Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Venezuela and the US elections part two


It made some sense for Venezuelan President Maduro to reach out to US Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders from his point of view,  though it's doubtful Sanders appreciates the public embrace. 

The US -Venezuela relationship is at a new low while Venezuela's going through an historic crisis. Venezuelans are contending with food and medicine shortages, inflation and political malaise and seeming paralysis. The politics of the country are seemingly polarized between the ruling Venezuelan United Socialist Party and its Patriotic Pole allies on the one side and the Democratic Roundtable on the other. While the polarization seems more apparent than real the crisis couldn't be more real than it is. 

The shortages have been becoming worse, having begun as nuisances at around the time (2013) that Maduro became President  to the present situation when hunger and death due to lack of medicines are stalking the nation. Venezuela is in a serious bind with petroleum prices at seemingly (and hopefully) rock bottom levels. Four years ago petroleum sold for as much as $143 a barrel while today it's selling for around $29. 

Venezuela has depended on oil prices being high. The country exports little else aside from embezzled dollars and young educated people. It's accused of being an export hub for Colombian cocaine, and two nephews of the First Family sit in jail in New York awaiting trial for attempting to smuggle cocaine into the United States. 

Just thiis week 28 illegal gold miners apparently were murdered, their bodies first put on public parade cut up with chain saws and buried in a still to be uncovered mine. (Breaking news- bodies have been uncovered in recent hours). Venezuelan officials at first negated the reports and street protests about the apparent massacre. Accusations are being made that military and police were complicit in what were being called dissappearances and a "virtual massacre." These events unfolded soon after the announcement of a multi billion dollar mining deal. 
Venezuela will get $5 billion in investments as part of a settlement deal with Canada's Gold Reserve (TSE:GRZ), 

On top of all of this, President Obama has renewed an absurd year old proclamation that labels Venezuela an existential threat to the United States.  President Maduro countered by removing Venezuela's Charge d'affairs from Washington. The two countries have been without accredited ambassadors for four years. 

President Maduro called a protest against the proclamation on Saturday that reportedly was poorly attended. The opposition called a protest to demand President
Maduro resign at the same time and it was reportedly even more poorly attended.

Both sides seem to be united in a determination that Venezuela make payments of nine billion dollars  in international debts.

Only a politically excluded minority is call for a thorough public audit of what they say has been an embezzlement of $450,000,000,000, the equivalent of nine years of imports into the country.

This group, Socialist Tide and it's allies actually have a lot in common with the sentiment that is fueling Bernie Sanders ' campaign.