While Nicolás distributed the donations he took to Cuba to help those affected by hurricane Irma, Canada imposed sanctions on 40 high-ranking Venezuelan officials —including him— “in response to the government of Venezuela’s deepening descent into dictatorship,” as a way to put pressure on the Maduro regime to restore constitutional order and respect the democratic rights of the Venezuelan people. “Canada shows its solidarity with the Venezuelan people in their fight to restore democracy in their country,” Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said, adding that this is a clear message that anti-democratic actions have consequences. You’ll find the list of sanctioned officials in a separate entry at the end of the briefing.

More sanctions

William Brownfield, who has just retired from his position as U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said that the U.S. believes that Venezuela is edging closer to be a “narcostate” because members of the government are involved in drug trafficking activities, actions that according to him, could lead to more sanctions in coming months. “I don’t want to call a country, a government, a narcostate until it truly fits that category.” In his opinion, this is a good moment to start discussing whether Venezuela has become a narcostate or not, although there’s no definitive answer yet. Brownfield explained that sanctions against Nicolás are justified on his anti-democratic practices, but “that doesn’t mean that there isn’t evidence that could support a decision to impose sanctions for other reasons.”

Heart of the people

Last May, NGO Transparencia Venezuela requested the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate Nicolás for alleged illegal financing of el finado’s electoral campaign back in 2012. This Friday, the matter resurfaced because thanks to an agreement with her country’s justice system, Mónica Moura, wife of Brazilian publicist Joao Santana, confessed that she received $11 million in case straight from Nicolás’ hands when he was Foreign minister, adding that there was a pending payment for $15 million that was never made. In the document revealed by the Supreme Federal Tribunal, she states: “Maduro, then Foreign minister, demanded Moura to take almost all payments for Chávez’s re-election campaign ‘off the record’, with payments made through companies Odebrecht and Andrade Gutierrez.” Wonder if Luisa Ortega Díaz or Tarek have anything to say about this.

Diplomats

Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Venezuela’s situation with his Brazilian counterpart Aloysio Nunes. “I explained him our position, stating that this is about a country that have started down an authoritarian path,” Nunes said, restating that Venezuela “experiences a deepening political crisis (…) and there’s an exodus caused by the profound disarray of the economy.” Both agreed that the crisis has worsened.

In his speech before the UN yesterday, Spanish Foreign minister Alfonso Dastis asked the Venezuelan government to “give the Venezuelan people back their voice” and to start a “true dialogue” with the opposition, because Spain “fervently wishes that Venezuelans are able to return to democracy, peace and freedom.” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski held a meeting with Vatican State Secretary Pietro Parolin, to talk about the need for Venezuela to “allow the access of humanitarian aid.” We’ll see what the Vatican does.

Lastly, Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted pictures and videos of a meeting he held with his counterpart Luis Videgaray, taking advantage of Mexico’s condition as one of the “allied countries” that will mediate the dialogue that hasn’t happened. Watch Videgaray’s expression and draw your own conclusions.

Briefs

– Support for Venezuela: the platforms Venezuela Somos Todos and VenEuropa submitted over 112,000 signatures before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to demand faster proceedings that would allow the opening of a preliminary review of alleged crimes against humanity. The signatures were collected during four months across 76 countries and are “an expression of support for the complaints,” said lawyer Tamara Suju.

– Rubles and yuans: the government ratified that they’ll only grant foreign currencies other than the U.S. dollar and asked businessmen to open bank accounts in Europe or Asia, keeping the FX controls implemented back in 2003, but blaming the crisis on the American “blockade.”

– Journalism isn’t a crime: the National Union of Press Workers (SNTP) denounced that the National Guard arrested Dutch journalist Bram Ebus in Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas. He was researching the impact of the Mining Arc. On September 3rd, Ebus released a work titled Arc of Desperation, where he details how criminal gangs led by pranes control the illegal extraction of gold in that area. He was released hours later.

The electoral campaign for regional elections formally starts this Saturday. Also this Saturday, the Lima Group will reveal their conclusions in the discussion regarding Venezuela’s crisis.

Sanctioned individuals on Canada’s list

Executive Branch: Nicolás. Vice-president Tareck El Aissami. Ministers Elías Jaua, Néstor Reverol and Freddy Bernal. Jorge Rodríguez, Mayor of Libertador Municipality. Carlos Pérez Ampueda, Head of the PNB. Gustavo González López, Head of Sebin. Antonio Benavides Torres, Government Chief of Caracas; as well as: former ambassador Roy Chaderton, and gubernatorial candidates Aristóbulo Istúriz and Carmen Meléndez.
Electoral Branch: Tibisay Lucena Ramírez, Tania D’Amelio Cardiet, Sandra Oblitas and Socorro Hernández.
Judicial Branch: Maikel Moreno, TSJ Chief Justice. Gladys Gutiérrez, former Chief Justice. Constitutional Chamber: Juan José Mendoza (President), Arcadio Delgado (Vice-president) and justices Luis Damiani, Lourdes Suárez Anderson, Carmen Zuleta de Merchán and Calixto Ortega. They also included public defender Susana Barreiros.

Moral Branch: Tarek William Saab, Imposed Prosecutor General and Manuel Galindo, our nepotic Comptroller General.

ANC: Delcy Rodríguez, President. Elvis Hidrobo Amoroso, Vice-president; and constituyentes Diosdado Cabello, Hermann Escarrá, Andrés Eloy Méndez, Iris Varela, Pedro Carreño and Francisco Ameliach.
Armed Forces: Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López. CEOFANB Commander Remigio Ceballos. GNB Commander Sergio Rivero Marcano. Army Commander Jesús Suárez Chourio and Bladimir Lugo Armas, responsible for the National Assembly’s security.

Get those replicas of Bolívar’s sword ready, or polish the ones you’ve got left!

82 COMMENTS

  1. US foreign policy has accomplished much through economic incentives, foreign aid and military cooperation.
    The US military is a tool of last resort in diplomatic matters. It is still a very important tool.
    President T. Roosevelt’s motto “Talk soft and carry a big stick” is still a relevant description of the US and other countries attitude to foreign policy.
    Targeted economic sanctions are a very long game to play when the short term consequences of the Maduro regime’s rule is considered.
    The knee jerk reaction against president Trump’s remarks about military intervention being one of many options available to address the crisis in Venezuela, empowered this criminal regime.
    It is the nature of the beast that politicians consider most of their actions in the context of their own political future, rather than in the context of what is right.
    The Venezuelan politicians and the regional political leaders would have done much more good by stating that they had hopes that a military solution could be avoided by finding a political solution.
    Perhaps a little posturing by neighboring countries and an increased military presence on Venezuelan borders and offshore, would serve to motivate these criminals to peacefully cede power.
    If the regime was certain that the end was near, they would be much more concerned with getting out alive than maintaining power. The corrupt military leaders that currently give orders that violate human rights with impunity, may not be so certain of continued support within the lower ranks.
    The long suffering people of Venezuela, should they be consulted, would most likely support any intervention that will bring relief to them.
    The regional leaders were playing to their own supporters rather than putting themselves in the shoes of the average Venezuelan. If these “leaders” were suffering the same abuse and indignity that the majority of Venezuelans are suffering, would they still oppose foreign military intervention?
    I think not.

  2. A big hat-tip to the Canucks. Now maybe we can shame the EU into action, which would eliminate the Euro from the “basket of currencies.”

  3. Get the EU on board and these thieves will be in a world of hurt. They can’t very well hide their stolen loot in the mighty B, a $1000 worth must now weigh close to a ton.

    • A popular number readily available is that one million dollars in (ten thousand) $100 dollar bills weighs about 10kg. If we go with BF20,000 to $1, using BF100 bills, we get 200,000,000 BF100 bills. If the bills weigh about the same, that gives 200,000kg, or two hundred metric tons. Divide by 1,000 and $1,000 dollars in BF100 bills weighs about 200kg.

      200 BF100 bills = $1
      20,000 BF100 bills = $100
      200,000 BF100 bills = $1,000

      If BF100 bills weigh about the same as $100 bills:
      1,000 $100 bills weigh about 1kg, so
      200,000 BF100 bills would weigh about 200kg.

      I think I got the math right. You need a forklift, or a professional weighlifter, to heft 200kg.

      I tried estimated the cubic feet of $1,000,000 in BF100 bills once, and gave up, just quit. Somehow my head spins, because I can’t separate the pieces of paper from their value, and I don’t usually count quite that high. The destruction of value keeps saying “That can’t be …!” $1,000,000 in BF100 bills would weigh 200 metric tons. (Obviously, that’s impossible … it just can’t be ….)

      It has occurred to me that hyperinflation probably improves a population’s math skill somewhat. E.g. At 800% annual inflation, what will August’s BF185,738 be worth in November? Do you compound it? Or just go with linear? Given that inflation has an inconsistent rate of increase, is either relevant? Do bank computer models use calculus to try to smooth the function and graph it? Are there hedge funds estimating the probabilities of inflation spurts, and the spreads between the rates of increase in one month and the next? (That would be largely irrelevant since the exchange is not free market, so you can’t trade it.) I guess the solution is to measure in salarios minimos, and that brings it all back down to three digits.

      • Folks here are already dropping zeros to keep it simple because they struggle with big numbers like “million”.

        If an item is selling for 40,000 bs, you just say you want 40 for it and they know what you mean. I asked about the price of a disc for a truck clutch yesterday and the guy said, “mil dos cientos”…..1,200…..when the item was priced at 1,200,000 bs. Of course, I knew what he meant.

        • Time for a “bolivar super fuerte”, I’ve seen some people in the market using their scales to weight the 100bsf bills. Faster than counting

          • We do it all the time. 100 bills weigh 110 grams. It’s not 100% accurate on our scale because of the variance, but it sure helps when things are rushed.

      • If a BF20,000 bill weighs 1/1,000 kg and is worth $1, then $1,000 worth of them would weigh 1 kg. And, as you correctly calculated, $1,000 worth of BF100 would weigh 200kg.

        At the present rate of inflation the BF100 will soon have intrinsic value. That is, $1,000 worth of them will have a scrap-paper value of $1,000.

    • The EU is a joke. Always will be. And it’s collapsing.

      You can’t all of a sudden sing Kumbayah and merge centuries of conflict between countries into a cohesive union.

      Kudos go to the U.K. for abandoning this nonsense, and not abandoning their VALUES for some ridiculous socialist, economic block.

      • It is pathetic how you keep defending a white supremacist who is every day more disliked by the majority of the US population and you keep telling everyone they are anti-semites. You are aware, right, that most US Americans and most outside, for that matter, think you are an extremist with some very contradictory views? You had left Venezuelan blogs in peace for years. How come you came back to troll so much now?

          • Kepler actually is pointing out that most Americans are not like the bitter, vitriol spewing little band of zombies that now congregates here daily in the comments section.

          • bitter, vitriol spewing little band of zombies that now congregates here daily in the comments section.

            IOW, if you disagree with Canucklehead, you are a member of the “bitter, vitriol spewing little band of zombies” – call them “deplorables,” perhaps. Calling others “zombies” is a perfect example of “bitter, vitriol spewing.” Pot, meet kettle.

            For some one who is upset about “bitter, vtriol spewing” sorts, Canucklehead is more than capable of coming up with his own brand of “bitter vitriol.” For example, consider this.
            I ask myself similar questions about the supporters of chavez and the supporters of the (current) republican party. Are they the beneficiaries of a corrupted system, the uneducated and manipulated, or a combination of both? Why is it so quiet around here?

            That, Mr. Canucklehead, is an insult.That’s what “bitter, vitriol spewing” sorts do. Pot, meet kettle.

            Over the years at various blogs- including his own-, Kepler has made a copious number of trenchant comments about Venezuela. Like many of us, he appears burned out about the current situation, and has recently made much fewer comments than in the past.

            In this instance, I believe Kepler was upset about someone bashing the EU. Kepler would have better advised to make a statement in defense of the EU- which was after all the topic of the post he was responding to.

            I stopped replying years ago to Kepler’s comments about the US. One of the last times I replied to a Kepler comment about the US was when Kepler claimed that the US Armed Forces took those from the bottom of the education/aptitude barrel. I easily documented that was not the case at all.

          • Boludo, your quote from me, much re-quoted I’ve noticed but which gets better with age I think, has at its heart a question that many people have asked themselves here on this blog about supporters of Hugo Chavez, and which many people ask about the President you elected: Why? How can that rationally be explained? What flawed system, what informational environment, what corrupt forces, what predisposition to sectarian or racist prejudices, could produce such an outcome?

            If you find that to be spewing vitriol, then you yourself must cop to being a spewer of vitriol in your commentary about Hugo Chavez and Maduro, because like it or not, we have all asked ourselves these same questions over the years about chavismo (unless we are the few that simply dismiss Venezuelans as a sort of hopelessly flawed race, which is in fact, what a handful of deplorables have been saying here for the last year or so, paradoxically offering up a gringo invasion as the solution…).

            But the questions I’ve posed, albeit probably in a moment of serious dismay, are not vitriol, unless you so deeply identify yourself with a Group and a President, that a question as to “why” comes as a great offence, and the suggestion that ignorance as to some basic facts, and beliefs in some basic fictions (i.e. ignorance) might be one reason why some people voted for Trump, is an attack. I have to assume that is the case.

            As time goes on, and since I wrote that quote (back in November last year?), we see answers to “why” and as to “who”. Smart, determined people are looking into it. About 10% of Americans have looked at the result and reconsidered by now, joining the other 52 or so percent. Unless of course the polls are all lies of the mainstream media.

            The phenomenon of Trump and Trumpism can’t entirely and satisfactorily be explained by a bunch of inherently dumb people, prejudice, and a bunch of highly motivated radicals (as is also the case with Chavez), although misinformation, and a willingness to be misinformed (even by a hostile foreign power), and shocking public expressions of prejudice, all seem to be part of it.

            Some of the answers coming out to the questions going on in my mind (and millions of others around the world and in America) last year are disturbing not just for liberals, but to small d democrats across the political spectrum. I can say that with a lot of confidence.

            But for the 30% or so that identify with the tribe, these answers are to be spun as hate, anti-Americanism, and intolerance. It’s a Russian trick. Its a Maduro trick.

            I’m not lumping you with the deplorables but you seem to want to defend them, but not in a direct way. Rather than say what you think of Trump and Trumpism, you’d rather paint the other side as intolerant. That suggests to me that you have the ability to hedge, as with many, many of your Republican voting and Republican donating colleagues. And that kind of hedging got you a scoundrel for a President.

          • As time goes on, and since I wrote that quote (back in November last year?)
            You were too damned lazy to check. All you had to do was to click. You wrote that in 2012, so your comment when written had nothing whatsoever to do with Donald Trump and his supporters, though you currently consider it also applicable to Trump and his supporters. It is a generic Canucklehead description of Republicans.

            Today, Donald Trump is the “scoundrel.” Back then, Mitt Romney was the “scoundrel.” Had Rubio been the nominee in 2016, he would have been the “scoundrel.”

            The electorate in my hometown had a >10% swing towards Donald Trump compared to Mitt Romney. According to you, that >10% of my hometown’s voters, by virtue of voting for Trump, belonged to “the beneficiaries of a corrupted system, the uneducated and manipulated.” Yet that same >10% voted for Obama in 2012, when by your definition they were NOT “the beneficiaries of a corrupted system, the uneducated and manipulated.” (turnout was about the same both years)

            And yes, it is “spewing vitriol” to refer to “supporters of the (current) republican party” as “the beneficiaries of a corrupted system, the uneducated and manipulated.” That statement referred to all Republicans, with no qualifications. That is an insult to me and ALL supporters of the Republican Party- an insult which by four years predates Trump’s election.

            For all the verbiage you write in reply, you refuse to acknowledge that an insult is an insult. To paraphrase you: “While you may consider it an insult, that wasn’t an insult, but an accurate description…” I am reminded of the old saying: “Don’t pee on me and call it rain.”

            But the oh-so-enlightened Democrats versus the yahoo Republicans is a very old Democrat propaganda theme. It didn’t pop up yesterday. From over 60 years ago, here is an anecdote about Adlai Stevenson, who was the Democrat candidate for President in 1952 and 1956: A supporter once called out, “Governor Stevenson, all thinking people are for you!” And Adlai Stevenson answered, “That’s not enough. I need a majority.” Golly gee whiz, that sounds like Canucklehead. Lacking any original ideas, apparently Democrat supporters need to keep recycling old, stale themes from the 1950s.

            I’m not lumping you with the deplorables. (or “beneficiaries of a corrupted system, the uneducated and manipulated”)

            Yes, you are. You wrote with no qualifications whatsoever: “..the supporters of the (current) republican party. Are they the beneficiaries of a corrupted system, the uneducated and manipulated..” As there is no qualification, such as “a segment of Republicans,” that is every Tom, Dick, and Harry who support the Republican Party. At least Hillary confined it to half- though that was no compliment. I once read the analogy of a football coach telling his team that half of the players were slackers: every player would consider himself called a slacker.

            Given that your contempt for Republican supporters predates Trump, I will justifiably consider any comments you make about Trump or his supporters to merely be a manifestation of your long-standing contempt for Republican supporters.

          • Here was pitiyanqui’s response to my question back then in 2012 (in part):

            “..Key thing to understanding the Republicans is that it is really made up of two substantial components. The first is the moderate, educated managerial class. They are simply for a strong military and fiscal realism (i.e., managing bureaucratic growth and having sustainable entitlements) combined with a relatively pro-business environment and moderate social problems. The problem arises with the the other half, which tends to be less educated bible-thumpers who are highly visceral in their emotional reactions and take the better parts of the first group to extremes and is vastly more vocal. The two parts cannot agree and thus you end up with their candidate being all over the map since he originated in the first group but needs the support of the second lest they abstain.”

            Hmm. I guess you were busy collating people’s comments and had not noticed this answer, or it has not aroused your sense of outrage as much as my question. Or perhaps you have hounded pitiyaqui back to more productive activity.

            In any event, his response to my question captures what many people were saying about the party for years. I tend to think the more ignorant and radical are not defined by a particular class, and the fiscally responsible not always so responsible, but he’s making a basically sound point about divisions within the party at that time. And he’s saying they are not all nutbars.

            Since 2012, its been a remarkable ride further downhill and right into the gutter. The happy clappers have joined hands with a sad group of American oligarchs, neo-nazis, and a remarkable list of people on first name basis with agents of the Russian state, and managed to find a businessman with zero managerial skills to pilot their clown car. How wonderful the Republican party in 2012 was, in retrospect!

            I should say, as I sometimes do, though you do not credit me with it, because it does not please the loons around here, that there are a number of Republican leaders I think are reasonable people and who act in good faith, and evidently they still have enough supporters to get elected, despite their leader and party fanatics trying to cut them off at the knees. But they need a new party.

        • I think Kepler needs to understand the definition of “trolling,” because my participation here and posts surely don’t fall into that category.

          I understand my comment about the EU could be considered flippant and disrespectful, but I believed back then…and still believe…it’s a pipe dream.

          That successful member states have to subsidize the basket cases, let alone the cultural differences…let alone the unfettered cross-boarder employment…let alone the disastrous immgration policies which is turning Europe into Middle East Part 2 (and other Muslim countries)…and of course:

          The fact that they’re still leading from behind, taking every fucking cue and lead that matters in geopolitics from the U.S.

          They’re real good at making sure a certain cheese is labeled properly, that God forbid a chicken received an anti-biotic feed, and that her eggs are strictly regulated to protect the public! As if sickness from eggs was a major health crisis.

          It’s pitiful, really, and when you look at what happened in Germany’s election today, the EU’s days are numbered. The Nationalst(s) won major gains, and they’re gunning for Merkel. And out of the EU.

          They don’t want to throw their country away to Muslim idiocy, and who can blame them?

          Of course, Kepler, the great thinker that he is, will somehow bring Israel into this discussion. It’s his “ace in the hole.”

          But he’s just an A-hole. A pitiful guy. An ignorant one. Who thinks he’s brilliant.

          And that’s his biggest offense.

          • The whole idea of a united Europe came about after WW II. The rational was that if Germany had investments in France and England and Belgium and all of Europe, they would be unlikely to attack their own properties. Today, such an attack appears unlikely. The Soviets had their own ideas, which included ownership of half of Germany, and the entire buffer zone of the Soviet Bloc. Today, Russia has returned to Russia, Germany is reunited, and perhaps the rational for a united Europe has been supplanted by NATO.

            Venezuela was officially “neutral” during WW II, but “unofficially” (99% “unofficial” I gather) was with the Allies. (Venezuela supplied oil, and probably some other stuff, too.)

          • Gringo
            The US supported a free trade region that included the democracies of Western Europe. The current EU bureaucracy was never the original intent.
            Simply put, we hoped that economic interdependence would promote growth and at the same time make another continent destroying conflict much less likely.
            Governments are expensive to maintain and by nature are inefficient.
            I believe that the UK voters made the right decision.
            The EU leadership has a desire to make an example of the UK in order to dissuade other countries from leaving.
            Just as the soviet Union coerced union at the end of a gun barrel, the EU is trying to weaponize economic activity to maintain the union.
            The same result can be expected. The EU will damage the economies of member countries as they try to punish the UK.
            The rules of the EU create a situation where new trade agreements are very tedious to negotiate as every member must approve them.
            The UK will be in a position to forge new agreements without needing to compromise to gain acceptance from all of the other EU members.
            The EU leaderships desire for money, coupled with the member states desire to access UK markets, will be the issue that drives the negotiations.
            The UK may achieve what they want. If the UK gains access to the common market, without EU court jurisdiction, the UK economy will soar.
            Foreign investment in the UK will become more attractive. Foreign companies will be able to access the EU markets by investing in the UK and not be burdened with all of the EU regulations.
            I may be wrong. However money always is the most important part of this. The divorce bill could be a one time payment that gives the UK the access they desire.

  4. Just as Ecuador and Panama dolarized their economy, Venezuela has essentially done the same thing using yuans and rubles, which serve as a kind of proxy currency for the country since the B is not exchangeable except in funky places like the Columbia border. If the English pound, the Swiss franc, and the Euro were pulled from the “basket,” the problems, I believe, would magnify.

    • Did they ever actually sentence the narco-nephews? I look every once in a while on the interwebs but never find anything new on the subject. And if they haven’t sentenced them, then why not? They were both found guilty of trafficking, no?

      BTW, a narco indictment against the First Combatant would be sweet.

  5. “Kepler actually is pointing out that most Americans are not like the bitter, vitriol spewing little band of zombies that now congregates here daily in the comments section.”

    Sez the all-knowing cannuck as he looks down his nose at the great unwashed (and “burned out”) masses below him.

    Tell me, does being an insufferable pompous ass come naturally or did you get special training?

    • If you’re referring to my comment, several days ago, that I thought there seemed to be a collection of burned out, bitter old American businessmen working out their unresolved issues with their Venezuelan ex spouses here, you are mistaken that such a group, if it exists, would consititute “unwashed masses”. By my count, there’s about five of them. And Ira’s angry that a website run by people he hates didn’t publish him.

      • No cannuck, I’m referring to my general perception that, like most liberals, you believe you’re better, smarter, more enlightened than most everyone around you. That’s why the insufferable pompous ass comment.

        Am I off track?

      • I swear to God, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

        Unresolved issues with their Venezuelan ex-spouses? I’m still happily married after 28 years. Or as happy as one can be expected to be.

        Canucklehead (perfect name for you by the way…maybe you should have thought it through a little better)….

        I’ve been to VZ DOZENS of times. I did work for two VZ companies. I lived in Macuto on and off for short periods, spent a lot of time on Margarita, in Colonia Tovar (long story), and worked with a real estate developer in Los Teques.

        My interest in VZ has nothing to do with this ridiculous scenario you’ve painted about me.

        And you? Have you ever stepped into the country ONCE!?

        I fucking doubt it.

        • Macuto? 20 minutes from the airport? Ever eat at the little restaurant at the Hotel Hidalgo? Good stuff, and coming from S. Louisana, I know a good meal when I eat one.

          • I might have. Don’t remember the name.

            My apartment was next to Las Quince Letras hotel, which had a fantastic restaurant opposite it beachfront. There were of course a few other restaurants on that little stretch, and I’ll ask my wife if one of them was in the Hidalgo. (I drank a lot of Polar and Cacique rum in those days and don’t remember.)

            It was destroyed by the mudslides in what, 2000? Chavez refused U.S. assistance, but I heard that this area came back to life. Sort of.

  6. Very good comment on Canadians turning a blind eye on cuban’s tragedy for so long!

    The thing is our current leadership is very left leaning, starting by our current PM, who used to be carried in arms as a toddler by Fidel himself.
    NDP and other political forces, very left to the Liberal party also have made inroads in key provinces such as Ontario, BC and Alberta. Quebec is a lost cause of leftist handover populist politics au francais.

    Given, the body politic is fighting this cancer and readying itself to vote them out in the first chance, Ontario’s and Alberta’s economies have been trashed in lost of growth and debt, and BC is also going the same way.

    Canada’s rule of law advantage is been lately sabotaged by leftist revisionism of long term contracts and red tape which is killing the golden goose of resource development, and export terminals and infrastructure.

    Its dejavu for me as venezuelan, seeing how slowly but surely, the destruction of a prosperous canada is advancing…

    My hope is for a more robust resistance and institutions to withstand the onslaught.

    our love-hate relationship with the USA and their current leadership, just complicates the whole discourse and worlsviews in the continent. Mexico too playing a key role on the fear mongering and NAFTA renegotiation dynamics.

    New canadian, dual venezuelan canadian diaspora playing a large role in forcing awareness and public pressure on the legislative to drive policy in a “socialism of the XXI century” government (* really they used that slogan for a while! until they may have realized it was Chavez own …!)

    A can only imagine how confounded and confusing it all must be for our fire quico, fighting his good fight from CC, while living in Quebec, and being torn between the ideological and worldview camps we are all integrated within.

    Modern “democracies” do really depend on dumbing down their constituencies, and its working well here in north america. Beware!

      • Kepler is spot-on when it comes to Venezuela. He was born and raised in Venezuela. He knows Venezuela- certainly better than I do. His posts on the unusual names he has found in the electoral rolls [Maisanta?] are hilarious. His comments on the Caracazo are well worth reading.

        Kepler doesn’t know as much about the US as he believes he knows. He is far from the only person in that category. People in that category are far more prevalent in Europe than in Latin America. When in the past I bothered to reply to Kepler’s Eurosneers, Kepler has taken my comments seriously. By comparison, when I have objected to something Canucklehead has written, he usually replies with a put-down or more verbiage.

        More often than not these days, I roll my eyes.

        Have you checked out Kepler’s blog?
        http://venezuela-europa.blogspot.com/

          • Holy crap. Its in three languages. I didn’t know Kepler had a blog. Sorry Kepler- I’ve been reading you here for years and evidently need to pay more attention. Ich kann nicht viel deutsch, aber mein Englisch ist gut.

          • Canucklehead…

            Can’t you understand that no one reads Kepler’s blog?

            And he’s basically just stupid, but thinks he’s smart?

            My guess is Nazi heritage, because where else did Nazis go after they lost the war?

            South America.

            Yeah, Kelpler. I’m calling you out for having Nazi parents and grandparents.

            I had you figured out 10 years ago!

    • CC does not permit infinite nesting of replies. For example, I couldn’t make a direct reply to Canucklehead, so I replied to your comment @ 10:22 a.m.. Result: my “reply” to Canucklehead was directly below his instead of nested in.

    • The timing of this is fascinating, and not something I can embrace one way or the other. It almost seems as if it’s an attempt to curb asylum seekers in the U.S., but it’s too fucking complicated.

      One of my nieces who came here (Miami) last year was a state worker who was ordered to attend Chavista rallies and vote Chavista. (She was a geriatric social worker.) And yes, there are actually shmucks in this world…including everyone working for The Huffington Post…who discount these accusations as “here and there” and not a systemic operation of the administration.

      My God. It’s amazing how clueless they are. For 18 years, if you didn’t show loyalty to Chavismo, you lost your state job! How the fuck does not everyone on planet earth not accept this simple reality!?

      So I kind of have a problem with putting obstacles in front of state workers like my niece, and her sister, and their husbands and kids, who just couldn’t get “out in time.”

      This is going to be a big story for those of us in our universe here. A story where mistakes might be being made, but unintentionally.

      • From what I read, the target of the travel restriction is not for every institution of the Venezuelan state apparatus. It targets some institutions and dependencies that belongs to the Ministry of Internal affairs, Ministry of Foreign affairs and the Ministry of Defense.

        Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Interior, Justicia y Paz ; el Servicio Administrativo de Identificación, Migración e Inmigración (SAIME); el Cuerpo de Servicios Científicos, Penales y de Investigación Criminal (CICPC); el Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN); y el Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Exteriores.

        From what you can describe it seems your family can still apply, and maybe get a chance to travel to the US, since your family were not working in any of the dependencies listed above.

        http://runrun.es/nacional/326285/falta-de-cooperacion-en-materia-de-seguridad-alega-ee-uu-al-suspender-visas-y-entrada-a-su-territorio-de-funcionarios.html

  7. I think all should give a big back-slap to FT, who undoubtedly MUST have had a hand in the Canadian 40 Venezuelan bigwig sanctions (doubling Trump’s, and coming soon after his Washington hearings testimony). As W.C. Fields said, in effect, “Anyone who hates small kids and dogs (and Trump) can’t be all bad”….

    • who undoubtedly MUST have had a hand? Can you elaborate on this?

      To our knowledge, the only people that were able to talk with Canadian prime minister were Lilian Tintori, and Julio Borges, and ultimately Donald Trump who somehow must had convinced the Canadian government to sanction Venezuelan officials. How’s this FT accomplishment?

      • Right. It was Trump who motivated the Government of Canada, and not Venezuelans who have held protests across Canada building awareness, not the significant coverage on the CBC and national newspapers, not visiting dissidents, not folks in foreign affairs who have been following this regime and its crackdown on civil rights, not Venezuelans/Canadians writing their members of Parliament and not Quico and this blog which, hate to say it, shapes public opinion. And did it occur to you that the Canadian Minister of Foreign affairs, pictured above, might know something about Venezuela, and that other members of her party (and others) have been personally invested in this issue for many years? No, it was the Orange Adonis who “somehow must have convinced” Justin Trudeau. Is that what they’re feeding you on Breitbart and RT these days? And is that what you really care about?

        • Jejeje. Sensitive much? Go back and tot up all the anti-Trump comments on this site, both by the authors and those who post here and compare the number to those of us who finally got sick of it and called you asswipes out.

          And btw, don’t visit Breibart and don’t have a clue who RT is. Try again cannufington.

        • I love the rantings of you Canadian boy, you little colonial. You just allow me to cement my own opinions, by observing yours. So thanks for that.
          “Qui tacet consentire videture”

        • right, I’m just asking what exactly FT did? and yet the only thing you can do is rant.

          I’m aware of Venezuelans doing their best to raise awareness about the Venezuelan situation, I’m not aware of FT being one of them. If you have any clue, then by all means share with the rest of us.

          otherwise this might just be another case of ganar indulgencia con escapulario ajeno.

          • “I’m aware of Venezuelans doing their best to raise awareness about the Venezuelan situation, I’m not aware of FT being one of them.”

            What? What do you think this blog exists for?

          • A lot of things could have happened without the help of this blog.

            For starters the Cuban/Venezuelan community in Florida, through Senator Marco Rubio could have swayed Donald Trump to sanction Venezuela. Though some are rooting for bare knuckle sanctions against Venezuelan oil industry, this stance was softened on the grounds that this bare knuckle approach might help Maduro.

            On the other hand this little prick FT, and some CC writers, through this blog and everywhere you can, are doing everything to belittle Donald Trump’s administration. Who is probably more supportive of Venezuela than you may imagine. We have to remember that Florida is a swing state and is extremely important for any sitting US president if he/she wants to win the reelection, specially a Republican one.

            So I’m just fascinated by how some of you are even attempting to give FT, or giving yourself CC writers any credit for anything.

            There is a higher chance of Canadian government listening to a sitting US president and/or US Senators, advising to institute sanctions against Venezuelan officials who engaged in criminal activities. Without any proof I doubt that Canadian officials would have done nothing.

            But hey, don’t let facts gets in the way of your self pretentious bum.

    • I’m willing to give FT latitude. If you listen to his talks, or answers in conferences – at least the ones I’ve heard – he sticks to Venezuela, Venezuela, Venezuela. Sure, he gets into effects of policies and sanctions, but I have not heard him bring up Trump-as-bad-guy when answering questions. And he doesn’t have tattoos, earrings, and a Mohawk or pony tail. And he doesn’t dress like an American tourist in a Hawaiian shirt. Publishing involves more than personal opinion, and some of it involves publishing “spice” that the consumer wants. We in the U.S. hold pretty fast the the First Amendment. He has a right to speak his mind, and it ain’t giving me nightmares if he is sadly unable to distinguish between night (Chavez) and day (Trump).

      It’s his blog, and however much he may disagree, he’ll publish my opinion, and so will Emiliana. He certainly has his right to speak in full expression of his opinion. He has the proper venue.

  8. Cannuck keeps trying to hammer that Trump peg (and those who don’t condemn him for daring to speak his mind) into a Republican hole. Yet all I heard libs say while he was running for office was, “beware pubs, he’s really a liberal and will screw you all if he’s ever elected to anything”.

    LOL today. He’s got both the libs and the Beltway pubs chasing their own tails and driving them out of their minds. DC has gotten to be such an insider’s club of politically correct fat-cat schiesters srewing the rest of the country just to keep power that I no longer care what “damage” Trump might do and actually wish him well in tearing DC apart..

    I just hope one day he’ll tell libs not to play in the freeways, as they most surely would thereafter. chuckle

    • Trump isn’t boxed in to a political ideology. When the Republicans didn’t work with him, he had no problem working with the Democrats.
      The only way the Republicans will be able to run things is if they show loyalty to Trump.
      It is a businessman’s way of getting things accomplished. In business alliances with people that you have fundamental disagreements with is frequently the way things get accomplished. Competitors many times create partnerships.
      The idea that Trump somehow betrayed his party when he worked with the Democrats is ludicrous.
      The Republicans loathe Trump. It had to be one Hell of a wake up call for them when he beat Clinton.
      The two things that I wish he would cease doing is taking the bait whenever he is criticized. There are just too many more important issues than the ratings for the Apprentice.
      Get off of Twitter. You can not lead the free world, 140 characters at a time.
      The Trump bump in the market has held. Businesses and investors have faith that he will deliver on tax policy and some sort of reform on health care.
      Personally I have no problem with universal coverage. I think the idea that businesses should be responsible for the health care needs of the citizenry is hard to defend. The problem is making it work and removing the politics from it. Trusts similar to the NHS with qualified administrators rather than politicians making the rules is an attractive way forward. Since Obamacare has been in force, health care costs have skyrocketed. Insurance companies have also seen record profits. All of the profits that insurance companies take out of the system, would be better spent on health care or lower costs to individuals.
      My own doctor closed his office and went to work for a corporate health care provider. His wife was spending about 60 – 80 hours per week trying to get him paid from the insurance companies. In this computer age that is inexcusable. The longer the insurance company holds the money the longer they make money on the float. My doctor told me that on average he received payment 90 – 180 days after seeing a patient.

      • John i agree with a lot that you say, however my optics are differing re:

        “The two things that I wish he would cease doing is taking the bait whenever he is criticized. There are just too many more important issues than the ratings for the Apprentice.
        Get off of Twitter. You can not lead the free world, 140 characters at a time.”

        My feeling is that this has so much to do with a power game, the MSM wish to be able to have some semblance of control over POTUS to be running the narrative.
        POTUS is not allowing this to happen, because he is happy to criticise people or policy (Just look at his musings on the NFL).
        And just 1 tweet can destroy a planned newsday by the MSM, and have them running to catch up.
        Its unpresidential, but no more so than the US official figure of Obamas drone strikes killing 116 confirmed innocent civilians.
        But hey ho, Obama allways looked hip in a suit to liberals, and thats all that mattered.

        • I’m a Trump supporter, voted for him, and I’m thrilled with his performance so far.

          But I still agree with John.

          But how can I argue with success?

          I’m a “scholar” on Andrew Jackson. I swear. The guy was a freaking MANIAC, but he defined the power of the presidency, and averted the Civil War which Lincoln couldn’t.

          We have to stop defining leaders through lenses which are lenses we think are the right ones.

          • Andrew Jackson is an interesting example. From his “Open House” on inauguration day, everyone knew that things were going to be different.
            At the time though, the world did not hang on to everything that the POTUS said. The US did not wield the incredible influence that we do now.
            Skills are not always transferable. The bluster that Trump may have used in business does not play well in international relations.
            Our allies look for consistency, long term commitment and trust.
            I like watching the DC elite squirm. They have been on auto-pilot playing the electorate for fools as they amass tremendous wealth and enjoy perks that put them on par with royalty.
            Criticizing the London mayor after a terrorist attack is the other end of the spectrum that Trump must rein in. These actions only serve to create dissension and end up requiring time and energy to be spent on meaningless, self created problems.
            Many people hear these remarks as boasting an “I told you so!”, while they are mourning after an attack.
            I completely understand the MSM being apoplectic about Trump. They gambled and lost. Now his tweets sideline the MSM. The MSM has responded by using a campaign of non stop negative reporting.
            If Trump took out Hitler, he would have been accused by the MSM as somehow having racists tendencies towards Germans.
            There are so many important issues that the POTUS needs to deal with, getting off message is not worth the time.
            The 2018 mid terms will be very interesting. The Democrats are searching for answers to what went wrong while the Republicans seem unable to lead the Congress. I expect some long serving Republicans to face strong primary challenges and I expect the Democrats to spend incredible sums on any seats that appear vulnerable.

  9. “All you had to do was to click. You wrote that in 2012, so your comment when written had nothing whatsoever to do with Donald Trump and his supporters, though you currently consider it also applicable to Trump and his supporters. It is a generic Canucklehead description of Republicans.

    Today, Donald Trump is the “scoundrel.” Back then, Mitt Romney was the “scoundrel.” Had Rubio been the nominee in 2016, he would have been the “scoundrel.””

    Your comments about our good buddy to the north remind me of a fellow I often crossed political swords with on another forum.

    This was back when Bush and Kerry were running against each other. This guy was former military, perhaps a wounded vet, and he hounded Bush constantly about being AWOL, priviliged ANG, etc and lauded Kerry constantly because of his service during the Viet Nam war. This guy could not make a post without mentioning either Kerry’s service or Bush’s lack thereof. When we discussed politics, I basically deferred to him as it related to the issue of military service because it appeared to be something geninuely important to him, so I focused on policy issues instead.

    Well finally Obama versus McCain rolls around so I figure, well, if nothing else he’ll give McCain a pass for not only his military service, but also for suffering at the hands of the Viet Cong for years in one of their dungeons. A true war hero, no?

    Boy was I wrong. This guy comes out posting every piece of weird shit he could dig up on the internet about McCain and never once brings up the subject of military service again. Suddenly, it no longer mattered, it’s as though he’d never once spoken of the issue.

    Still makes me chuckle. A good buddy of mine said I should have known better. When it comes to principles, a liberal’s are malleable depending on who’s running for office. So true.

    • I had a look at the ad that I reacted to back in that 2012 comment Boludo keeps quoting back (and which, aside from being a great comment, though short for me, now has a ring of prophesy). I have to say two things:

      (a) Romney reaped what he sowed, apparently; and

      (b) “Soy Mitt Romney…” may have been what killed his campaign. Check it out, Romney fans.

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