the game, they had significant international sympathy...

While the rest of your comment has has elements of truth in it, the US has thrown its weight around internationally and unilaterally since 1795.

As did great Britain in the day -- and from whom we learned to be assertive -- as have numerous others over the years.

Nothing new here. Look at Ol' Fidel -- he and Che were throwing their weight around before all you young folks realized it and long before 9/11 -- about 40 years before. Go elsewhere in the world and there are myriad examples.

I really don't mind folks blaming the US for all the ills of the world but it would be nice if they'd get their facts straight. ;)

Ron Humphrey
03-04-2008, 07:26 PM
I really don't mind folks blaming the US for all the ills of the world but it would be nice if they'd get their facts straight. ;)

why we need to keep you and yours around a while yet:D

J Wolfsberger
03-04-2008, 07:37 PM
I really don't mind folks blaming the US for all the ills of the world but it would be nice if they'd get their facts straight. ;)

I'd like to know where we're keeping the time machine that enables us to go back 5,000 or so years and bring all the evil into the world. After all, the world was a far better place before the U.S. came into existence. ;)

03-05-2008, 01:11 AM
Whenever I read about how the U.S. blew all this "international sympathy" that it had immediately after 9/11, I still have a hard time getting past the memories of all those newpapers and TV reports saying that it was just the U.S. getting what was coming to it. Between the various non-US news networks and some of the papers (not least a particular prominent French newspaper), while there was certainly a lot of sympathy, it was also the occasion when a lot of the haters lifted their veils briefly and came right out and gleefully kicked the victim while he was down.

My sister was working in her HR office that day, and as everyone watched the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on live TV, one of the Bangladeshi-born software engineers was jumping up and down and laughing.

That day I tossed my carefully nurtured Canadian anti-American views out in the trash, forever. Every country has committed evils, some more than others, but for whatever its evils, past and present, the U.S. is not only one of the most benign imperial powers that has ever existed in modern times, but probably the most magnanimous - and utterly necessary to holding the line against worse evils in the world. Perhaps only Britain in its Imperial heyday even approaches the U.S. in these regards.

It is perverse to view the U.S. as the source of evil; what's more it is envy to want to see it as such, and to see it suffer for its alleged "crimes". Anyone can pick up a copy of a Black Rose Press book and read about the horrible things that America and Americans have done in places like Central America, etc. And a good deal of it is indeed true, and will anguish you in ways that you can't easily shake. But even then, that does not begin to approach the utter inhumanity of regimes like Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, or Maoist China - or the many "lesser" such examples as Cambodia or North Korea. Most of those who are willing to condemn the U.S. for its crimes - real, imagined, and exaggerated - have owed their place to do so in no small part to the blood, treasure, and sacrifice poured out by the U.S. in quantities that no other Western country is willing to bear in just proportion. Envy is at the root of most anti-Americanism.

It's not clear - yet - whether or not Colombia was justified in making an incursion into Ecuador or not. But if FARC and the "dirty bomb" bit, along with the alleged support of the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan Governments for FARC do indeed turn out to be true, then it's the latter, not Colombia, who have some 'splainin' to do. And so far, Colombia is doing the right thing, by apologizing for the incursion and playing it (comparatively) cool, and not making any quick (military) moves.

Tom Odom
03-05-2008, 01:16 PM
My sister was working in her HR office that day, and as everyone watched the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on live TV, one of the Bangladeshi-born software engineers was jumping up and down and laughing.

It was most surreal here as we were in a mission rehearsal exercise for the Balkans and some of our Muslim role players did the same.....considering the US role in that region, it was Twilight Zone stuff.


03-05-2008, 06:01 PM
Firstly an apology, I had just waded through the BBC international site and was seething from the unnecessary loss of life and general hatred in the days news. I then made two hasty and provocative posts which, on reflection, should have been toned down.
Sorry Steve and everyone else.

That said I would still disagree with Ken on 9/11 being a watershed in US policy. The birth of the GWOT was not the start of those with power throwing their weight around but it was a major change in policy focus and I would argue counter-productively. As to the Brits in days of empire I would not even consider trying defend some of their actions, opium, East India company etc. etc. I don’t know the origin of the term ‘Gunboat diplomacy’ but I have a nasty feeling we might have spawned it.

Take the missile strikes on Dhoble ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7276535.stm) this is not a town that is likely to have a lot of warm sentiment towards the US but the strikes seem to have stirred up a lot of anger over the civilian deaths. The target – according to press reports – seems to have been either Saleh Ali Nabhan ( suspected of involvement with Kenyan hotel bombing and manpad attack on airliner) or Hassan Turki (UIC & Ogaden) how good the intelligence was I obviously don’t know but there seem to have been hits on more than one site and no claim of any success. What is the net result likely to be? Have the planners been reading their COIN manuals? Newly bereaved relatives ripe for recruitment to the cause and a general shift of the population towards the anti-American end of the spectrum? This town is near the Kenyan boarder and the US is already blamed for supporting the Ethiopian invasion and attendant misery caused. The boarder was closed from the Kenyan side as soon as the Ethiopian invasion began, and remains so. This seems to have been a co-ordinated action between the US and its two local allies in an attempt to apprehend some wanted men thought to be in the area. Any senior UIC, or terrorists, in the area would have had their own bolt holes, safe houses and support networks those that suffered by not being able to get the waiting aid agencies on the Kenyan side of the boarder were – yet again – the genuine refugees. So much misery for so little gain, this pattern of actions keeps being repeated and keeps swelling the ranks and coffers of the real enemy. Don’t back the despots, when civilians need help, help them and make a few friends. So much damage has been done to America’s reputation in the Muslim world it may be a very long time before they start saluting the Stars and Stripes but lets try and at least get a few less burnt.

Ken White
03-05-2008, 06:29 PM
wrong with saying what you think.

Firstly an apology, I had just waded through the BBC international site and was seething from the unnecessary loss of life and general hatred in the days news. I then made two hasty and provocative posts which, on reflection, should have been toned down.
Sorry Steve and everyone else.

That said I would still disagree with Ken on 9/11 being a watershed in US policy. The birth of the GWOT was not the start of those with power throwing their weight around but it was a major change in policy focus and I would argue counter-productively...I think that you're partly correct, it was a 'policy change' of sorts -- but only in that it became a stated policy rather than an unstated but actual policy we have pursued for over 200 years. Both Britain and France were horrified in 1801 that we elected to attack the Barbary Corsairs rather than pay tribute and tolerate their enslavement of westerners. As has been said, there is little new under the sun.

What Bush did was flout the rules of international diplomacy; he rejected Kyoto -- but so had the US Senate some years before, it was never going to be ratified. Same thing applies to the International Criminal court; the Senate will never agree to that (correctly in my opinion). Bush didn't change reality, he merely talked about it. Look at pre-emptive strikes for example; we've done literally hundreds over the years; just never announced it as a policy. Bush did that -- that just got a lot of people's knickers in a twist when all he really did was give voice to something we -- and most nations in the world -- have always practiced but wouldn't talk about.

I've been traveling internationally since 1947. Anti-Americanism was present then and it has broadly stayed at the same level since. Viet Nam was a high point; more approbation appeared then than does today.
As to the Brits in days of empire I would not even consider trying defend some of their actions, opium, East India company etc. etc. I don’t know the origin of the term ‘Gunboat diplomacy’ but I have a nasty feeling we might have spawned it.Why would you not defend it? You had nothing to do with it. Britain reacted in tune with the times to events. Did they make mistakes? Sure. However, you did more good than harm. You have every right to be proud of the accomplishments of the empire and no need to be apologetic. I cannot understand this new trait of self-flagellation in the European hearth; I see it as self righteous but self defeating foolishness.

...So much misery for so little gain, this pattern of actions keeps being repeated and keeps swelling the ranks and coffers of the real enemy. Don’t back the despots, when civilians need help, help them and make a few friends. So much damage has been done to America’s reputation in the Muslim world it may be a very long time before they start saluting the Stars and Stripes but lets try and at least get a few less burnt.If everyone was as nice as you undoubtedly are and shared your views, that would be a good wish. regrettably, I fear a good many in this world are not that nice.

I'd also submit that had the US not 'turned the other cheek' so very many times in bowing to international good will pressures in the past and had instead responded fairly and forcefully to provocations we would not have many of the problems that today exist in the world. the meek may inherit the Earth -- but there are a lot of un-meek folks out there who work mightily to preclude that...

Tom Odom
03-05-2008, 08:10 PM
More grist for the Andes mill...

Colombia: Rebel documents talk of uranium offer (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/29416.html)
By Tyler Bridge and Jenny Carolina Gonzalez | Miami Herald

BOGOTA — A mysterious "Belisario'' offered to sell Colombian rebels uranium that could be used for a dirty bomb. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez feuded with Cuba. Chavez offered to move hostages held by the rebels to Venezuela — and hold them there.

That's just some of the content in 15 documents released Tuesday by Colombian police, who said they'd been found in the captured laptop of the rebel's No. 2 commander, Raul Reyes, who was killed Saturday when Colombian forces attacked his camp inside Ecuador.

Watcher In The Middle
03-07-2008, 05:19 AM
First, Hugo's bully pulpit and blustering has more to do with the price of oil than almost anything else. Remember, spot oil jumped from right at $100 a Bbl. to right around $106.

The smart money in the oil markets are still saying that Venezuela's oil productions keeps decreasing (slight drops almost monthly), so Hugo's got to keep his cash inflows steady. He's doing what he's got to do to get the cash.

Problem is, it's a short term fix. But as to following through and taking on Columbia, not likely.

To show you how stupid it's gotten, Venezuela has just decreed that all Columbia-Venezuela order trade be curtailed (about $6 bil, give or take). Most of that $6 billion that Venezuela imports from Columbia is FOOD (http://www.tri-cityherald.com/917/story/109341.html)

Guy's a genius. He's going to starve his own people to get back at Columbia.

Second point, there's another player in all of this that few see. Just last month, Columbia & Israel signed a deal to (1) to update the 11 Kfir C7s to the C10 version and (2) acquire another 13 former Israeli Air Force Kfir C10s.

Link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colombian_Air_Force#Aircraft_Inventory)

Now, President Hugo has already allied himself with some fairly unsavory characters (from Israel's POV), and hey, guy gets stupid & comes across the Columbian border, who's to say that Hugo's pilots couldn't end up facing some pretty tough, first rate competition in the air (and I'm not talking from the US).

Just a few thoughts....

Ken White
03-07-2008, 05:27 AM
w/ Israel also allegedly includes a (not mentioned publicly) used Airbus 330 rigged as a tanker with two Drogue pods. :D

That'll give the Kfirs enough reach to go places...

Watcher In The Middle
03-07-2008, 05:38 AM
a certain small ME nation really looking forward to an opportunity to give a certain loudmouth SA bully type who's spent a lot of time talking smack about them at least a bloody nose, if not worse.

Force projection can sometimes work in mysterious ways (and come from mysterious places).....:D

Ken White
03-07-2008, 05:47 AM
watch the benefits of single-mindedness in action... :wry:

J Wolfsberger
03-07-2008, 01:44 PM
I was watching one of the news networks last night at the gym - closed caption. They showed film clips of the Venezuelan "Army." Typical leftist regime, ideological, revolutionary army - young, brand new uniforms, sloppy drill, etc. In addition, Chavez, being an idiot, sacked all his experienced officers (down to an unknown rank) and replaced them, presumably, if history is any guide, based on ideological purity.

On the other side, Columbia has a professional, well trained, experienced Army.

If Chavez is really stupid enough to start a war, I'll go on record predicting a one sided blood bath.

03-07-2008, 02:48 PM
I'm with John. Colombia will wipe the proverbial floor with Venezuela. Chavez's air force may be sporting a few Su-30MKs, but I'm willing to bet Colombia's pilots are qualitatively better. And of course Colombia has the perennial battlefield advantage of fighting defensively on its home turf. They certainly won't be the aggressors in any case, so they have a definite leg up on Venezuela.

I've got a friend in Bogota who was my "liaison" while I was in Colombia doing research. He's an advisor to the House of Reps down there, and I've asked him to keep me informed about attitudes and perceptions at the local level. No word back from him yet, though. I think he's probably a little busy at the moment...

03-10-2008, 03:03 PM
This is old news now, but the situation has cooled with an apology from Uribe. The good news is that we avoided a war and two FARC leaders have assumed room temperature. The OAS also proved itself useful in mediating the dispute. The bad news is that Chavez is still in power, and he successfully stood up to Uribe without much in the way of repercussions.


After leaders in the Andes tiptoed from the edge of war to bear hugs and oaths of brotherhood, Latin America was trying to sort out the winners and losers in the region’s worst diplomatic dispute in years.

A day after the crisis was resolved at a summit meeting in the Dominican Republic on Friday, it was already clear that nearly all of the players lost something. The leaders of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela traded charges that muddied each of them. Colombia and its ally, the United States, found themselves isolated in the region.

And Latin America’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, lost two senior commanders in a week, the latest in a string of tactical and strategic defeats.

But the biggest winner appears to have been the region itself, which resolved its own dispute without outside help and without violence.

Also this: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Venezuela-Colombia.html?scp=5&sq=colombia&st=nyt

Ron Humphrey
03-10-2008, 03:29 PM
The bad news is that Chavez is still in power, and he successfully stood up to Uribe without much in the way of repercussions.

He may seem to have come out unscathed but one can only imagine what his military leaders think about his willingness to throw them to the wolves over ??.

Might be a bit but I don't think we've seen the last of reprucussions yet

Watcher In The Middle
03-11-2008, 12:02 AM
Originally posted by Wildcat:

The bad news is that Chavez is still in power, and he successfully stood up to Uribe without much in the way of repercussions.

Yes, and no. Latest floating out there is that (a) the material coming out of the 2 notebooks "cannot be verified as authentic":rolleyes:, and (b) There's a flood of the material being pushed out in front of God and everybody, for all to see.:eek: Uribe has played this just beautifully.

Wait for it, there's even more to come. Some of the material is likely to be very sensitive, to some certain political figures back home here.

Hugo and his minions are working to spin the press like nonstop whirling dervishes, Correa [President, Ecuador] is trying to figure out a way to keep accommodating FARC without looking complicit with all the released email bombshells, and Uribe is sitting back and quietly laughing to himself.

Going to be fun to watch as it plays out.

07-21-2008, 02:55 PM

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez heads to Moscow today to shop for air defense systems, submarines and other weaponry as Latin America's arms race quickens amid signs that his regional influence is waning.

07-24-2008, 07:14 PM
ICG, 23 Jul 08: Venezuela: Political Reform or Regime Demise?

....President Chávez faces mounting pressure from not only the political opposition and student movement, but also his own support base, including social sectors that had been a fundamental pillar of his regime. Following a landslide re-election in December 2006, he sought to accelerate his “socialism of the XXIst century”, but his government was unable to cope with widening dissatisfaction caused by a project that increased concentration of power in his hands without improving the living standards of a majority of citizens and deteriorating public services, or reducing chronic food shortages, double-digit inflation or crime and government corruption. The result was defeat of the government’s sweeping constitutional reforms in the 2 December 2007 referendum.

The pro-Chávez camp is losing momentum. It has become bureaucratic, corruption is rampant, and its capacity to manage the country is poor. Regional and local grassroots are increasingly disappointed by the top-down style of the new PSUV party, which also is under mounting pressure from the smaller chavista groups. The struggle for political supremacy could further divide the pro-Chávez political and social elements, turning the 23 November 2008 municipal and state elections into a litmus test for the future of Chávez and his movement.....

Watcher In The Middle
09-08-2008, 12:17 AM
Venezuela to host Russia navy exercise in Caribbean
Dated: Saturday; September 6, 2008

(Reuters) - Several Russian ships and 1,000 soldiers will take part in joint naval maneuvers with Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea later this year, exercises likely to increase diplomatic tensions with Washington, a pro-government newspaper reported on Saturday.

Quoting Venezuela's naval intelligence director, Salbarore Cammarata, the newspaper Vea said four Russian boats would visit Venezuelan waters from November 10 to 14.

Plans for the naval operations come at a time of heightened diplomatic tension and Cold War-style rhetoric between Moscow and the United States over the recent war in Georgia and plans for a U.S. missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Link to Article (http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN0633952420080907?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true)

This should be a "sure thing" to re-start the debate over what actions the US should take. One thing it will accomplish in the American hemisphere is to re-start the entire Free Trade argument over the deal with Columbia, along with new arms shipments and additional military support for Columbia.

But more importantly, I could see this creating an impetus for new US arms exports of certain types of "defensive" weaponry to democratically inclined nations currently sharing a border with Russia. I wonder how much in current gen ATGM's could be purchased with a billion dollars or so?

Ron Humphrey
09-08-2008, 07:34 PM
Link to Article (http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN0633952420080907?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true)

This should be a "sure thing" to re-start the debate over what actions the US should take. One thing it will accomplish in the American hemisphere is to re-start the entire Free Trade argument over the deal with Columbia, along with new arms shipments and additional military support for Columbia.

But more importantly, I could see this creating an impetus for new US arms exports of certain types of "defensive" weaponry to democratically inclined nations currently sharing a border with Russia. I wonder how much in current gen ATGM's could be purchased with a billion dollars or so?

I'm still kinda curious as to exactly how much of a threat Hugo is to anyone considering his own internal problems and as such these actions are simply good for exactly good enough reason for what you stated. Everyone else around him arming up. Not quite sure how that helps him in his mindset.

As to Russia sending ships there for exercises I'd think it might be somewhat of a bummer to those in the Russian navy.

Think about it :

On the one hand you could be training and taking part of large scale operations with some of the strongest and most potent Naval forces ever


Option number two -Go play with Chavez (I'd be willing to bet there are some very perturbed officers right about now)

Watcher In The Middle
09-10-2008, 12:27 AM
On the one hand you could be training and taking part of large scale operations with some of the strongest and most potent Naval forces ever


Option number two -Go play with Chavez (I'd be willing to bet there are some very perturbed officers right about now)

I can just see those poor souls at attention on deck while Hugo is giving one of his usual multiple hour snoozers (and in those temps). I mean, the guy never knows when to shut up. He can literally talk so long that he makes Granite weep.

Btw, found an interesting answer to ATGM's you could buy with around a billion dollars:

Jan 10/07: RAFAEL and General Dynamics Santa Barbara Systems of Spain announce a $424.5 million contract with the Spanish Army for 2,600 SPIKE-LR missiles and 260 launchers missile systems. In addition to their anti-armor uses, their guidance system also allows the operator to target slow-flying aerial targets like helicopters and UAVs. The missiles will equip Spain’s land forces, including infantry, vehicles, and helicopters. Deliveries will take place from 2007-2014.

Link to Article (http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/spike-missiles-for-spain-04420/)

So, for probably around $900 mil (with inflation, but a quantity discount), you should be able to pick up around 5,200 missiles and 520 launchers.

01-31-2011, 02:26 AM
<pinky to lips, Dr. Evil style>

MARACAY, Venezuela – A fire and a series of explosions tore through a military arms depot Sunday, killing one person and leading authorities to evacuate thousands of people.

About 10,000 residents fled their homes in areas up to several miles (kilometers) from the site as the burning ammunition produced powerful blasts, officials said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110130/ap_on_bi_ge/lt_venezuela_explosions;_ylt=AkEhcA2qJTYeo8K5d9c40 XlH2ocA;_ylu=X3oDMTNxc204aWh0BGFzc2V0Ay9zL2FwLzIwM TEwMTMwL2FwX29uX2JpX2dlL2x0X3ZlbmV6dWVsYV9leHBsb3N pb25zBGNjb2RlA21wX2VjXzhfMTAEY3BvcwM1BHBvcwM1BHNlY wN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDZmlyZWV4cGxvc2lv

02-05-2011, 05:51 AM
<pinky to lips, Dr. Evil style>

Might have actually been an accident.

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately be explained by stupidity... or incompetence.

02-05-2011, 11:00 PM
<pinky to lips, Dr. Evil style>
Chavez got lucky post-9/11 with the War on Terrorism, the retired covert action / dirty tricks / Iran-Contra types were in demand elsewhere. Heck, I even read in the NYT last month that Dewey Clarridge is still running around, said he was throwing dirt on the Karzai’s.

10-03-2011, 05:09 PM
A short article by an ICG expert:http://www.opendemocracy.net/silke-pfeiffer/venezuela-violence-and-politics

I have read about the scale of violence and the police being brutal, but the details are new to me and alarming. So taking one paragraph:
The former interior and justice minister Jesse Chacón recently claimed the government had inherited the problem from former administrations. Fair enough: when Hugo Chávez took over the presidency in 1999, homicide rates had already tripled over the previous decade. But what Chacón did not mention is that they almost quadrupled in the following twelve years, from 4,550 in 1998 to 17,600 in 2010.

This insight speaks volumes:
The daily killings in Venezuelan cities so far do not seem to have significantly affected President Chávez’s popularity.

10-10-2011, 05:52 PM
The daily killings in Venezuelan cities so far do not seem to have significantly affected President Chávez’s popularity.


What could be the reason?

11-11-2011, 06:54 AM
CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that his navy detected a submarine in Venezuelan waters and that it quickly sped off.
The submarine was detected on Tuesday near the Venezuelan island of La Orchila in the Caribbean north of Caracas, where Venezuelan troops are participating in training drills near the island, Chavez told state television by telephone.
"It was pursued. It escaped because it's much faster than ours," Chavez said, referring to Venezuela's diesel-powered submarines. He said that judging by its speed and size, "it's a nuclear-powered submarine."
Chavez said his government was unable to say what nation might have sent the sub. "We can't accuse anyone," Chavez said, adding that his government is investigating.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/10/2495016/chavez-navy-detects-submarine.html#ixzz1dNRWyJ6s

08-13-2012, 05:21 AM
Venezuela is training a "guerrilla army" aiming to be a million strong by 2013 to fight off a possible US invasion, an opposition lawmaker said Sunday.

"Plan Sucre" -- apparently crafted with input from close ally and fellow US foe Cuba -- covers the legal, logistical and other angles necessary to "transform a professional army into a guerrilla army," Representative Maria Corina Machado told El Universal newspaper.


10-19-2013, 10:16 PM
This thread was locked in August 2012, since than President Chavez has died from natural causes and there is not another thread on Venezuela, so I have changed the title and unlocked it.

US interest in the country remains, although possibly not with the passion of yesteryear.

10-19-2013, 10:24 PM
A long article from Open Democracy on Venezuela's internal policing issues, which starts with:
Faced with soaring levels of crime and violence, Venezuela's government continues to militarize the police. The public disproves of the crime, but not the response. Why?

It ends with:
..unless there is a drastic change in the current government, which has a strong military faction and is plagued by rampant corruption, the military policing model is likely to stay.


04-06-2014, 11:44 AM
I am a little surprised that SWC has not posted on this nearby neighbour for sometime, perhaps it is too painful?

The Daily Telegraph has a long article on the current situation, as indicated by the sub-title:
Death in the streets, rationing by fingerprints and a general on the run: how oil-rich Venezuela has descended into chaos

These two passages provide the context:
The country is mired in a dangerous cycle of economic crisis and violent chaos, polarised between government loyalists in areas heavily dependent on state support and protestors who have taken to the streets over soaring crime rates, surging inflation and shortages of basic goods.

With the world’s largest known oil reserves, Venezuela should be reaping windfall gains. Yet in another sign of its parlous economics, the government has just announced a new rationing system using fingerprint registration to track purchases of subsidised but scarce foodstuffs milk, flour and rice.

Then I found this, which was a surprise, although given Venezuela's political path of late predictable, with my emphasis:
The rancour over “Cubanisation” of Venezuela is a growing theme of the protests. Indeed, what drove Gen Rivero’s rift with his former comrade-in-arms of Hugo Chavez, the late socialist autocrat who even in death still dominates life here, was the import of Cuban officers into the highest echelons of the the military and security services.


04-06-2014, 11:22 PM
It is as you say predictable: I've often said the only really wise policy decision Chavez even made was to die before his chickens came home to roost. How it plays out, and where it leads, is anything but predictable. The Cuban influx suggests that Maduro has every intention of fighting it out. Would be interesting to see some material from other sources on the Cuban issue...

05-08-2016, 07:55 PM
Indeed the man who largely created this mess died before the economy went from a disaster to an utter catastrophe:

Venezuela Doesn't Have Enough Money to Pay for Its Money (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-27/venezuela-faces-its-strangest-shortage-yet-as-inflation-explodes)

In a tale that highlights the chaos of unbridled inflation, Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases. Most of the cash, like nearly everything else in the oil-exporting country, is imported. And with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business.

Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.

It is certainly an excellent case in point that elections do matter sometimes a very great deal and an economy in tatters can still fall to formerly unthinkable lows.

09-01-2016, 12:49 PM
Ultra-violent gangs thrive in chaotic Venezuela despite crackdown

The operations also encourage gang leaders to unite and seek more powerful weapons, said Keymer Avila, part of a group of Venezuelan and foreign academics researching crime in the country.

At his safe house, Anderson confirmed that.

"It's better to work together than be enemies. It's better to make war with the police than with each other."

The click-clack of guns being cocked echoes in the cement safe house where seven kidnappers keep watch over a western Caracas slum, their 33-year-old gang leader boasting of grenade attacks on police and growing wealth and power.

Venezuela's socialist economy is suffering triple-digit inflation, severe shortages and a third year of recession, but gangs like this have found strength and profit in the chaos.

They are teaming up with former rivals and buying heavier weapons to control ever-larger territory in the capital and beyond, the criminals, the government and criminologists say.


04-18-2017, 11:34 PM
Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced plans Monday to expand the number of civilians involved in armed militias as tensions in the crisis-wracked South American nation continued to rise.
Maduro said he hopes to expand the number of civilians involved in the Bolivarian militias created by the late Hugo Chavez to 500,000, up from the current 100,000, and provide each member with a gun.
Speaking to thousands of militia members dressed in beige uniforms gathered in front of the presidential palace to mark the force's seventh anniversary, Maduro said it is time for Venezuelans to decide if they are "with the homeland" or against it.


CARACAS -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that he was increasing the nation's militia paramilitary force to half-a-million and instructed members to seize power in the oil-rich nation in case he is unseated.

"If the right wing attempts a coup d'etat, go out and seize power," the embattled President said Monday. "I have approved the plan for Defense Minister Padrino Lopez to expand our militia to 500,000 men and equip each of them, including a rifle."


04-20-2017, 12:16 PM
CARACAS (Reuters) - General Motors said on Wednesday that Venezuelan authorities had illegally seized its plant in the industrial hub of Valencia and vowed to "take all legal actions" to defend its rights.
The seizure comes amid a deepening economic crisis in leftist-led Venezuela that has already roiled many U.S. companies.
"Yesterday, GMV's (General Motors Venezolana) plant was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations. In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities," the company said in a statement.
It said the seizure would cause irreparable damage to the company, its 2,678 workers, its 79 dealers and to its suppliers.


04-25-2017, 10:39 AM
A concise explanation how Venezuela ended up as it does today, via the UK academic website 'The Conversation':https://theconversation.com/how-venezuelas-revolutionary-dream-descended-into-chaos-75685?

05-09-2017, 04:17 PM
Puputov: Generally made in glass containers containing feces and urine inside and sealed with lid and tape.

I really don't think this requires a translation to English, now does it? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYpgbLPsADA)

La razn por la que #Puputov se posicion como primera etiqueta en Twitter
Los ciudadanos lanzaron heces fecales en contra de los uniformados para defenderse de la represin policial y militar

05-10-2017, 12:32 PM

#Venezuela is on the brink of #CivilWar. Riots leave 37 dead, 700 wounded, 1800 imprisoned...

07-25-2017, 05:02 PM
Max Brooks | July 25, 2017

08-06-2017, 04:53 PM
VALENCIA/CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Venezuelan authorities suppressed a small rebellion at a military base near the city of Valencia on Sunday, arresting seven men who they say participated in a "terrorist attack" against the government of unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
Earlier on Sunday a video circulated on social media showing a group of men in military uniform announcing an uprising in the wake of the creation of a pro-government legislative superbody on Friday, which was widely condemned as a power grab.
Hundreds took to the streets in Valencia to support the uprising, said resident Carolina Herrera, who like other witnesses reported shots through the night.
But hooded protesters had been largely dispelled with tear gas by midday on Sunday, and the rest of the South American country of 30 million appeared to be calm.


08-08-2017, 12:31 PM
Ah, the joys of a disarmed society.

Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela's military was on Monday hunting an ex-officer and a lieutenant who led uniformed rebels on a weekend raid to grab weapons from an army base, fueling fears the country's worsening crisis could tip into armed conflict.
The defense minister and head of the armed forces, General Vladimir Padrino, said the ex-National Guard captain, Juan Carlos Caguaripano, and the lieutenant, Jefferson Gabriel Garcia, were behind Sunday's attack on the base in the northwestern city of Valencia by 20 men in uniform.
They are "enemies of the nation," Padrino said.


09-08-2017, 01:40 PM
Admiral Stavridis was the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and is Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

It's Time to Plan for Civil War In Venezuela
James Stavridis
Sep 07, 2017

An enormous crisis is brewing just a few hundred miles south of Miami: Venezuela, a nation of more than 30 million people, with the largest oil reserves in the world, is on the brink of collapse and civil war. The implications for the Americas are profound and dangerous. What should the U.S. be doing while Caracas sinks into anarchy?


09-16-2017, 11:32 AM
While Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology that underpins it all is on a speculative roller coaster ride.......Bitcoin mining is playing a role in survival within Venezuela:


I suspect cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain will be playing an increasingly important role from current obscurity to future center stage potentially used by all sides as a means of exchange, store of value, theft for revenue, as well as the otherwise of the proverbial coin for stability ops.

Right now it seems to a means of survival for some digitally savvy folks trying to survive and the police hunting them to confiscate their bit mining systems for the same reasons.

12-20-2017, 01:15 PM
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan leftist President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that “terrorists” had broken into a National Guard unit over the weekend and stolen weapons, the latest sign of volatility in the oil-rich country convulsed by a profound economic crisis.


01-02-2018, 08:57 PM
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan authorities arrested a National Guard soldier over the weekend and accused him of shooting a pregnant 18 year-old during an incident that local media described as a melee over scarce pork. Alexandra Colopoy was gunned down by First Sergeant David Rebolledo, according to a tweet by the state prosecutor late Sunday night. No further details were provided, but critics of President Nicolas Maduro’s leftist government seized on the incident, calling it a stark example of the oil-rich country’s meltdown.


01-05-2018, 03:53 AM
Venezuelan gangs are no longer recruiting youths in some poor areas by offering them easy money to buy clothes or the latest cell phones. Instead, they are offering food baskets.

And on the streets, walking around with a bag of groceries can attract more thieves than a full wallet.

The critical food shortages pummeling Venezuela have started to change the nature of crime in the country, at times increasing what some experts have started to call “hunger crimes” and at other times turning food into a valuable item to be taken by force.

Even though it has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, Venezuela is suffering one of the most severe economic crises of its modern history as a result of the policies imposed by the socialist regimes of Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro.

The crisis has forced millions of Venezuelans to eat just once a day, and thousands of others to regularly search garbage cans in hopes of finding something to eat, according to recent surveys.

01-06-2018, 11:02 PM
Mobs gathered outside some Caracas supermarkets on Saturday after the government ordered shops to slash prices, creating chaos as desperate Venezuelans leapt at the chance to buy cheaper food as the country's worsening economy causes severe shortages. The leftist administration of President Nicolas Maduro ordered more than 200 supermarkets to cut prices back to last month's levels - a tall order in a country where many prices change daily due to the world's fastest inflation rate. When one major supermarket in wealthier eastern Caracas did not open for hours, people began pounding on the storefront. "This scares me, but what can I do?" said Francisco Guaita, a carpenter hoping to find food for his three children, over the shouts and pushes.


I think I've seen this movie before (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl1F7_khqPM)

01-07-2018, 08:07 AM
It is certainly an excellent case in point that elections do matter sometimes a very great deal and an economy in tatters can still fall to formerly unthinkable lows.

Indeed the fall seems never-ending. The resources of the state and the nation are almost exhausted. We seem to have now a situation approaching slowly the one of a huge prison camp where loyalty and support to the regime running it becomes increasingly key to just survive. You howl with the wolves and suffer or you risk the life of you and your relatives.

How long can this go on? As written before for now the grip on power and people by the dictator and his inner circle has been reinforced by the ability to determine largely who gets ever more sparse food. It has created a vicious spiral downwards and rightly those in command have to fear what happens when power changes hands...

Still someday Chavism will end but as Mugabe has shown us the downfall can last decades.


This deep tragedy and reminds one of the importance of the respect for law and science, fair and free elections by educated and thinking citizens. A stronger safety net might have been decisive to avoid the election of Chavez but the elite opposed it. Even little things would have mattered as it was fairly close. I wonder what our Italian elections will bring, so many seem to want change at all cost and the polls are a nightmare with the bad populists of all sorts clearly leading.

01-12-2018, 05:27 PM
I think I've seen this movie before (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl1F7_khqPM)

SAN CRISTOBAL/BARINAS, Venezuela, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Hungry mobs ransacked a food collection center, and a supermarket in Venezuela's western Andean state of Merida on Thursday and reportedly even slaughtered cattle grazing in a field as unrest over food shortages spread through the country.
An opposition lawmaker from Merida, Carlos Paparoni, said four people had died and 10 were injured in the chaos over the last two days, but he did not specify the circumstances.


01-30-2018, 05:17 PM
Sporadic looting, food riots and protests driven by the hungry poor have surged in Venezuela, a country that’s no stranger to unrest. But the uprisings playing out recently have a different face than the mostly middle-class protesters who took to the streets for months last year in political demonstrations trying to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela holds the world’s largest oil reserves and was once among Latin America’s wealthiest nations. But after nearly two decades of socialist rule and mismanagement of the state-run oil company, it is being battered by the worst economic crisis in its history.

Financial sanctions imposed in August by the Trump administration are only adding to Venezuelans’ misery, choking off the country’s access to credit and scaring away oil companies.
Meanwhile, hunger is widespread.
Recently a dozen men stormed a street-side deli in the western city of Barquisimeto. Surveillance cameras captured them leaping over the glass counter as customers and employees scrambled out of the way. They wiped the store clean in minutes.
Cattle ranchers say at least two farms have been raided by people who slaughtered cows. A video on Twitter shows a dozen men in the state of Merida killing a cow with rocks and a machete, one shouting: “We are hungry.”
In the first half of January, there were at least 110 incidents of looting, more than five times than in the same period a year earlier, says the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict, a non-governmental group that tracks unrest.
Food and the cash to pay for it are more difficult to find, especially outside the capital of Caracas. And even when people have money, prices are often beyond their reach, with the inflation rate soaring above 2,600 percent in 2017, the opposition- controlled National Assembly says.

01-30-2018, 05:22 PM
Financial sanctions imposed in August by the Trump administration are only adding to Venezuelans’ misery, choking off the country’s access to credit and scaring away oil companies.

Looks like those sanctions might give the Venezuelan people the best shot they've had in decades.

The government of Venezuelan President Nicols Maduro, hated by much of the country's population and sanctioned by a growing number of countries, is facing problems keeping the police and military happy as food shortages and hyperinflation start to hit their barracks.
Recent meetings and internal documents of the Venezuelan armed forces point to concern in the Maduro regime as troops grow more demoralized and commanders report an increase in the number of insubordination cases and desertions.
In addition to the signs of unrest among the Army and National Guard units, the government also faces a tense relationship with the investigative police agency known by its initials in Spanish, CICPC, after the recent public execution of rebel policeman Oscar Perez, who was killed by security forces in an assault broadcast live through social media.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article196828514.html#storylink=cpy

01-30-2018, 05:29 PM
Better copy of video mentioned above -
Venezuela Attack: Pilot Oscar Prez Last Moments

02-12-2018, 05:33 AM
GUASIPATI, Venezuela (Reuters) - Soldiers clashed with illegal miners in southern Venezuela on the weekend, killing 18 people in a region notorious for violence and gang rivalries, a lawmaker and local media said.
Bolivar state Governor Justo Noguera said a military unit had fought off an attack, but gave no more details. “An investigation is under way,” he told reporters.

Echoing that number, a local opposition lawmaker, Americo De Grazia‏, said relatives had described the victims as having bullets in the head. “Massacres are the narco-dictatorship’s state policy,” he said, accusing the security forces.
The government did not respond to requests for comment.

02-13-2018, 03:22 PM
BOGOTA, Colombia Venezuela on Monday accused neighboring Colombia of planning a bombing campaign or a “military invasion” amid heightened tensions in the region and a mass exodus fueled by Venezuela’s collapsing economy.

Saab didn’t provide proof of his allegations, but other regional allies pointed to the weekend visit to Colombia by Admiral Kurt Tidd, head of U.S. Southern Command.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article199715099.html#storylink=cpy

05-08-2018, 03:42 PM
This reads like some Draconian Gilbert & Sullivan production.

Military officers* are joining the exodus of Venezuelans to Colombia and Brazil, fleeing barracks and forcing President Nicolas Maduro’s government to call upon retirees and militia to fill the void.

High desertion rates at bases in Caracas and the countryside are complicating security plans for the presidential election in 13 days, which by law require military custody of electoral materials and machinery at voting centers.

Last week, officers who rank as high as general were called in and quartered for several days at their units. Retired officials and militia members were also contacted by their superiors, according to one retired officer who asked not to be named for fear of angering the regime. Government officials are training these fill-in personnel for the election, said a second retired officer.

High-ranking members of the military are barred from much contact with the lower ranks . Lines of young military men asking for retirement are long, said the first retired officer. The officer tried to chat with one, but officers running the barracks forbade them from talking to each other. The retiree said top officers fear too much conversation will permit officers and enlisted solders to form alliances for a coup.

* Given the lack of comprehension sometimes exhibited by the American media, it's unclear whether Bloomberg is refering to the lower Enlisted, NCOs, field or staff grade officers - or all of the above.

06-25-2018, 09:38 AM
This is what you get with a Socialist Dictator.

Venezuelan security forces have carried out hundreds of arbitrary killings under the guise of fighting crime, the UN's human rights body says.
In a report, it cites "shocking" accounts of young men being killed during operations, often in poor districts, over the past three years.
The UN's human rights chief said no-one was being held to account, suggesting the rule of law was "virtually absent".
Venezuela has in the past dismissed human rights allegations as "lies".

The UN Human Rights Office alleges that extra-judicial killings were carried out by officers involved with the Operations for the Liberation of the People, ostensibly a crime-reduction initiative. These officers may have killed more than 500 people since July 2015 as a way to showcase crime-reduction results, it says. They are alleged to have faked evidence to make it look as though the victims died in exchanges of fire.


06-25-2018, 09:42 AM
Sidebar comedy: so much for this Kennedy effort. (http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/03/21/joe-4-oil-citizens-energy-kennedy-venezuela-heating/)

The Joe-4-Oil Heat Program is not currently accepting applications for assistance. Please check back here for updates.

07-27-2018, 10:21 AM
The Wonkblog discusses the inflation in Zim, eh Venezuela (https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/07/26/good-news-is-venezuela-wont-have-million-percent-inflation-soon-bad-news-is-it-might-later/?utm_term=.60682e9f689b):

Indeed, in the span of a few months, the International Monetary Fund has gone from forecasting that Venezuela’s inflation rate would hit 12,875 percent by the end of the year to now saying that it will get to 1 million percent. Now, this isn’t the type of prediction you should take literally — the IMF says it’s more a “signal that the situation in Venezuela is similar to that in Germany in 1923 or Zimbabwe in the late 2000s.” Instead, as we said, it’s a reminder that even a failed state such as Venezuela can still fail some more. Which it almost certainly will.

It seems to my personal theme here in this thread. Over the year you saw things getting worse and worse, and marveled how things can get on like that but one always had to keep in mind that there human tragedy can plunge into deeper cliffs still. Or as the WP puts it:

If history has taught us anything, it’s that things can always get worse, even when that seems impossible — as it does right now in Venezuela.


08-08-2018, 11:26 AM
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has accused opposition lawmakers of playing a role in a failed attempt to assassinate him over the weekend.

During a nationally televised address to Venezuelan troops on Saturday, Maduro was unhurt when explosives-laden drones exploded near the podium.

In a speech on Tuesday, Maduro said Julio Borges, a prominent opposition leader living in exile in neighboring Colombia, was a co-conspirator in the plot, but he did not elaborate on what role the politician had played.

What happened? Two blasts in Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday interrupted an open-air speech by President Nicolas Maduro — detonations that authorities blamed on twin drones loaded with explosives. Witnesses said they heard a loud bang and saw one drone fall from the sky and hit a nearby building. Maduro later called the attack, which occurred at a military parade in celebration of the country’s national guard, an assassination attempt. He was not hurt during the explosion, but seven soldiers were injured.
Why it does it matter? Maduro, who’s been in power since 2013, accused political foes in neighboring Colombia and the U.S. of trying to kill him. Appearing on state television, Venezuela’s defense minister described the attack as an attempt to wipe out the country’s leadership. Representatives of the Colombian and American governments denied any involvement, and critics of Maduro warned the socialist strongman might use the incident as a pretext to crack down on his political adversaries. The attack also draws attention to Venezuela’s escalating political and economic turmoil, which has led to widespread food and medicine shortages.
Who was it? Maduro appeared on television hours after the bombing to blame right-wing conspirators in Colombia, including his foe, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, as well as financiers from Florida. Venezuela has often blamed Colombia for its political turmoil, and there are a large number of Venezuelan immigrants living in Florida. Authorities have thus far arrested six so-called “terrorists and hired killers” linked to the attack following raids in Caracas. A group called “Soldiers in T-shirts,” which describes itself on Twitter as “loyal to the people of Venezuela,” claimed responsibility for the attack but provided no proof of involvement.

It’s just the beginning. Drone strikes, such as those on suspected terrorist leaders, are nothing new. Even the Islamic State has used these devices on targets for years. But there appear to have been few, if any, prior attempts by non-state actors on such a high-level political leader. And it’s probably not the last: As technology improves and becomes more accessible, experts believe these types of attack may well become the preferred weapon of insurgents, terrorists and revolutionaries.

The assailants flew two drones each packed with 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of C-4 plastic explosive toward Maduro, his wife and other top leaders as he spoke Saturday evening at an event celebrating the 81st anniversary of the National Guard, said Interior Minister Nestor Reverol. One of the drones was to explode above the president while the other was to detonate directly in front of him, he added.

But the military managed to knock one of the drones off-course electronically and the other crashed into apartment building two blocks away from where Maduro was speaking to the hundreds of troops, Reverol said.


10-06-2018, 08:08 AM
Venezuela's government created a new migration police force on Friday to increase controls at the country's borders amid a mass exodus sparked by an ongoing political and economic crisis. Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced the move on state TV, saying that the migration police will "immediately" take control of Venezuela's 72 entry and exit points. She said that the police force will reinforce "the existing controls" that are currently being carried out by National Guard soldiers who oversee border security.


10-26-2018, 03:19 PM
More than 14,000 people were killed in the country last year and Caracas has the highest murder rate per capita in the world.
It is in the middle of all this mindless bloodshed that the bizarre cult of the "Holy Thugs" was born - and it's growing by the day.

Locals are now so desperate for protection they worship the spirits of these dead gangsters in return for protection and luck. The cap-wearing statues have handguns tucked in their brightly-coloured trousers and cigarettes hanging from their mouths.


12-19-2018, 12:54 AM
In 1998, as the setting for his election celebrations, Chávez chose the balcony of the Teresa Carreño, a spectacular, brutalist style cultural centre. Built during the 1970s oil boom and reminiscent of London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, it has hosted stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, George Benson, Ray Charles and Luciano Pavarotti, and epitomised the country’s new ambition. “Venezuela is reborn,” Chávez declared.


Twenty years after that upbeat address, an economic cataclysm experts blame on ill-conceived socialist policies, staggering corruption and the post-2014 slump in oil prices has given Caracas the air of a sinking ship.

Public services are collapsing, businesses closing and residents evacuating on buses or one of a dwindling number of flights still connecting their fallen metropolis to the rest of the world.


01-03-2019, 07:47 PM
Sadly this story is behind a 'pay wall' I suspect it will appear in US newspapers. So a couple of citations:
most of the attacks off Trinidad's coastline take place just before sunset, allowing the culprits to flee under the cover of darkness. Nobody, though, has any doubt where they escape to - Venezuela - where years of economic meltdown under socialist President Maduro has hundreds of jobless fishermen - and in some cases the national coastguard - into buccaneering.
The pirates are also prolific smugglers, running boatloads of cocaine and guns from Venezuela into Trinidad. Many of the firearms are thought to have come from members of Venezuela's underpaid security forces, who sell them to make ends meet.
Link:https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/29/pirates-caribbean-venezuelans-stalking-open-seas-economy-collapses/? (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/29/pirates-caribbean-venezuelans-stalking-open-seas-economy-collapses/?WT.mc_id=e_DM913356&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_Edi_New_nSub&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_Edi_New_nSub_2019_01_03&utm_campaign=DM913356)