21 October, 2019

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The Delights Of A Rural Existence – Awful Similarities To Venezuela

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

The recent reading of a piece on Venezuela, beginning with the emergence of Hugo Chavez and the truly desperate straits that nation is in today under the rule of Nicholas Maduro and his supporters, brought distinct discomfort to anyone observing the Sri Lankan scene.

While Hugo Chavez, despite his attempts to perform an unsuccessful military coup when he belonged to the Venezuelan armed forces, landing in jail for his pains, does not have a clearly identifiable counterpart in Sri Lanka, what he sought to achieve was very similar to what various leaders of “left” inclination seek to achieve here – broad democratization of immediately post-imperial domination resulting in wealth-accumulation for themselves and their friends.

In the case of Venezuela, as was the case in the vast majority of Central and South American states, it was brutal, violent military dictatorships that prevailed.  While, in the Americas, it was mailed fist despotism and violent responses to anything resembling resistance, in Sri Lanka’s case and in most of what was previously the British Empire, it was a lot more subtle. The local comprador bourgeoisie was used to continue economic control. For instance, every pound of tea made in Ceylon went through the auctions of Mincing Lane in London, no exceptions.  When one particularly garrulous Prime Minister of what was then Ceylon made the (obvious) proclamation about how totally unjust this was, Mincing Lane “taught Ceylon lesson.” It closed the tea auctions to product from this country for as long as it took for the “lesson” to sink in.

Sri Lanka, over the years, has successfully navigated the shoals of imperial and post-imperial domination. However, the unholy, but not untypical combination of monumental ego and an equivalent lack of historical knowledge and intellectual acumen have led us to the brink of another calamity if Mahinda Rajapaksa succeeds in his quest to return to the power of life and death over Sri Lankans. Like the Rasputins around Czar Nicholas’ court, we have the G. L. Peiris’ and Dayan Jayatillekas hanging around the table in quest of the crumbs from it, with little risk of having their behinds being kicked if that exercise fails to deliver the expected returns.

Without doubt, this is a deadly scenario made worse by a spineless government seemingly ever ready to go along with what appears to be their “Plan B” which is a co-existence with the Rajapaksa horde if they are supplanted. After all, half a loaf is better than nothing at all! If proof be needed of the reality of that scenario, the financial success of many of the so-called leading lights of the current UNP during the time that Mahinda and Co. ruled the roost only need to be viewed.

The upper echelons of the business community, with a miniscule fraction that have displayed anything like principle, will continue on their merry way. After all, they have had no consequences to face for their virtually criminal activity under the protection of the Rajapaksas despite the much-vaunted “regime change.” They continue to make even greater profits at a time of national calamity, particularly those in credit-providing and financial enterprises. Want an example? The man controlling a chemical plant that contaminated the drinking water of neighbouring villages, NEVER had to answer for the fact that the armed forces killed unarmed protesters and uninvolved bystanders after chasing some of them into places of worship. In fact, he has been lionized by other businessmen, some members of the general public and government circles for his success in enhancing the profitability of his business enterprises that were built on that most “respectable” of businesses – the casino trade!

The precipitous decline of this country is leading to a Venezuela-type denouement, with “the rich getting richer and the poor getting babies,” if their malnutrition permits conception, that is!

When are people in The Miracle of Asia going to display their much-vaunted sophisticated civilization and wake up to the reality facing them? That reality is that all of those making hypocritical pronouncements from both sides of the House are all birds of a feather and need to be plucked and left to the fate that they have earned.

We need “regime change” and NOT one that replaces one corrupt horde with another, shouting about their “opponents” for public consumption and addressing them as “nangi” in private telephone conversations!

If such a palliative is what it is going to take, give them all pensions of some description but tar and feather them in such a manner that they will never, even given their rhino hides, have the temerity to re-enter the public arena.

I was once horrified to see a documentary in which was depicted the, seemingly arbitrary, process employed by those who took arrested Nicolae Ceaucescu and his wife at the time of the Rumanian dictator’s downfall, conducted a trial at which the niceties of the Old Bailey were not very evident, returned a verdict of guilty and then proceeded to execute the couple by firing squad. It was horrific because of the matter-of-fact manner in which the process was conducted. But, having observed what has been unfolding in this country despite its history of many years of democratic practice, one cannot but pause in passing judgement on the arbitrariness of the process that took place on the streets of Bucharest.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    1

    Venezuela has been the target of sustained sabotage and attack by the US since the dawn of the century.
    The opposition is a gang of criminals that resort to crimes ranging from hoarding to acts of terrorism, with the fullest backing of the US.
    Life is not easy amid economic sanctions and sabotage. But elections in Venezuela since Chavez was elected have been reported as among the fairest in both Americas by independent monitors.
    The PSV won election after election (except one) despite US funding for the opposition through various NGOs.

    • 2
      1

      Thank you Emil. I agree with SJ on this and please follow John Pilger to get some balance in what we analyse.

      https://vimeo.com/16724719

      http://johnpilger.com

      Please please watch this tq

      • 3
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        Thiagarajah Venugopal:
        Even if there have been times that I’ve not agreed completely with Pilger, I have always admired his integrity and journalistic skills.

        • 1
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          Dear Emil

          Yep i agree. The man who Brought the Vietnam blunder to the world. He always ask the difficult questions and set out to lay down the facts to people can make their own judgement. A very much a humanist in my eyes……just as you myself too always do not agree but the fact he makes the information available to people through his ‘investigative’ journalism is something we are all missing nowadays. We get war front journalist ‘briefed and controlled as to what to report’ hence the term ‘Embedded’ and the rest are all killed off/bought over. A manufactured consent of the masses for all the injustices we witness today. thank you.

  • 2
    0

    Remember Senor, that all South America is infested with the never-ending generations of the Spanish Conquistadors, hence the lingering curse over all who will rule in ‘Latin’ America. Bad omens hang over all who occupy Mayan lands from Baja California to Tierra del Fuego. This is colonialism at its finest.

    • 0
      0

      Spring Koha:
      Thank you for that erudite and timely comment about the history of South and Central America.
      I wonder whether the same could be said of nations in our regions that came under the complete domination by European regimes with a very different culture or were there greater similarities between the European and Asian cultures than there were differences between those of Europe and the Americas?

  • 1
    1

    Mr. Pooten: Read about Argentina, Nicaragua etc. ad what happened to Venezuela. both the Venezuela and Libya were propsperous countries. but, US ruined those. EL Salvadorean people say the came and developed the tourist. Once used the country, they left. Now only thing they have is Local tourism. the country is ruined. The whole LAtin america is like that. Why did not you wriote about Middle east, Eastern Europe and pretty soon south Asia and the East Asia.

    • 0
      0

      JD:
      Believe it or not, I have read a bit about world economic history, possibly before you were able to read.and at a time when one read and wrote in order to improve one’s knowledge, something seemingly absent from recent “dissertations.”
      It used to be said that it was better to keep one’s mouth shut and let people think you were stupid than to open it and reveal one’s lack of knowledge, leave alone erudition! In a word pompous self-righteousness is no substitute for knowledge and fact, even if hidden behind a pseudonym..

  • 3
    2

    This is a disgusting attack on a progressive political movement in a former colony with a spine, started by the late great Hugo Chavez, murdered by the CIA through cancer causing radiation. Madura is continuing Chavez’s legacy under CIA undermining with a Jewish Latino, backed by the Israeli Apartheid regime.
    =
    Similarities between Mahinda Rajapakse and Venezeula are correct to this extent. They conspired in 2015 to unseat him, and have now done it againthrough a subservient Chief Justice (the other six just signed the decision, saying I agree!).
    =
    But the International Zionist cancer need to remember that such movement can be undermined only for a limited period. Power will be obtained by the real owners sooner or later. Lland ownership will be transferred to the originalrightful owners then, from European vagabonds and their half-bred descendants.
    =
    In Sri Lankan terms “Lipa gini avilena thek diys saliye”.

    • 3
      1

      Original owner:
      Your anti-Semitic rant amounts to p-all, like all crap of that kind. Now, you accuse the judiciary of this country of being anti-Mahinda Rajapaksa, of all things. Would you mind telling us who put those individuals on the bench?
      Much as I have little time for the Ranil Wickremesinghe that was in bed (no pun intended) with people like Wijedasa Rajapaksa, Sarath Amunugama etc. etc. the one little candle they DID light was that of judicial independence. Nowhere else in the democratic world would that have been considered an achievement but in benighted Sri Lanka it looks like a veritable sunrise!
      You should really consider making application to the newly-resurgent Hitler Jugend now evident in Germany. They might make you a major functionary there. Of course, they might also require you to emerge from under the rock of your pseudonym.

  • 1
    0

    Venezuela rich in oil reserves, is in one piece. Has still not been pulverised like Iraq or Libya. Or Iran under threat to be or Nigeria just buggered out.
    .
    Perhaps Emil will tell us the fate of Venezuela, had it been part of Africa.

    • 1
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      KP
      It is not the continent where Venezuela is located that made the difference.
      Mass political work, although not adequate, went a long way to defend against reaction and its imperialist masters.
      Conspiracies have succeeded in Brazil (now with a fascist in command) and Argentina (in economic turmoil) and there was a coup in Honduras and repression ever since.
      None who relies solely on the Western media can give reliable information on such maters.

  • 2
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 5
    0

    Emil :

    I am sure you appreciate that the two countries are world apart

    In Venezula
    Collapsing wages, food shortages, and rampant inflation have led to growing hunger and desperation in Venezuela. Recent videos illustrate just how desperate the situation has become, as hungry people chase down livestock in the fields to butcher it for its meat, or skin dogs and cats on the streets of Caracas. Violent food-related protests have erupted in various cities around the country, and the looting of grocery stores is becoming more and more widespread. Meanwhile, thousands of Venezuelans are flooding across the borders into neighboring countries.

    Maduro’s defenders on the left have basically turned a blind eye to this situation, claiming that mainstream reports are exaggerated, and assuring that the situation is the result of an “economic war” waged from the capitalist class and the United States. In their view, the current crisis is just another example of US imperialism and capitalist interference with a leftwing government in Latin America, a conspiracy to topple the socialist experiment by making the economy “scream” like Chile in 1973.

    But in Sri Lanka people are not fighting for food but for the heart and soul of what is left since the end of the Civil War. Franlky nothing except an impending danger of an Indian takeover either by persuasion under RW or by force under MR MAKE no MISTAKE. But knowing the Sri Lankan electorate they will choose the latter listening to Dayan & Laksri

  • 3
    0

    Emil, here is a different take. Finding fault of British and Americans is a tailor made answer for every problems faced by the failed nations. True The British controlled and ruled half or more of the world and Americans tend to force there political beliefs into others. But this alone does not explain for the sorry state of these nations including Lanka. Even after the British left we have had enough and more time to rebuilt and show some progress, even though it may not be satisfactory. That did not take place in failed nations. For every negative outcome there are plenty of countries showing significant development. In the Americas when people talk about Venezuela right there you have countries like Peru and Chile (remember the mission to save the miners which cannot be expected in some of the western countries) who had their share of internal/political problems and still showing advanced development . This was achieved only by selecting the right people and having the right policies.I can quote plenty Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong (last to come out) — etc.They are busy with developing further and do not have time to whine about the past.

  • 0
    0

    About Venezuela, I had the opportunity to visit few times and have close friends from there. People tend to hero worship Chavez as though parallel to “Che”, but they are miles apart.It is like comparing Wimal to Rohana or Karuna to VP. Chavez was a fake who like MS/MR/Wimal was a pseudo with the help of the military ruled the country until death. They are within the first five oil and natural gas producing countries in world. Chavez used the money to give subsidiaries to public in turn buying their support and votes. All the rest of the money were used for party financing where cadres are recruited for paid salary. ( a MR style rule) These thugs go around beating and killing any resent and political opposition. Chavez kept on boasting to public how good they were doing (country like no other) and manipulated and maintained local currency at par to US dollar. But when he died and gas prices took a nose dive is when things took a ugly turn and ended up in Bankruptcy. Just like MR , Chavez was looking for a bail out from China by selling assets and Russia for weapons. If at all US would have done service, to Venezuela people, by getting him out.That is a FACT. Now Maduro is acting typical MS style. His antics, resentments, personal hatred to others and putting opposition leaders in prison by made up charges(threat to nation?????)

    • 0
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      Chiv:
      Thanks for that informative description and analysis of what began with Chavez – a self-seeking demagogue who manipulated his people with the advantage of the gushing oil revenues for which he could take no credit. People also tend to forget that he sought a “military solution” to his country’s future and was jailed for his pains before he suddenly became the saviour of Venezuela.
      It seems the unhappy fate of so many countries, such as Sri Lanka, that began their independence in good economic fettle to have been cursed with self-seeking chauvinist politicians who proceed to fritter away what might have been in the way of economic and democratic wealth, simply to enrich themselves and their egos and their buddies’ bank balances.

  • 1
    0

    What you write and like minded comments do not make sense to the ordinary man in the streets. True the masses have to be educated, but say it in a way they can understand and act to work towards a good life for all citizens.

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