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How to Avoid a War in Venezuela

How to Avoid a War in Venezuela

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Francisco Rodríguez

One month after Juan Guaidó, the speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly, said he was assuming the powers of the Venezuelan presidency, currently held by Nicolás Maduro, the country’s political crisis remains far from over. Tensions have escalated to the point that a full-blown civil war—a seemingly implausible scenario just weeks ago—is now becoming increasingly possible.

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“The Maduro regime is authoritarian, militarized, and ready to kill civilians to maintain power.”

Complete nonsense! 4 people died. No one even knows how. Heck, if I was “ready to kill civilians to maintain power”, I could kill more than that, alone, with a fricken handgun, in far less time. It’s clear that the Maduro government is exercising amazing restraint. A right wing dictatorship, of the kind the US routinely installs after it undermines popular socialist governments like Maduro’s, could kill hundreds, perhaps even thousands, and no one would bat an eye. But when the government is socialist, they’re monsters if four people die (and who cares how).


1000+ killed by cops in the USA last year alone.

100s of thousands of civilians killed the world over by the US Military.

They get a parade and Maduro gets a coup. This blather coming from Sachs is more of that typical US Hypocrisy. The USA is the last country on earth that should be claiming another regime authoritarian, militarized and ready to kill civilians.


Perhaps Sachs isn’t referring to just the recent protest with those 4 deaths. I’d have to read a lot more before I could say I have an even-handed picture of Maduro. I hear him criticized generally by people who sure sound like they are progressive on Democracy Now or Real News. Of course all of these people are against any sanctions let alone military or covert action by the US.

In this NYT piece (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/30/world/americas/venezuela-maduro-protests-faes.html), they mention claims by human rights groups that 40 people were killed by a pro-Maduro special police unit.

Even if it is the case that Maduro is another of many flawed leaders in the world (we’ve got ours - it should be no surprise if there are others), there is nothing we should be doing other than, a) letting Venezuela use its own damn money - don’t freeze any assets, b) we could donate to the international aid community and let them handle bringing the aid in, c) we could offer words of support to leaders who have some level of moral authority like Obrador, but still stay the hell out of any negotiations.


I agree. There are many better ways to help the Venezualan people.


So what is your magic number?

Sachs is part of the problem.

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Is there any way for the negotiations to include locking Mr. Branson inside a small compound, or home, and constantly replay the music at earbleeding levels from Saturday’s concert which he sponsored.
I want those tunes bone-rattlingly loud and on 24/7. So loud that Pope Francis hears them while praying at the Vatican. So loud that it knocks Sen. Rubio off his soapbox and into the Florida swamp, where that effin’ little toady was hatched.
Then will start negotiations on a level playing field, pretty much. Until then…


I understand that Maduro currently has only 31% support from the general population. This is incredible considering the battering Venezuela has taken economically from the U.S. But another 30% support Maduro’s Party, but they want Maduro replaced, maybe in the hopeless belief that the U.S. would back off then.
The U.S. doesn’t want an election because it is quite possible that the Left galvanizes even more support in the next election, if it is a fair and transparent election. The majority of poor Venezuelans have never been happier since Chavez came to power 21 years ago. Universal healthcare, free college tuition, guaranteed food, better housing and a host of other benefits have finally filtered down. But priledged white people in Venezuela don’t care for equality and are being manipulated by the mainstream press in much the same way that people are manipulated by the equally right wing media in the U.S. At least Venezuela has a few left wing publications (unlike the U.S.), but essentially the indigenous people there can see that the U.S. is trying to create a ‘race war’. This was done in the 1890’s in the U.S. when the wealthy feared that black and white poor people would unite to establish a representative government. The reaction by the wealthy was to fund newspapers to paint a distorted picture of society claiming that blacks were predisposed to murder and rape (similar to Trump’s comments on Mexicans). Newspapers were instructed to wholly concentrate on black crime, especially if it were a black on white crime to get the white population all worked up. Once a unified Party won in North Carolina in the late 1890’s, the rich immediately sent in their minions to kill all of the black politicians, burn down the black neighbourhoods and install the only successful junta in U.S. history. Shortly after this evil display of naked aggression, the junta installed the first ‘Jim Crow’ laws that would guarantee to promote racism and hatred for another 70 years.
In Venezuela indigenous people are the modern equivalent of the ‘Negroes’ of North Carolina in the 1890’s, however they do make up a majority of people there. They are also the poorest and most vulnerable portion. Over 40% of Venezuelans lived in abject poverty before Chavez came to power (down to 7% now) with the vast majority being indigenous. The American 1%, well schooled in the sowing of racism and fear, feel uniquely positioned to take advantage of this situation. Juan Guiado represents the face of ‘White Privilege’ while Maduro represents the ‘coloured savages’ that the U.S. feels is their only obstacle in seizing the country’s oil. If the American government is successful in destroying Venezuela by pitting its population against each other, we will have to expect a similar outcome to repeat itself here at home. Venezuela is a bell weather for democracy everywhere and we must do our best to prevent our oligarchy committing genocide in our name yet again!


What the neocons want is another neoliberal takeover of Venezuela’s oil. The NYTimes is a primary part of the propaganda campaign to set up the chuimps for yet another oil war. So is the Washington Post. Those parroting the propagnda must be deceived.

The US propaganda machine is very good but it has only enough grasp of reality to dupe those who will take the bait AGAIN.

Read some truth by people who actually went to Venezuela, spoke with real citizens, and are willing to tell the truth.


The dark skinned people who lived on the dumps before socialism were raised up by Chavez, and now this guy, advocating for the majority. The chavistas are the majority in Venezuela, and the whiter skinned who want power back to corruption and dictatorship.

The chavistas - the majority in Venezuela - back Maduro.

The guy the US wants to replace Maduro with was carefully created in the US, like a decade. He’s a US asset.

The bankroll for the white neoliberals have access to is probably inexhaustible. The party these guys want to put in power is less than 10% of the citizens of Venezuela, the ruling elite Chavez pushed out of the power slots.

There is no fair election in Venezuela because the election is hacked. The chavavistas are more politcally astute than nearly every US citizens, who have been set up to dupe themselves.

South and Central America are the training ground for libertarian neoliberals to see how to do the US. We US citizens only got aware of this stuff recently. An entire propaganda structure will have to be taken out if we want even pretend democracy in this country.

Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” tells a lot of the neoliberal piece, but an empowered majority is hard to push out of what they worked forever to get. The US has never seen an empowered majority, and it’s not likely to as long as a Constitution meant to cripple democracy and keep slavery.

Read “The Counter-Revolution of 1776”, by Gerald Horne. Both the Revolutionary War and the Constitution were meant to keep slavery alive in the US.

What we have is a ruling elite with enough money to do a regime change - if the people who are thought to be adept at regime change can ever get it right. Look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria. . . .

They do it all for money.


Why? For not being pro-Maduro?

Dara proposes donating to the international aid community to supply aid.
– Good proposal. In fact the Venezuelan government has accepted aid through legitimate channels, rejecting the weaponized aid Abrams/Bolton/Pompouseo/Rubio are using to provoke a reaction. Note that the Red Cross and UN agencies refused to participate in this fraud, concluding that it was not legitimate humanitarian aid.
Better still is your first proposal, to let Venezuela use its own assets to feed and care for its people. That’s also what the legitimate government wants.


Sadly, poverty in Venezuela is much higher than 7% now. But we have to ask why.
Oil prices fell drastically in 2014 after Obama got Saudi Arabia to defy other OPEC members and flood the world markets. A year later Obama started imposing sanctions, which have become much more brutal under Trump/Pompouseo/Bolton and abetted by U.S. toadies like Canada and Conservative Britain. (BTW, the head of the Bank of England that has confiscated Venezuelan gold is a Canadian.)


Sachs and Rodriguez: “A pragmatic approach might involve the current government continuing to control the army, while technocrats backed by the opposition take control over finances, the central bank, planning, humanitarian relief, health services, and foreign affairs.”

In other words, regime change in all but name. Rodriguez at least deserves some credit for allying with the opposition leader who competed in the 2018 election (Falcon, who got 21% of the vote and would have got more if the U.S. hadn’t ordered the hard right – Guaido’s and other parties – to boycott the election).

Sachs admitted his catastrophic error in inducing Poland to quickly embrace cutthroat capitalism in the early 1990s. He should avoid similar gross interference in Venezuela.


Sachs’ pragmatic approach is to turn over control of all of Venezuela except the military to a man, Juan Guaido, who declared himself the President, even though 80% of Venezuelans don’t know who Guaido is? This proposal is ridiculous on its face. President Carter’s election watchers were on the ground during the last election in Venezuela and pronounced it “free and fair”. The US must drop its illegitimate sanctions leveled against the country, remove its CIA troublemakers, and mind its own business. It’s up to the Venezuelan people to pick their government, not the United States. It is THEIR oil, not ours.


Sachs was one of those Ivy League “advisors” that prostrated Russia under Yeltsin and turned it into an economic wasteland, dramatically dropping its average life expectancy to that of some of the poorest nations on earth. It was this condition the Putin emerged and regarded as the saviour of the Russian state. Since then, Sachs had worked hard to rehabilitate his image. This article, however, seems to indicate that he’s still the same old Sachs.


A nation raises its poor out of their poverty, and the world’s richest country threatens to demolish it.

The rich country brags about its Christianity; a President brags how he “put Christ back in Christmas.” And it imposes crippling economic sanctions and threatens invasion.

And this doesn’t repulse most people.


One of my favorites on Venezuela is Mark Weisbrot, who is certainly willing to criticize Maduro but also understands the effects of US interference in the country.


Mine too. I recommended him at "You Can Stop This" — Venezuela's Message to Americans. I found his comments on runaway inflation (that it is easier to tame really crazy inflation than it is to bring down moderate inflation) very interesting and something I never hear almost anywhere else - simple, grounded macro-economic theory. I wonder if he has tried to contact anyone who might have influence with Maduro.

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