Photo: retrieved

A huge white boat adorns the usually half-empty docks of La Guaira since last weekend, changing the crisis-shaped landscape of Venezuela’s once lively commercial port. It’s not a cruise, of course, but a Chinese hospital ship that arrived to Venezuelan waters on September 22.

The boat’s arrival was quite a show, not only because it was escorted by Venezuelan Navy warships and fighters, and welcomed by girls dancing in folkloric dresses, but because it represents a not-so-subtle acknowledgement of the terrible health crisis affecting the country, and more importantly, a reminder of the role China is willing to play in the development of the Venezuelan crisis.

With 300 beds, eight fully-functional operating rooms and a helicopter, the 14000-ton boat is much better equipped than any Venezuelan hospital, even its bright, pristine white paint contrasts with the dirty halls where thousands of patients die every day, lacking the most basic medicines inland. The Peace Ark, like the People’s Liberation Army Navy Daishan Dao type 920 hospital ship was called during peacetime, was first commissioned in 2008, and has since visited places like Tanzania, Djibouti, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Gabon, usually following natural disasters or humanitarian crises, like in its 2013 visit to the Philippines, after the archipelago was hit by typhoon Haiyan, leaving over 6,000 people dead.

But Vladimir Padrino, who received the boat crew after it docked in La Guaira, quickly tried to minimize any link between the boat’s arrival and the evident crisis that rendered the Venezuelan health system useless, saying that the ship’s objective is to “share medical knowledge, doctrines and philosophies” while contradictorily admitting that the boat will also offer medical attention to Venezuelan and Colombian patients “without discrimination”; even though some people denounced being denied access to the boat, since only chavista grassroot groups like communal councils control the patients selection process.

On September 25, Rey Mozo, a journalist from local news outlet Efecto Cocuyo was held in custody for a few hours by State security forces because he was interviewing some of these patients.

But the Peace Ark visit is also remarkable for its timing.

It happened just a few days after Maduro’s latest visit to China (in which he seems to have assured a fresh $5 billion credit line in still undisclosed terms) and more importantly, only a month after U.S. Defense Secretary, James Mattis announced the U.S. would send their own hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to Colombia as part of its effort to help Venezuelan migrants in the country, something that was perceived by Venezuelan military officers as a threat.

In this sense, the arrival of the Peace Ark to Venezuelan shores can be read more like a show of strength from China, rather than a purely humanitarian measure. All of this in the middle of increasing rumors regarding an hypothetical U.S.-supported military intervention in Venezuela in the near future.

Padrino himself stated that the visit was part of the “government’s strategic defense operation” while posing with some heavily armed members of the Chinese Navy aboard the ship.

Unsurprisingly, shortly after Mattis’s announcement, the Comfort was called “an instrument of war” by Telesur, the same outlet that now embraces the arrival of the Peace Ark.

According to Nicolás Maduro, the Peace Ark will remain docked in La Guaira until next saturday, when it’ll continue its journey to Grenada and Ecuador. As of today, all we know is that the crew on the ship received a group of doctors from Caracas Military Hospital, but there’s no information on the number of patients treated.

Even if this boat actually helps some people, its visit will hardly make any difference for most of those affected by the pervasive health crisis affecting the country. On the other hand, it’s more a preview of the more active role that China seems to be taking in defending the Maduro regime, its largest bet into expanding its influence in South America, while undermining the United States.

A red flag warning on the complex developing that the Venezuelan situation may take in the following months, and its generally understated global consequences.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Absurd! Chavismo is perfection! Socialized medicine, where there is no want nor need. “Free healthcare” for the masses, with awesome Cuban “doctors”!

    Why would Maduro allow such a silly show of WEAKNESS, when Venezuela isn’t in any sort of crisis?

  2. The iguanas caused a backup, so the ship is in port for a week to catch up on the necessary paperwork. Everything will be back to rainbows and kittens whiskers by Monday.

  3. Isn’t there a Chinese aircraft carrier making a port of call as well? Naval exercises w/ the mighty Sovereign Revolutionary Bolivarian Caribbean Fleet or better known as SRBCF.

    • OOh. The Chinese have a very nice looking, very modern appearing aircraft carrier. Their first ever majority built (51%) in the PRC. It replaces the four 1970’s vintage garbage scows that they purchased from Russia. (I think Russia might be down to one diesel/steam carrier). I hope they have better luck getting their planes up off the flight deck than the Russians do.

      Yes. Very modern appearing. And attractively festooned with all sorts of red ribbons and red flags. Very pretty. I can assure you that any port it goes into suddenly goes from ugly step sister to Cinderella instantly. Very elegant and handsome. They ought to call it… The Guapo,

  4. People in the US are pushing for the state dep. to release the figures per who had what assets in the US. When gaffas like Delcy are shown to have large stashes in American banks, with no possible means of earning them save for theft, there might be some explaining to do – or denial. Either way, that money is GONE, which has to piss the Chavistas off big time.

    • Remember, Diosdado was furious that the press would “lie” about him having millions of dollars that the US government confiscated. If it wasn’t true, why would he be furious? It would be akin to me being outraged that my employees were spreading the (clearly false) rumor that I was having an affair with a Victorias Secret model.

      Firstly, it is so outrageous its laughable. I would laugh. My wife would laugh. (unfortunately)

      Secondly, its the kind of rumor I might start myself.

      So when Nicky or Cilia get their knickers in a twist about sanctions…. I think of Shakespeare. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.

  5. The Chinese dictators are such despicable Sons of a Filthy Whore, all of them. This is just a show of force, a power trip. To parade a big ship around the world as if the corrupt Chinese tyrants were really concerned about any humanitarian crisis. Heck, they treat their own oppressed, 1 Billion ants populace like stray dogs in the streets, packed factories and rice fields. One week in Klepto-Narco-Cubazuela will be enough to treat Padrino’s family and Tarek’s sick nieces or nephews, if that. Maybe a breast transplant for the horrendous DelcyWhore, or a face lift for the atrocious TibiBitch. Or a prostate exam and new forked tongue for that filthy lizard named Cabello.

    For the average Tropical Indio, the uneducated, ignorant, clueless, often corrupt and complicit “pueblo”-people, it showcases the might of the Chinese Empire, and its recent Kleptozuelan colony. Climb aboard, get your “carnet de la patria” join the Popular Party of the people of Chinazuela, and perhaps next year, when the despicable ship comes back to La Guaira, they might let you in line for your own prostate exam.

    You can bet the freaking ship is also loaded with spies, plenty of secret chambers to carry piles of cash and gold away for the despicable Chinese rulers of Narco-Klepto-Chinazuela. And a dozen special massage room chambers full of Chinese prostitutes for the delight and entertainment of the Kleptozuelan “armed forces” and its 1300 mega-corrupt “Generals”. Alternatively, the Chinese Captains and top crew of that sinister ship will take turns inland to enjoy the free services of our own Chavista Tropical Prostitutes, world-renowned and famous even in China by now.. Maybe it is a Cultural Exchange indeed: 50 Chinese whores in exchange for 50 Kleptozuelan puticas. All very well paid. Then on to Grenada and Ecuador for a different taste of typical local foods, beaches and local prostitutes.

  6. Talk of U.S. Military Intervention in Venezuela Suddenly Gains Traction

    When President Donald Trump said a year ago that the U.S. was considering a “military option” for Venezuela, hardly anyone in Washington thought it was a good idea.

    Today, as Venezuela slides toward dictatorship and collapse, triggering a millions-strong migration crisis, support for such a move is being discussed openly. The notion of using force to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro is gaining adherents — although it remains a distinctly minority view.

    Trump himself hasn’t walked anything back. On Tuesday at the United Nations, he told reporters who asked him about military intervention that he had no intention of broadcasting his plans, adding, “It’s a regime that frankly could be toppled very quickly by the military, if the military decides to do that.”

    The following morning, he indicated that he’d be willing to meet with Maduro at the UN this week if it would “save lives”.

    https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/2018/09/26/trump-s-venezuela-military-option-gains-backers-as-millions-flee#gs.Qn6n0hY

  7. Venezuela Is a Disaster. Time for a Coup?

    Recently, Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, or O.A.S., made a stunning statement at a rally on the border between Colombia and Venezuela, warning that no option was off the table in Venezuela, and in particular, that a “military intervention” to “overthrow” its government, could not be discarded. Some observers interpreted this as meaning that an invasion of Venezuela by other countries was now on the agenda. Others, more intelligently, surmised that Mr. Almagro was referring to a domestic involvement by the Venezuelan armed forces: in short, a military coup d’état.

    Has the Venezuelan crisis reached that stage? Maybe.

    The shocking pronouncement by the head of a intergovernmental regional agency did not occur in a vacuum. Days before, The New York Times reported that senior-level officers from the Venezuelan army had approached the Trump Administration a few months ago. They announced they were plotting a coup against President Nicolás Maduro, and requested telecommunications support for that purpose. The American officials declined, and the Venezuelans were on their own.

    In any case, not until all other options have been tested. One has not. More than 90 percent of Venezuela’s hard currency and government revenues proceed from oil exports, declining and compromised, as they may be in advance sales to China. Most of those exports are still destined for the United States Gulf Coast, where refineries owned by the national oil company, PDVSA, are among the few in the world that can process its heavy crude. While various sets of largely ineffective sanctions have been slapped on Venezuela in recent months by the United States, several European Union members and Latin American governments, they have not been directed at oil purchases, even though private companies have sued PDVSA for breach of contracts.

    Washington, in particular, has proved reluctant to proceed, despite knowing full well that these would be the most effective sanctions. Just on Tuesday, the United States ramped up sanctions against key figures in the Maduro entourage. Oil sanctions would force Caracas to find other buyers — which it can — but only at a high cost and with multiple complications. They would deprive the regime of much of its earnings and dollars, perhaps irreparably. Regrettably, they would also hurt the Venezuelan people. The question is what causes the most damage: sanctions with real teeth, or perpetuating the current nightmare.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/opinion/maduro-venezuela-crisis.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion

    • Well, fuck. I guess we ought to let the editoral board of the NY Times run America, since they have all the answers.

      But, then again their ilk has run Venezuela for nearly 20 years, and we see first hand what prosperity Marxism has brought.

  8. In some sense this mega ship from the Chinese Empire Armada reminds me of the Spanish Conquista of the Americas, with their numerous ships after Cristobal Colon back in 1492.

    In essence, our Spanish/British ancestors were merely looking for riches and gold for their Monarchies and themselves. Much like the Chinese now, as the second largest Economy, rivaling the USA, except a lot more Evil, avaricious and capitalistic, disguised as “socialism” or “communism”. Modern economic Colonialism.

    The Spanish and Europeans that conquered America disguised themselves as “Christians” or “protestants” in the name of religion or ‘civilization’, they pilferaged and stole all the gold they could, from Canada to Chile, while enslaving or killing the ignorant, and highly corruptible local Indians.

    Much like the Russians and Chinese now with their ship, pretending to be ‘humanitarian” and “socialists”, all they doing is going after is the riches and the gold/oil/minerals of the American jungles. Just another historic wave of disguised, covert and cruel Colonialism, this time in the 21st century, instead of the 15th century. Same twisted objectives: fuck the indians and steal their gold.

  9. The “Arca De La Paz” came/left after 2 das., maybe attending 1 photo-op Ven. child, citing “need to visit other countries”–brought arms. took away gold?

  10. The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and an assortment of treatment facilities. The Peace Ark has 300 and 8 fully functional operating rooms. But what the lack is qualified surgeons.

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