Another exemplary punishment

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Photo: Efecto Cocuyo


This Tuesday 13th in the afternoon, Bolivarian Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN) agents arrested former Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres without a judicial warrant or handcuffs. His whereabouts are still unknown. The statement that the newscaster at VTV tried to read accuses Rodríguez Torres of planning criminal actions, including armed operations, conspiracies and plots “that had the vile intention of assaulting the monolithic unity” of the Armed Forces. They could detect and dismantle all of this due to “the determined effort” of intelligence bodies. For some reason, they called the arrest a “capture” (as if the former minister was a fugitive) but they had the courtesy of reminding us that Rodríguez Torres was kicked out of the government “once he was proven to be linked with U.S. intelligence agencies, ties that the subject later acknowledged.” Sadly, they didn’t explain who verified those ties and much less whether Rodríguez Torres acknowledged them.

Ratilation as a drive

The Army major general, former DISIP chief —which he turned into SEBIN during his tender— and former minister wasn’t arrested for human rights violations, abuse of power or State terrorism. This is another example of discretionality, another arbitrary detention that surely awakened all the hostility he’d sown under his miserable administration in so many people, but this isn’t justice at all. This exemplary punishment is meant to help measure the support Rodríguez Torres still has within chavismo (both political and military); make dissident chavistas assess the consequences of their choices (as well as intimidate anyone who seeks to break the “monolithic unity”) and also, split the Broad Front early on, as it already faces issues to persuade public opinion to accept its size and scope. Exacerbating revenge diminishes the understanding between radicals and moderates. Without institutions, restraint is nearly a luxury; but civility demands human rights for everyone, including a human rights abuser like Rodríguez Torres. Downplaying this is moving on the board designed by chavismo, the same board they’ve used for years.

And about retaliation

While the review of the Official Gazette N° 41.357 confirmed that the administration extended the “state of economic emergency” for another 60 days given the extraordinary circumstances in all fronts, the party Patria Para Todos (PPT), subject to PSUV, requested the Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation and criminally prosecute lawmakers Julio Borges and Luis Florido for treason. In their version, these parliamentarians are cooperating with foreign actors to plan “actions against the country, inciting mercenary attacks in our borders; foreign military, economic and financial aggression.” The crimes that PPT says were committed by Borges and Flores are established in the Venezuelan Criminal Code and punished with up to 30 years in prison. The cherry on top was the request that they’ll file before the ANC: modify the Constitution so that lawmakers can also lose their nationality if they commit crimes against the country. The detail is that according to international law, every person must have at least one irrevocable nationality.

And so, human rights

The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS) released its latest report, accounting for 594 protests during February, almost 20 per day, which is a 40% increase compared to February 2017. 93 protests were to demand the right to health and yesterday morning, Codevida denounced the second death in a week: Luz Marina Funes, kidney transplant patient, rejected her organ due to lack of medication. Radio Fe y Alegría denounced the death of 15 Warao children (between 7 and 14 years old) due to lack of treatment against measles in Mariusa, Delta Amacuro state. In Lara state, the Intertrade Alliance for the Defense of Health and Life was created, and began requesting cooperation from the Colombian Consulate to open a humanitarian channel. Check the work by Tal Cual about the teenagers who work in Metro platforms as part of the Chamba Juvenil program; keeping security criteria for children in the same pocket where they keep the Framework Law of Protection of Children and Teenagers. And lastly, the government found a way to stump on the rights of the elderly as well, so Banking Sector Bureau chief Antonio Morales announced a pilot plan to pay pensions by ID card number during three preferential days; but don’t worry, elderly citizens can keep standing in line in the dark hours of the morning as usual, because Morales blithely admitted the cash crisis without offering any solutions.

Abroad

  • Donald Trump removed State Secretary Rex Tillerson from office with a tweet. He also announced that he’d be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo, while Gina Haspel will be take over as new CIA director.
  • Reuters says that Venezuelan oil exports to India dropped to its lowest level in five years. India is another country that pays us in cash, eh.
  • Further substantiating PPT’s demand, Julio Borges had a meeting with the new Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero, who expressed his solidarity and regretted our situation.
  • Cuba and Venezuela agreed in Havana to cooperate in the judicial sector to tackle administrative corruption, prevent transnational crimes and exchange technical information; an agreement signed by prosecutors Darío Delgado and Tarek William Saab.
  • David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), announced that he’ll request urgent support so that Colombia can face the crisis created by the massive arrival of Venezuelan migrants.
  • The Foreign Ministry delivered a note of protest to U.S. chargé d’affaires Todd Robinson, for his statements in social media, which they believe might destabilize the country. This is the second note of protest inspired by Robinson’s incipient tender in Venezuela.
  • All of Henri Falcón’s fanfare about meeting with UN Secretary General António Guterres was reduced to a meeting with Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, but accompanied by Samuel Moncada, that noble representative of the Venezuelan government.
  • To show how clear its priorities are, Venezuela is attending Moscow’s International Tourism Fair, according to Tourism Minister Marleny Contreras.

Tibisay Lucena spoke yesterday to report the publication of the rescheduled electoral timetable; to emphasize that we’re in a candidacy nomination process and reminding the 53 political organizations involved that “candidacy nominations must fulfill gender inclusion quotas.” Spaces “won” by imposition are so inspiring.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, as always, for the comprehensive summary, Naky.

    But be careful with statements like: “Spaces “won” by imposition are so inspiring.” This would be considered hate speech by the left in the US.

  2. The Rodriguez Torres arrest has the undeniable fingerprints of the Cuban Military Intelligence G2, infiltrated all over Klepto-Cubazuela. He was ratted out, and the G2 decided, Masburro executed the Cuban order.

    Designed, as Naky suggests, to intimidate and terrorize, just like the Oscar Perez assassinations, a bit less bloody, classic Cuban style. The Tumba ain’t no Club Meditarranee either, works too, scares the hell of many military malcontents considering a Coup d’Etat.

    “This exemplary punishment is meant to help measure the support Rodríguez Torres still has within chavismo (both political and military); make dissident chavistas assess the consequences of their choices (as well as intimidate anyone who seeks to break the “monolithic unity”) and also, split the Broad Front early on, as it already faces issues to persuade public opinion to accept its size and scope.”

    Spot on, Naky.

    G2 in Klepto-Narco Cubazuela:

    https://tobiasrubio.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/g1-y-g2-cubano-que-es-como-funciona-estan-en-venezuela/

  3. “Reuters says that Venezuelan oil exports to India dropped to its lowest level in five years. India is another country that pays us in cash, eh.”

    Yeah, but oil exports to the USA still are much higher: 475,000 bpd, compared to 300,000 bpd to India now. The rest has to go to pay the debts for China and Russia. Arreaza wants to get paid in Rupees now, but India is considering better sources, as Kleptozuela still owes them Millions from Mega-Guisos last year, such as nearby Iraq, Iran, and even buying Kleptozuelan oil from China on special resale prices, lower freight costs. While PDVSA’s overall production keeps going down.

    My buddy Pompeo will take care of the rest, before the US Adminstration decides to strangle Chavismo with an oil embargo after the mega-fraud. Pull a few strings, talk to the Indians, and the Narco-Tyranny will be left without the only cash they get from legal sources: about $35M from the USA, and $20M from India. They will only have the Drug Trade cash left, to bribe the military and the millions of enchufados. So many will get really pissed off, left out, including some military malcontents.

    That’s when they will exclaim “Se prendio el peo con Pompeo!”, when the street protests resume in full force, paving the way for a Seal team 6 visit to Cabello and Padrino on a beautiful moonless night over Miraflores.

    • “when the street protests resume in full force” you’re so funny D)
      ” paving the way for a Seal team 6 visit to Cabello and Padrino on a beautiful moonless night over Miraflores” hilarious D)
      “My buddy Pompeo will take care of the rest” you’re living in a dream world, I’m LMFAO

    • Pompeo has alluded to efforts being made in Venezuela to promote regime change.
      I have wondered how much cooperation he may be having building alliances within the country.
      If there was a determined resistance movement or even determination to remove this regime at the grassroots level. It seems that we would be seeing some activity.
      South America is awash in weapons. The people don’t need the US to supply them.
      Oscar Perez wasn’t able to generate the groundswell of support that most of us wished for.
      The “sabotage” that the regime claims is behind the breakdown of public utilities is either from lack of maintenance or theft from homegrown criminals.
      The hope that the military will split with the regime may be facing the reality that the officers corps is so tainted that more of them fear prosecution under a new regime than hate the current one.
      The MUD or the National Assembly should be talking about amnesty for officials that break with the regime, refuse illegal orders and become whistle blowers. The junior officers and NCO’s may fear losing the relatively small amount of lucre that they have received, or are concerned that they may become the scapegoats when the higher ranking officers claim no knowledge of ( insert crime here ).
      The junior officers will be the front line commanders should any large scale uprising begin. A “get out of jail free” type of olive branch extended to them could be a game changer.
      I am amazed that the men of Venezuela are not in open rebellion with this regime for the sake of their families and their own dignity.

      • The fat Generals will be travelling next month to India for Defense Expo. They will draw up shopping list for guisos. The Brahmos missile is not on the table AFAIK. They will inquire about it but it’s not a practical reality. FANB is in shambles.

    • The fat Generals will be travelling next month to India for Defense Expo. They will draw up shopping list for guisos. The Brahmos missile is not on the table AFAIK. They will inquire about it but it’s not a practical reality. FANB is in shambles.

  4. “Cuba and Venezuela agreed in Havana to cooperate in the judicial sector to tackle administrative corruption, prevent transnational crimes and exchange technical information; an agreement signed by prosecutors Darío Delgado and Tarek William Saab”.

    Hilarious.. Translation: Klepto-Cubazuela received fresh directives from the G2 Cuban Intelligentsia. The order is clear: time to kick up the repression a notch or 2. Torres Rodriguez was just an appetizer.

  5. I read that as “prepare for crack down on dissent”. You nice people who submit articles on this blog from within Venezuela -keep in mind these people are not nice, dissent = hate speech by their laws, and they can track you down, and you can disappear. Also, At what point does internet access in Venezuela become censored, Cuban/PRC style?

    • I’ve seen social media being heavily throttled during last year. Beside that there are a couple of sites blocked, I think armando.info is blocked, dolartoday is ofc bloked, there was some site from a venezuelan in uk that was also blocked… thankfully they are very inept, these sites are DNS blocked and easily bypassed.

  6. Rodríguez Torres is guilty (don’t expect a trial) of planning criminal actions, including armed operations, conspiracies and plots “that had the vile intention of assaulting the monolithic unity” of the Armed Forces.

    Maduro himself has actually committed, not just planned, armed operations, conspiracies and plots “that had the vile intention of assaulting the monolithic unity” of the Armed Forces. Add violating the constitution, corruption, theft of government funds, preventing free and fair elections, and above all, handing Venezuela sovereignty to a foreign invader-Cuba. Add thousands dead because he orchestrated of a lack of medicine, food, and security. Maduro will be in the sh*tter when his time ends.

    Moreover, Maduro has no fears of losing his Venezuelan citizenship, since it does not exist.

  7. You are correct, of course. Not something I should say in this blog. I shall impose a 72 hour time out from commenting penalty on myself. Maybe see you in a few days.

  8. Rocio San Miguel brought up the fact that as long as the systematic human abuses done by the military are not dealt by Venezuelan justice, international justice system may take interest which exposes the generals to unavoidable penalties such as the Serbian war leadership. This to add to the drug and money laundering cases the US has in file.

    I surmise that some in the military may be motivated to take power and negotiate something of a kangaroo court to absolve them or at most give them some wrist slap to get the international court off their backs.

    I also read in Aporrea that Padrino Lopez HAS NOT DENIED that his family is outside of the Venezuela, this, if true, is a symptom of fragility.

    With the jailing of officers, the military must be feeling like Jacobins with Robespierre. At some point Robespierre became so quick with the guillotine, that for their own safety, the Jacobins beheaded Robespierre.

    • If only that were the case.. “Sur toute l’étendue du territoire les têtes tombent comme des ardoises par temps d’orage” as described by the sublime Fouquier-Tinville. ” All over the territory heads fall like roof slates amid stormy weather.”

  9. It’s no secret the regime desperately seeks way out that preserves immunity and lifts U.S. imposed designations and sanctions. That was goal of Feb 8-9 meetings with White House NSC under Flynn and Bannon where a 10-point plan was presented by regime third-party emissaries. The regime needs American oil and related companies such as Chevron and Fluor to rebuild. The NSC today is a different group under McMaster and IMO there is no agreement but the regime is going ahead with its end. Things to look out for include the release of the American hostage, the toning down of anti-American diatribe by Maduro and leadership, an election victory by Henri Falcon, house cleaning of PDVSA, and the curtailing of cocaine destined for the U.S.

    Some of these actions seem to be underway and are logical if the regime seeks to reestablish relations and lift the designations and sanctions that froze the assets of front men.

    • I’m not following since sanctions have only been increased, dramatically actually, against the regime since Feb of last year. I believe the American is still held hostage and I’ve not seen any toning down of anti-American rhetoric. In fact, watching ChavezTV recently, anti-American diatribes were pretty much constant.

      • MRubio, not overnight. It has to play out over a long time and there’s nothing concrete. Only one side is making moves that in a broader long term context may be interpreted. They did present their plan to NSC so intentions are clear.

        • I think you’re a day late and a dollar short in understanding what’s going on in VZ.

          I apologize for using an idiom that most younger people than me don’t understand, let alone when English is their second language.

          But I know for fuck sure that MRubio understands it.

  10. Snowman: I haven’t been privy to inside machinations of the U.S. Government for many a long decade but what you say, based on historical precedent, rings true. There are deals within deals within deals none of which we in the general public are privy to. Unfortunately we are forced to rely on the media which leaves us sorely lacking in facts. Saying this, some things are discernible. For instance you are spot on that the current Venezuelan regime must be feeling their financial souls being crushed by sanctions and designations. Diplomatic moral indignation, harshly worded proclamations in front of the UN, verbal condemnation by others has never, nor will it ever, bow a corrupt dictatorial government. The folks at the helm in Caracas do not have a conscience. Save energy and stop searching for a way to activate one.

    By the way Snowman, what is the Falcon (Boyce) up to these days?

  11. Snowman from Smokey and the Bandit! The NSC meetings where last year. This is all very real and why the regime is moving ahead. They remain hopeful the Potus will accept. Look at the two recent emissaries on behalf of Joshua Holt. The Pdvsa lawsuit (house cleaning), the connections with attorney Boies and magnate Ruperti, and now Falcon trip.

    We also know that Delcy had her money frozen through Samark and that Delcy was regime point person with NSC meetings.

    The current NSC will not go for this but the Potus is another story!

    • Well, today it’s reported that the Trump Administration called for the death penalty for certain drug dealers. If Trump’s “coming around” to the idea of going light on Maduro et al, he has an odd way of showing it.

      “The Trump administration is finalizing a plan to combat the opioid crisis that will call for changing mandatory minimums for drug traffickers and include language urging prosecutors to seek the death penalty as an option for drug dealers in fatal opioid overdose cases, a White House source confirmed to CBS News.

      During an appearance at the White House’s summit on the opioid crisis earlier in March, the president mused about other countries that give the death penalty to drug dealers, like the Philippines. Mr. Trump has praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte for his crackdown on drugs despite global criticism of the leader’s bloody drug war that has resulted in extrajudicial executions.”

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-finalizing-opioid-plan-that-includes-death-penalty-for-drug-dealers/

  12. Big oil and big engineering companies want to go back in. There’s a lot of business and they are familiar and comfortable with Venezuela…a lot better than Iraq for example.

    These companies have tremendous influence.

    In the end, this is the only solution being offered. I do not see anyone going to The Hague. They are revolutionaries after all.

    The Potus does not care about the past. If he can cut a deal that on the surface ends the conflict and opens up business, it may just happen. Cuba is the wildcard. It’s a lot to swallow when dealing with criminal regimes but if the Potus can sit down with Kim, anything is possible. Keep dreaming Reds and collaborators!

    • Keep dreaming yourself.

      VZ is a failed state, and there’s no reason for American oil companies to get involved. Let Russia’s state oil company continue to get sucked down that financial hole.

      Seriously, I appreciate your enthusiasm and attitude, but you gotta do some more reading on what’s happening in the oil market today, especially with the U.S. pumping more than 10 million barrels a day…and projections for that to dramatically increase over the next few years…because of close to 8,000 ready wells NOW that have been sitting idle, not to mention the prospects of new drilling.

      VZ oil is irrelevant these days.

      Take it off the market tomorrow? The market wouldn’t blink.

      VZ’s measly 1.6 mil a day would be replaced in a heartbeat.

  13. Some of these actions seem to be underway and are logical if the regime seeks to reestablish relations and lift the designations and sanctions that froze the assets of front men.
    ————
    I wouldn’t count on Delcy and others getting their money back, no matter what deal Trump cuts. That’s because there are laws in place that enable the US gov. to keep the monies.

    “Civil forfeiture in the United States, also called civil asset forfeiture or civil judicial forfeiture or occasionally civil seizure, is a controversial legal process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing. While civil procedure, as opposed to criminal procedure, generally involves a dispute between two private citizens, civil forfeiture involves a dispute between law enforcement and property such as a pile of cash or a house or a boat, such that the thing is suspected of being involved in a crime. To get back the seized property, owners must prove it was not involved in criminal activity.”

    That is, Delcy, for example, would have to prove in an American court, HOW she came into the monies that were seized, with an accounting for same, and that’s not going to happen. Getting your money back from any government is difficult, and it’s never immediate. Under these circumstances, you can color that money gone. Giving it back would amount to paying off crooks in order to kick start US business interests in Ven. I wouldn’t put it past Trump to cut such a deal but there are laws and procedures that have to be met before the money actually changes hands, or is giving back, meaning there is no simple hand off or give-back in these cases. Never. Lawyers get involved, Delcy (for example) would have to mount a legal campaign involving what was just mentioned, and the end result is that years go past before anything ever happens.

    Venezuela is still seen as a cash cow by foreign oil companies, but the cluserfuck going on now makes business problematic in some regards, and impossible under present conditions. After the Iraq invasion, companies immediately started tapping into the countries oil reserves and companies like Haliburton made fortunes, but by time Saddam was gone. So long as the Chavistas have any power over the economy or production, foreigners will be hesitant to go back in earnest, and won’t be investing huge (required, given the state of the rigs and refineries right now) without a change in governments and some semblance of guarantees.

  14. Some of these actions seem to be underway and are logical if the regime seeks to reestablish relations and lift the designations and sanctions that froze the assets of front men.
    ————
    I wouldn’t count on Delcy and others getting their money back, no matter what deal Trump cuts. That’s because there are laws in place that enable the US gov. to keep the monies. And even Trump can’t get around those.

    “Civil forfeiture in the United States, also called civil asset forfeiture or civil judicial forfeiture or occasionally civil seizure, is a controversial legal process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing. While civil procedure, as opposed to criminal procedure, generally involves a dispute between two private citizens, civil forfeiture involves a dispute between law enforcement and property such as a pile of cash or a house or a boat, such that the thing is suspected of being involved in a crime. To get back the seized property, owners must prove it was not involved in criminal activity.”

    That is, Delcy, for example, would have to prove in an American court, HOW she came into the monies that were seized, with an accounting for same, and that’s not going to happen.

    Getting your money back from any government is difficult, and it’s never immediate. Under these circumstances, they can color that money gone. Giving it back would amount to paying off crooks in order to kick start US business interests in Ven. I wouldn’t put it past Trump to cut such a deal but there are laws and procedures that have to be met before the money is ever “returned.” Lawyers get involved, Delcy (for example) would have to mount a legal campaign as mentioned, and the end result is that years go past before anything ever happens.

    Venezuela is still seen as a cash cow by foreign oil companies, but the cluserfuck going on now makes business problematic in some regards, and impossible under present conditions. After the Iraq invasion, companies immediately started tapping into the countries oil reserves and outfits like Haliburton made fortunes, but by that time Saddam was gone. So long as the Chavistas have any power over the economy or production, foreigners will be hesitant to go back in earnest, and won’t be investing huge (required, given the state of the rigs and refineries right now) without a change in governments and some semblance of guarantees.

  15. Venezuela is producing 1.540.000 bd and falling , meantime it imports some 150 .000 bd just in casoline and gasoline components at a price which is some 15% higher than the value of ordinary crude……..only exports to india and US (half of the total production if at all ) bring in any ready cash , the rest is used to pay loans , so how much money does the regime have to pay for the clap bags and the basic support of some army elements ?? . to think that US companies remain interested in a Venezuela that lacks not only any resources to pay for services or purchases but which is heavily dysfunctional in the way it handles the country economy /labour organization/ with no rule of law is a pipedream……!!

    Suggesst people look at a map and look how far is Puerto Rico from Venezuela …….do people understand the simplified logistics of any US led intervention ……!! and now aggresive Mr Pompeo is the new secretary of state …….this is getting scarier by the day ……!!

    • For whatever it is worth, the US has little Military remaining in PR (Fort Buchanon is the largest) . With the vacating of Vieques as a Military Bombing Range, Bush or Obama (forget) shut down the Roosevelt Road Military Port Complex.
      Not that it makes much difference to a US Military Operation if needed.

  16. Bill,
    Trump is not going to go for invasion of Venezuela. The US doesn’t need Venny oil. Maybe Citgo does, but not the US as a whole. We produce 6-7 times as much as Venny, and 20 times as much as Citgo buys from Venny. And those ratios are only going up. Sure, there will be some job disruption, but not enough to invade over. Venny oil fields are dying due to Chvismo. The only relevance of Venny to Trump is winning Florida vote. Just like Cuba. That’s it.

    But your comment does prompt me to ask you: at what point is refined gasoline no longer provided to (non-military) Venezuelans? It’s going to put some gasoline smugglers out of business, and perhaps even reverse the flow direction with gas being smuggled from Columbia into Venezuela for the (how do you say) “enchufados” who have USD to pay at black market prices.

    • I see gasoline usage crashing here.

      Last week I made the trip to Punta de Mata. The station in El Tejero was normally jam-packed with lines at both pumps waiting to fill up. That day on the way in, nothing, no lines, not even a car. The restaurant was closed and I suggested to the woman that perhaps they were without power. On the way back out of Punta de Mata, same story. No one there. We stopped to top off the tank and were the only car at the place. The attendant said the restaurant’s “punto” was out of service so no one could pay for anything, so they closed.

      There’s a lot less traffic on the roads these days because there are fewer functional vehicles, fewer spare parts, tires, less cash in the streets, no merchandize when you get to where you’re going.

      The wheels are coming off. The country is dying.

      • MRubio – I learn more about what is going on inside Venny from your comments like this one than from the articles.

        Some guy on Aporrea is complaining that cash Bs are worth over twice electronic Bs (i.e., more than 100% discount for cash). Of course, he blames this on capitalism, El Imperio, Trump, Santos, lizard people, etc., and his solution is to double down on more chavismo, price controls, border control, production-supply chain controls, etc.

        • Further confirming that chavistas are not very bright.

          My woman made the trip again today to Punta de Mata. Amazingly she found a few plumbing items we needed. With the water distribution system here dead for the last 6 years or so, it’s finally bringing it back on line. Leaks everywhere, not only here at the house, but all around town. In town they’ll mostly just let it leak and worry about it when they have to do so, but here at the house I just put in a new septic system and I’m not going to let it get strangled by a constant flow of leaking water.

          She almost couldn’t pay for what she needed because their “punto” was having all sorts of problems. Though she managed to pay for most of her stuff with the card she finally ran out of time and paid for the rest with cash she had on hand. No cash, no payment, no needed supplies. I’m sure that’s repeated here today thousands of times all over the country.

          She also mentioned that she saw 5 major Chinese markets closed at 10 AM on a Friday morning. She thinks some of them may be closed for good now. There were a few food products arriving at one store but she didn’t bother to ask about pricing as they obviously weren’t in the system…..canned meats, etc.

          We haven’t seen anything new arrive here since last December with the exception of one offer of juice. I bought a small amount as it appeared really expensive and, as expected, we’ve sold very little and have mostly drank it ourselves.

          Thank god we’ve got maiz trillado. It’s been good for both us and the locals. For the locals it’s something to eat, for us it generates some cash. Down to about 6,000 kilos at the moment. I think I purchased something on the order of about 40,000 kilos originally.

          • The new CLAP bag is rumored to come in at Bs. 300m, with less products than the last CLAP (only one this year) at Bs. 70m. Local gas station has no lines, probably 50+% of motor vehicles are stopped for lack of prohibitively-expensive motor oil/batteries/non-existent spare parts. Still no sign of outward public protest of any kind.

  17. “Further confirming that chavistas are not very bright.” Yeah …. well, maybe they are self-smarted??

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WMSFqrUcw0

    Good luck, buddy, I’m pulling for you to somehow survive this shit without having to bail, but I also trust you have a realistic Plan B to get yourself and family the fuck out of there if you must.

  18. MRubio – I don’t know what to say. Socialism (the polite word for communism) is all based on forcefully taking from those who have, also known as armed robbery. It calls to the base evils of mankind, a “Lord of the Flies” phenomenon. In that book, the kids gone murderers snapped out of it when adults came to rescue them. The same might easily occur in Venezuela, if rational order were to resurface. It keeps going back to the same thing, the same barrier, the same question: who or what is going to restore order? They say all politics is local, and maybe that will happen, that communities begin to ignore orders from above, or find ways around them. That may be happening now in the FAN. Wishing you good luck!

    • In addition to the armed robbery, there is loss of personal liberty and dignity, enslavement, starvation, loss of medical care, and so forth. All by design. Viva la Revolucion!

      • The worst is taking minds, instilling the complex of ideas that by imposing on (stealing from) others, one can gain for oneself. The insidious idea that somehow working and being wealthy is actually stealing, is part of it. Equally insidious is completely ignoring the unbelievable gains in quality of life and standards of living civilization has enjoyed since the 1600’s, when the seeds of capitalism were sown in the shipping industry trade routes between England and Asia. People may point to Westinghouse and General Electric warring over alternating current and direct current, and how the “dirty dealings and money power” were used – ignoring the fact that the men were fighting over who could produce! That was the “war”, two sides saying “I can do it better!”

        I never read Marx, and I never read Hitler, either. Come to think of it, I never read Lenin or Mao or any of the other insane idiots. (I did read a tiny bit of “Che” Guevara in an article on the internet because I wanted to look into his guerilla strategy. That was probably plagiarized from Asian sources, who were fighting oppressive dictators; it sounds similar.) It’s not that I couldn’t handle the poison, it is simply a waste of time, looking for all the dirt on a street on the way to the supermarket, or more precisely, it would be like reading about all possible ways an engine can be made to malfunction, instead of reading about how engines are built.

        What would I know. I’m just a retired (joke) man who loves philosophy and has a degree in Economics. I can authoritatively state that in accounting, you get into very serious trouble in many ways, if you try to do things “the easy way”. The easy way in accounting is to do it right. Accounting is a history of transactions, so it strikes me that the easy way to do transactions is to do them right. The same applies to thought, and that is what philosophy is all about: how to do it right. Doesn’t matter how hard it is, doesn’t matter how many times you fail; you work patiently at it and keep getting back up. Eventually, you get some things right, and that’s the progress of Mankind. People have died for what is right. Better to lose a life for what is right, than to live for what is wrong. Best, is to win for what is right, and it is a proven fact that one can in fact win for what is right. It happens every single day all over the world. Now if only the idiots who sit on their failures would stop screeching senselessly that “You stole what you earned!” the world would be a better place. Much better, but there is still the “war” to continue to find what is right. That is like looking for one number in thousands of numbers, when your mind deceives you into thinking that one misplaced number is in fact not misplaced. It is looking for the misplaced thought that one is overlooking. It takes being able to accept truth. It is the simple fact that truth makes things work, even if it seems to go against one’s private little personal wishes (that don’t work). Getting up out of a nice warm bed on a cold Monday morning to trudge to work in the snow and be greeted by other people who feel the same (rotten) way is only hard until one gets used to it. Successful people must have gotten to the point where they look forward to Monday morning because they studied the whole thing and got things right, found truths that work. They look forward with enthusiasm to their work, and overcome those mental blocks that don’t want to let them find the misplaced numbers. There’s nothing at all new in any of this: the good worker is a happy worker. It is only the damned socialists who say he is miserable.

        I know (believe me) that there is no “easy way” by doing it wrong. The easy way is to do it right. I studied violin as a little kid (hated it). Today I look at anyone who plays a stringed instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass), and I look at that finger board. It has no markings on it, yet musicians know where to put their fingers to get the right notes! As far as I studied, I could do it. Someone who has never tried to play might think it is impossible. It isn’t. Man is capable of “the impossible”, if only he is free to achieve it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvlTuBnpKpc (look at the bow action, consistent notes over the full length of the stroke – and all that music, the composition, came from what was once silence – and that guy studies scales and proper form and technique eight hours a day).

        Free, is facing an unknown Creation, infinite and eternal. Finding the right notes on the fingerboard is not a “group activity”.

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