February 25, 2019

Crisis in Venezuela

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

“Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro faced growing regional pressure on Sunday after his troops repelled foreign aid convoys… Violent clashes with security forces over the opposition’s U.S.-backed attempt on Saturday to bring aid into the economically devastated country left almost 300 wounded and at least three protesters dead near the Brazilian border.” Reuters

On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN, “I am confident that the Venezuelan people will ensure that Maduro’s days are numbered.” CNN

Meanwhile Sen Marco Rubio (R-FL), tweeted “before” and “after” pictures of Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan dictator who was deposed and subsequently murdered following US intervention. Twitter

See past issues

From the Left

The left urges the Trump administration to exercise caution.

“Trump has framed U.S. interests in surprisingly ideological terms that evoke the Cold War struggle for influence against the Soviet Union… Having leaned so heavily into the conflict, Trump risks looking weak or ineffective at home and abroad if the Maduro regime survives in the face of U.S. opposition.”
Anne Gearan and Carol Morello, Washington Post

Yet military intervention “would be a highly risky measure. Many Venezuelans might view as liberators foreign soldiers bearing aid and the promise of a restored democracy. But many others would surely regard their arrival as confirmation of Mr Maduro’s claim that the offer of help is cover for an ‘imperialist’ plot against the country. Venezuela’s crisis is far from over.”
The Economist

“In some respects, the world’s most powerful country showing up at Venezuela’s border with truckloads of food and medicine is much better than what it has done in the past… [But] international aid organizations including the United Nations have quietly been delivering assistance throughout Venezuela, with the tacit approval of Maduro’s regime…

“One director of a humanitarian-assistance team told me that using what was apparently an aid mission to challenge a president stood against the principles of humanitarianism, while another said the effort was little more than an attempted overthrow of the government.” And while not addressing this specific situation, the director of the Norwegian Refugee Council in Colombia similarly stated that “there were ‘dangers of associating political objectives with humanitarian aid.’”
Dylan Baddour, The Atlantic

Meanwhile, many also worry that “Rubio [handed] Venezuela’s Maduro a propaganda victory with [the] graphic tweet of Qaddafi’s murder… Characterizing the Venezuelan president as the next in a line of leaders that the United States wants to depose is precisely the message that Maduro is spouting to Venezuelans as he rejects much-needed international aid.”
Daniel Politi, Slate

Dated but relevant: In a speech about Venezuela last Monday, “Trump proceeded to say the word ‘socialist’ nine times, ‘socialism’ 20 times, and ‘Maduro’ only 10 times during the entire address… Trump’s campaign [also] put out a statement attacking [Bernie] Sanders’s left-leaning ideology and comparing it to Maduro’s… Trump is exploiting the Venezuela crisis in order to win the 2020 presidential election.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

From the Right

The right condemns Maduro’s violence and believes his days are indeed numbered.

From the Right

The right condemns Maduro’s violence and believes his days are indeed numbered.

“As the smoke cleared Sunday, Mr. Maduro and his Cuban handlers still had the upper hand. Yet something big has changed. With so many regime atrocities now recorded and circulated on social media and the privation triggering a mass exodus, Venezuelan suffering under Havana control is no longer ignored… only Cuba, Iran, Russia, China and their allies still support [Maduro].”
Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Wall Street Journal

“Maduro cannot hold on for much longer, with the economy of Venezuela ruined and the people, and most of the international community, calling for him to leave office. Even China and Russia appear to be making contingency plans for Venezuela post-Maduro. Russia has frozen the accounts of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and China has been rumored to be in talks with Guaidó’s party concerning economic issues.”
Aaron Simms, The Resurgent

“Top military brass haven’t broken with Mr. Maduro, despite pleas and offers of amnesty from Mr. Guaidó. But there’s no doubt that soldiers and mid-level officers are tired of seeing the Venezuelan people suffer. Many have deserted and fled to neighboring countries… The aid showdown puts in stark relief the choice in Venezuela between a dictator who wants to block aid for the people, and the Guaidó government that wants to deliver it.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“The question now is whether Juan Guaidó can get [the aid] across the border or if Maduro’s troops will succeed in forcing people to continue starving for the good of the Bolivarian Revolution. At some point soon, the rank and file police and soldiers are going to have to say enough is enough and defy their commanders.”
John Sexton, Hot Air

Many argue that “socialism has crippled Venezuela’s once-thriving economy, impoverishing the populace to the point that people are literally starving in the streets. As recently as 2001, Venezuela was the richest country in South America. It sits on an ocean of oil, the world’s largest proven reserves. Yet today, its people are eating their pets and feeding their children from garbage bins, all as Maduro blocks humanitarian aid shipments intended to alleviate his people’s suffering…

“President Trump deserves more credit than he is getting for taking this stance against an economic system that throughout its history has created nothing but poverty, despair and want.”
Andy Puzder, Fox News

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

Taco Bell is opening their first ever "Slide-Thru" in Canada.

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