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14 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

Right.  Prysner addressed this here.  The constituent assembly was created legally based on the Constitution that had been ratified in 1999.  Anyone and everyone was welcome to run in the constituent process.  It was created as an effort to abridge peace between opposing demographics- streets were being set ablaze, death and destruction was happening- the opposition parties boycotted the process altogether.  

They may very well have been "sham" elections for all I know.  But Maduro's claim to legitimacy is a damn sight better than Guaido's.  

As Alfred de Zayas, United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, tweeted: “Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution is inapplicable and cannot be twisted into legitimizing Guaidó’s self-proclamation as interim President. A coup is a coup.”

Eh, I'll confess to not having a YT account. Something written would be nice.

But if he's telling you that the president could just do whatever he wants, that's not a democracy and it's also not accurate as far as the VZ constitution is concerned as it puts the elections solely in its purview.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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6 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Eh, I'll confess to not having a YT account. Something written would be nice.

But if he's telling you that the president could just do whatever he wants, that's not a democracy and it's also not accurate as far as the VZ constitution is concerned as it puts the elections solely in its purview.

Chapter III: National Constituent Assembly

Article 347: The original constituent power rests with the people of Venezuela. This power may be exercised by calling a National Constituent Assembly for the purpose of transforming the State, creating a new juridical order and drawing up a new Constitution.

Article 348: The initiative for calling a National Constituent Assembly may emanate from the President of the Republic sitting with the Cabinet of Ministers; from the National Assembly, by a two-thirds vote of its members; from the Municipal Councils in open session, by a two-thirds vote of their members; and from 15% of the voters registered with the Civil and Electoral Registry.

https://venezuelanalysis.com/constitution/title/9

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17 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

They may very well have been "sham" elections for all I know.  But Maduro's claim to legitimacy is a damn sight better than Guaido's.  

As Alfred de Zayas, United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, tweeted: “Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution is inapplicable and cannot be twisted into legitimizing Guaidó’s self-proclamation as interim President. A coup is a coup.”

Btw this is a contradictory statement. De Zaya isn't saying that Guaido was illegimately elected, I think he concedes he was elected properly to the Assembly. His point is that Art. 233 only applies to unavailable presidents. The Assembly's argument is that Maduro was - as you indicate may indeed be the case - installed by a sham election, then he is in fact not president legally and thus there is no president. It's a good point and IMO correct. You can disagree that's fine but there's obviously an argument there. It's also a pretty simple rule of all western democracies that legislatures can ultimately remove presidents. That's true here, the UK and everywhere with normal republican democracy.

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4 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

Article 347: The original constituent power rests with the people of Venezuela. This power may be exercised by calling a National Constituent Assembly for the purpose of transforming the State, creating a new juridical order and drawing up a new Constitution.

Article 348: The initiative for calling a National Constituent Assembly may emanate from the President of the Republic sitting with the Cabinet of Ministers; from the National Assembly, by a two-thirds vote of its members; from the Municipal Councils in open session, by a two-thirds vote of their members; and from 15% of the voters registered with the Civil and Electoral Registry.

That would allow for a 1999 style referendum - which did not happen.

And to get around the fact that he could not get any of the triggers in 348 Maduro created, by his own order, an alternate assembly election - in which - no opposition was allowed to run. Do you care to touch that one?

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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3 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Btw this is a contradictory statement. De Zaya isn't saying that Guaido was illegimately elected, I think he concedes he was elected properly to the Assembly. His point is that Art. 233 only applies to unavailable presidents. The Assembly's argument is that Maduro was - as you indicate may indeed be the case - installed by a sham election, then he is in fact not president legally and thus there is no president. It's a good point and IMO correct. You can disagree that's fine but there's obviously an argument there. It's also a pretty simple rule of all western democracies that legislatures can ultimately remove presidents. That's true here, the UK and everywhere with normal republican democracy.

He said Article 233 is inapplicable.  Meaning that there is no application of Article 233, that it is not "legitimizing" of "Guaidó’s self-proclamation as interim President," and called it a coup. 

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3 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

He said Article 233 is inapplicable.  Meaning that there is no application of Article 233, that it is not "legitimizing" of "Guaidó’s self-proclamation as interim President," and called it a coup. 

I saw that, and my point is if the President was illegally elected there is no president, he’s thus unavailable, so it does apply. You don’t have to agree but at least understand the argument the Assembly is making. I certainly see the Maduro argument, I don’t agree with it but I understand it.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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19 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:
22 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

He said Article 233 is inapplicable.  Meaning that there is no application of Article 233, that it is not "legitimizing" of "Guaidó’s self-proclamation as interim President," and called it a coup. 

I saw that, and my point is if the President was illegally elected there is no president, he’s thus unavailable, so it does apply. You don’t have to agree but at least understand the argument the Assembly is making. I certainly see the Maduro argument, I don’t agree with it but I understand it.

The problem as I see it is that Venezuela's constitution has numerous provisions that deal with an unavailable/incapacitated president, but it doesn't contain any language regarding a president who was elected through a stolen election.

So, the assembly is trying to apply the "unavailable" provision to a president who is, literally, available.

My question is: doesn't the assembly have the ability to impeach?

Also, my understanding is that Venezuela's constitution only allows Guadio to be interim president for 30 days. So what happens at the end of the 30 days? Can the assembly just vote him as interim president again, for another 30 days?

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25 minutes ago, [scooter] said:

Also, my understanding is that Venezuela's constitution only allows Guadio to be interim president for 30 days. So what happens at the end of the 30 days? Can the assembly just vote him as interim president again, for another 30 days?

The interim president should call for and hold a presidential election to select a new leader.

In a true fair and properly run election, Maduro would likely lose. As I've said, he's lost the will of the people. You can't starve the population and disrupt order like he has in the last 2 years and expect to win a fair election.

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2 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I saw that, and my point is if the President was illegally elected there is no president, he’s thus unavailable, so it does apply. You don’t have to agree but at least understand the argument the Assembly is making. I certainly see the Maduro argument, I don’t agree with it but I understand it.

You said it was a contradictory statement though.  It really wasn't.  All I was saying wrt "sham" elections was that I don't know for a fact that the election process was entirely valid- I accept that Mike Prysner has biases, just like opposition-sourced reporting is biased.  And newspapers with editorial boards who just so happen to cheerlead every regime change operation the US engages in have biases.  I'm just conceding that it's possible.  

De Zayas seems about as close as it gets to an independent and reputable take on this.  

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Here's the thing, coup or not (and I'm not saying it is), Maduro and his band of autocratic thugs have to go. The country is in shambles.  The people are suffering.  Removing sanctions imposed by the US and the West won't change that. Only a change in leadership will move the country forward into a new era beyond the failed system.

Edited by The Z Machine
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1 hour ago, The Z Machine said:

Here's the thing, coup or not (and I'm not saying it is), Maduro and his band of autocratic thugs have to go. The country is in shambles.  The people are suffering.  Removing sanctions imposed by the US and the West won't change that. Only a change in leadership will move the country forward into a new era beyond the failed system.

Hard to believe it has been almost 6 years since he took power.

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As a former UN special rapporteur, the coup in Venezuela reminds me of the rush to war in Iraq

Oil rich states such as Iraq and Libya were devastated after concerted campaigns of misinformation. US attempts to provoke conflict in the Latin American country have marked similiarities

Alfred de Zayas @Alfreddezayas
The Independent Voices

There is nothing more undemocratic and corrosive to the rule of law than a coup d’état. Members of the United Nations are bound by the Charter, articles one and two of which affirm the right of all peoples to determine themselves, the sovereign equality of states, the prohibition of the use of force and of economic or political interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Yet these fundamental principles of international order are being grossly violated in the case of Venezuela.  

The international community witnessed a revolt against the UN Charter when in 2003 the United States together with the “coalition of the willing” decided to invade Iraq, a war which the late secretary general Kofi Annan described as illegal. This massive act of aggression was probably the most serious violation of the Nuremberg Principles since the Second World War. What shocks the conscience is not that the United States would place itself above international law, but that it dragged 42 countries into this destructive looting campaign. The war was preceded by an ocean of fake news and disinformation, intended to make the aggression more palatable to world public opinion. War crimes and crimes against humanity were committed for which no political leader has been held accountable. One may ask, is the International Criminal Court credible, when it has thus far only focused on African politicians, and has failed to investigate or indict leaders of powerful countries, who have hitherto enjoyed total impunity?

In 2011 another oil rich state was devastated, Libya, with the aggression similarly preceded by systematic governmental and media disinformation. Today’s crisis in Venezuela has much in common with the prior aggressions against the two other oil-producing countries.

One would think that the human rights community is committed to advancing the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of all without discrimination. Their silence in the face of the enormous suffering inflicted on the Venezuelan people by the United States is nothing less than appalling. The economic war against Venezuela, carried out not only by the United States, but also by the Grupo de Lima in clear violation of Chapter 4, Article 19 of the OAS Charter, the financial blockade and the sanctions have demonstrably caused hundreds of deaths directly related to the scarcity of food and medicines resulting from the blockade.

It is all too obvious that the intention of the sanctions has been to asphyxiate the Venezuelan economy in the expectation that the Venezuelan people or the Venezuelan military will topple the Maduro government. This kind of interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela is not only contrary to fundamental principles of international law, but it also gives rise to personal criminal liability.  To the extent that the number of victims of the artificial “humanitarian crisis” continues to grow, this is a matter for the International Criminal Court pursuant to article 7 of the Rome Statute, which defines “crimes against humanity”.

The report of my UN mission to Venezuela was presented to the Human Rights Council on 10 September 2018. Among the many constructive recommendations formulated in my report was the revival of the dialogue between the opposition and the government.  Already between 2016-2018 the former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero hosted a multilateral mediation in which the Vatican and six Latin American states participated. 

After two years a reasonable compromise document was agreed upon, and on the day of signature, 6 February 2018, Julio Borges, the representative of the opposition refused to sign. This can only be qualified as a grave manifestation of bad faith.

 Of course, we know that the Venezuelan people are polarised, but this does not mean that we should allow this situation to degenerate into civil war. The opposition should remember that, whatever happens in the next few weeks, there are at least 7 million Venezuelans who are committed Chavistas and who are not likely to roll over after a coup d’état. Any democratic government in Venezuela must keep in mind that it must represent all Venezuelans, not only the 1 per cent and the privileged classes. The bottom line is this: international mediation is necessary, and all countries of goodwill should support the initiative of Mexico and Uruguay to hold an international mediation in Montevideo, beginning today. This initiative should also be endorsed by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and by the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

Alfred de Zayas is the former UN independent expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order 2012-2018

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I think that’s the first article I’ve read that described the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as “artificial”.

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27 minutes ago, jonessed said:

I think that’s the first article I’ve read that described the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as “artificial”.

It’s incredible. People are starving, the government won’t let food or humanitarian supplies in, yet ren hoek continues to argue that Maduro is legitimate and that this is our fault, amd that this is like Iraq. Yet we’re not invading; we’re the ones sending the food and the medical supplies that they’re not letting in. 

A legitimate government doesn’t let their people starve. They don’t suppress their political opponents. 

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6 minutes ago, timschochet said:

It’s incredible. People are starving, the government won’t let food or humanitarian supplies in, yet ren hoek continues to argue that Maduro is legitimate and that this is our fault, amd that this is like Iraq. Yet we’re not invading; we’re the ones sending the food and the medical supplies that they’re not letting in. 

A legitimate government doesn’t let their people starve. They don’t suppress their political opponents. 

Amen.

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19 hours ago, ren hoek said:

You said it was a contradictory statement though.  It really wasn't.  All I was saying wrt "sham" elections was that I don't know for a fact that the election process was entirely valid- I accept that Mike Prysner has biases, just like opposition-sourced reporting is biased.  And newspapers with editorial boards who just so happen to cheerlead every regime change operation the US engages in have biases.  I'm just conceding that it's possible.  

De Zayas seems about as close as it gets to an independent and reputable take on this.  

If you're conceding it's possible the presidential election was illegal, then you're conceding that Guaido and the Assembly may be in the right.

I wasn't making a point about credibility of the source but actually no, I don't think de Zayas is independent. It's sad, because I support the UN, but the human rights council has in the last 10 years or so been controlled by autocratic regimes seeking to defend and justify their behaviors, not reform them. De Zaya does not appear to be a believer or supporter of democracy generally.

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56 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

De Zaya does not appear to be a believer or supporter of democracy generally.

Ok 

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13 hours ago, timschochet said:

It’s incredible. People are starving, the government won’t let food or humanitarian supplies in, yet ren hoek continues to argue that Maduro is legitimate and that this is our fault, amd that this is like Iraq. Yet we’re not invading; we’re the ones sending the food and the medical supplies that they’re not letting in. 

A legitimate government doesn’t let their people starve. They don’t suppress their political opponents. 

 

13 hours ago, Sand said:

Amen.

It is like Iraq in a sense.  Regime change for oil.  Big Media manufacturing consent for another US intervention.  Total lies and distortion in the runup to conflict.  The real difference is the pretext for overthrowing it.  Their ability to market this to people is nothing short of phenomenal.  

They are not 'letting their people starve' in the face of humanitarian aid Tim.  It's a PR stunt to arm the opposition, just like the last time they used 'humanitarian aid' to send weapons to rebels.  What exactly do you think it is we've been doing in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen, Syria?  Baking them cookies?  You could at least understand why someone might be skeptical.  It's the same guy even!  How can you trust Bolton/Abrams' intentions so easily?

End the blockade, end the coup, stop meddling in their country.  Then there can be a real dialogue about human rights.  

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3 hours ago, ren hoek said:

Here's what actual Venezuelans are saying

https://youtu.be/-LT_O7tI3DY

Did they also talk to the 10% of the population that has already fled the disasterregime and are cluttering up neighboring countries?

Edited by msommer

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6 hours ago, msommer said:

Did they also talk to the 10% of the population that has already fled the disasterregime and are cluttering up neighboring countries?

Not to mention that the brain drain is real in the diaspora.  A lot of professionals - educated, trained, and contributing to Venezuelan economy before they left are now plying their trades elsewhere (Colombia, Panama, Peru, Mexico, USA, Spain).  That was a significant percentage of the early departures.  These were the people best placed to help rebuild the economy.   They also pulled their capital out of the country (or at least what was left). Furthermore, their children were displaced from Venezuela.  Children that are now unlikely to contribute to rebuilding the economy in 2025 - 2050.

The middle and professional class has been hollowed out by the economic and political realities of Venezuela over the last 10 years.

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11 hours ago, ren hoek said:

Regime change for oil. 

While I'm sure there are private companies that will want their repatriated pieces back (or due compensation, like what Exxon is suing for), the thought that we're angling to loot Venezuela's oil in a governmental sense is completely ridiculous.  This is Alex Jones land.

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Glenn Greenwald‏ @ggreenwald 

If you want to know what real "meddling" looks like - not the kind with primitive phishing emails & Facebook ads but CIA death squads, massacres, genocide & coups - study the history of Elliott Abrams, now leading the "humanitarian" regime change effort in Venezuela.

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Democracy Now @democracynow

Streaming now at democracynow.org: We're talking with independent journalist @robvato about the record of Trump's Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams on mass killings and human rights abuses in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala

"He's clearly a sign of U.S. degeneracy," says @robvato on Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams. "His appointment shows that the Trump administration is willing to re-unleash the darkest forces in U.S modern history for war, destabilization and death squads." 

"The entire landscape of El Salvador was dotted with mass graves because of massacres," says @robvato, on Elliott Abrams's role in U.S.-backed violence in Central America in the 1980s. "Then you have Guatemala, where Mayan towns, mostly, were entirely wiped out."

Ronald Reagan and Elliott Abrams "unconditionally" backed former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt during the 1980s, notes @robvato. Montt "perpetrated massacres and wiping out entire towns, and perpetrated 85% of the killings of civilians during the war," he adds.

"When I see Elliott Abrams, i have a very visceral reaction," says journalist @robvato. "I start remembering my most recent visit to the forensics labs in El Salvador, where I saw the skulls that they're still processing of little children killed in El Mozote."

"We're dealing with a situation where not just dark forces of the U.S., but dark forces of Latin America that are linked to extreme violence, are now having suits and ties put on them and put out as leaders of this new Venezuela that they want," says @robvato.

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On 2/12/2019 at 1:12 PM, Franknbeans said:

Nah

~ :35

The only thing I disagree with is "as does the rest of the western world" - no, this insane, imperialist concept is not shared in the western world, it's aberrant and bizarre.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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11 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

We're talking with independent journalist @robvato about the record of Trump's Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams on mass killings and human rights abuses in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala

I know I've said this, but I do agree about Abrams. It's an example of how Trump can screw and corrupt even the most basic, defensible things. - However right now from what I can tell it looks like the US is doing the right thing and taking the right approach.

What a Difference a Day Makes in Venezuela

- This is former Ambassador Feeley, he quit his post in Panama over Trump's antagonism for diplomacy. He's also not a fan of Abrams. I heard him on NPR recently and he seemed to approve of the foreign policy approach by the US with VZ currently underway and he himself said he was as surprised as anyone. - eta - He is against Bolton's little hints at military force though, as should any reasonable supporter of democracy.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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Venezuela’s collapse eclipses post-Soviet crash

A 54% plunge in economic output exceeds previous communist meltdown

Graph 1

Graph 2

Graph 3

 

Venezuela’s economic collapse now exceeds that of the former Soviet Union, suggesting “21st century socialism” may be going the way of its 20th century predecessor. The Latin American state’s gross domestic product has fallen 54 per cent from its 2013 peak, according to calculations by the Institute of International Finance, a Washington-based trade body.

This collapse is now far worse than the 37 per cent peak-to-trough slide of the median former USSR state in the period after the union’s break-up in 1991, according to IIF data. It has even outstripped the 51 per cent slump experienced by Ukraine, the worst hit ex-Soviet state. Venezuela’s meltdown is now the second most severe economic crash in modern history, the IIF believed, exceeded only by the plight of Zimbabwe, where GDP plunged 74 per cent between 1998 and 2009.

“Venezuela’s economic collapse is almost unprecedented in recent history,” said Sergi Lanau, deputy chief economist at the IIF. “Zimbabwe in the last 20 years and the collapse of the Soviet Union are the only comparable episodes.

“GDP has collapsed to a point where it’s almost unthinkable in modern times.” The country, once one of the richest in Latin America and home to the world’s largest proven oil reserves, has been brought to its knees by the socialist “Bolivarian revolution” led by former president Hugo Chávez and his anointed successor Nicolás Maduro, whose ruinous policies, allied to widespread corruption, have ushered in an era of food shortages, hyperinflation, disease and violence. Venezuela stopped publishing official GDP data in 2016 after reporting a 16.5 per cent year-on-year slide, driven in part by a slump in oil prices, the third straight year of contraction. Mr Lanau, a former country economist for Venezuela at the IMF, has calculated his own output figures since, based on measures such as oil production (down 18 per cent last year), car production, which “has fallen to basically zero”, and export data from the likes of Colombia and the US.

He estimated that GDP fell a further 15.5 per cent in 2017 and 20 per cent in 2018 and is on track to contract a further 10 per cent this year. The figures are a little worse than the IMF estimates. The likelihood of regime change in Venezuela has seemingly risen in recent weeks as Juan Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, has been recognised as the country’s legitimate interim leader by a host of western and Latin American states.

But based on the history of severe economic collapses elsewhere, Mr Lanau suggested it may take more than a decade for Venezuela to claw its way back to the peak GDP it enjoyed in 2013, even if a new regime was allowed to enact the correct policies. “It’s not like the standard V-shaped recession in emerging markets, such as in Indonesia in 1998 where it’s only a year and a half of real economic hardship,” he said.

It took the median former Soviet state 12 years to achieve pre-crisis real GDP levels and significantly more in some cases. [This] experience suggests that Venezuela’s recovery . . . is not assured to be fast. Where there has been significant destruction of economic capacity, recoveries can take a long time.” Others are also downbeat about the long grinding nature of any meaningful recovery. Fitch, the rating agency, said in a note that “the successor to the [current] government will face massive political and economic challenges in the following years”, as it attempts to rebuild institutions, combat hyperinflation, revive the oil sector and reduce crime. “We believe it will take several years for most of these challenges to be addressed, and we see significant risk of backsliding on reforms throughout the process,” Fitch added. Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, argued that Venezuela could potentially fair better than the former USSR, given that communism had been entrenched in the latter for 70 years.


This may prove of little benefit to Venezuela’s creditors, however. Mr Glossop estimated that the country owes $70bn on its bonds, plus $30bn to China, $10bn to Russia and a further $10bn to other countries and international organisations, a total he put at 140 per cent of GDP. His analyses of a series of previous debt restructurings, ranging from Ecuador in 1998 to Greece in 2012, based on data from Moody’s, suggests a strong relationship between the public debt-to-GDP ratio and the extent of the writedown. With Venezuela’s debt ratio being towards the upper end of the spectrum, Mr Glossop’s model suggests debt will need to be written down by between 60 per cent and 80 per cent — even if China and Russia could be persuaded to take their share of the pain.

 

 

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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Any recovery can only start with new policies. Odds on Maduro spearheading that?

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11 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

There but for the grace of God (complete luck of the draw) go I.

Any idea if there are relief agencies successfully able to help folks there?

Edited by adonis

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12 hours ago, adonis said:

There but for the grace of God (complete luck of the draw) go I.

Any idea if there are relief agencies successfully able to help folks there?

I will ask my family.

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2 hours ago, Franknbeans said:

Did you actually watch that report from the "Canadian reporter" (who seems to have no trail as a journalist btw)? I stood in a line longer than that for Stones tickets a few weeks back. The interviews include snip, such as "we're not starving" and "we're not fighting with each other". Really? Have you seen the protests against Maduro? You've got a single penny in your pocket that's worth more than the bolivar right now.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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18 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Did you actually watch that report from the "Canadian reporter" (who seems to have no trail as a journalist btw)? I stood in a line longer than that for Stones tickets a few weeks back. The interviews include snip, such as "we're not starving" and "we're not fighting with each other". Really? Have you seen the protests against Maduro? You've got a single penny in your pocket that's worth more than the bolivar right now.

Do you think this could have something to do with crushing sanctions and financial blockade against Venezuela?  The US has no legitimate pretense for further crippling the Venezuelan economy this way.   Sanctions kill.

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18 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

Do you think this could have something to do with crushing sanctions and financial blockade against Venezuela?  The US has no legitimate pretense for further crippling the Venezuelan economy this way.   Sanctions kill.

Different issue. My point is about a totally propagandistic set of claims.

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23 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Different issue. My point is about a totally propagandistic set of claims.

It really isn't.  If you're going to mention how the bolivar has collapsed, at least acknowledge the impact western sanctions have had against VZ economy.  That was the point of them all along- to economically strangle Venezuela into compliance with US interests.  This isn't the first time that mainstream media has advanced a narrative that suited regime change goals.  

Maybe socialism in Venezuela would have collapsed under its own weight.  It could be that Maduro is overwhelmingly unpopular entirely on his own.  But the reason Maduro "has to go" all of a sudden (What if he doesn't?  What if the Chavistas don't want him to?  What is the opposition's real endgame here when their coup doesn't pan out?)  is that US imperial interests- represented by Trump/Bolton/Rubio- see blood in the water. 

The Guaido wing of the opposition- itself opposed by other opposition parties that prefer democratic participation over strongarm tactics, backed by the US, begging for Abrams' "humanitarian aid," and looking to re-establish Venezuelan ties to the apartheid state of Israel- is incredibly unpopular itself.  The majority of Venezuelans oppose US intervention, which Guaido is going out of his way to facilitate.

Don't delude yourself into thinking an administration that talks about Latinos on the border like a violent infestation and backs Saudi Arabia's death and destruction in Yemen gives a crap about the wellbeing of Venezuelans.  They want the oil.  They want a US-subservient axis in Latin America.  Bolton really couldn't spell it out any harder.  That's a far greater threat to peace and stability in the region than Maduro could ever dream of.  

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On 2/15/2019 at 1:11 AM, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Venezuela’s collapse eclipses post-Soviet crash

A 54% plunge in economic output exceeds previous communist meltdown

Graph 1

Graph 2

Graph 3

  Reveal hidden contents

Venezuela’s economic collapse now exceeds that of the former Soviet Union, suggesting “21st century socialism” may be going the way of its 20th century predecessor. The Latin American state’s gross domestic product has fallen 54 per cent from its 2013 peak, according to calculations by the Institute of International Finance, a Washington-based trade body.

This collapse is now far worse than the 37 per cent peak-to-trough slide of the median former USSR state in the period after the union’s break-up in 1991, according to IIF data. It has even outstripped the 51 per cent slump experienced by Ukraine, the worst hit ex-Soviet state. Venezuela’s meltdown is now the second most severe economic crash in modern history, the IIF believed, exceeded only by the plight of Zimbabwe, where GDP plunged 74 per cent between 1998 and 2009.

“Venezuela’s economic collapse is almost unprecedented in recent history,” said Sergi Lanau, deputy chief economist at the IIF. “Zimbabwe in the last 20 years and the collapse of the Soviet Union are the only comparable episodes.

“GDP has collapsed to a point where it’s almost unthinkable in modern times.” The country, once one of the richest in Latin America and home to the world’s largest proven oil reserves, has been brought to its knees by the socialist “Bolivarian revolution” led by former president Hugo Chávez and his anointed successor Nicolás Maduro, whose ruinous policies, allied to widespread corruption, have ushered in an era of food shortages, hyperinflation, disease and violence. Venezuela stopped publishing official GDP data in 2016 after reporting a 16.5 per cent year-on-year slide, driven in part by a slump in oil prices, the third straight year of contraction. Mr Lanau, a former country economist for Venezuela at the IMF, has calculated his own output figures since, based on measures such as oil production (down 18 per cent last year), car production, which “has fallen to basically zero”, and export data from the likes of Colombia and the US.

He estimated that GDP fell a further 15.5 per cent in 2017 and 20 per cent in 2018 and is on track to contract a further 10 per cent this year. The figures are a little worse than the IMF estimates. The likelihood of regime change in Venezuela has seemingly risen in recent weeks as Juan Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, has been recognised as the country’s legitimate interim leader by a host of western and Latin American states.

But based on the history of severe economic collapses elsewhere, Mr Lanau suggested it may take more than a decade for Venezuela to claw its way back to the peak GDP it enjoyed in 2013, even if a new regime was allowed to enact the correct policies. “It’s not like the standard V-shaped recession in emerging markets, such as in Indonesia in 1998 where it’s only a year and a half of real economic hardship,” he said.

It took the median former Soviet state 12 years to achieve pre-crisis real GDP levels and significantly more in some cases. [This] experience suggests that Venezuela’s recovery . . . is not assured to be fast. Where there has been significant destruction of economic capacity, recoveries can take a long time.” Others are also downbeat about the long grinding nature of any meaningful recovery. Fitch, the rating agency, said in a note that “the successor to the [current] government will face massive political and economic challenges in the following years”, as it attempts to rebuild institutions, combat hyperinflation, revive the oil sector and reduce crime. “We believe it will take several years for most of these challenges to be addressed, and we see significant risk of backsliding on reforms throughout the process,” Fitch added. Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, argued that Venezuela could potentially fair better than the former USSR, given that communism had been entrenched in the latter for 70 years.


This may prove of little benefit to Venezuela’s creditors, however. Mr Glossop estimated that the country owes $70bn on its bonds, plus $30bn to China, $10bn to Russia and a further $10bn to other countries and international organisations, a total he put at 140 per cent of GDP. His analyses of a series of previous debt restructurings, ranging from Ecuador in 1998 to Greece in 2012, based on data from Moody’s, suggests a strong relationship between the public debt-to-GDP ratio and the extent of the writedown. With Venezuela’s debt ratio being towards the upper end of the spectrum, Mr Glossop’s model suggests debt will need to be written down by between 60 per cent and 80 per cent — even if China and Russia could be persuaded to take their share of the pain.

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So if Venezuela's economic collapse started in late 2013/early 2014 and the US didn't apply major sanctions related to Maduro's dictatorship until a year later, why are we blaming the US for this situation?

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15 minutes ago, Slapdash said:

So if Venezuela's economic collapse started in late 2013/early 2014 and the US didn't apply major sanctions related to Maduro's dictatorship until a year later, why are we blaming the US for this situation?

Because the US controls the price of oil, duh. One could say the US runs a cartel of oil suppliers.

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8 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

Because the US controls the price of oil, duh. One could say the US runs a cartel of oil suppliers.

The price of oil didn't start collapsing until August of 2014 either.  

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10 hours ago, ren hoek said:

It really isn't.  If you're going to mention how the bolivar has collapsed, at least acknowledge the impact western sanctions have had against VZ economy.  That was the point of them all along- to economically strangle Venezuela into compliance with US interests.  This isn't the first time that mainstream media has advanced a narrative that suited regime change goals.  

Maybe socialism in Venezuela would have collapsed under its own weight.  It could be that Maduro is overwhelmingly unpopular entirely on his own.  But the reason Maduro "has to go" all of a sudden (What if he doesn't?  What if the Chavistas don't want him to?  What is the opposition's real endgame here when their coup doesn't pan out?)  is that US imperial interests- represented by Trump/Bolton/Rubio- see blood in the water. 

The Guaido wing of the opposition- itself opposed by other opposition parties that prefer democratic participation over strongarm tactics, backed by the US, begging for Abrams' "humanitarian aid," and looking to re-establish Venezuelan ties to the apartheid state of Israel- is incredibly unpopular itself.  The majority of Venezuelans oppose US intervention, which Guaido is going out of his way to facilitate.

Don't delude yourself into thinking an administration that talks about Latinos on the border like a violent infestation and backs Saudi Arabia's death and destruction in Yemen gives a crap about the wellbeing of Venezuelans.  They want the oil.  They want a US-subservient axis in Latin America.  Bolton really couldn't spell it out any harder.  That's a far greater threat to peace and stability in the region than Maduro could ever dream of.  

If this is the case, why would Dore launch a whole show off a false premise and pseudojournalism then?

I’ll try to provide a fuller post later, because you raise a load of side points, but I’ll agree that (of course) sanctions have an impact (even as Dore denies that impact). However, the decline in the economy started before the sanctions, and it’s Maduro himself as your own source pointed out who cut off his own border before Trump even came to power.

We can ageee on the despicability of Trump, Bolton and Abrams. However as I’ve often pointed out Trump often seems barely tethered to his own administration. 

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9 hours ago, Slapdash said:

So if Venezuela's economic collapse started in late 2013/early 2014 and the US didn't apply major sanctions related to Maduro's dictatorship until a year later, why are we blaming the US for this situation?

We can’t, not rationally. And I’ll add that the hallmark of VZ’s decline has been more about its character as a kleptocracy or kakocracy rather than its socialism.

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4 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

We can’t, not rationally. And I’ll add that the hallmark of VZ’s decline has been more about its character as a kleptocracy or kakocracy rather than its socialism.

Right.  Not following it closely, I was surprised the decline started before the collapse in oil prices.  It almost seems like Maduro started Venezuela's decline.  That is consistent with the economic data I see, even if it runs counter to what Russian propaganda says.

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15 hours ago, Slapdash said:

So if Venezuela's economic collapse started in late 2013/early 2014 and the US didn't apply major sanctions related to Maduro's dictatorship until a year later, why are we blaming the US for this situation?

Because "we" are ren

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5 hours ago, Slapdash said:

Right.  Not following it closely, I was surprised the decline started before the collapse in oil prices.  It almost seems like Maduro started Venezuela's decline.  That is consistent with the economic data I see, even if it runs counter to what Russian propaganda says.

When you've emptied all savings, the collapse comes quickly. So that points to Chavez' policies as well

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