International week at Caracas Chronicles

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CommAstageThis week, I will be traveling to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to participate in the 2014 Halifax International Security Forum. I’m honored to have been invited, particularly considering the quality of the guests and the interesting topics that will be covered.

Because of this, I figured a change of pace might be nice, so we’re doing “International Week” on the blog this week. This means that every day there will be at least one post with an international flavor, trying to explore Venezuela’s role in the world. Now that the revolution is no longer as popular and deep-pocketed as it once was, can we safely say chavismo is irrelevant in the international stage?

Hardly, and we will try to make the case why. Whether it is the pivotal role it plays in the final act of the Cuban tragedy, the importance of the drug trade in sustaining the regime, its approach to trade, the role played by Brazil, what we can expect from Venezuela’s sojourn at the UN Security Council, its dependency on new BFFs Russia and China, what it thinks about the fight against ISIS, or the rise of Podemos in Spain, Venezuela is no marginal player.

Shoot me some post ideas on the comments section if you’d like.

26 COMMENTS

  1. II think digging deep in the relationship between chavismo and Podemos in Spain is a must. These guys want to replicate there what la peste roja have done in our country.

    Is our duty to denounce, expose and if possible stop these populist ideas spreading throughout the world

    No one deserves its country to be destroyed as these thugs did with ours

    • For the podemos’s wet dream of what they want to make with the whole of Spain, I suggest you folks to take a look at some city called “Marinaleda”, which’s been run by the same major by the last 30 years.

      Google, Wikipedia and other sources can enlighten you a lot more than I can about the place.

    • Folks in Madrid prefer Podemos over both PP and PSOE because the two largest parties are corrupt to the core. At least Podemos wants to wipe out the corruption that is so entrenched in Spanish political culture.

      • I´m actually preparing an article on Podemos and … OMG, it´s worse than I thought. It’s hard-core chavismo, packaged for a young-ish Spanish electorate. Good luck with that…

        • I don’t necessarily support Podemos, but fringe politics is what you get when people are pushed to the limits.

          Just look at Golden Dawn; 4 years of austerity measures, 30% unemployment (60% amoung youths), breakdown of the welfare state, and disgruntled Greeks chose a gang of neo-Nazis and downright gangsters, in the vain beliefs that maybe, just maybe, these thugs could lead them to salvation.

          It’s all same across the Europe. In France the Front Nationale has more support than UMP or PS. In Italy that clown Beppe Grillo is trolling traditional politicians. Meanwhile closet racist UKIP got its first parliamentary representation ast October.

          Maybe it was the same with Venezuela in 1998. When traditional political parties betray the democratic aspirations of the people, there will always be populists and demagogues seeking to exploit their grievances and mistrust.

          • No tienes ni idea de lo que te viene si los farsantes de PODEMOS resultan electos. Es el mismo discurso: expropiaciones, comunas, revocatorios, constituyentes. Se nota la manio del Sr Monedero, “Asesor” del infinito en su cruzada por destruir Venezuela.

            Todos sabemos como va a terminar semejante estupidez; solo los espannoles parecen no saberlo

      • Mmmm… It kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it? A deep left populist party that wants to wipe out the socialdemocratic and demochristian parties that have been alternating power, ever since a the collapse of a US sanctioned military regime.

        I wonder what could go wrong?

        /sarcasm

          • It is true that people voted for Chavez because they got sick of the “conchupancia” (corrupt complicity) among the traditional parties.

            It is also true that instead of two alternating corrupt parties, we got a single hegemonic corrupt party. That did away with any check on power Puntofijismo had left.

            Spaniards should ask themselves, in light of the Venezuelan debacle, if the remedie won’t be worse than the disease.

  2. Had a good look at the speakers and am very impressed. Could you ask whether Air Canada had any encouragement from the Canadian government to leave Venezuela back in March, besides not being given any allocations for dollar repatriation since 2011. I have heard several stories that Air Canada was being used on a pretty consistent basis as an infiltration route into North America for Iranians and other who had newly minted Venezuelan passports with the ink still wet and that many of these people declared refuge status upon landing in Toronto and that many are missing now, presumably passed into the USA.

    Given the above and many other rumours about Venezuela, what has Chavismo’s role been in promoting terrorism and destabilisation of the America’s? Whether it be via the open and covert support of terrorist organizations or narco trafficking activities and/or other criminal activities.

    • The Government of Canada does not control Air Canada in the manner suggested by this comment. The “Iranian infiltration” issue (which is a right-wing staple) may or may not have some validity, but would NEVER be addressed through Air Canada alone, since many carriers bring would-be visitors here.

      The government has the capacity to issue alerts to airline carriers as a group–I.e.be aware of certain kinds of traveller–but does not outsource security problems to private companies, who have limited means of enforcement and can be pressured in various ways.

      If the government had any concerns about Iranian infiltration by airline passengers , it would be addressed through special directions provided to all immigration officers, ie that certain types of traveller be sent to secondary, interviews by specially-trained, (possibly CSIS) personnel.

      • Based on our interactions with this airline, I can state with a high degree of certainty that Air Canada’s only reason for leaving Venezuela is because it could not repatriate its sales revenues due to the CADIVI debt problem that is affecting all international airlines operating in this country.

        Air Canada is a private company with no connection to the Government of Canada. That said, we have been supportive in their attempts at resolving the debt issue with the local government. Regrettably, those efforts have not yielded any results and Air Canada decided to leave an operation that was no longer financially sustainable.

        Lewis Coughlin
        Canadian Embassy
        Caracas

  3. What about the new ecosocialism? Complaining about the global pollution created by US and Europe (Not China) with part of our exported oil and even how our local policies encourage the overuse of oil making us one of the greatest CO2 producers in the region.

  4. I think a pretty interesting idea for a post would be regarding the Petrocaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement. 5 years into Petrocaribe, the Agreement has greatly influenced politics and diplomacy in the Caribbean, while giving the Venezuelan Govt loads of sympathy and credibility among the worldwide Left; but now that market prices for oil are sinking, there’s already rumours of this program progressively unwinding..

    A piece regarding what would an (hypothetical but plausible) end of Petrocaribe mean for the international standing of Venezuela in Latin America and its possible ramifications for global venezuelan politics… I think it’s in order.

  5. Congratulations, Nagel.

    Be the voice of all South America over there, because our peoples want the same thing: to have our liberties and human rights respected. We are with you!

  6. Carl Bildt should be interesting. Sweden has a historically deep bond with Chilean leftists who fled under Pinochet, thanks in part to ambassador Harald Edelstam. Sweden is ruled by a leftist coalition and the communists have a strong presence (well, 10-20% of the electorate) in some parts (as they do other European countries). But Bildt belongs to the center-right coalition that just left office and as such probably is not a leftist. He “brought peace to the Balkans”. Maybe someone like that can intercede effectively in Venezuela (better than Carter).

    Ted Cruz should be a riot.

    Ehud Barack anyone (and son?)

    • JC, you’ll like this, from the wikipedia:

      ” In the same year, he also started a weekly electronic newsletter which was active until 2005. He is an active blogger, starting his first blog in February 2005. His current blog, started in January 2007, is one of the most widely read political blogs in Sweden.”

      You got something to talk about. The wikipedia entry has other interesting bits, such as ties to an oil concern that was involved in Sudan, and business interests in Russia, strongly approving of Clinton’s normalizing trade relations with Vietnam, …. Somewhat controversial and hard to pin down.

  7. Questions I would like to ask:

    1. What is the consensus in the international community on if and when the regime will collapse.

    2. If it does not and it appears as though the situation will stabilize into something like Cuba or Burma, with an intrenched regime, is there any possibility of international intervention? Has it even been discussed? What would be the trigger? Massive refugee crisis? Massive killings?

    3. What are the other Latin American leaders saying in private?

  8. IMO only one issue makes the cut: Oil.

    It has been very clear to me that human rights, democracy, rule of law, and other values upheld publicly by most states, are easily revised when it comes to access to energy, specially in the last commodity price increase cycle of the last 15 yrs.

    The pivotal question for Venezuelan interests IMO is how will the de facto state that exists after the Cuban invasion and the nation’s implosion will be allowed to negotiate land leases and production agreements with the international energy industry moving forward.

    How will the legitimacy of this “owners” be defined in all the contractual strategies to come.

    • “IMO only one issue makes the cut: Oil.”

      If that were true, people would care a lot about the current economic and political situation of countries like Nigeria, Angola, Bolivia, Kazakhstan and other resource rich places. Yet no one cares. Because no one has ever hoped that Angola or Bolivia could be ‘normal’. We don’t get shocked with bad news coming from Nigeria, for example. Bad news is actually what we expect to hear from those places. But since Venezuela used to be a good example of country, it is shocking and even absurd to know that there’s food scarcity going on there, it’s so absurd that it makes you want to read more about what is happening.

      Furthermore, the Venezuelan situation is different because said country has had the potential to not only be a ‘normal country’, but to be on par with any developed country in the world based on many different things (oil being one factor, definitely, but just one of many, like being a solid democracy). It could have had a GDP similar to Saudi Arabia today, yet the Venezuelan people chose to destroy its country and future. There’s something fascinating about that.

  9. I would be most interested in any post you may make regarding Venezuela-China economic and political relations. China is a key ally and economic partner and the relationship is multi-faceted. This includes massive oil shipments going towards China (some for cash, much in debt repayment), imports of all kinds of retail and industrial goods, imports of Chinese labour to work on various projects, the role China plays in financing the government’s fiscal deficit, etc. There is no relationship, I think, that is more important to Venezuela right now from an economic standpoint than China.

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