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

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Actually, one of the things that causes "regime change"(or U.S.-backed coups, as they used to be called) is when the opposition party or parties in the U.S. or Canada refuse to question the arguments of the coup advocates.

And if this was 1973, I strongly suspect you'd be accepting the claims of the right-wing North American press that Salvador Allende was to blame for the shortages caused by the collective hoarding of food and household supplies engaged in by the wealthy in Chile.

And you should remember that, if some of us don't assume that the end of the PSUV will have positive or even innocuous consequences, it's because we remember that nothing but misery came of the overthrow of Allende, and before it the overthrows of Bosch in the Dominican Republic and Arbenz in Guatemala, and later the electoral coup the U.S. forced in Nicaragua in 1990 by making it clear they wouldn't stop the war unless the Sandinstas were voted out and who made sure the somewhat progressive government of Honduras was replaced by a right-wing state in 2009, a regime that was kept in power in a sham "re-election" only weeks ago.

You apparently think that that is all in the past...that anti-PSUV dealings are about sunshine, lollipops, rainbows and some sort of magical transformation into Scandinavian social democracy.   You've forgotten that the forces which caused misery in one situation can never be capable of causing anything but misery in future situations.

Why do you think what you're pushing for can possibly lead to anything but a repeat of the nightmares of the past?  Why would you trust the empire which was never on the side of anyone but the wealthy in the past?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Actually, one of the things that causes "regime change"(or U.S.-backed coups, as they used to be called) is when the opposition party or parties in the U.S. or Canada refuse to question the arguments of the coup advocates.

Ken, please.

Nobody in Venezuela (or the U.S. State Department) is saying "we must wait until a shadow cabinet member of Canada's third-place party fails to criticize people who criticize Maduro... that's when the time is right".

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You apparently think that that is all in the past...that anti-PSUV dealings are about sunshine, lollipops, rainbows and some sort of magical transformation into Scandinavian social democracy.

All I've ever suggested is that the Venezuelan people should be permitted to decide their own course.

Is that something you can agree with, even though there's a moderate chance it could mean the end of Maduro's presidency?  That's really a "yes" or "no" kind of question; it doesn't have anything to do with Salvador Allende, or the NDP.

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Why do you think what you're pushing for can possibly lead to anything but a repeat of the nightmares of the past?

I've been pushing for free and fair elections (including the recall referendum that the Constitution specified).  I'm getting the sense, though, that if Maduro declared himself president for life, you'd be OK with that because you're willing to tell the Venezuelan electorate that the alternative would be worse.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Actually I'm not that thrilled about Maduro personally.

Never have been.

What you don't seem to get is that this isn't about Maduro and it's not really about elections. 

Or that elections simply can't lead to anything getting better.  

It's about the wealthy wanting the old order back, and the wealthy have created much of the crisis(and virtually all of the shortages that caused) that led to the popular support (now largely vanished, judging by the last regional election results) for the recall, by a mass campaign to hoard goods and deliberate create shortages.

And I don't want Maduro to be president-for-life, but actually nothing any of the anti-PSUV parties have proposed would be an improvement.  The parties trying to bring the PSUV down don't have any concern for the needs or wishes of the people-conservative parties never do.  They simply want to exempt corporations from taxes, privatize both the oil and every other part of the economy, cut social benefits down to nothing again and restore the wealthy to the arrogant dominance of the past.

Nothing they propose will put food in the stores, unless its too expensive for anyone but the wealthy to buy(and there's no difference between a grocery being low on food and a grocery being full of food no one is able to buy), nothing they propose will bring economic gain to the people-the people took no benefit from high oil prices when the oil was privately owned and therefore no benefits from it even reachd them-and it would be a tragedy to get rid of or even partially disempower the community councils because they were the only forms of democracy that included the non-wealthy.

It's not that Maduro's all that great, it's just that getting him out isn't going to lead to anything better for anyone but the 10% of Venezuela's population that is white and wealthy-the ones who are basically gringos and should just admit it and move to Miami.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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It's about the wealthy wanting the old order back, and the wealthy have created much of the crisis(and virtually all of the shortages that caused)

I disagree.  I think the shortages were caused by:

1.  Venezuela choosing a production model in which they import nearly everything except oil.

2.  Venezuela allowing its oil exports to flounder due to mismanagement.

3.  Venezuela having few other options to obtain hard currency for those imports.

How could either the Venezualan wealthy, or the United States (or the NDP shadow critic for Foreign Affairs) MAKE Venezuela dependent on imports of pretty much everything but gunky oil??  SRSLY.  How was this car wreck the fault of anyone other than whoever held the steering wheel?

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It's not that Maduro's all that great, it's just that getting him out isn't going to lead to anything better for anyone but the 10% of Venezuela's population that is white and wealthy-the ones who are basically gringos and should just admit it and move to Miami.

Then neither the recall referendum (and yes, that ship has sailed) nor free and fair elections should be any kind of concern for Maduro or his party or his supreme court.  Any mathematician anywhere will tell you that 90% > 10%.  Always has been.

 

 

 

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

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It's about the wealthy wanting the old order back, and the wealthy have created much of the crisis(and virtually all of the shortages that caused)

I disagree.  I think the shortages were caused by:

1.  Venezuela choosing a production model in which they import nearly everything except oil.

2.  Venezuela allowing its oil exports to flounder due to mismanagement.

3.  Venezuela having few other options to obtain hard currency for those imports.

How could either the Venezualan wealthy, or the United States (or the NDP shadow critic for Foreign Affairs) MAKE Venezuela dependent on imports of pretty much everything but gunky oil??  SRSLY.  How was this car wreck the fault of anyone other than whoever held the steering wheel?

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It's not that Maduro's all that great, it's just that getting him out isn't going to lead to anything better for anyone but the 10% of Venezuela's population that is white and wealthy-the ones who are basically gringos and should just admit it and move to Miami.

Then neither the recall referendum (and yes, that ship has sailed) nor free and fair elections should be any kind of concern for Maduro or his party or his supreme court.  Any mathematician anywhere will tell you that 90% > 10%.  Always has been.

 

 

 

 

1.  It's not as though Venezuela stopped making goods for its domestic markets under Chavez and switched to depending on imports.  Pretty sure the country had always been import-dependent.  If it had been making its own goods before Chavez, there was little the Bolivarians could have done to singlehandedly stop that-they couldn't have caused a country that made its own goods to STOP making them, for God's sakes.  

2.  Not sure Venezuela's oil industry was ever managed well-when it was privately-owned, it was managed solely for the good of the owners of the oil companies.  There's no evidence that privatizing it would lead to any forms of management that benefited the people.  Increased profits would be useless if most of the profits were pocketed by foreign corporations.  What part of "trickle-down has never worked" did you miss in the last thirty-six years?  

It could improve management to put the industry under full worker management, but I doubt that's what you want.

3) I seriously doubt that the Bolivarians actually REFUSED to diversify the economy.  There had to be other factors causing lack of diversification.  For that matter, if the economy wasn't diversified under the PSUV then logically it wasn't diversified BEFORE Chavez came to power.  There's no such thing as de-diversification.

Basically, the implicit argument you're making is a complaint about Venezuela under the PSUV not stripping the country of its dignity by offering things like low corporate taxes and not making it easy for foreign corporations-entities whose interests are always going to be against the greater good of any country in which they operate-to dominate the economy.

Besides which, it's the people who ran Venezuela before Chavez that the U.S. and Justin want back in power, so why assume they'd diversify when they never did in the past?  

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I'm with Magoo, if the Venezuelans don't want their countries oiligarchy to rule them they are just being progressive NIMBY's. Read any good Western paper and they will tell you that oil executives, esecially ones with deep connections in DC and Texas, are the best suited to run a real democracy. Resistance is futile, global feudalism is inevitable. 

NDPP

Peru: Venezuela Not Welcome At Americas Summit

https://venezuelanalysis.com/News/13660

"Peru's announcement comes as the US ramps up its rhetoric against Venezuela, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson [T-REXXON!] recently concluding an unprecedented tour of Latin American countries to assess the possibility of a regional oil embargo on the country.

Just days prior to the beginning of the tour on Feb 1, Tillerson told press that the Venezuelan army could act to remove the Venezuelan government, while Maduro could be exiled to Cuba. 'In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad, and the leadership can no longer serve the people,' the former ExxonMobil CEO told an audience at the University of Texas-Austin..."

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And guess what...it turns out the PSUV had been TRYING to diversify the economy all along:   https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/2573

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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I'm with Magoo, if the Venezuelans don't want their countries oiligarchy to rule them they are just being progressive NIMBY's.

If Venezuelans are given a genuine choice and they make that choice then I certainly wouldn't call it NIMBYism.  I'm not telling them who to vote for; I just think they should have (had) the opportunity to vote, freely and fairly.

Honestly, I'd even overlook the government using state media for electioneering, and overlook polling stations painted with government symbols again, if that's all the trickery there is. 

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And guess what...it turns out the PSUV had been TRYING to diversify the economy all along

In Chavez' heyday, the opposition had to get up before they went to bed, and work a 25 hour day, just to attain the status of "symbolic".  The country was still bathing in oil money, and Chavez could have ordered every citizen to get a mohawk, if he wanted to.

So what happened to this diversification?

Oligarchs, right?  Usurping the powers of the government?  Or Americans!   But certainly not the usual mismanagement and corruption that the traitors talk about.  

What ever happened to that grand plan to yank workers out of their offices and put them to work on The People's Farms?  How's that workin' out?  Remember that?

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And they had the right to vote in the Congressional elections and will have it again in the upcoming presidential elections.  It wasn't important to try to force Maduro out before he finished the term.   

And there was never any plan to force everybody out of their offices to work on farms...The Bolivarians aren't Sixties Maoists.

Why should Chavez have been able to diversify when the pre-Chavez governments were never able to do so?  Isn't it possible that diversification simply isn't possible in Venezuela if nobody has managed it yet?

 

Pondering

Ken Burch wrote:
Why should Chavez have been able to diversify when the pre-Chavez governments were never able to do so?  Isn't it possible that diversification simply isn't possible in Venezuela if nobody has managed it yet?​

There are countries with few natural resources. Diversification is always possible. Chavez and Maduro are better than right wingers but that isn't saying much.

https://venezuelanalysis.com/News/13643

Merida, February 6, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com). Venezuelan workers' organizations have denounced illegal arrests, firings, and persecution in the Lacteos Los Andes state-run dairy company and private Venevision TV station this week, while campesino leaders in Barinas state were freed and authorized to return to their land following persecution by an ex-land owner.

Trade union leaders of the Lacteos Los Andes “Hugo Chavez” plant in Cabudare, Lara state, were arrested this past Thursday following peaceful protests by its workforce aimed at drawing attention to what they decried as inefficient and unproductive policies on the part of the current management.

Protesters denounced that the plant, which produces a range of dairy and fruit products, is operating at around only 20% capacity. It was nationalised by President Hugo Chavez in 2008.

Workers explained that this low productive turnout is also due to its “lack of raw materials”. Workers explained that of the 45,000 tonnes which this firm once produced, output has dropped to 5,000 tonnes, a situation which contributes to shortages in basic foodstuffs across Venezuela. Workers also denounced that they suffered from “an expired collective contract,”which they say was voided 20 months ago.

Workers at the picket lines of the protest drew attention to the fact that private firms in the same industry, such as Polar, El Tunal, and Procter & Gamble enjoy preferential access to state dollars for raw material imports, whilst state-run productive units such as the Cabudare plant, struggled to find enough raw materials for thier production. Workers linked what they described as a lack of commitment from the authorities to fears of a possible re-privatization of the plant, which would put thier jobs in jeopardy.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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And they had the right to vote in the Congressional elections and will have it again in the upcoming presidential elections.

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It wasn't important to try to force Maduro out before he finished the term.

The Constitution -- the one Chavez authored -- gave them the right to, and by all accounts the electorate supported that.  I never told the Venezuelans that they should or must exercise that right, but who are you to tell them it "wasn't important"?  Honestly, Ken.  If they found it important, and their Constitution guaranteed them that right, then wasn't it important?

 

Will they have the right to vote for the representatives they want, though?  Or will those have been disqualified for spurious reasons?

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And there was never any plan to force everybody out of their offices to work on farms...The Bolivarians aren't Sixties Maoists.

You really don't remember?

It was discussed a bunch here, at the time, with a lot of folk saying "desperate times call for desperate measures".  Personally, I only wondered why the Venezuelan government would conscript people who already had a job and were contributing to the economy, rather than offering NEW jobs to the unemployed.

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Why should Chavez have been able to diversify when the pre-Chavez governments were never able to do so?  Isn't it possible that diversification simply isn't possible in Venezuela if nobody has managed it yet?

My guess would be that pre-Chavez governments had little genuine interest in it.

But I'm not sure I see what's the impossible part here.  Didn't Ireland supplement its trade in Guinness, linen and shamrocks by becoming an IT hub, for example?  All they had to do was prioritize that and invest in that.

But if what you seem to be suggesting is true -- that Venezuela can only produce gloopy oil and nothing else -- then why should we be surprised that they're floundering at a time when gloopy oil commands a meagre price?  And why would that be the fault of anything other than Venezuela's apparent inability to do anything other than market gloopy oil?

Venezuela stopped producing its own food when the State decided what the price of that food should be, not because Venezuela has no arable land, or its people have no idea how to farm.  Venezuela turned to importing nearly everything it needs because that was easier, when oil was > $100USD per barrel, not because they can't produce things they need.

When we're talking about Canada we call this "Dutch Disease".

When we're talking about Venezuela we call this "neo-Liberal American colonialist economic warfare"

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Yes, Ireland "diversified"-and that resulted in debt created by, essentially, government tax giveways to the corporations which ended up producing massive, crippling austerity, cuts in social benefits that have essentially left Ireland with virtually no remaining social services and put them through years of mass unemployment.

How would replicating the Irish model have led to anything good for the people of Venezuela?  There's no way any of it would have been compatible with the social values of Bolivarianism or with Venezuela retaining any common humanity.  There are a lot of issues with Chavez and Maduro as people, but there was simply nothing that was going to be improved by a snap election that would have been rigged by U.S. pressure to put something like a Venezuelan version of the right-wing UNO coalition that stole Nicaragua for the rich in 1990.   It wouldn't have been an election where there'd have been parties fighting for the workers and the poor, parties working for an improved form of socialism.  And like Bush in 1990, Obama wouldn't have allowed any result but a right-wing victory.

So don't be naive.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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How would replicating the Irish model have led to anything good for the people of Venezuela? 

I'm not saying Venezuela must do as the Irish have done.  I'm just wondering why, with all the resources of government available to them in 2007, they couldn't do anything much at all.

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There are a lot of issues with Chavez and Maduro as people, but there was simply nothing that was going to be improved by a snap election that would have been rigged by U.S. pressure to put something like a Venezuelan version of the right-wing UNO coalition that stole Nicaragua for the rich in 1990.

Venezuela's elections should be solely a matter of their Constitution, not whether Ken Burch feels like they were "necessary" or that their situation was "going to be improved" by one.

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It wouldn't have been an election where there'd have been parties fighting for the workers and the poor

PSUV wouldn't have fought for that? 

NDPP

Canada vs Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada's Left?   -   by Joyce Nelson

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/16/canada-vs-venezuela-have-the-koc...

"...So when Chrystia Freeland acts to target Venezuela because 'This is our hemisphere', she is acting in concert with the Koch brothers' (and oil patch) desires - of course, without ever mentioning the tar sands. Is this the reason why the NDP's foreign affairs critic Helen Laverdiere has also been so reactionary towards the Venezuelan government? It's hard to know, but these days politically (and wherever you look) it's usually always about the oil..."

Pondering

I don't see how making Helene Laverdiere a scapegoat helps anything. She is expressing NDP policy as per the leadership not her personal opinions. 

NDPP

Venezuela Decides To Hold Presidential Elections, The Opposition Chooses To Boycott Democracy

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/19/venezuela-decides-to-hold-presid...

"...To the question of what will happen to the opposition, Maduro said, 'Now the opposition does not know what to do because it depends on its foreign masters.' More explicitly he stated, 'Only Washington knows. That's the truth."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Venezuela Decides To Hold Presidential Elections, The Opposition Chooses To Boycott Democracy

It would have been honest of them to have said "The Opposition Chooses to Boycott Those Elections".

With just one dishonest headline, Counterpunch both suggests that the upcoming elections will be free and fair (and == "democracy") AND that the opposition wants none of that.

NDPP

Venezuelan Charge D'Affairs: 'Opposition Don't Really Know What To Do.'

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13663

"Well, it's very telling that there is an option under consideration that has to do with regime change, when you basically do an open invitation for anybody in the Venezuelan military to take over the government..."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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when you basically do an open invitation for anybody in the Venezuelan military to take over the government...

When a military General is appointed head of the state-run oil company, the source of nearly all of Venezuela's external revenues, the military has already taken over.  All Maduro has to do is make sure his leash is strong enough.

Please.  Like Venezuela is making any effort whatsoever to keep the military branch and the executive branch separate. 

Who would know more about oil production than a soldier, right?

NDPP

Perhaps an American Secretary of State threatening regime-change?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

If the Venezuelan people can't do anything to challenge Maduro, even with Chavez' constitution behind them, don't expect that Rex Tillerson can simply replace him by remote control.

NDPP

The Venezuelan people could take down Maduro anytime they wished to. But not the ones that you and Washington wish to...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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The Venezuelan people could take down Maduro anytime they wished to.

What mechanism would they use for that?  You may not believe me, but even *I'm* not hoping to hear "a bullet".  But when it was abundantly clear that they wanted a recall referendum, and their Constitution promised them as much, but they still couldn't, what should they have done that you would at least acknowledge as legitimate, even if not directly support?

I'll make it even easier; just fill in the blank:

"If the Venezuelan electorate really wants to get rid of Maduro, all they have to do is ____________ and I'll support them."

NDPP

Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire

https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/02/venezuela-revenge-of-the-mad-dog-empire/

"The courageous struggle of the Venezuelan people to defend their national sovereignty and dignity in the face of the murderous intentions of their North American neighbors and the racist obsequious Venezuelan oligarchy deserves the support of all true anti-imperialists...especially when a nation is in the crosshairs of the greatest gangster nation on the planet."

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