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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse #159393
03/24/2018 05:25 AM
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Nicolas Maduro has a wonderful plan...nancial persecution" facing his country.

He's... going to eliminate three zeros from his nation's currency.

You can't make this stuff up.

Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse #159394
04/17/2018 04:47 AM
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With it's oil industry collapsing, Venezuela now has to import oil . They're paying $80 or $90 a barrel for oil, and selling it at the pumps for $0.

This is like something out of Atlas Shrugged.

Quote
... The long queues for food and medicine in Venezuela are now well documented, but lines of cars waiting outside petrol stations something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, when petrol cost $0.01 (0.7p) per litre are becoming more common.

Filling your tank is still cheaper than drinking water in Venezuela, but the industry can no longer meet domestic demands and is having to put exports first. Monaldi says that if production continues to fall to below a million barrels, the consequences could be catastrophic.

The domestic consumption of oil is around 450,000 barrels and Venezuela needs the exports to repay its debt with Russia and China, he says.

They have to import for two reasons. One is the collapse of the refining infrastructure and the other is that its oil is naturally heavy so they need to import diluents to blend with their oil to re-export it.

One of the craziest things is that a part of Venezuelas imports is for the domestic market, but given its price, they practically give gasoline away for free. They are importing barrels that cost $80 to $90 and selling them at $0. ...
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse #159395
04/30/2018 08:42 AM
04/30/2018 08:42 AM
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Here's another socialist success. Venezuela is importing oil from the U.S. , paying $80 to $90 a barrel and selling it for $0.

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Venezuela has the world's largest proven reserves of petroleum. In 1998, when Bolivarian socialist Hugo Chavez was elected president, the country was producing about 3.5 million barrels of oil a day. As recently as 2013, when Nicolas Maduro ascended to the presidencey upon Chavez's death, the country was still pumping out about 2.8 million barrels a day. Since 2016, month daily production has dropped to 1.5 million barrels.

Venezuela's heavy crude oil needs to be diluted with lighter petroleum products so that it can be refined into fuels. The Independent reports that as a result of the ongoing collapse of domestic refining, the South American country is now obliged to import about 200,000 barrels a day of diluents from the United States. The Venezuelan government sells gasoline at 1 cent per liter (80 cents in the U.S.). Even with the fanciful assumption that all the petroleum in a barrel could be refined into vehicle fuel, a rough calculation implies a value of $1.60 per barrel. The diluents from the U.S. cost about $80 to $90 per barrel.

"One of the craziest things is that a part of Venezuela's imports is for the domestic market, but given its price, they practically give gasoline away for free," Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American energy policy at Rice University, tells The Independent. "They are importing barrels that cost $80 to $90 and selling them at $0."

Despite Chavez's dysfunctional economic policies, Venezuela's GDP ascended along with oil prices during the first decade of the 21st century. But since peaking at $334 billion in 2011, the country's GDP has dropped to $215 billion. The economy shrank by 16 percent last year, and the International Monetary Fund projects it will shrink by another 15 percent this year. Inflation, meanwhile, is nearing an annual rate of 9,000 percent.

As The Independent notes:

Quote
Oil makes up more than 90 per cent of the nation's exports, but a combination of government corruption, lack of investment and the migration of qualified staff have left the industry in ruins. It's a crisis that has directly hit the country's ability to import resources like food or medicine for the Venezuelan population.

It is a vicious spiral. It is estimated that 10 per cent of the population has emigrated. Almost two thirds of all households have at least one family member living abroad. And among those 3 million migrants are young and competent workers who have escaped from a country that sinks deeper into crisis.
This is what real socialism looks like.
Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse #159396
05/06/2018 07:57 AM
05/06/2018 07:57 AM
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Mounting economic chaos leaves many Venezuelans in the dark

SCOTT SMITH,Associated PressMay 4, 2018

MARACAIBO, Venezuela (AP) A month-long blackout in Jennifer Naranjo's neighborhood in the Venezuelan port city of Maracaibo leaves her anxious. She's eight months pregnant and passes hot, sleepless nights with no air conditioning, swatting away mosquitoes, worried about her unborn daughter's future.

"I dream about getting ahead for my baby," said Naranjo, whose husband left in January to find work in Chile. "In Venezuela, the situation gets worse every day."

Blackouts are nothing new under two decades of socialist rule in Venezuela. But they've grown more frequent, and are lasting longer, as the OPEC nation's economy hits a breaking point with hyperinflation making increasingly scarce food and medicine unaffordable for many.

Naranjo's La Chinita neighborhood has gone without power since late March, when a transformer exploded. Officials repeatedly promised the parts needed to repair it would arrive the next day. So far they haven't come.

The four-block area is a small symptom of a vastly more widespread problem that is generating unrest across much of Venezuela, including Maracaibo, a city of 1.5 million people that has long exported energy in the form of oil across the world.

Venezuela's government doesn't publish figures charting power outages, but the human rights organization Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict reports that blackouts prompted 325 street protests across Venezuela in the first three months of 2018.

Maracaibo witnessed the greatest number of protests, said organization director Marco Ponce, including one where residents blocked a busy street and a 15-year-old boy was shot dead by a passing motorist.

A massive blackout put most of Maracaibo in the dark for Christmas Eve, and since then officials have rationed power across the sprawling city. Scheduled blackouts eat up at least 11 hours a day, not counting unplanned failures.

With air conditioners idle and daytime April temperatures often nearing 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), families throw open their doors and windows to allow in any hint of a breeze along with mosquitoes. Naranjo, 20, fears a bite could infect her and her daughter, Pamela, with the Zika virus, which has stricken about 70 of Maracaibo's infants with microcephaly, according to the local charity My Miracle Foundation, which supports children with the illness.

With failing light switches and wall plugs, residents also can't charge phones or run television sets, so they often pass time chatting with neighbors in the street. They have to cook and eat by candles, which are costly.

"We can't wait any longer," said homemaker Elsa de Suarez, 58, who says her lifeless refrigerator doesn't allow her to keep food from spoiling. "It's an emergency."

Venezuela's status as home to the world's largest fossil fuel reserves should have made it immune to an energy crisis. It also has the Guri Dam, one of the world's largest hydro-electric projects and the cornerstone of an electrical grid once the envy of Latin America that has now fallen into disrepair.

Experts say only two or three of Maracaibo's 24 fuel-powered turbines still run after years of neglect, eking out just 10 percent of their previous output. Other power comes from the dilapidated national grid.

Maj. Gen. Luis Motta, Maduro's minister of electrical power, blamed a series of recent outages in Maracaibo on saboteurs attempting to undermine the government. They attacked power substations using Molotov cocktails, he said on state TV, without providing evidence. He didn't respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment.

However, experts say the power crisis is the government's own making. Powerful officials have been accused in U.S. court proceedings of looting investments earmarked for the electrical system and the country has kept home power bills among the cheapest in the world, around 1 cent a month, meaning the grid depends heavily on subsidies from a government with increasing financial problems.

The shortages are adding to the misery of a Venezuelan economic collapse on the scale of the Great Depression of the 1930s and as production in the oil industry the largest consumer of power has fallen to the lowest levels in decades.

Winston Cabas, president of the Association of Electrical Engineers of Venezuela, estimates that it would take an infusion of $50 billion over a decade to restore the country's electrical system, which he said is as precarious as Haiti's after the 2010 earthquake.

"The problem is not sabotage or terrorism," said Cabas. "The problem is corruption."

Venezuelans just want their lights on.

In downtown Maracaibo, more than 100 senior citizens recently grew frustrated standing in line for hours outside a bank waiting for the power to come so they could cash their monthly pension checks to buy food.

Across the bay, a group of fisherman mending shrimping nets paused when they heard the hum of their refrigerator die from another outage. They worried this was the one that would finally fry the refrigerator where they store their catches.

La Chinita residents show visitors the charred transformer box hanging on a pole. Then they roll up a sleeve to reveal fresh mosquito bites from the night before.

Many gather each evening on a corner in front of a mustard-colored flat-roofed home as dusk turns to dark. Bug repellent is too expensive, so one man burns a cardboard egg carton, which smolders slowly and helps keep the mosquitoes away.

A woman flips through the pages on a clipboard detailing the blackout's impact on La Chinita's 135 residents, including 29 young children and at least three bedridden elderly neighbors. She shows the record to officials urging their help.

Naranjo, pregnant, eats by the light of a shrinking candle stub. Unable to charge her phone at home, she can only talk to her husband in Chile once every three or four days. They often talk about her following him abroad.

For now, Naranjo remains fixated on finding money to deliver her baby in a good clinic and on buying her own mosquito net. She feels guilty asking relatives for too much help.

"Everything is so expensive," she says.

The candle flickers from a breeze and she stops eating to cup her hand behind the flame to shield it from blowing out and leaving her in the dark.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse #159397
05/10/2018 05:18 AM
05/10/2018 05:18 AM
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Nikki Haley says it\'s time for Maduro to go.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called on Venezuelan dictator Nicols Maduro to step down on Tuesday, calling the elections scheduled for May 20 a "sham." She noted that Venezuelan migrants are causing a crisis in Latin America similar to the crisis of Syrian migrants in Europe, and that Venezuela's "implosion" represents a threat to Latin America.

"The systematic oppression of the Venezuelan people has become an active threat to the entire region," Haley declared at a conference on Latin America at the State Department. "For the safety and the security of all people in Latin America, it is time for Maduro to go."

Haley powerfully backed up this call for regime change by referencing the current state of affairs in Venezuela and the surrounding region, and the ideological divide in the region....
He won't go until there's nothing left to loot.

Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse #159398
05/11/2018 03:57 AM
05/11/2018 03:57 AM
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Late-stage socialism,Venezuela edition. There is a wave under way to seize the assets of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, because "No one wants to be last in line."

Quote
... The decision, which came amid the accelerating deterioration of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.s production capacity, could lead creditors to try to seize other Venezuelan assets abroad, including oil exports, to recover the more than $40 billion they claim they are owed.

Creditors are now saying to themselves, Look, we now have confirmation that you can go out and embargo PDVSA, and many of them are going to rush into court to ask for their own seizures, said Antonio De La Cruz, executive director of Inter American Trends in Washington, D.C.

We are at the start of a snowball rolling downhill, added Russ Dallen, managing partner of Caracas Capital Markets, an investment bank in Miami. Now that people have started to file lawsuits, we are going to see a run because no one wants to be the last in line. ...
Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse #159399
05/21/2018 04:50 AM
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Nicolas Maduro has won another term as president of Venezuela. Not exactly a surprise.

Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse #159400
05/23/2018 05:10 AM
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Could China save Venezuela?

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Nicols Maduro may have received more votes in Venezuelas recent presidential election, but the record-low voter turnout is widely seen as its own form of protest against his increasingly oppressive socialist regime. So as long as Maduros government controls the voting process, his opponents will continue to advocate elections boycotts to try to erode the legitimacy of his government. Once again we see democracy being wielded as a weapon by tyrants, rather than an answer for political victims.

The true challenge to Maduros regime will not come from elections, but rather the growing threat of a coup. While the political heir to Chavez has managed to keep the military loyal by allowing them to profit from cartelizing vital supplies, the continuing deterioration of the nations economy has sparked growing rebellion and desertion among the ranks. As Maduros government has continued to doubled-down on the same failed socialist policies that created one of the worlds gravest humanitarian crises, action by the military is increasingly seen as inevitable including by the leaders of neighboring countries.

Of course the destruction of Venezuela is not the result of a single man, and the issues plaguing the country will not simply disappear with his removal. So the question is what options realistically exist for a post-Maduro Venezuela, and what would those ramifications be for both its people and the rest of the world?

A few years ago I looked at what Ludwig von Mises would recommend Venezuela do, drawing inspiration from his writings on post-World War I Austria. Policy recommendations included condemning the socialist ideology that destroyed the country, mass-privatization of the economy, abandoning the bolivar, and abandoning all trade restrictions. While these would still be the ideal tonic for what ills the country, even in the face of socialist ruin the intellectual climate of Venezuela is still far from the classical liberalism of Mises.

This is demonstrated by the sad reality that the leading opposition parties, including Justice First, Popular Will, Democratic Unity Roundtable, and Democratic Action are a reaction to the violent crackdown and growing unconstitutional authoritarianism of Maduros government, rather than socialist ideology itself. In fact, all but Justice First still explicitly make socialist appeals in their political campaigns. The continued appeal of socialism among the public is so great that Henrique Capriles, a leading oppositional figure, called for a socialist-coalition as the best strategy to take down Maduro.

So if the public will does not exist to embrace true market reforms, what options exist for the country?

The first issue Venezuela faces is transitioning away from the bolivar that has become worth less than World of Warcraft currency thanks to Maduros hyperinflationary policies.

The best recent example of transitioning away from such monetary chaos is Zimbabwe, which stopped printing its own worthless currency in 2009 and transitioned to using the US dollar at an exchange rate of $1 for Z$35,000,000,000,000,000. Its possible that Venezuela could make a similar move especially as US dollars are already circulating in what few markets still function in the country.

Unfortunately this may not work quite as well in todays Venezuela.

If the Venezuelan people are not prepared to completely discard the personality cult of the late-Hugo Chavez, a full embrace of the American dollar may face complications in part due to the USs militarization of financial markets in recent years. While the pros may still outweigh the cons to formally adopting the dollar, there may be another option with unique appeal to Venezuela: the Chinese yuan.

Will China Bailout Venezuela?

Even during the peaks of the oil boom, the Venezuelas socialist economy relied greatly on the Chinese government. China is already Venezuela's biggest lender, and has already been forced to restructure payments with its largest investment in Latin America. Of course Venezuela is going to need more than debt restructuring to stabilize its financial situation. Given its aggressive desire to expand its global economic footprint, China may see potential in a broad Venezuelan bailout package one that could include the country formally adopting the yuan.

In 2015, the Mugabe government of Zimbabwe tried to make a big deal out of adopting the yuan as a legal currency in exchange for debt cancelation. The problem is that the announcement ignored that the yuan had already been legal currency dating back to 2009, and the debt forgiveness package was largely a mirage. This is understandable. Zimbabwe is of modest value to China outside of its use in projecting a growing global Chinese influence with its tobacco industry the most lucrative trade the African nation has with its Eastern benefactor.

Venezuelas oil reserves, on the other hand, have long interested Chinas Communist Party and Maduros government already prices it in renminbi as a way to get around the US dollar. What if China offers a bailout package including perhaps skilled workers to replace those that have fled the government-operated PDVSA dependent on Venezuela receiving oil payments made in the yuan? Given how vital the oil economy is to Venezuelas economy making up 50% of GDP - renminbi would likely begin to quickly circulate through the Venezuelan economy in a way that hasnt happened in Zimbabwe markets.

China would benefit from this arrangement in ways beyond its own energy consumption. A formal adoption of the yuan would give the country its strongest foothold in Latin America to date, a new partner to its One Belt, One Road initative, and would offer the most significant challenge yet to the dollars' hegemony in energy markets due to the sheer size of Venezuelas reserves. Since Chinese officials have made it clear that they want to reduce global dependence on the dollar in the future, this could be a strong power play particularly given the back and forth on trade weve seen between Xi and the Trump Administration (which could possibly see this as a 21st Century violation of the Monroe Doctrine.)

Of course Venezuelas hyperinflation is really a consequence of the country's larger economic evils: the destruction of economic productivity due to the nationalization of industry and an expensive welfare state.

The rise of China is itself a testament to what even modest steps to market liberalization can do for a previously socialist economy. If Chinese support comes with stronger property rights than we see under Maduro whose government recently nationalized a Kelloggs plant then this too would represent a positive step forward for Venezuelan citizens, even if it would reduce the country to more of a vassal state of China.

China Cant Save Venezuela

While a Chinese bailout of Venezuela could offer desperately needed relief to the country, this third-way approach cant go on forever and China itself may end up being an illustration of this. For all the talk of Chinas economic strength, the country has been forced to resort to overstating its own economic growth in recent years, and is very likely still doing so today.

Even more troubling is Chinas own reliance on debt to keep its economy growing. While lacking the massive welfare programs of Chavez and Maduro, China has been indulging in a decade-long debt binge with massive government spending on everything from infrastructure, industry, and island creation. While the strength of Chinas government gives it significant power in kicking the can down the road, global officials such as the Reserve Bank of Australia - are starting to get alarmed.

The threat to China stems from the same reason that could make it attractive to a future Venezuelan government: their shared socialist ideology and belief in central planning. While China has long departed from the communist policies in Mao even if Xi aspires for his degree of power its continued reliance on government-centric five year plans and bloated state-run firms has created its own form of Keynesian nightmare.

In the words of Per Bylund:

Quote
The Chinese economy obviously relies very heavily on state-sponsored, state-planned projects such as these constructions of buildings. It probably wouldnt be much of an exaggeration to say that the Chinese economy is a Keynesian jobs project of outrageous scale, which also means that is as removed from real value creation as any Keynesian undertaking....

What China teaches us about economics and economic policy is the lesson that is generally not provided in college classrooms: the important distinction within production between value creation and capital consumption. The story of Chinas economic development is to a great extent one of unsustainable, centrally planned growth specifically in terms of GDP but a lack of sustainable value creation, capital accumulation, and entrepreneurship.
In conclusion, while my wish is to see the Venezuelan people be rid of the vile Maduro government as quickly as possible, the country is haunted far more by its continued loyalty to socialism than it is the actions of a particular government leader. While the realities of modern Venezuela combined with the global ambitions of China could make a deal between the two countries a logical outcome, the Chinese model is not one that will bring prolonged prosperity.

True hope for Venezuela, and the rest of Latin America, must come from rejecting the inevitable failures of Marxism and embracing a Misesian understanding of economics and classical liberalism.

In other words, Menos Marx, Mas Mises.
Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #167221
06/22/2018 12:29 PM
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Killings by security forces rife in Venezuela, rule of law 'virtually absent': U.N.

Stephanie Nebehay


GENEVA (Reuters) - Venezuelan security forces suspected of killing hundreds of demonstrators and alleged criminals enjoy immunity from prosecution, indicating that the rule of law is “virtually absent” in the country, the United Nations said on Friday.

The U.N. human rights office called on the government to bring perpetrators to justice and said it was sending its report to the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose prosecutor opened a preliminary investigation in February.

The U.N. report cited “credible, shocking” accounts of extrajudicial killings of young men during crime-fighting operations in poor neighbourhoods conducted without arrest warrants. Security forces would tamper with the scene so that there appeared to have been an exchange of fire, it said.

There was no immediate response from the government of President Nicolas Maduro to the report.

Critics say Maduro has used increasingly authoritarian tactics as the OPEC nation’s economy has spiralled deeper into recession and hyperinflation, fuelling discontent and prompting hundreds of thousands to emigrate in the past year.

About 125 people died in anti-government protests last year.

Security forces were allegedly responsible for killing at least 46 of them, U.N. rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing, adding: “Evidence has reportedly disappeared from case files.”

Maduro says the opposition protests were aimed at overthrowing him and accuses the United States of directing an “economic war” against Venezuela.

“The failure to hold security forces accountable for such serious human rights violations suggests that the rule of law is virtually absent in Venezuela,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. “The impunity must end.”

Zeid called on the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday to set up an international commission of inquiry into alleged violations in Venezuela — one of its 47 member states.

“The time has come for the Council to use its voice to speak out before this tragic downward spiral becomes irreversible,” Leila Swan of Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Friday.

The unpopular Maduro has cast the release of dozens of opposition members as a peace gesture following his re-election to a new six-year term last month, which was condemned by most Western nations as an undemocratic farce. His government denies the detainees are political prisoners.

Venezuela is suffering from an economic collapse that includes chronic shortages of food and medicine and annualised inflation around 25,000 percent. Maduro blames an “economic war” directed by the opposition and the United States — which has imposed new sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry.

Under previous attorney-general Luisa Ortega Diaz, who fled Venezuela last year, 357 security officers were believed to be under investigation for crime-related killings, but there has been no public information since then, the report said.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #167466
07/13/2018 01:09 PM
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Higher oil prices won't save Venezuela. Venezuela was one of the richest countries in South America - when oil was $18 a barrel. The price of oil is not what's wrong with Venezuela.

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... Now that crude prices are rising again, the political and economic pressures are easing on oil exporters as revenues, in most cases, begin to surge. But there is one glaring exception, one country that relies on oil exports for essentially all its export revenue and whose economy is continuing its downward spiral despite the sharp rise in oil prices: Venezuela.

The simplest way to gauge the impact of oil price fluctuations on the economy and the potential effect on policy is to look at an exporter’s fiscal break-even price. The break-even price is the level at which oil prices need to sell in order to allow an exporter to meet government spending and produce a balanced budget. When crude prices fall below break-even, budget deficits start to balloon, eroding reserves and threatening economic stability. Depending on the availability of other exports and the size of reserves, large gaps between break-even and market prices can force a government to cut spending, raise taxes and borrow heavily. It can squeeze an economy well beyond the oil industry.

The most dramatic response to the drop in global oil prices came in Saudi Arabia, where an ambitious and daring crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, launched revolutionary reforms with an eye toward, among other things, reducing the country’s overreliance on oil. While the success of many of his reform plans remains unclear, the crown prince’s efforts to lower Saudi Arabia’s break-even price has been little short of spectacular. Before prices fell, Saudi Arabia’s break-even price was $105.70 per barrel. The government has since slashed expenditures by about one-fifth, cutting subsidies and other expenses, and raising taxes. The break-even level now stands at $74.40, and a recent study by a Japanese bank predicts it will reach $55 a barrel by 2021, giving the kingdom ample room to finance Crown Prince Mohammed’s goal of diversifying the economy.

Other Gulf states have also moved to narrow the gap, introducing a value-added tax, lowering subsidy payments and promoting new industries. Now, with oil prices climbing, these petroleum producers are set to reap a sharp rise in revenues against a lowered level of national expenditures.

The contrast with Venezuela could not be starker. Despite the rise in prices, Venezuela, holder of the world’s largest known oil reserves, is seeing its oil income continue to plummet, along with the rest of its economy.


Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #167591
07/25/2018 01:06 PM
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Venezuela's inflation rate could reach ONE MILLION PERCENT by the end of the year. And that, folks, is hyper-inflation.

What does an inflation rate like that even mean? If you can buy a candy bar for a dollar now, ONE HOUR FROM NOW it will cost $2.15.

Onward and upward,
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Last edited by airforce; 07/25/2018 02:25 PM.
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #167632
07/31/2018 12:12 PM
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Venezuela removes zeros from currency to slash inflation. Yes, you read that right. That should cure the 1,000,000% inflation in Venezuela. crazy

Quote
Venezuelan President Nicola Maduro took to television last week to announce his solution to the country's monetary woes: eliminating five zeros on all new Venezuelan bolivar bills.

Sure, that's an unorthodox—some might say useless—attempt to combat hyperinflation, but the great Venezuelan experiment with socialism continues apace.

At present, the highest denomination bill available is 100,000 bolivars. The new bills, set to hit the streets on August 20, will range from two to 500, with each unit representing 100,000 bolivars. To put that into perspective, as of last month, a cup of coffee in Venezuela cost 1 million bolivars. Maduro initially floated the idea of eliminating three zeros from bolivar bills in March, but didn't follow through—and four months later it's seemingly clear that hacking a mere three zeros off the currency won't solve anything. But five, ah, now you're getting somewhere.

Hyperinflation has been a consistent problem in socialist Venezuela. Maduro's predecessor, President Hugo Chavez, enacted a similar policy in 2008, eliminating three zeros from the national currency. It did little to fight the underlying causes of Venezuela's inflation. Instead of trying the same silly plan again, Maduro must address the underlying problems leading to Venezuela's inflation if he has any real intention of alleviating the problems facing his country.

With price and wage controls, and a largely centrally planned economy inherently incapable of meeting the needs of its populace despite being gifted with the largest oil reserves in the world, inflation in Venezuela is here to stay until people abandon the state-sponsored currency.

Already in some parts of Venezuela, many people have turned to Bitcoin, derided as highly unstable in the developed world, for an alternate store of value to the overabundant bolivar. As Matt O'Brien noted on Thursday in The Washington Post, the International Monetary Fund increased its end of year projections for Venezuelan inflation from 12,875 percent to 1 million percent in just a few short months.

On Tuesday, economist Daniel Mitchell examined the World Bank report that compared the Chilean and Venezuelan economies on his blog. Despite their similar histories and cultures, Chile abandoned the socialist experiment in 1973 while Venezuela embraced brutal economic collectivism 1999 under Chavez.

The differences are astonishing. Chile has been blessed with enormous economic growth and some of the highest standards of living in South America while Venezuela lags behind with what the IMF has described as one of the worst economic crises in the last 60 years.

Even as socialists in America assert that "Venezuela wasn't real socialism," the evidence to the contrary is clearer than ever. The number of zeros on the bolivar is a symptom; socialist central planning is the disease.


Socialist countries eventually run out of everything except zeros. You can't make this stuff up.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #168073
09/14/2018 12:27 PM
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Venezuela just raised the minimum wage 3000%. Can you guess what happened?

Yep. Workers are getting fired.

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Venezuelan workers who earned a pittance are now earning a slightly larger pittance, thanks to a big increase in the minimum wage. What they may not have are jobs.

Starting this week, 7 million employees are guaranteed 1,800 bolivars a month -- worth about $20 at the black-market rate. President Nicolas Maduro intended the mandate as political boost, but it’s having the opposite effect as companies, already hit by Venezuela’s epic economic contraction, tell workers they can’t afford to keep them.

While there have been many similar moves in the past, never has one been so disruptive, arriving amid hyperinflation, depression and devaluation. Some employers are restructuring costs, rejiggering pay scales and negotiating settlements with workers. Others are simply dismissing people. Much of the action happens secretively as companies try to avoid punishment by the government, which has been jailing those it believes are flouting the rules....


Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169233
01/23/2019 12:09 PM
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Venezuela’s Economic Collapse Was Enabled by its Central Bank

Venezuela was the fourth richest economy in the world in the 1950s!

By Mises.org Tuesday, January 22, 2019

One of the most remarkable aspects of the economic meltdown in Venezuela is just how far the country has fallen in terms of economic prosperity.

After all, Venezuela was the fourth richest economy in the world in the 1950s. The Venezuelan currency, “the bolivar” was one of Latin America’s strongest currencies during Venezuela’s peak from the 1950s to 1970s.

However, the economic meltdown in Venezuela has its origins, in part, in the founding of the Venezuelan central bank in 1939. This was followed by the nationalization of the oil industry in the 1970s by Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Perez, which was coupled with the central bank’s easy money policies. The final crisis has come with the socialist /communist measures of the past twenty years.

Rising oil prices in the 1970s brought wild speculation in Venezuela. State agencies and private enterprises continuously encouraged and engaged in massive amounts of loans in an unregulated, corrupt banking system , in the naïve belief that an everlasting boom could be sustained. The nations central bank helped fuel the fire.

Oil revenues had reached a peak during Carlos Andres Perez’ presidency, but despite the incredible amount of oil revenues, the national debt reached unprecedented levels. As oil prices eventually collapsed in the 1980s, the bubble burst and Venezuela suffered a banking crisis followed by a deep recession. Government’s use of easy-money policies from the supposedly “independent” central bank was in full swing, and the government used inflationary monetary policy to finance ever higher levels of government spending. This was the beginning of the end.


Eventually, debts began to go bad, and the banking crisis brought with it a currency crisis, as the Venezuelan bolívar suffered its first major devaluation, of nearly 100 percent, on the so called Black Friday of February 18, 1983. The Bolivar has never recovered to its pre-crisis levels and has suffered even larger devaluations since.

When everyone thought that the economic crisis couldn’t get any worse, then Venezuelan presidential candidate Hugo Chávez was able to capitalize on the economic instability plaguing the 90s and win the 1998 presidential elections. His presidency turned into a full-blown socialist/communist regime supporting an agenda of widespread nationalization of private industry. Chávez’s anti-growth policies brought Venezuela to its knees and ultimately destroyed the economy.

But none of this could have been possible without the central bank which enabled the regime to finance its own programs with endless waves of money printing.

This led to price inflation, which the regime than attempted to fight with prince controls. This had had some of the most devastating effects on the Venezuelan economy. According to a Johns Hopkins study by María Belén Wu:

In 2003, Chávez installed price controls for essential consumer products, which increased supply shortages from an average of 5 percent to 22.2 percent in 2013, the last record published by the central bank. Currently, in 2016, the shortage of products in the basic household consumption basket has quadrupled and stands at 41.3 percent.

The exponential increase in Venezuela’s monetary base as well as in official CPI inflation, had devastating effects on the economy and society as a whole. The continuous devaluation of the bolívar occurred with such speed and momentum that in January 2008 the government decided to create a new currency, the bolívar fuerte, by eliminating three zeros from the old currency. Obviously, this did not eliminate the core problem.

The last two decades have been marked by the Venezuelan government nationalization of the banks. As the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez nationalized the banks, he added that clients of the banks should not be alarmed: “To those who have their savings in the bank, don’t worry. You will be more than guaranteed in the hands of the Republic. You know the banking sector of Venezuela is one of the most solid in the world.”

According to Steve Hanke and Nicholas Krus in “Inflation by the Decades: 2000s” report, Venezuela stood at number 7 in the world inflation ranking for 2000-2009, with a cumulative inflation rate of 567.7 percent, and this period was only the beginning of the crisis. Hanke calculates the current hyperinflation in Venezuela is running at 48,760 percent at year as of December, 2018.

Today at least 70% of Venezuelans face starvation, food and medicine shortages and no health care. A humanitarian crisis is currently taking place in a country that once had one of the highest standards of living in the world, and this is a tragic example of how a once prosperous country with vast amounts of resources could become a failed state due to vast government mismanagement and corruption through its central banking system and through monetary policy.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169236
01/23/2019 05:16 PM
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President trump and other world lea...uaido as the new president of Venezuela. It's looking like a civil war is in the works.

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When Nicolás Maduro was sworn in for his second term as Venezuela's president earlier this month, the ceremony took place at the country's Supreme Court—rather than, as is typical, in front of the National Assembly.

The change in venue was not merely an aesthetic choice.


Five days earlier, when the Assembly opened its new session, opposition leader Juan Guaidó stood in front of his colleagues and accused Maduro of being a "dictator" and "usurper" who had used a fraudulent election to claim another six-year term as the nation's chief executive.

In the days since Maduro's January 10 inauguration, things have moved quickly. The United States, Canada, and 17 Latin American countries signed a declaration refusing to recognize the legitimacy of Maduro's government. Some have cut off diplomatic ties with Venezuela. Those official actions have bolstered unofficial efforts to oppose Maduro in the streets of Caracas and other cities, where people impoverished by the Venezuelan regime's socialist policies have clashed with the military, which (along with the courts) remains loyal to Maduro.

In the midst of huge protests Wednesday that marked the anniversary of the 1958 uprising that toppled a military dictatorship, Guaidó declared himself to be the interim president of Venezuela—a bold move that was quickly endorsed by President Donald Trump and other world leaders.

"The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law," the White House said Wednesday in a brief statement. An op-ed from Vice President Mike Pence ran Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, promising American support for the protestors—though, notably, Pence stopped short of saying exactly what form that support would take—and in a video message from the White House, Pence called Maduro a "dictator with no legitimate claim to power" and encouraged Venezuelans to support Guaidó.

Clearly, a new phase in the long simmering Venezuelan crisis is beginning. Whether Maduro can cling to power likely depends on whether he can use the country's military to crush the current uprising—similar to what happened in 2017 when an anti-Maduro uprising was violently suppressed. Hopefully, the military will abandon Maduro. If it does not, the country may tip towards civil war.

Make no mistake: Maduro is a monster, and Venezuelans are right to want to remove him from power. He sought to continue the socialist policies of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, and has now brought those ideas to their inevitable conclusion. Chavez nationalized the Venezuelan oil companies and used the profits to fund a massive welfare state, but production declined (Venezuelan "peak oil" occurred in 1998, the year Chavez was elected) in the absence of competition and foreign investment. When oil revenues fell, threatening all aspects of the state-run economy, Chavez (who died in 2013) and Maduro printed money. When that didn't work, they instituted price controls. When inflation resulted, they closed off Venezuela to imported goods. Before long, what had once been the richest country in Latin America was reduced to a place where toilet paper is considered a luxury. An estimated 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country, turning the nation's collapse into a regional humanitarian crisis.

If today's events are indeed a turning point for Venezuela, then the United States' role in the coming weeks and months is to continue doing what Trump and Pence did today. America should stand up for the right of Venezuelans to determine the direction of their country. But ultimately it must be Venezuelans who decide what happens next.

In that regard, the Trump administration's response to the latest round of anti-Maduro uprisings has been admirable in its restraint. After all, it was Trump who suggested, in August 2017, that American military intervention could be used to "topple" the Maduro regime. In September 2018, White House officials met with Venezuelan ex-patriots to discuss the possibility of a U.S.-backed coup to overthrow Maduro.

Ironically, both incidents served to only tighten Maduro's grip on power, as he was able to point to U.S. machinations as the source of Venezuelans' problems and distract, at least temporarily, from his role in the country's misery. An American-backed military coup in the style of the ones that toppled governments elsewhere in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s would likely trigger endless internal conflict in Venezuela—and foment distrust towards whomever eventually replaces Maduro.

Open war would, of course, be even worse.

"There is no increase in the threat to U.S. security, which would be necessary to justify military action," Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, told Reason on Wednesday.

Even as the humanitarian crisis deepens and Maduro's repressive political dictatorship becomes more obvious, Bandow says, American leaders should resist the urge to engage in a Latin American version of the nation-building failures of the past two decades. Instead, America should play a supportive role and allow Venezuela's neighbors to handle the political, economic, and humanitarian problems.

That restraint will be tested if Maduro responds to Guaidó by unleashing the military against protesters—something that is already happening, according to some reports—or by arresting opposition leaders. Guaidó was arrested and held for two days by government intelligence forces last week. If something like that happens again, it would be easy for the Trump administration to use today's declaration that Guaidó is the legitimate leader of the country as the basis for direct action against the pro-Maduro military. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has already made that threat explicit.

It should not have to come to that. Venezuela is a resource rich country with the potential to pull itself out of a decade-plus tailspin if the socialist thinking of the Maduro regime is finally excised.

The United States also has an opportunity to show that it has learned a lesson from the decade-plus quagmire in the Middle East. Namely, that regime change is never as neat and tidy as it might appear at the outset, and that nation-building is best done by the people who will have to live there when the job is finished.


Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169249
01/24/2019 02:05 PM
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Nicolas Maduro has just given U.S. diplomatic personnel 72 hours to get out. Things seem to be coming to a head.

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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169260
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US refuses to withdraw diplomats from Venezuela after Maduro breaks ties

“We call on the Venezuelan military and security forces to continue protecting the welfare and well-being of all Venezuelan citizens, as well as US and other foreign citizens in Venezuela.”

By RT Thursday, January 24, 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to pull diplomats from Caracas, arguing the government that severed diplomatic ties with the US is not legitimate and threatening ‘appropriate actions’ if anyone is endangered.

“We call on the Venezuelan military and security forces to continue protecting the welfare and well-being of all Venezuelan citizens, as well as US and other foreign citizens in Venezuela,” Pompeo said in a statement on Wednesday evening, adding the US “will take appropriate action to hold accountable anyone who endangers the safety and security of our mission and its personnel.”

U.S. will conduct diplomatic relations with #Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido. U.S. does not recognize the #Maduro regime. U.S. does not consider former president Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations. https://t.co/DBS4GiGEWI pic.twitter.com/gQZJuS1xfn

— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 24, 2019

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro declared all US diplomats persona non grata on Wednesday, after Washington recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s president. Guaido, however, said he wanted the US diplomats to stay, setting the stage for a potential diplomatic incident.

As the US does not recognize Maduro’s “regime,” his order for US diplomats to leave is not legitimate, Pompeo argued, adding that Washington will conduct diplomatic relations with Caracas solely through Guaido’s government.

After the Trump administration recognized Guaido’s government, a number of US allies followed suit, including most of the OAS countries and Canada. EU leaders also endorsed the rebel government.

Cuba and Bolivia have expressed support for Maduro, while Mexico has said it would continue to recognize Maduro’s legitimacy “for now.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US “handpicking” of a government in Caracas perfectly illustrates the true Western sentiments toward international law, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of states.




Pompeo: Maduro Regime “Illegitimate”
Blasts regime as criminally incompetent



By Newswars.com Thursday, January 24, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as illegitimate in a statement delivered to the United Nations Security Council.

Pompeo blasted the incumbent’s regime as “criminally incompetent” in his Thursday address where he also said America is ready to provide $20 million in “humanitarian assistance” to Venezuelans.

MOMENTS AGO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced U.S. is ready to provide $20M in humanitarian relief for Venezuela https://t.co/0zwLBLgZKM pic.twitter.com/HSu9VPZNja

— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 24, 2019

“As a friend of the Venezuelan people, we stand by to help them even more, to help them begin the process of rebuilding their country and their economy from the destruction wrought by the criminally incompetent and illegitimate Maduro regime,” said Pompeo. “Our support for Venezuela’s democratic hopes and dreams is in sharp contrast to the authoritarian regimes across the globe who have lined up to prop up former president Maduro.”

Pompeo’s speech echoed a State Department letter published Wednesday saying Maduro has no legal authority to break diplomatic relations.

U.S. will conduct diplomatic relations with #Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido. U.S. does not recognize the #Maduro regime. U.S. does not consider former president Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations. https://t.co/DBS4GiGEWI pic.twitter.com/gQZJuS1xfn

— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 24, 2019

Around the world, lines are being drawn by nations over who they recognize as the leader of the collapsing nation, according to Conflict News.

Supporting Juan Guaido as interim president
🇺🇸USA
🇨🇦Canada
🇧🇷Brazil
🇵🇾Paraguay
🇨🇴Colombia
🇵🇪Peru
🇪🇨Ecador
🇨🇷Costa Rica
🇦🇷Argentina
🇨🇱Chile
🇬🇹Guatemala
🇽🇰Kosovo
🇭🇳Honduras

Supporting current President Nicolás Maduro
🇲🇽Mexico
🇨🇺Cuba
🇧🇴Bolivia
🇹🇷Turkey
🇷🇺Russia
🇸🇾Syria#Venezuela

— Conflict News (@Conflicts) January 24, 2019

Correspondingly, without mentioning Maduro by name, Russia has warned the U.S. against military intervention in Venezuela.

“Venezuela is friendly to us and is our strategic partner,” said Russia’s deputy foreign minister. “We have supported them and will support them.”

“We consider that [U.S. military intervention] would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model which we see in Latin America.”


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169290
01/28/2019 04:59 PM
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Most Democrats are behind Trump on his support for Juan Guaido. But not all of them. The hard left just can't let goof their support for Maduro and his disastrous socialism. Too long to post here, but well worth a read. Sadly, Rep. RoKahnna (D - CA) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D - Minn), among others, won't read it.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: airforce] #169303
01/29/2019 01:55 PM
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I posted all of these new happenings over at another site yesterday , thought that I would add them here so as to bring you all up to speed on the new "Syria" that we are about to get involved in .

Bank Of England Refuses to Release Venezuela's Gold After US Lobbying
https://youtu.be/HtcBISqEi48

Maduro Stymied in Bid to Pull $1.2 Billion of Gold From U.K.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...maduro-s-bid-to-pull-1-2-billion-of-gold

Russia sends 400 armed mercenaries to try to defeat Venezuela’s uprising against the tyranny of socialist Maduro
https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01...-venezuela-tyranny-socialist-maduro.html

Russian Military Contractors
https://youtu.be/LX5hdFrDQ3I

400 Russian Mercenaries
https://youtu.be/EQtOqh4jvQQ

Putin Talks With Maduro And Warns U.S.
https://youtu.be/NUPTE-Uck_Q


My Daddy is like duct tape, he can fix almost anything.

A quote from my youngest daughter at 4yrs old, many years ago.
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169323
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Maduro Urges Supporters To Hit Streets As Russian "Security Contractors" Arrive In Venezuela

by Tyler Durden
Fri, 01/25/2019

Update: Maduro - now backed by Russian military contractors, has urged his supporters to take to the streets to defend the legitimacy of his government. The Venezuelan leader has vowed that his country won't turn into a "Syria or Libya" situation, and that the Venezuelan military must prepare for an invasion.

According to Reuters, Maduro says he's willing to travel to New York to discuss the situation with the UN Security Council.

.@NicolasMaduro dice esta dispuesto a ir a Nueva York a debatir en Consejo de Seguridad de @ONU_es
— Reuters Venezuela (@ReutersVzla) January 25, 2019

***

As the international community splits along governments who continue to back embattled Venezuelan ruler Nicolas Maduro and governments, led by the US, who have officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's legitimate head of state, Reuters reported that a group of Russian mercenaries with ties to the Kremlin have been sent to Venezuela to provide security for Maduro as he struggles with the biggest threat to his rule in his six years in power.



The contractors are believed to be from the Wagner Group, a group of private contractors who have performed secret missions on behalf of the government, including fighting in Syria and the Ukraine (which brings to mind this incident from last February when US-backed forces killed 100 Russian mercenaries in what was the closest thing to a direct proxy conflict between Russia and the US in Syria). It's unclear when the contractors arrived, or when they intend to leave. Russia has offered to mediate the conflict between Maduro and Guaido, while joining with China to criticize the US for interfering in Venezuelan affairs.

Russia, which has invested billions of dollars in the Maduro regime, pledged to stand by the embattled socialist leader this week. Yevgeny Shabayev, leader of a local chapter of a paramilitary group told Reuters he had heard the number of security contractors in Venezuela is roughly 400. Russia's defense ministry and Venezuela's information ministry haven't responded to requests for comment. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said we have "no such information" when asked about the contractors.



The contractors traveled to Venezuela on private chartered flights that first landed in Cuba. The contractors have been charged with stopping opposition sympathizers or members of Maduro's own forces from detaining him.

"Our people are there directly for his protection," Shabayev said, in light of the attempted revolt staged by rogue military officers earlier this week.

One source said a group of contractors had arrived in Venezuela before elections last year where Maduro won a second six year term, but another group had arrived "more recently."

Public flight tracking data suggests the latest batch of contractors arrived some time betwee mid-December and this past week.

Asked if the deployment was linked to protecting Maduro, the source said: "It's directly connected." The contractors flew to Venezuela not from Moscow but from third countries where they were conducting missions, he added. The third source, who is close to the private military contractors, said there was a contingent in Venezuela but he could not provide further details. "They did not arrive in a big crowd," he said. Publicly-available flight-tracking data has shown a number of Russian government aircraft landing in or near Venezuela over past weeks, though there was no evidence the flights were connected to military contractors. A Russian Ilyushin-96 flew into Havana late on Wednesday after starting its journey in Moscow and flying via Senegal and Paraguay, the data showed.

The aircraft, a civilian jet, is owned by a division of the Russian presidential administration, according to a publicly-available procurement contract relating to the plane.

Between Dec. 10 and Dec. 14 last year, an Antonov-124 heavy cargo aircraft, and an Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft, carried out flights between Russia and Caracas, flight-tracking data showed. Another Ilyushin-76 was in Caracas from Dec. 12 to Dec. 21 last year. All three aircraft belong to the Russian air force, according to the tracking data.

Since Guaido declared himself the acting president, Maduro has sought to expel US diplomats while vowing not to step aside. He has threatened violence against those who back the opposition. Maduro still retains control of the levers of power, including the country's energy industry and its military, though while military commanders have largely backed him, the allegiance of the troops on the ground remains somewhat less clear. Maduro has accused the US of agitating for the Venezuelan opposition to move against him.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169345
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This is what Venezuela needs to do right now. They won't, of course. But these simple steps would finally put them on the road to freedom and prosperity. And they would be a good idea for the U.S., too.

Quote
Venezuela's government is in a state of upheaval. Foreign nations are lining up to support either the regime of Nicolás Maduro — who claims to be the legitimately elected president — or that of Juan Guaidó, who the opposition claims is now the constitutionally mandated interim president.

The current situation has been brought on by nearly twenty years of Chavismo, a hard-left socialist ideology, which has left the Venezuelan economy in ruins.

Understandably, many Venezuelans are now hoping for a political change. and many believe no real change can be had until the current regime is gone.

But no matter who is president a week — or a year, or five years — from now, prosperity can only be regained by enormous reforms to the Venezuelan political and economic systems.

Venezuelans must act now to demand these changes, because bringing in new politicians won't be enough to turn the nation around:

Quote
1. Open the road to monetary freedom, eliminating all legal tender laws and the nation's central-bank supported system of fractional-reserve banks. Allow Venezuelans to adopt whatever medium of exchange they wish. Even dollarization ought to be on the table.

2. Open the country to International Trade: eliminate all tariffs, taxes, and trade barriers. All of them.

3. Privatize Everything! All state-owned companies and assets, following Econintech's proposal (in Spanish).

4. Decentralize the Government: Grant total administrative and budgetary autonomy to Venezuela's twenty-three states . Decentralization is a key to minimizing the damage an abuse central government can do.

5. Lower taxes drastically, and decentralize tax collection and administration to the state level. All new taxes must be approved by referendum.

6. Allow private Venezuelans to access and accept both humanitarian and security assistance from foreign organizations.

7. Guarantee the right to self-defense: demobilize all the armed groups, purge the prisons, implement widespread private gun ownership, and auction to the public all weapons confiscated by the state.


Should Venezuela finally move toward real reform, Venezuela could reclaim its position as one of the most prosperous nations in Latin America. At times like this, Venezuelans can look at former communist countries — such as Poland — that applied radical free-market reforms and now are moving toward a far more prosperous future.


Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169348
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Slew of European States Recognize Guaido as Venezuelan Interim Leader

UK, Spain, Austria join United States


By RT Monday, February 04, 2019

The UK, France, and Spain among a number of countries, have announced their recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president after Caracas did not cave into an ultimatum calling for elections with eight days.

“Nicolas Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held,” UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote in a tweet on Monday.

Germany, France, and Spain issued nearly identical warnings in late January, stating that they would recognize Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela unless new elections were held. The date for this to happen expired overnight, from February 3 to February 4.

In a tweet announcing Austria’s support for Guaido, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz claimed that President Nicolas Maduro has “so far refused to accept a free and fair presidential election” – leading Vienna to accept Guaido as Venezuela’s “lawful” leader. Sweden has done the same, with Europe’s ‘power house’ Germany, as well as Denmark, the Netherlands and Latvia following suit.

There is a plan by the left to allow illegal immigrants into America in order to destabilize the country and eventually allow them to vote.

Maduro described the demand put forward by the European states as “the stuff of the empire, of colonial times.”

Efforts to provide Guaido with an official EU endorsement have apparently fallen flat, however. A source inside Italy’s Five Star Movement told RT that Rome shot down an EU statement meant to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

While Europe alleges that Maduro has stonewalled democratic elections, critics of the West’s enthusiasm for ‘regime change’ in Venezuela have pointed out that foreign states should have offered talks rather than meddling in the country.

On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that “there is a spark that can turn into a fire at any moment” in Venezuela. The political crisis, Cavusoglu insisted, could only be resolved “through dialogue.” Without getting into specifics, the Turkish diplomat said that the crisis had been “fueled from the outside” – an act of foreign meddling that has “punished” the Venezuelan people.

Last week, the US anointed Guaido as the legitimate head of Venezuela after the opposition leader proclaimed himself the new leader of Venezuela. Russia, Mexico and Turkey – among other nations – denounced the move, pledging support to the “legitimate” leader Maduro and calling for dialogue to resolve the tense political standoff.

That aside, after backing what officials in Caracas labelled “a coup,” Washington announced that it would deliver “humanitarian aid” to Venezuela. Notably, it was the US that earlier imposed crippling sanctions on the Latin American state. The “aid” delivery plans caused a furious response from the Maduro government.

Those who “wage unjust wars… devastate innocent… populations, subject economies to a blockade, cause death, hunger, destruction and suffering” dare to declare their actions “humanitarian,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote on Twitter.

The US now recognizes that Juan Guaidó won the recent election in Venezuela. Under the current dictator, Nicolás Maduro, there has been a collapse of society.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169897
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Venezuela soldiers abandon posts at Colombia border

23 February 2019


Soldiers from the Venezuelan national guard have left their posts ahead of an opposition-led effort to bring aid into the country, Colombia's migration agency said.

In a separate development, Venezuelan troops have fired tear gas at people looking to cross into Colombia to work.

Tensions have been rising over a row about the delivery of humanitarian aid.

President Nicolás Maduro said the border with Colombia is partly closed to stop aid being delivered.

But self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó has vowed that hundreds of thousands of volunteers will help bring in the aid deliveries, which include food and medicine, on Saturday.

The first delivery of aid has already entered Venezuela through Brazil, Mr Guaidó tweeted.

The delivery of aid to the stricken country has proven to be a key area of contention between the two men who see themselves as Venezuela's leader.
What's the latest?

Pictures at various crossing points show security forces firing tear gas at volunteers and protesters burning outposts and throwing rocks at soldiers and riot police.

On the Venezuela-Colombia border, at least thirteen members of the security forces defected on Saturday, Colombia's migration authority said.

A video posted on social media appears to show four soldiers publicly denouncing Mr Maduro and announcing their support for Guaidó.

"We are fathers and sons, we have had enough of so much uncertainty and injustice," they say.

Local media report people jumping the barricades to cross the border, while opposition MPs have posted defiant messages on social media denouncing the use of force.

The BBC's Orla Guerin, at the Simon Bolívar International Bridge, said Venezuelans were begging soldiers to be allowed to cross.

Mr Guaidó visited the Tienditas bridge on the Colombian side of the border, where he was accompanied by the country's president, Iván Duque.

"Welcome to the right side of history", he told soldiers who had abandoned their posts, adding that soldiers who joined them would be guaranteed "amnesty."

"We want to work!" people chanted as they faced riot police at the Ureña border bridge in south-west Venezuela.

Activists there were joined by 300 members of the "Women in White" opposition group who marched in defiance of Mr Maduro's attempts to close the border.

Meanwhile, a top ally of President Maduro has suggested the government would allow Venezuelans to accept aid "at their own risk", but that no foreign soldiers would "set foot" inside Venezuela.

The president himself tweeted that "there will not be a war", posting pictures of cheering crowds in Caracas.

"Take your hands off Venezuela, Donald Trump", he told crowds, accusing the US president of using aid as a means to invading the country.

He accused Mr Guaidó of being a "puppet", and "American pawn", a "clown" and an "imperialist beggar."

A military outpost near the Venezuela-Brazil border has been taken over by a militia loyal to President Maduro, according to VPI TV.

Earlier on Saturday, two people were killed by Venezuelan forces near the border with Brazil.

"Why are you serving a dictator?"

It's been a difficult day here on the Venezuelan side.

We found locals getting angry because they found the border was closed - these people normally make a living across the border. Then it turned ugly in Ureña.

We witnessed protesters lunging to break one of the barriers but the National Guard started firing tear gas and pellets.

People were shouting at the National Guard asking them why, in their words, they were serving a dictator and not serving their own people.

We had to run away to avoid being hurt but there is still a lot of tension in the air, with a heavy military presence everywhere.

How did we get to this point?

Humanitarian aid has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing standoff between Mr Maduro and Mr Guaidó.

Mr Guaidó, who is the leader of the country's opposition-dominated National Assembly, last month declared himself the country's interim leader.

He has since won the backing of dozens of nations, including the US. He has called the rule of President Nicolás Maduro constitutionally illegitimate, claiming that Mr Maduro's re-election in 2018 was marred by voting irregularities.

Venezuela is in the grip of a political and economic crisis. The country's inflation rate has seen prices soar, leaving many Venezuelans struggling to afford basic items such as food, toiletries and medicine.

Mr Guaidó insists that citizens badly need help, while Mr Maduro says allowing aid to enter is part of a ploy by the US to invade the country.

About 2.7 million people have fled the country since 2015.




WND Exclusive
In Venezuela, bows and arrows against tanks

1 killed in skirmish, indigenous tribe captures Maduro soldiers


Nicolas Maduro’s forces in Venezuela armed with tanks and live fire attacked an indigenous tribe armed only with bows and arrows in Venezuela when they tried to stop a convoy of humanitarian aid from Brazil.

One woman from the Pemon tribe was killed and 15 were wounded, but the tribe took several soldiers, including three lieutenants and a sergeant captive.

The battle took place in the remote Gran Sabana region near the Brazilian border.

The Pemon were successful at stopping the anti-riot troops in their effort to block food and supplies from entering the country through Brazil near the village of Kumarakapay, about 50 miles north of the border. The soldiers tried to breach barricades set up by residents about 6 a.m., said Jorge Perez, mayor of the Gran Sabana municipality.

Marcel Perez, a 30-year-old Pemon, said in an interview in Pacaraima, Brazil, that he and others had gathered at dawn for a peaceful protest to prevent the military from reaching the border.

“We made a blockade, without any weapon but our traditional bows and arrows,” he said. “They had tanks, buses and a lot of soldiers. And, so they decided to shoot at us with live bullets.”

Five armored vehicles passed by, spewing tear gas that set fire to a small shack, the mayor said.

Those wounded more seriously were allowed to cross on ambulances into Brazil so they could be treated in the regional center of Boa Vista. Perez said he was beaten with sticks a few hours later by members of a pro-Maduro gang while taking other wounded people to a hospital in Santa Elena de Uairen, on the Venezuelan side.

Police said Zoraida Rodriguez, 45, was killed and 15 people were wounded. A Venezuelan general was negotiating with the tribe for the return of three lieutenants and a sergeant captured by the indigenous forces.

Maduro says he is blocking aid shipments claiming they are a pretext for a U.S. intervention.

President Donald Trump has said all options are open if Venezuela continues to block the supplies.

Volunteers are preparing to don white clothing Saturday morning and walk across international bridges to bring food and medicine to their compatriots. Near Cucuta, Venezuelans streamed across border crossings on foot Friday under a scorching sun.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169904
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Socialism: Maduro Sets Humanitarian Aid Trucks Ablaze As People Starve

Maduro's forces intercept food, supplies coming from Colombia


By Infowars.com Saturday, February 23, 2019

Venezuelan socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro’s troops set U.S.-backed humanitarian aid trucks on fire, and demanded that President Trump abandon involvement in his country’s affairs.

The humanitarian aid trucks, led by interim president Juan Guaido, were set ablaze Saturday trying to enter Venezuela from Colombia.

#URGENTE PNB quema tres camiones de ayuda humanitaria al lanzar bombas lacrimógenas contra la caravana de voluntarios #23Feb / vía @luisgonzaloprz #23Feb pic.twitter.com/ahTGTzjaKo

— NTN24 Venezuela (@NTN24ve) February 23, 2019

“We’re not beggars,” Maduro said. “What the U.S. empire is doing with its puppets is an internal provocation. They wanted to generate a great national commotion, but they didn’t achieve it.”

Maduro severed diplomatic ties with Colombia after its president Ivan Duque declared support for the United States’ recognition of Guaido as leader of Venezuela.

VIDEO: Dozens of Venezuelan workers trying to enter Colombia are blocked by security forces, after Nicolas Maduro's government announced the closure of the border in western Tachira state pic.twitter.com/B4eTpukQOw

— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 23, 2019

VIDEO: Security forces use tear gas to disperse Venezuelan protesters gathered at the Venezuela-Colombia border pic.twitter.com/5qVZCQ7En7

— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 23, 2019

Colombian soldiers have been deployed near at the border as tensions continue to escalate.

More trucks carrying humanitarian aid are expected to arrive to the four bridges connecting the countries in the next minutes. #23feb #venezuela #ahorapic.twitter.com/hNFIsKQ6Sk

— Amir Richani (@amir_richani) February 23, 2019

#Venezuela citizens demonstrating near the La Carlota airbase in #Caracas, pressuring the military to abandon #Maduro. pic.twitter.com/IazVmeas1t

— Sabine Analytics (@SabineAnalytics) February 23, 2019

Guaido condemned the destruction of the much-needed aid, but assured supporters that humanitarian trucks were still making their way across the Venezuelan border.

“We continue to receive the support of the international community, which has seen, with its own eyes, how the usurping regime violates the Geneva Protocol, where it is clearly said that destroying humanitarian aid is a crime against humanity,” he tweeted.

Seguimos recibiendo el respaldo de la comunidad internacional, que ha podido ver, con sus propios ojos, como el régimen usurpador viola el protocolo de Ginebra, donde se dice claramente que destruir la ayuda humanitaria es un crimen de lesa humanidad.

— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) February 23, 2019

Trump offered words of encouragement on Twitter Saturday to the Venezuelan people suffering under Maduro’s socialist regime.

The people of Venezuela stand at the threshold of history, ready to reclaim their country – and their future…. pic.twitter.com/ajxd1EN64c

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2019

National Security Advisor John Bolton also called on nations who still recognize Maduro as president to reconsider their support.

“Masked thugs, civilians killed by live rounds, and the burning of trucks carrying badly-needed food and medicine. This has been Maduro’s response to peaceful efforts to help Venezuelans. Countries that still recognize Maduro should take note of what they are endorsing,” he said.

Masked thugs, civilians killed by live rounds, and the burning of trucks carrying badly-needed food and medicine. This has been Maduro’s response to peaceful efforts to help Venezuelans. Countries that still recognize Maduro should take note of what they are endorsing. pic.twitter.com/KlSebd2M5a

— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) February 23, 2019


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169905
02/24/2019 02:22 PM
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I get the feeling Maduro would be willing to leave - if someone would offer him safe passage and sanctuary somewhere. The problem is, his two man supporters, Russia and China, probably don't want to have anything to do with him right now.

I'm surprised his army has stayed loyal this long. His generals must be afraid of something.

Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169911
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It Is Being Alleged That Weapons And Ammunition Are Being Moved Into Position For The Coming War In Venezuela


http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/...position-for-the-coming-war-in-venezuela


It looks like the war in Venezuela could begin as soon as next month, and it doesn’t appear that there will initially be much opposition to the conflict in the United States. There is widespread bipartisan support for “regime change” in Venezuela among both Democrats and Republicans, and the mainstream media is clearly willing to go along for the ride. Donald Trump is now surrounded by extremely hawkish advisers that are very eager to do something about Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and if Trump decides to pull the trigger it is likely that the vast majority of his supporters will fully back the decision. And at this point most of the other major western nations are also calling for Maduro to go, but Maduro insists that he isn’t going anywhere. So a peaceful solution to this crisis appears to be out of the question, and that means that war is almost certainly coming.

This weekend was the first step. If western aid could be forced across the border, it would show that Maduro was losing control of the country. But if Maduro was able to block the aid that was coming across, that would make him look like a leader that doesn’t care about his people to those in the western world, and sympathetic media reports would help drum up support for war. Of course by now most of us have seen images of the violence that happened along the border over the weekend, and a lot of blood was needlessly shed. The following comes from Vox…

Starting Friday, violent clashes erupted at several points along Venezuela’s border with Colombia as armed government forces tried to block shipments of aid from entering the country. By the end of Saturday, at least four people had reportedly been killed along that line and along the Latin American country’s border with Brazil; hundreds more were injured. Maduro has insisted that the humanitarian supplies are unnecessary and spent the weekend continuing to celebrate his ongoing rule with his supporters — even as the United States and other international leaders amped up calls for him to step down.

CNN, MSNBC and Fox News are going to endlessly run footage of the violent clashes over the weekend, and this will build support for whatever action is ultimately taken.

During the Bush years, direct military action was the preferred model, and we saw this in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Obama years, arming the “resistance” and starting civil wars was the preferred model, and we saw this in Syria and Ukraine.

So what will Trump ultimately decide to do?

Well, the Russians appear to believe that in this case the Obama model will be followed, and they are accusing the United States of making preparations to arm the opposition in Venezuela. According to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, the U.S. has already transported special forces personnel and military equipment “closer to Venezuelan territory”…

Zakharova alleged that the US had moved special forces and military equipment ‘closer to Venezuelan territory’ and was considering large-scale weapons purchases to arm the opposition.

Noting that it had been five years since the Ukrainian revolution that ousted a Russian-backed leader – which Moscow has accused the US of orchestrating – Zakharova said Washington was preparing for more regime change in Venezuela.

‘It seems that in Washington there is nothing to mark the fifth anniversary of the coup d’etat in Ukraine, so they decided to hold a new coup d’etat,’ she said.

She also told the press that the U.S. is planning to transfer “a large batch of weapons and ammunition” from an Eastern European nation to those that are ready to fight against Maduro’s government in Venezuela…

“We have evidence that US companies and their NATO allies are working on the issue of acquiring a large batch of weapons and ammunition in an Eastern European country for their subsequent transfer to Venezuelan opposition forces”, she said during the briefing.

If these allegations are true, the United States is about to turn Venezuela into a horrific war zone.

And Zakharova went on to say that “the cargo” is scheduled to arrive in Venezuela “in early March”…

“The cargo is set to arrive in Venezuela in early March through a neighboring country on aircraft flown by an international shipping company,” she said.

Could it be possible that everything that the Russians are saying is untrue?

Sure.

But when they publicly call us out on something like this, they usually have their ducks in a row. And if these allegations are true and the Russians were able to acquire this information somehow, this represents a stunning security failure for the U.S. military.

Of course a civil war is quite unlikely to be successful in overthrowing Maduro, and it is still possible that President Trump may opt for direct action by the U.S. military.

In fact, it appears that Venezuela’s self-declared “acting president” Juan Guaido could be on the verge of formally asking the U.S. military for help in “the liberation of our homeland”…

The threat comes just Guaido announced he would attend a summit of the Lima Group – a meeting of 12 American states which have recognized him as “legitimate” leader of Venezuela.

Crucially, Guaido is to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence at the summit where he will “propose formally to the international community that we should keep open all options for the liberation of our homeland, which is fighting and will continue to fight,” according to a tweeted statement Saturday evening.

If Guaido does officially request U.S. military intervention, it will only be because the U.S. has already assured him that he will get it.

In recent days, President Trump has repeatedly stated that all options are “open” when it comes to Venezuela, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the same thing during an interview with Fox News on Sunday…

It appears this weekend’s provocations and border showdown over US aid entering Venezuela were just the beginning. US State Secretary Mike Pompeo discussed the prospect of military action against Caracas on Fox News Sunday, saying the Maduro regime’s days are “numbered” and that “every option” is on the table toward making that happen.

Pompeo said the US is “going to do the things that need to be done” and this will not stop until “makes sure” that “there is a brighter future for the people of Venezuela,” which includes continued support for self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido.

There are a few voices on the right and a few voices on the left that are speaking out against war in Venezuela, but right now the overwhelming consensus in Washington is that regime change is necessary.

Needless to say, whenever there is an overwhelming consensus on something in Washington, it is usually a really, really bad idea.

My regular readers already know that I believe that the U.S. should not be “the police of the world”, and that if we are going to ask young American men and women to die it should be for a very, very good reason.

Replacing one socialist leader in Venezuela with a slightly less socialist leader does not qualify.

But the winds of war are now blowing all over the globe, and this is something that I detailed in my recent article entitled “‘Wars And Rumors Of Wars’: The U.S., Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, India And Pakistan All Move Closer To Military Conflict”.

Steve Quayle has noticed all of the war talk as well, and in his most recent alert he called these “very dangerous times”…

MANY DIFFERENT AREA’S IN THE WORLD SEEM TO HAVE BEEN KICKED INTO WAR MODE, AT THE FLIP OF THE GLOBALIST SWITCH-KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ESCALATION BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND INDIA, AS WELL AS RUSSIA VERSUS THE UKRAINE. BACKROOM TALK OF CUBA BEING PUT ON WAR FOOTING ALSO. PRESIDENT PUTINS ANGER, IS OFF THE CHARTS AND THE WEST IS ABOUT TO INITIATE A SERIE OF EVENTS THAT WILL ESCALATE RAPIDLY-USE TOMORROW TO TOP OFF PREPS JUST IN CASE! RUN THROUGH YOUR LISTS TONIGHT -GOOD TIME TO RUN THROUGH YOUR CHECKLIST-AND CHRISTIANS PRAY AND INTERCEDE WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART-VERY DANGEROUS TIMES

I have written this article with a very heavy heart. I have a really bad feeling about what is going to happen, and I wish that I could do something to stop it.

Peace is being taken from the Earth, and what is coming next is going to shock all of us.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169912
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I had a feeling this was coming. Maybe some people in government will wise up and realize that "regime change" in Libya didn't exactly turn out as planned, and it's not likely to in Venezuela either. But I wouldn't bet on it. mad

Onward and upward,
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Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169914
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After Venezuelan troops block aid, Maduro faces 'diplomatic siege'

Angus Berwick, Sarah Marsh, Roberta Rampton


CARACAS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro faced growing regional pressure on Sunday after his troops repelled foreign aid convoys, with the United States threatening new sanctions and Brazil urging allies to join a “liberation effort”.

Violent clashes with security forces over the opposition’s U.S.-backed attempt on Saturday to bring aid into the economically devastated country left almost 300 wounded and at least three protesters dead near the Brazilian border.

Juan Guaido, recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, urged foreign powers to consider “all options” in ousting Maduro, ahead of a meeting of the regional Lima Group of nations in Bogota on Monday that will be attended by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Pence is set to announce “concrete steps” and “clear actions” at the meeting to address the crisis, a senior U.S. administration official said on Sunday, declining to provide details. The United States last month imposed crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry, squeezing its top source of foreign revenue.

“What happened yesterday is not going to deter us from getting humanitarian aid into Venezuela,” the official said, speaking with reporters on condition of anonymity.

Brazil, a diplomatic heavyweight in Latin America which has the region’s largest economy, was for years a vocal ally of Venezuela while it was ruled by the leftist Workers Party. It turned sharply against Venezuela’s socialist president this year when far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took office.

“Brazil calls on the international community, especially those countries that have not yet recognized Juan Guaido as interim president, to join in the liberation effort of Venezuela,” the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Colombia, which has received around half the estimated 3.4 million migrants fleeing Venezuela’s hyperinflationary economic meltdown, has also stepped up its criticism of Maduro since swinging to the right last year.

President Ivan Duque in a tweet denounced Saturday’s “barbarity”, saying Monday’s summit would discuss “how to tighten the diplomatic siege of the dictatorship in Venezuela.”

Maduro, who retains the backing of China and Russia, which both have major energy sector investments in Venezuela, says the opposition’s aid efforts are part of a U.S.-orchestrated coup.

His information minister, Jorge Rodriguez, during a Sunday news conference gloated about the opposition’s failure to bring in aid and called Guaido “a puppet and a used condom.”

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Sunday that Venezuela, the Caribbean island’s top ally, was the victim of U.S. imperialist attempts to restore neoliberalism in Latin America.

SMOLDERING BORDER AREAS

Trucks laden with U.S. food and medicine on the Colombian border repeatedly attempted to push past lines of troops on Saturday, but were met with tear gas and rubber bullets. Two of the aid trucks went up in flames, which the opposition blamed on security forces and the government on “drugged-up protesters.”

The opposition had hoped troops would balk at turning back supplies so desperately needed by a population increasingly suffering malnutrition and diseases.

Winning over the military is key to their plans to topple Maduro, who they argue won re-election in a fraudulent vote, and hold new presidential elections.

Though some 60 members of security forces defected into Colombia on Saturday, according to that country’s authorities, the National Guard at the frontier crossings held firm. Two additional members of Venezuela’s National Guard defected to Brazil late on Saturday, a Brazilian army colonel said on Sunday.

The Brazilian border state of Roraima said the number of Venezuelans being treated for gunshot wounds rose to 18 from five in the past 24 hours; all 18 were in serious condition. That was the result of constant gunbattles, which included armed men without uniforms, throughout Saturday in the Venezuelan town of Santa Elena, near the border.

The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, a local crime monitoring group, said it had confirmed three deaths on Saturday, all in Santa Elena, and at least 295 injured across the country.

In the Venezuelan of Urena on the border with Colombia, streets were still strewn with debris on Sunday, including the charred remains of a bus that had been set ablaze by protesters.

During a visit to a border bridge to survey the damage, Duque told reporters the aid would remain in storage.

“We need everything they were going to bring over,” said Auriner Blanco, 38, a street vendor who said he needed an operation for which supplies were lacking in Venezuela. “Today, there is still tension, I went onto the street and saw all the destruction.”

MILITARY INVASION?

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Sunday for “violence to be avoided at any cost” and said everyone should lower tensions and pursue efforts to avoid further escalation, according to his spokesman.

But U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, an influential voice on Venezuela policy in Washington, said the violence on Saturday had “opened the door to various potential multilateral actions not on the table just 24 hours ago”.

Hours later he tweeted a mug shot of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who was captured by U.S. forces in 1990 after an invasion.

President Donald Trump has in the past said military intervention in Venezuela was “an option,” though Guaido made no reference to it on Saturday.

The 35-year old, who defied a government travel ban to travel to Colombia to oversee the aid deployment, will attend the Lima Group summit on Monday and hold talks with various members of the European Union before returning to Venezuela, opposition lawmaker Miguel Pizarro said on Sunday.

“The plan is not a president in exile,” he said.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #169915
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Ron Paul has a question: Just who burned that aid truck? The video doesn't answer the question conclusively, but it sure looks like it might have been the protesters. A false flag? Could be.

About 20 minute video.

Onward and upward,
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Breaking: Venezuelans Take to Streets to Protest in Support of Juan Guaido During Blackout

Maduro says power grid still under attack


By RT Saturday, March 09, 2019

Electrical systems in Venezuela have been targeted by another cyberattack, President Nicholas Maduro has said. Caracas has accused the US of “sabotage”, while US officials blame local corruption and mismanagement for the blackout.

After a failure at the Guri hydroelectric power plant left much of the country without power on Thursday night, Venezuelan authorities managed to restore power to “many parts” of the country. However, the country’s grid took another hammering on Saturday, with many of the restored systems knocked out once again, the country’s embattled president said.

According to Maduro, the systems had been nearly 70 percent restored when “we received another attack, of a cybernetic nature, at midday… that disturbed the reconnection process and knocked out everything that had been achieved until noon.”

“We discovered that they were carrying out high-tech… attacks against the power systems.”

Additionally, “one of the sources of generation that was working perfectly,” was also sabotaged, he added, accusing domestic “infiltrators of attacking the electric company from the inside.”

Authorities are now trying to restore the systems “manually,” while struggling to “diagnose why the computerized” systems failed on such a massive scale.

Earlier, unconfirmed reports suggested that 95 percent of the crisis-stricken country was again without power, after Sidor Substation in Bolivar state had allegedly exploded, spewing clouds of black smoke into the sky. The substation had reportedly been sustaining the country’s power supply since the Guri plant –which produces 80 percent of the country’s power– failed.

The Venezuelan government blamed Thursday’s blackout on US “sabotage.” President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington of waging an “electricity war” on the socialist state, while communication and information minister Jorge Rodriguez blamed the outage on a US-orchestrated cyberattack.

Meanwhile US officials, including a vocal proponent of regime change in Venezuela, Senator Marco Rubio, blamed the socialist policies of Maduro’s government for letting the country’s infrastructure crumble to breaking point. The Florida Republican claimed that the country’s union of electricity workers had predicted the blackout, accused Maduro of pocketing money that could have been used for repairs, and joked that he “must have pressed the wrong thing on the ‘electronic attack’ app I downloaded from Apple.”

Meanwhile, in the darkened streets of Caracas, a power struggle is still playing out between President Maduro and US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself ‘interim president’ in January. Washington immediately threw its full weight behind Guaido, as did a host of Latin American and EU states. Although the Trump administration admitted this week that it has no particular “timeline” for its desired regime change, the official line from Washington remains “all options are on the table.”




Developing: Guaido Blames Maduro for Blackout, Rallies Protesters

Chaos stirs in nation fuming with rebellion


By Infowars.com Saturday, March 09, 2019

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is blaming Socialist President Nicolas Maduro for the nation’s blackout while calling for his supporters to rally in Caracas.

“[Maduro’s regime] has no way to solve the electricity crisis that they themselves created,” said Guaido while standing on a bridge in the capital. “All of Venezuela, to Caracas!”

“We have to conquer public spaces in a peaceful manner,” Guaidó declared. “We have to prepare ourselves for very tough times.”

Alternatively, Maduro is blaming America for the blackout and calling it “electromagnetic, cyber attacks directed from abroad.”

“The right-wing, together with the empire, has stabbed the electricity system, and we are trying to cure it soon,” said Maduro.

The crisis escalated January 23rd when Guaidó invoked the nation’s constitution and declared himself interim president, he’s been at fierce odds with Maduro since.



"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
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Venezuela's Guaido calls for massive protest as blackout drags on


by Reuters
Sunday, 10 March 2019

By Mayela Armas and Deisy Buitrago

CARACAS, March 9 (Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Saturday called on citizens nationwide to travel to the capital Caracas for a protest against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, as the country's worst blackout in decades dragged on for a third day.

Addressing supporters in southwestern Caracas, Guaido - the leader of the opposition-run congress who invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January - said Maduro's government "has no way to solve the electricity crisis that they themselves created."

"All of Venezuela, to Caracas!" Guaido yelled while standing atop a bridge, without saying when the planned protest would be held. "The days ahead will be difficult, thanks to the regime."

Activists had scuffled with police and troops ahead of the rally, meant to pressure Maduro amid the blackout, which the governing Socialist Party called an act of U.S.-sponsored sabotage but opposition critics derided as the result of two decades of mismanagement and corruption.

Dozens of demonstrators attempted to walk along an avenue in Caracas but were moved onto the sidewalk by police in riot gear, leading them to shout at the officers and push on their riot shields. One woman was sprayed with pepper spray, according to a local broadcaster.

The power flickered on and off in parts of Caracas on Saturday morning, including the presidential palace of Miraflores, according to Reuters witnesses. Six of the country's 23 states still lacked power as of Saturday afternoon, Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello said on state television.

"We're all upset that we've got no power, no phone service, no water and they want to block us," said Rossmary Nascimiento, 45, a nutritionist at the Caracas rally. "I want a normal country."

At a competing march organized by the Socialist Party to protest what it calls U.S. imperialism, Maduro blamed the outages on "electromagnetic and cyber attacks directed from abroad by the empire."

"The right wing, together with the empire, has stabbed the electricity system, and we are trying to cure it soon," he said.

Several hundred people gathered at the rally in central Caracas for a march to denounce the crippling U.S. oil sanctions aimed at cutting off the Maduro government's funding sources.

"We're here, we're mobilized, because we're not going to let the gringos take over," said Elbadina Gomez, 76, who works for an activist group linked to the Socialist Party.

CLINICS IDLE

Julio Castro, a doctor and member of a nongovernmental organization called Doctors For Health, tweeted that a total of 17 people had died during the blackout, including nine deaths in emergency rooms.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the deaths or whether they could have resulted from the blackout. The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Clinics in the sweltering western state of Zulia, which suffers chronic regional blackouts, had scaled back operations after nearly 72 hours without power.

"We're not offering services and we don't have any patients staying here because the generator is not working," said Chiquinquira Caldera, head of administration at the San Lucas clinic in the city of Maracaibo, as she played a game of Chinese checkers with doctors who were waiting for power to return.

Venezuela, already suffering from hyperinflation and shortages of basic goods, has been mired in a major political crisis since Guaido assumed the interim presidency in January, calling Maduro a usurper following the 2018 election, which Maduro won but was widely considered fraudulent.

Maduro says Guaido is a puppet of Washington and dismisses his claim to the presidency as an effort by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to control Venezuela's oil wealth.

Former mayor and exiled opposition activist Antonio Ledezma on Saturday called on Guaido to seek United Nations intervention in Venezuela by invoking a principle known as "responsibility to protect."

The U.N. doctrine sometimes referred to as R2P was created to prevent mass killings such as those of Rwanda and Bosnia and places the onus on the international community to protect populations from crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

"President @jguaido, (you should) formally request Humanitarian Intervention, applying the concept of R2P, to stop extermination, genocide and destruction of what's left of our country," Ledezma wrote via Twitter.

At the opposition rally, Guaido said he would not invoke an article of the Venezuelan constitution allowing the congress to authorize foreign military operations within Venezuela "until we have to."

"Article 187 when the time comes," Guaido said. "We need to be in the streets, mobilized. It depends on us, not on anybody else."

Trump has said that a "military option" is on the table with regard to Venezuela, but Latin American neighbors have emphatically opposed a U.S. intervention as a way of addressing the situation.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #170073
03/15/2019 12:07 PM
03/15/2019 12:07 PM
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Socialist Dystopia: “This [Power Blackout] Is Going To End UGLY”
Mac Slavo
March 13th, 2019
SHTFplan.com



The dystopian state of the democratic socialist nation, Venezuela is in the midst of a massive power blackout. With no end in sight, the blackout is the result of years of government incompetence that has caused the power grid to deteriorate. As citizens panic, the government continues to further impoverish and enslave the civilians making them suffer.

Much of the country was plunged into darkness Thursday, reportedly after major problems coming from the country’s primary hydroelectric power plant, according to a report by NPR. Residents in some areas have seen a sporadic restoration of power, but people in other areas are growing more desperate and angrier. It’s become a precarious and dangerous situation for anyone counting on electricity for healthcare needs in the socialist country as well. According to The Wall Street Journal, the independent health watchdog Codevida said that “15 dialysis patients have died as a result of the blackout and some 10,000 more were at risk if they continue without treatment.”

The power problems are a symptom of 15 years of socialist policies that have left the country without a reliable network despite having the world’s largest oil reserves. Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez nationalized the power sector seven years ago amid a wave of state takeovers, reported the Telegraph.

“The food we had in our refrigerators has spoiled. Businesses are closed. There’s no communication, not even by cell phone,” 49-year-old Ana Cerrato told Reuters. “We need help! We are in a humanitarian crisis!”

“This is driving me crazy,” said Naile Gonzalez in Chacaito, a commercial neighborhood of Caracas. “The government doesn’t want to accept that this is their fault because they haven’t carried out any maintenance in years.” But that’s socialism. Once the government takes over and gets control and power over people and infrastructure, they do as they please. Governments in history have never cared about anything or anyone other than those who can give them more money and more power.

According to Reuters, Winston Cabas, the president of an electrical engineers’ professional association, told reporters that several of the country’s thermoelectric plants were operating at just 20 percent of capacity, in part due to lack of fuel. He also said the biggest problem is the government and the rationing of electricity.

“This is going to end ugly. It’s going to be ugly at the end,” designer Nela Garcia told an NPR reporter over the weekend.



The Venezuelan Collapse Is Now A Fight For Survival: “Never In My Life Have I Seen Something Like This”
The Daily Sheeple
March 14th, 2019
www.TheDailySheeple.com

As Venezuela fell into darkness following an already tumultuous period of starvation and unrest, many thought things couldn’t get any worse.

But they did.

So bad, in fact, that local water systems are no longer functioning, which means in addition to a lack of food and medicines, the people of socialist Venezuela are now struggling to gain access to potable water.

“I have 67 years,” the director said. “Never in my life, I have seen something like this.”



There have been reports of stores being looted and families scavenging for food and water anywhere they can.

The crisis was on full display at one river, where families got water despite it being polluted.

Via: ABC News

This is what it looks like when your country completely collapses and fresh water becomes a daily fight for survival:

People collect water from an open pipe above Venezuela’s polluted Guaire River during rolling blackouts as growing chaos takes hold in the country. https://t.co/vvUHIP1yVx pic.twitter.com/d3ekODJdFm

— ABC News (@ABC) March 14, 2019

With the economy in shambles, the US dollar coming under threat from China and Russia, and tens of trillions of dollars in unsustainable debt obligations, the United States could soon collapse in a similar style.

When it happens, most people will be shocked and unable to deal with the situation. Prepare yourself and your family accordingly, because as you can see from the example above, support from your local government is nowhere to be found.



"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #170083
03/17/2019 11:32 AM
03/17/2019 11:32 AM
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“This Country Has Gone To Hell”: Total Chaos In Venezuelan Oil Capital After Blackout

Venezuela is a country on the edge of total anarchy.

By Zero Hedge Sunday, March 17, 2019

Venezuela’s oil capital, Maracaibo, was ransacked and looted in the midst of a blackout that hit the country around March 7. Even as the lights started to come back on, looting continued and residents overpowered disputed President Nichloas Maduro’s security forces. Store owners are just now starting to clean up, according a new Bloomberg article, which paints a picture of Venezuela as a country on the edge of total anarchy.

Enrique Gonzalez, an 18 year old bus conductor said: “If people made enough to make ends meet, we wouldn’t be trying to get by like this. This country has gone to hell.” His driver, at the time, was pillaging a Pepsi warehouse, where thousands of bottles had been looted in hours and where people were now ripping out spare copper wire and scrap metal.

Empresas Polar SA, a Venezuelan food giant, reportedly saw its Pepsi plant lose thousands of cases of beer and soda, 160 pallets of food, 22 trucks and five forklifts. A home improvement shopping center also saw its 50 stores looted by people who broke through its iron gates and glass doors. Travel agencies, cosmetic stands and snack shops were all pillaged among the chaos.

Bernardo Morillo, 60, who built and manages the mall told Bloomberg: “It’s hard to swallow. The national guard stood by as this vandalism happened and the firefighters didn’t even show.’’

Ricardo Costa, vice president of the Zulia state chapter of the Fedecamaras business group said: “…security forces were useless as people took anything of value, including cash machines, door frames, ovens, computers and surveillance cameras…”

The country’s Centro 99 food market saw looters pick its shelves clean. “They even carried off the lard and flour to bake bread in their bare hands,’’ the store’s manager said.

The looting started last Saturday afternoon after an ice company, on a hot day, demanded that it be paid in dollars. A crowd instead tore through its factory and then continued onto nearby pharmacies and stores. By the evening, the entire city was taken over by people seeking out life’s necessities by any means necessary.

The country’s blackout took an already flammable situation and threw a match on it. Maduro’s handling of the situation has prompted the U.S. and other nations to instead recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the rightful head of state. Maduro has concentrated his power, in the form of resources and troops, in Caracas, the country’s capital. But the recent chaos in Maracaibo, a city of 1.6 million, shows the rest of the country is in tumult and not even the largest cities are safe.

Maduro blamed the blackout on a U.S. cyberattack last week.

When power was restored, many transformers and substations wound up bursting into flames. There were long lines of people at water trucks, streams and burst pipes. As far as protection, “a single municipal squad car was seen” during a day of looting in the city – and the officers within warned that “no protection” was on its way.

Costa continued: “How is it possible that a thousand guardsmen are deployed to repel 50,000 protesters, but when a thousand looters come to a mall only 50 were sent?’ You could say this began because people are hungry, but the looters didn’t take just food — it morphed into aimless vandalism.’’

“Everyone knows that working here means working in anarchy, that anything can happen to you at any moment,” one local watchman said while watching his store disintegrate in front of him.

“They’re pulling wires, air conditioners, pipes — they’re literally running off with the roof.’’


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Venezuela nears total collapse [Re: ConSigCor] #170084
03/17/2019 01:45 PM
03/17/2019 01:45 PM
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Posts: 19,175
Tulsa
airforce Online content
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airforce  Online Content
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Tulsa
[Linked Image]

This is a street in Caracas. The trash in the street is Venezuelan paper money, worth so little it's not worth picking up.

I remember talking with my landlady in Erlensee, Germany, many years ago. As a little girl in the 1920's she remembered her father going out to buy some firewood for the furnace - and realizing it would be cheaper just to burn the banknotes in the furnace.

Onward and upward,
airforce

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