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For Venezuelan Regime, the Party’s Over
The American ^ | February 18, 2014 | Roger F. Noriega

Posted on 02/22/2014 9:20:43 PM PST by neverdem

With intensifying unrest and the Maduro regime fighting a losing battle for survival, it appears that Hugo Chávez’s ‘Bolivarian revolution’ will outlive him by about a year.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is fighting a losing battle to salvage his regime, and student demonstrations that will continue today are only one of his problems. As details of his government’s bankruptcy are made public, his political base will continue to splinter. And as he follows Cuban advice to use brute force against peaceful demonstrators, the nationalist military will find the growing violence intolerable. In short, Maduro’s condition is terminal.

According to a source in Venezuela’s Central Bank, the country’s international reserves have dwindled to $21 billion — less than half the reserves of Colombia, an economy of the same size. Worse yet, $12 billion of Venezuela’s dwindling reserves is in the form of gold that is claimed by China as security for more than $30 billion in loans made in the last two years. Because Venezuela is not keeping up with oil deliveries to service that Chinese debt, the gold cannot be touched.

Another $7.5 billion of the reserves is in the form of bonds issued by Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua, a source in the Central Bank told me. Apparently that amount used to be held in U.S. Treasury bonds, but the regime traded these for useless paper from some of the region’s most insolvent countries. These bonds cannot be liquidated for cash because they are worth less than their face value, making their sale illegal under Venezuelan law. Thus, what is left in the bank is less than a half-billion dollars, which would cover the cost of about two weeks worth of imports. So shortages of essential goods will worsen in the days ahead.

After nearly two decades of mismanagement and corruption, oil production is faltering and over-subscribed — committed to domestic consumption and China, and international giveaways to Cuba, the leftist party in El Salvador, and the Caribbean. Sources say that Rafael Ramirez, the president of the Venezuelan state energy company PDVSA, will have to terminate these giveaways. He also will continue to shortchange China in order to generate revenue by maximizing oil sales to the United States. However, this scramble for cash is both inadequate and unsustainable in meeting Venezuela’s needs.

So, history will record that a revolution dedicated to “Socialism of the 21st Century” disintegrated for lack of U.S. greenbacks.

The images of ill-trained national guardsmen and civilian thugs shooting, beating, and detaining student protesters has further alienated the bulk of the Army officer corps from Maduro and his cadre of corrupt generals.

Maduro’s second major crisis involves the loss of support within the country’s armed forces. Hugo Chávez commanded the respect or fear of uniformed services because he was a military veteran, and he cemented their loyalty by giving them lucrative posts and abetting their involvement in narcotrafficking and other corruption. Of course, some of the military — including respected retirees — steered clear of serious corruption but remained loyal to their commander-in-chief.

That military pillar of the regime has been crumbling since Chávez’s death last March. Maduro has earned little respect within their ranks. Those who have rallied around him are men he has coopted with new assignments and the very corrupt narcomilitares — notably National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello — who are hoping to hold on to their illicit fortunes by preserving the criminal and unaccountable regime.

A nationalist wing chafes at the heavy-handed role of the Cuban regime in Maduro’s administration. As one former Chávez confidante grumbled privately, “There is not a ‘chavista’ government in Venezuela today — it is a ‘Cuban’ government, instead.” The images of ill-trained national guardsmen and civilian thugs shooting, beating, and detaining student protesters has further alienated the bulk of the Army officer corps from Maduro and his cadre of corrupt generals. According to one leadership source, if Maduro were to order the Army to deploy heavy weapons and troops to quell protestors, it likely will be the last order of his unhappy tenure.

If demonstrations and casualties continue to grow, Latin American leaders who had no interest in crossing the willful Chávez will not keep silent as Maduro’s faltering regime unleashes gangs who empty pistols into peaceful crowds. The United States issued a timid statement calling upon the despotic regime to respect human rights and freedom of expression. On Sunday, Maduro expelled three diplomats in a vain attempt to blame “the Empire” — meaning the United States — for his woes; but this tactic only served to draw international attention to intensifying unrest and a regime that is fighting a losing battle for survival.

It appears that Hugo Chávez’s “Bolivarian revolution” will have outlived him by about a year — leaving behind a toxic mess. The international community can help the Venezuelan people by prosecuting Maduro and the narcomilitares for their crimes and returning their ill-gotten assets to support the reconstruction of a country that has been through hell and back.

Roger F. Noriega held senior positions in the State Department in the administration of President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005 and is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His firm, Vision Americas, represents U.S. and foreign clients.

FURTHER READING: Noriega also writes “Latins Rally to Restore Human Rights Panel," "Post-Chávez Crisis an Opportunity for Venezuela,” “Chávez’s Dangerous Liaisons with Tehran,” and “U.S. Diplomats Clueless on Alleged Chávez Plot to Kill the President of Panama.” 

 

Image by Dianna Ingram / Bergman Group



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: hugochavez; leopoldolopez; nicolasmaduro; venezuela; venezuelacrisis; venezuelariots

1 posted on 02/22/2014 9:20:43 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Bump


2 posted on 02/22/2014 9:24:47 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: neverdem
the nationalist military will find the growing violence intolerable

I have my doubts about that

3 posted on 02/22/2014 9:24:57 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: Jet Jaguar

we can hope!


4 posted on 02/22/2014 9:25:53 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: neverdem
So, history will record that a revolution dedicated to “Socialism of the 21st Century” disintegrated for lack of U.S. greenbacks.

and there it is...

5 posted on 02/22/2014 9:31:39 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: All

but of course, Venezuela still has enough money to donate oil to joe Kennedy’s “citizen’s oil”. as joe says, the only people to help the poor of America, are the “good people of Venezuela”.
I’m sure they are glad to know that even though they are in poverty, they help joe earn his 400k salary at his “non profit”.


6 posted on 02/22/2014 9:47:50 PM PST by willywill
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To: neverdem

I think the author forgot one thing about the government of Venezuela: The army brass (and Cubans) has been given a lot of top posts in the civil government. The Army and government are being merged along with Cubans in the mix too.


7 posted on 02/22/2014 9:53:20 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: neverdem

Who needs a stable economy when you’ve got unicorns and rainbows for everyone?


8 posted on 02/22/2014 9:55:08 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: willywill

I am hoping for the best for these people. Maybe they can regain a democracy, and cut off fuel subsidies and trade with leftist governments. And maybe they’ll tell China to stuff it.


9 posted on 02/22/2014 9:55:16 PM PST by Enterprise ("Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire)
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To: willywill

Nice reminder. And Sean Penn— surely there is something from his pie hole on his commie colleague’s virtues.


10 posted on 02/22/2014 9:59:29 PM PST by RitaOK ( VIVA CHRISTO REY / Public education is the farm team for more Marxists coming.)
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To: neverdem
Maduro is in background...

 


11 posted on 02/22/2014 10:06:14 PM PST by 867V309 (Obammy = LIAR)
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To: Enterprise
I am hoping for the best for these people.

I am too. Egypt has set an example, if the right commander steps forward and kicks our the Cuban military. Will that happen? Nobody knows.

12 posted on 02/22/2014 10:07:13 PM PST by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: RitaOK

That jerk Oliver Stone said that the protesters were just sore losers after the election. Penn and Stone both got hefty amounts of cash from Chavez, ostensibly for making movies in Venezuela.


13 posted on 02/22/2014 10:11:58 PM PST by Pining_4_TX (All those who were appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48)
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To: Pining_4_TX

What movies did they ever make in Venezuela anyways?


14 posted on 02/22/2014 10:14:16 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: GeronL

>> “What movies did they ever make in Venezuela anyways?” <<

“Arachnophobia” (way back in the early ‘80s) began with scenes in Venezuela.
.


15 posted on 02/22/2014 10:16:42 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: editor-surveyor

I meant those 2 actors paid by Venezuela to “make movies” and it was a lot more recent than Arachnophobia


16 posted on 02/22/2014 10:17:51 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: neverdem

I hope the author is right, but the fat lady hasn’t hung yet.


17 posted on 02/22/2014 10:18:15 PM PST by SpaceBar
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To: neverdem

Uraguayans loved Chavez...when their banks failed he gave the account holders their money.


18 posted on 02/22/2014 10:23:03 PM PST by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods.)
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To: neverdem

Remember how the TV liberals cheered endlessly for Chavez and Venzuelan Socialism??

It will be interesting to find out how much money these “Men of the People!” spirited away to overseas accounts.


19 posted on 02/22/2014 10:23:46 PM PST by tcrlaf (Well, it is what the Sheeple voted for....)
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To: GeronL

Correction - maybe not movies made in Venezuela, but movies about Chavez and Venezuela.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/maria-conchita-alonso-venezuela-oliver-stone-losers/2014/02/19/id/553679


20 posted on 02/22/2014 10:25:08 PM PST by Pining_4_TX (All those who were appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48)
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To: Pining_4_TX

ah


21 posted on 02/22/2014 10:38:29 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: Enterprise
Forgive my ignorance, but are the protesters pro-freedom, or something even WORSE than Communist?

I honestly don't understand the situation on the ground.

A Pinochet would be an acceptable outcome IMHO.

Every bit as corrupt as the commies, but friendly to the US, and the Chilean people have prospered beyond their wildest dreams.

Private retirement accounts and a rich environment.

None of the US social security crap.

You retire, and you have a nice nest egg that belongs to you and can be passed on to your heirs.

Visualize that.

Work for 30-40 years and your money grows and draws interest the whole time.

Bonus: There is toilet paper and electricity, too!

22 posted on 02/22/2014 10:53:01 PM PST by boop (I just wanted a President. But I got a rock.)
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To: 867V309

One of our “so called’ President’s favorite dictatorships going belly up!


23 posted on 02/22/2014 10:56:29 PM PST by Busko (The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain.)
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To: neverdem
Seems like people in Venezuela actually do protest their socialist regime unlike us cowardly Americans who do not protest the socialist oppressive regime of OBama and the democrats.

They have guts . we sit on the coach. they take action we do nothing. we are cowards . they are not.other Americans believe the false reality created by the evil marxist American news media

24 posted on 02/22/2014 11:38:52 PM PST by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: Democrat_media

Doesn’t hurt enough yet in the U.S. No shutoff of govt benefits, no toilet paper shortage, etc. The frog will slowly boil to death as the water grows hot. Would take a massive inconvenience to the sheeple before you’d see Venezuela type response to King Barack.


25 posted on 02/23/2014 12:23:00 AM PST by peyton randolph (Show me the man and I will find the crime. - Lavrenti Beria)
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To: neverdem; All

Thanks for posting. Fascinating. Very good thread with reminders of Americans alignments/involvements.


26 posted on 02/23/2014 1:38:44 AM PST by PGalt
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To: boop
The first paragraph of this article explains my understanding of the situation much better than I can.

On the March in Caracas - The silence on the subject is awkward

27 posted on 02/23/2014 2:48:21 AM PST by Enterprise ("Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire)
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To: willywill

Joe is one of many enemies of this country


28 posted on 02/23/2014 4:13:08 AM PST by ronnie raygun (zippy the a##clown sez..............................)
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To: GeronL
From The Devil's Excrement, written by a Venezuelan who is there on the ground. For 10 years, this guy has been right about what is going on there:

"Are Maduro’s buddies simply letting him run the show so that he screws up and they can remove him? At this time, this seems the most likely scenario in my mind…"

"Internationally, Maduro has lost what little credibility of doubt some people may have had. Even his closest allies are likely wondering what is going through his head, even if their silence is shameful. Funny how these leftist idealists are more concerned about their mercantile interests at this time than about human rights and the violation of the Venezuelan Constitution."

"What a pitiful bunch of so called leaders Latin American Presidents and politicians have become. But a day of reckoning seems to be arriving for them. They should be concerned by now that a Government change, even within Chavismo, will lead to less preferential treatment for them."

His earlier posts have several succinct summings-up of the economic situation.

29 posted on 02/23/2014 6:21:12 AM PST by La Lydia
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To: La Lydia

That is one of the Venezuela blogs on my blogroll, I have about 4 I think


30 posted on 02/23/2014 11:48:35 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: neverdem
After nearly two decades of mismanagement and corruption, oil production is faltering and over-subscribed — committed to domestic consumption and China, and international giveaways to Cuba, the leftist party in El Salvador, and the Caribbean.

And Joe Kennedy.

31 posted on 02/23/2014 7:38:00 PM PST by Dr.Deth
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To: neverdem

Rise Venezuela, it’s time.


32 posted on 02/23/2014 11:07:49 PM PST by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: neverdem; 3D-JOY; abner; Abundy; AGreatPer; Albion Wilde; AliVeritas; alisasny; ...
With intensifying unrest and the Maduro regime fighting a losing battle for survival, it appears that Hugo Chávez’s ‘Bolivarian revolution’ will outlive him by about a year.

PING!

33 posted on 02/24/2014 2:57:41 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Colorado: the Maryland of the Mountain West)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Where’s Jeff Spicoli


34 posted on 02/24/2014 4:10:54 AM PST by Jimmy Valentine's brother ("When leftists donÂ’t get their way, they start shooting people and bombing buildings." - rr)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Looks like for once Americans should be paying attention and learning something about freedom from 'furriners"!
35 posted on 02/24/2014 5:49:03 AM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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