Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The ground is being laid for a US intervention in Venezuela

The Washington Post, once again, is urging an intervention in Venezuela.

According to the Washington Post editorial opposition members of the National Assembly were in Washington lobbying for intervention.  Interestingly they are said to have cited the embezzlement of hundreds of billions of dollars from Venezuela.  The editorial asserts that the embezzlement is the work of the Chavistas. They are supposedly seeking US assistance in recovering the money. It's interesting , as  they haven't made the embezzlement and recovery much of an issue back in Venezuela.  The assumption that only Chavistas are responsible is not valid. For one thing not all government and central bank employees are Chavistas. The bureaucracy is heavily infiltrated by opponents as well as non political careerists.  The main avenue for embezzlement is the sale of United States dollars for extremely low insider prices to entrepreneurs and foreign businesses operating in Venezuela.  Polar Enterprises,  the major food processor and distributor in Venezuela has been both a target of fierce rhetoric from the government and a recipient of these cheap discount dollars. The dollars either end up sold on the illegal money market for over a hundred times the amount the entrepreneur purchased them from the government for or are used to import food that's supposed to be sold at steep discounts but ends up sold for what the market will bear,
most often in neighboring countries.  

The opposition has organized a popular  recall against President Maduro.  There is and will continue to be controversy over whether the recall is being conducted under the letter of the law and whether the government is unlawfully impeding it. I am not a legal expert who can decide this question but I would imagine that the government will do what it can to delay and derail the recall.  The opposition will angle for United States intervention in the name of democracy. 

The recall is lawful in principle but there are procedures.  This is where the rub is and the cry for intervention under the Organization of American States  Democracy Charter will probably grow out of - a conflict over procedure.