Venezuela Finally Turns Communist

Maduro Follows Leninist Dogma to the Letter

EspañolWhen Hugo Chávez was running in his first successful presidential campaign, back in 1998, he was asked point blank in several television interviews whether or not he was a communist. His reply was identical to the one given by Fidel Castro to Princeton University students during his visit to the United States in 1959: “I am a humanist.” Years later, on consolidating total power in his own hands, Chávez again emulated Fidel and confessed to being “a convinced follower of Marxist-Leninist ideology.”

During his 14-year rule in Venezuela, Chávez followed a strategy of introducing socialism in stages. The first stage entailed obtaining total control of all institutions of the Venezuelan state. Thus, during the first four years, he concentrated his efforts in changing the Constitution, packing the Supreme Court, installing soviet-style political commissars in army units, and changing the national identity card and the electoral system to ensure his reelection through manipulation of voter-rolls. During this stage, Chávez was not interested in antagonizing the private sector or the business community. He had enough on his plate, and knew he could not tackle all enemies at once.

commandante

Source: Mises.ca.

Just as Hitler’s final destruction of the Jewish middle class during Kristallnacht did not occur until five years after his ascension to power in Germany, in Venezuela, Chávez reassured the business community that he was not really interested in their demise. Throughout this period, “Chavismo” seemed very similar to Argentina’s “Peronismo.”

In September 2001, Chávez began his offensive for the “Second Stage of the Process for the Revolution,” as he called his march towards a totalitarian state. That month, he openly broke with the United States by calling the US bombing of Afghan targets “an act of terrorism equal to 9/11.” He then proceeded to pass 49 laws directed against the private sector. These laws eliminated private participation in the oil business, allowed for confiscation without payment of private lands, suspended constitutional guarantees for business owners, and established “military security zones” in major metropolitan areas — a de facto confiscation of prime real estate in Venezuela’s major cities. At the same time, he launched an all out attack against the country’s independent labor unions, persecuting and even imprisoning several prominent leaders.

These actions galvanized the opposition, as Chávez expected, and resulted in mass protests and two national General Strikes. He expected these reactions and was prepared for the challenge.

However, he miscalculated while he panicked during the mass protest and march of April 11, 2002. His order to members of his civilian armed militias to fire on unarmed demonstrators disgusted the officer corps that he had handpicked to run the Army. His own generals deposed him.

These same generals, though, quickly brought him back only three days later when the opposition’s chosen leader bungled in every imaginable way. As a result, the Second Stage of the Process succeeded. By the end of 2004, Chavez had embarked on an unstoppable march to acquire the “commanding heights” of the Venezuelan economy, destroyed the independent labor movement — its leaders were mostly imprisoned or had fled into exile — and gained control of most of the mass media outlets in the country.

Soon after, he faced significant problems with his image as a successor to Fidel Castro: large transnational corporations still had a major presence in key sectors of the Venezuelan economy, and the country’s revenues were completely dependent on oil sales to the United States. How could a budding 21st century Leninist achieve world fame if everyone knew that in his own country transnational corporations ran key sectors of the economy?

Thus, between 2008 and 2009, Chávez entered into the Third Stage of the Process. He nationalized the holdings of international corporations in all sectors considered essential by his Cuban advisers: telecommunications, mining, steel, construction materials, oil and oil services, energy generation, distribution and transmission, gas, agricultural services, and even glass companies. At the same time, Venezuela entered into a hugely expensive and disadvantageous agreement with China, with the sole purpose of diverting its oil exports from the United States to the Chinese market — thereby ending Venezuela’s dependence on the US market.

By the time of his death, Chávez had achieved most of what he had set out to do. A mediocre opposition, totally lacking a strategic vision, posed no problems. Moreover, as Chávez himself boasted several times, he had “infiltrated them to the core.” His aim was never to turn Venezuela into another Cuba. Chávez knew well that he needed the private sector to keep goods on the shelves and to avoid Venezuela becoming economically irrelevant in the way Cuba has become.

His relation to the Castro brothers was one of a comrade in arms and colleague. He needed the Cubans to provide security and repression expertise, and they needed him to keep the Cuban people fed. Chávez’s aim was to supplant Fidel as the new leader of the International Left, and he knew he needed a strong Venezuela to do that.

featured-venezuela-3

Nicolás Maduro, successor within the Chavista regime. Source: Gobierno Bolivariano de Venezuela.

Since Chávez’s death, the situation has changed in Venezuela. Nicolás Maduro lacks Chavez’s brain-power and charisma and has become completely dependent on Cuban advice. The relationship with Cuba has also changed: Havana is an imperial capital, and Caracas is merely the viceroy’s seat of power. Maduro and his vice-president, Chávez’s son-in-law — a true Marxist fanatic with a degree from Cambridge University — know that merely tweaking electoral rolls and voting machines will not win them elections a-la Chávez. They need to enter the Fourth Stage and achieve the revolution now. The latest news out of Caracas is simply the attempt by Maduro’s and Chávez’s family members to keep hold of power despite their evident lack of popularity.

Thus, during the last few weeks, Maduro has decided to have his Kristallnacht. This time it is not the Jews that are persecuted, as in Hitler’s Germany (although Chavismo has always been openly anti-Semitic), but the entire business class of Venezuela — from small shop owners to executives from large companies. In the initial opening of Maduro’s declared “Economic War” against the business community, he accused all merchants of price gouging, and he forced shops to lower their prices by 70 to 30 percent.

Many citizens think it is immoral for a merchant to price his goods according to his rational expectations of what the exchange rate will be in the next few months, and not at the exchange rate artificially set by the government today. Only last January, the currency was devalued 48 percent, and yet the average consumer does not understand the concept of pricing to replacement cost. Thus, Maduro has achieved a great initial success. People are happy with his decision, only two weeks before Municipal elections take place. No one is thinking of what will happen in January when most of the shops do not reopen as they have been forced to liquidate their inventories below replacement values. No one, except Maduro and his vice-president, that is.

Last Friday, Maduro approved two laws that finally ended free markets in Venezuela. The first law, with the Orwellian name of “Law for the Protection of the Venezuelan Family and Control of Costs and Prices,” requires all businesses in Venezuela, large and small, to submit their price mark-ups for approval with the head of Venezuela’s newly created Economic Council (whose leader happens to be an army general). The second law creates a National Foreign Trade Center that will eventually become a monopoly that will handle all Venezuelan imports. Private companies will be allowed to operate only as local distributors and retailers of the National Foreign Trade Center.

In January, when Venezuelans discover that their cheap purchases of government-mandated, reduced-price goods produced the collapse of the private sector, the government will be ready with a Soviet-style rationing system. Already, black market operators are setting up shop in what promises to be a thriving business in Socialism for the 21st Century.

Venezuela has now become the continent’s second communist totalitarian state.

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46 comments
Vikingsales
Vikingsales

Strangely this articles author forgtes who created Communism. It was Jews. In fact Jews occupied a full 83% of Bolshevic positions at the start of the new Soviet state and almost exclusive control of the secret police Checka. The same police that murdered upwards of 20 million Russian Christians. Jews hide behind the host country population when bad facts emerge. As for the Jews in every other situation they are always controlling banks, media and major business to the detriment of the indigenous population. As seen in Russia, Germany, now the USA and 1991 Russia in the "Jewish Oligarchs" Putin changed it, but Rothschild and Soros will not stop until all countries use their banks and have heavy Jew control. Facts are facts. Wake up and toss these parasites out of all countries. I pray for China, Iran and Russia to survive and fight to win!!!!

David Zar
David Zar

I disagree with everything you're saying. The age of conquering is over, we now live In the age of economic.. The US hasn't done anything about the Castros is because the Castros are too crazy that they will go at war for anything; and a war nowadays can start a new world war. If you didn't know Venezuela doesn't sell oil to the US, they don't like us. And even if we were buying oil from them, they would keep the money because they really need it right now and really it wouldn't be enough. The media is not saying anything because people like you would want us to go to war against them and like I said, any war can lead to WW4.

Jacques Leger
Jacques Leger

After the Castro Communism "empire" steals Venezuela, the richest country in Latin America, the rest should be easy to conquer. USA has done nothing to stop the Castros; we keep buying oil from Venezuela, even if we don't need it, giving them good dollars to torture their people, and to make Cuba Stronger. Cuba is a rogue nation ruled by gangsters, who also rules Venezuela, and who knows which other country. American media does not care about Latin America; the proof is they never talk about Latin America. Wake up America !, we are facilitating the make of what could become our worse and strongest enemy. It's better to prevent than to regret our indifference.

Jacques Leger
Jacques Leger

After the Castro Communism "empire"steals Venezuela, the richest country in Latin America, the rest should be easy to conquer. USA has done nothing to stop the Castros; we keep buying oil from Venezuela, even if we don't need it, giving them good dollars to torture their people, and to make Cuba Stronger. Cuba is a rogue nation ruled by gangsters, who also rules Venezuela, and who knows which other country. American media does not care about Latin America; the proof is they never talk about Latin America. Wake up America !, we are facilitating the make of what could become our worse and strongest enemy. It's better to prevent than to regret our indifference.

David Zar
David Zar

Agreed. Imagine is Venezuela turn socialism, do you think other countries of America will get influenced by them?

David Zar
David Zar

I wasn't talking about the article, I was talking about some comments here. Saying why hasn't the US done anything about it

David Zar
David Zar

Why blame the US? We don't want to start another war, plus this war could lead us to WW4. That's what Chavez wanted, he wanted a war against the US. That's why we stepped away.

Jacques Leger
Jacques Leger

You misunderstood me. I am not blaming USA; I am just saying that we can thank them (sarcasm) because they have not done anything to try to prevent in any serious way the liquidation of an ally that Venezuela has always been. Just because a herd of thugs have kidnapped a country by force, does not mean you, as a world leader, let it happen. Additionally and most importantly, USA has helped the chavistas by keeping on buying and paying dollars for Venezuelan oil.Venezuela deserves to be embargoed just like Cuba has been during 50 years. Venezuela is an extension  and expansion of Cuba. Now we can call Cuba the Cuban Empire, just under our noses. Cuba has taken the richest country in Latin America; the rest will be easy to catch if we do not do anything about it.
 Jacques Leger

Jacques Leger
Jacques Leger

We can thank the USA for this Venezuelan demise, since USA is totally indifferent of what becomes of Venezuela or any other country in Latin America. Well, if we wish enemies at our doorsteps, here they are. You get what you wish for. We prefer to go fight 12 thousand miles away and throw away billions of dollars down the drain, and complain about how bad the economy has become.

CraigKing
CraigKing

We watched this process in Zimbabwe and right down to a price freeze and prices commission Maduro is copying Mugabe. The shelves will empty and prices, on the black market, will rocket. The beneficiaries of all this will be those connected to the ruling party while foreign powers and anti-revolutionaries will be blamed.

At the other end of this the economy will have been totally reordered and any slivers of democratic processes will have vanished. Yes it is communism and as always misery will follow but just as in Zimbabwe and Cuba the misery will have been brought by "the West" while the ruling party elite will just get richer and more powerful.


Las Tinajitas
Las Tinajitas

I agree with your thesis nearly 99.9%. I must tell you that I completely disagree with your assertion that he was overthrown by his generals, and that he was brought back because the opposition leader was a dud. This was an orchestrated and Machiavellian maneuver by Chavez to stir-up the water in order to truly see who were his faithful henchmen and who were not. In the process he got rid of the left-over brass in the military who did not make the cut for his new Praetorian guard. 

I Katev
I Katev

Hahaha, when i was a child, we asked the teacher "why the workers must take the power with a revolution, isn't possible to make this by elections?" The teacher answered that it's not so easy, but apparently she was wrong, it is possible :) :)  The same process is in progress in the most west european countries. They are not aware, because it's widely accepted that the socialism is a brutal totalitarian regime, actually it's not (i grew in it), it's just an economy model, a bad one. Today the most western countries are more socialistic than China, despite the democracy.  

Immer Sonnen
Immer Sonnen

And if brazilians make nothing, the same is about to pass here. The workers party (PT) is leading us toward the same path.

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

It is sad that Venezuela, with all its oil and other mineral resources, has fallen to its present state where citizens cannot purchase the basic necessities of life due to widespread shortages.  My friends there fear for their safety whenever outside their homes and have had friends killed or severely injured in robbery attempts.  There are insufficient supplies of cow's milk for children, meat, eggs, vegetables, toilet paper, etc.  People wait in lines, if they dare risk it, to get these basic necessities.  Violent crime is escalating at an alarming rate.  Chavez was a bit delusional in his attempts to quash all opposition, but he was shrewd.  Maduro lacks his charisma and intelligence, and seems to be advancing the "Chavista" agenda too quickly in an attempt to rally the people's support of him  as the true heir and standard bearer of the fallen Chavez.   The government's manipulation of the value of the Bolivar is intended to keep the wealth and the wealthy in Venezuela.  Otherwise, there would be a "brain drain" as there was just after Castro took power and all the doctors and lawyers fled Cuba.  Nonetheless, the intelligent people of Venezuela, at least the ones I know, are looking to exit the country as quickly as they can work out the details.  Ironically, it isn't necessary for Venezuela to put its people in such a state of desperation.  They have some of the richest oil preserves in the world, the richest in the western hemisphere.  With that oil money, they should be able to provide well for their people.  The people will not support Maduro and his government  when they fear for their safety and can't feed their families.  While the status quo may be get votes in the quickly approaching municipal elections, I suspect that Maduro will not survive an honest election, and may be overthrown in a violent revolution before the next election.  This couldn't happen overnight unless his military turns against him, though.  His military is well supplied, and his fighter jets flying overhead are a constant reminder to his opponents of his power.  While nationalization of the oil industry and even land reform were positive steps for the Venezuelan people, these new steps are steps backward.  Ironically, Venezuela is modeling itself after the old communist regimes, and even they are now fostering more private entrepreneurial activities than Venezuela now does.  I doubt that Chavez would have ever taken these recent steps and wonder how long Maduro will succeed in maintaining that he is following Chaves' plan.

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

@David Zar I assume that this was in response to Jacques, who wrote of Venezuela's selling petrol to the US.  Actually, if they did, they would be in much better shape.  Theiur economy is collapsing due to a shortage of dollars.


I disagree about your Castro comments, though.  The Castros are somewhat t thorn in the side of the US, but they pose no risk.  Fidel was one of the most intelligent and rational men in government in the past century.  One may not agree with his methods, but he nonetheless did much for the poor of Cuba.  He once explained his "iron fist" approach by saying (I believe that it was to Jacques Cousteau regarding penalties for violating "no fishing" zones) that the Cuban people are like children who won't obey a law that is good for them unless the penalty is significant.  as someone who lives in a country where endangered sea turtles nest but locals poach them to sell them for a few dollars, I believe that the same can be said for most Latin Americans.  Cuba doesn't have the resources or weaponry to take on the US, and they know it.  Even if they did, they can be pretty certain that an offensive act against the US would result in their annihilation.  In fact, they are leaders in peace initiatives in the region.  Venezuela, on the other hand, has repeatedly tried to bait the US into invading, and I have little doubt that W would have taken the bait long before now.  Further, Venezuela has fighter jets, which they make a point to display (I've seen them fly over), and I wouldn't put it past Maduro, an intellectual lightweight, to use them offensively.


I disagree about the probabilities of another world war.  If the US' unprovoked and essentially unilateral invasion of Iraq in 2003 didn't result in a world war, it is unlikely that an act of aggression by the US (if a case could be made for justification) would bring in the other major players, although some of the leftist Latin American countries might give some support to Venezuela.  As for why the media aren't talking about Venezuela, the US is war-weary and is still involved in a war started over a dozen years ago, and even Faux News knows that it is not the time to beat the war drums.  If the US ever gets out of Afghanistan, however, I wouldn't be surprised to see that sentiment shift fairly quickly, as the US military-industrial complex will be looking for business opportunities.  Even at that, the western hemisphere is a bit too close for comfort for most "Americans" - they prefer their wars at a much more comfortable distance.


Did we have a WW3 when I wasn't paying attention?

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

@David Zar I don't quite understand your question.  Venezuela has had a somewhat socialist government for some time.  They have formed alliances with several leftist governments in the region and forged strong alliances with the more militantly anti-US governments of Cuba and Nicaragua.  Venezuela's influence under Chavez was substantial, but ,my impression is that Maduro does not inspire these other governments as Chavez did.


I live in Latin America and have visited Venezuela.  In this region there is good reason for warfare upon the rich by the poor.  Since colonial times, the poor have been exploited by the rich in a near-feudal system.  Most of these countries have virtually no middle class.  When times are particularly difficult for the poor, they revolt, usually being manipulated by those who seek power and who end up exploiting the poor and ruling just as tyrannically.  Chavez and Castro have actually done much for the poor.  Castro did it modestly despite a 50-year embargo (a chicken for a family once a week is better than once per year), and Chavez accomplished some rather ambitious public-works projects because of Venezuela's vast oil reserves.  As I noted before, Venezuela should have been able to do much more and provided a stable economy, but they really seem to be blowing it.

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

@David ZarOK - now I see that there were many other comments on this article.  One might have something that I posted when this article first ran.  For some reason, I can't get them to display.  

I'm with you about US intervention.  Chavez, and now Maduro, tried many times to bait the US into intervening (in fact, they frequently allege US-backed assassination and coup plots).  Intervention by the "colonialist" US would simply strengthen the argument of these "Bolivarians."  As it is, the US should simply sit back and wait for Venezuela to self-destruct.  Otherwise, the US would look to the other countries in the region like the bully picking on poor little Venezuela - besides, the US doesn't need another war!   The irony is that both the US and Venezuela would benefit from a trading partnership (Venezuela would benefit more - look at Colombia now), but Venezuela's government is so determined to thumb its nose at the US that it is destroying its own economy (they are cutting off that nose, thumb attached, to spite their face).  Ironically, with its oil reserves and other natural resources, Venezuela should be the most prosperous country in the region, rather than one of the poorest.

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

@David Zar I don't see this article blaming the US for anything here - or is your question posed rhetorically to Chavez or Maduro?  Of course, US attempts to rule the hemisphere have given leftists and others in Latin America plenty of grounds for "anti-American" sentiments. 

Chavez took his ideology from Bolivar, ironically a wealthy Venezuelan, who embraced socialism 200 years earlier and revolted against Spain.  While Bolivar's ideology has been as corrupted by his "followers" as has been that of Marx (or Jesus), the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is about empowering the poor against the wealthy (those who are not in, or friends of, the government).  The fact is that Maduro is an imbecile who is trying to give the appearance that he is the true heir of Chavez - he even claims to communicate with Chavez's ghost), but he is pushing things too far and too fast, and Venezuela is disintegrating from within.  Even their oil reserves can't rescue them because they can't get equipment they need to keep pumping oil.  Chavez and Maduro have bought the allegiance of the poor by stunts such as the forced price reductions, but it is alienating the middle class and rich.  The only reason these Venezuelans don't leave is that they can't change their bolivars for dollars or other currency at a decent rate because of government controls.

Chavez wanted to establish a Latin American currency, an idea that never took.  He also wants to permit minimal exchange of dollars.  In so doing, and by nationalizing the oil-production process, he and Maduro have made it impossible for international companies to do business there.  If the country doesn't allow the free flow of currency at the real market value, they will doom themselves.

 

This newest effort to bring prices of appliances and other items down makes sense on one hand, but it is insane for the reasons given in the article.  Just as people do during natural disasters (which is illegal in the US), some merchants in Venezuela are taking advantage of the shortages and "price"gouging.  The government is right to clamp down on such practices.  From what I have read, however, the current initiative in Venezuela goes far beyond preventing gouging.

I have friends in Venezuela who are afraid to leave their homes.  There is near-anarchy in the streets, and the thieves and murderers are in league with the police, from what my friends tell me.  People can't buy items of simple necessity.  Inflation is rampant.  Under Maduro, the country is ripening for revolution.  If Maduro doesn't change policy soon, he will lose the next election.  If he prevents elections or steals the next election, I expect the people to throw him out of office.  Chavez made some mistakes that contribute to this mess, but he was too smart to let things get to this point.  If Maduro steps aside in favor of Chavez' son, the son might be able to bring some order and keep the "revolution"alive for another term, but this thing has been managed so poorly that it is unlikely that it will continue much longer.

BenWeiser
BenWeiser

@Jacques Leger  if "a herd of thugs have kidnapped a country by force" I imagine you could point me to some sort of proof right? You have the attention of someone who is capable of being swayed by evidence, but looks skeptically on empty name-calling. What do you have to say now?

Fred Flongerburgerstein
Fred Flongerburgerstein

@Jacques Leger 

Okay, I understand now.  The USA is in the interesting position of "d_mned if you do, d_amned if you don't."  If they would have intervened many years ago, they would have incurred the wrath of the international world.  

I don't agree that VZ needs to be embargoed.  Maburro is doing a good enough job of making sure the basic food staples do not appear on the shelves (e.g., milk, sugar and flour).  Maburro is an embargo unto himself.  

I do blame the USA for not having appropriated Cuba in the mid-1800s when they had the chance.  Cuba would be part of the USA, and a state, and probably one of the most prosperous states if it had happened.  If there was a way to make Cuba a state after the two devils reach their eternal state of darkness and separation from God, I'd be all for it.  

Que viva libertad!

Fred Flongerburgerstein
Fred Flongerburgerstein

@Jacques Leger 

You're kidding right?  It is evident that you are as leftist as Chavez and Maburro.  Blame Chavez. Blame Maburro.  Blame the Castros.  Blame the Venezuelans for voting and keeping these thieves in power, but don't blame the USA.  

SulfurLandZone
SulfurLandZone

Well, here we have many pepole who understand what is to come next year for Venezuela, we DO know (and knew back then...) that all these bad things would happen. We asked for help. we cryed for support, we even got shot wen tryed to rebel against what was wrong... but no one listened, just like no one cared... not even our "brother countries" who sold our lives for a few coins from the gobverment! I for one do not even trust international institutions anymore, we bleed as the world watches (and turn us into a 3rd world show!). Then there are the ones who says "a country has the gobverment their people deserves" but that is not true. Our people do not deserve this kind of life, one cannnot change the minds of those who (stupidly) thinks this is fine, when they are blinded by "charisma" and god knows what else does this manypulators have on the first place. There are those who know what path to take, but when there are guns on every one of our heads, when there is no one to hear ur when we need to... we are doomed. My country is bleeding, and we are drowning in our own blood, for the sake of just a few...

Fred Flongerburgerstein
Fred Flongerburgerstein

@Gray Rivers @David Zar  


Gray, you call one of the worlds most infamous murderer, tyrant and slave master "one of the most rational men in government"?? I think my Cuban father and family would disagree with you.  You are just another useful left-wing idiot.  

BenWeiser
BenWeiser

@Gray Rivers - I don't necessarily agree with every word your saying but I must say it is quite refreshing to see someone post reasoned arguments with facts to back it up, instead of red baiting BS and namecalling

dinodamo
dinodamo

@PapadakisMi Αποκλειεται να μαζεψουν 40+ δις ευρω για κρατικους μισθους συνταξεις με δραχμη. @Mixalisgr

Jacques Leger
Jacques Leger

@BenWeiser Hugo Chavez, who as an officer in the Venezuelan Army, gave an unsuccessful coup but was taken out of jail by president Caldera and was authorized to become a democratic candidate. Chavez fooled the Venezuelans assuring he was a democrat and would end corruption. He was elected president under those premises. Very soon he declared on TV he was a Marxist, Leninist Communist, aligned with Fidel Castro. Chavez chose the worst Venezuelans corrupt individuals as his advisers, including Jaua, a known delinquent, appointed a terrorist as the czar of the oil industry, who is still giving away oil to Cuba and becoming the richest and more powerful ruler of the oil industry, managing practically the only resource of the country. That inauspicious mismanagement lasted 14 years. They spent hundred of millions dollars to purchase weapons from Russia and buying false leaders in Latin America. Before Chavez died of cancer, probably assassinated by the Castros, he designated the ex bus driver Nicolas Maduro (born in Colombia, educated in Cuba, became a citizen fraudulently) as his preferred candidate to become president in fraudulent elections. These people are decent?, or are they not delinquent thugs?

Dingoboy
Dingoboy

@Fred Flongerburgerstein @Jacques LegerI agree that an embargo would do no good against Venezuela, that Maduro is damaging the economy enough.  If the US imposed an embargo, the action would give Maduro reason to rally support for his government that bravely stands against the capitalist-imperialist USA.  He already tries that, but his accusations against the US have less and less credibility with the Venezuelan people.  Yhe US certainly doesn't need to give him a real reason to shift to the US blame for his failures.  

As for Cuba, that embargo served its purpose and should have been discontinued in the 1960s.  The only possible reasons for continuing it are to punish Cuba on behalf ot the companies whose assets were nationalized over fifty years ago and to court the votes of the very vocal Cuban "refugee" population in South Florida (and, contrary to popular fiction, there is a very large non-Cuban Latino population in South Florida, and they do not share the opinions of the Cuban expats).  The region would be a different place if the US had appropriated Cuba in the nineteenth century.  Florida would probably be better off, and Cuba, also.  

 

Jacques Leger
Jacques Leger

Que viva la libertad! That I agree with. Believe me, the Venezuelan people are totally helpless when it comes to get back their freedom. Unfortunately, there is no real movement against Maburro and his combo, so there is no help from USA or any other  "free" country. However, the American dollars they receive are used to buy more armament and send more oil to Cuba....

Dingoboy
Dingoboy

@Fred Flongerburgerstein @Jacques LegerI agree that the US isn't to blame - what they don't need is another war.  US financial expenditures in this region suggests that the US government is anything but apathetic about Latin America, but the US will not support a government that constantly vilifies it - Chavez, and now Maduro, built himself up the leader who stood up to the mighty USAi.

I don't see blaming the Venezuelan people, though.  Chavez gained the votes of many by improving the lives of the poor and leveling the vast inequities between the very wealthy and the very poor (Ironically, his hero, Simon Bolivar, was one of the very wealthy, although he fought against imperialism).  Housing projects and infrastructure, especially in Caracas, were impressive under Chavez.  Electric generator plants and a power grid were established with electricity extended to the rural poor.  Those with cars could fill a tank for a dollar or two.  It wasn't utopia by any stretch of the imagination, but there was plenty of progress under Chavez.  It is only under Maduro (during Chavez' time fighting his illness) that the decay really became apparent.  Maduro used his claim as the chosen successor to the fallen Chavez to seek election, much as Lyndon Johnson evoked Kennedy's memory in 1964.  Even at that, and with some voter intimidation, control of the media, and other election irregularities, he barely managed a victory.  Unless things turn around drastically, there is no way that he can realize another victory, unless there is very overt election fraud.  Considering the educational level of the average Venezuelan voter, they appear more savvy than the US middle class who continue to vote for a party that does nothing for them while using their tax dollars to subsidize the ultra-wealthy.

LordGopu
LordGopu

This is why people in countries that have access to weapons should never surrender them (like US and Canada). People put too much faith in laws and democracy. All they are is paper and words.

Fred Flongerburgerstein
Fred Flongerburgerstein

@Gray Rivers @Fred Flongerburgerstein @BenWeiser  


Gray,


Here is a link to pre-Castro statistics.  They do not lie.  Cuba pre-Castro was very advanced and a much better place to live than it was in the 70s or today.  


http://cuba.blogspot.mx/2009/01/socio-economic-conditions-in-pre-castro.html


By the way, I have lived in Latin America countries since 2003; Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and currently live in Mexico.  I too know the reality of Latin America.  The only thing that you have said that is accurate is the Latin American's penchant for vacillating between dictatorships and differing levels of fascism.  


I often thought my father was exaggerating when he talked about Castro's Cuba.  My visit to Cuba, however, confirmed EVERYTHING he told me.  He did not lie and is not a liar.  


I acknowledge my bias.  I hate communism and believe it is an evil and oppressive system.  History has confirmed the evil of communism.  I do think it is great, however, to finally be corresponding with someone such as yourself that has no bias whatsoever.  You are unique.

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

@Fred Flongerburgerstein @BenWeiserWhat can I say?  Your father lied to you.  He clearly wasn't one of the people out cutting cane.  As I said before, only the wealthy class enjoyed a high standard of living.  Castro wouldn't have been able to rally so many people to his movement if the people were happy.  Your family members may not have dreamed of leaving pre-Castro Cuba, but they were obviously people of the privileged class.


Among my friends and relatives who have had first-hand knowledge, one is a sociologist, who lived in Cuba pre-Castro, and visited in the late 1970s when relations eased up a bit.  According to his comparisons of Cuba pre-Castro and during Castro's rule, the average working-class person in Castro's Cuba was much better off than they had been before Castro and land reform.  Certainly, they were still poor; but one can lay most of the blame for Cuba's struggling economy at the feet of the US government and its trade embargo.

I have not accused Castro of bringing democracy to Cuba, but Batista and  the long line of other puppets there were no more democratic and more corrupt.  As is still the case in most of the rest of Latin America, freedom was enjoyed only by the privileged.  I currently live in Latin America and have visited many countries here.  I wonder if this culture will ever know how to handle democracy.  It seems as if every democracy elects another despot ke Chavez or Ortega (who happen to be leftist, but these countries seem to alternate between fascists and leftists, none of whom permit real personal liberty for the masses).

I broke my silence by responding to your latest ration of BS because I just don't want people who don't know better to believe this stuff that you keep writing.  Acknowledge your bias - you were raised in a household that was vehemently anti-Castro, and like virtually all of Miami's Cuban population, you have a very distorted view of present-day (and historical) Cuba.

Fred Flongerburgerstein
Fred Flongerburgerstein

@BenWeiser @Fred Flongerburgerstein  


I am using the "reality measure."  My father left Cuba in 1962.  He told me that before Castro the standard of living in Cuba was on par with the United States of America.  No one dreamed of leaving Cuba before Castro.  Every few years I meet a new relative that has had to flee Cuba by raft, boat, or came through Mexico because life in Cuba is hell.  I have also been to Cuba recently and have seen with my very own eyes the oppression and repression that Cuban live under.  I have listened to the Cubans tell me their stories.  They are miserable and they would leave Cuba in a heartbeat if they could.  


What good is high literacy when all you are allowed to read is government sponsored propaganda?  


You also have to realize that it is the lying Cuban government that provides statistics to the rest of the world.  You can't trust anything that government says.  It is all lies.

BenWeiser
BenWeiser

@Fred Flongerburgerstein
"Life has not gotten better for any Cubans under Castro except for Party leaders."

What measure are you using? I see their infant mortality rate dropping steadily. They apparently have a higher literacy rate in Cuba than we do here in the US. Please explain to me how you are measuring this

BenWeiser
BenWeiser

@Fred Flongerburgerstein - Did you just call one of the most rational men in government an infamous murderer, tyrant and slave master? I'm actually posting from within Raul's butthole at this very moment so I should know. You sir are definitely deserving of same name-calling. I shall call you "Fred". FRED!!

Fred Flongerburgerstein
Fred Flongerburgerstein

@Gray Rivers @Fred Flongerburgerstein @David Zar  


Yes, the pre-Castro system was corrupt, but what good is it to replace corruption with outright murderous evil which in every way is much more corrupt?  The problem with your assessment is that you make it sound like the Castros had altruistic motives for their revolution.  Do you really think the Castro brothers cared about the poor or inequality?  They have only cared about themselves and their power.  This has been proved by almost 60 years of dictatorship.  You mention the "rich" people of Cuba that left because of economics; you are partially correct.  Who wants to stay in a country that is becoming communist where you know that there is absolutely no possibility of advancement or personal improvement unless you latch yourself to the regime?  The "rich" left because they understood what would happen under communism and they were right to leave.  What do you say to the thousands upon thousands of poor that have left Cuba since 1980 and continue to risk their lives crossing the Florida Straits? Life has not gotten better for any Cubans under Castro except for Party leaders.  Many people talk about how there is better equality for blacks in Cuba.  Why is it then, that the majority of Cubans fighting the system on the island (and getting severely persecuted for it) are blacks? 


Viva Cuba Libre!  Down with the Castros and communism!    

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

@Fred Flongerburgerstein @Gray Rivers@David ZarIt is a shame that people can't post opinions without intellectually challenged readers resorting to name calling.

The pre-Castro system was corrupt, run by an elite few who lived very well while the vast majority might have a chicken for dinner once per year - basically a feudal system.  Your father was probably a wealthy Cubano, with a big house, servants, and beef on the table every day.  I have had friends from that background, who were born into it, who fled Cuba shortly after Castro took over (my grandparents grew up in Dade county over 100 years ago when its population was 5,000, so I have a lot of Cuban-American friends and relatives - I'm not anti-Cuban, just against ignorance and arrogance).  Of course, the wealthy class of Cuba wanted to get off the island - their luxurious lifestyles, which they inherited rather than earned, was in peril because Castro planned to level the playing field.  There was nothing noble about their exodus - they were just looking for better opportunities in the USA.

Venezuela and most of Latin America share the same heritage of a poor majority being ruled by a wealthy few.  The inequality is not only economic - the rich enjoyed better treatment by courts of law.  This is why these countries are so prone to revolutions and why democracy doesn't work well in Latin America.  Unfortunately, each overthrown despot is generally replaced by another.  Chavez overthrew a corrupt government (through election), then fell into the same pattern as his predecessors.  Chavez also made the mistake of trying to build a Latin American coalition of governments separate from the OAS that opposed the US and would trade in their own currency.  At least Chavez was methodical about implementing his plans (don't interpret this to mean that I approve), and even at that, he tried too much too soon,  Maduro seems clueless, and has accelerated Venezuela's downward spiral.

As I said, you clearly cannot or don't care to read before you make comments.  You should probably go back to Faux News where you obviously go to be told what to think.


Send a response if you want - you seen to be the type to get the last word, or more accurately, the last cheap shot.  I don't plan to respond to any more posts.

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

@Fred Flongerburgerstein @Gray Rivers@David ZarCuban expatriates (let's not fool ourselves and call them "refugees" - they're economic opportunists) in the US are some of the most right-wing fascists in the US.  Most of you supported Bush-Cheney, who are responsible for more deaths than you can even falsely lay at Fidel's feet (and are convicted war criminals).  I know that you can't be objective when it comes to Cuba, but you obviously failed to read my actual words.  It is long past time that US politicians stopped bowing to the political blackmail used by your group and recognized Cuba.  When the US does that, Cuba will democratize.  The US' idiotic cold war is what has kept the Castro brothers in power.  The only people who have benefitted from that are your compatriots who have bypassed immigration rules that apply to everyone else by claiming refugee status.

dinodamo
dinodamo

@PapadakisMi Πιθανο.Ομως απ το να καταντησουμε με Τσαβεζ εντος ευρω να πουλαει νταηλικια χιλιες φορες μονοι μας. @Mixalisgr

PapadakisMi
PapadakisMi

@dinodamo Ακριβώς επειδη δεν θα υπάρχουν ουτε κατα διάνοια τόσα χρήματα φοβάμαι μην καταντήσουμε με κανέναν Τσάβεζ. @Mixalisgr

Gray Rivers
Gray Rivers

@JustAVenezuelanGirl @Dingoboy@Fred Flongerburgerstein@Jacques LegerMy source is my personal observation.  I have seen the housing projects for the poor, the highways around Caracas, the power lines in extremely rural areas.  My Venezuelan friends are not Chavistas, but they pointed out these projects to me.  The quality of the construction may be poor, but such seems to be the case in all of Latin America - I live in one of the more prosperous Latin American countries, and, even here, we see shoddy work, especially on public works, due to corruption.   Corruption is endemic in Latin America, part of the culture.  It seems that political candidates always campaign against corruption only to exploit the system after taking power.  If you were living in Venezuela in the 1990s, you must remember that the country was in chaos before Chavez, with hundreds killed in riots in Caracas, a couple of coup attempts, and impeachment of a president due to corruption.

I never alleged or believed that Venezuela was a Utopia even in the best of times, but it saw progress after Chavez took over from his (more) corrupt predecessors, and this is why the poor continued to vote for Chavez and believe him as he was lying to them, saying that he was cancer-free when in fact he was obviously dying.  Much of the progress for the poor was at the expense of the wealthy.  Clearly, the power grid is suboptimal, and it is getting worse all the time as trade restrictions prevent the purchase of replacement parts and other materials.  The oil industry is failing for the same reason despite the fact that Venezuela sits on the greatest oil reserves on the planet.  Corruption and chaos are the principal controlling factors at this time - certainly no utopia.  Because of its oil reserves, Venezuelans should enjoy living standards of Kuwaitis or Qataris.

JustAVenezuelanGirl
JustAVenezuelanGirl

@Dingoboy @Fred Flongerburgerstein @Jacques Leger  

 "Housing projects and infrastructure, especially in Caracas, were impressive under Chavez.  Electric generator plants and a power grid were established with electricity extended to the rural poor.  (....)  It wasn't utopia by any stretch of the imagination, but there was plenty of progress under Chavez."

I don't know what your source is but, evidently it's not a good one. This is totally untrue. There was not such big "progress" under Chavez' administration. I was living there and as far I remember that was already a big mess. Poor quality construction, new houses falling apart due to cheap materials and corruption. Countless problems as a result of an inefficient power supply (now much worse)  Yeap, the oil was and still is cheap. Other than that,  there was nothing to be impressed by.