19 Member States Pass OAS Resolution on the May 20 Election

The OAS passed a major resolution on Venezuela this Tuesday with 19 votes in favor, including one from the Dominican Republic that took us all by surprise. Is it possible they finally know what we’re dealing with?

Photo: Sputnik

For the OAS, the May 20 elections in Venezuela are not legitimate, meaning: the OAS does not recognize Maduro and his regime as the legitimate holders of power in Venezuela.

The process, says its June 5 resolution, didn’t conform to international standards, excluded most political actors and lacked basic guarantees of being free, transparent and democratic.

Approved by 19 countries in favor, 11 abstentions and 4 votes against (including Venezuela’s), this is the latest giro de tuerca in the international community’s efforts towards forcing Venezuela’s return to democracy, also paving the way towards formally  implementing the OAS Democratic Charter , which could mean Venezuela’s suspension from the organization.

The number of countries that abstained was surprising, given how obvious the devastating effects of the economic, political and humanitarian crises are being felt all over the region. The most salient among the abstentions was Uruguay’s, which had voted in favor of the February 23 resolution, calling for the date of the elections to be reconsidered and asking for humanitarian measures to be taken. Nicaragua, El Salvador and Ecuador also abstained, while Suriname changed its vote from against to abstention. Perhaps the most remarkable position was that of Dominican Republic, which voted in favor after abstaining in February. Coming from the government that hosted two formal rounds of “dialogue” (and numerous informal meetings between the regime and the opposition), this gesture can only be interpreted as the Dominicans final realization of Maduro’s true character.

The resolution is unambiguous regarding the alteration of the Constitutional order, and the lack of separation of powers. Most significantly, it recognizes the regional impact of the humanitarian crisis in terms of health and migratory flows, asking for concrete measures, including an appeal to Venezuela’s regime to allow humanitarian aid into the country. It also asks for the implementation of epidemiological surveillance measures, given the resurgence of measles, malaria and diphtheria, and it clears the path for countries to exert pressure of their own, something that could translate into further financial and economic sanctions.

The idea of Venezuela’s suspension of the OAS has stirred some debate over the past few days, as it presents a not-so-minor dilemma. Some argue against it, saying this would leave Venezuelans vulnerable and unprotected, and it’d be aligned with the regime’s plan to isolate itself from international scrutiny on democracy and human rights. Sure enough, this is exactly what Maduro wants and the reason why it has already denounced the OAS Charter and prepared Venezuela’s exit from the organization, effective on April 2019.

But letting a regime that shows utter disregard for the well-being of its population (and for diplomacy, multilateralism, democracy and justice, values upon which the OAS was built) to be a member state, would be against the organization’s very raison d’être, which is no other than to work collectively to promote and protect democracy as the political system that guarantees justice, equality and progress.

A suspension under Article 21 will not exempt Venezuela from its obligations derived from the OAS Charter, and neither will a final exit. And while there are various interpretations of this fact, Article 143 of the OAS Charter establishes that states “shall cease to belong to the Organization after it has fulfilled the obligations arising from (it).” These obligations include, among others, the payment of overdue contributions and the implementation of rulings by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, like in the case of the Caracazo.

Suspension seems to be not only the more viable option, but also the more desirable.

In fact, in a press conference right after the resolution’s adoption, Secretary General Almagro stated that Venezuela’s exit from the OAS is not at all clear, as he had received a letter from then National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges, and a note from the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in exile, stating that the move to denounce the Charter was unconstitutional. This is a tricky issue, as Article 236 of the Venezuelan Constitution confers the Executive the power to direct the country’s foreign relations and ratify agreements, previously approved by the National Assembly. The note denouncing the Charter was delivered in 2017, so the argument that the government was not legitimate does not apply. Yet, as this decision would have direct effects on Venezuelans, especially on the Inter-American System of protection of human rights, it certainly could have merited a thorough discussion across different branches of power.

But no matter which course the issue of suspension versus exit takes, the reality is that in both scenarios diplomatic efforts to restore democracy will not cease, not only as a matter of principle, but also as crude political calculation, since it’d be the only possible way of decreasing the influx of migrants and counteract the epidemiological threat Venezuela has become.

Those diplomatic efforts are doomed to fail if: 1) There’s no internal political unity and organization, as there are limits in how far the OAS can go, and; 2) There’s no recognition of the true nature of Maduro’s regime, and how it defies existing international and regional institutional frameworks and tools, an issue Almagro has raised on several occasions, but still needs to be looked at closely. The regime’s desire to hold on to power is not only associated to ideological and political plans; it guarantees impunity for crimes of various sorts that are becoming more blatant across the globe.

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54 COMMENTS

  1. Luisa,
    I don’t have a clue what you mean by the following paragraph:-

    “In fact, in a press conference right after the resolution’s adoption, Secretary General Almagro stated that Venezuela’s exit from the OAS is not at all clear, as he had received a letter from then National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges, and a note from the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in exile, stating that the move to denounce the Charter was unconstitutional. This is a tricky issue, as Article 236 of the Venezuelan Constitution confers the Executive the power to direct the country’s foreign relations and ratify agreements, previously approved by the National Assembly. The note denouncing the Charter was delivered in 2017, so the argument that the government was not legitimate does not apply. Yet, as this decision would have direct effects on Venezuelans, especially on the Inter-American System of protection of human rights, it certainly could have merited a thorough discussion across different branches of power.”

    I don’t think that anyone wants to “denounce” the Charter. The wording was agreed 17 years ago. But if they did, it would be no more than an opinion. Do you perhaps mean “reject application of” the OAS Charter [to Venezuela]? And if you do mean that, then what does “unconstitutional” mean? Is it the OAS constitution that is being breached (by proponents of application of the Charter) or the Venezuelan one? Or do you mean that Julio Borges wrote to suggest to Almagro that application of the OAS Charter would be inappropriate because something which was done was, despite Almagro’s alternative interpretation, in line with the Venezuelan constitution in his opinion and therefore did not merit application of the Charter? Please clarify. I am confused.

    • In international relations, to “denounce” is the first step to remove a Country from an agreement (treaty, charter, etc.). In the case of the OAS Charter, after denunciation (which happened about a year ago) Venezuela would have to wait two years before it could be considered removed from the agreement.

      Regarding the unconstitutionality of the denunciation, there are a bunch of different arguments on why it would be unconstitutional. Some say that the government cannot denounce the treaty because it would prove regressive to Venezuelan’s human rights (the constitution forbids the government from taking away rights). Others say that since the government did not confer with the National Assembly, it could not make such a decision. Others said that since the Maduro goverment is itself unconstitutional, it’s actions are invalid.

      • Fascinating. It appears that the early drafts of the Vienna Convention carried the word “denunciation” when it should have read “renunciation”. Since then the term, as you say, has been used to mean the written statement of the intention to withdraw from a treaty or international convention. I didn’t know that. It’s a very peculiar usage.
        So if I now understand the story. back in 2017 Maduro sent to the Sec-Gen of the OAS his “denunciation of the OAS Charter” under Article 143, in effect a notification that he intended unilaterally to withdraw Venezuela from its obligations under the charter. This triggered a two-year period after which Venezuela would cease to be a member of the OAS. Julio Borges and the exiled judges wrote to the Sec-Gen of the OAS explaining that in their view the move by Nicolas to abrogate its responsibilities under the OAS contravened the Venezuelan constitution, since Maduro did not have the authority to withdraw from the OAS Charter without prior approval of the AN.
        So when Luis Almagro stated that Venezuela’s exit from the OAS was “not at all clear” he was referring to the legitimacy of Maduro’s attempt to withdraw Venezuela unilaterally, and NOT to the possible forced suspension of Venezuela by vote of the other members of the OAS.
        Have I got this right now?

        • Your explanation seems correct.

          However, my spin is that Maduro is still the president wearing that stupid sash (it hides his huge stomach), and the OAS has demonstrated, more than once, that they’re not in a position to determine a leader’s legitimacy.

          Cuba, anyone?

          They can accept or expel members based on many factors, but they never let a little thing like dictatorship get in their way.

  2. Si la cocaina fuera legal que seria el voto?, y el trafico de humanos?, por favor dejen la inocencia andar …

  3. The OAS is a ridiculous distraction. Pompeo and Pence before him shouldn’t have even attended the last two meetings.

    Yeah, they wanted to show America’s strong stance against Chavismo, but what’s the fucking point of doing it within the context of the OAS? The organization is meaningless, toothless, and worthless…when you consider these little piss-ass nations with no populations nor morals whose votes are simply bought.

    Trump will achieve what needs to be achieved by acting unilaterally. He’s not going to take direction nor accept a moral compass from Suriname.

    Or other…sorry to say it…shithole countries.

    • Trump became rich basically from the Russian money laundering lin the US market.

      That guy was the only head of state from the West to congratulate Putin for being reelected.

      His latest has been to say Russia should be invited to the G7 so that it becomes again the G8.

      This bloke is going to do something about Venezuela?

      • Right now his plate is full working with our Pacific allies, trying to do something about North Korea. So far it is looking good. Meanwhile, maybe Europe could do something about Venezuela?

        Oh! I forgot! They DID give Maduro $68 million to deal with internal problems like, “conflict resolution.”

      • He’s the only one that is, Einstein.

        And we can all discard your crap about Trump getting rich off Russian money laundering.

        Seriously:

        Where do you come up with this nonsense?

      • You don’t know a fucking thing about Trump, but what else is new? I don’t expect enlightenment from you on anything.

        When NYC was going bankrupt and needed a Federal bailout…I lived there at the time…there was a famous newspaper headline:

        “Ford to NYC: Drop Dead.”

        Trump basically said to any media who would listen, “Is he fucking nuts? Are you nuts? This is NYC, the greatest city in the world.”

        (I’ll leave it to others to define what “greatest” actually is, but you get the point.)

        And he said, “I’m still investing here. Starting new projects. NYC will come back greater than ever!”

        He did, it happened, and his leadership moved the city forward. I’ll never forget it.

        You see, Kepler, shmucks like you love to rewrite history. Because when the facts don’t jive with your mindset, you change the facts:

        HE GOT RICH OFF OF RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERING!?

        I don’t think it gets more stupid than that, unless you post again.

        • Ira,
          Just tell me:
          1) do you think Trump should have congratulated Putin for winning the “elections” this year? Just say yes, no or I do not know.
          2) do you think Trump should keep proposing Russia should join now the G7 to make again the G8?
          Pleasr, again, say clearly whether you think so.
          And yes, this matters a lot. Putin is, among other things, Maduro’s main ally abroad.

          Cheers

          • If I may butt in here, Ira:

            Donald Trump is the president of the USA, the country with the largest economy in the world, that spends close to 4% of its GNP on national defense, which, GNP-wise, is WAY more than any other NATO/European country. That means we maintain a triad of missiles, bombers, and submarines with the nuclear capability to wipe Russia off the face of the Earth, ten times over. Europe is protected under our nuclear “umbrella.”

            In light of this, why should anyone give a flying-fuck over an insignificant, “congratulations?” Or a discussion on Russian G7/8 membership?

          • Well it might be insignificant, Trump wanting Russia back into the G7/8, if it were not that the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, the Trump organization, Trump’s advisors, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Trump himself, make Chavismo’s Russian backing look positively superficial and quaint by comparison.

          • You forgot that his current father-in-law was a marxist. No question in my mind, he gets his orders from Vlad on occasion.

          • “Well it might be insignificant, Trump wanting Russia back into the G7/8, if it were not that the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, the Trump organization, Trump’s advisors, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Trump himself, make Chavismo’s Russian backing look positively superficial and quaint by comparison.”

            For someone about to be charged with colluding with the Russians, His Orangeness is being absolutely reckless.

          • I don’t know if Trump will be charged with anything but I know: (a) he is completely reckless, (b) he is Putin’s natural ally, and (c) the GRU could not have imagined in its wildest fantasies suborning a head of state to behave like Trump is behaving.

          • @Canucklehead “Well it might be insignificant, Trump wanting Russia back into the G7/8, if it were not that the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, the Trump organization, Trump’s advisors, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Trump himself, make Chavismo’s Russian backing look positively superficial and quaint by comparison.”

            A: This is not a serious or realistic assesment. This is latrine-water grade lunacy.

            Point me to where Trump has offered a major Russian base on US soil.

            Point me to the longstanding intelligence ties between Putin (and trusted allies of Putin like the Castros in Cuba) and US intelligence now that Trump is in office.

            Because those are the Bare Minimum criteria for this claim to not be Completely And Utterly Laughed Out.

            and

            B: You think Chavismo’s Russian backing is quaint in comparison to Trump’s Russia backing?

            It’s quaint you bring that up, because I’ve studied a case where Russian collusion makes whatever Russian backing of Trump and Chavismo there was PUT TOGETHER look quaint.

            Ladies and Gentlemen, I talk about Finland and its “Paaskivi-Kekkonen Line” which made its name become a verb. A place where Finnish authorities allowed the Soviets to host a farcical show trial of Finnish authorities and secret police trained by the freaking NKVD and GRU around to arrest people.

            Where Russian Collusion was not some shadowy conspiracy theory hidden away by power brokers, but a motherfarqing FEATURE outright declared by the likes of Kekkonen as necessary to the peace.

            Finland is pretty much a laboratory-grade example of how Russia would influence internal politics and elections in a democratic (or semi-democratic) nation not under their direct thumb because almost ALL of the factors you can imagine favored it.

            And even then their accomplishments there were much, MUCH humbler than you and your ilk think Trump gave to Putin.

            Because you’re not working off of history. You’re also not working off of knowledge of spycraft. You’re working off of hot fumes.

            “I don’t know if Trump will be charged with anything but I know: (a) he is completely reckless,”

            Completely reckless? Eh, I’ll give you that for the sake of the argument. I wouldn’t argue completely reckless since a lot of his gambles are more measured than his opposition gives credit for, but he certainly runs hot and has made stupid overblows as well.

            “(b) he is Putin’s natural ally,”

            WRONG.

            How do I knows this is wrong, Canucklehead?

            Because Trump

            A: Has an ego.

            B: Is President of the US.

            and

            C: Ran on a platform of supporting US fuel expansion.

            Now, All of these things are criteria I hope we can agree on. And they may not seem like much.

            THING IS, the US has a certain degree of political interests that would remain no matter what kind of regime it is under. For instance, it has a vested interest in upholding the Monroe Doctrine allowing US hegemony over Hispanic America.

            It also has benefits in relatively free (or at least Dominated-by-It) maritime traffic, because that’s the base of its global trade.

            And it also has a benefit in low energy costs and low food costs.

            Even if the US was taken over by Islamists, the Fourth Reich, Zombie Lenin, or what have you tomorrow those would remain broadly the same.

            And if you think a number of those things butt up against Putin’s interests, Congrats. You retain some balance to reality.

            And SOME of these factors- including US hegemony over the Western Hemisphere, and US maritime and agricultural power- would be reasons that the Kremlin would SEEK control over the US in the first place. Either to exploit them, or to prevent them from being exploited.

            C: Is simple but hard to understate. Putin’s dictatorship is RELIANT on a powerful Gazprom to keep the lights on, project Russian power into its “near Abroad”, and keep the various Neo-Boyar at home from trying to eat him alive.

            And a powerful Gazprom is reliant on high oil prices.

            Oil prices that a massive increase in the supply of fuel would UNDERCUT and massively *hurt.* Much like how the Frackers and other finds hurt Chavez.

            Even if we humor the idea that Trump got into power with Putin’s help, he also got into power by appealing to the support of coal, oil, and Nat Gas suppliers. The very people who are the natural freaking rivals to Putin’s economy.

            And of course, we get to A.

            Simply put, how easy do you think it is for an egotist to debase himself and express submission to another egotist?

            The answer is “not Very.”

            Simply put, Both Trump and Putin have big egos and want to be Number 1. A tendency that’s pretty common among politicians trying to climb the greasy, slimy pole to the top.

            Now, how easy do you think it is for the likes of Kekkonen, King Sejo of Korea, or the like to supplicate themselves before their patron state (the USSR, Imperial China, what have you?)

            I’m going to go out on a limb and guess “not very.” Which is one reason why vassal relationships are usually unstable.

            Now transmit that to a situation where the vassal is MORE POWERFUL IN EVERY WAY than the supposed master state. How long do you figure THAT will last?

            Heck, Tito and Mao were much weaker compared to the USSR and much more ideologically attracted to Stalin than Trump is to Putin. And even then the former two still split from the Soviets to try going their own way.

            Not many people like being told what to do. Especially Type A personalities with massive egos. And while I don’t rate Putin’s intelligence that highly compared to many people, the problems of elevating a puppet to a place of power Above Putin’s own position are too obvious and visible Years away.

            ” and (c) the GRU could not have imagined in its wildest fantasies suborning a head of state to behave like Trump is behaving.”

            Oh, the problems with this tiny statement….

            Firstly: It wasn’t GRU’s JOB to imagine or fantasize about suborning heads of State.

            GRU was military intelligence.

            Foreign intelligence was the business of the Cheka/NKVD/KGB Lineage.

            If you’re going to use hyperbole, you might as well get the terminology right.

            and

            B: Sorry, but I’ve studied both GRU and the KGB lineage.

            I hold their imaginations in high enough esteem to think they could imagine situations better than “getting bombed by their puppet in Syria” or “Having their financial backing undercut by them.”

            Let’s be bloody frank here, Canucklehead:

            Hafizullah Amin was a Communist head of state and client of the Soviet Union that the KGB *KILLED* for MUCCHH scanter reason than Trump has provided with his own actions.

            I know this because I know a whit about the history of the KGB, GRU, and Russian interference abroad.

            You clearly do not. Or at least you haven’t done as much.

            This is why people label you as a victim of TDS.

          • @Lorenzo

            “Donald Trump is the president of the USA, the country with the largest economy in the world, that spends close to 4% of its GNP on national defense, which, GNP-wise, is WAY more than any other NATO/European country. That means we maintain a triad of missiles, bombers, and submarines with the nuclear capability to wipe Russia off the face of the Earth, ten times over. Europe is protected under our nuclear “umbrella.”

            In light of this, why should anyone give a flying-fuck over an insignificant, “congratulations?” Or a discussion on Russian G7/8 membership?”

            I agree broadly, though on the whole? Probably because the US has to cut losses SOMEWHERE. Deficit spending has been out of control for a while in comparison to revenue, and NATO is cracking under a lot of strains. Some of that due to Trump, but mostly due to the demographic rot of the locals, chronic allied underspending for NATO, and turmoil from Putnist and Islamist infiltration.

            Something’s gotta give, and while I have my misgivings about Trump I do think his fundamental points on that are sound. Even if I don’t like his detente with Putin.

            “You forgot that his current father-in-law was a marxist.”

            Yeah, and?

            A: Key word, Was. Has nobody gone through a point in time they regret?

            B: Let’s not forget, the guy is SLOVENE. IE, Former Yugoslavia.

            Have you talked to any former Yugoslavs?

            Now, Yugoslavia was a little itsy bitsy thing called a TOTALITARIAN COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP. To exist in public life MEANT being a Marxist (or extremely good at pretending or bribing your way to credibility as one).

            And in addition, Titoism made Marxism seem more human, palatable, and popular. I still have this Serbian friend I RP with who could fit in for Quico between Nostalgia for Tito and sureity that “Socialism” or at least a welfare state is more humane and kind compared to Capitalism.

            I don’t like it, but it’s part of the human geography.

            C: Putin isn’t Marxist anymore, or at least not pretending to me. He may put on airs to that extent to curry favor with the remaining Marxist nutters in the West and elsewhere, but Marxism fell around the time of ’91.

            D: But let’s assume otherwise. Melania’s Dad is still a Marxist and so is Putin.

            Does this really mean that a Titoist would willingly take orders from a Brezhnev lover? Let’s not pretend, these ideological camps are not great Friends.

            “No question in my mind, he gets his orders from Vlad on occasion.”

            I disagree.

            In part because I’ve been an Eastern Europe watcher for years. Have you seen Vlad give orders?

            He is *NOT SUBTLE* about it.

            Hell, he basically kicked off Euromaidan by forcing Yanukovych to do a 180 degree about face and reject the EU Association agreement. In spite of him having to sell out his own base to do so.

            Vlad really isn’t that cunning or subtle. Sure, he has his moments. But in general he is a very Big, dull blunt object. Particularly when it comes to dealing with people he believes are subordinate to him.

            And that’s before I get into the subject of Trump’s obvious ego, and how well he would handle being bossed around by a foreign dictator he (supposedly) got aid from while he’s now leader of the most powerful country in the world.

            I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Trump did NOT get more aid from Putin or hold greater ideological affinity with him than Tito and Mao did with Stalin. And we *know* how that particular love story ended even though neither Yugoslavia nor China were as strong as the USSR at the time.

          • So, in an effort to understand the point you’re trying to make with the link, are you saying that Trump broke the law?

            “………..an examination of his record as a New York developer shows how aggressively he has fought to lower the taxes on his projects.”

            That ruthless orange bastard!

            As my dad told me as a young man, tax evasion is illegal and can be punished by fines and jail time. Don’t do it son! Tax avoidance, on the other hand, is not only legal, it’s a man’s fiduciary responsibility to himself and his family to do everything possible to legally reduce every dime of taxes he’s required to pay to the government.

          • Fiduciary responsibility? That’s hilarious. Its The Art of the Government Bailout. And when he burned that up on his baubles and gold leaf fantasy world, and his Casino Empire went crashing down, he went to the Corruptistans and Russia for more lines of credit. Kind of like Chavez and Maduro, but I digress.

      • Kepler – try to stay on the subject matter. Or else, you can prove that sun and the planets go around the inside of your head.

      • Kepler – try to stay on the subject matter. Or else, you can prove that sun and the planets go around the inside of your head.

      • @Kepler “Trump became rich basically from the Russian money laundering lin the US market.”

        No, he didn’t. As even you realized when you took a break for five seconds, realized the kind of money his Dad had and gave to him, and reclassified it to “richER” in order to keep within the bounds of plausible reality.

        At the most one could say that playing with Russian money laundering helped make Trump richer and recover from the economic doldrums he had in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Problem is, in addition to needing to use indirect evidence to support that there’s also the other sources of income he made, including his cutthroat real estate deals (admittedly a field Russian Neo-Boyars use to hide their money) and other parts of the portfolio.

        So the likely Russian money laundering would’ve been a Secondary income source among several.

        “That guy was the only head of state from the West to congratulate Putin for being reelected.”

        A: Define “The West.”

        and

        B: Unfortunately, this kind of nonsense is all too comon among power politicans trying to get nice before negotiations. A Obama can handily tell us, because he did so.

        http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/03/09/obama-congratulates-putin-for-election-win/

        Now, do I like either Trump or Obama doing this? NO. I DO NOT.

        Do I wish it would be rejected on point of principle?

        YES.

        But I’m ALSO an anonymous (or semi-anonymous) internet trawler who is high on ideological stubbornness and low on actual accountability. So even if I’m WOEFULLY UNHAPPY about people playing coy and cute about the monstrous nature of Putin’s dictatorship. I have to acknowledge…

        A: They’re the ones whose necks are in the noose, not me, they’re accountable to us and will be the ones retaliated against by Putin.

        and

        B: On the grand freaking scale of things, playing dumb and praising the obvious fraud is one of the least damaging ways to try and play nice with the Russian dictatorship. Because “talk is cheap, that’s why I do it constantly” (to quote a certain video game character) and “it is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war” (Churchill, paraphrased). And praising Vladimir Putin’s bunghole doesn’t involve giving actual concrete concessions.

        “His latest has been to say Russia should be invited to the G7 so that it becomes again the G8.”

        Yeah, and I oppose that heartily. Both because it’s pointless and counterproductive.

        However, I notice you’re overlooking a few freaking things in the timeline. You jump right from “Trump gets rich(er) from Russian money laundering” to “Trump advocates Putin reenter the G-7.”

        Don’t you think you’re missing about two decades there, mate?

        Including things like…

        A: The bombing of Assad’s air bases in Syria in repudiation of the sham Baathist-Russian chemical weapons deal?

        B: Killing by some estimates several hundred Russian “mercenaries” in Syria?

        C: Providing lethal aid to the Ukranian loyalists fighting Putin’s scumbags in the Donbass?

        and

        D: Supporting cheaper, less stringently green US domestic energy tat DIRECTLY competes with other fossil fuel suppliers..chief among them Russia?

        And I could go on, but that is a small morsel.

        And I find it hard to stress the importance of D. It’s hard to understate how crucial Gazprom and its tentacles are for the health of Putin’s dictatorship.

        It provides a plum posting for allied Neo-Boyars to suck off the Kremlin’s patronage t*eat and give their hanger ons positions.

        It provides employment, something that is not that easy to come across in Putin’s Russia for the hoi polloi.

        And it provides MASSIVE amounts of hard currency and diplomatic leverage for the Kremlin, two things that are again in pretty hard supply for Putin.

        https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=17231

        And while I realize that accounts for the Gray and Black Markets heavily influenced by the Russian dictatorship unevenly if at all, that is still a massive figure. It is no exaggeration to say that oil keeps the wheels of Putin’s dictatorship turning. it keeps the lights on. And it keeps the Tsar in goodies to distribute to buy….if not Loyalty at least preference, and keep the various powermongers from eating HIM.

        Trump undermining D ALONE by pushing for expanded US fuel supply and distribution would probably be more than enough to give Putin pause about whether this whole scheme was REALLY worth it.

        “This bloke is going to do something about Venezuela?”

        Yeah, I would say so. In part because he has taken steps to do so already. Even if they were less effectual than I’d like, at least they are prompt. for instance, this very website and a few others spoke about Pence’s role in the OAS talks to help isolate this dictatorship.

        And that’s the problem you and most of the other “Russia Collusion” theorists run into.

        You don’t really try and estimate the cost/benefit analysis from the Kremlin’s perspective.

        And you don’t seem to account for the friction between ACTUAL vassal or puppet states and their masters, let alone alleged ones. Or how even a pro-Russian Washington DC that is anything but the most utterly controlled, weak-willed, and humble puppet would have an incentive to assert American power in the Western Hemisphere.

        “Ira, Just tell me:
        1) do you think Trump should have congratulated Putin for winning the “elections” this year? Just say yes, no or I do not know.”

        A: Do you think Obama should have done so in 2012 and other times?

        Because turn around is fair play.

        B: My initial gut feeling is to say No, but on the whole I would probably say I do not know, leaning towards No.

        As I mentioned before, I think ti is helpful to give these tyrannies as little recognition, prestige, and acknowledgement as possible. And I do think it is demeaning for the Head of State for the world’s oldest democratic republic to be seen playing it in.

        But I also recognize that a huge chunk of POTUS’s responsibility involves Dealing with said dictatorships, and keeping relationships… if not Good at least workable. Particularly in struggles where we have the advantage of time, where stalling benefits Us.

        To quote Walter Trumbull. “Diplomacy frequently consists in soothingly saying “Nice doggie” until you have a chance to pick up a rock.”

        To some degree, the entire history of the Cold War could be dummed down to the West trying to counter Communist expansion while saying “Nice Doggie” enough to avoid WWIII and help keep them in their cage.

        And Russia’s hollowed out demographically, economically, politically, and ideologically in ways that are often worse than the late Soviet Union was. So playing for time is cheap.

        I don’t like it, but I also am not in the hot seat taking ultimate responsibility for it and nobody knows quite what briefings he is getting. Hence “I do not know, leaning towards No.”

        “2) do you think Trump should keep proposing Russia should join now the G7 to make again the G8?”

        The answer is much simpler. Flat Out No.

        I can understand the need to balance out workable relations with our enemies, and the benefit of playing for time. But that needs to be blanced against the benefits we get.

        Russia it doesn’t work.

        “Pleasr, again, say clearly whether you think so.:

        I have.

        “And yes, this matters a lot. ”

        Agreed.

        “Putin is, among other things, Maduro’s main ally abroad.”

        I’m skeptical of that, for a number of reasons.

        Putin may be the best big power patron the Chavista dictatorship* has, esp. in comparison to the PRC. But there’s a reason why people on here constantly harp about hte Cuban connection and I think it’s valid.

        Castro is the closer one. it is the more tightly linked to the Chavistas ideologically, economically, politically, and militarily. It is the one that is more likely to send troops to support the dictatorship against its internal opposition ala Angola.

        Hence why I find it much more likely that the Castro dictatorship will go “all in” even if the PRC or Kremlin drew down their presence in country.

    • Ira,
      Foreign relations and diplomacy can hinge as much on personal relations as mutual policy does.
      Pence and Pompeo had the opportunity to speak to some of the leaders as a group instead of individually. Coordinating policies and reassurances from high level US representatives may have created agreements that are not public.
      When Al Gore became VP, he stated that he wasn’t going to be going to every funeral like George H.W. Bush did when Reagan was President. Barbara Bush wrote in her book how foolish Gore was to say that.
      She went on to point out that the funerals were an opportunity for informal discussions and created the opportunities to build personal relationships.
      In that same spirit. I am glad that such high level representatives from the US are showing support for OAS activity regarding Venezuela.
      In the extreme event that the US does become involved militarily, President Trump has the cover of stating that Diplomacy had been tried and failed.
      Pence and Pompeo going to OAS meetings does not damage any activity or reduce the credibility of the OAS.

    • MR
      The protein supplement for Crystal made it to Vicky.
      The vitamin D and multivitamin supplement for people with kidney failure is MIA.
      I hope it can be found. I will send another if it is lost. That vitamin D supplement is the one that I need the doctor’s input on.
      Frustrating!!
      I just tried to call you when I saw that you were able to post. Same thing. It rings a couple of times and then goes to a busy signal.

  4. Kepler, why lie? It seems you’ve fallen victim to the vile European propaganda regarding Trump.

    Off the top of my head, Juncker congratulated Putin as well. Do you know who that is?

    The McCarthyite stuff you are spouting is nonsense as well.

    And of course the guy from Canada, Cuba’s benefactor, thinks it’s appropriate for him to continuously attack Trump on an anti-Chavista site. Talk about lacking self awareness.

    • Benjamin,
      What Juncker did was stupid and I had always thought he does not belong to that position. He is incompetent. I could go on explaining why I have always considered incapable for the job but it has nothing to do with the topic at hand. The elected heads of state
      and their respective governments acted differently and were rather critical. The point is Ira is trying to tell us a psychologically unstable
      guy who got richer from Russian money laundering (and start money coming from his dad), who has always had this weird
      bromance with Putin, is going to go against Putin’s plans with Venezuela.
      I am not saying Juncker will do this or that. I think the bloke is
      a hindrance for the EU in many respects but that is off topic.
      I do not have an irrational love for Juncker.
      Ira and others here adore Trump like Chavistas adore Chavez.
      Now Ira will say Trump is not going to help Venezuela because he read this post and saw how unthankfuk we are.

      • Kep, I don’t think anyone here “adores” Trump. We give him credit for keeping campaign promises, using his unorthodox style to keep his foes off-balance, and most of all, looking out for what he believes are the best interests of the United States. As the saying goes, countries don’t have friends, they have interests and that’s how he approaches subjects.

        Also, the fact that he can make liberal heads explode is an added bonus.

      • @Kepler ” What Juncker did was stupid and I had always thought he does not belong to that position. He is incompetent. I could go on explaining why I have always considered incapable for the job but it has nothing to do with the topic at hand. ”

        On that much we agree.

        “The elected heads of state and their respective governments acted differently and were rather critical.

        And yet when push came to shove, how many of them were comfortable expanding the sanctions on the Chavistas to their closest ally, the Castros?

        I know I went after Canucklehead to ask WTF he intended to do to try and stop Canadian trade with the Cuban dictatorship putting hard money into the coffers of their military and secret police and never got an answer. Especially since he did it while criticizing (with fair cause) Trump and other US Admins for keeping oil trades open with Venezuela.

        What about trying to block out contact with the rest of the little inbred network of rogue states that trade with each other, like Iran?

        There’s plenty of blame to go around here, and while I was relatively pleased with what the EU elected heads did, I’m not going to mince words and act like it was a perfect response.

        “The point is Ira is trying to tell us a psychologically unstable guy -”

        CITATION NEEDED. WHERE IS YOUR PROOF?

        And the thing about this is, I’ve read a good chunk of the “doctors'” editorials blathering about how Trump is likely mentally ill, delusional, yadda yadda yadda.

        Here’s the thing though: I was ALSO a volunteer medical orderly a few times in my life. So I have more than a passing familiarity with medical ethics compared to the average person. And so I KNOW how flat out UNCALLED FOR AND UNJUSTIFIED this kind of nonsense is.

        There’s a REASON why diagnoses are not done casually like the hacks in said articles did. Ideally you want to have the diagnosing practitioner examine the person in question several times over a decent period of it. But it’s expected that even when that’s not possible you want to have some kind of physical interaction.

        *REMOTE DIAGNOSIS IS AN INCREDIBLY UNEASY FREAKING PRACTICE*, one that even at the BEST of times is controversial (like how the US Gov’ts request for psychological profiles of Adie H1tler caused a minor ethical crisis among US practitioners). It is to be done with CARE.

        THAT IS NOT WHAT WAS DONE HERE. And I would be FULLY COMFORTABLE with having EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THEIR NAME TO THOSE KINDS OF ARTICLES *FORFEITING* their ability to practice.

        Not because I’m a Trump supporter (though I am), but because it offends and disgusts even my passing familiarity with medical practice!

        And it’s worth noting that I’m not alone here. As even plenty of people who DISLIKE Trump pointed out.

        https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-is-a-disgrace-but-he-is-not-mentally_us_599e4f5ee4b0d0ef9f1c1194

        “who got richer from Russian money laundering (and start money coming from his dad), ”

        Again, citation needed.

        But let’s assume for the sake of the argument that it is true.

        Does “partaking in Russian money laundering” translate into “placing Russian political interests over American ,ones? Even when he is the one in charge of and gaining power from US political and strategic interests?”

        Quick show of hands: anybody think Trump is humble enough to easily debase himself before Putin on the world stage?

        Didn’t think so.

        That’s why the Russian Collusion narrative has always rung hollow for me, and I probably know more about historical Russian Collusion in foreign elections than most.

        If you accept it at face value, it would be Vladimir Putin conspiring with Trump to elevate the latter in a position where not only will Trump have an independent source of power from Putin, but Trump *will be STRONGER THAN Putin is.*

        Do I have to explain how much of a gamble this is even in the best of times?

        That it is extremely uncharacteristic for the Kremlin, let alone a nutjob like Putin?

        “who has always had this weird bromance with Putin,”

        Always is a long time, got indications for it?

        ” is going to go against Putin’s plans with Venezuela.”

        I do. For a number of reasons.

        But first, take that quote.

        “Ira is trying to tell us a psychologically unstable
        guy who got richer from Russian money laundering (and start money coming from his dad), who has always had this weird bromance with Putin, is going to go against Putin’s plans with Venezuela.”

        First: Replace “Putin” with Stalin, “Venezuela’ with China, and “Russian” with “Soviet.”

        Second: Replace “Putin” with “Napoleon”, “Venezuela” with “The Netherlands”, and “Russian” with “French.”

        Third: Replace “Putin” with Stalin, “Venezuela” with “Yugoslavia”, and “Russian” with “Soviet.”

        Fourth: take your left hand and Slap yourself across the face. Because these are passable descriptions of the career of Mao, Tito, Chiang, and Louis Bonaparte the “Rabbit of Olland.”

        And you are NOT going to convince me that Trump was closer to Putin than Mao or Tito were to Stalin, or that Louis was to his own freaking brother.

        The lesson we should freaking take from this is simple.

        That vassal or client state status is Always going to be fraught with trouble and uneasiness, even at the best of times.

        Because even if Soviet or French bayonets and support are enough to help PUT you in power in China or the Netherlands, you’re going to want to cultivate Chinese/Dutch/whatever support to KEEP in power. Or to pursue your own agendas and buid up a power base for yourself.

        And that ones that are nearly as powerful as the master (let alone more powerful, as the US would be!) are going to be even more so because the temptation of just break away, flipping the bird as you go.

        Again, this is what happened in China and Yugoslavia. And even the much less drastic case of Louis in the Netherlands saw him try and prioritize his rapport with the Dutch at the expense of the French to the point where his brother decided to Invade And Overthrow Him.

        Vladimir Putin has to deal with these problems Every Single Day of his Misbegotten Life. Including with client states like Kadyrov’s Chechnya, let alone Central Asia.

        And he would NEVER Have the kind of leverage that he has over them, that Napoleon B had over Louis B, or that Stalin had over Mao and Tito.

        What would you do if your corrupt partner in crime (assuming that is what he is) who you decided to help take power in The World’s Only Superpower realizes that he has the whip hand in your relationship now and *he doesn’t have to heed you as much as he did?* That he is going to put American interests- and thus HIS POWER- over Russian ones, because that’s what is in the interests of his nation and Him personally to do, you have no effective leverage over him, so you can go F*** back to Siberia?

        What is Putin’s countermove to this?

        Are you going to freaking march the Russian army across the Atlantic to replace him ala Napoleon in the Netherlands or the Soviets in Czechoslovakia?

        Are you going to leak supposedly damaging information about how he was your partner in crime, risk exposing countless intelligence and military assets to do so, and run the risk that it is not simply laughed out as fake?

        This is something I haven’t seen most of the Russia Collusion “experts” address. In addition to how I haven’t seen them discuss other cases of Russian/Soviet “leverage” in democratic elections, like their role in Finlandizing Finland or giving Lincoln diplomatic clout by docking the Russian navy in Union held ports.

        “I am not saying Juncker will do this or that. I think the bloke is
        a hindrance for the EU in many respects but that is off topic.
        I do not have an irrational love for Juncker.”

        Same.

        “Ira and others here adore Trump like Chavistas adore Chavez.”

        Well, I don’t.

        I am cautiously supportive of him, but there’s a reason why the commenters and analysts I identify closest with- like Neo-Neocon, Ben Shapiro, and so on- were opposed to Trump in the primaries, cautiously supportive of him now, and more than knowledgeable about his habits of lying and overselling himself.

        But my main stance on this issue has been informed by my knowledge of history. Including that of Russian history. And frankly this attempt to conflate Trump with Chavez was dubious years ago when it was a thing pushed by CC hard.

        It is long past its sell by date.

        “Now Ira will say Trump is not going to help Venezuela because he read this post and saw how unthankfuk we are.”

        Well, I won’t.

        Because again, your ego or that has relatively little to do with what the smart move in regards to the Western Hemipshere is to someone in the US’s position. And I would expect Trump to continue nipping at the heels of the Chavistas. In part because it helps undermine accusations that he was a Russian puppet, and helps buff up American (read: his) power in the Western Hemisphere.

  5. Legitimacy is a spectrum concept……its not like being pregnant or not, it depends on others willful recognition of someones authority , to the extent people reject it , countries reject it , it becomes a phantom , a farce…., this has nothing to do with the capacity of a ruler to forcibly impose its rule thru the use of force and intimidation, deception and fraud………., in this sense this regimes claim on legitimacy is one of the weakest any Venezuelan regime ever had , the fact that 19 of the most importat latam countries (ever so wary of passing judgement on other govts) ,plus the US and Canada and the EU declare that they do not recognize the latest elections as legitimate , means that any claim to legitimacy by the regime is threadbare thin, the well known fact that absent the regimes control of the CNE and the CSJ most Venezuelans would reject the govt in any freely held election is also something that makes its claim to being a legitimate govt lacking in credibility, thus its insistence in enacting spectacles where ritualistically but emptily it simulates the ceremonial expression of a legitimacy which it lacks …..Mr Maduro is the president of Venezuela the same way that Mickey Mouse is an actual mouse ….!!!

  6. Canucklehead…is it that you are bored by the tragedy of Venezuela or are you embarrassed by the abject failure of socialism there.. Something has to explain why you change the topic to Trump all of the time, ad nauseam. I am sure there are many Canadians and Americans who are equally Trump obsessed with whom you can engage but why must you do it here all of the time. The topic here is Venezuela. Do you have anything to say about it?

    • Bill, there is a discussion involving Trump going on here regularly, even when I’m not involved, and I comment regularly about Venezuela, but feel free to ignore me. Really. You’re not a toddler and I’m not telling you to go to bed.

    • CNN. The Cnucklehead News Network. All Trump. All the Time. 365/24/7 (366 on leap years).

  7. He’s already done A LOT, something you cannot accept or recognize because you are an ungrateful shit. Your failure to see past your hate dooms you for this task .

    PS. Leave the Trump bashing out of this and focus on BRV. You cannot have your cake and it eat (too)

  8. Trump got elected fair and square. Let him.blow things up. History will judge him.

    In the meantime, there’s work.to do. You are either in (team player) or out. Life is a bitch, suck on it (Kepler)

  9. You can make the case another admin would do same because of circumstances with BRV. These are the cards Trump was dealt with. He’s playing his hand well. Have feeling we ain’t seen nothing yet. The Chavistas choose this path, they prophecize d it for almost dwo decades. Their prophecy is coming true and you want to bitch about Trumo? Do you realize the OAS vote was about Russia (and China) more than anything else?

  10. Kepler, you think OAS gonna call their resolutiom ‘meddling by Russia and China in Western Hemisphere’ ???

    You think Netherlands gonna say the military buildup in ABC islands because of BrV ???

    One step at a time

    The Western Democracies and allies have to go by the book called history.

  11. Reading through this thread, I can’t tell whether I’m reading the ravings of a chavista or a trumpista. The names and politics are different, the cult of personality is the same.

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