Archive for January, 2010
President Hugo Chavez, terrified, has threatened on national television to unleash a bloody pogrom against his political opponents and anyone who opposes him, meaning over half of the civilian population.
These are his precise words:
“I warn, make no mistake, that the response that I would command would be radical at the hour that these sectors manage to or continue machine gunning guards, sending youths to throw rocks at garrisons, calling for rebellion openly…keep going as you are, and you will see… I come almost from the grave, almost from death (after the coup of 2002) due to weakness and I saw dead persons here in front due to the weakness of a goverbment that I was leading, that will not happen again… If they continue along this path they will force me to make radical decisions.”
For at least the fifth time since the start of 2010, Chavez also called on his political opponents to organize another presidential recall referendum.
Yesterday, President Chavez said the political opposition “…still have the idea of killing me.”
Then he said, “If they start an offensive of hard violence that should obligate us to hard action…something I do not recommend… our response would sweep them away.” If the “oligarchy’s plans to assassinate me are successful, there will be a frightful reaction against the East of Caracas. “If you get desperate, it will be a thousand times worse for you,” Chavez said.
Since the past weekend, different regime thugs including Diosdado Cabello and Jose Vicente Rangel (JVR) have made similar threats of mass slaughter against the middle class of Caracas.
Writing under the pseudonym “Marciano” in the pro-regime tabloid “Vea,” JVR says “estamos llegando al llegadero,” which translated to English means roughly, “we’re coming to a reckoning.”
The situation in Venezuela has become a “question of life and death,” he adds.
Marciano writes, “…the other face of the coin is death. This is what would happen in Venezuela if that opposition rotted by hatred should reach power. It already demonstrated this in the short-lived stage of Chavez’s ouster when the fascist pack launched itself against the chavistas do finish them off. If Chavez were to be toppled, blood would flood the streets of Venezuela’s cities. It is no small thing this chronicler is saying, but lamentably this is what would happen. Let no chavista be fooled and let no one think of peaceful transitions. Life or death.”
Diosdado Cabello, referring to recent popular protests against Chavez at the Venezuelan baseball championship games at Central University’s stadium in Caracas, asked menacingly, “¿What will happen if those who accompany the revolution go to the stadium and start a war? This is what they are provoking.”
A few words in the president’s rant today caught our attention: “…continue machine gunning guards…”
No guards have been machine gunned in the street battles which have erupted countrywide, since RCTV Internacional was shut down on 23 January, between unarmed student protesters and heavily armed National Guard and Metropolitan/National Police thugs.
So, what was Chavez referring to? Or was Chavez exaggerating and lying, as he is wont to do?
Caracas Gringo’s sources within the armed forces report that there was an aborted uprising less than two weeks ago. Reports that at least three generals are under arrest are true. In fact, the number of detained army officers is reported to be much larger than the regime has let on. The sources also say at least that one officer – an army lieutenant colonel – was killed.
Moreover, the abrupt resignation of Vice President/Defense Minister Ramon Carrizalez is believed to be linked to the alleged aborted revolt within the army. It’s not clear what, if any, role Carrizalez might have played in the alleged revolt. But the “correo popular” inside the army reports that Carrizalez believes Cabello is gunning for his head and was trying to set up Carrizalez.
Cabello, Rangel. These are the president’s most dangerous enemies. Rangel, who like the cockroach survives everything, is the link between the old Fourth Republic financial sector bottom-feeders and the Bolivarian Fifth Republic’s rats. Cabello reportedly has more influence in the army than Chavez. Both men recently may have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth when Chavez intervened the Bolibourgeois banks this blog has written about since 3 August 2009 (remember Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco?).
It is odd that Cabello and Rangel – after Chavez – should be uttering the darkest threats of bloodshed, mass slaughter and war against the regime’s political opponents, and against anyone who doesn’t support Chavez, considering that the chief plotters against Chavez are, precisely, Cabello and Rangel.
Caracas Gringo is privileged to personally know for over 30 years some of the men and women who manage the 1BC Group, which owns RCTV. They represent the best of Venezuela – integrity, honor, honesty, imagination, creativity, entrepreneurship, respect for the rule of law and democracy, commitment to fostering sustained growth and a strong democracy in which everyone can get ahead.
RCTV has never curried the favor of any government. RCTV has never sought any special benefits, privileges or concessions from the Venezuelan state. Unlike its biggest longtime competitor Venevision, which is owned by billionaire Cuban-Venezuelan brothers Gustavo and Ricardo Cisneros, RCTV has always stayed far from Miraflores, and has never cultivated “special relationships” with any Venezuelan president.
Cisneros helped to get Chavez elected in 1998, conspired against Chavez in 2001-2002, and finally made a face-to-face deal with Chavez that was brokered by former US President Jimmy Carter. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting, where – it’s rumored – Chavez reportedly gave Cisneros two options: decapitation or submission to the Chavez regime. And Cisneros immediately kowtowed.
But the RCTV people have never kowtowed to any government. RCTV has rightfully enjoyed the largest audience ratings for over 50 years because Venezuelans of all socioeconomic levels have always recognized the excellence of RCTV’s national programming, and the objectivity and accuracy of its journalists and political commentators.
RCTV’s strong principles as a privately owned broadcast group, and its fierce independence, have always pained Venezuelan presidents including Carlos Andres Perez, Rafael Caldera, Luis Herrera Campins, Jaime Lusinchi, and above all, President Hugo Chavez, a paranoid and despotic personality who recoils when confronted by persons of true integrity, courage and patriotism.
Chavez knows that as long as RCTV lives, he will never be able to completely control Venezuela’s public airwaves, silence dissent, and cover up the systemic corruption, mendacity, ignorance and despotism of his regime. So, Chavez has decreed that RCTV must submit or be murdered by the regime.
Venezuela’s cable television providers took RCTV’s signal, and the signal of four other cable TV channels including TV Chile, out of their programming as of midnight on 23 January 2010. Conatel ordered the cable providers to block RCTV and the four other channels on the spurious grounds that they violated norms requiring all “Venezuelan” TV and radio stations to broadcast the interminable daily diatribes of President Chavez.
RCTV maintains that it has not violated any laws or rules, but that the Chavez regime certainly is violating the constitution and laws of Venezuela in an effort to silence freedom of expression.
Conatel actually did not have any legal authority to force the cable providers to suspend RCTV and other broadcasters. But the Chavez-controlled National Assembly obligingly “updated” the unconstitutional/illegal Resorte Law to entrap RCTV. And then Diosdado Cabello, the head of Conatel and also public works and housing minister, threatened to close all the cable provider companies if they did not black out RCTV’s signal.
Cabello says that he did not threaten anyone, but besides being a top thug in the Chavez regime’s gangster hierarchy, Cabello is also a liar.
However, there is more behind Chavez’s efforts to kill RCTV than imposing total censorship.
As the protests in Caracas and other cities since 23 January have shown, many Venezuelans love freedom and despise tyrants. The immense public support for RCTV is not just about supporting the premier independent broadcasting group, but about fighting for what’s right in Venezuela: democracy, freedom of expression, private property rights, and the rule of law.
RCTV executive Marcel Granier hit the nail squarely when he said that it’s time for the Venezuelan people to say “enough” to the Chavez regime, which apparently thinks it owns everything in Venezuela including its citizens, as if people were cattle.
But make no mistake. Chavez wants his suspension of RCTV’s cable signal to trigger larger national protests. He wants to stoke a political conflict and create increasingly tense conditions that could benefit his Bolivarian regime by creating an excuse to postpone National Assembly elections now scheduled for September 2010 because he knows the revolutionary PSUV’s losses will be very substantial, leaving no option except to rig the outcome inside the Chavez-controlled CNE electoral authority.
Alternatively, Chavez hopes to use his confrontation with RCTV to open cracks in the political opposition, which has a tragicomic history of disorganization, infighting, disunity, and placing individual ambitions above the common good. Chavez figures that the “oppo” is a herd of sad sacks that can be easily manipulated, undermined, intimidated and bribed.
New Electric Energy Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque, aka “Comandante Fausto” and longtime henchman of the Castro brothers, has unveiled the Bolivarian regime’s “plans” for managing the national power crisis: Blame the political opposition.
Rodriguez Araque, who has been the electric energy minister since 15 January 2010, announced after the first ten days in his new post that the regime of President Hugo Chavez is moving decisively to contain the national power crisis. Fausto says:
“This is a problem that we can resolve.” [CG's translation: The regime is clueless.]
“The government will invest $14 billion from 2010 to end-2015 to add 14,000 MW of power generation capacity to the national grid, including $4 billion 2010 to add about 4,000 MW of generation capacity to the grid.” [CG's translation: The revolution has big plans as always, but no cash or human capacity to execute anything of substance; heck, even the much-ballyhooed 'Arepera Socialista' already foundered on the shoals of Bolivarian ineptitude.]
“The process continues of recovering and evaluating generation plants with the objective of making significant contributions to the national electrical system.” [CG's translation: The regime doesn't even know where to start fixing the problem it created.]
“The government is studying the design of a new conformation of the entire national electrical system in order to resolve existing problems and provide a response to the problems that have been presenting themselves.” [CG's translation: The regime plans to move the deck chairs to new positions on its sinking Bolivarian revolution.]
“The electricity savings campaign must continue…waste must be done away with…all sectors adverse to the government should join these (savings) efforts.” [CG's translation: The regime will turn out the lights nationally, no matter what.]
“If the opposition’s counter-campaign against electricity savings is successful, iy would be a national disaster.” [CG's translation: Since the regime's power plans are doomed to fail, it's never too early to set up the opposition for a political lynching.]
“If that is what the opposition wants, it should say so clearly to the people.” [CG's translation: The power crisis is everyone's fault but the Chavez regime's.]
“Details of a rationing plan for Caracas are being fine-tuned for the plan’s application.” [CG's translation: The regime is looking for a way to ration power in the greater Caracas area without further enraging the poor millions living in the barrios; good luck.]
It’s clear where ARA is trying to shift the public opinion matrix: (a) the power crisis is fixable, (b) the government will fix it with massive new investments, (c) but meanwhile everyone must save energy, and (d) if the government fails to end the power crisis it’s the fault of the political opposition, which is seeking national disaster for Venezuela.
However, reading between the lines of ARA’s Bolivarian BS, the real message is: (a) the power crisis cannot be contained, (b) the regime hopes to spend billions more if it can find the cash, but don’t bank on anything being commissioned on schedule, (c) compulsory power rationing nationally will continue indefinitely, and likely will be expanded very soon, (d) the 6 million-plus residents of Caracas must learn to live increasingly in the dark, and (e) when it hits the fan, the regime will blame the political opposition.
Venezuelans have nothing to gain by “cooperating” with the regime’s power conservation plans. These will fail anyway, and extended power outages will disrupt Venezuela months ahead of September’s legislative elections. The regime will expand the rationing program soon, likely to daily rolling outages lasting over four hours.
As things stand now, the four-hour rolling outages every second day translate, de facto, into outages of 6-8 hours because (a) Corpoelec’s subsidiaries are incapable of doing anything by a strict schedule, and (b) it takes some time for manufacturers to power down and then power up again. Factories don’t spring to 100% production at the flick of a wall switch.
Even worse, the rolling power outages have not prevented continued daily outages due to equipment malfunctions – a problem which has plagued the interior of Venezuela since 2005 at least, with an average of 300 major outages per year (100 MW-plus per outage) for the last five years in a row.
But the blameless Bolivarian revolution has a plan ready to explain its failure to fix the power crisis before the lights go out: Blame the opposition!
The power crisis Venezuelans will suffer for the next two or three years (under a best-case scenario) is an unparalleled tragedy in the country’s history. Strategic sectors like petroleum, gas, steel and aluminum that were built over several decades by successive democratic governments are collapsing, literally being killed, by the awesome incompetence and economic ignorance of President Hugo “It isn’t my fault” Chavez. However, one cannot help but laugh in a grim way as the chain reactions of the power crisis ripple through the economy and populace.
Why laughter? Because it’s gratifying to watch the Chavez regime choke on its own incompetence and stupidity. Watching the increasingly desperate contortions of President “It’s not my fault” Chavez reminds one of a death tableau in which a world-renowned actor was found dead last year in a Bangkok hotel with one end of a rope tied around his neck and the other end around his testicles.
Here’s one example of a chain reaction: the new power conservation measures forced on the populace and productive sectors by the Chavez regime already are causing a spike in local demand for diesel and fuel oil. Local demand is rising because more consumers are resorting to small thermal power generation units to cover their individual electricity needs. These power generation plants burn diesel or fuel oil. Diesel currently sells for close to $3 a gallon in the United States but practically nothing in Venezuela.
It’s too early to predict how quickly, and how much, local demand for diesel and fuel oil could increase. But the national power crisis will last at least three years by the Chavez regime’s admission, so it’s plausible that there could (will) be a significant jump in local diesel and fuel oil consumption for two reasons:
First, the regime’s plans to add over 4,000 MW of new thermal power generation capacity between February 2010 and July 2012 will require substantial and growing volumes of fuel oil to generate power because Pdvsa’s gas development programs currently are running about a decade behind schedule. If the regime completes these thermal power plants on schedule (which is doubtful given its abysmal 11-year track record), they will burn diesel/fuel oil because Pdvsa doesn’t have the gas production capacity.
Second, business owners are being told to find ways to simultaneously reduce their power consumption and generate their own power supplies. In practice, this means that imports of small mobile power generators should start to rise very quickly over the coming months. However, these small generators burn diesel, mainly.
This implies that Pdvsa, which already fails consistently to fulfill its contractual export commitments by itself and so must buy oil internationally to fill its increasing supply gaps in Venezuela and abroad, has several options, all bad from a financial and/or political perspective.
(Of course, anything bad for the Chavez regime is probably good for Venezuela, eventually, if it hastens the demise of the Mad Hatter in Miraflores Cave and the tribes of parasitic gangsters embedded in the Bolivarian regime like ticks and leeches under a buzzard’s tail feathers. But we digress…)
Option #1: Increase diesel and fuel oil supplies to the local market, and consequently reduce exports, Pdvsa’s oil revenues and the regime’s fiscal take;
Option #2: Import diesel and fuel oil purchased at international prices, and sell it at local subsidized prices, placing Pdvsa financially more deeply in the red. Local fuel subsidies already cost Pdvsa about $10 billion a year, and that was before the power crisis finally boiled over.
Option #3: Impose tighter power consumption restrictions to reduce consumption of diesel and fuel oil. But this option means that Venezuela’s overall economic output would decline, with all of the accompanying chain reaction effects like higher inflation and unemployment, longer periods in darkness for many Venezuelans (days or even weeks at a time?), more crime and chaos, an unhappier populace.
Diosdado Cabello, president of national telecommunications commission Conatel and minister of public works and housing, wants justice.
Cabello called a press conference to say that he has formally asked Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz to open a “criminal investigation” of remarks made on 14 January 2010 by Fedecamaras president Noel Álvarez during an interview broadcast by RCTV Internacional’s “La Entrevista” program.
Álvarez reportedly said that a “military solution” could be a way of dealing with the “government’s pretensions of hegemonic control over the means of solution.”
If Álvarez indeed said that, he’s a useful fool – er, tool – for the Chavez regime’s conspiracy disinformation campaign.
A military solution?
Chavez ruined Venezuela with the willing assistance of corrupt and incompetent retired and active duty military officers, many of whom are former “golpistas” who betrayed their nation and lost all honor/integrity in 1992. Cabello is one of these Bolivarian homeboys – one of the very worst in the bunch.
Asking today’s broken, politicized, corrupt military leadership to provide a “solution” to Chavez would be like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic, or placing a ravenous pack of foxes in charge of the henhouse.
Cabello said at the presser that the investigation should include all of the players involved in promoting the alleged “golpista” sentiments voiced by Álvarez, including the program’s host and RCTV Internacional, which is broadcast by cable.
It’s to be expected that AG Ortega Diaz will respond obediently to Cabello, the second most powerful figure in the regime after President Chavez.
However, the person that ought to be the target of a serious criminal investigation is Diosdado Cabello. A few of the alleged irregularities and potentially criminal activities by Cabello that richly deserve to be investigated include:
*Cabello’s direct participation in planning and executing a strategy to commit mass murder in Caracas on 11 April, 2002.
*Cabello’s business associations with recently-disgraced Bolibourgeois impresarios like Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco, who did many dirty “negocios” which benefited Cabello financially until late 2009, but who but now is detained at military intelligence (DGIM) headquarters, in the clutches of DGIM chief Hugo Carvajal. Fernandez Barrueco was leading the push to build a Bolibourgeois financial empire in which Cabello was the secret top dog. Also, Fernandez Barrueco and Carvajal are implicated in the abduction almost a year ago of banker German Garcia Velutini.
*Cabello’s role in the award of turnkey contracts worth over $4 billion on paper to Spanish contractors Duro Felguera, Iberdrola and Elecnor. Duro Felquera reportedly will build the 1,620 termocentro thermal power plant in the Tuy Valleys, and Iberdrola-Elecnor will build a 1,000 MW thermal power generation plant in Cumana. Analysts who crunched the numbers say they add up to a huge overpayment, which means someone is pocketing a few hundreds of millions of dollars.
Cabello is a top kingpin in the crime groups entrenched at the highest levels of the Chavez regime. He has been loosely associated in crime, politics and business since 2001 with former Interior & Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin.
Cabello is fiercely loyal to President Chavez. His motto is “I’ll do whatever the president says/decides.” This unflinching loyalty, until now, has bought Cabello impunity to do whatever he wishes as long as Chavez’s will is done. But Machiavelli certainly would advise Chavez to keep Cabello closer than his closest friends and blood relatives.
Israeli army intelligence officials tell Israel Today that President Hugo Chavez was involved in a shipment of missiles and other heavy weapons seized by Israeli commandos off the coast of Cyprus in November 2009. Israeli intelligence concluded the weapons were shipped from a Venezuelan port aboard an Antigua-flagged ship that stopped at an Iranian port before traveling through the Suez Canal en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon. More evidence that Chavez and the gangsters/narco-terrorists entrenched in his regime are actively violating international law and supporting terrorist groups. Chavez can be expected to respond with lies and insults. However, will there be any response from the OAS, the UN Security Council, Unasur, and/or the Obama administration?
President Hugo Chavez is a desperate liar trapped in a maze of his own manufacture.
Chavez faces a crisis from which he cannot extricate himself. But credit him for pulling out all the stops. Since Venezuela’s national power crisis finally exploded on 12 January, Chavez has been on a tear:
*The US caused the earthquake in Haiti with a secret weapon and now is occupying Haiti militarily under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, says Chavez.
*Military and civilian foes of the regime are again conspiring actively to topple Chavez violently, says Chavez propagandist and disinformation wizard Jose Vicente Rangel (aka Grima Wormtongue). Three generals are being held under arrest at DGIM (military intelligence) headquarters. True or false, no one can say.
*The wussie (“culilludo”) opposition doesn’t have the stones or heart to call a new presidential recall referendum, says Chavez, adding, go ahead, I dare you to try again.
*The “Exito” megastore chain in Colombia, owned by the Casino Group of France, was expropriated without cause or legal basis. Hundreds of Exito workers tried to protest at several stores and were swiftly repressed with violence by the Bolivarian National Guard and other armed regime thugs.
*The power crisis is a small problem, not a crisis. It was caused by El Nino and the squalid former rulers who vanished from power over 11 years ago, after never making investments in new power infrastructure. The CIA is coordinating the oppo disinformation campaign that seeks to blame the Bolivarian revolution (i.e. Chavez) for the power crisis, according to Chavez.
“With rationing we’re preventing Venezuela from staying in the dark,” Chavez told Pdvsa workers on 20 January. “The squalid opposition is trying to confuse the people…make it appear it’s our fault…they want Chavez to be alone and weakened so they can finish off Chavez…but if anyone is to blame for the electric crisis it is the ‘escualidos’ who governed for 50 years and did not do anything so that the country would have adequate structures for the electrical topic.”
President Hugo Chavez is a “lying sack of shit.”
(The Urban Dictionary defines a person who is a “lying sack of shit” as:
“n. (metaphorical, yet, often simultaneously literal) one who habitually and effortlessly utters falsehoods in a most blatant and profane manner, all the while maintaining a lackadaisical appearance of ingenuousness; despite, or perhaps, due to the fact that their entire corporeal membrane is filled to bursting with an inexhaustible supply of foul, though nitrogen-rich fecal mendacities waiting to be excreted into their victims’ ears.”
Coincidentally, as President Chavez spews his desperate lies in every direction, a group of veteran Edelca professionals and workers calling itself the “Comité de Vigilancia de EDELCA, perteneciente al COMITÉ DE PROFESIONALES Y TÉCNICOS DE EDELCA,” issued a lengthy communiqué that confirms President Chavez is a sack of lies.
Regretfully, at post time we didn’t have a functional link yet to this document. But here are some of the key points in the communiqué:
*Venezuela is immersed in a power crisis from which it probably will not emerge for several years. [Anticipate at least another three years of daily power outages due to equipment failures and rationing.]
*The power crisis was not caused by El Nino, but exclusively by President Chavez’s decision in 1999 to kill further hydro-power investments, and by his regime’s complete failure to build/commission any of the new thermal power generation and transmission projects that Venezuela required.
*Water volume in the Caroni River averaged 4,153 cubic meters per second in 2009, only 14% less than the river’s historical average flow of 4,813 m3/s. Further, from January-April 2009 the river’s water volume was substantially higher than the historical average for those months. For example, volume in January 2009 was 5,467 m3/s or 133% higher than the historical average of 2,350 m3/s for that month.
*The Army generals Chavez appointed to head Edelca – Daniel Machado, followed by Hipolito Izquierdo – politicized Edelca, derailed the hydro-power utility’s planned investments, looted its annual budget to fund regime-mandated ideological indoctrination and propaganda programs, and allowed gangsters disguised as “labor leaders” to take control of the Tocoma hydro-power project. Tocoma now is some three years behind schedule and infested with drug traffickers and armed thugs who sell job openings to poor workers.
Jose Vicente Rangel, aka Grima Wormtongue of the Bolivarian revolution, is spinning “golpista” fables again. The “same golpistas” who plotted the violence of 11 April, 2002 once again are conspiring within the armed forces and the civilian political opposition, he says. But the revolution knows who the plotters are and will take them all down at the appropriate time.
JVR is one of the Chavez regime’s longtime insiders, although Chavez wisely has never trusted him. Grima Wormtongue is, after all, a lethal serpent, true to his lifelong ambition to amass wealth and political power, but always treacherous to everyone else including his own blood.
JVR has served Chavez faithfully for a decade, first as Foreign Minister, then defense Minister and finally as Vice President before he retired from public life to return to his first love – spinning outrageous and unsubstantiated myths while wearing the mantle of a “journalist” and “commentator.”
But JVR is poison of the worst kind.
JVR is directly implicated in at least two assassinations, and in late 2001-early 2002 he actively plotted to commit mass murder on 11 April, 2002 with President Chavez, then-Vice President Diosdado Cabello, then-Interior & Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, then-Attorney General Isaias Rodriguez, the entire military high command (except the commander of the Army and then-Cufan commander), and various chavista political figures.
Now JVR claims that multiple conspiracies are under way withint he armed forces and civilian opposition.
News reports over the past weekend said that three generals have been arrested for alleged plots against Chavez and are being held at military intelligence (DGIM), where Chavez’s top intelligence official – General Hugo Carvajal – divides his time between rooting out conspiracies within the military and actively cooperating with FARC narco-terrorists.
But the only “active” conspiracies that Caracas Gringo has detected through his military friends involve officers who are known to serve the Chavez regime as moles and double agents.
Chavez fears secret deep pools of discontent within the military, and so has deployed his military moles and provocateurs to entrap officers in all branches of the armed forces. The same provocateurial activities are happening within the civilian political opposition.
Some alleged “oppo” figures do the devil’s work for the Bolivarian revolution, taking regime money under-the-table to spy on their colleagues and disrupt efforts to forge a credible degree of unity. It’s been so for many years.
Never under-estimate Chavez when it comes to manipulating conspiracies; El Comandante is a Grand Master of conspiratorial intrigue who has spent a lifetime immersed in plots, treachery and double and triple crosses.
The regime’s Cuban-supported intelligence services have reason to be concerned. Venezuela is suffering broad systemic disruptions and failures which the Chavez regime’s incredibly imcompetent/destructive policies have created.
Poor Venezuelans, particularly, are increasingly angry with the Chavez regime for wrecking everything it touches while doing little/nothing to create jobs, reduce violent crime and improve living standards.
The regime can brag about reducing poverty. But poor Venezuelans know that’s bullshit. Life in Venezuela has cheapened awesomely since Chavez has ruled the roost.
In the barrios of Caracas a cash payment of BsF 1,000 – only $232 at the new oil dollar of BsF 4.30 or just $166 at the swap (permuta) rate – is more than enough to hire a “sicario” (contract killer) to murder a rival in a love triangle.
Now the power sector has collapsed, again thanks to Chavez though he is trying mightily to blame it on El Nino and global warming caused mostly by the hated imperialist “yanquis”.
The shortlived experiment with power rationing in Caracas on 12 January 2010 terrified President Chavez and his thugs; the president felt the “pulse” of the “pueblo.” No kidding.
The regime’s intelligence operatives in the “barrios” warned Miraflores that if power rationing in Caracas was not suspended immediately, the “pueblo” would descend from the slums like ravenous locusts and torch the city.
The “caracazo” of February 1989 would be a walk in the park compared to the likely reaction that continued power rationing in Caracas would trigger, say a couple of Caracas Gringo’s contacts in the barrios – hard men associated with the Tupamaros.
Hence, Grima Wormtongue’s recent warnings about new “golpista” conspiracies within the military and civilian opposition.
Chavez needs scapegoats for a new witch hunt/purge, and excuse to arrest, jail and, perhaps, even dispose of some people terminally.
Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia – all ALBA regimes coordinated from Havana – accuse the United States of using the earthquake as an excuse to occupy Haiti militarily.
President Hugo Chavez, who sees imminent US invasions of Venezuela everywhere he looks, is leading the latest anti-US Bolivarian circle jerk, faithfully following the geopolitical and propaganda strategies developed by Havana.
“They go in there to kill whoever, whenever,” Chavez said on 20 January.
The heads of Nicaragua and Bolivia are in the chorus because Chavez (Havana) owns them thanks to over $1 billion in Venezuela’s oil wealth, which Chavez gives away freely to everyone except Venezuelans.
But there’s more to Chavez’s anti-Yanqui mudslinging than first meets the eye.
Haiti was a failed state and failed society for decades before the earthquake leveled Port au Prince on 12 January.
But Haiti was – and continues to be – strategically vital to the Chavez regime, Havana and the narco-terrorist groups associated with the Caracas/Havana axis.
The island of Hispaniola – shared by Haiti and Dominican Republic – is the Bolivarian revolution’s most important strategic hub in the Caribbean.
The Chavez regime, with Cuban encouragement, has been cultivating Haiti’s government and people quietly for several years.
Haiti is a member of the PetroCaribe initiative, receiving preferentially financed oil from Pdvsa worth about $150-200 million a year of “savings” for the Haitian government (i.e. debts to Venezuela which Haiti likely will never pay in full).
The Chavez regime also has good relations with the government of President Rene Preval. Over the past three years, Caracas has given (or pledged to give) over $200 million in grants for infrastructure and social programs.
Cuba has been actively engaged too. Caracas/Havana agreed in 2007 to give Haiti five mobile thermal power generation plants.
Most recently, a Haitian legislator said the Chavez regime would fund a $33 million project to expand the airport at Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city, so it can handle large commercial airliners.
Reportedly, the new runway to be built at Cap-Haitien by a Venezuelan/Cuban consortium would be large enough to handle large military transport aircraft.
Chavez also is close to former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, who remains very popular among poor Haitians. Aristide was friendly with Venezuelan radical Marxists long before he hired Randall Robinson’s TransAfrica to lobby for him in Washington, DC back in 1993-1994.
While Chavez/Havana steadily strengthened the Bolivarian revolution’s ties in recent years with the government and people of Haiti (who nowadays mostly despise the US), the US was absent.
The earthquake on 12 January jolted the US establishment, but only marginally.
President Barack Obama, and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, have pledged that the US people and government are committed to helping Haiti rebuild. Certainly, their assurances are since.
Clinton in particular always has cared genuinely about Haiti.
Haiti was Clinton’s first major foreign policy adventure in 1994, when US troops occupied the country to restore the populist defrocked Catholic priest Jean Bertrand Aristide to the presidency.
Clinton justified his decision to order Haiti’s military occupation by saying that it was meant to restore the democratically-elected Aristide to power, and to allow the US to lead an internationally-supported effort to rebuild Haiti into a modern nation state.
Of course, nothing of the sort happened. Relations between Aristide and the Clinton administration fell apart, aid to Haiti was frozen, and the country’s political and social turmoil continued.
Over 15 years later, before the earthquake killed Port au Prince on 12 January, Haiti was still the same failed state and society that it had been in 1994 when Clinton embarked on a Wilsonian experiment which ended, thankfully for US taxpayers, when the UN assumed full command of the “peacekeeping” mission.
The Obama administration has done right in Haiti so far. The US military buildup in Haiti is a humanitarian search/rescue, aid and recovery mission. It is not a military occupation of Haiti disguised as aid, as Chavez and his ALBA lackeys falsely charge.
The US forces now in Haiti will assume security functions if chaotic situation spirals into uncontrolled violence.
But if that were to happen, it is certain that it would result from President Preval officially requesting US and other foreign military personnel now engaged in humanitarian activities to expand their mission to include restoring/maintaining public order. US military forces won’t intervene in security issues beyond protecting US citizens if President Preval doesn’t request US security assistance first.
Meanwhile, Chavez and gang are whining about an alleged US military occupation of Haiti because:
(1) The US military presence in Haiti interferes with Caracas/Havana plans to enlarge the revolution’s influence in the poorest country in the Americas, and
(2) The US presence interferes with the drug trafficking operations of transnational criminals and narco-terrorist groups operating from Venezuela in partnership with senior regime figures.
Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and DR, is the biggest hub in the Caribbean for transshipments of Colombian cocaine and heroin that move from Colombia to Venezuela – and from there to Hispaniola en route to destinations in Central/North America and some European countries like France.
Colombia’s FARC owns over half of the cocaine shipped via Venezuela. (The Chavez regime staged a big show in 2009, officially seizing the largest loads of cocaine and other illegal narcotics interdicted in many years. But it’s not clear if all of the seized narcotics were destroyed. And, more importantly, not a single cocaine shipment owned by the FARC was captured in Venezuela despite the fact that some 60-70% of the cocaine that transits through Venezuela belongs to the FARC.)
The FARC-owned cocaine and heroin smuggled into Venezuela is protected, among others, by teams of Bolivarian government security officials (gangsters) controlled by the likes of military intelligence (DGIM) director Hugo Carvajal, former Interior & Justice Ministry political police (Disip) director Henry Rangel Silva, former Disip financial intelligence director Pedro Luis Martin, and former Interior & Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin.
This cocaine and heroin is then shipped aboard hundreds of illegal flights that originate from within Venezuela to destinations in the Caribbean and Central America. US, Dutch and Colombian radars have been tracking these flights for years, certainly since 2003.
Hispaniola (Haiti/DR) and Honduras were key trans-shipment points for the drug traffickers flying illegal narcotics out of Venezuela.
But on 28 June, 2009 the democratic institutions of Honduras legally and constitutionally ousted former President Mel (all hat, no cattle) Zelaya after he insisted, with Chavez’s help, on transforming Honduras into another Bolivarian satellite.
Now the Haitian-based operations of the Venezuelan-based Bolivarian/FARC narco-terrorist crime groups have been disrupted for weeks or even months by the arrival of thousands of US troops.
With several thousand US troops in Haiti, and US navy ships including five Coast Guard cutters patrolling the waters off Haiti to interdict any mass refugee flights by sea to US shores, drug traffickers will have a vastly more difficult time flying undetected in that area of the Caribbean.
The top US security concern with respect to Haiti, where up to 200,000 persons may be dead and 3 million homeless, is the possibility that hundreds of thousands of Haitians could attempt in coming months to flee their country by sea in a desperate attempt to reach US shores in Florida.
US aircraft already are overflying Haiti every day, broadcasting messages in Creole warning Haitians that anyone caught fleeing the island by sea will be returned. No illegal Haitian refugees will be admitted to the US, says the broadcast message taped by Haiti’s ambassador to Washington.
But a desperate, starving mob is prone to anything, fleeing over Hispaniola’s mountains to DR, or setting out to sea in anything that will float and can be bailed out faster than water leaks in.
Is there any possibility that a “new” Haiti can be rebuilt from the rubble of Port au Prince? Dispassionately, no; Haiti is a failed state. Experts who know about failed states know that Haiti cannot be rescued.
If Haiti is fortunate, it might be annexed by another power. Many Haitians despise the Yanquis, but given a choice they’d probably opt for being adopted by the US before other powers – certainly not France, Haiti’s former colonial slave master.
But the US doesn’t want Haiti, especially nowadays when there is 17% unemployment in the US including 10% officially jobless and another 7% underemployed or dropped out of the work force.
There’s a large Haitian population in Florida. But it’s a safe bet the Haitians already in Florida don’t want hundreds of thousands of their brothers and sisters washing ashore from Fort Lauderdale to Key West over the coming year.
Florida’s economy is among the worst hit in the current US recession, and Haitians already there don’t want more competition for a shrunken pool of jobs.
Moreover, if a rising tide of Haitian refugees starts to arrive, furious non-Haitian residents of Florida will turn against all Haitians (and other Caribbean region peoples) already in Florida with the same rage directed at the refugees.
There’s a crisis in the US, not enough jobs to go around, so stay the hell home. Wouldn’t it be ironic if President Obama, the all-inclusive non-partisan progressive, rebuilds his sagging poll numbers in coming months by enforcing No Trespassing orders against Haitian refugees?
President Hugo Chavez and his gang of incompetent thugs caught a glimpse of the abyss in Caracas this week, and recoiled like snakes fleeing a fire.
The president “rectified…wisely” because he has the “pulse” of the people, some of his supporters said.
But the truth is that Chavez realized that shutting off power supplies to Caracas could be the spark that could bring two or three million people into the streets, and force “El Comandante” to scurry away in the dark.
The Bolivarian armed forces and reservists certainly won’t confront a million pissed-off barrio dwellers in Caracas. They literally would be ripped to pieces if they opened fire on the “pueblo.”
So Chavez excluded Caracas from Corpoelec’s national rolling power outage program, and sacked Power Minister Angel Rodriguez.
Now the regime is struggling to come up with an alternative plan to cut national consumption by 1,600 MW, spare Caracas any real pain, and keep Chavez’s popularity from sinking further over the coming months. Good luck.
Ad hoc “solutions” already are being announced. For example, officials said the regime will spend $4 billion to buy floating power plants to keep the lights on in Vargas and Miranda states (i.e. Caracas).
But Chavez & gang can’t weasel out of this crisis – even if oil prices soar into triple digits.
Caracas can’t be exempted from the compulsory national outage program because, at 1,600 MW, it is the second largest user of Edelca hydropower after the basic industries in Guayana (1,840 MW). Zulia (1,450 MW) where Pdvsa has major oil production operations is the third largest user.
The regime has to bring down consumption of hydro-power generated by Edelca, not other utilities. If Chavez forces the basic industries and Zulia to absorb all of the consumption cuts, the state-owned steel and aluminum industries will shut down completely and Pdvsa’s operations in Zulia and Falcon states will be disrupted severely.
The power crisis will have unexpected chain reactions nationally. Businesses will be forced to change working hours. Economic output will fall. Labor costs will increase as the regime forces employers to pay workers for time not worked due to the power outages. More inflation, more shortages of everything, and more damages to electronic and other household items like refrigerators, air conditioners, washers and dryers, radios and televisions, computers, etc.
Any disruption of Pdvsa’s activities = less fiscal income for the regime and little/no cash reserves to fund Pdvsa’s investment plans in the Orinoco oil belt and offshore.
No electricity, no oil income to continue spending. It adds up to a potentially grim outlook for the Chavez regime over the coming months.
But Edelca’s report warning of an impending national collapse is very clear: “120 days” – sometime around end-April or sometime in May, Edelca could be forced to shut down 5,000 MW of Guri’s hydro-power generation capacity, and then it is lights out, Venezuela.
All activities in Venezuela would grind to a congested infuriated halt if that happens. No elevators or traffic lights. No Caracas Metro. Airports would have to suspend service. The seaports would close. Service stations would not be able to pump gasoline or diesel into vehicles. Telephone services – land lines and wireless – would be kaput. Adieu, Internet. Ordinary commercial transactions – withdrawing cash from an ATM, cashing a check or paying with a check – would collapse. Anyone selling a good or service immediately would start to demand payment in cash.
Oil production/refining and exports would collapse. Pdvsa probably would be obliged to declare force majeure on the majority of its foreign supply contracts.
Social chaos could result. An angry populace without electricity, combined with increased violent crime, likely would be met by the regime with greater repression. But this would risk sparking a popular eruption if “el pueblo” concludes that the person most responsible for the collapse of their country is hiding deep “inside the cave” in Miraflores (Chavez’s words, no less).
Chavez’s criminal associates – folks like Diosdado Cabello and Jose Vicente Rangel – are wildly rich, and no doubt they are also packed and ready to bail out of Dodge City at the first hint that the regime is seriously at risk of imploding. A few Bolivarian “pendejos” like Lina Ron may fight and die for “El Supremo,” but Chavez’s longtime closest associates will dump him in the blink of an eye when it comes to saving their own hides.