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Old 3 Weeks Ago (7:42 AM).
EnglishALT EnglishALT is offline
     
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    As a spin off of the Bernie Sanders thread, I figured I would open one to discuss what is happening in Venezuela and how it got to be this way, if anyone wishes to have a quick refresher the BBC has provided a historical run down of Venezuela, touching a bit on the redistribution and nationalization policies that happened after Chavez was elected.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19652436
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    Old 3 Weeks Ago (1:12 PM).
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      https://www.thefreedomsproject.com/venezuela-socialism-kills/

      It amuses and saddens me that Sanders praised Venezuela as a socialist model and now that its failing, as all such attempts do, its now being claimed as "not real socialism."

      http://www.libertynewsdaily.com/blog-929-flashback:-bernie-sanders-praised-socialist-venezuela-as-model-for-ending-income-inequality

      This one details the steps the country took prior to its economic collapse.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/25/opinion/venezuela-maduro-socialism-government.html
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      Old 3 Weeks Ago (2:51 PM).
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      "What is particularly Machiavellian, what is particularly cynical, is to cause an economic crisis that threatens to become a humanitarian crisis, that is what the United States has done through the financial blockade, through the sanctions, and then to say, Oh, we're going to offer you humanitarian help."-U.N investigator Alfred De Zayas.

      Those are the words of an objective official who went to Venezuela to see the circumstances, and concluded that the poverty, violence and death in Venezuela is a direct result of United States intervention. Whether you support socialism or capitalism as an economic system is neither here nor there. What Zayas told the human rights council was that the financial blockade led to the enormous human rights impact we see today.

      The true intention of the US is to seize control of Venezuela's resources, and we are suffocating her in order to do so, creating a situation for chaos and overthrow. In this case we have a country whose failure isn't totally internal, she is collapsing because of external circumstances that we constructed.

      The crisis began when the price of oil fell. Venezuela was a rich, prosperous country with lots of resources to remain in a strong position regardless, but as Venezuela presents a threat to the US treasury, they could not be allowed indepence.

      Citgo, which is Venezuela's oil company based in the US, has been stopped from transferring their own profits out of the country. We won't let Venezuela use 10 billion dollars of her own money. We seized shipments of their medicine and equipment for more than ten years. Euroclear also stole nearly two billion dollars the Venezuelan government paid them for food. Wells Fargo witheld and cancelled several millions of dollars in payments from other South American countries like Brazil to Venezuela for services like electricity. We closed the government of Venezuela's accounts again and again so they can't borrow money.

      What did anyone expect to happen to Venezuela under these circumstances?

      I read Abby Martin, one of the last scrupulous and fierce journalists. Here is her interview with the inspector De Zayas if you have half an hour to spare.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ii5MlQgGXyk

      What my country is doing to Venezuela is arguably a crime under the ICC. If we do not learn our history then we are doomed to repeat it. Under Bush we lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to get the oil, under Obama we lied about Gadaafi using rape as tool of war to topple Libya and get the gold. Here we go again, coming to save the day...

      Do Trump supporters who wanted to avoid a cold war with Russia, and pull out of Syria, now support coups in Venezuela and starvation tactics on the people of Yemen? Those who genuinely want peace and not partisanship should be against intervention in Venezuela, regardless of whether or not you like their economic system. If you fall on the right like Ron Paul or on the left like Tulsi Gabbard, this is still an issue where we can find common ground. End regime change now, stop arming terrorists, stop instating juntas, quit meddling in the affairs of other countries, and take care of our own.
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      Old 3 Weeks Ago (3:20 PM).
      LDSman LDSman is offline
         
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
        "What is particularly Machiavellian, what is particularly cynical, is to cause an economic crisis that threatens to become a humanitarian crisis, that is what the United States has done through the financial blockade, through the sanctions, and then to say, Oh, we're going to offer you humanitarian help."-U.N investigator Alfred De Zayas.

        Those are the words of an objective official who went to Venezuela to see the circumstances, and concluded that the poverty, violence and death in Venezuela is a direct result of United States intervention. Whether you support socialism or capitalism as an economic system is neither here nor there. What Zayas told the human rights council was that the financial blockade led to the enormous human rights impact we see today.

        The true intention of the US is to seize control of Venezuela's resources, and we are suffocating her in order to do so, creating a situation for chaos and overthrow. In this case we have a country whose failure isn't totally internal, she is collapsing because of external circumstances that we constructed.

        The crisis began when the price of oil fell. Venezuela was a rich, prosperous country with lots of resources to remain in a strong position regardless, but as Venezuela presents a threat to the US treasury, they could not be allowed indepence.

        Citgo, which is Venezuela's oil company based in the US, has been stopped from transferring their own profits out of the country. We won't let Venezuela use 10 billion dollars of her own money. We seized shipments of their medicine and equipment for more than ten years. Euroclear also stole nearly two billion dollars the Venezuelan government paid them for food. Wells Fargo witheld and cancelled several millions of dollars in payments from other South American countries like Brazil to Venezuela for services like electricity. We closed the government of Venezuela's accounts again and again so they can't borrow money.

        What did anyone expect to happen to Venezuela under these circumstances?

        I read Abby Martin, one of the last scrupulous and fierce journalists. Here is her interview with the inspector De Zayas if you have half an hour to spare.

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ii5MlQgGXyk

        What my country is doing to Venezuela is arguably a crime under the ICC. If we do not learn our history then we are doomed to repeat it. Under Bush we lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to get the oil, under Obama we lied about Gadaafi using rape as tool of war to topple Libya and get the gold. Here we go again, coming to save the day...

        Do Trump supporters who wanted to avoid a cold war with Russia, and pull out of Syria, now support coups in Venezuela and starvation tactics on the people of Yemen? Those who genuinely want peace and not partisanship should be against intervention in Venezuela, regardless of whether or not you like their economic system. If you fall on the right like Ron Paul or on the left like Tulsi Gabbard, this is still an issue where we can find common ground. End regime change now, stop arming terrorists, stop instating juntas, quit meddling in the affairs of other countries, and take care of our own.
        Going to need citations on those claims. Abby Martin? She was a Truther. Kind of kills her credibility.
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        Old 3 Weeks Ago (5:02 PM). Edited 3 Weeks Ago by VisionofMilotic.
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        Originally Posted by LDSman View Post
        Going to need citations on those claims. Abby Martin? She was a Truther. Kind of kills her credibility.
        The source is the United Nations Official, which was literally the first thing I said.
        Abby Martin has simply invited him on her show. It would be clear that he was the source if you watched the interview. Whosoever conducts the Q&A does not change the findings of his report. He says the same thing here.

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/venezuela-us-sanctions-united-nations-oil-pdvsa-a8748201.html
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        Old 3 Weeks Ago (5:09 PM).
        EnglishALT EnglishALT is offline
           
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          Quote:
          Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
          The source is the United Nations Official, which would be clear if you watched the interview. Abby Martin has simply invited him on her show. Whosoever conducts the interview does not change his report. He says the same thing here.

          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/venezuela-us-sanctions-united-nations-oil-pdvsa-a8748201.html
          His blame on sanctions leading to the situation now seen does not really check out. The sanctions are relatively new and targeting specific Venezuelan officials while the collapse of Venezuela’s economy has been building over the last decade. It is easy to blame the US for what happened, however PDSVA’s destruction and with it Venezuela’s oil industry is the fault of the government.
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          Old 3 Weeks Ago (6:09 PM).
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          Quote:
          Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
          His blame on sanctions leading to the situation now seen does not really check out. The sanctions are relatively new and targeting specific Venezuelan officials while the collapse of Venezuela’s economy has been building over the last decade. It is easy to blame the US for what happened, however PDSVA’s destruction and with it Venezuela’s oil industry is the fault of the government.

          No, De Zaya gives examples of the United States hostility towards Venezuela for well over a decade, dating the blockage of life-saving medical treatments such as dialysis to as far back as 2008.

          This is our own State Department's itemization of actions taking against Venezuela as early as 2005.
          https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/venezuela
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          Old 3 Weeks Ago (6:13 PM). Edited 3 Weeks Ago by EnglishALT.
          EnglishALT EnglishALT is offline
             
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            Quote:
            Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
            No, De Zaya gives examples of the United States hostility towards Venezuela for well over a decade, dating the blockage of life-saving medical treatments such as dialysis to as far back as 2008.

            This is our own State Department's itemization of actions taking against Venezuela as early as 2005.
            https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/venezuela
            Looking from the list I do not get where you are getting 2005, the earliest seems to be 2015 in response to human rights abuses.

            https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/09/fact-sheet-venezuela-executive-order
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            Old 3 Weeks Ago (6:19 PM).
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              I’m also not finding anything in google searches about the US blocking medical shipments. I am seeing Venezuela doing so.
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              Old 3 Weeks Ago (7:36 PM).
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              Quote:
              Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
              Looking from the list I do not get where you are getting 2005, the earliest seems to be 2015 in response to human rights abuses.

              https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/09/fact-sheet-venezuela-executive-order
              Keep navigating the US Govt site to read the press releases.
              https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp148.aspx

              We have been placing sanctions on Venezuela for over a decade, I'm going to also link you to our library of congress/ CSR verifying this if you need more detail about the context. You can download the PDF file here.
              https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10715.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjF8KblqtPgAhVKGt8KHbPrBjEQFjAWegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw1XmV6R_zrgGo0YrTe1UfGi&cshid=1550975838761

              It states above that for more than a decade, the United States has employed sanctions as a policy tool in response to activities of the Venezuelan government or Venezuelan individuals. Whether or not you approve of their government, and believe in the sanctions, the pressure we exert still has consequences on the people who live there.

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by LDSman View Post
              I’m also not finding anything in google searches about the US blocking medical shipments. I am seeing Venezuela doing so.
              If you don't want to watch the interview with the UN Independent Expert then I don't know what to tell you.
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              Old 3 Weeks Ago (8:56 PM).
              EnglishALT EnglishALT is offline
                 
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                Quote:
                Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                Keep navigating the US Govt site to read the press releases.
                https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp148.aspx

                We have been placing sanctions on Venezuela for over a decade, I'm going to also link you to our library of congress/ CSR verifying this if you need more detail about the context. You can download the PDF file here.
                https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10715.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjF8KblqtPgAhVKGt8KHbPrBjEQFjAWegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw1XmV6R_zrgGo0YrTe1UfGi&cshid=1550975838761

                It states above that for more than a decade, the United States has employed sanctions as a policy tool in response to activities of the Venezuelan government or Venezuelan individuals. Whether or not you approve of their government, and believe in the sanctions, the pressure we exert still has consequences on the people who live there.
                Well that certainly explains why it was not on the website, the 2005 sanction was targeted at a Columbia drug leader and his front companies, it was not targeted at the Venezuelan government or even any Venezuelan citizens, but a cartel that operated front businesses in numerous countries including, Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Spain, Vanuatu, Venezuela, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the United States.

                I mean if that is your evidence for sanctions in 2005, then that would mean the US placed sanctions on itself as well.

                Also while I disagree with some sanctions if it negatively impacts the people, the problems in Venezuela did not start with sanctions it started with nationalization of its biggest industry.

                Quote:
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                If you don't want to watch the interview with the UN Independent Expert then I don't know what to tell you.
                It would be nice to have some context on what he is specifically talking about.
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                Old 3 Weeks Ago (5:33 AM).
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                Well that certainly explains why it was not on the website, the 2005 sanction was targeted at a Columbia drug leader and his front companies, it was not targeted at the Venezuelan government or even any Venezuelan citizens, but a cartel that operated front businesses in numerous countries including, Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Spain, Vanuatu, Venezuela, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the United States.

                I mean if that is your evidence for sanctions in 2005, then that would mean the US placed sanctions on itself as well.

                Also while I disagree with some sanctions if it negatively impacts the people, the problems in Venezuela did not start with sanctions it started with nationalization of its biggest industry.

                It extended to over 22 individuals, and many were officials in the Venezuelan government, that was why I added the library of congress as a source to explain that further. It looks like a politicised action. In 2005 we also put Venezuela under embargo, and went onto to decry them as not adhering to the international narcotics agreements. I am not saying that there's no drug trafficking that needs to be battled, but such a treaty be a sneaky way to create an American presence in the country and lead to a military base as the next step, this is at least how it was viewed in Venezuela, which is why they pulled out.
                http://www.coha.org/venezuela-holding-the-line-against-drug-trafficking/

                You've put your finger on it. The problems did start with nationalizing their industry, but not in the way you think. We can't mine Venezuela's gold, or use the oil for ourselves if they go around nationalizing things, now can we?

                We were in support of coups in the country as early as 2002. The CIA documents are public.
                https://www.npr.org/2019/02/22/696057482/trumps-venezuela-moves-follow-long-history-of-intervention-in-latin-america

                Please do not support military action in Venezuela. It is hard to believe that John Bolton, who was the architect of the Iraq war, cares about democracy and prosperity in Venezuela. Eliot Abrams, who organized support for dictators, contra guerillas and death squads in Panama, El Salvador, Chile and Nicaragua, is trying to rescue Venezuela too? Trump recognizes Brazilian leader Jair Bolsanoro, a man who is fine with extrajudicial killings, dictatorship, torture, violence against women, people of African descent and homosexuals. Trump would not go in a humanitarian mission to save the people of Venezuela if there was no profit in it.

                https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.commondreams.org/views/2019/02/22/us-venezuela-aid-convoy-story-clearly-bogus-no-one-wants-say-it%3famp

                https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/02/01/587354/Venezuela-protest-sanctions-oil-industry-Maduro-Juan-Guaido
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                Old 3 Weeks Ago (5:50 AM). Edited 3 Weeks Ago by EnglishALT.
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                  Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                  It extended to over 22 individuals, and many were officials in the Venezuelan government, that was why I added the library of congress as a source to explain that further. It looks like a politicised action. In 2005 we also put Venezuela under embargo, and went onto to decry them as not adhering to the international narcotics agreements. I am not saying that there's no drug trafficking that needs to be battled, but such a treaty be a sneaky way to create an American presence in the country and lead to a military base as the next step, this is at least how it was viewed in Venezuela, which is why they pulled out.
                  http://www.coha.org/venezuela-holding-the-line-against-drug-trafficking/

                  You've put your finger on it. The problems did start with nationalizing their industry, but not in the way you think. We can't mine Venezuela's gold, or use the oil for ourselves if they go around nationalizing things, now can we?
                  The thing is you are ignoring the problems that nationalization caused, by putting political lackies in charge of Venezuela’s biggest resource it destroyed the company and with it the economy of the country.

                  http://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2017/05/07/how-venezuela-ruined-its-oil-industry/amp/
                  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/how-venezuela-went-from-the-richest-economy-in-south-america-to-the-brink-of-financial-ruin-a7740616.html%3famp

                  The sanctions did not cause Chávez to fire 19,000 people and replace them with inexperienced loyalists who had no idea what they were doing, that was on Chávez.

                  For a country who relies on 96 percent of its exports being oil, the destruction that cleansing had is something Venezuela never recovered from. Of course the inflation, and price controls do not help either. However if you want to see how Venezuela became what it is today, the destruction of PDSVA is where it starts.

                  https://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/ways-chavez-destroyed-venezuelan-economy/story?id=18239956

                  The hard truth is, is that none of this right now from the US side is about oil. Even if Venezuela wasn’t mired in poverty and crime, the oil fields are in such a state of disrepair, and the oil extracted from Venezuela, so heavy that it needs a special chemical mixed in, that the cost is not worth it. Oil companies would be losing money trying to get everything running properly and smoothly again, especially with oil trading below $100 a barrel.
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                  Old 3 Weeks Ago (8:47 AM).
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                  The thing is you are ignoring the problems that nationalization caused, by putting political lackies in charge of Venezuela’s biggest resource it destroyed the company and with it the economy of the country.

                  http://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2017/05/07/how-venezuela-ruined-its-oil-industry/amp/
                  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/how-venezuela-went-from-the-richest-economy-in-south-america-to-the-brink-of-financial-ruin-a7740616.html%3famp

                  The sanctions did not cause Chávez to fire 19,000 people and replace them with inexperienced loyalists who had no idea what they were doing, that was on Chávez.

                  For a country who relies on 96 percent of its exports being oil, the destruction that cleansing had is something Venezuela never recovered from. Of course the inflation, and price controls do not help either. However if you want to see how Venezuela became what it is today, the destruction of PDSVA is where it starts.

                  https://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/ways-chavez-destroyed-venezuelan-economy/story?id=18239956

                  The hard truth is, is that none of this right now from the US side is about oil. Even if Venezuela wasn’t mired in poverty and crime, the oil fields are in such a state of disrepair, and the oil extracted from Venezuela, so heavy that it needs a special chemical mixed in, that the cost is not worth it. Oil companies would be losing money trying to get everything running properly and smoothly again, especially with oil trading below $100 a barrel.
                  Socialism can lead to many possible outcomes good and bad, just as capitalism. China managed to sucessfully grow their economy and outperforms us. Portugal is the best it has been in a decade under a socialist leader.

                  This interview with award-winning veteran journalist Paul Jay, who was there in Venezuela monitoring elections, shows another Venezuela that existed before Chavez came to power where poverty, unemployment, slums were everywhere. People were hungry and homeless.The oil companies paid virtually no royalties to the state, and the elites were selling products as high as 30 times what they were worth. There was tremendous inflation then. Yes, Venezuela was rich, but very few people saw that money. It was concentrated to the top percent. It is not that nationalizing industries suddenly destroyed a flourushing country, the way most people lived was very unjust. Something had to be changed.


                  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XH_z6KeUV0A

                  Again, whether you believe in socialism or not, whether we like Chavez or not, he ultimately won 8 free and fair elections. Most people who lived in the country saw an increase in their standard of living with the change of management of the oil. They had access to education and health care for the first time, and the povery rate dropped significantly.

                  https://revista.drclas.harvard.edu/book/poverty-reduction-venezuela

                  For the record I am not endorsing Maduro or Chavez on every decision, but it is important to look just as critically at the alternative that was prior.

                  Yes, it is another oil war.

                  "You know, Venezuela is one of the three countries I call the troika of tyranny. It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of the United States." -John Bolton

                  https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/30/a_war_for_oil_bolton_pushes
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                  Old 3 Weeks Ago (2:22 PM). Edited 3 Weeks Ago by EnglishALT.
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                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                    Socialism can lead to many possible outcomes good and bad, just as capitalism. China managed to sucessfully grow their economy and outperforms us. Portugal is the best it has been in a decade under a socialist leader.

                    This interview with award-winning veteran journalist Paul Jay, who was there in Venezuela monitoring elections, shows another Venezuela that existed before Chavez came to power where poverty, unemployment, slums were everywhere. People were hungry and homeless.The oil companies paid virtually no royalties to the state, and the elites were selling products as high as 30 times what they were worth. There was tremendous inflation then. Yes, Venezuela was rich, but very few people saw that money. It was concentrated to the top percent. It is not that nationalizing industries suddenly destroyed a flourushing country, the way most people lived was very unjust. Something had to be changed.


                    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XH_z6KeUV0A

                    Again, whether you believe in socialism or not, whether we like Chavez or not, he ultimately won 8 free and fair elections. Most people who lived in the country saw an increase in their standard of living with the change of management of the oil. They had access to education and health care for the first time, and the povery rate dropped significantly.

                    https://revista.drclas.harvard.edu/book/poverty-reduction-venezuela

                    For the record I am not endorsing Maduro or Chavez on every decision, but it is important to look just as critically at the alternative that was prior.

                    Yes, it is another oil war.

                    "You know, Venezuela is one of the three countries I call the troika of tyranny. It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of the United States." -John Bolton

                    https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/30/a_war_for_oil_bolton_pushes
                    The problem with it is that it was unsustainable, Venezuela produced social programs built to help the poor however those social programs were built on the expectation that PDSVA would continue to produce oil at rates of levels before Chavez fired the experienced workers, and that oil would continue to trade at more than $100 dollars a barrel. Neither of which happened.

                    In the end look what was the final result, mass inflation to keep Government spending going, money that is literally worth nothing, massive poverty and hunger on the part of the people, crime and corruption everywhere that is literally encouraged by the government.

                    https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1G52HA

                    As for the elections you mention, it is hard to tell how many were fairly one, the latest one with Maduro for example was clearly illegitimate, and more than likely a few by Chavez were as well.
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                    Old 3 Weeks Ago (9:59 AM).
                    VisionofMilotic's Avatar
                    VisionofMilotic VisionofMilotic is offline
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                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                    The problem with it is that it was unsustainable, Venezuela produced social programs built to help the poor however those social programs were built on the expectation that PDSVA would continue to produce oil at rates of levels before Chavez fired the experienced workers, and that oil would continue to trade at more than $100 dollars a barrel. Neither of which happened.

                    In the end look what was the final result, mass inflation to keep Government spending going, money that is literally worth nothing, massive poverty and hunger on the part of the people, crime and corruption everywhere that is literally encouraged by the government.

                    https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1G52HA

                    As for the elections you mention, it is hard to tell how many were fairly one, the latest one with Maduro for example was clearly illegitimate, and more than likely a few by Chavez were as well.
                    Even the opposition party to Chavez at polling stations said that the elections were not rigged.
                    The United States monitored the elections in Venezuela. President Jimmy Carter, who founded the Carter Society and observes election integrity, said that of the nearly 100 elections they watched, Venezuela had conducted themselves better than everywhere else in the world.

                    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.telesurenglish.net/amp/analysis/Consistent-Free-Fair-Venezuelas-Election-History-Analyzed-20180517-0026.html

                    It is not even clear to me that Maduro rigged his election. However, who we know for a for a fact did not win a free, fair election is Guaido. Even if it is so that Maduro is not really the president, then neither would he be. He did not run against Maduro. He just has declared himself the leader of the country, and almost the entire country had no idea who he even was. That is what a dictator does, and that is the guy we are backing, who might be even worse than Maduro.
                    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14304

                    https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/08/juan-guaido-the-man-who-would-be-president-of-venezuela-doesnt-have-a-constitutional-leg-to-stand-on/

                    As for the economics system 10 years ago most of Latin America was governed by left-leaning governments, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Puruguay, Nicaragua, Honduras, Venezuela, and Brazil. Looking at the region as a whole poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28% on the continent between 2003-2013. Poverty was on the rise two decades prior, there are only four such governments left in Latin America, the continent is poorer and this is in large part due to American interventionalism. They did not all just collapse organically, unable to sustain themselves. We supported coups in Brazil, Argentina, Paragauy and the list goes on.

                    https://www.kcet.org/shows/link-voices/deportations-assassinations-and-dictator-nations-a-timeline-of-us-intervention-in

                    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nhNNi-kXE_4


                    Our military coup in in Hounduras, definitely did not have better long-term results for the country than under De Zeya, as we have migrant caravans fleeing the land, running to our doors begging for asylum from the violence and poverty they are forced to live in now. We have not provided a more stable alternative for the people. Weather we agree on socialism on not, consider what we would replace their government with, and that it might be worse.

                    https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/americas-long-history-of-meddling-in-other-countries-elections

                    The ethical thing to do is stop exerting pressure on Venezuela and let the people of that country determine their destiny, deciding for themselves whether they are happier under a socialist or capitalist system.

                    We are in 7 wars right now, don't guarantee healthcare to our own citizens and have incarcerated more of our own population than any country in earth. It will be better for everyone, us, them, if we concentrate on working out problems in our country and leave Venezuela alone, instead of trying to shape their government too.
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                    Old 3 Weeks Ago (1:33 PM). Edited 3 Weeks Ago by EnglishALT.
                    EnglishALT EnglishALT is offline
                       
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                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                      Even the opposition party to Chavez at polling stations said that the elections were not rigged.
                      The United States monitored the elections in Venezuela. President Jimmy Carter, who founded the Carter Society and observes election integrity, said that of the nearly 100 elections they watched, Venezuela had conducted themselves better than everywhere else in the world.

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.telesurenglish.net/amp/analysis/Consistent-Free-Fair-Venezuelas-Election-History-Analyzed-20180517-0026.html
                      To start off Telesur is a propaganda arm of the Venezuelan government and as such cannot be trusted to give an unbias view.

                      http://archive.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2005/07/27/channeling_his_energies/?page=1
                      https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/telesur/

                      That being said the last election with Maduro was clearly stolen and more than likely previous ones as well.

                      The voting company in charge has reported the Venezuelan government engaged in false election turn out, they banned or imprisoned opposition candidates, in some cases they posted the results before the polls even opened!

                      http://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/world/the_americas/crisis-weary-venezuelans-are-voting-in-election-decried-as-a-maduro-power-grab/2018/05/20/cb7b579e-57d6-11e8-9889-07bcc1327f4b_story.html

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/world/americas/venezuela-election-turnout.amp.html

                      Note these results were posted 6 hours before the polling place opened.

                      https://s04.s3c.es/imag/_v0/770x420/d/4/4/maduro-cne-fraude-1.jpg

                      And of course a state with 5 million people had a 9 million voter turn out.

                      http://s03.s3c.es/imag/_v0/770x420/2/e/1/maduro-fraude-estado-zulia-cne.jpg

                      Quote:
                      It is not even clear to me that Maduro rigged his election. However, who we know for a for a fact did not win a free, fair election is Guaido. Even if it is so that Maduro is not really the president, then neither would he be. He did not run against Maduro. He just has declared himself the leader of the country, and almost the entire country had no idea who he even was. That is what a dictator does, and that is the guy we are backing, who might be even worse than Maduro.
                      https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14304
                      He may be, however right now Maduro is in essence running a dictatorship through a rigged election, as such it’s hard to imagine anyone else being worse.

                      Quote:
                      As for the economics system 10 years ago most of Latin America was governed by left-leaning governments, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Puruguay, Nicaragua, Honduras, Venezuela, and Brazil. Looking at the region as a whole poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28% on the continent between 2003-2013. Poverty was on the rise two decades prior, there are only four such governments left in Latin America, the continent is poorer and this is in large part due to American interventionalism. They did not all just collapse organically, unable to sustain themselves. We supported coups in Brazil, Argentina, Paragauy and the list goes on.
                      Yet in the end we know for a fact what caused the Venezuelan economic system to collapse, which is poorly run social policies built on the back of unsustainable oil money, that is an economic fact.

                      Quote:
                      The ethical thing to do is stop exerting pressure on Venezuela and let the people of that country determine their destiny, deciding for themselves whether they are happier under a socialist or capitalist system.

                      We are in 7 wars right now, don't guarantee healthcare to our own citizens and have incarcerated more of our own population than any country in earth. It will be better for everyone, us, them, if we concentrate on working out problems in our country and leave Venezuela alone, instead of trying to shape their government too.
                      The people cannot decide their destiny though, Maduro has shown he is willing to rig elections, and if that does not work he has armed gangs that engage in voter intimidation.

                      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/22/world/americas/armed-civilian-bands-in-venezuela-prop-up-unpopular-president.html

                      At this point the only way for things to change is if the people either overthrow the President or the military does.
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                      Old 3 Weeks Ago (10:50 AM).
                      VisionofMilotic's Avatar
                      VisionofMilotic VisionofMilotic is offline
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                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                      To start off Telesur is a propaganda arm of the Venezuelan government and as such cannot be trusted to give an unbias view.

                      http://archive.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2005/07/27/channeling_his_energies/?page=1
                      https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/telesur/

                      That being said the last election with Maduro was clearly stolen and more than likely previous ones as well.

                      The voting company in charge has reported the Venezuelan government engaged in false election turn out, they banned or imprisoned opposition candidates, in some cases they posted the results before the polls even opened!

                      http://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/world/the_americas/crisis-weary-venezuelans-are-voting-in-election-decried-as-a-maduro-power-grab/2018/05/20/cb7b579e-57d6-11e8-9889-07bcc1327f4b_story.html

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/world/americas/venezuela-election-turnout.amp.html

                      Note these results were posted 6 hours before the polling place opened.

                      https://s04.s3c.es/imag/_v0/770x420/d/4/4/maduro-cne-fraude-1.jpg

                      And of course a state with 5 million people had a 9 million voter turn out.

                      http://s03.s3c.es/imag/_v0/770x420/2/e/1/maduro-fraude-estado-zulia-cne.jpg



                      He may be, however right now Maduro is in essence running a dictatorship through a rigged election, as such it’s hard to imagine anyone else being worse.



                      Yet in the end we know for a fact what caused the Venezuelan economic system to collapse, which is poorly run social policies built on the back of unsustainable oil money, that is an economic fact.



                      The people cannot decide their destiny though, Maduro has shown he is willing to rig elections, and if that does not work he has armed gangs that engage in voter intimidation.

                      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/22/world/americas/armed-civilian-bands-in-venezuela-prop-up-unpopular-president.html

                      At this point the only way for things to change is if the people either overthrow the President or the military does.

                      I think we should revisit the testimony of the U.N official before I speak out about the election. Nobody is disputing that the price of oil fell. Even so, Venezuela was still rich in natural resources beyond what most countries ever dream of. Anyone else in the world would be able to borrow on assets like this, and continue buying, selling and still have social programs. However, the U.S and her allies are obstructing Venezuela from making the simplest of adjustments. We close her accounts, seize her gold and oil, block the transfer of her profits, don't fulfill purchases she makes, take shipments of her goods, food, medicine. We run behind the country and push her off a cliff, and then say, see how recklessly you are driving, tsk! Tsk!

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1PF1Z8

                      https://citizentruth.org/weapons-against-venezuela-stolen-money-and-humanitarian-aid/

                      http://mppre.gob.ve/en/2018/12/05/venezuelans-london-reject-euroclears-blockade-venezuela/

                      America and her allies are actively stirring what could have been a normal setback into an out of control humanitarian crisis.

                      The thirteen reports submitted to the human rights council concluded that the increase in poverty and deaths are a direct result of the financial blockage. I want to emphasize this befire going further because I don't think that has been completely understood.

                      Before we put the entire fault on the government and say socialism is a failure and they need to change their government, it only leads to humanitarian crisus, keep in mind how the United States is escalating the situation, cutting of all Venezuela's options. It does not have to be a hard dichotomy of either/or-- have this crisis or keep everything like it was in the 70s forever where everyone is illiterate except a privileged few.

                      This is why Alfred de Zaya feels there is a case against the United States for the International Criminal Court, a court which John Bolton holds in contempt, I might add. A war criminal in Trump's administration, who threatens to imprison any U.N officials who investigates the United States, is the same man who wants to promote democracy in Venezuela?

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-us-canada-45474864

                      https://www.juancole.com/2018/03/criminal-terrorist-hawkish.html

                      In article 7 under the Statute of Rome, one of the defintions of crimes against humanity is, "the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population."

                      We are deliberately promoting sanctions, financial blockade and economic warfare that choke a country's economy until it is nearly impossible for the country to buy the necessities, and as a consequence people will and do die.

                      Before we talk about the humanitarian aid from the US, I would like to mention that Elliot Abrams, the special represenrative in control of the Venezuela operation, told El Salvador that the US was sending them aid, but really smuggled in arms and guns to incite a massacre.

                      https://www.ijpr.org/post/why-us-backed-aid-venezuela-harkens-back-dark-history-covert-operations#stream/0


                      https://globaljusticeecology.org/venezuela-aid-blockade-debunked-media-complicity-exposed/

                      The Red Cross wants to help Venezuela and send aid, and asked the United States not to involve themselves, but we won't let Venezuela simply work with them. They must only take what we say at the barrel of a gun.

                      We should also bear in mind that there is propaganda on both sides with regards to the election integrity. No, It is not at all obvious to me that Maduro rigged the election. First he created the Constituent Assembly, which is legal to do under Venezuela's constitution, and it was an attempt for a peaceful dialogue. It was a democratic process, it didn't only have Maduro supporters. Any citizen could run. The opposition was eligible to run too. The government encouraged the oppositon to run, but they boycotted the election.

                      The opposition was not trying in good faith to participate in the democratic process, they boycotted the election and incited violence. On election day 200 polling places were attacked to intimidate voters. The opposition's official position was that nobody runs, nobody participates in the election. They didn't appear to be trying to defeat Maduro at the ballot box, which was doable. They just want overthrow. Prison sentences should be a consequence of criminal activity and anarchy. These were not just free speech and nonviolent marches, many were left dead during the election cycle.

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2017/07/candidate-killed-violence-venezuela-vote-170730155600672.html

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pri.org/stories/2017-07-30/candidate-has-been-killed-violence-erupts-venezuela-vote%3famp

                      Venezuela has a very advanced, automated voting system from voter cards to fingerprinting, and every vote can be indivually audited and verified. They have heavily monitored elections by independent, international observers.

                      https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2013/05/14/venezuelas-election-system-holds-up-as-a-model-for-the-world/amp/

                      In the case of Maduro four different international organizations verified the results, and observers from other countries, who said it was not rigged.

                      https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14305

                      The opposition asked the UN not to send any observers, which could have proven beyond any doubt if Maduro cheated. It wasn't Maduro who wanted nobody to see, but his opposition, who claimed he stole it. Remember they did not even want anyone run anyone!

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1GO2J0

                      Maduro did not ban the oposition Henri Falcon from running. It was the MUD opposition committe who expelled him. They said they were boycotting the election, and did not allow him to represent them and continue his campaign. It appears he was even threatened with sanctions, not by Maduro, but by the U.S. It sounds to me more like Maduro is being made a scapegoat. I don't believe they wanted to vote him out, I think they want an excuse for a regime change.

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.usnews.com/opinion/world-report/articles/2018-03-03/new-evidence-the-trump-administration-is-meddling-in-venezuelas-elections%3fcontext=amp

                      https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13686

                      Falcon had been forced to drop out of the election by the opposition, the same opposition who says Maduri cheated them. Maduro was running essentially unopposed, and did not have anybody to rig an election against.

                      https://havanatimes.org/?p=130819

                      Maduro has been asking the opposition for dialogue since the 2015. It is not that they have not been given a voice, they just feel that they don't have to talk or negotiate in any way. Their behavior to me looks just as tyrannical as you view Maduro.

                      https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/26/venezuela-election-murder--of-opposition-politician-luis-diaz

                      The opposition leader Lopez is under house arrest because the riots he caused killed 43 people.
                      https://www.mintpressnews.com/the-violent-past-of-venezuelan-opposition-leader-leopoldo-lopez/229679/

                      Maduro has begged to meet with Trump. We will not talk to him. The point was never to work towards a democratic resolution, but to instate our puppet Gauido at all costs.

                      80% of the Venezuelan people had no idea who Guaido even was. It was not a spontaneous eruption of support for him by the the people who lived there. He is not a man of the people trying to help Venezuelans determine their own destiny, he is being coronated by the White House to seize power and take control of the oil and Venezuela's bank accounts.

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.globalresearch.ca/juan-guaido-designated-us-puppet-in-venezuela/5666628/amp

                      Gauido is from a militant wing of the opposition that organized the violent street protests. If you are genuinely afraid of voter intimidation, seizing power through undemocratic means and the use of violence then Gauido's violent, unconstitutional behavior is equally polarizing.

                      https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.france24.com/en/20190130-venezuela-anti-maduro-protests-guaido-us-sanctions

                      I am skeptical that Maduro rigged the election, the main accusations of this appear to come from the opposition who got their seats in office from the same voting process they say is so rigged.

                      However, say that DID Maduro rig his election. For the sake of arguement lets say that 110% of every allegation is true. That means he broke the law, he did not win and is not the real president. Gauido is doing the exact same thing, and doing it out in the open. He also broke the law, won no election and is not the real president. Venezuela has a constitution.The vice-president would replace Maduro under the law if Maduro was indeed compromised, not Guaido. Remember Falcon is not in the race. Guaido has no authority to declare himself president. We are not agreement that Maduro did not win the election, but we I think are in agreement that Guaido did not. You acknowledge that he is definitely breaking the law, but it is okay for him to do so because you like him better? No, that is not how it works if maintaining law and democractic process is really what you wish to preserve, and it is not just partisanship. Nobody is above the law. The same laws of the country that must bind Maduro should hold Guaido accountable if we are really against dictatorship, no ifs, ands or buts. If Maduro had to go because he is a dictator then why are on earth are we raising up another dictator?

                      The United Nations does not recognize anyone other than Maduro as president, and the United States is trying to make them tow the line and say that Gauido is the president. That is what sounds autocratic to me.
                      http://time.com/5513876/mike-pompeo-venezuela-un/

                      You say that you can't imagine anything worse than Maduro, but history has shown us that things certainly get worse than we might imagine. We adopted the same narrative with Gadaafi, that he was a brutal dictator, and after he was murdered Libya descended into something far worse, displaced refuges, ISIS taking control of cities, people put into literal slavery and sold openly in the street marketplace. If you don't know what may come next or what could be worse, overthrowing someone is not a thing to play around with.


                      https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/16/libya-gaddafi-arab-spring-civil-war-islamic-state

                      http://amp.timeinc.net/time/5042560/libya-slave-trade

                      Rubio has tweeted out chilling pictures of Gadaafi being tortured to death that disgusted the world, and is baiting more violence and crime. His barbaric, shameful point is this that he thinks Maduro should get what happened to him. No! We are supposed to be a civilized nation and that is every bit as condemnable as the things Maduro does or allegedly did.

                      People can't just up and overthrow him. If Maduro is overthrown it would result in violence, to him and more innocent people, and I don't want any part of that. It would probably mean a civil war. He still has millions of supporters in his country. The military appears to be standing by Maduro as well, despite Trump calling for them to turn on him, they have not yet. They liberated Chavez when we tried to overthrow him, so they are a wild card. If the military is united behind him then it would go beyond even civil war, you would have to invade to get your way. All of the suffering we see in Venezuela now will just be the beginning of the horror.

                      Also in spite of all of the negative stories in our press, the world as whole is split on Venezuela. The United States, EU and many allies support Gauido, while several other important world powers from Russia to China uphold Maduro as the only lawful head of state there. Russia can fight to defend their oil interests there just like we can go to our battle stations.

                      This nightmare might only just be beginning. Be careful what you wish for about toppling the head of another country. More people are definitely going to die if this way, and I hope that doesn't happen. You may personally feel that this will be better in the long-term, but never forget that you and I won't have to live with those consequences and have a war at our door. War has comes at the greatest cost ot all, and the people of Venezuela would carry those heartbreaking costs, so it isn't for us to say. If Maduro is deposed, as you are saying would be best, then be prepared to take in each and every refugee who comes from that country, and spend as much money as needed to rebuild and replenish Venezuela, because it would take years to have a stable environment again, know this if you want to see the whole system they have thrown out. You are talking about a very drastic action, and I personally would rather work within the infastructure and try to keep peace. Take off the sanctions and that will de-escalate the situation tremendously so they can get on the road to indepence again, that can help violence and hunger, better than more violence.
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                      Old 3 Weeks Ago (12:20 AM). Edited 3 Weeks Ago by EnglishALT.
                      EnglishALT EnglishALT is offline
                         
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                        If I may ask before we start, can we begin doing direct quotes, it makes it so that we are not talking over eachother.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        I think we should revisit the testimony of the U.N official before I speak out about the election. Nobody is disputing that the price of oil fell. Even so, Venezuela was still rich in natural resources beyond what most countries ever dream of. Anyone else in the world would be able to borrow on assets like this, and continue buying, selling and still have social programs. However, the U.S and her allies are obstructing Venezuela from making the simplest of adjustments. We close her accounts, seize her gold and oil, block the transfer of her profits, don't fulfill purchases she makes, take shipments of her goods, food, medicine. We run behind the country and push her off a cliff, and then say, see how recklessly you are driving, tsk! Tsk!

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1PF1Z8

                        https://citizentruth.org/weapons-against-venezuela-stolen-money-and-humanitarian-aid/

                        http://mppre.gob.ve/en/2018/12/05/venezuelans-london-reject-euroclears-blockade-venezuela/
                        You are right with Venezuela's assets they should be able to get a loan.... however it's oil is worth nothing if it remains in the ground, and the fact is Venezuela's oil industries is in shambles. They have yet to reach the peek level they were maintaining before Chavez gutted it, in fact at best they were doing half of the production. What is worse is that their industry has deteriorated with time, having had a refinery explode, and a massive scandal.

                        However lets look beyond that, what else could cause Venezuela be denied a loan, could it be because Venezuela already has defaulted on its loans? Already owing more in loans than it has in the bank? Tsk Tsk, blaming the US when Venezuela's own mismanagement is the cause of it's own problems.

                        https://money.cnn.com/2017/11/14/investing/venezuela-debt-401k/index.html

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        America and her allies are actively stirring what could have been a normal setback into an out of control humanitarian crisis.

                        The thirteen reports submitted to the human rights council concluded that the increase in poverty and deaths are a direct result of the financial blockage. I want to emphasize this befire going further because I don't think that has been completely understood.

                        Before we put the entire fault on the government and say socialism is a failure and they need to change their government, it only leads to humanitarian crisus, keep in mind how the United States is escalating the situation, cutting of all Venezuela's options. It does not have to be a hard dichotomy of either/or-- have this crisis or keep everything like it was in the 70s forever where everyone is illiterate except a privileged few.

                        This is why Alfred de Zaya feels there is a case against the United States for the International Criminal Court, a court which John Bolton holds in contempt, I might add. A war criminal in Trump's administration, who threatens to imprison any U.N officials who investigates the United States, is the same man who wants to promote democracy in Venezuela?

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-us-canada-45474864

                        https://www.juancole.com/2018/03/criminal-terrorist-hawkish.html
                        Are the sanctions hurting Venezuela? Sure we both can agree on that, is it causing the humanitarian crisis? No, Venezuela dug it's own grave, hyper inflation by continuing to spend on social programs have made it's currency worthless, people cannot afford to buy food with the money they have, and the food that is set up for price controls disappears in an instant.

                        https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/16/world/americas/venezuela-shortages.html

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        In article 7 under the Statute of Rome, one of the defintions of crimes against humanity is, "the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population."

                        We are deliberately promoting sanctions, financial blockade and economic warfare that choke a country's economy until it is nearly impossible for the country to buy the necessities, and as a consequence people will and do die.
                        Just curious would you mind quoting the exact sanctions that block food and medicine, exact ones please.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        Before we talk about the humanitarian aid from the US, I would like to mention that Elliot Abrams, the special represenrative in control of the Venezuela operation, told El Salvador that the US was sending them aid, but really smuggled in arms and guns to incite a massacre.

                        https://www.ijpr.org/post/why-us-backed-aid-venezuela-harkens-back-dark-history-covert-operations#stream/0


                        https://globaljusticeecology.org/venezuela-aid-blockade-debunked-media-complicity-exposed/
                        Of course he has proof right? Pictures? Video? Actual weapons removed from the aid containers? They were sitting around for weeks so of course he must have something right?

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        The Red Cross wants to help Venezuela and send aid, and asked the United States not to involve themselves, but we won't let Venezuela simply work with them. They must only take what we say at the barrel of a gun.
                        The Red Cross is working with Maduro for relief, however seeing how Maduro has weaponized food in the past, it would be best to work with some one else than the tyrant.

                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-food-idUSKCN1GO173

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        We should also bear in mind that there is propaganda on both sides with regards to the election integrity. No, It is not at all obvious to me that Maduro rigged the election. First he created the Constituent Assembly, which is legal to do under Venezuela's constitution, and it was an attempt for a peaceful dialogue. It was a democratic process, it didn't only have Maduro supporters. Any citizen could run. The opposition was eligible to run too. The government encouraged the oppositon to run, but they boycotted the election.

                        The opposition was not trying in good faith to participate in the democratic process, they boycotted the election and incited violence. On election day 200 polling places were attacked to intimidate voters. The opposition's official position was that nobody runs, nobody participates in the election. They didn't appear to be trying to defeat Maduro at the ballot box, which was doable. They just want overthrow. Prison sentences should be a consequence of criminal activity and anarchy. These were not just free speech and nonviolent marches, many were left dead during the election cycle.

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2017/07/candidate-killed-violence-venezuela-vote-170730155600672.html

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pri.org/stories/2017-07-30/candidate-has-been-killed-violence-erupts-venezuela-vote%3famp
                        Yes lets talk about Maduro's new assembly, a easy way for him to consolidate power, and more importantly with a vote stolen from the people. You say it was ran in good faith, however it was proven that the government manipulated the votes by the very company in charge of running the election.

                        Now lets talk about violence, while I detest violence at polling places from the opposition or the government. Maduro and Chavez before him support criminal gangs that routinely suppress the vote, attack, intimidate, and kill those that oppose the government. This paramilitary force supported by the government causes millions to live in terror every day and do everything they can to keep Maduro in power.

                        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/02/venezuela-voting-fraud-corruption-allegations-protests

                        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/22/world/americas/armed-civilian-bands-in-venezuela-prop-up-unpopular-president.html

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        Venezuela has a very advanced, automated voting system from voter cards to fingerprinting, and every vote can be indivually audited and verified. They have heavily monitored elections by independent, international observers.

                        https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2013/05/14/venezuelas-election-system-holds-up-as-a-model-for-the-world/amp/

                        In the case of Maduro four different international organizations verified the results, and observers from other countries, who said it was not rigged.

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14305
                        This is the same voting system that in 2017 the company that ran it said it was rigged? This is the same government than banned or imprisoned numerous candidates keeping them from running? Also I noticed you have not addressed that Venezuela posted it's own election results hours before the polls opened, and showed one area with more voters than the population. Care to address that?

                        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/02/venezuela-voting-fraud-corruption-allegations-protests

                        Further more as explained by the Washington Post, Venezuela loosened its own so called safeguards during this vote.

                        “The vote lacked many of the safeguards normally present in Venezuelan elections. The government agency in charge of the election skipped 14 of the 21 audits of the automated system, did not use indelible ink, and allowed people to vote anywhere in their city, not only where they were registered. Ballots didn’t even have names of candidates, just numbers.”

                        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/08/01/venezuelas-dubious-new-constituent-assembly-explained/?utm_term=.023b1253cd5b

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        The opposition asked the UN not to send any observers, which could have proven beyond any doubt if Maduro cheated. It wasn't Maduro who wanted nobody to see, but his opposition, who claimed he stole it. Remember they did not even want anyone run anyone!

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1GO2J0
                        Venezuela has already shown they will manipulate the votes to win as shown in 2017 and has imprisoned or banned candidates, why give it any more legitimacy?

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        Maduro did not ban the oposition Henri Falcon from running. It was the MUD opposition committe who expelled him. They said they were boycotting the election, and did not allow him to represent them and continue his campaign. It appears he was even threatened with sanctions, not by Maduro, but by the U.S. It sounds to me more like Maduro is being made a scapegoat. I don't believe they wanted to vote him out, I think they want an excuse for a regime change.

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.usnews.com/opinion/world-report/articles/2018-03-03/new-evidence-the-trump-administration-is-meddling-in-venezuelas-elections%3fcontext=amp

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13686

                        Falcon had been forced to drop out of the election by the opposition, the same opposition who says Maduri cheated them. Maduro was running essentially unopposed, and did not have anybody to rig an election against.

                        https://havanatimes.org/?p=130819
                        Leopoldo Lopez: Opposition Leader, and founder of two major political parties ( Imprisoned )
                        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/magazine/leopoldo-lopez-speaks-out-and-venezuelas-government-cracks-down.html

                        Antonio Ledezma: Former Mayor of Caracus, vocal critic of Maduro, ( Escaped imprisonment, fled the country )
                        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/17/venezuela-antonio-ledezma-opposition-leader-flees-to-colombia

                        Henrique Capriles: One of Venezuela's most popular politicians ( Banned for fifteen years from holding office )
                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-factbox/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-or-barred-opposition-politicians-idUSKCN1G31WU

                        Freddy Guevara: Congressional vice president, top leader of the Popular Will party ( Supreme Court moved to have him arrested, he fled to the Chilean ambassador's residence )
                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-factbox/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-or-barred-opposition-politicians-idUSKCN1G31WU

                        Ramon Muchacho: Former mayor of Chacao, ( Fled to Miami to avoid 15 years of jail time after the Supreme Court ordered his arrest )
                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-factbox/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-or-barred-opposition-politicians-idUSKCN1G31WU

                        David Smolansky: Former mayor of El Hatillo, ( Fled to Brazil after being sentenced to 15 years behind bars )
                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-factbox/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-or-barred-opposition-politicians-idUSKCN1G31WU

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        Maduro has been asking the opposition for dialogue since the 2015. It is not that they have not been given a voice, they just feel that they don't have to talk or negotiate in any way. Their behavior to me looks just as tyrannical as you view Maduro.

                        https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/26/venezuela-election-murder--of-opposition-politician-luis-diaz
                        Why have dialogue with some one who steals elections, uses his own private gang to attack and beat people, stacked the Supreme Court and created his own assembly to be a dictator, and imprisons the opposition?

                        The opposition leader Lopez is under house arrest because the riots he caused killed 43 people.
                        https://www.mintpressnews.com/the-violent-past-of-venezuelan-opposition-leader-leopoldo-lopez/229679/[/quote]

                        Something that Human Rights Organizations have contested, I quote from Amnesty International.

                        “The charges against Leopoldo López were never adequately substantiated and the prison sentence against him is clearly politically motivated. His only ‘crime’ was being leader of an opposition party in Venezuela,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

                        https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/venezuela-sentence-against-opposition-leader-shows-utter-lack-of-judicial-independence/

                        Maduro has begged to meet with Trump. We will not talk to him. The point was never to work towards a democratic resolution, but to instate our puppet Gauido at all costs.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        80% of the Venezuelan people had no idea who Guaido even was. It was not a spontaneous eruption of support for him by the the people who lived there. He is not a man of the people trying to help Venezuelans determine their own destiny, he is being coronated by the White House to seize power and take control of the oil and Venezuela's bank accounts.

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.globalresearch.ca/juan-guaido-designated-us-puppet-in-venezuela/5666628/amp
                        Considering how much the people hate Maduro it is not surprising to see people rally around a central figure who promises to overturn an illegitimate election.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        Gauido is from a militant wing of the opposition that organized the violent street protests. If you are genuinely afraid of voter intimidation, seizing power through undemocratic means and the use of violence then Gauido's violent, unconstitutional behavior is equally polarizing.

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.france24.com/en/20190130-venezuela-anti-maduro-protests-guaido-us-sanctions
                        Again I ask how is that anything different than what Maduro and Chavez before him has done?

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        I am skeptical that Maduro rigged the election, the main accusations of this appear to come from the opposition who got their seats in office from the same voting process they say is so rigged.
                        And the company that counts votes....

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        However, say that DID Maduro rig his election. For the sake of arguement lets say that 110% of every allegation is true. That means he broke the law, he did not win and is not the real president. Gauido is doing the exact same thing, and doing it out in the open. He also broke the law, won no election and is not the real president. Venezuela has a constitution.The vice-president would replace Maduro under the law if Maduro was indeed compromised, not Guaido. Remember Falcon is not in the race. Guaido has no authority to declare himself president. We are not agreement that Maduro did not win the election, but we I think are in agreement that Guaido did not. You acknowledge that he is definitely breaking the law, but it is okay for him to do so because you like him better? No, that is not how it works if maintaining law and democractic process is really what you wish to preserve, and it is not just partisanship. Nobody is above the law. The same laws of the country that must bind Maduro should hold Guaido accountable if we are really against dictatorship, no ifs, ands or buts. If Maduro had to go because he is a dictator then why are on earth are we raising up another dictator?
                        Seeing how Maduro stole the Presidential election, that would mean his Vice President stole it as well, thus the next in line to be President would be Guaido.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        The United Nations does not recognize anyone other than Maduro as president, and the United States is trying to make them tow the line and say that Gauido is the president. That is what sounds autocratic to me.
                        http://time.com/5513876/mike-pompeo-venezuela-un/
                        That's nice, and in turn most of the countries that have taken a side right now, have recognized Gauido as the rightful President.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        You say that you can't imagine anything worse than Maduro, but history has shown us that things certainly get worse than we might imagine. We adopted the same narrative with Gadaafi, that he was a brutal dictator, and after he was murdered Libya descended into something far worse, displaced refuges, ISIS taking control of cities, people put into literal slavery and sold openly in the street marketplace. If you don't know what may come next or what could be worse, overthrowing someone is not a thing to play around with.


                        https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/16/libya-gaddafi-arab-spring-civil-war-islamic-state

                        http://amp.timeinc.net/time/5042560/libya-slave-trade
                        We could very well see the rise of a ISIS like state no matter how unlikely in Venezuela, however what is far more likely is a return hopefully to normalcy and a repeal of some of the disastrous financial moves that Chavez and Maduro have engaged in.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        Rubio has tweeted out chilling pictures of Gadaafi being tortured to death that disgusted the world, and is baiting more violence and crime. His barbaric, shameful point is this that he thinks Maduro should get what happened to him. No! We are supposed to be a civilized nation and that is every bit as condemnable as the things Maduro does or allegedly did.
                        More than likely, considering every thing Maduro has done, including have troops fire on his own people last week, he is going to end up dead before this is all over with, either by the hands of his own military or his own people.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        People can't just up and overthrow him. If Maduro is overthrown it would result in violence, to him and more innocent people, and I don't want any part of that. It would probably mean a civil war. He still has millions of supporters in his country. The military appears to be standing by Maduro as well, despite Trump calling for them to turn on him, they have not yet. They liberated Chavez when we tried to overthrow him, so they are a wild card. If the military is united behind him then it would go beyond even civil war, you would have to invade to get your way. All of the suffering we see in Venezuela now will just be the beginning of the horror.
                        The military saw mass defections in the last week, and people including soldiers in the military continue to starve, while the higher up generals are well fed, the every day soldier is starving as much as the civilians are, it is a waiting game now, however more than likely the troops are reaching a breaking point.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        Also in spite of all of the negative stories in our press, the world as whole is split on Venezuela. The United States, EU and many allies support Gauido, while several other important world powers from Russia to China uphold Maduro as the only lawful head of state there. Russia can fight to defend their oil interests there just like we can go to our battle stations.
                        Well lets see

                        Guaido: U.S., Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, U.K., Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain.

                        Maduro: Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey, Russia, China

                        https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-22/venezuela-s-crisis-needs-solutions-not-grandstanding
                        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/04/world/americas/venezuela-juan-guaido.html

                        Hmmm one list is slightly different from the other, and two of the names on Maduro's list have a financial stake in keeping him in power. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by VisionofMilotic View Post
                        This nightmare might only just be beginning. Be careful what you wish for about toppling the head of another country. More people are definitely going to die if this way, and I hope that doesn't happen. You may personally feel that this will be better in the long-term, but never forget that you and I won't have to live with those consequences and have a war at our door. War has comes at the greatest cost ot all, and the people of Venezuela would carry those heartbreaking costs, so it isn't for us to say. If Maduro is deposed, as you are saying would be best, then be prepared to take in each and every refugee who comes from that country, and spend as much money as needed to rebuild and replenish Venezuela, because it would take years to have a stable environment again, know this if you want to see the whole system they have thrown out. You are talking about a very drastic action, and I personally would rather work within the infastructure and try to keep peace. Take off the sanctions and that will de-escalate the situation tremendously so they can get on the road to indepence again, that can help violence and hunger, better than more violence.
                        Note that Maduro staying in power is costing lives, at this point 4 million refugees have fled the country, millions more being unable to, people are digging through trash to survive and every day Maduro remains in power the crisis gets worse. If you truly care about the people, then you must support the end of Maduro's presidency and the end of the disastrous policies of Maduro and Chavez that have brought this once prosperous country to ruin.

                        https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/19/venezuela-refugee-crisis-could-be-worse-than-syria-economist.html
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                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post

                        You are right with Venezuela's assets they should be able to get a loan.... however it's oil is worth nothing if it remains in the ground, and the fact is Venezuela's oil industries is in shambles. They have yet to reach the peek level they were maintaining before Chavez gutted it, in fact at best they were doing half of the production. What is worse is that their industry has deteriorated with time, having had a refinery explode, and a massive scandal.

                        However lets look beyond that, what else could cause Venezuela be denied a loan, could it be because Venezuela already has defaulted on its loans? Already owing more in loans than it has in the bank? Tsk Tsk, blaming the US when Venezuela's own mismanagement is the cause of it's own problems.

                        https://money.cnn.com/2017/11/14/investing/venezuela-debt-401k/index.html
                        Venezuela fell behind paying interest on bonds at the end of 2017. Prior to this time Venezuela had paid her debts. What happened in 2017? This is when the U.S tremendously tightened the noose of sanctions around her neck. This is an omission of key content that shows how disingenuous the lecture on fiscal responsibility by the media really is. Spare me. The US used the sanctions to strangle Venezuela so they could see her default at long last, leaving her isolated enough to take full advantage of. These are exactly the kind of sneaky, predatory actions that contradict the narrative that it is all the fault of Venezuela's economy, don't blame us-- we are the good guys trying to rescue the world from tyranny, and spread opportunity and safety for all, we don't want your oil or anything.

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.scmp.com/news/world/americas/article/2118839/crippling-us-sanctions-shove-venezuela-edge-ruinous-debt-default

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2018-05-21/trump-prohibits-purchases-of-venezuela-debt-after-election

                        Yes, Venezuela could have continued reforms to better manage their government, but the same problems could have also been solved simply had the U.S not engaged in this sort of predatory economic warfare. This is why the U.N official called the United States machiavellian, and says that we are the cause of the humanitarian crisis. The origin of the crisis came from not estiminating what the price of oil would fall to, then we ran over and poured on gallons of kerosene, making sure that the wildfire grew into something that could not be contained.

                        Venezuela couldn't negotiate, trade or refinance debt because the sanctions prevent people from doing business with you, they can't use the normal restructuring methods.

                        Venezuela had cut her imports in a more efficient way than other countries in similar situations. They were up to date with payments and could have definitely recovered without losing more jobs, and the article below gives an explanation of how this was doable.

                        https://www.thenation.com/article/trumps-sanctions-make-economic-recovery-in-venezuela-nearly-impossible/

                        We made sure they didn't by smothering her with more and more restrictive sanctions. It was the difference in climbing out of a time of depression and free fall into today's humanitarian crisis.

                        Venezuela's revenune from export was on the rise 2017 and the oil prices were heading up and Venezuela would have been getting a little better, but instead things got worse because we locked them out of the market.

                        https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/01/12/why-more-sanctions-wont-help-venezuela/

                        Let's talk about the gold too while we are at it. Even when the price of oil fell the gold was still good, that is until we sanctioned it.

                        https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2018-11-01/trump-orders-sanctions-on-venezuela-gold-to-pressure-maduro

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Are the sanctions hurting Venezuela? Sure we both can agree on that, is it causing the humanitarian crisis? No, Venezuela dug it's own grave, hyper inflation by continuing to spend on social programs have made it's currency worthless, people cannot afford to buy food with the money they have, and the food that is set up for price controls disappears in an instant.

                        https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/16/world/americas/venezuela-shortages.html
                        Yes, sanctions are hurting Venezuela alright, and then some. The purpose of them is to destabilize the economy, and we did it to a vulnerable economy until she was destroyed. The people always suffer when you slap sanctions on them. The majority of Venezuela doesn't want the sanctions, regardless of whether or not they support Maduro. They know they're the ones who are getting screwed by these policies. The lack of food and medicine in the county spiraled to 80% after we got involved and wrapped our tentacles around her neck.

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13936


                        I am going to insert a transcript from the 2018 interview with Professor de Zaya in the spoiler tag. His opinion is significant because he was actually there in Venezuela in 2017, and saw a very different country then it looks like today. He is an indepent U.N observer, the first who has been sent to Venezuela in more than decade, so he can faithfully describe the quality of life before the sanctions reached their zennith in way that many do not get to see. He can give a more nuanced explanation about how severely the lifestyle began to change and why he feels it happened. Far from your assertion that the Venezuelans dug their own grave, and that the damage we did ultimately didn't matter, he does not feel the government and country was beyond saving at all. He has criticism of the government, but he also explains how the sanctioned were the other piece necessary.

                        Spoiler:

                        Here is the original source.

                        https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/un-independent-expert-sanctions-must-be-terminated-and-economic-war-must-en

                        Zeitgeschehen im Fokus: How would you assess the economic situation in Venezuela after you have stayed there?

                        Professor Alfred de Zayas: The Bolivarian Revolution, which has taken place in Venezuela, developed a model that worked rather well in the first 10 years. That was partly due to the high oil price. Venezuela depends on oil revenues by 95 %. With these revenues, the state could finance many social projects. But now that the oil price has dropped by more than the half, the country faces massive disruptions in the acquisition and distribution of food, medicines and other products.

                        ZiF: What distinguishes the model in Venezuela?

                        AZ: It is a social model that wants to achieve a fairer distribution of the country’s wealth. Meanwhile, 2 million homes have been handed over to the poorer part of the population. Thus at least 8 million persons have benefitted from affordable apartments. There is also the so-called system of CLAP (Comité Local de Abastecimiento y Producción – Local Committee for supply and production), in which the government distributes food parcels to the poor. Those who cannot pay for the packages, receive them for free, of course.

                        ZiF: What does such a parcel contain?

                        AZ: I did open one when I was visiting one of the modern and very clean “Urbanizaciones” (government housing for the poor). There are 16 kg of food in it: sugar, rice, cooking oil, flour, cornmeal, milk powder, etc. A family gets such a parcel twice a month. Therefore, there is no “famine” in Venezuela, despite media reports and generalizations. There is, however, a shortage in several sectors, and some products are hard to get, but the population does not suffer from hunger as for example in many countries of Africa and Asia – or even in the favelas of São Paolo and other urban areas in Brazil and other Latin American countries. There are mainly problems in the timely distribution of imported products – but this is predominantly the responsibility of the private sector, which often enough deliberately boycotts the distribution, sometimes stocks products in large warehouses and then takes them to the black market instead of delivering them to supermarkets — just to make a higher profit.

                        ZiF: What is special about the “Bolivarian Revolution”?

                        AZ: It is an alternative model to capitalism, to unregulated free market economics. It is not “Marxism”, and certainly not “Marxism-Leninism”. It is an attempt to give the capitalist system a humane face. Since 1999, when Hugo Chávez came to power, a certain reorientation of the country took place, which could set a precedent for Latin America and many developing economies. There are major achievements, which the mainstream media systematically ignores – e.g. illiteracy was eliminated within shortest time (as was the case in Castro’s Cuba). School education is free, from kindergarten to university. There is a system of free medical care, a system of support for young mothers, a major effort at building affordable housing and expanding the public transport system.

                        ZiF: Today, if you read the New York Times or “inform” yourself about Venezuela on CNN or UN Watch etc., you repeatedly come across the concept of a “humanitarian crisis”.

                        AZ: I warn against this technical term, because a “humanitarian crisis” can be easily exploited to justify a so-called “humanitarian intervention” or to aim at a “regime change”, under the pretext that the government lets the population starve. Some states pretend that the Venezuelan government can no longer guarantee the rights of the people. Hence, a humanitarian crisis emerged and now they want to intervene militarily to “save” the Venezuelan people from a failed socialist experiment.

                        ZiF: What is the situation on the ground?

                        AZ: I stayed in Venezuela for 8 days of intensive meetings back-to-back; I could move around freely wherever I wanted. I did not see any street children and I also did not see any person begging. I have not seen a single beggar in Caracas although I walked and drove across the entire city. I also walked by the poorer quarters, where I did see queues of people waiting for some subsidized or rationed products. The situation has many facets, and I do not claim that there is no hunger and no scarcity of medicine. I simply say that the existing cases of children dying of malnutrition or lack or medicine do not add up to a “humanitarian crisis”. I did not see any violence, although the press keeps telling us about it. As a UN official I have been in many places where you “smell” violence, where you sense tension in the air and feel that you yourself may be in danger. That is not the case in Venezuela. There are homicides – many of them associated with drugs and international crime. Honduras is much worse.

                        ZiF: People who beg are the order of the day in our western industrial nations. No-one would think of talking about a humanitarian crisis, for example in Germany, because there are beggars in the streets.

                        AZ: In Venezuela, I did not see beggars. No doubt, there is poverty, but the population is not depressed – certainly not in the same degree as the people of East Germany in the 70s, where people were dispirited and demotivated and went about with pale faces, sad and depressed. The population in the streets of Caracas is Latino in the best sense of the term, they make the best of things and do not let scarcity and boycotts turn them into zombies. Just like in any other city; everywhere there are cars, motorcycles and bicycles on the road.

                        ZiF: Can the people supply themselves with food?

                        AZ: There are enough fruits and locally-grown vegetables. People eat bananas or mangoes in the streets. There is a certain lack of the products that the domestic and foreign monopolies determine.

                        ZiF: What is the situation like in the supermarkets?

                        AZ: I have seen several food stores and markets – and I took photos of them. It is not true that the food stores are empty. Of course, some have empty shelves – I got such pictures from non-governmental organizations (NGOS) – but there was always enough of everything. Of course, there are some products that are imported because Venezuela cannot manufacture them itself. They are scarce commodity. But you can live very well without these products. The fact that the supply of hygienic items for women or diapers for the babies are scarce is a direct result of the failure of the private sector to import these goods and to distribute them to the supermarkets. However, you can get everything on the black market – but at exorbitant prices.

                        ZiF: Is a specific shortage created there to stir up the people’s dissatisfaction with the government?

                        AZ: There are studies and statistical data from several university professors who investigated this phenomenon – especially why and how supply shortfalls are getting worse, especially when elections or referendums are imminent. They are supposed to affect people negatively, so that they vote against the government. This is called “voto castigo” (penalty vote) in Spanish. If you read an article from the New York Times, it will say that there are bottlenecks in supply in Venezuela, for example also for medicines. However, you will not read anywhere why this is so. You will not read anywhere that the private sector does have the foreign exchange to import the necessary medicines. This is not said. It is not also said that a huge smuggling has emerged for subsidized products – subsidized Venezuelan rice or flour can be bought in Bogotá.

                        ZiF: What are the reasons for these phenomena?

                        AZ: There are a number of reasons, which I was able to observe during my stay. I have to study them in more detail. I was given an extended documentation from various sources that I still have to digest. There are also very good books about this topic. An economist in Caracas, Professor Dr Pasqualina Curcio, carefully explained in her book how the economic war against Venezuela caused this situation of shortage, and that was no accident – it was deliberate, absolutely targeted. In the period around the elections – approximately two or three months earlier – the goods suddenly disappear. Especially hygiene items cannot be purchased any longer. However, warehouses were discovered, and that is also documented, that were full of these products. I was also given a pictured documentation on the matter.

                        ZiF: Do you mean that shortages are artificially generated?

                        AZ: Yes, the goods are often not delivered to the supermarkets but traded on the black market at exorbitant prices. There are, of course, institutional problems and multiple inefficiencies in the socialistic model, about which I made concrete recommendations to the government. Yet another problem, which I discussed with several ministers, is the unnecessary price controls and artificial exchange rates – this all results in corruption and abuse. The government should instead give the most vulnerable persons direct financial support, rather than making use of a price control.

                        ZiF: Why that?

                        AZ: The danger of price controls, as we know from the Soviet Union, is that parallel markets emerge and with them large-scale corruption. People are people, and if they can buy subsidized goods, the temptation to resell these subsidized goods at a higher price is too big. You can make a killing with subsidized corn flour, with subsidized rice, which you can then smuggle into Colombia, Brazil, Aruba and sell it there at great profit. Venezuela has a very long border with Colombia and Brazil. The Caribbean Islands are easily accessible, too.

                        ZiF: Who is responsible for this process?

                        AZ: There is an internationally organized mafia that operates the process, but apparently the governments of the neighbouring countries do nothing to stop this smuggling. If a store in Bogotá offers cheap rice from Venezuela, we should assume that the traders know where the rice comes from: It is either stolen or smuggled. In any case it was brought into the country illegally. The government does nothing – or too little – against these supermarkets. Moreover, Colombia allows the Venezuelan currency to be changed at wildly fluctuating rates of exchange. This has devastating effects on the economy and financial situation in Venezuela.

                        ZiF: What about agricultural production in the country?

                        AZ: Diversified agricultural production is now being systematically promoted, but this is a process that takes time and requires importing seeds and other goods. Venezuela no longer wants to be exclusively dependent on oil exports and wants to produce its own food. However, the procurement of seeds is in the hands of foreign monopolists, and the government has difficulties in obtaining seeds at decent prices.

                        ZiF: To what extent do sanctions have an impact on the supply situation?

                        AZ: Direct and indirect sanctions have hit the economic situation in Venezuela seriously. The economic, financial and trade war against Venezuela reminds of the US measures against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1970-73 and against the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

                        Deliveries from abroad are traded in dollars. However authorized persons must sign for the payment in dollars. Many of the persons who have this right to sign are on the sanctions list. This means that no trading partner dares to accept their signature. Thus, the company cannot earn any money because no payment can be made, and the goods do not come to Venezuela. The suppliers are afraid that they will be penalized by US authorities – with fines of tens of thousands of dollars if they fail to comply with the unilateral sanctions regime of the United States.

                        ZiF: For which goods or sectors do the sanctions apply?

                        AZ: That is the next problem. Nobody really knows how far they reach. They are based on so-called catch-all clauses, which can be interpreted one way or the other. But who wants to have to pay a fine? So many international companies are prudent and do not take unnecessary risks. For Venezuela this is devastating.

                        ZiF: What would help the country?

                        AZ: The sanctions must be terminated. The economic war has to end, that would be the greatest help for the country. However, what we can observe in Venezuela is the result of a targeted economic war. There are many countries participating, even from Europe. The misinformation about Venezuela has been successful – even with people who should be better informed. You have to be on the spot to see that the situation is not like you read in The New York Times. If you look at the mainstream media, you get the impression that the country is close to collapse. In fact, the country is rich and with a bit of cooperation and solidarity it could sell its oil, its gold, its bauxite well. Venezuela must now trade a lot with China and India because of the very limited trade with the US and Europe.

                        ZiF: Is the oil trade also subject to the sanctions?

                        AZ: Yes, partly. The sanctions are very complex. It is not the case that a sale cannot be done at all, but it is connected with so many obstacles, and there are so many restrictions and delays that many people say, “We would rather not do business with Venezuela, there is too much imponderability.”

                        ZiF: During your stay you could certainly talk to the population. What impression have you gained here?

                        AZ: Many are somewhat resigned because they suffer from an economic war. But when it comes to elections, Maduro wins. The majority of the population does not make the government responsible for all that, but they accuse the United States, Europe, Colombia, etc. When the Constituent Assembly was elected, there had been very violent demonstrations prior to the election for four months. In the foreign media we read about those “peaceful demonstrations.” In fact, these were orgies of violence with Molotov cocktails and explosives. It was almost terrorism that hit many normal, non-political people when, for example, a supplier wanted to get from A to B, but the “guarimbas” (violent demonstrations with barricades) blocked his path. Several ordinary people were killed, who only wanted to go about their business. In addition, demonstrators attacked hospitals, nursery schools, burned ambulances and buses in order to intimidate the people. Is this not just classic terrorism?

                        ZiF: Did the demonstrations succeed with these methods?

                        AZ: No, 8.5  millions of people went to the polls for the Constituent Assembly, in spite of the guarimbas and in spite of the violence. In the local elections of 15 December more than 9  million went to the polls. The opposition does not succeed in changing the people’s mind, but the polarization of the country continues to be a problem, because Chavistas are very strongly pro-government, and the MUD is very strongly against the government. There is very little sense that “la patria es de todos” (the fatherland belongs to all). According to media reports in the US and Europe, the only solution is regime change, to chase the government from office. We must however not forget that this government was democratically elected in 1999, in 2002 it survived a coup because the people and the army opposed the coup and prevented the planned physical elimination of Chávez. In 2004 a recall referendum was held, which Chávez won easily — 70% of the population did not want to remove him from office. After his death in 2013, Maduro was elected President, in spite of a violent campaign, accompanied by terror and sabotage on the part of the opposition.

                        ZiF: How did the government deal with all these organized attacks?

                        AZ: The government relied on the 1999 Constitution. However, a number of major mistakes including excessive force by the police, did occur. If a government is under such pressure, then it must act quickly. If one acts fast, one makes mistakes, often goes too far. This includes, for example, introducing economic measures that can be counter-productive, including subsidies and price controls.

                        ZiF: What kind of agenda does the opposition follow?

                        AZ: They wish to cancel the Chávez and Maduro years and return to a purely capitalistic model. But there are at least 8 million Chávistas, and they will not disappear. These voters are convinced of the government’s program. These people will not allow the social achievements to be swept away. If the economy does not collapse as a result of sabotage, smuggling and sanctions, the government is likely to be reelected in 2018. The administration and the army are on the side of the government. Certainly, the plan in Washington is to launch a military attack on Venezuela by making use of disinformation about the allegedly miserable situation in the country with hunger, infant mortality and an economically desolate conditions, and then to chase the government out of office. We know this proceeding from other countries, so for example from September 1973 when the government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by a coup and Allende died.

                        ZiF: How do you assess your stay?

                        AZ: I got a very different impression from the one I pictured to myself before I visited the country. In our media there is scarce interest in truly investigative journalism, in discovering what the root causes of Venezuela’s problems are. We get a caricature of the situation, and this caricature becomes dogma. Weeks before my journey, my independence, my professionalism, my honour were questioned. UN Watch published an article and called my visit a “fake investigation”, even before I had set foot on Venezuelan soil. Some NGOs have claimed that I was not the right Special Rapporteur for these questions. That was before I had announced anything at all about my journey. On my personal blog I showed pictures of Caracas, its churches, monuments, and a picture of a supermarket that was full of goods. After that there were particularly offensive attacks against me. UN-Watch found the picture and reacted to it. I had published the picture without any comment. I was attacked as a chavist, a castrist, a communist, etc. All I wanted to show is that the situation is not as they want us to believe. I had seen so many pictures of empty shelves that I thought it was legitimate to show a different photo in my private blog (which also reflected my observation in other supermarkets).

                        ZiF: What did you suggest to the Venezuelan government?

                        AZ: I submitted to the foreign minister six pages of preliminary recommendations, among others institutional improvements, the elimination of price controls, the fight against smuggling and corruption, but always within the rule of law. They ought to respect the UN covenants on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. They are already seeking dialogue with the opposition and showing commendable flexibility and patience. They should either release individuals who have been imprisoned for political reasons, or take them to court with a fair trial. And for the better management of the country they need technocrats, not only ideologists! Above all, the government must prove that it takes human rights seriously. Corruption must be fought at all levels, even with the help of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna. In doing so, UN organizations, such as the World Health Organization, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the International Labor Organization (ILO), etc. could help to ensure that the necessary improvements are translated into action.

                        ZiF: What do you think of the conversations you had in the Dominican Republic?

                        AZ: Every opportunity of dialogue with the opposition must be taken. The previous meetings in Santo Domingo in November, December 2017 and January 2018 have already been fruitful. Further meetings are planned. It is in the interest of all who care for human rights and who care for the Venezuelan people to support these negotiations. Unfortunately, a “human rights industry” has emerged that has instrumentalizes human rights as weapons of mass destruction against governments. This “industry” is not interested in solving the “humanitarian crisis”, they want to use the hyperbolic “crisis” as a pretext for military intervention and regime change. This “industry” does not want independent experts who travel to Venezuela to find out what the real situation is. They only want “experts” who go to Venezuela (or elsewhere) simply to grandstand and condemn governments. If anyone means it with humanitarian aid, they should offer their cooperation to the government and send food and medicines without strings attached. If they are interested in the Venezuelan people, they will make sure that sanctions and boycotts are lifted, so that the Venezuelan government can function normally, without discrimination, in the international community, so that Venezuela can import and export free of sabotage and political ostracism.



                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Just curious would you mind quoting the exact sanctions that block food and medicine, exact ones please.
                        You seem incredulous that sanctions have stopped food and medicine from coming into the country. If you genuinely are curious to learn more about the toll we are taking on the health of the people, read about Maduro's plea last year to the United Nations to break the U.S blockade, their shipments were carrying medicine for HIV patients and people with malaria.

                        https://www.mintpressnews.com/venezuela-calls-on-un-to-break-us-sanctions-supply-medical-equipment/251934/

                        Here is a break down of four different ways food and medicine was kept from people under our sanctions with dates, encompassing necessities ranging from insulin to simple meals.

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/ANALYSIS/13529

                        Guess what we just gave the people of Venezuela who we say we want to see healthy, protected and happy? More sanctions to kill more innocent people. While there is no official death toll we have easily lost thousands. These sanctions have killed, and will continue to kill, and the U.S does not care.

                        https://www.thenation.com/article/venezuela-sanctions-emergency/

                        You have suggested that If I really cared about lives I would support the stance of Marco Rubio, John Bolton, Donald Trump and Elliot Abrams of regime change to eliminate the policies of Chavez and Maduro. I cannot condone this because I believe these war hawks will take ultimately even more lives than they will save. I do not trust any of them, be it Trump or Maduro. My response is that if you genuinely want to the citizens not to be hungry, then start by taking the sanctions off, you can't apply them in a way that will only affect Maduro and not the people. The point is to starve them out until they are so angry and desperate that they will be ready to do anything.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Of course he has proof right? Pictures? Video? Actual weapons removed from the aid containers? They were sitting around for weeks so of course he must have something right?
                        Do you have some video and photos to demonstrate how Chavez rigged the election? You said a couple of times that he probably rigged multiple elections. You just say it, even though he actually has a higher approval rating in his country than Trump has in this one.

                        The burden of proof you set for the Venezuelan government is exponentially lower than for the American government. Even human rights groups who have presented survivors that bear eyewitness to massacres committed with United States arms do not appear to have impact, though you have presented opinions from similar human rights groups if they expressed concern over charges against someone who was arrested by Maduro. If the cloud of suspicion is hanging over us, then only a film of a covert operation from the 70s will suffice? Is that really fair now? The same news sources that you used yourself against the Maduro government are insufficient now that it is our side. If it us then its no pictures= no dice.

                        Elliot Abrams was convicted of lying to congress about what he was really doing during the Iran-contra. The UN truth comission also found that he funneled arms, massacres and more over the course of his grisly career. He has confessed to it. We are to this day still unearthing landmines in Latin America from the U.S.

                        https://www.npr.org/2019/02/14/694635064/controversial-past-comes-back-to-haunt-abrams-at-house-hearing

                        https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2019/2/15/18225109/elliott-abrams-ilhan-omar-venezuela

                        https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/ilhan-omar-elliott-abrams-venezuela-envoy-clash-over-us-meddling-in-latin-america/

                        In the spoilers tag is the transcript of Abrams in the Venezuelan hearings, in which even our own congress members are cyncical of Abrams involvement and his past is on record.

                        Spoiler:

                        DAVID GREENE, HOST:

                        The Trump administration's point person on Venezuela has a long, controversial history in the region. And that came back to haunt him at a hearing on Capitol Hill. NPR's Michele Kelemen has more.

                        MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The Trump administration's approach to the political standoff in Venezuela has had bipartisan support. But the man leading it, Elliott Abrams, found himself facing a lot of tough questions from Democrats at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. Joaquin Castro of Texas raised concerns about a recent report by McClatchy.

                        JOAQUIN CASTRO: My question is whether you're aware of any transfers of weapons or defense equipment by the United States government to groups in Venezuela opposed to Nicolas Maduro since you were appointed special representative for Venezuela.

                        ELLIOTT ABRAMS: No.

                        KELEMEN: Abrams' answer was unequivocal. But Castro wondered out loud whether Congress should trust him.

                        CASTRO: I asked this question because you have a record of such actions. In Nicaragua, you were involved in the effort to covertly provide lethal aid to the Contras against the will of Congress. You ultimately pled guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress in regard to your testimony during the Iran-Contra scandal.

                        KELEMEN: Abrams was later pardoned and went on to serve in the second Bush administration.

                        UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: All the civil war criminals...

                        CASTRO: All the time.

                        (CROSSTALK)

                        KELEMEN: Protesters disrupted Abrams several times during the hearing. And Congressman Adriano Espaillat, a New York Democrat, told Abrams that he brings too much baggage to the table.

                        ADRIANO ESPAILLAT: We should not dig our heads in the sand and make believe that this never happened because you did. And you were at the helm of that. And you...

                        ABRAMS: I was at the helm of promoting democracy in Latin America.

                        ESPAILLAT: You may want to characterize it that way, but I don't.

                        KELEMEN: Democratic lawmakers pressed him about his role in Central America, even bringing up past testimony he gave when he served in President Reagan's State Department. Michigan's Andy Levin says Abrams once told Congress, during a debate about deporting Salvadorans, that the U.S. government didn't believe they would face persecution or death if they were sent home.

                        ANDY LEVIN: And is it correct that when you testified at that hearing in 1984, death squads controlled by the Salvadoran government, which had the backing of the United States, were committing horrific acts of violence against the Salvadoran people?

                        KELEMEN: Abrams paused to jog his memory.

                        ABRAMS: The death squads were certainly active. Although if - I cannot remember the exact years. But the amount of death squad activity came down under President Duarte and under American pressure.

                        LEVIN: Well, just to remind you, as The Atlantic pointed out, more than 75,000 Salvadorans were killed in the fighting, most of them - most of them victims of the military and its death squads.

                        KELEMEN: While the hearing delved deep into Reagan-era interventions in Latin America, Abrams says his past is not getting in the way of his work on Venezuela today.

                        ABRAMS: Members of Congress have raised it. No Latin American of any nationality with whom I have dealt has raised it. And we've had lots and lots of discussions about how we're going to promote democracy in Venezuela.

                        KELEMEN: Elliott Abrams says he's not in favor of arming the opposition, calling that a terrible idea. And though he repeated the line that all options are on the table to pressure Nicolas Maduro to step aside, Abrams tried to reassure lawmakers the focus is on diplomacy. And he pointed out that dozens of countries have joined the U.S. in recognizing National Assembly leader Juan Guaido as interim president. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, the State Department.



                        What also concerns me are some of the more recent stories about the foreign aid trucks and who set fire to them. Was it really Maduro? Or is it the opposition party that the U.S is trying to install? There are photographs of Guaido's opposition throwing Molotov cocktails.

                        https://www.mintpressnews.com/burning-aid-colombia-venezuela/255489/

                        https://www.rt.com/news/452326-venezuela-us-aid-truck-protesters/amp/

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14355

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        The Red Cross is working with Maduro for relief, however seeing how Maduro has weaponized food in the past, it would be best to work with some one else than the tyrant.

                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-food-idUSKCN1GO173
                        Venezuela received almost a thousand tons of aid from from different friendly countries. Maduro is receptive to help. Venezuela just didn't want any from the United States because their good intentions are in question. And if the situation were reversed you wouldn't swing open the doors to trucks from a hostile country without a second thought. This country freaks out about letting private citizens travel here just because their from muslim countries with this ridiculous and bigoted ban.

                        https://libya360.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/venezuela-receives-933-tons-of-medical-aid-from-allies/amp/

                        The Red Cross told the United States to sit the heck down. The Red Cross told America it was ill-advised to push through anyway something that the Venezuelan government asked them not to send. They were not condoning this, they are not on our side, nor anyone else's, and want the U.S to stop politicizing aid. They are budgeting for as much aid as the U.S promised to send. They have not asked the U.S to be their shield and protect them from a tyrant.

                        https://abcnews.go.com/amp/International/wireStory/red-cross-warns-us-risks-sending-aid-venezuela-60788615

                        https://www.pbs.org/newshour/amp/world/red-cross-warns-u-s-about-risks-of-sending-aid-to-venezuela

                        If someone thinks you are trying to poison them, then don't try to break open that reluctant person's jaw to shove a drink down their throat. It is going to make them more afraid and beligerent, which is what the Red Cross warned us about. Let them talk with those they trust.

                        We are so upset that the people didn't take our food and are poor and hungry, so we are going to retaliate by pouring harsher sanctions on them than ever before... that way they will be even hungrier and poorer? Yes, with friends like that who needs enemies.

                        We are not Venezuela's friend, regardless of what you think of Maduro, our motivations are self-interested, not humanitarian. I am sure there are individual Americans who mean well and genuinely want to feed the hungry, but people in need is tragically not what determes foreign policy in this country. I wish it was a more charitable country, but our actions on a large scale undermine our words. Is it likely that a rich country that doesn't even promise healthcare to her own citizens wants to save the lives of people in Venezuela? Be honest.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Yes lets talk about Maduro's new assembly, a easy way for him to consolidate power, and more importantly with a vote stolen from the people. You say it was ran in good faith, however it was proven that the government manipulated the votes by the very company in charge of running the election.
                        You say that the assembly was a ploy to consolidate power. It was completely legal under Venezuela's constitution to hold one.
                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.aljazeera.com/amp/indepth/features/2017/07/venezuela-maduro-constituent-assembly-170729172525718.html

                        Maduro also did not strip the national assembly of its power. 3 deputies were accused of obtaining their seats through election fraud, which you stand against--as you should. Because fraud was demonstrated the courts asked the National Assembly to run the election again for verification, which they can do under the constitution. The National Assembly exploded, and refused. When they did that they were declared contemptful. Under the Venezuelan constitution if they are declared in contempt then anything the body of the assembly does has no legal valifity further. That's their constitution.

                        https://amp.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article141655519.html

                        I also want share a little more about how the Venezuelan supreme courts work, because you mention it later in your post. I want to make sure we are on the same page here, since they are different from the highest United States court. You have terms that run out.

                        Maduro did not force out the Supreme court and fill it with his own supporters. The terms of 13 justices were up in 2015. According to the constitution it is the job of the National Assembly to approve new justices. That is what they did. Yes, the outgoing national assembly is going to approve judges aligned with their interests, as we would do here, Obama would appoint Sotomayor and Trump would appoint Kavanaugh. That in itself is not anything strange, though it could seem that way out of context. The opposition of course will be angry to be at a disadvantage, but that is just tough luck.

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/maduro-s-allies-stack-venezuelas-supreme-court-1450912005


                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Now lets talk about violence, while I detest violence at polling places from the opposition or the government. Maduro and Chavez before him support criminal gangs that routinely suppress the vote, attack, intimidate, and kill those that oppose the government. This paramilitary force supported by the government causes millions to live in terror every day and do everything they can to keep Maduro in power.
                        While I detest violence at polling places from the opposition or the government. Maduro and Chavez before him... let's stop right there.

                        No. If we are against violence, then it doesn't matter who, the opposition, Maduro, Chavez. Violence is not acceptable, and we lose the higher ground if we try to put it in perspective with someone else also being violent, we lose any justifucation to remove a dictator if we do things that we say they do.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        This is the same voting system that in 2017 the company that ran it said it was rigged? This is the same government than banned or imprisoned numerous candidates keeping them from running? Also I noticed you have not addressed that Venezuela posted it's own election results hours before the polls opened, and showed one area with more voters than the population. Care to address that?

                        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/02/venezuela-voting-fraud-corruption-allegations-protests
                        You say the voting company said that it was rigged, well the international electoral accompaniment mission for the presidential and state legislative said it was not. 150 different members from all over the world, Asia, Europe, Africa signed onto multiple reports testifying that it was a fair election. They did not see these irregularities. It has not been proven thus far that the vote was manipulated by over a million.

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13849

                        The opposition banned their own candidate from representing them. If you disapprove then it is the opposition you should take issue with, not the activities in the polling places.

                        The Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times articles you provided stopped short of reporting as facts that the results actually came in before the polls opened, and that there were too many votes for the population. They are reporting claims, and they presented them as such. They were more fair and objective reads than I was expecting honestly, and at times even included a response from the other side, such as the voting company Smartmatics having a secondary role in the electoral process and not having potentially all of the data to make a judgment.

                        I didn't reply to this because I did not think it brought anything new to the conversation. It is more he said, "they did" vs she said "they didn't." It is ultimately a swearing match. I didn't think this was a game-changer. After viewing the same information other credible organizations have come out to say that it was not stolen. You should be able to download the pdf files for the African report, Carribean, Ceela and the General

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/files/attachments/%5Bsite-date-yyyy%5D/%5Bsite-date-mm%5D/ceela_electoral_accompaniment_report_may_2018_0.pdf

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/files/attachments/%5Bsite-date-yyyy%5D/%5Bsite-date-mm%5D/caribbean_electoral_accompaniment_report_may_2018_0.pdf

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/files/attachments/%5Bsite-date-yyyy%5D/%5Bsite-date-mm%5D/general_electoral_accompaniment_report_may_2018.pdf

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/files/attachments/%5Bsite-date-yyyy%5D/%5Bsite-date-mm%5D/african_electoral_accompaniment_report_may_2018_0.pdf

                        I have considered that he may have cheated, as I consider all possibilities. It is also possible that he could have won the election under the circumstance of the opposition boycotting, low voter turn-out, and a modest (roughly 25%) but loyal group of voters, a lot of mobilization, and being up against a not as well-known politician who was literally not in the race, and a preacher without political experience. The Bloomberg article I cited earlier painted a potential way he could have won in this atmosphere.

                        I didn't see the smoking gun. You uploaded pictures and said these were results posted before the polls opened on election day, but I can't see a wider context of this picture, we are just told this is when it was, at least as far as I am able to see in a relatively small image. Now with more information maybe this is something that can be totally verified. I just at present would feel uncomfortable starting a war over this. Our intelligence was sure that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and there were none. We said that Gadaffi was training soldiers to use rape as a tool of war and terror, and he wasn't. We said that Maduro burned food in front of his starving citizens, and now even this story appears to have more to it than meets the eye. I'm not saying Maduro is innocent. I am saying that there has been enough misrepresentation by the media to give me pause for something like a civil war. He could have rigged his election, but I don't know that, and overthrow and war is something we cannot take back once it is unleashed.


                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Leopoldo Lopez: Opposition Leader, and founder of two major political parties ( Imprisoned )
                        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/magazine/leopoldo-lopez-speaks-out-and-venezuelas-government-cracks-down.html

                        Antonio Ledezma: Former Mayor of Caracus, vocal critic of Maduro, ( Escaped imprisonment, fled the country )
                        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/17/venezuela-antonio-ledezma-opposition-leader-flees-to-colombia

                        Henrique Capriles: One of Venezuela's most popular politicians ( Banned for fifteen years from holding office )
                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-factbox/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-or-barred-opposition-politicians-idUSKCN1G31WU

                        Freddy Guevara: Congressional vice president, top leader of the Popular Will party ( Supreme Court moved to have him arrested, he fled to the Chilean ambassador's residence )
                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-factbox/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-or-barred-opposition-politicians-idUSKCN1G31WU

                        Ramon Muchacho: Former mayor of Chacao, ( Fled to Miami to avoid 15 years of jail time after the Supreme Court ordered his arrest )
                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-factbox/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-or-barred-opposition-politicians-idUSKCN1G31WU

                        David Smolansky: Former mayor of El Hatillo, ( Fled to Brazil after being sentenced to 15 years behind bars )
                        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-factbox/factbox-venezuelas-jailed-exiled-or-barred-opposition-politicians-idUSKCN1G31WU
                        There could very well be grave injustices that need to be addressed in Venezuela as well as here at home, we should definitely be investigating accusations of human rights violations everywhere in the world. As I researched these particular people there was some very troubling information to be found about each representative you mentioned. They were generally associated with inciting violence. Ledezma like Lopez was linked with the political coups not just against Maduro, but the one against Chavez. In the 80s Ledezma ordered a massacre in Caracas that killed thousands, including 400 students. Muchacho and Smolansky refused to remove the barricades in their cities, resulting in prison sentences. Guevara also endorsed violent protests that included terrorist attacks, assassinations and left over 100 people dead. These individuals have some baggage to say the least, and may not be the persecuted political prisoners that they have been canonized as in the media. At least I would proceed with some skepticism and caution here before taking up their case one way or the other.


                        https://www.mintpressnews.com/venezuela-what-media-isnt-telling-about-protest-leaders/230413/

                        https://www.mintpressnews.com/the-violent-past-of-venezuelan-opposition-leader-leopoldo-lopez/229679/

                        https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/09/06/henrique-capriles-from-political-mvp-to-allegedly-corrupt-politician/

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13487

                        https://news.sky.com/story/amp/venezuelas-top-court-orders-arrest-of-maduro-opponent-ramon-muchacho-10979371

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13302

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Why have dialogue with some one who steals elections, uses his own private gang to attack and beat people, stacked the Supreme Court and created his own assembly to be a dictator, and imprisons the opposition?
                        First, not all of the things you alleged are correct if scrutinized closely. Ultimately the United States is bound by international law regardless, the United Nations charter is that even when disputes arise between nations we negotiate, and resolve them peacefully. We do not just attack If he wants to talk. If he would meet with you then you are supposed to talk to him. You could save lives right then and there.

                        Trump has no problem meeting the oppositions in spite of their violent behavior. This is because it isn't about human rights in truth, it is a deeper political game.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Something that Human Rights Organizations have contested, I quote from Amnesty International.

                        “The charges against Leopoldo López were never adequately substantiated and the prison sentence against him is clearly politically motivated. His only ‘crime’ was being leader of an opposition party in Venezuela,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

                        https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/venezuela-sentence-against-opposition-leader-shows-utter-lack-of-judicial-independence/
                        You say that Amnesty International says the charges against Leopolodo Lopez are unsubstantiated, but the video footage I think shows him pretty clearly leading protests where people are seen pushing and fighting.

                        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JhJiztDjJ2w

                        Amnesty has done a lot of great work, but in the case of Venezuela I do question their impartiality. They have not denounced the Trump sanctions and how they are hurting the country, or the threats of military intervention.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Again I ask how is that anything different than what Maduro and Chavez before him has done?
                        If there is little difference then what is the logic of fighting to overthrow one dictator, so we can install another dictator... and have a brand new bad world?


                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Seeing how Maduro stole the Presidential election, that would mean his Vice President stole it as well, thus the next in line to be President would be Guaido.
                        No, Guaido/ head of the assembly does not by default become president, even if Maduro's presidency was in question, Gauido is still not President. I'm not saying you have to like this law, but it is what it is. Gauido is resting his case to become president on a part of the constitution that does not actually apply. It is not a clause about election fraud, though he is presenting it that way, if Maduro did not win the election it would mean that Falcon or Bertucci won the election. Guaido is saying something different, his claim is that a vacuum of power has been created, which is a very specific situation that arises when the president is unable to continue serving, say they are incapitated by physical or mental illness, run off and abandon the office, die, none of which is the case. Guaido doesn't become president under the article he is invoking, Rodriguez the vice-president becomes president.

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14304

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/pittnews.com/article/143168/opinions/venezuelan-crisis-shouldnt-be-u-s-opportunity/amp/

                        The circumstances are very specific, so is who comes next in the chain of command. If Donald Trump was impeached and removed from office, it does not mean that I now become president of the United States. No matter how many people I had fighting in the streets, that isn't how the law works.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        That's nice, and in turn most of the countries that have taken a side right now, have recognized Gauido as the rightful President.
                        Most countries do not support Gauido when you look at the world as a whole actually. You have to erase the middle east, big chunks of Asia, the Carribeans and Africa from the dialogue to skewer it to appear that almost everyone wants Gauido. 98% of African countries recognize Maduro as the president. Every country in the middle east except Israel supports Maduro. In Asia/ Oceania only Australia recognizes Gauido. Americas and the Carribeans is split, 53% Maduro, 47% Gauido. Europe does lean more towards Guaido 56% for him 44% Maduro. Yet even still there are voices that support Maduro on the continent, including the Vatican.

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14303

                        https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14359

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        We could very well see the rise of a ISIS like state no matter how unlikely in Venezuela, however what is far more likely is a return hopefully to normalcy and a repeal of some of the disastrous financial moves that Chavez and Maduro have engaged in.
                        Let's talk about how the real ISIS came to be, not an Isis-like state that *could* perhaps come to be. Isis was born from the same interventionalists wars that the United States might yet again back in Venezuela. She is the bastard child of our invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria.
                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/static.theintercept.com/amp/isis-iraq-war-islamic-state-blowback.html

                        The point is that our government does not care whether an Isis-like state emerges in Venezuela, just as they did not care about the one that really did emerge in Libya directly because of us. Once the country is invaded and has served their use, we drop them, this is the pattern. How often do you hear about healing Libya today from the same people who were so gung ho, waving flags to invade? She needs help now more than ever. The same people who pushed the hardest for invasion will be fighting to keep out a migrant caravan of Venezuelans whose houses were burned down in the war, just like we did with Hounduras. By then we will have turned our focus onto another country to liberate her of her wealth/ tyranny.

                        I am of the opinion that any regime change would be even more catastrophic for Venezuela as it has been in every country we have intervened in since world war II, Vietnam, Both Gulf war, Panama, Grenada, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnman Libya, Yemen, Syria, Haiti, Hounduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua. When we look at our own history, and our own attempts of regime change, they have left a grisly trail on the world that far exceeds in scale anything Maduro has done or can do in even if he wanted to.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        More than likely, considering every thing Maduro has done, including have troops fire on his own people last week, he is going to end up dead before this is all over with, either by the hands of his own military or his own people.

                        The military saw mass defections in the last week, and people including soldiers in the military continue to starve, while the higher up generals are well fed, the every day soldier is starving as much as the civilians are, it is a waiting game now, however more than likely the troops are reaching a breaking point.
                        And that is something to look forward to? This should be as disturbing to you any crimes Maduro may be guilty of. That would be senseless violence and killing without trial, which is what you are against.

                        Even if you don't care because Maduro is our enemy, be mindful that it creates a vacuum for more fighting and new foes to emerge, as it did with Gadaffi.There is no such thing as a revolution where only one person is hurt, and nobody else is displaced.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Well lets see

                        Guaido: U.S., Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, U.K., Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain.

                        Maduro: Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey, Russia, China

                        https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-22/venezuela-s-crisis-needs-solutions-not-grandstanding
                        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/04/world/americas/venezuela-juan-guaido.html
                        One of the worst things a journalist can do is deliberately leave out information. They are not listing all of the countries, having large grey areas for nations that have spoken out in support, to make it appear that they have no opinion, when they have in fact given one.

                        Italy is not mentioned, but it supports Maduro
                        https://www.thelocal.it/20190205/italy-blocks-eu-venezuela-nicolas-maduro-juan-guaido

                        https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1082347/Venezuela-crisis-Nicolas-Maduro-Juan-Guiado-EU-Italy-recognise/amp

                        South Africa supports Maduro
                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/ewn.co.za/2019/01/26/sa-government-supports-venezuela-s-nicolas-maduro/amp

                        https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-03-01-ace-magashule-to-lead-tripartite-alliances-solidarity-visit-to-venezuelas-president-under-siege-nicolas-maduro/

                        So does Greece
                        https://www.thenationalherald.com/228483/venezuelas-opposition-leader-wants-greeces-backing-for-new-elections/

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/International/wireStory/top-european-parliament-lawmaker-slams-greece-venezuela-60906993

                        Norway
                        https://sputniknews.com/amp/latam/201901281071882367-norway-venezuela-meddling/

                        India
                        https://thewire.in/diplomacy/india-supports-maduro-government-venezuela-envoy/amp/

                        Trinidad, Tobago, Nicaragua
                        https://www.npr.org/2018/12/29/680882589/as-maduro-makes-enemies-venezuelas-caribbean-allies-remain-in-his-camp

                        Pakistan
                        https://dailytimes.com.pk/353093/pakistani-left-expresses-solidarity-with-nicolas-maduro/amp/

                        The Ivory Coast, Guinea
                        https://africatimes.com/2019/01/27/un-security-councils-african-members-support-venezuelas-maduro/

                        El Salvador, and many others
                        http://tass.com/world/1045508/amp

                        These are just a handful of examples. Some of my earlier links in this post go into more detail and more countries, but my point is you are not looking at a comprehensive survey. Most people do not consider the Gauido to be the president. I was being generous by saying it was divided, the countries that think Maduro is president actually outnumber the ones that say it is Gauido if you look at countries individually, and not an article that cherrypicks the countries it wants in the conversation.

                        Understand that this is not meant to be a popularity contest of who likes who. My point was that there are enough people in number on both sides that it will overthrowing Maduro for Guaido will be controversial, and may open the doors to wider confrontations in the world, this was why a focussed on some of the major powers like Russia, China and Syria.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Hmmm one list is slightly different from the other, and two of the names on Maduro's list have a financial stake in keeping him in power. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....
                        Yeah, I'm sure money is a factor. That is the world of politics. Guess who also is motivated by money? The United States and her allies. We're all living in the same glass house, so watch throwing stones.

                        https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/world/2019/2/20/18233394/mccabe-trump-venezuela-war-oil-lawrence

                        https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/corporate-canada-behind-slow-motion-coup-attempt-in-venezuela


                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by EnglishALT View Post
                        Note that Maduro staying in power is costing lives, at this point 4 million refugees have fled the country, millions more being unable to, people are digging through trash to survive and every day Maduro remains in power the crisis gets worse. If you truly care about the people, then you must support the end of Maduro's presidency and the end of the disastrous policies of Maduro and Chavez that have brought this once prosperous country to ruin.

                        https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/19/venezuela-refugee-crisis-could-be-worse-than-syria-economist.html
                        It is not that people who do not support overthrow in Venezuela don't really care about that people, it is that the United States regime change wars are unsucessful sadly. We are also suspicious as to the true humanitarian intentions of the United States because often they have been mercenary. We get into countries that are rich in resources, sounding the drum of justice, once we have invaded and stolen their oil, gold, diamonds we abandon those countries. That was the lesson of Libya, we left it worse off than before. It had been the richest country on the continent and women had modern rights in that part of Africa.

                        I say with no satisfaction that we have mangled everything we have touched under the claim of spreading democracy, and have no right to take a moral high ground with the large shadow of our record following us wherever we go. Surely you can understand why someone might be a skeptical that we can really make the lives of the Venezuelan people better when we look to ourselves. We become the very evils we swear to stand against. If we do not learn our history of foreign policy disasters and crimes then we will be doomed to repeat this history, over and over again, every time there is an allegation of injustice in another country, true or false, we will never get out of this hell. Below are a list of cautionary tales about other times we said that we must support a leader's downfall if we really cared about the safety and prosperity of a country, and these are the consequences they had.

                        http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/trump-sanctions-regime-change-strategy-in-venezuela-can-only-cause-more-violence-and-suffering

                        https://theintercept.com/2019/02/02/venezuela-us-trump-sanctions/

                        https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/why-does-us-support-war-crimes-yemen-30572

                        https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/04/khmer-rouge-cambodian-genocide-united-states/

                        https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/04/opinion/04schlesinger.html

                        https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-africa-36303327

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.globalresearch.ca/timeline-of-cia-interventions-in-syria/5479875/amp

                        https://theweek.com/articles-amp/786525/americas-lunatic-lust-regime-change
                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.alaraby.co.uk/english/amp/comment/2015/4/10/regime-change-a-criminal-calamity-for-iraq

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/haiti-us-occupation-hundred-year-anniversary/amp

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.aljazeera.com/amp/indepth/opinion/2016/01/truth-operation-panama-160131085323562.html

                        http://listverse.com/2017/05/17/top-10-disastrous-cases-of-regime-change-by-the-us/

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/24/libya-disaster-shames-western-interventionists

                        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.globalresearch.ca/the-cias-dirty-war-in-nicaragua/5629008/amp

                        https://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/oct/11/pinochet.chile

                        https://amp.theguardian.com/world/1986/jun/28/usa.marktran

                        https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/05/world/el-salvador-police-intl/

                        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/07/crisis-of-honduras-democracy-has-roots-in-us-tacit-support-for-2009-coup

                        https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-23427726
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                        Old 4 Days Ago (2:18 AM). Edited 4 Days Ago by tigertron.
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                          I completely agree with you Vision, what the US and other countries are doing with Venezuela is incredibly disturbing to say the least.

                          Danny Glover has a lot to say on this issue and I respect him even more than I did.

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMKLK6UQBaQ&t=198s

                          There is also another good video on this:

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STcepwXxwWA&t=414s
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                          Old 3 Days Ago (2:20 AM). Edited 3 Days Ago by Ivysaur.
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                          As a person who has been following Venezuela for years, who writes about it and who knows every nook and cranny of what's happening there, all I can say is that I pray that Maduro dies as soon as possible, for the sake of the 30 million people who are suffering under a corrupt military dictatorship.

                          Maduro has stolen elections, destroyed the Constitution, impoverished the country and currently rules as an absolute dictator with no checks and balances and is held in power solely by the force of the army.

                          People who know my politics will know I'm the last person to cheerlead on the US, Trump or conservatives of any kind. But, by claiming to be the "left", Maduro is getting away with a takeover of the Supreme Court, illegalisation of Parliament, utterly deranged economic policies that have sent the country into starvation and the destruction of any veneer of democracy, and people will cheer him up because "he says he's the left so he must be good, every problem is the US's fault".

                          Imagine if Trump got rid of all left-wing Justices and installed Jeanine Pirro, Jared Kushner and Sean Hannity into the Supreme Court during the lame-duck session after losing the midterms. Then it declared the US House "unconstitutional" because of the NC-9 election fraud and declared every action in the House illegal forever because of it. Then announced he had single-handedly decided to create a new "Constitutional Assembly" with absolute power to do anything and pass any law, with no limits or checks, despite the fact the US Constitution doesn't exactly provide for that in those terms. Then he announced that "every county would elect a member", regardless of whether it had 100 or 7 million inhabitants, in order to ensure a whooping majority of Republicans from thousands of tiny rural counties while all of NYC is represented by one single democrat. All of that while imprisoning Sanders, Warren, Beto and Biden for trumped-up reasons and causing mass starvations and electrical failures across the country. And a hyperinflation so ridiculous it sounds like a joke. And constant repression, with death squads kidnapping and murdering people who are deemed to step out of the line, including journalists and politicians (the lower-ranked ones, mayors and stuff, the people nobody cares about abroad).

                          That is all Maduro is doing. And he's held up as some sort of bad weather that has to be endured smiling because, welp, the US is bad so bad luck Venezuelans. You all have to starve and die with no chance of ever changing the system because your dictator won't allow you to.

                          It's disheartening. Really.

                          If you want to read stories about Venezuela free of Maduro propaganda, check this site: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/

                          (Also Europe being 56-44 for Guaidó- I'll dispute that, thank you).
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                          Quote:
                          Originally Posted by tigertron View Post
                          I completely agree with you Vision, what the US and other countries are doing with Venezuela is incredibly disturbing to say the least.

                          Danny Glover has a lot to say on this issue and I respect him even more than I did.

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMKLK6UQBaQ&t=198s

                          There is also another good video on this:

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STcepwXxwWA&t=414s

                          Thank you for posting this! I'm excited to watch this. I have heard Danny Glover weigh in on some issues before, and I was really impressed by his wisdom, articulateness, composure, but passion and how well-informed he was considering he comes from outside I politics. I'll be checking both of these out.
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