22 October, 2019

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The Simple Reason Why Venezuela Collapsed

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

When foolish socialists goof, enemies make hay while the sun shines: The simple reason why Venezuela collapsed

The scale of the collapse is staggering; hyperinflation at over one million percent per year with prices doubling every 19 days, three million people fleeing on foot to neighbouring countries, crisis proportion shortages of food and medicine – on average two-thirds of the population has lost 25 pounds in weight during the economic collapse. The root of the catastrophe cannot be laid at the door of US sabotage though Washington is crowing with delight and plotting covert military intervention given that Nicolas Maduro’s government is reeling. The root of the crisis is home-grown; economic mismanagement; nay unbelievable folly. Literally it is beyond belief that any government, left, right or centre, could be so inane.

Hugo Chavez (1954-2013) was elected president in 1998 on a populist platform. Rising oil prices in the mid-2000s flushed the country with money and Chavez launched the “Bolivarian programme” to improve economic, cultural, and social conditions of the poor and intended to stabilise political power through mass welfare. Thousands of free medical clinics were started and food and housing subsidies provided. There were achievements in literacy, skills enhancement, social inclusion and poverty reduction; the quality of life of the poor improved. Chávez’s popularity was anchored in the urban population, the working class and the poorest of the poor. So far so good, and this is the reason Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (USPV) still enjoy a degree of support. The opposition is not ill-fed and dressed in rags, it is the middle and upper classes who feel threatened by the Chavismo project of social justice. They are now joined by a broader spectrum of society.

Then, the price of oil collapsed from above $140 a barrel in June 2008 to below $40 a barrel in January 2009 and Chavez’s programme was in tatters. Before 2010 of every $100 of state revenue $90 came from oil and its derivatives and what made the country tick was massive transfer of oil profit to the poor – some oil also went at below-market prices to allies like Cuba. The USPV had no plan other than taking oil profits and using it on subsidies for the poor. It had no growth perspective, no interest in investment in industry, agriculture, technology or services – Western or Chinese. From a long-term perspective this was a doomed economy. Just eat current revenue! When revenue dried up it was a colossal blunder to keep spending as before. It was folly to continue to spend instead of cutting expenditure when the revenue-stream dried-up. The USPV made excuses like imperialist interference and capitalist speculation and refused to accept the plain fact that good days flush with oil money were gone. The crux of the matter was a refusal to look reality in the face and hoping that the oil price would pick up again as it did somewhat in four years. But the root of the bungling was an obsession with oil and comprehensive neglect of economic development.

World oil price 2000-2015

And why was it not possible for the regime to face the truth and explain it to the people? That was because the regime had built its fame on populism pure and simple. “Look we are giving you all these good things. Enjoy, you don’t really need to understand the inner workings of our oil economy”. And later “the plunge in prices is only temporary”. Regimes built on superficial populism cannot face the masses when the good times end. Chavez erected his glory on handing out goodies and feared what would happen if hard times came.

Was Chavez not a Marxist; aren’t Marxists hard materialists; how come he couldn’t see the obvious? Marxist or plain politician, I cannot understand how Chavez and the USPV could not see so obvious a reality; nor does it make sense that no economic development activity was initiated when there was money. This foxes me as it should you, ideology aside. Chavez was not a serious Marxist; at times he called himself one, at other times he said “I am not a Marxist and I am not anti-Marxist”. His self-projection was as a “Twenty-first Century socialist” by which he meant a populist who cared for the poor and thought populism sans hard materialist decision-making would allow him to muddle through. He did declare an economic emergency in 2010 but was stricken with cancer in July 2011 and died in March 2013 and was probably ineffective in his last two years. 

By then the economy was in distress with inflation and shortages were going out of control. In the 5 years since Chavez under a Maduro presidency Venezuela has become an economic failed-state and descended close to political anarchy. US intervention, direct or indirect seems likely and could spark a civil war because though 35% answered ‘yes’ when asked if they would like to see American tanks roll down the streets of Caracas, there is also a big reserve of support for the Chavist legacy; these people will fight back. The military will split and Russia (and China?) will no sit by idly. Two Russian bombers have already arrived in Venezuela in a tit-for-tat for American overflights of the pro-Russian zone in the Ukraine.

Russia versus the United States

Washington has decided to drive Maduro from power while Putin has vowed to support him and warned of “catastrophic” consequences if the US gives military support to the opposition or to neighbouring anti-Maduro countries. Trump has blocked Venezuelan access to foreign currency and to $US7 billion in PDVSA (state-owned oil company) assets in US banks. In a similar confrontation in Syria the Russians won hands down. Russia used the Security Council recently to warn the US against intervention in Venezuela and accused it of attempting a coup. It has offered to mediate between Maduro’s “legitimate” government and the opposition. Putin will prevent regime change unless compatible with Russian interests and he has proved to be cleverer than Trump and Bolton. 

He has re-established Russia as a key player in the Middle East, a dealer in Asia and a global supplier of sophisticated weaponry. Now he mocks Trump in order to restore Russia’s reputation in the eyes of his domestic clientele. Nevertheless, condemning outlandish US interference – Juan Guaidó declared himself president after US Vice President Mike Pence advised him to do so by phone – cannot be taken by those opposed to Rajapaksa dictatorship to the extent of supporting Maduro.

What does Moscow stand to lose if it bungles the end game in Venezuela? Putin does not care two-bits for Maduro but Russia needs to protect its global vantage and its interests in Latin America. As a military ally Venezuela is peanuts but the returns on Moscow’s investment there is priceless. In exchange for loans and bailouts Russia now owns parts of five oil fields which include the Orinoco Belt, the world’s largest reserve. It is also entitled to 30 years of output from two Caribbean natural-gas fields. Venezuela has signed over 49.9 percent of Citgo, its US company which owns three Gulf Coast refineries and a web of US pipelines to Russia’s state-owned Rosneft for $1.5 billion in cash. What the Chinese are doing to us, the Russians are doing to Venezuela.

A Russian-US direct conflict is only a distant possibility, but right-wing governments in Brazil and Colombia could be instigated by the US. There has been no interstate war in South America for eight decades and one would be bloody and unpredictable. War between Colombia and Venezuela would be devastating – both have enough air power to bomb infrastructure and cities.

The domestic dynamics

Though international competition is of significance domestic dynamics is more important. To survive Maduro has to keep the military onside, and that means finding a way to keep the top brass comfortable. He has rewarded senior officers with positions in government and PDVSA but the rank and file and their families suffer the impact of the crisis. Jonathan Velasco, Venezuelan ambassador to Iraq and Gen Francisco Yanez, ai-force head of strategic planning have defected to the opposition. There have been defections by junior officers including the military attaché to the embassy in Washington DC and the consul in Miami.

Maduro was elected for his second term in a sham election and lacks majority public support.  Opposition leader Leopoldo López was arrested and barred from running for office and five years on still remains under house arrest. Opposition candidates have been barred from running for office, others languish in jail many have fled the country. Elections in Venezuela are neither free nor fair. Maduro’s re-election was not recognised by Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly. On 23 January the leader of the legislature, Juan Guaidó, declared himself acting president and said he would assume the powers of the executive branch from then on. This was a direct challenge to Maduro who had been sworn in to a second six-year term in office just two weeks previously. So, who’s the president? This would not be an unusual question to ask in Sri Lanka where an eccentric president precipitated chaos and the country had two prime ministers at the same time till the Supreme Court disciplined the dummy and set things right. 

Guaidó can mobilize mass support and has the backing of a chorus of US led countries but he has no influence over the levers of state power. The attorney general put Guido under investigation despite a practice that members of parliament are immune, then the courts froze his bank accounts and imposed a travel ban. Stalin would have winked at this skill in manipulating all the organs of state from legislature to Supreme Court simultaneously – shades of Rajapaksa.

Maduro should go

Maduro has twice survived challenges to his power. After mass protests in 2014, he targeted opposition leaders and threw them into prison. Unrest broke out in 2017 when Maduro side-lined the National Assembly when it switched to the opposition. Protesters were attacked, 120 killed and hundreds injured but Maduro succeeded in retaining power despite international condemnation. Whether he will survive the current challenge depends as much on international factors as domestic – the US, Russia and South American Countries, especially Columbia. 

A change of regime to dump Maduro and avoid a civil war by placing leaders sympathetic to the social gains made under Chavez in office is the best compromise. In Syria this way out proved too difficult to pull off. More bad times lie ahead for Venezuela since the economic disaster will persist, the political standoff is unlikely to be resolved since Guido has not undertaken to protect Chavist social reforms and the big powers have their own agendas. Nor have Washington and Moscow built the nuances needed to work out a compromise. 

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Latest comments

  • 4
    7

    Great analysis p. Kumar…….loved the part about Washington crowing in delight :))))).

    No, not so simple though.

    First, US/UK have no right to freeze assets belonging to another country……. (that is a gross illegality, and it will be to their downfall, as no other country will ever trust their investment schemes and trust funds again).

    Second, the plummet in oil prices was orchestrated by the West, to particularly target countries like Venezuela, who were hostile to the West’s capitalistic network (as the capitalistic network was driving Venezuela into dire straits, as it does to most countries outside the West).

    Third, the plummet in oil-prices didn’t go hand-in-hand with the country slowly building up with sustainable local industry (Chavez did it right). And the trouble is, when attempting to install socialism, 1-5% of the country cannot be sitting and indulging with 99% of the wealth and subscribing to Western capitalism.

    Fourth, Russia coming to save the day by pegging Venezuela currency with theirs will surely build up the country at more relaxed levels.

    Fifth, Trump will surely want to give some leverage to Russia, but the rest of the West, UK et al have no clue how to balance their budgets when countries pull away from the capitalistic network (also the Obama-Clinton network won’t give them a chance).

    Lastly, we need a global President (Trump) to balance, and keep balancing and rebalancing out monetary values, sans wars, so that……all balance out in the end. The key is one global day of money deflation to begin the process.

    • 5
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      US sanctions against Venezuvela, which has massive oil reserves because Chavez-Madura were not willing to surrender it to US oil companies, and US freezing that county’s assets, and manipulating world oil prices was the single largest cause of the economic melt down, of course with an increasing level of domestic corruption, poor management and reliance on military.
      US first sabotages economies of countries it wants to control in its Cold Wars against Russia and now China and has a long history in Latin America
      Trumpland has been also sabotaging Lanka’s economy and its Asian proxies targeting Lanka’s large LNG gas deposit in the Mannar Basin too with its EuroAsian proxies Japan and Korea in the Cold War with China.
      US-Euro sovereign bond traders own (50%) of Sri Lanka’s sovereign debt, with Japan’s JICA andADB at 25%, World Bank 10% China, 14%. Moreover, it is the Washington Consensus that is primarily responsible for the debt traps and corruption rackets in Greece, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuvela, Pakistan, Egypt etc. and it is the IMF-WB Paris Club that is responsible and in Sri Lanka and Pakistan too.

      • 0
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        Dinuk…..truly terrible state of affairs indeed. How long does the West think it can get away with these continuous manipulations of the hard work of the global masses vs. their ridiculously vain attempts to hold onto a system that has little sustaining power? Surely they must have realized by now, that after the demise of many a nation, they will be standing naked around their Band-Aid plans.
        _
        What the West needs is a new set of equations to their economic structures, where their monetary capital will retain its value and even surpass expectations when they leave socially minded countries alone. The only way to do this is to include Socialist Russia into the calculation, and halt China’s bid for global dominance in the capitalistic sphere, so China can place all its gains so far into the greater socialistic system they were always about.

        • 4
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          ” The Simple Reason Why Venezuela Collapsed” because Maduro is a bus-driver.

          Professors! professors! professors!

          The answer to your questions is closer to home than you might think …………. embedded in the ol’ primordial human-condition ………. nothing to do with cockamamie Socialism or Capitalism ………

          Maduro is a bus-driver, Mahinda is an assistant to the librarian, Sirisena is a gramasevaka ………… and it shows ……….. same as what you would have in UCSF Medical Center if the surgeon was replace by a nurse ………

          It just comes to the surface and shows up ……….. no amount of Maduro’s medals and fine regalia, Mahinda’s hair-dye, Sirisena’s fair & lovely make-up can hide ……

          Why is that people who are not up to the task ……… put so much effort into “visuals?”

          Don’t think ol’ Singapore is bees-knees ……… but who remembers ol’ Lee Kwan Yu for his regalia and makeup? ……….. BTW he build a modern country out of a dump ……. while we made a shithole out of a fine economy handed to us. ……… It has very little to do with ideological claptrap but all to do with the capacity of the people.

          Thank your lucky stars …….. that we fell back into the frying pan from the fire in 2015 ……….. if we had 20 years of Mahinda’s pristine Socialism in Hambanthota, ………. to hell with Venezuela …….. Lanka wouldn’t have had enough boats for people to leave.

          Now, during Ranil’s Rip Van Winkle ……. like Noah, people have a breather to build boats for the next Pseudo-socialist-capitalist-nepotistic-smart-patriotism onslaught of the Rajapakses.

        • 3
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          P.S. ………. Thos who think America is the best “system” the human-condition threw-up ……… check out the emerging-country period of the US where Trusts came into vogue …….. the scariest period of US history where America would have ended up worse than the Soviet Union.

          ” In the early 1880s, a clever lawyer named S. C. T. Dodd figured out how
          companies could get around the laws against cartels by forming trusts.”

          “One-third of all public companies in the United States disappeared into
          trusts and mergers between 1895 and 1904. In most major industries, trusts
          and conglomerates were raising prices at will. They were throwing their
          weight around in all areas of commerce.
          The American people saw what was happening, competitors disappearing
          in one industry after another, the owners of trusts raking in the millions and
          building summer “cottages” as big as army barracks along the coast at
          Newport, Rhode Island. So the public turned against the trusts.
          People realized that the giant companies would tighten their hold on the
          smaller companies, forcing them to join trusts or be driven out of business,
          and if this trend were allowed to continue, prices for everything would jump
          through the roof, and the wallets of the nation would be sucked dry. With a
          few insiders controlling both prices and wages, free-market capitalism would cease to exist.
          This was one of the scariest periods in American history, and it is rarely
          discussed.”

          “The unions, the newspapers, the courts, and some courageous politicial
          leaders all had a hand in foiling the trusts and rescuing the country from the
          greedy few. It if hadn’t been for these trust busters, we could have gotten
          ourselves into a situation in which the average person in America was no
          better off than a Russian peasant.”

        • 1
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          The solution is some sort of political Karma, or universal justice. It is worthwhile noting that the former world powers are now economic basket cases with little respect internationally:

          1. Rome (Italy)
          2. Greece (Alexander the Killer of Men)
          3. Great Britain (not so? well the Brexit is good then?)
          4. Portugal

          Only the Dutch seemed to have been up on the deal after losing to the British.

          I believe it will come simply because the stupidity of the masters, not the intellect of the slave.

  • 11
    3

    Let me sum up the article:-
    *
    Socialism doesn’t work! Just ask the people of Venezuela!
    *
    How many more failures need to happen before this Ideology is confined to the dustbin of history?

    • 2
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      Sorry, I can give you only one like :) .

    • 0
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      UKCitizen,

      I agree. Socialism cannot work with the UK, US and other Western nations. They need to work within the capitalistic monetary system they created after they colonized other countries. There is no other way they can exist.

      But for countries such as Sri Lanka, trying to ape the capitalistic process has been severely detrimental to our land, our people, our ecology and our health. Countries at the low end of the colonial capitalistic monetary scale need to socialize before ever attempting to move in with the capitalistic bid-shots.

      Indeed, in the long-run (and actually in the short-run also), it would be found that struggling countries with greater socialism will greatly enhance the viability of global capitalism. West needs to find a different equation to their Band-Aid process on their sustainability, and move into a more innovative and honorable economic structure.

      Why they haven’t done it so far is amazing. It boils down to short term euphoria and vain-gloriousness about seeing dark-skinned others beneath them and sucking after them.

      • 3
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        Ramona: Do you forget that socialism WAS tried in Sri Lanka once upon a time and it failed abysmally?

        • 0
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          Leonard,

          It wasn’t given a chance by the Colombo elite. It didn’t go past the planning stage.

          • 5
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            ramona great grandma therese fernando

            “It wasn’t given a chance by the Colombo elite. It didn’t go past the planning stage.”
            -.
            Was it too short for Socialism to take root and benefit the people between 1956–1959, again between 1960-1964 and again 1970-1977, more than enough time for the state to wither away.

            We loved the Hahatta Hakkuru days, long queues to buy essentials, acute shortage for everything from A to Z, ………………..
            You must have missed those highly productive years, during which our people invented many things.

            Pleas find out from SJ.

            • 0
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              NV,

              Too many gaps in between. Would have taken successive socialist PM terms to implement properly…..not a chance with the colonial capitalistic hold (Lankan elite at the helm). Time is ripe now, and imperative for all.

      • 2
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        @ramona
        *
        You’re completely overlooking your wonderful Politicians who have turned Sri Lanka into a Corrupt, Lawless, Bankrupt Failed State.
        *
        They’ve enriched themselves, their families and their cronies at your expense!
        *
        A Culture of Impunity and Zero Accountability!
        *
        Your fellow Sri Lankans and you stood by and allowed this to happen!
        *
        Your fellow Sri Lankans and you are the only ones that can change this but instead you have all chosen to bury your heads in the sand and pretend the problems don’t exist.

        • 0
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          UKCitizen,

          Yes, that is quite true. Mostly it was Colombo elites trying to ape the UK elites, erroneously thinking if they did so, they would reach the UK elite heights. Then it was the outstation elites trying to take over from the Colombo elites….yes, that was the only way the Bandaranaike’s could crush the colonial Lankan elite. UK and West psycho-analyzing the trend, offered the commonwealth banking system, mutual funds, Swiss banks accounts etc. and consolidated the colonial money. Then within the last 20 years came the era of politicians investing the money of the hardworking Lankan masses in the BRIC kind of accounts. Now those are the kinds that are deemed insufferable. But now, can your Queen can come in and get rid of all our politicians (pay them a fee to vamoose), and install socialism such that it will enhance your capitalism?- (Trump can only last another term).
          Nb. No dividing our country or merging us with India of course.

          • 0
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            @ramona
            *
            When Sri Lanka became independant in 1948 Sri Lankans became responsible for running the country.
            *
            Sri Lankans are responsible the current mess – only Sri Lankans can fix things.
            *
            First – stop burying your heads in the sand and acknowledge the problems exist.
            *
            Second – stop electing the same corrupt Politicians over and over again.
            *
            Third – you have a legal system – fix it then use it.
            *
            Fourth – accountability. Nobody is above the law.
            *
            Until these things happen nothing will change imho.

            • 0
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              UKCitizen,

              Stop gleefully repeating the very same rhetoric OVER and OVER again! Do you think we are stupid! You got us into this mess; you are still keeping us in this mess. We don’t stand a chance with you meddling in our elections! The things you do like pandering to terrorists, attempting to prosecute our war heroes, and dividing our nation is abominable. Then you turn round and point your finger at our leaders that you bought out. You will keep us perpetually in a catch-22 situation.
              _

              You are too stupid to implement another economic system for a better world-order. Indeed, our people in desperation have already written it out for you. But NO, you prefer to go the same old way so you can pamper your old school of racial thought and hide your imbecility.

              • 0
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                @ramona
                *
                No glee here – just sadness watching events in your country.
                *
                You’re the perfect example of why things are the way they are – blaming others for your problems.
                *
                Your problems are 100% self inflicted – until you understand that you cannot hope to solve them.
                *
                As for stupid – average IQ in my country is 100 – Sri Lanka is 79. Draw your own conclusions.

                • 0
                  0

                  UKCitizen,

                  Yeah, yeah….that’s the same rhetoric they are currently using against Venezuela, and with sad, disapproving faces and the same finger wagging. Gosh, don’t you people have any modicum of embarrassment?

                  As per IQ, that is your people’s own construct. So naturally you will be nicely smug at around 100 on the bell curve. If we had the same resource as places like China to train our people in IQ tests, we would top the charts also. It’s all a matter of training.

                  • 0
                    0

                    @Ramona
                    *
                    I am in no way responsible for the situation in Sri Lanka so why should I be embarrassed?
                    *
                    If anyone should be embarrassed it should be the people of Sri Lanka for allowing things to get to this point.
                    *
                    The state of Sri Lanka saddens me – it will never change until the people change imho.
                    *
                    You should do some research into how IQ is calculated – not something you can train for. Not some kind of construct.
                    *
                    Very interesting discussions on Youtube – type in “Race and IQ” to get started. Not very PC – but then the truth usually isn’t.

                    • 0
                      0

                      UKCitizen,
                      _
                      Oh Yes! You certainly should be ashamed of yourself and your people! You are directly responsible for destroying many an ancient and civilized land out of sheer greed and avarice. Any discrepancies on our part are only about 10% of the problem.
                      _
                      In Europe, where IQ tests were first constructed, the quotient was merely a European one that contorted around their own thinking capabilities. Certainly, other areas of the world could not match up with European IQ tests. In China for example, IQs were 80 and below, till the European thinking was better understood. They then spent a lot of money on European-type education and taught their students on how to tackle IQ tests. Now the Europeans cannot come up to Chinese standard and the Chinese are far more superior in intelligence.

                      For countries such as ours, you will use the IQ test as a self-fulfilling prophesy, giving us broad suggestions so we will feel it is quite useless to spend too much money on education. Another China would be too much for you to handle, isn’t it.

          • 0
            0

            As usual, Grandma, you are parroting a single word “elites”, but have not come out with anything substance. No one single line of your gibberish is trying to explain, why, Lankawe a powerhouse (1950s) in the South Asia when it was following the British Westminster system, failed after 72 years and became a pariah in the South Asia. Just forget about the economy, talk in all aspects in which Lankawe has plummeted? Why did it become 174 out of 179 countries in media freedom? Our friend Amare many attempted to explain it with the IQ 79(Modayas), but you did nothing!
            Know one thing please. “elites” have specific social, educational, political and economic behavior. You appear to have a dictator in your mind and believing the country is ruled by dictators and then you are label what is in your mind as “elides”. For what the hell are you calling the 55% uneducated, O/L failed rowdy gang as “elites”?
            Professor Kumar is hiding the failed Socialisms under the carpet of populism. Ramakrishna one time said, the White man is calling it “water” ; we calling “pani”; Arabian calling it with another name. But it is only pani(water)” . Socialism’s only use is to float & thrive in populism. He is telling Chavez is not a Marist; but a populist. Then he didn’t explain why Russia is having two fighter planes in Venezuela? Isn’t Russia, after it realized Marxism is not useful and it have gone to capitalism, but struggling to protect the Venezuelan communism? Why Russia wants to protect Chavez and Assad’s Maxims? The only reason for Russia’s behavior is all past and present Socialism are only a branch of populism.

            “Nb. No dividing our country or merging us with India of course.
            Your theory elites is wishing to merge Lankawe with China but wants to have to keep not merged with India. All Lankawe socialism is SWRD’s Anti-Tamil racism.

  • 10
    2

    Kumar Davd who supported Fonseka’s bid for Presidency and then the Yahapalanaya two-headed donkey known as “Yahapalanaya” has been consistently commenting on foreign politics without admitting his failure to understand even local developments, consistently backing the wrong horse. For a while he was a revolutionary Marxist, and now he is a Marxist in name only, just like all the other LSSP types now grown old.
    Nevertheless, it is interesting to read their musings.

    • 4
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      Nadesan!
      Answer to the points raised by KUMAR DAVID. Not what he was and what he said earlier.

    • 3
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      Nadesan

      “consistently backing the wrong horse.”

      This consistency applies to all Ceylonese, Sri Lankan, islanders without exception over the past 71 years.

  • 6
    3

    Thank you KD. I was on the lookout for information re what is happening in Venezuela. You have made an excellent and timely contribution to many readers, including me. All in a nutshell.
    Cheers

    • 3
      1

      Nutshells can be highly selective in content, depending on the nut.
      Try Global Research, venezuelanalysis.com, http://www.resumen-english.org etc. for another perspective.

      • 1
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        Thank you, SJ for sharing that interview with Maduro & also thereby alerting us to that site.

  • 5
    2

    Bad election. Call for internationally supervised elections. I doubt if the Venezuelan military will survive more than 4 days if the US does attack. But of course the US has them, Cuba and Iran in their periscopes for major upheavals. We have some friends who were our neighbors in Venezuela. They were from the educated class. The mother is a PhD in Petroleum Engineering from the USA; the kids are also educated and so is their Dad with a bachelors in Sciences. They were sick of Chavez long before this current fiasco.
    Venezuela is believed to have the LARGEST oil reserves in the world. US hates to see disobedient boys in their region of influence. But now that once in tatters Russia has rebuilt its military, it maybe that Putin will not allow Trump to invade Venezuela. But the fault is primarily in the hands of the stupid people who were in power. Venezuelans will not stomach prolonged war. Maduro will probably have to flee if they attack. But Russia is the key; they might let Trump score a victory there to keep Ukraine and other nether areas of Russia in their sphere. Or they might horse trade an attack on Ukraine for allowing US to go to Venezuela. Russia has enough oil reserves and like Venezuela, they will benefit from higher oil prices. Putin engaged in a massive rearmament process, but their Military is nowhere near the quality and firepower and reach of the US military’s various branches. US has 12 active duty Super Aircraft carriers which project power across many regions of the world at the same time. Russia has none. What Russia can do(so far it has not) provide BUK-400s. But they will not risk provoking USA that much in US’ nether region either.

  • 5
    1

    US is the world’s largest weapons monger. Russia comes a second. But both qualitatively and quantitatively, Russia lags at least 2 generations behind USA. Why do you think India is now US’s biggest weapons buyer? It used to a be Soviet customer. But it is smart and knows better. Specially in high-end technology weapons systems, US is non-pareil. Only the BUK-400 anti aircraft and anti missile system is being touted as really top notch. But I do not ever see Putin foolish enough to take US head on because its aircraft will be shot down like how Israel shot down the then so called “State of the art” Soviet aircraft over Bekaa valley on June 9th 1982; it was described as a Turkey shoot. With a brilliant block of Syrian anti aircraft defenses, Israel shot down between 82 to 86 Syrian planes for the simple damage to 2 F-15s. Syria could not even deploy their SAMs properly. It is believed to be a significant reason the Soviet Union collapsed and GLASTNOST was initiated. Soviets knew they were a third rate third grade military power propped only by propaganda in a repressive nation. Putin will NEVER risk a Bekaa. You are over-reaching. Putin is likely to manipulate Trump for real estate in Eastern Europe if he decides not to back Venezuela.

    • 3
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      Q: “Why do you think India is now US’s biggest weapons buyer?”
      A: India became a client state of the US since the collapse of the USSR.
      *
      Check why India has returned to buying from Russia.

  • 2
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    wasn’t chavez killed by US nano weapons?And also former president of argentina kirchner.nano weapons are smaller than a human hair and can inject toxins into people.

    • 0
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      S
      I am not sure of nano weapons.
      But there is strong suspicion that he was poisoned.
      Castro had warned him about food and drinks offered in parties etc.
      Senaka Bibile was poisoned, but nothing could be proven.

  • 4
    2

    You chaps somehow think Putin is some angel. He is a repressive semi-dictator albeit a very smart ex-KGB analyst. He now plays Trump like a Stradivarius. So Putin will not risk a military confrontation over a nation it has no strategic interests in. Venezuela is not Ukraine. Russia also has massive energy reserves and will benefit from high oil prices. It suffers now because it spent tens of billions of dollars to refurbish their obsolete military. This sort of modern confrontation will not involve Tanks rolling over the rolling hills of Kursk. Venezuela will be a quick insert decapitation strike to remove Maduro with help from dissident elements of the military whose top guys probably could be bought as easily as ones in other Latino Militaries by the US dollar.
    It will not be like the disaster in Iraq. But there is nothing Cuba can do; nothing China can do and very limited things Russia can do; it will not risk its now over-hyped “modern military” only to be exposed by even the parana-model old F-16s and of course the F-22s and the stealth capabilities of the US. But will Trump risk making his master Putin angry? Putin is trying to restore the lost Russian pride of the Soviet days; but its military capabilities are still limited. It cannot even project power the way US does; Remember soon US will have a base footing in Trincomalee too.

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    1

    Operation Mole Cricket like actions will be taken to totally freeze the old Anti Aircraft and Radar capabilities of a very third world military before US strikes. Mr. David, go read up on the Bekaa valley brilliance of the Israeli Airforce; the best airforce in the world! Their “top of the line” fighter aircraft are 23 Sukhoi-30s. They are no match even for the F-16 Falcons. They do have a few old F-16s too, but without eyes in the sky, a modern Airforce will not be able to fight. This is not World War II over London Comrade David. Aircraft are shot down with over the horizon missiles by the enemy. For the same reason Sri Lanka cannot fight India in the Air, Venezuela cannot match the US; you can hope for your Bolivarian guerilla wars but I somehow doubt if the people there are like the Jihadis in Iraq or Syria.. My bets are on US but IF and only if Putin Maama will not assert himself and put pressure on his servile pupil Trump not to listen to John Bolton Appuhamy: one of the nuttiest war mongering national security advisors. Soon they will also focus on Cuba and Iran….Russia is likely to draw the line on Iran because it has a border with Iran. But with Venezuela it is just trying to show their relevance in still a mono-polar world when it comes to military power. Comrade David, take your socialist internationale and go man the barricades in Caracas! fight the imperialist yankee now.

  • 3
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    This is Tribalist TRotsky’s pro-USA, pro and prop western analysis. US has openly told about taking over Venuzulan Oil assets and USA is in discussion with American Oil companies. USA does not want to suceed a theftist ideology in their backyard. Now, it looks EU and CANADA also have joined. USA got the approvalof some LAtin american countries to accept the so-called opposition leader as the President. Iam wondering what Russia and IRan has in store. whether it is just talk or just action. Turkey is also with the above duo. I think Sri lanka will have some of those, if Sri lanka doe snot follow their daily instructions. I heard the Humanitarian convoy coming from Colombia has lot of ammunition. both Columbia and NExt door neighbour which had Santinista gurilla have lot of weapons I suppose.

  • 3
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    David is known for his stupid political analyses and predictions.
    =
    But he has reached a new low with this justification for a neocolonial Jewish plot in a poor, but principled Latin American country.
    =
    The first joke about the American shit machine led by DonaldTrump talking about democratically winning elections is that Trump polled 4.5 million votes less than Hilary Clinton, (not that America would have been any better under that witch), and still ended up becoming president with the corrupt electoral vote system. But he showed his dirty genitals to ‘appoint’ a lackey as president and worsen the suffering of poor Venezuelans by further buggery. American Black media is providing grossly exaggerated lies about the shortages, riots and military defections. Other former colonisers Britain, France and other Jewish European states have egged him on. Israel is fully involved in this plot because the cabal of 1% behind it are descendants of Spanish Jewish colonisers.
    =
    No matter what, the bastards will not be able to topple Nicolas Maduro because the 99% poor Venezuelans and the armed forces are fully behind him. Maduro who was chosen by the late great Hugo Chavez to continue with the Bolivarian Revolution and the the Fifth Republic Movement started by the great Chávez and is currently led by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
    =
    The Revolution of President Chavez is founded on the ideology of the great Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar, who fought the Spanish American wars of independence to free South America from from Spanish rule to implement nationalism and a state-led economy, ending injustices to native Latin Americans.
    =
    A so-called ‘analysis’ by a third world lackey (famous for ‘katu sooppu kireema’) will not mean a thing in the final success of this revolution.
    =
    Kudos to the JVP for showing their solidarity with Venezuela and President Maduro by demonstrating before the Neocon fortress at Kollupitiya junction.
    =
    ‘Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana’.

  • 1
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    “When foolish socialists goof, enemies make hay while the sun shines”
    This fitted the leadership of NM, Colvin, Keuneman et al. better than any other, until the CPI(M) screwed itself up in India.
    *
    There were those of the Left who hailed Chavismo as Socialism for the 21st Century. There were others of the Left who did not only nitpick but also did everything to weaken it. Both were wrong. But Chavismo did much for the people in education, health and social welfare. But it relied excessively on oil income. That was its Achilles heel and the oil price collapse was no accident.
    Saudi Arabia flooded the market with excess oil and brought down the price, to its own detriment as well. This is yet another favour that the US owes Saudi Arabia.
    *
    “Maduro was elected for his second term in a sham election and lacks majority public support.” On what is this claim based? Global media stories?
    The MUD “opposition” that convincingly won the Assembly elections in 2015, lost the elections for governorship badly in 2017. Disheartened and disunited, it could not face the Presidential elections in 2018. MUD opted to keep out; and did all what they could to disrupt elections.
    No election in Venezuela since the 1990s was found to be fraudulent or improper by international monitors.
    *
    MUD has been responsible for the high level of crime and hoarding in Venezuela.
    Public support for the ruling PSUV is strong, but pro-government rallies are not shown in the global media. One will notice that supporters are poor and darker skinned than the urban-based middle class that back MUD.
    The way the coup was staged it was abundantly clear that it was planned and executed in Washington. The US was threatening war, and now using “humanitarian aid” to destroy a government that it could not by its sanctions and sabotage in connivance with the Venezuelan Right.

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      SJ,

      The Saudi plan on oil prices was to make it so low that American shale oil producers would make losses and go out of business, so that Saudis would destroy competition and come back stronger, and then gradually raise the prices back to high levels. It didn’t work out that way because the shale oil producers decided to tough it out, and then the Russians and Saudis couldn’t sustain prices below a certain point without it affecting their own economies too harshly.Then came other factors like slow global growth, especially in China, and prices are low again (this time due to normal market forces.)

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        Agnos
        Saudis do not act independently of the US in these matters.

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    Yes Proffosari, this is another good living lessons, what failed socialism could do for the people. It’s very rosy in theory and paper but in practice in the end huge desaster and untold pain for the people. See Norway, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait etc put their oil wealth in their souriegn funds, invested it all over the world in prime assets, and let them accumulate billions for their folks to lead better lives, when the oil runs out. Whereas Chavez and Venezuela went on a merry ride giving everything free – good ride on socialism, and the end results are all to see. Not only they squadared their oil wealth, nationalised all good private industries, businesses and farms which were providing good employments and taxes. Owners of these enterprises pack and left the country for greener pastures but new management lacked the knowledge and skills to run them, and in the end they ran them to the ground. Sad and sorry situation for the people of Venezuela, and those who expect every free in Sri Lanka could learn good lessons.

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    Proffosari, see what socialism do to people. The state took over the tea estates in Sri Lanka but the foriegn owners went to Kenya, and set up tea plantations, now they are our competitors, and beaten us. Malaysia didn’t do this foolish thing, they are thriving, and converted most of their rubber and coca estates to palm oil which needs less maintenance but gives good returns. See we took over the oil companies, Ceyptco is bleeding the country to death. Singapore didn’t do this foolish thing, all those oil companies operating their have four big mega oil refineries which made them a major oil trading centre and the biggest bunkering port in the world. They did over 54 million tons of bunker last year, and just imagine if their government got cut of dollar 10 per ton as taxes, in addition casucading additional benefits to their economy out of it. The British gave the Tricomy oil tanks free which they built in 1932, now which are over grown with forest and getting ruin owing to corrosion, no dog made any noise but when they wanted to it put for good use, all hell got broken out. World is over flowing with oil, and producing countries and traders are hitting their heads to find storage until they find a buyer for they couldn’t shut their oil wells which is a costly option, and take lot of time and money to restarts when the market picks up. See what a fools Sri Lankan, socialist mind, and asserts which could bring millions of foreign exchange which is the oxygen to the ailing economy is getting ruined and idling due to socialist mentality of the people, and when they starve like in Venezuela, they would learn good lessons.

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    Venezuela’s problems are largely the result of dramatic oil-price declines and an inability to keep up with social services initiated by the country’s former president, Hugo Chavez, who sought to uplift the country’s poor.
    Into such economic and social instability, and under the guise of altruism, the US has resolved to get rid of Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, who it terms illegitimate, and replace him with the unknown and unelected Juan Guido, a man of its own preference, who it must deem legitimate.
    A handful of Western countries and others have joined the US efforts, supported by dominant Western media.
    Such media enthusiasm becomes clear if there is awareness that most press barons are also industrial tycoons. Venezuela is rich in land and natural resources.
    This is the second attempt in recent years when the US has sought to interfere in Venezuelan affairs. The first, in April 2002, was closely tied to US government officials with long histories in the ‘dirty wars’ of the 1980s, and with links to death squads working in Central America at that time. That coup against Chavez was dramatically sent into reverse 48 hours later. A casual Web search limited to South America will throw up similar US-initiated or supported regime changes.
    In 1976 the US rushed to support the military dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla in Argentina following overthrow of the democratically elected president, Isabel Peron. Subsequently 30,000 persons went missing. According to Spanish judge Baltazar Garzon, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was witness to many of those crimes.
    In 1973 the CIA-backed a coup d’état against Chile’s President Salvador Allende, consequent to President Richard Nixon’s economic war on the country. That ushered in the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet whose dastardly decades-long rule needs no elaboration.
    The US hand also becomes visible in power grabs in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay.

  • 3
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    Kumar David is unwilling to admit the bitter truth, that it is basically socialism, in both its proper sense of state ownership of assets through nationalisation and its popular but wrong sense of social welfare practised in unsustainable proportions, that ruined Venezuela.

    When KD writes, “When foolish socialists goof…,” he is guilty of a redundancy, for all socialists are foolish for continuing to believe in a political philosophy that has failed everywhere it has been tried. There are no wise socialists. Doubtless, KD, too, seems to subscribe to the oft-repeated defence by diehard socialists that socialism has not failed because it has never been properly implemented anywhere.

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    Here’s some good advice for Kumar David and those like him.

    https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/i-oppose-interventionism-but-but-nothing-dont-be-a-pro-bono-cia-propagandist-26633bd33ee9?fbclid=IwAR0bCfbv4MvGFUhN6WUPmbiyBTt9q3qZ5uojB1cQEc9CqnGzncQU5t7aYtE

    “I Oppose Interventionism, But-” But Nothing. Don’t Be A Pro Bono CIA Propagandist.

    Caitlin Johnstone
    Feb 2

    • 0
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      Great article but I think only Divine Retribution will stop the West

  • 3
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    Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

    Gota should send in his smart Sinhala/Buddhist patriotic fascist forces to protect Venezuelan patriotic, socialist, people army. Should it happen all vulnerable female children and adults should leave that country.

    • 2
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      Are you the real Native Vedda, or a not-so-smart impersonator!

      • 2
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        Thappu

        I was appealing to the women and children of Venezuela to leave the country if Gota’s goons do arrive there under the pretext of saving them.

  • 1
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    Comrade David, do you have any real models of socialist success without government subsidies and price controls? USA is coveting the oil reserves. Where it backfired on Chavez was with the nationalising of energy industry. CITGO was a huge Venezuelan partnered Petrol station and distributor chain in the USA; now it is in tatters. Oil prices were brought down because US’s BFF and Arab Wahabi Tyranny Saudi Arabia is also in tandem with US. General world benefits from lower Oil prices(including Sri Lanka, China and India) but it affects the nations which are totally dependent on oil exports like Venezuela. Their subsidy programs were thought of at $110 to $140 a BBL but now they are in trouble. However, remember John Bolton Appuhamy is the biggest war monger National Security advisor to a know nothing Dunning-Kruger Syndrome President Trump Seeya;. But Russia may talk common sense into Trump because he is beholden to Putin Maama for getting him elected in a brilliant social media led campaign; irony is in Sri Lanka US led the brilliant social media/fake news campaign that saw Yahapaalana yugaya. Comrade please list successful independent socialist nations. Even Saudi Arabia was in trouble when oil prices went low but they are in total cahoots with the US; they even had budget deficits for the first time. However KSA is trying desperately to diversify their oil dependent economy with plans to even manufacture weapons and chemicals based on oil. Venezuela is 97% dependent on oil exports for revenue. So such countries have suffered, because they failed to diversify. Remember US took revenge on Sri Lanka when it nationalized the oil industry? Venezuela is ten thousand times more important and is refusing to be a vassal state to US interest. Do not be shocked if a Gulf of Tonkin like canard or even worse, a Gleiwitz incident is created on Venezuela’s borders with Colombia.

    • 0
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      MR
      Socialism is not about subsidies.
      People mostly paid their way in every socialist country.
      Where does money come from to subsidize?
      Free education, free healthcare and subsidized transport exist in advanced capitalist countries as well.
      Would you call France or Germany socialist?
      *
      As for diversification there is need for essential input. Venezuela invested its oil profits in education and health and eradication of poverty.
      Were things one bit better for the people before Chavez.
      Imperialism chokes countries that defy it and blames the victims for economic failure.

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    https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/hugo-chavezs-revenge-will-venezuela-be-bridge-too-far/ri26223?fbclid=IwAR2oiXA5jkknrIQbw6cMmx6BoyUCRTvoNp60j-Aa9ivpzW6k75Lnc67Y2Jo

    Hugo Chavez’s Revenge: Will Venezuela Be a Bridge Too Far?
    A steady drip of fake news and outright lies to manufacture consent for war
    Peter Koenig Sat, Feb 9, 2019 | 2400 words 5,491 141

  • 1
    1

    What is happening in Venezuela is a ‘counter class struggle.’ With supposedly the largest oil resources in the world, the country plunged into an economic crisis not just because of the ‘socialist’ administrative failures but mainly because of the ‘neoliberal’ international interventions led by the US. The government was forced to increase taxes massively of the rich and the upper middle classes as a result. They are the backbone of the present ‘counter class struggle.’ I am very familiar with this country having been once the officer in charge of human rights (not merely middle class rights!) of the World University Service (Geneva) in 1980s particularly in Latin America. Of course there is a massive humanitarian crisis at present in the country. Donald Trump who wanted to build a wall between the US and Mexico, now wants Venezuela to open the border with Colombia! His envoy has prosed a resolution in the UN Security Council for a so-called humanitarian intervention with aid and assistance. As the President of the International Red Cross, Francesco Rocca, has expressed, there can be doubts about what contains in these parcels. There are serious doubts about instigating an internal armed struggle prior to direct US armed intervention. I have no doubts about US intentions in Latin America. In December 1989, I even heard the US gunfire when my friend from Panama, Marco Ganduzi, called me and allowed me to hear the gunshots when the US intervened. US and others allies are calling for a fresh elections for the Presidency. Undoubtedly, elections are not free and fair in these countries. However, how come that elections for the National Assembly was fair, but Presidential election was fraud?

    • 0
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      Between the two elections there was one for governors which was won hands down by PSUV.
      That was why the opposition did not contest the presidental poll.

  • 1
    1

    “The Simple Reason Why Venezuela Collapsed”.
    When any nation challenge the Western hegemony and threaten the oil production, supply and distribution, that nation’s collapse will be imminent and their downfall will come in brass plated lettering as being “Made in the West”. If the US can profit from war, then one finds a different dog tag or PIGS tag with the letters “Made in USA”. This was no surprise to Mr. Chavez as he saw this downfall just like Saddam Hussein when both Saddam and Chavez decided to ditch the US dollar. Chavez sent a dagger through the gut of the US. Maduro followed the same mistake by sending that Chavez dagger much deeper into the USA by wanting to bypass US sanctions. Maduro wanted to follow the foot steps of the EU to bypass sanctions on Iran. Whether Maduro should stay or go is a decision that only the Venezuelan people can decide. Not a decision for the West to become the unilateral policeman for regime change. This is why Turkey and many nations are opposed to the Western approach. The US acts as if she is a self appointed czar of the Third Reich to do what they please in the name of capitalism, free market and democracy (more the proliferation of demoCRAZY). The Nutt(z)y John Bolten said the other day that “our interest in Venuzuela is to profit…” hinting at the vast oil reserves and mineral wealth and geo-strategic interests “. At least one must credit these neo-Nazi conspirators for their ‘Glasnost’ moment. After all, they are both “high on God” in Trump’s “crack house”.

  • 3
    0

    ramona great grandma therese fernando

    “It wasn’t given a chance by the Colombo elite. It didn’t go past the planning stage.”
    -.
    Was it too short for Socialism to take root and benefit the people between 1956–1959, again between 1960-1964 and again 1970-1977, more than enough time for the state to wither away.

    We loved the Hahatta Hakkuru days, long queues to buy essentials, acute shortage for everything from A to Z, ………………..
    You must have missed those highly productive years, during which our people invented many things.

    Pleas find out from SJ.

  • 0
    1

    Socialism my foot. I see all the experts including Laksiri and DJ has come out of their a/c rooms in one voice. Why discuss about Venezuela when you have your home grown shit from the back yard “The Socialist Republic Lankawe” ???? Regarding Venezuela I already wrote my comments months ago. I had visited the country few times for extensive periods and have known families for years. Mano,s take on Chavez/Madero are pretty correct.

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    How oil prices are being manipulated is well known secret and how it affects
    global economy according to various levels are also well known . But countries
    do adjustments according to their capacities . Venezuela , an oil producing
    country passed its vast oil income to the needy as much as it can , maybe the
    maximum it could . It could be called populism or socialism or any other but it
    did the right thing without thinking twice ! Maybe it thought TOMORROW IS
    ANOTHER DAY AND WHY WORRY NOW AND ENJOY THE MOMENT ! Does
    anyone imagine that you fill the coffer for tomorrow and let the people suffer
    today ? You cannot let the people suffer while having pocket full of money .No
    question it could have been managed better but it’s a gamble you will take at
    some point , as Mahinda went to election two years earlier ! Tamil Nadu offers
    goodie to voters at every election and this is what Mahinda & Co tried and lost !
    In our country both major parties are second to none in offering some kind of
    Goodie bag to win election ! Our parties don’t work for the development of the
    country , they work to remain in power and to come back to lost power . If
    anyone imagines that amassing wealth alone can develop a country then Saudi
    must be a developed country today . No , wealth alone won’t develop a country .
    No , your strategic location won’t always help ! No , not another country will want
    to see you grow at their cost ! People are free to dream on in democracy !

  • 0
    0

    One way to intervene militarily will be with staged conflicts on their border with Colombia. Colombia is solidly in the US camp now with a rightwing government. Remember Gleiwitz? remember Gulf of Tonkin canard? Also remember Bay of Pigs. They will use “freedom fighters” armed and trained by special interests to attack or provoke attacks. Or even better stage attacks. That gives them the perfect alibi to intervene to “protect a friend and ally”.. Remember Gleiwitz. Armed clashes will start soon. Sad and more misery on the people of Venezuela. I also had a brilliant former student who also was my Teaching Assistant; she is now in Norway. She too does not like what Chavez-Maduro did to Venezuela. I value and get her opinions and those of my former neighbors who live in Maracaibo better than those of Comrade David. Mom is a PhD in Chemical Engineering, daughter a doctor and son who we lovingly referred to as “skunk man” (because he was sprayed by a skunk in our neighborhood when he was little and our kids were playing with them). Skunk odour is so hard to wash off and reeks the entire neighborhood. What has been happening in Venezuela within, and with US backed dirty games stinks more than a skunk’s spray.

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