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FWIW, my FIL says that electricity is intermittent in Maracaibo, but it has been on long enough to get fuel for the small generator for his house, and to refuel the generators at the hospital. The issue at hand is that widespread looting is still going on, despite electricity being partially restored. My wife told me (no link, sorry) that something like $50m in goods had been looted, including raiding warehouses for bottled water and other drinks. 

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My thoughts are that Chávez and Maduro and their terms of incompetents have ruined the Venezuelan economy far more than any sanctions from the US.  The thorough corruption and self dealing dwindled th

My father in law just checked in after 50+ hours without power. He's says they expect the outage to last 7 days more. He is without clean water as well. I'm not sure the amount of food he has on

That's actually petty funny. My father in law has been working to get small generators set up in the hospital so that his patients can get dialysis. He actually thinks the number of deaths r

5 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

FWIW, my FIL says that electricity is intermittent in Maracaibo, but it has been on long enough to get fuel for the small generator for his house, and to refuel the generators at the hospital. The issue at hand is that widespread looting is still going on, despite electricity being partially restored. My wife told me (no link, sorry) that something like $50m in goods had been looted, including raiding warehouses for bottled water and other drinks. 

Thanks for the update. Best wishes for your family. Something like this went on during Katrina, but (many) people could always leave. I don't think there's anywhere to evacuate to in Venezuela, and the medical personnel have to stay. Good luck to your family and I hope the regular electricity comes back on, that's key.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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18 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Thanks for the update. Best wishes for your family. Something like this went on during Katrina, but (many) people could always leave. I don't think there's anywhere to evacuate to in Venezuela, and the medical personnel have to stay. Good luck to your family and I hope the regular electricity comes back on, that's key.

Yes, it is similar to Katrina and you're right there are few places to escape. The best place is to join the refugees heading to Colombia. At least they have food, electrical power, and basic medicines.

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1 hour ago, The Z Machine said:

FWIW, my FIL says that electricity is intermittent in Maracaibo, but it has been on long enough to get fuel for the small generator for his house, and to refuel the generators at the hospital. The issue at hand is that widespread looting is still going on, despite electricity being partially restored. My wife told me (no link, sorry) that something like $50m in goods had been looted, including raiding warehouses for bottled water and other drinks. 

I have a hard time seeing how people are keeping it together.  I think I would have have stormed the government offices by now.

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25 minutes ago, jonessed said:

I have a hard time seeing how people are keeping it together.  I think I would have have stormed the government offices by now.

There are few offices open nowadays. And it was never a place where one has easy access to those in power. The offices that have people staffing them also have well paid and well fed military guards with automatic weapons.

Storming the Bastille, this is not.

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I work in an office next to the embassy in Georgetown but have been out of pocket on a project the last two weeks.  Figured something was up when I witnessed a protest out in front yesterday without Secret Service present.  They gone, I think.

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14 hours ago, CletiusMaximus said:

To claim you are being attacked if there is an attack on Venezuela. NATO does it permanently in the Baltics (presumably due to Trump's comments on article 5 being optional)

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On 3/27/2019 at 6:31 PM, ren hoek said:

https://twitter.com/HalfAtlanta/status/1110936345080459265

Currently: imperialist mouthpiece cosplaying as news station MSNBC has the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Guaido labeled as "Venezuelan First Lady" - which is categorically, undeniably false - on live national TV. The actual Venezuelan First Lady is legendary Cilia Flores.

She seems a lot more humble than Flores.

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Venezuelan opposition leader’s wife emerges as potent force

Quote

 

LIMA, Peru (AP) — With her youthful energy and globe-trotting, the 26-year-old wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is emerging as a prominent figure in his campaign to bring change to the crisis-wracked country.

Fabiana Rosales’ age and informal dress, often jeans, while touring Latin America belie an inner toughness and maturity cultivated with her activist husband during violent street protests in Venezuela’s capital. Her husband has since claimed Venezuela’s interim presidency with the support of dozens of nations including the United States, setting up a standoff with President Nicolas Maduro, who refuses to step down amid what he calls an attempted coup.

“Look, I am the wife of President Juan Guaido and I will accompany him on whatever route he takes and we will overcome whatever obstacles we face as we have done through all our years together,” Rosales said during an interview in Peru’s capital of Lima. “But I got involved in politics because I want to change my country.”

“I don’t want my daughter to grow up wanting to leave Venezuela,” she said, a reference to the roughly 3 million Venezuelans who have fled their country amid a collapsing economy, hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicines, and now blackouts .

...

Rosales met her husband at a youth rally for Voluntad Popular, an opposition party she has worked with since her university years. She has become a household name in Venezuela in recent months, standing at her husband’s side in rallies attended by thousands. Recently, she has also taken on the role of international ambassador for Venezuela’s opposition, as her husband becomes bogged down in domestic affairs.

Venezuela’s first lady in waiting has helped her husband look more presidential, says Dimitris Pantoulas, a Caracas-based political analyst.

“She is a professional, young, educated woman, and to a certain extent she is conservative,” Pantoulas said. “That image corresponds to (Venezuelan) stereotypes of what a presidential couple should look like, especially for those in the middle classes.”

In the interview, Rosales say that her “most important role is to be a mother, and I’m also a sister and wife.” ...

...The daughter of a journalist and a farmer from the rural state of Merida, Rosales says she became interested in social issues early as she accompanied her mother to interviews.

She decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and study journalism, but also helped her father transport his crops to Caracas along roads where he was sometimes shaken down by corrupt military guards.

Rosales says she has gone through many of the travails currently faced by Venezuelans, including the harrowing medicine shortages.

Her father died in 2013, after suffering a heart attack. He could have survived Rosales said, but there was no medicine in his village to stabilize him, and no ambulance to take him to the nearest hospital.

“I spent a lot of time in pain, wondering why this had happened to me,” she said. “But now I have taken this as a lesson from life. And I am working for my daughter to inherit a better country.”

 

 

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1 minute ago, ren hoek said:

https://twitter.com/HOVcampaign/status/1103332123619049472

Must watch exchange betwee @StateDeputySPOX Palladino who complains media calls Guaidó "self-appointed" or "opposition leader" instead of "interim president", and @APDiploWriter who points out only 50 countries out of the UN's 190 have recognised him

The Trump administration ain't exactly a nuanced group. I think the prior explanation from Abrams was actually better. He's basically interim president when the government appropriately calls an election per the Assembly's order. - But that's a lot to say.

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Basically it makes more sense in light of the fact that for the Assembly there is currently no legal president. Hence the triggering of the 'in the absence of' language. In such situations the Assembly calls an election, appoint an interim president who takes effect when the government sets the date for the election. Here the government won't follow the Assembly's instruction. So, Guaido waits.

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  • 2 weeks later...

UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions on Venezuela Are ‘Blunt’ Way to Engineer Regime Change, Causing Blanket Starvation

US-led sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) are “playing with fire,” causing blanket starvation, and harming people with no stake in the leadership struggle, warned the United Nation’s special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures.

“I have reviewed sanctions across the world. Very few of them have really been a positive, helpful factor. It’s like going into microsurgery using a kitchen knife. It’s a very blunt tool to achieve the proclaimed objective,” said ambassador Idriss Jazairy in an interview with The Grayzone.

“They usually contribute, and this is the case now in Venezuela, in stimulating more suffering for innocent people that have no axe to grind in the political dissent that exists in the country,” he added.

Jazairy, who monitors sanctions for the UN, joins the first UN official to visit Venezuela for 21 years, Alfred de Zayas, in firmly condemning the measures which both men say are killing Venezuelan citizens.

The special expert called it “bizarre” that, at a time when Venezuela lacks food and medicine, the US and its allies have intervened to restrict access to both critical needs by imposing crushing new sanctions.

Jazairy made his comments just before the UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution by Venezuelaon March 21, by a vote of 27 to 15, condemning the use of unilateral coercive measures like sanctions.

The resolution declared that the Human Rights Council was alarmed at “the disproportionate and indiscriminate human costs of unilateral sanctions and their negative effects on the civilian population, in particular women and children, of targeted States.” It urged states to abide by international law and remove illegal sanctions

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2 hours ago, ren hoek said:

UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions on Venezuela Are ‘Blunt’ Way to Engineer Regime Change, Causing Blanket Starvation

US-led sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) are “playing with fire,” causing blanket starvation, and harming people with no stake in the leadership struggle, warned the United Nation’s special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures.

“I have reviewed sanctions across the world. Very few of them have really been a positive, helpful factor. It’s like going into microsurgery using a kitchen knife. It’s a very blunt tool to achieve the proclaimed objective,” said ambassador Idriss Jazairy in an interview with The Grayzone.

“They usually contribute, and this is the case now in Venezuela, in stimulating more suffering for innocent people that have no axe to grind in the political dissent that exists in the country,” he added.

Jazairy, who monitors sanctions for the UN, joins the first UN official to visit Venezuela for 21 years, Alfred de Zayas, in firmly condemning the measures which both men say are killing Venezuelan citizens.

The special expert called it “bizarre” that, at a time when Venezuela lacks food and medicine, the US and its allies have intervened to restrict access to both critical needs by imposing crushing new sanctions.

Jazairy made his comments just before the UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution by Venezuelaon March 21, by a vote of 27 to 15, condemning the use of unilateral coercive measures like sanctions.

The resolution declared that the Human Rights Council was alarmed at “the disproportionate and indiscriminate human costs of unilateral sanctions and their negative effects on the civilian population, in particular women and children, of targeted States.” It urged states to abide by international law and remove illegal sanctions

Yeah.  You are quoting a very questionable newsource called "The Grayzone" and a a former ambassador from Algeria (known for poor human rights).  Even worse, said Algerian has literally been paid by Russia.  You are spreading Russian propaganda yet again...

 

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Notice how anything that conflicts with slapdash’s regime change talking points is ‘Russian propaganda’.  Sanctions are causing death and starvation in Venezuela, because the legitimate, elected government can’t buy food or medical supplies.  The same thing happened in Iran and Iraq because of US sanctions.  Jazairy is reporting fact.  

Notice how he doesn’t dispute the substance of the article at all.  Just finds some way to link it to Russia and buries his head in the sand in service to Elliott Abrams and John Bolton.  He used to be a real insightful person on here, very sad.  

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15 hours ago, ren hoek said:

US-led sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) are “playing with fire,” causing blanket starvation, and harming people with no stake in the leadership struggle, warned the United Nation’s special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures.

PDVSA is basically a Rosneft subsidiary these days. Revenues are already funneled out of the country. This is a classic imperialist situation where Maduro and his own get what they want and the rest flows out. Same thing is going on in Syria albeit much, much worse. Naturally Wagner and Russian troops have shown up just like Syria as well. The situation is admittedly sad and totally anti-democratic, but the Venezuelan people are already hurt by this situation by Maduro's policies.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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Venezuela has said that more Russian military personnel may arrive to support the Latin American country, where the U.S. has sought to oust the socialist-led government.

Commenting on the presence of up to 100 Russian military personnel who arrived in Caracas last month amid threats of U.S. intervention, Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Gil told Russia's Interfax news agency Thursday that "the group of military specialists is within our agreements and contracts on military-technical cooperation." He said they would remain there "as long as necessary."

Gil then revealed that more troops could be on the way, but "all within the framework of those agreements," which reportedly included the maintanance of S-300 surface-to-air systems sold by Moscow to Caracas under the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

 

Newsweek.

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1 hour ago, ren hoek said:

Notice how anything that conflicts with slapdash’s regime change talking points is ‘Russian propaganda’.  Sanctions are causing death and starvation in Venezuela, because the legitimate, elected government can’t buy food or medical supplies.  The same thing happened in Iran and Iraq because of US sanctions.  Jazairy is reporting fact.  

Notice how he doesn’t dispute the substance of the article at all.  Just finds some way to link it to Russia and buries his head in the sand in service to Elliott Abrams and John Bolton.  He used to be a real insightful person on here, very sad.  

I have addressed the dubious claims that sanctions are the cause of what is happening in Venezuela multiple times in this thread.  The fact is that Venezuela's economic collapse predates those sanctions.  It is primarily driven by a fall in oil prices exposing terrible economic policies.  Chavez and Maduro looted Venezuela's wealth and destroyed their technical capacity to produce oil from their reserves over a decade and half leading up to that. You have ignored those posts.

You posted a bad source with heavily Russian ties.  Yet Again.  Your biased source had little substance. Your post here is nothing more than a thinly disguised personal attack that completely misrepresents my views.

Also, the Maduro government is not legitimate.

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1 hour ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

PDVSA is basically a Rosneft subsidiary these days. Revenues are already funneled out of the country. This is a classic imperialist situation where Maduro and his own get what they want and the rest flows out. Same thing is going on in Syria albeit much, much worse. Naturally Wagner and Russian troops have shown up just like Syria as well. The situation is admittedly sad and totally anti-democratic, but the Venezuelan people are already hurt by this situation by Maduro's policies.

Yep.  This recent Reuters piece was a good, deep read on this subject:  https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/venezuela-russia-rosneft/

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29 minutes ago, Slapdash said:

I have addressed the dubious claims that sanctions are the cause of what is happening in Venezuela multiple times in this thread.

That’s not what Jazairy said.  He said that the sanctions regime is exacerbating the suffering of Venezuelan people.  There is no legitimate basis for the US to impose them.  You misrepresented his position as blaming all of Venezuela’s problems on the sanctions.  But he is factually and morally correct on the devastation that the sanctions are causing.  

Then, you discredited this UN Rapporteur by saying he was “literally paid” by Russia. And then said I was “spreading Russian propaganda”.  That’s where the bad faith started.

In the article you posted, it says: Russia is not alone: Western countries like France, South Korea, and Norway and others regularly give hundreds of thousands of dollars to special rapporteurs, outside of regular U.N. budget allocations. The statement on Friday said 35 percent of the human rights office’s total budget last year came through extra-budgetary support, going to a total of 27 mandate-holders like Jazairy.

“Voluntary contributions are necessary for the proper functioning of the special procedures system, but I reject in the strongest terms accusations that my findings on my visit to the Russian Federation were influenced by funds allocated to my mandate,” said Jazairy.

So by your own measure, the UN is spreading French and Norwegian propaganda as well.  And then you have the gall to say I’m taking personal shots at you.  What a disgrace.  It’s disingenuous, it’s cheap, it’s McCarthyite, but most of all it’s just sad that this Russian boogeyman paranoia has proliferated among what used to be a fairly intelligible left in this country.   

I don’t think I’ve ever said sanctions are entirely to blame for Venezuela’s problems.  But the fact is that the US has been meddling in Venezuelan affairs for well over 15 years.  Washington backed the 2002 coup attempt, they’ve backed far right opposition parties, and now they’re backing the opposition leader they’ve trained, cultivated, and provided material support to for over 10 years.  

You don’t have to support Maduro.  I sure as hell don’t.  But I view a ‘hands off’ approach as a much better alternative to turning Venezuela into another Iraq/Libya/Ukraine/Vietnam.  You should recognize that Guaido is a proxy for US interests (that’s why Trump/Bolton/Abrams Inc. are backing him!), that this woke regime change narrative is a gateway for the neoliberal/colonial empire to plunder Venezuela’s material wealth, and the sanctions regime being enforced is hurting ordinary Venezuelans.  

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CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovicin in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means “resistance” in Serbian, was the student group that gained international fame — and Hollywood-level promotion — by mobilizing the protests that eventually toppled Slobodan Milosevic. 

This small cell of regime change specialists was operating according to the theories of the late Gene Sharp, the so-called “Clausewitz of non-violent struggle.” Sharp had worked with a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, Col. Robert Helvey, to conceive a strategic blueprint that weaponized protest as a form of hybrid warfare, aiming it at states that resisted Washington’s unipolar domination.

Otpor was supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, and Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institute. Sinisa Sikman, one of Otpor’s main trainers, once said the group even received direct CIA funding. 

According to a leaked email from a Stratfor staffer, after running Milosevic out of power, “the kids who ran OTPOR grew up, got suits and designed CANVAS… or in other words a ‘export-a-revolution’ group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions. They are still hooked into U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;).”

Stratfor revealed that CANVAS “turned its attention to Venezuela” in 2005, after training opposition movements that led pro-NATO regime change operations across Eastern Europe.

While monitoring the CANVAS training program, Stratfor outlined its insurrectionist agenda in strikingly blunt language: “Success is by no means guaranteed, and student movements are only at the beginning of what could be a years-long effort to trigger a revolution in Venezuela, but the trainers themselves are the people who cut their teeth on the ‘Butcher of the Balkans.’ They’ve got mad skills. When you see students at five Venezuelan universities hold simultaneous demonstrations, you will know that the training is over and the real work has begun.” //

The “real work” began two years later, in 2007, when Guaidó graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas. He moved to Washington, DC to enroll in the Governance and Political Management Program at George Washington University, under the tutelage of Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists. Berrizbeitia is a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who spent more than a decade working in the Venezuelan energy sector, under the old oligarchic regime that was ousted by Chávez.

That year, Guaidó helped lead anti-government rallies after the Venezuelan government declined to to renew the license of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV). This privately owned station played a leading role in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chávez. RCTV helped mobilize anti-government demonstrators, falsified information blaming government supporters for acts of violence carried out by opposition members, and banned pro-government reporting amid the coup. The role of RCTV and other oligarch-owned stations in driving the failed coup attempt was chronicled in the acclaimed documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/

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16 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

That’s not what Jazairy said.  He said that the sanctions regime is exacerbating the suffering of Venezuelan people.  There is no legitimate basis for the US to impose them.  You misrepresented his position as blaming all of Venezuela’s problems on the sanctions.  But he is factually and morally correct on the devastation that the sanctions are causing.  

Then, you discredited this UN Rapporteur by saying he was “literally paid” by Russia. And then said I was “spreading Russian propaganda”.  That’s where the bad faith started.

In the article you posted, it says: Russia is not alone: Western countries like France, South Korea, and Norway and others regularly give hundreds of thousands of dollars to special rapporteurs, outside of regular U.N. budget allocations. The statement on Friday said 35 percent of the human rights office’s total budget last year came through extra-budgetary support, going to a total of 27 mandate-holders like Jazairy.

“Voluntary contributions are necessary for the proper functioning of the special procedures system, but I reject in the strongest terms accusations that my findings on my visit to the Russian Federation were influenced by funds allocated to my mandate,” said Jazairy.

So by your own measure, the UN is spreading French and Norwegian propaganda as well.  And then you have the gall to say I’m taking personal shots at you.  What a disgrace.  It’s disingenuous, it’s cheap, it’s McCarthyite, but most of all it’s just sad that this Russian boogeyman paranoia has proliferated among what used to be a fairly intelligible left in this country.   

I don’t think I’ve ever said sanctions are entirely to blame for Venezuela’s problems.  But the fact is that the US has been meddling in Venezuelan affairs for well over 15 years.  Washington backed the 2002 coup attempt, they’ve backed far right opposition parties, and now they’re backing the opposition leader they’ve trained, cultivated, and provided material support to for over 10 years.  

You don’t have to support Maduro.  I sure as hell don’t.  But I view a ‘hands off’ approach as a much better alternative to turning Venezuela into another Iraq/Libya/Ukraine/Vietnam.  You should recognize that Guaido is a proxy for US interests (that’s why Trump/Bolton/Abrams Inc. are backing him!), that this woke regime change narrative is a gateway for the neoliberal/colonial empire to plunder Venezuela’s material wealth, and the sanctions regime being enforced is hurting ordinary Venezuelans.  

You rarely talk about Guaido being a US proxy, but fail to recognize that Maduro is a proxy for Russia.  They continue to prop him up. You think the US is trying to plunder Venezuela's material wealth, but you ignore that Russia and Rosneft are doing this and have been doing this for years.  The Reuters piece I posted above makes that very clear.  You talk about the US wanting to send in the military, while Russia has already done that. 

It isn't bad faith nor is it a personal shot to point out that you are posting biased news that is being financially supported by Russia. Russia wants less sanctions on Venezuela for the same reason they want less sanctions on themselves:  so that the oligarchs controlling these firms can increase their wealth.  An approach that lets the Maduro government stay in power without any pressure is an approach that will allow Russia to make more on their investments (actual plundering).  That isn't McCarthyism, that is a fact.

 

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1 hour ago, jonessed said:

So what do we do if Russia sends more military and continues to prop up Maduro?

Saints made a good comparison above to Syria.  The big difference is that there is no terrorism threat to justify getting involved militarily.  Nor is there an actual civil war going on.  Just a complete economic disaster and lots of people suffering or leaving as a result...

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This based on actual documents from inside Roseneft:

The email was among scores of internal Rosneft communications - including presentations, copies of official letters, memos and spreadsheets – reviewed by Reuters. They cover the firm’s operations in Venezuela between 2012 and 2015.

It was a period when other international oil companies had either quit the country or were freezing new onshore investments, worried about the policies of the populist socialist administration. But Rosneft, majority owned by the Russian state, doubled down, increasing its stakes in joint ventures with PDVSA and lending more, the documents show. Rosneft was standing by its Venezuelan partner just as the Kremlin was supporting leader Hugo Chavez and his successor as president, Nicolas Maduro.  

Rosneft has poured around $9 billion into Venezuelan projects since 2010 but has yet to break even, Reuters has calculated, based on Rosneft’s annual reports, its public disclosures and the internal documents.

The Rosneft documents also reveal:

• The Russians believed they were owed hundreds of millions of dollars from their joint ventures with PDVSA.

• Oil output at the joint ventures was far lower than projected.

• The joint ventures struggled to get hold of basic drilling equipment.

• The Russians believed PDVSA spent millions of dollars from one joint venture on “social projects” in a remote area where just a few hundred people lived.

• Managers brought the problems to the attention of Rosneft’s chief executive, Igor Sechin, who ordered measures to right the ship.

Since late 2015, the end of the period covered by the documents, some of Rosneft's problems have eased because it has taken greater shareholder and operational control of its interests. But it remains deeply invested in a company and a country that are in crisis.

The reason Rosneft kept doubling down on its bet was political, according to two people close to the firm and two others with links to the Venezuela projects. State-owned Rosneft was expected to help prop up Moscow's allies in Caracas, these sources said.

“From the very beginning it was a purely political project. We all had to contribute,” said an executive at a Russian oil firm that partnered with Rosneft in Venezuela.

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14 hours ago, jonessed said:

So what do we do if Russia sends more military and continues to prop up Maduro?

Wait until the regime collapses under it's own weight, like Eastern Europe

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A sad part of this article.  I hadn't realized it was accelerating:  

Some 3m — 10 per cent of the population — have left, over the past three years, escaping the worst economic meltdown in Latin American history. It has become the biggest ongoing exodus on the planet, surpassing even those of the Syrians and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The pace is also picking up. The Organisation of American States says the figure could rise to 5.75m by the end of this year and 8.2m by late 2020.

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31 minutes ago, Slapdash said:

A sad part of this article.  I hadn't realized it was accelerating:  

Some 3m — 10 per cent of the population — have left, over the past three years, escaping the worst economic meltdown in Latin American history. It has become the biggest ongoing exodus on the planet, surpassing even those of the Syrians and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The pace is also picking up. The Organisation of American States says the figure could rise to 5.75m by the end of this year and 8.2m by late 2020.

I didn't know it was accelerating either to be honest.  I really only speak to those that have the means to get out but haven't done so for various reasons.

FWIW, my FIL might get a visiting professorship in DF soon, so he'd at least have some income.  This economic disaster essentially liquidated his assets and dissolved his pension.  The only asset of worth is his house and car, and no one is buying property these days.  He may lose his house forever if squatters occupy while he's away.  And who knows how long he'll be away...

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1 minute ago, The Z Machine said:

I didn't know it was accelerating either to be honest.  I really only speak to those that have the means to get out but haven't done so for various reasons.

FWIW, my FIL might get a visiting professorship in DF soon, so he'd at least have some income.  This economic disaster essentially liquidated his assets and dissolved his pension.  The only asset of worth is his house and car, and no one is buying property these days.  He may lose his house forever if squatters occupy while he's away.  And who knows how long he'll be away...

I'm blanking on what you are referring to as DF here.  Mexico City? 

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15 hours ago, msommer said:

Wait until the regime collapses under it's own weight, like Eastern Europe

That took over 35 years.

I figured Maduro was on borrowed time, but if Russia is willing to support him militarily Venezuela could be like this for some time.  What a disaster.

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“I think the administration, as well as the opposition, put too much hope in the military rising up,” said a former senior U.S. official who worked on President Trump’s Venezuela policy. “Hope is not a plan.”

The opposition, whose leader, Juan Guaidó, is now recognized by the United States and several dozen other countries as interim president, while Maduro remains in place, “should have had a plan for [the military], and they didn’t,” said a senior official of one of several Latin American countries hosting the defectors. This official and others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive foreign policy matter.

“We haven’t been able to flip them,” the Latin American official said of the military. “And we’ve been trying and trying.”

Trump administration officials acknowledge that defections are occurring more slowly than anticipated.

“Why hasn’t it broken open yet? Good question,” Elliott Abrams, the administration’s special envoy for Venezuela, said in a meeting in the past week with Washington Post editors and reporters. “It’s open for debate. I’ll give you part of the answer, and it’s the Cubans.”

The administration says that at least 20,000 Cuban military and intelligence agents are embedded in the Venezuelan armed forces. “They are the enforcers. They are the people who are watching generals and colonels like hawks,” Abrams said. “They are the people who are substantially in charge of incarceration and punishment” of Venezuelans seen as disloyal.

The presence of tens of thousands of Cubans in Venezuela is widely acknowledged, although Cuba says most are doctors and teachers, and some U.S. analysts say the number of security officials is far smaller than the administration asserts.

Potential defectors “don’t have communications among themselves,” the Latin American official said, because they are being watched, listened to, and often even lack electricity to charge their phones. “They can’t meet, especially the guys that could have an impact and would be the ones to flip.”

“We’re talking to them, but what has to be done is they have to talk between themselves.”

A 50-year-old Venezuelan army colonel, speaking in Cúcuta, the Colombian border city where most of the defectors are housed, agreed that “there is no communication . . . there is no unity” within the military. The colonel spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the security of relatives in Venezuela.

The reason more do not defect, he said, is “fear that their families will be ruined.”

'Our message to soldiers'

While they are hesitant to criticize, some U.S. officials express exasperation with the Guaidó-led opposition, which they see as failing to win the support of the Venezuelan armed forces even as they demand U.S. intervention.

“The opposition hasn’t gained their confidence,” the former senior U.S. official said, and “has done a lousy job at assuaging their fears.”

Abrams, while treading lightly, concurred. “I would say that Guaidó and the National Assembly,” the opposition-led body that elected him interim president, “manifestly have to make clear to some people in the regime, to the military . . . that they intend a transition of national unity with all parties participating. They’ve said the right things, they have. A reconciliation. No vengeance. I guess it isn’t believed yet.”

For their part, opposition leaders are starting to worry. “We know our message to soldiers is being heard and that there is discontent within the armed forces. But there’s too much surveillance, blackmail and counterintelligence,” said Juan Andrés Mejía, a lawmaker from Guaidó’s Popular Will party, who is in charge of the opposition’s “day after” plan.

“The strategy,” he acknowledged, “hasn’t produced the effect we were looking for.”

But many say that the administration’s strong rhetoric and Trump’s repeated hints of possible U.S. military action, along with economic and financial pressure, led them to expect more from Washington.

“The United States has been an amazing ally, and that’s something we cannot negate,” said Freddy Superlano, another Popular Will lawmaker. “But it’s true that their and the international community’s discourse was very pompous. It’s a little upsetting to some when things are said, with no real immediate willingness to deliver.”

Inside Venezuela, the population is also growing impatient.

“The only thing I hear from the United States is them saying that it’s enough, that Maduro has to leave,” said Orlando Pérez, 53, who said he struggles with food, electricity and water shortages in his working-class suburb east of Caracas. “But if they’re going to take him out, take him out! Don’t keep offering to do things and threatening and then do nothing.”

 

Wapo

- This is an old story in US foreign policy. Pushing for democracy by soft means or aggressive intervention on a sliding scale, but then risking setting up opposition for failure and putting willing actors in harm's way.

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Venezuela skirts US sanctions by channelling oil sales via Rosneft

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Under the scheme uncovered by Reuters, Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has started passing invoices from its oil sales to Rosneft.

The Russian energy giant pays PDVSA immediately at a discount to the sale price – avoiding the usual 30-to-90 day timeframe for completing oil transactions – and collects the full amount later from the buyer, according to the documents and sources.

Major energy companies such as India’s Reliance Industries Ltd - PDVSA’s largest cash-paying client - have been asked to participate in the scheme by paying Rosneft for Venezuelan oil, the documents show.

More money stolen from the Venezuelan people ending in the oligarchs' pockets

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that's how socialism works in the real world

when I lived in Caracas in 1994, it was amazing the numbers of people - young people too - sitting around smoking and drinking all day on the streets. 1/2 the shops in the malls were closed - the police had to be bribed to get anything accomplished. it wasn't pretty then ... i can only imagine it now

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