Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cuba bites the bullet on human rights. Venezuelans await a miracle.

In serious, Barack Obama did take a bold step in a good direction. Cuba had to bite the bullet and accept that the United States internal affairs are their own business.

I'm half seriously starting to suspect that indeed, there are humanoid reptilians among us and in power in most places. Cold blooded and without true human emotions. 

Today I saw a picture of a sonagram of the soon to be born child of my wife's favorite nephew in Venezuela. I also saw pictures taken today of the nephew and mother to be. They are skinny as rails, it's sad, angering and upsetting.  When I saw them 14 months ago he was a muscled young man, a construction laborer.

They are both anemic.  Amazing, in Venezuela you can get a sonogram done but can't find enough food , or medicine, or supplements. 

Venezuela was an oil rich country that was awash in cash and all it could buy but four years ago. By the government's incompetence,  or worse, the door was left open for a $450,000,000,000 (!) swindle that leaves Venezuela mired in debt, unable to produce it's own food and medicine and, having stiffed suppliers in Uruguay unable to find food on credit.

Up to this very day connected people are being  given US dollars by the Government for ten bolivars while the illegal parallel market offers 1211,  bolivars per dollar, so the bleeding continues.

A combination of a drought and mismanagement of the Guri Dam, which generates most of the country's electricity,  has led to power and water shutdowns.  The government just gave everyone Easter Week off from work to nurse what's left.

Imagine being pregnant and anemic, having to stand on line in 90 plus degree heat for hours in order to get a bag of flour, some margarine and some cooking oil, dodging thieves on your way to your darkened home that doesn't have even a fan to cool you. As you try to sleep you are being eaten alive by mosquitoes and other little critters,  some cariyng Zika perhaps, or dengi fever, or malaria or chikunguya.

This while your allegedly socialist government and its allegedly democratic opponents talk of reviving the economy but not of tracking down and recuperating the stolen billions.
How are they going to do that. Seriously..


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.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Venezuela and the US Presidential election campaign

Bernie Sanders has been criticized for not taking stances on international issues during this primary election season. He can't be accused of that any longer. In addition to his brave stance against jingoism in this statement it should be remembered that Sanders was the first member of Congress to announce a boycott of the recent "Attack Iran" speech given by Israeli prime minister Netanyahu. 
Clearly for those who oppose the United States policy of meddling in the affairs of other countries and overthrow of foreign governments Sanders is the most reasonable choice of candidate.
Some friends of Palestine actually have been leaning towards the candidacy of Donald Trump,  reasoning that he has not accepted major contributions from donors, explicitly telling Jewish donors that he does not want their money. They overlook Trumps generally USA! USA! chauvinistic approach. In fact Trump has made the obligatory in US politics statement of fealty to Israel. 

Friends of Palestine may seek friends and allies wherever they are. They should be aware that their best friends in the United States are going to be "decent people" and not chauvinists like Trump or white supremacists.

Trump has played the race card with attacks on Mexico,  saying that he will build a wall along the US - Mexico border and that he will force Mexico to pay for this wall. He's called for banning Muslims from entering the United States and has encouraged his following to beat up African Americans at his rallies.

Former Governor of Minnesota, former US Navy Seal and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura says that he may run for the US Presidency if the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton.

The Governor outlines his platform for presidency - if, and only if, he were to run in 2016.
My platform would be simple:
  1. Rebuilding our country: focus on alternative energy sources, and fix our infrastructure.
  2. Getting out of the wars.
  3. Legalizing and ending the war on drugs.
  4. Get the money out of politics and work towards reforming campaign financing.
I would say if you are able to accomplish two out of those four issues, you would go down in history as a great president.

I follow the teachings of Major General Smedley Butler, who wrote:

“To summarize: Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket. 1.  We must take the profit out of war. 2.  We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war.  3.  We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.”

We have so much work to do here in the United States. I’m tired of seeing our resources being used abroad.  Let the world handle their own problems, when it’s clear we have so many of our own.  If we did that, we could fully implement all of Bernie Sanders’ propositions.

Hillary Clinton,  inveterate liar,  trusted by few, taker of Wall Street bribes and payoffs disguised as honorarium payments for secret speeches she's given, war monger, Israel firster, will lose the election, be it against any Republican.  Many Democratic voters will refuse to follow Bernie Sanders lead if he decides to back Hillary Clinton. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Today is the third anniversary of the death of Hugo Chavez.

I always had different opinions on some things but I have no doubt that Hugo Chavez was a great man of the highest intentions.

Hugo Chavez denounces George W Bush in front of the whole world as the devil incarnate. 

Venezuela provided free heating oil to poor people in the United States.

Now, once again, United States president Obama is threatening Venezuela by renewing his proclamation of a year ago that claims that Venezuela is a threat to the United States. Last year his spokesman assured that the proclamation was not literal, but was a formality to allow sanctions to be put against a few individuals in Venezuela. In other words, a ficton, a lie to get around a legal requirement for doing what he wanted to do in spite of the law. Venezuela never was a threat to the well being of the United States.  The United States is threatening the well being of Venezuela.