Venezuela right-wing opposition wins control of National Assembly by a landslide

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

48 hours later, it's a done deal.

The Venezuelan Supreme Court wrote:
Anything else we can do for you, Mr. President?

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quote:

The court approved injunctions against the election victories of three opposition MPs and one from the governing Socialist Party while it hears a legal challenge against them.

The court also agreed to hear legal challenges to the election of another six opposition deputies but dismissed requests for similar injunctions.

In Canada this situation would most likely meet the test to get an injunction while potential election irregularities are heard in court. In Canada it would be proof that our democracy work given the accusations against various parties for election fraud.

While I posted this in another thread I think I will repost it here since Magoo keeps begging the question.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSZWslqjfPE

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Did the "robocalls" situation result in any MP having to wait to be sworn in?  Has any electoral situation in Canada resulted in that?  Maybe it has, but I don't recall it ever happening.

One thing I doubt would happen in Canada:  a special "holiday" session of the Supreme Court to address such allegations.  One would certainly hope that the Venezuelan Supreme Court can be just as speedy in resolving these claims, though to be honest I won't be overly surprised to hear that investigation could take months -- or years, maybe!

ed'd to add:

Quote:
While I posted this in another thread I think I will repost it here since Magoo keeps begging the question.

For anyone who doesn't want to watch a YouTube video, it's a song titled "Which Side Are You On?"

Leaving aside the fact that it pretty much plagiarizes George W. Bush, I guess the implication in the context of this thread is that a "REAL" progressive would never criticize Nicolas Maduro, his government, or anything they do.

Good thing I'm not a "REAL" progressive.  So I'll just keep posting updates as I find them, and the "REAL" progressives can go ahead and wink at Maduro, or look the other way, or basically act like there's nothing hinky going on in Miraflores Palace.  Don't forget to link arms.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I guess the implication in the context of this thread is that a "REAL" progressive would never criticize Nicolas Maduro, his government, or anything they do.

Please repost any of your posts that support anything that the Chavez government or his succesor has done. A progressive person would not only have negative things to point out but they would also be balanced with the positives. You post nothing but negative posts and that says it all IMO.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Please repost any of your posts that support anything that the Chavez government or his succesor has done. A progressive person would not only have negative things to point out but they would also be balanced with the positives.

I wasn't aware that I'm required to seek some kind of balance before any criticisms of him or his government can be considered.

Very well.  He has a very manly moustache.

Your turn now.  Say something about how Thomas Mulcair is awesome.  And don't just copy me and say something about his beard.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

No problem I was just checking to see which side you were on.

6079_Smith_W

Whenever I hear this "which side" nonsense, presented as a bottom line I think of Robert Bolt's passage (from A Man For All Seasons) about how far you'd be willing to tear down the law to defeat the devil.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

What makes me laugh is that when Dubya says "are you with us or against us?" everyone easily recognizes that as a false binary, and a crude attempt at controlling and supressing disagreement.

We don't even reduce gender to only two options any more.  But evidently, in all other respects, the world is made up of exactly two teams, and if you're not on Team A then by definition you must be on Team B.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

If you attack a left wing government and never post support for any of their actions then it is a very reasonable conclusion that you support the right wing oppostion in Venezula. That is the side you are on because that is the side your posts support. I don't understand how cheerleading for the right wing in places with left wing governments fits as anti-imperialist of pro-labour but thats just me I guess.

6079_Smith_W

So... because several of our friends here regularly criticize the NDP and never post anything in support of their actions they must be supporters of Stephen Harper?

You do realise that makes absolutely no sense.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Can you show us where I've done any cheerleading for MUD?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Still not cheerleading for MUD here, but this is interesting.

Apparently (!) there's some kind of economic crisis in Venezuela!  I know, right?  Even the government didn't seem to notice it until they lost the recent election.  But after staying mum and publishing no statistics for nearly a year, the Venezuelan Central Bank has been authorized to admit that inflation is on the order of 141%.

So of course there's nothing else to do to address this recent surprising suprise but to give Maduro some more powers of decree!

Wowzers.  It must be tough finding out about this only weeks after losing an election.  If only they could have known about this back when they were in power.

ygtbk
Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

The actual figure is quite likely greater than the official government figure.  Perhaps the real figure is closer to 280%, but the brand new Finance Minister believes that inflation is zero ("inflation does not exist in real life") so the official number is just the average of the two.

Still, when someone asks "Why can't the government just print up more money, put it in briefcase, and use it to pay for that thing I want?" then I think the answer is "Because Venezuela, that's why".

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

This could end up being a good thing for Venezuela:

Nothing against the guy, but if you genuinely believe that there's no such thing as inflation, and you live in Venezuela, maybe economics isn't the field for you.

Quote:
Rumors have been swirling for weeks that the government is about to make a major announcement like raising gasoline prices or formally devaluing the currency.

Apparently they did raise the price of gasoline.  It's still far cheaper than bottled water is here (and likely also there) but it's a move in the right direction.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Making it harder for ordinary Venezuelans to affford things is a step in the right direction?

 

Yeah right...greater inequality and hardship have done wonders for the rest of the world.

It's why life in all capitalist countries is Utopia.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Making it harder for ordinary Venezuelans to affford things is a step in the right direction?

 

Yeah right...greater inequality and hardship have done wonders for the rest of the world.

It's why life in all capitalist countries is Utopia.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Making it harder for ordinary Venezuelans to affford things is a step in the right direction?

Prior to this they were selling gasoline domestically at a loss -- and much of it was ending up in neighbouring countries rather than in the cars of Venezuelans.  Apparently the price of gas in Venezuela is now about 11 cents per gallon, and according to the government, remains the cheapest gasoline in the world.

If Venezuelans are having a hard time affording things, it's not because gas is now a dollar for nine gallons, it's because scarcity and runaway inflation is driving up the cost of everything else, every day.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Runaway inflation can never be reduced by removing price controls and letting the rich charge whatever the hell they want.

There doesn't need to be a massive increase in prices ordinary Venezuelans pay for things. 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Agreed, to a point.

Price controls certainly don't create inflation, but they do contribute to scarcity.  First, by creating more demand for a product than there is supply, and also by removing any economic incentive to provide that product in the first place.

Oil (and thus gasoline) is a bit of a singularity for Venezuela in this regard, since they're sitting on more of it than any other country in the world, and also because the government extracts and refines it, and so can provide it to citizens at whatever price they wish.

If Venezuela were also a leading producer of cooking oil, it could do the same with cooking oil.  Or milk, or corn flour, or whatever.  But those are primarily imports in Venezuela, and the government has to basically demand that shopkeepers import them at market prices and then sell them at below-market prices.  And then the government accuses those shopkeepers of sedition if they don't.

Wouldn't you like your livelihood to be importing widgets for a dollar and selling them for fifty cents?

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There doesn't need to be a massive increase in prices ordinary Venezuelans pay for things.

The only reason this looks like a "massive" increase in the cost of gas is because the price hasn't been increased in 12 years, and was absurdly, ridiculously, unbelieveably low to begin with.  Eleven cents a gallon isn't exactly highway robbery.  Venezuelans can still buy about 50 litres of gasoline for the price of one arepa.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

It would seem that the U.S. "National Endowment for Democracy" (NED) the "kinder gentler" CIA has been rather busy in Venezuela.   Here's their financial report on activities in Venezuela for 2014.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:
.

The only reason this looks like a "massive" increase in the cost of gas is because the price hasn't been increased in 12 years, and was absurdly, ridiculously, unbelieveably low to begin with.  Eleven cents a gallon isn't exactly highway robbery.  Venezuelans can still buy about 50 litres of gasoline for the price of one arepa.

If it was just going to be the one price increase, it wouldn't be that big of a deal.  But those who've been pushing for this also want to raise prices on pretty much everything else, over and over...it will end up being a massive transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top.

Things like that never ever end up serving any "social democratic" or "progressive" goals.  They are just economic royalism.  And a lot of the upper-class opposition to Chavismo is driven, not by any real concern for democracy or human rights(nobody in the Venezuelan opposition coalition said a word when the "moderate" Perez government killed thousands of trade union members for marching peacefully against austerity in Caracas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caracazo

What the upper classes really objected to, what drove them to hoard the food and the toilet paper and do all they could to make things worse, was simply that the Chavez era meant that they weren't the only people in Venezuela who mattered.  That, for the first time ever, the poor had a voice and something of a life  That's why all this smug talk about "facing economic reality" from them is so fatuous, hypocritical and offensive.  It's the voice of the lost privileged seeking revenge.

Chavismo has faults, but "market values" have nothing better to offer for the Venezuelan people.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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If it was just going to be the one price increase, it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

So far it's only gasoline.  Even diesel fuel has been exempted, so as not to increase the cost of transporting goods, or public transportation.

Quote:
But those who've been pushing for this also want to raise prices on pretty much everything else, over and over

In this case, "those who've been pushing for this" is limited to Maduro.  He's the one who raised the price of gasoline, and devalued the Bolivar -- presumably exercising his decree powers with regard to the economy.

Quote:
it will end up being a massive transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top.

Actually, it's a modest (and some suggest insufficient) transfer of wealth from anyone who owns a car, to the public coffers.  And even putting it that way misrepresents what's actually happening.  It's not that the government is taking money out of the pockets of Venezuelans -- they're just putting a little less into them by virtue of a reduced subsidy.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Venezuela: ¡Comuna o Nada!

quote:

Crisis and Counter-Revolution

The Venezuelan communes are emerging against the daunting backdrop of sharpening economic crisis. The plummeting price of oil, the government’s ineffective response to a currency devaluation spiral, and the continued reliance of a “socialist” government on private-sector importers have all conspired to pull the rug out from under the stable growth of the Chávez years. Economically, this has meant periodic shortages and long lines for certain, price-controlled goods, as importers would rather speculate on the currency than fill the shelves.

But every crisis is also an opportunity. Venezuela’s communes today are struggling to produce, but there is good reason to believe that they are more productive than either the private or state sector. In this case, the crisis itself and the corruption and treason of the private sector might be enough to force the Bolivarian government to throw its weight behind the communes as a productive alternative. And while the sharp decline in oil income has hit the communes hard, it has also forced a long-overdue national debate about the country’s endemic oil dependency.

Politically, Venezuela’s oil dependency has also mean reliance on cheap imports—a reliance that has become the government’s Achilles’ heel, and we have all seen the result. Shortages and long lines have whittled away at popular support for Chavismo while providing a pretext for first right-wing protests (in early 2014), and more recently, a landslide opposition victory for control of the National Assembly (in December 2015). While the government continues to blame the crisis on an “economic war” carried out by opposition forces, this disastrous defeat shows clearly enough that many Venezuelans are not convinced.

The consequences of the opposition victory in the National Assembly are very real: right-wing forces are already strategizing how best to remove Maduro from office before his term is up, and planning to roll back many crucial gains of the Bolivarian process. The communes are directly in the crosshairs, with the Assembly threatening to revoke communal rights to land expropriated under Chávez and Maduro. This first major defeat for Chavismo at the polls immediately galvanized revolutionary ferment at the grassroots, sparking street assemblies and sharp public debates about what had gone wrong.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

quote:

The Communal Wager

The time has come to bet it all on the communes. The wager may seem a risky one, but according to one estimate, 2013 alone saw some $20 billion (with a “b”) simply disappear into a black hole of fake import companies—imagine what the communes could do with $20 billion! The middle class, the ni-ni’s (neither-nors) in the center, the parasitic bourgeoisie, the state bureaucracy, a Socialist Party incapable of even winning elections, increasingly corrupt military sectors—the alternative to the communes is no alternative at all.

For Ángel Prado of El Maizal commune, the only possible saviors of the Bolivarian process are those who have saved it on every other occasion—and who today coalesce around the horizon of the commune:

It’s radical Chavismo that participates in the commune, hardline Chavismo, those who have been Chavistas their entire lives… the grassroots sectors that withstood the guarimba protests [of 2014], that withstood the coup d’état and oil strike [of 2002-2003], that resisted all of these and neutralized the right-wing.

If the government doesn’t embrace this hard core of Chavismo, it can’t possibly hope to survive. “And if the government—with all of the challenges of imports, hoarding, and prices—is fucked, who else can solve this? We can, the communes… because we don’t depend on the state.” The wager today is the wager of always, one best expressed by the late Venezuelan writer Aquiles Nazoa: “I believe in the creative powers of the people.”

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

OK, let's try moving general discussions of Venezuela to this thread, instead of the Chavez RIP thread.

Venezuela opposition says petition to oust Maduro is validated

They say that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step.  This is pretty much that first step. 

That said, the headline should read "Venezuela opposition says petition to enable a second petition to launch a recall vote that might oust Maduro is validated".

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

It's not as though ousting Maduro can lead to anything getting better, especially for the poor.

None of the people to Maduro's right(not that he's a living saint, of course) have any ideas but making food and fuel more expensive(acts that would make any increased availability of food or fuel meaningless, since no one but the rich would be able to buy food or fuel.

The truth is, if Venezuela had had a "free market" government during the time of the oil glut, things would have been worse for the vast majority(if slightly better for the spiteful and vindictive upper classes).

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, it's not as though allowing him to keep driving on the rims is going to make things better either.

Quote:
None of the people to Maduro's right(not that he's a living saint, of course) have any ideas but making food and fuel more expensive(acts that would make any increased availability of food or fuel meaningless, since no one but the rich would be able to buy food or fuel.

But Maduro's "ideas" seem to consist solely of ruling by decree, blaming everything on traitors and Imperialists, and poking MUD in the eye whenever possible.

It's a bit of a longshot, but if a recall vote proceeds, perhaps the threat of it might compel Maduro to ease up on the hyperpartisanship and the bellicose rants -- he's really no Chavez in that regard -- and actually start looking for real solutions to the real problems.

RDP

"The time has come to bet it all on the communes."

How do you deal with the fatal flaw of communism/socialism?  The tenet is "we all share the work and we all share the reward"  The fatal flaw that becomes apparent quickly is that work isn't shared equally.  Hence, as always, it falls apart.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

RDP wrote:

"The time has come to bet it all on the communes."

How do you deal with the fatal flaw of communism/socialism?  The tenet is "we all share the work and we all share the reward"  The fatal flaw that becomes apparent quickly is that work isn't shared equally.  Hence, as always, it falls apart.

You are so uneducated in this area it is laughable. Get back to me when you have read anything about syndicalism. Mondragon would be a good place to start when looking at how a functioning cooperative works or the village of Marinaleda when it comes to how a community can benefit from the model.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/marinaleda-spanish-communi...

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Vin Scully used his microphone to take a shit on socialism and was pretty giddy about Venezuela's current situation.Fucking asshole.

But like Scully,most people,especially Americans,have NO CLUE what socialism is. It's a fancy word they hear on right wing talk radio and Fox News that they're supposed to fear.

RDP

We know what socialism is.  We have an ample data set.  Please point to the socialist success story.  You point to a village of 2400 people?  I guess socialism could work for a while in a village of 2400 people.  Ultimately we are humans and not angels.  Ultimately the 1200 hardest working people get annoyed at the 1200 least hardworking people.  They leave to start their own commune and the process starts all over again.  Socialism is contrary to human nature.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

RDP wrote:

We know what socialism is.  We have an ample data set.  Please point to the socialist success story.  You point to a village of 2400 people?  I guess socialism could work for a while in a village of 2400 people.  Ultimately we are humans and not angels.  Ultimately the 1200 hardest working people get annoyed at the 1200 least hardworking people.  They leave to start their own commune and the process starts all over again.  Socialism is contrary to human nature.

Ultimately the 1200 hardest workers get paid SUBSTANTIALLY less than the 1200 least hardworking people. So your argument is stupid.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

RDP wrote:

We know what socialism is.  

Do you have multiple personalities and is one of them not working hard enough? 

RDP

How so?  The assumption is "we all share the work equally and we all share the reward equally" at least in theory.  When you break from theory the most productive earn less than they would under a free system and the least productive earn more than they would under a free system. 

How do the 1200 hardest working (to be accurate 1200 most productive) get paid substantially less than the 1200 least productive under any system?

6079_Smith_W

I think you have it backwards. under a so-called "free" system the most productive get less because of low minimum wage laws, if any. And because the least productive do whatever they can to undermine unions and work standards.

 

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In most work places the boss's main suckhole does the least amount of work. But that is in the real world not a Rand novel.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

BTW..Since when does Socialism equals Communism. A Socialist state doesn't require paying all workers the same wage. Fact is,you can make as much bread as you like but without completely screwing the 99%

How does the 1200 hardest workers get paid substantially less than the least hard working? Go ask a Walmart or McDonald's emp0loyeee. Talk to the person working a 60 hour week washing dishes getting paid a bare minimum.

All while the 1200 least hard working people smoke cigars and snort scotch whiskey.

Socialism is NOT Communism. Get a clue.

RDP

I never said socialism = communism.  It doesn't. 

Compare someone making $100/hr to someone making minimum wage.  I guarantee you that one is more productive than the other.  I'll let you guess which one is which.

Those working 60hrs. per week making minimum wage have made a few bad life decisions that they are paying for now.

Why would a greedy capitalist pay people to smoke cigars and snort scotch whiskey?  Seems somewhat inconsistent with what we would expect a greedy capitalist to do.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Whatever. Is your copy of Atlas Shrugged in mint condition? Or are all the pages stuck together?

6079_Smith_W

I don't know about people working minimum wage because tey have made bad decisions they are paying for. Sounds like poor bashing to me.

But there are plenty of consultants who do absolutely nothing for their hundreds of dollars an hour.

We just got rid of one with a reputation for doing nothing with the $33 million they snookered out of our government.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/government-of-saskatchewan-s-...

If you want someone to take the bait you might come up with a more solid argument.

Can we get back to talking about Venezuela now? Things are not getting any better there:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuelans-are-stormi...

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

RDP wrote:
.

Those working 60hrs. per week making minimum wage have made a few bad life decisions that they are paying for now.

Why would a greedy capitalist pay people to smoke cigars and snort scotch whiskey?  Seems somewhat inconsistent with what we would expect a greedy capitalist to do.

The person getting paid by the greedy capitalist won the birth lottery and was born into the right family, the boss's. The person working 60 hours a week for minimum wage drew the short straw when it came to birth families.

Try reading some studies on social mobility. Please take note that the studies show that the rags to riches story is harder to achieve in the US than it is in social democratic countries. So do you think that means that democratic socialism produces better workers or is it just simply a better economic model?

Quote:

In their in-depth analysis, Jäntti et al. were able to probe beneath the surface and examine how the relationship between earnings of parents and children varies for individuals at different rungs on the economic ladder. Consistent with the mobility matrices presented in other chapters in this volume, they find there is more stickiness at the top and bottom of the earnings ladder in all countries. That is, men whose fathers have particularly low earnings are more likely than other men to have low earnings themselves, and men whose fathers are at the top of the earnings distribution are likely to attain that top status themselves.

Starting at the bottom of the earnings ladder is more of a handicap in the United States than it is in other countries. What is new and striking about these findings, however, is a particularly high amount of stickiness at the bottom. Specifically, men born into the poorest fifth of families in the United States in 1958 had a higher likelihood of ending up in the bottom fifth of the earnings distribution than did males similarly positioned in five Northern European countries—42 percent in the United States, compared to 25 to 30 percent in the other countries.

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2008/2/economic-...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Please point to the socialist success story.

As I've noted, plenty of countries -- Canada being a great example -- have a number of socialist policies and programs (and also a number of capitalist policies and programs) and they tend to sit near the top of the lists for life expectancy, standard of living, and so on.

Are you asking for a purely socialist example?  Well, you're right, there's not one.  Cuba is about as close as it gets, both to the purity and to the success, though it's worth noting that even they seem to be softening a bit at the edges.  The important thing to note is you don't need to wonder out loud how things would be for Cubans under capitalism -- they tried, didn't like.

But conversely, can you think of any country that follows a purely capitalist plan, and to whom we should look for inspiration?  Even the U.S. is by no means a pure, laissez-faire oasis of free markets.  So who's the purely capitalist success story?

RDP

Kropotkin wrote:

"Do you have multiple personalities and is one of them not working hard enough?"

Is that your argument?

RDP

"The important thing to note is you don't need to wonder out loud how things would be for Cubans under capitalism -- they tried, didn't like."

Are you sure about that?  Seems to me the Castro's have ruled with somewhat of an iron fist for the last 50 years.  I don't think Cubans have had much opportunity or encouragement to reevalute their decision.  Over the last 50 years there have been a lot of boats with a lot of migrants floating.  I have yet to see one floating to Cuba.

"But conversely, can you think of any country that follows a purely capitalist plan, and to whom we should look for inspiration?  Even the U.S. is by no means a pure, laissez-faire oasis of free markets.  So who's the purely capitalist success story?"

Do you need one to draw conclusions?  Compare the somewhat free world to the somewhat unfree world.  Greater human happiness comes from the somewhat free world.  Compare the more free to the somewhat free.  Compare Cuba to Sweden.  Which is the freer society?  Where would you rather live?  Consider freer states to less free states within the US.  Consider Texas to California.  California is a high tax, high regulation state.  Texas isn't.  There is a mass migration out of California to freer states (like Texas) these days even given all of California's natural advantages. 

When there is a welfare state and a non-welfare state, the welfare recipients tend to amass in the welfare state and the productive tend to migrate to the free state.  (Again, I am talking on the margins.)

 

6079_Smith_W

RDP wrote:

Do you need one to draw conclusions? 

Well evidently you do. You were the one demanding it.

Quote:

Compare Cuba to Sweden. 

Really?

Quote:
Consider Texas to California. 

Really??

 

RDP

What does "Really?" mean?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

RDP wrote:

What does "Really?" mean?

To me it meant your comparisons are bizarre and irrelevant.

6079_Smith_W

Yeah, it means how about we mix it up and compare the capitalist paradise of Sweden with the communist hell hole of California?

RDP

I never asked for a PURE socialist paradise.  Just a socialist paradise.

 

Let say you were born poor and remained poor all your life.  Where would you rather be born...the US or Cuba?

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