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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:18 pm 
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I think the German and Japanese Intelligence Services are two of the most active...

It's just that they are more focussed on Industrial & Economic espionage.

:-S

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"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen … if you would be a man speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon balls, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:52 am 
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FEBRUARY 22, 2019

Why is the Venezuelan Government Rejecting U.S. Food Supplies?

by TIMOTHY M. GILL


There’s no denying that a serious economic and humanitarian crisis faces Venezuela. Millions of citizens have left the country, and those who have remained have lost considerable weight and have inadequate access to food and medicine. Hyperinflation continues unabated, and, with the Trump administration recently leveling sanctions against the Venezuelan state oil company (PDVSA), the crisis is only intensifying.

Yet, although the U.S. – through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – has flown food and medicinal provisions such as high-energy biscuits to the Colombian border with Venezuela, the Venezuelan government is refusing to allow these supplies into the country. Amid the crisis, this might appear to onlookers as gravely inconsiderate and deliberately cruel, at best.

As a result, the Venezuelan opposition led by Juan Guaidó has proclaimed that it will somehow retrieve these supplies and bring them into the country on Saturday, February 23. It is not yet clear how the opposition intends to do this. However, one thing is certain: these efforts are going to result in a high-level confrontation between opposition activists and Venezuelan military members, who the Maduro government has ordered to prohibit these supplies from entering the country. In the lead-up to this confrontation, the Trump administration has warned Maduro and his military not to harm protestors and activists. This call, of course, exists alongside Trump’s warning that all options, including a military invasion, are on the table.

Why, amid the crisis, would the Venezuelan government refuse to accept U.S. provisions?

First, the optics of the U.S. providing supplies to Venezuela legitimates the U.S. as a benevolent actor. The Venezuelan government – among many others – have drawn attention to the fact that the U.S. has continued to enact sanctions against the Venezuelan government, exacerbating the economic crisis. This isn’t to suggest that the U.S. created the economic crisis. Indeed, the economic crisis long precedes U.S. sanctions. However, there is no doubt that sanctions have, and will continue to have, a deleterious effect on the Venezuelan economy and hammer poor populations more than anyone else – and certainly more so than the Venezuelan state and military elite that these sanctions are allegedly designed to damage.

Much of the economic crisis stems from plummeting oil prices and oil production in Venezuela, that is, alongside massive corruption. As a result of plummeting prices and production, the Venezuelan government does not have the foreign currency that exporters demand when sending products, whatever they may be, into the country. The Venezuelan currency is in no way a stable currency, and it is essentially worthless outside of Venezuela. There is subsequently no incentive for exporters to accept Venezuelan bolívares. This is indeed a global dynamic that goes beyond Venezuelan currency, as U.S. dollars and Euros serve as global de facto currency, and it demonstrates the consequentiality of a state’s possession of such foreign exchange.

Without the dollars and Euros obtained through oil sales, the Venezuelan government cannot nearly import all the products – food, medicine, and otherwise – that Venezuelans require to live a healthy and dignified life. U.S. oil sanctions are specifically designed to deprive the Venezuelan government of economic resources, and, since the government is the primary entity that distributes foreign currency to importers, this results in less foreign currency for importers to bring in goods and thus results in more shortages.

From the Venezuelan government’s perspective, the U.S. is deliberately inducing economic pain in order to push Venezuelan citizens and the military into rebelling against Maduro. At the same time, though, they are trying to play the role of a beneficent actor by offering supplies to the opposition to distribute to citizens. For the Venezuelan government, among many others that see the obvious publicity stunt the U.S. has sought to generate, these actions are hypocritical and downright insincere. If the U.S. truly wanted to assist Venezuelan citizens, many point out that they should work through international groups, like the Red Cross and United Nations, and eliminate economic sanctions. Indeed, this is precisely why the Red Cross, for one, has refused to participate in these U.S. actions, instead criticizing how the U.S. has overtly politicized humanitarian support in order to generate a media spectacle, which now includes a concert sponsored by billionaire Richard Branson on the Colombian-Venezuelan border this weekend.

Second, the Venezuelan government remains skeptical about USAID activities within the country. For decades, USAID, and its Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI), supplied the opposition with funding and training to defeat the Venezuelan socialists. This included funding and training for opposition students and their organizations, sending NGO representatives critical of the Venezuelan government abroad to drum up international resistance to Venezuelan government policies, and reaching out to Venezuelan government-supporters through neutral-looking, but opposition-led, community groups in an effort to direct them towards opposition political parties.

For many years, Venezuela benefited from oil production, and thus required little economic assistance from abroad. As a result, USAID has only operated these sorts of political rather than economic development programs in the country. However, it has been reported that even USAID’s humanitarian missions have often contained hidden political objectives. For instance, under the guise of an HIV-prevention program in Cuba, USAID operatives sought to find political activists to combat the Cuban government. Indeed, one USAID member called these workshops “the perfect excuse” to find opposition activists in the country.

Given both of these dynamics – U.S. economic sanctions, and USAID’s history of political objectives in Venezuela and beyond, Maduro’s refusal to allow USAID into the country appears much more rational than it may appear to casual observers at first glance.

It may surely be the case that members of the U.S. government wish to see Venezuelans garner better access to food and medicine. It may be the case that some even prioritize democracy and human rights above all else, including Venezuelan oil and containment of a decades-long challenge to U.S. supremacy within the hemisphere.

However, it’s also quite clear what the U.S. is trying to do: generate a media spectacle that seemingly reveals President Maduro as a cruel dictator who wishes to starve his own people. In addition, it’s also clearly designed to bait the Venezuelan military into turning on Maduro. We can surely debate the cruelty of Maduro’s domestic policies and his inability and unwillingness to seriously combat the economic crisis, perhaps in an effort to benefit his cronies. Yet, Maduro is not incorrect about the U.S.’s disingenuous behavior.

At the same time that the U.S. is portraying itself as a literary protagonist with its supplies situated on the Colombia-Venezuela border, its policies are intensifying hardships for Venezuelan citizens. If it truly wanted to help Venezuelans, it could work through international and multilateral institutions to send aid to Venezuela, push for dialogue, and take some options off the table, namely military intervention.

Above all, the U.S. is currently damaging the Venezuelan economy with its sanctions, and its supplies on the border will do very little to solve the crisis writ large. If sanctions haven’t felled governments in Iran or Syria, to name just two examples, it doesn’t seem likely that they will fall the Maduro government any time soon. They’ll only perpetuate suffering and ultimately generate acrimony towards the country.

Timothy M. Gill is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

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"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen … if you would be a man speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon balls, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:23 pm 
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Malnourished Venezuelans hope urgently needed aid arrives soon

Quote:
Yaneidi Guzman has lost a third of her weight over the past three years as Venezuela's economic collapse made food unaffordable and she now hopes the opposition will succeed in bringing urgently needed foreign aid to the South American country.

Guzman's clothes hang limply off her gaunt frame. The 38-year-old is one of many Venezuelans suffering from malnutrition as the once-prosperous, oil-rich OPEC nation has seen its economy halve in size over the last five years under President Nicolas Maduro.




Nahhhh they fine! Capitalist lies!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:11 pm 
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Holyman wrote:
FEBRUARY 22, 2019

Why is the Venezuelan Government Rejecting U.S. Food Supplies?

by TIMOTHY M. GILL


Much of the economic crisis stems from plummeting oil prices and oil production in Venezuela, that is, alongside massive corruption.

Timothy M. Gill is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.


I think this is the main issue. Corrupt government relying on oil as their main economic engine promising free shit to everyone.

One of the richest countries in South America with the world's biggest oil reserves became a shit-hole almost overnight once they put Marxists like Chavez and Maduro in charge. It was about 10 years ago when dopey Democrats in the US were teaming up with Chavez as he promised to send free energy and fuel to America's poor when gas prices were high.

There are lessons to be learned here.

But the author seems more concerned about the "optics" of Commies looking bad again then worrying about starving Venezuelans.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:03 pm 
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FEBRUARY 25, 2019

As the Coup Attempt in Venezuela Stumbles, It’s Time that Guaidó Recognize that Regime Change has Failed

by PETER BOLTON


On January 28, COHA’s Editorial Board released a statement condemning the US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela and in support of the dialogue promoted by the government of Mexico and the United Nations to settle the conflict peacefully. Since then, the regime change effort has severely lost momentum. The strained attempt to legitimize self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, a previously unknown 35-year-old National Assembly member of the right-wing Voluntad Popular party, has largely failed. The government of President Nicolás Maduro remains firmly in power and only a handful of military leaders have defected to Guaidó’s side. In spite of multiple US allies in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and beyond having formally recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, four of the five major emerging BRICS nations – Russia, China, India, and South Africa – continue to recognize Maduro, along with 15 other African countries, some of the Caricom nations and stalwart regional allies Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

Coup attempt in tatters

To witness the growing cracks in the coup plotters’ strategy, one need only to observe Guaidó’s own increasingly desperate antics. At the international level, he has been frantically attempting to gain control of foreign-held government assets – so far, to little avail. On the domestic front, having promised amnesty to members of the military who are willing to defect to his side, he is now struggling to get a measure to keep this promise passed by the opposition-controlled National Assembly that he leads. And in the latest provocative move, he recently called on supporters to surround military bases and “demand the delivery of humanitarian aid.” As a result, the opposition camp seems to be fracturing even further, with several of its major figures – including Claudio Fermín and Laidy Gómez – now calling Guaidó’s strategy into question.

The same signs of desperation are beginning to show in Washington. Trump administration officials have taken to issuing ever more aggressive threats. National Security Advisor John Bolton, for example, posted a series of menacing tweets aimed at members of the Venezuelan military. Trump himself has been taking the coup-mongering rhetoric to new heights of outlandishness. In a speech in Miami – the Mecca of Cuban and Venezuelan exile hardliners – he praised pro-opposition terrorist Oscar Peréz (who attacked Venezuela’s Supreme Court and Justice Ministry with grenades) and said that members of the Venezuelan military who refuse to defect to Guaidó’s side have “everything to lose.” The Venezuelan high command responded promptly that “the armed forces of the Bolivarian nation will never accept orders from any foreign government or power, nor an authority that does not come from the sovereign decision of the people.” Just before this article went to press, reports emerged that Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Colombia on February 25 to give a speech in which he will demand that Maduro step down.

Growing signs of opposition weariness

In light of this apparent stalemate, there are indications that Guaidó’s hardline faction is willing to settle for less. It has already downgraded its expectations and switched the focus of its strategy to calling on members of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to join a “transition government”. Edgar Zambrano, vice president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly and close Guaidó ally, said in an interview that such a transition would require “a large national agreement between the country’s political forces” that includes Chavismo. He stated:

Quote:
You cannot disappear Chavismo and you cannot go from persecuted to persecutor. This is not political revenge.


His words should be welcomed. After all, one of the major fears of the government and its supporters is the possibility of reprisals should the opposition gain exclusive power. The historical experience of right-wing violence still hangs heavy over Venezuela’s working-class urban barrios and impoverished rural areas. During the 1989 Caracazo, riots against the neoliberal austerity program implemented by then-newly-elected president Carlos Andrés Peréz were met with lethal force by his government’s state security forces; some estimates put the death toll as high as 3,000. Yet the “transition government” proposal must itself be met with skepticism. Such an institution should only be brought about through a process of dialogue between the two sides within the established constitutional order. Only via a negotiated settlement can both parties ensure that the necessary provisions, such as safety guarantees and mechanisms for addressing disputes over institutional legitimacy, are codified and mutually agreed upon.

The remaining binary choice

To pave the way for dialogue, Guaidó and his followers must completely and unequivocally renounce violence, back away from the warpath, sever ties with their overlords in Washington and fully embrace mediation efforts offered by Mexico and other neutral parties to the conflict. Above all, it is time for them to recognize that their coup attempt has failed and join the government, the Chavista base, the moderate opposition and, indeed, the vast majority of the Venezuelan people in accepting dialogue as the only solution to overcome the impasse. Regrettably, however, the possibility remains that Guaidó and his followers will, in their desperation, opt to up the ante rather than accept defeat. As it stands, they have deployed every tool in the regime change toolbox short of US military intervention, which nonetheless remains “on the table,” according to President Trump. Now, with all other options having been exhausted, just two choices remain: dialogue or war.

Choosing the latter would be disastrous. Venezuela is about twice the size of Iraq geographically and has a roughly equal population. But unlike that other oil-rich nation, it has a large and well-trained military that is heavily-armed with sophisticated weaponry purchased from Russia and other non-Western allies. Furthermore, pro-Bolivarian militias and Collectivos, whose membership numbers in the millions, would undoubtedly circle the wagons in defense of the homeland and fight back against foreign incursion. If the “military option” is chosen, the Guaidó camp and the Trump administration, along with their minions in the mainstream corporate-owned press, surely would claim that this time things are different, that this time they have noble motives, that this time the intervention will be a success. But as history has shown again and again, it is always the same playbook, the same cynical self-serving motives, and the same mismanaged disaster in the bloody aftermath of war. As historian George Santayana famously said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

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"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen … if you would be a man speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon balls, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:01 pm 
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Even Bernie Sanders has a clue on this.

But that got UK's lamest export and anti-Semite (Roger Waters) all worked up on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/rogerwaters/status/ ... nezuela%2F

Socialists quickly turn to despots and ruin countries causing starvation - and now the Socialist despots will shoot you if you try to accept desperately needed food aide.

And they can rely on pasty white Marxist millionaires in the West to cheer on the Socialists.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:19 pm 
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Foota wrote:
Even Bernie Sanders has a clue on this.

But that got UK's lamest export and anti-Semite (Roger Waters) all worked up on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/rogerwaters/status/ ... nezuela%2F

Socialists quickly turn to despots and ruin countries causing starvation - and now the Socialist despots will shoot you if you try to accept desperately needed food aide.

And they can rely on pasty white Marxist millionaires in the West to cheer on the Socialists.


Doesn't really change the fact that Dark Side was a fucking great album.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:52 pm 
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Foota wrote:
Even Bernie Sanders has a clue on this.

But that got UK's lamest export and anti-Semite (Roger Waters) all worked up on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/rogerwaters/status/ ... nezuela%2F

Socialists quickly turn to despots and ruin countries causing starvation - and now the Socialist despots will shoot you if you try to accept desperately needed food aide.

And they can rely on pasty white Marxist millionaires in the West to cheer on the Socialists.



Bollocks. Roger waters is not an antisemite. He just sees Israel as what it is just like I do. And is not afraid of the Jew lobby to state his opinion.

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