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Anyone want to shed some light on what the hell is going on there ?
The way i see it, 54 Million votes have just been snuffed out.
Does the US have their grubby hands in this ?
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


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So i dug a little bit into it lately - I think going back a decade or so the US hand was a lot more overt.

Lately the US has not been as quite as busy. I dug into it a bit lately and from what I have read the current situation has been kind of a perfect storm: long-running economic trends grinding the population and the country lower (from misguided spending, low price of oil, kleptocracy), endemic corruption in the ruling elite and specifically in the president's office, and a growing power base for narco entities which have been linked to the president's own family.

Sounds like they're being ruled by a gangster kleptocracy

some background links:

The Real Threat to Venezuela's Democracy by Daniel Wilkinson | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
Venezuela: Chavismo in Crisis by Phil Gunson | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

Sounds to me like Brazilians have a right to be upset too:

Glenn Greenwald on the hypocrisy of Brazil's political crisis - Home | Day 6 | CBC Radio

Bernnie Federko

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Violence breaks out in Venezuela after opposition uprising to oust President Maduro, but military stays loyal to regime

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, in his boldest move yet, attempted to form a rebellionagainst President Nicolas Maduro. Despite many rank-and-file soldiers appearing willing to defy their commanders and come to the aid of the opposition, Mr. Guaido fell short of his attempt to topple Mr. Maduro. Venezuela’s political crisis deepend as violence broke out. A health clinic in Caracas took in 69 people injured during the day.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there had been “senior leaders inside the Maduro government that were prepared to leave. They told us as much over the past few weeks.”

He said Maduro “had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it, and the Russians indicated he should stay.” He offered no evidence.

Eleven countries, including Venezuela’s neighbours Colombia and Brazil and known regionally as the Lime Group, issued a statement denouncing the violence and encouraging the military to back Guaido. They called for a meeting to discuss the situation on May 3.


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Trump Suddenly Discovers Regime Change Is Hard
Posted on May 8, 2019, 8:59 PM Daniel Larison

Protests in Caracas, Venezuela. durdaneta/Creative Commons and Donald Trump. Drop of Light/Shutterstock

Trump is grousing that regime change in Venezuela is harder than his ideological advisers promised him:

President Trump is questioning his administration’s aggressive strategy in Venezuela following the failure of a U.S.-backed effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro, complaining he was misled about how easy it would be to replace the socialist strongman with a young opposition figure, according to administration officials and White House advisers.

The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.​

The president’s frustration would be a lot easier to take seriously if he hadn’t essentially outsourced his Venezuela policy to a group of hard-liners from the very beginning. When you put Bolton, Pence, and Rubio in charge of something, you deserve the blame for trusting them. When you go along with everything they want, you don’t get to play the victim later. It is a measure of how gullible the president is that he could be so easily “misled” into thinking something as ambitious as ousting an entrenched regime would be easy. Of course the hawks told him it would be easy. They always claim that their cockamamie schemes will be easy! The problem here is that Trump keeps falling for their ridiculous sales pitches and endorsing the policies they want him to endorse.

It’s fine that he is getting dissatisfied with Bolton, but Trump has been the one talking about possible military intervention in Venezuela well before Bolton got there. Bolton didn’t make him do anything. He was already eager to meddle in Venezuela, and it didn’t take much to get him to do it. If Trump thinks “the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires,” he has a funny way of showing it by interfering in the internal affairs of a neighboring country. If he didn’t want to get pulled into a quagmire, he shouldn’t be playing at regime change by recognizing an alternative government. If he doesn’t like Bolton’s “interventionist stance,” he can fix that by getting rid of Bolton, but for some reason that never happens.

Trump’s grumbling continues:

Trump has said Maduro is a “tough cookie,” and that aides should not have led him to believe that the Venezuelan leader could be ousted last week, when Guaidó led mass street protests that turned deadly.​

Did Trump not realize that Maduro was a “tough cookie” before last week? If he did, how were his aides able to convince him otherwise? If he didn’t, he is just trying to shift the blame for a stupid policy that he had no problems with until it very publicly blew up in his face. It’s all very well that Trump is now beginning to question the wisdom of his foolish Venezuela policy, but until this translates into something more than private muttering and complaints it doesn’t really matter. The report goes on to make clear that Trump will continue to let Bolton do whatever he wants:

Despite Trump’s grumbling that Bolton had gotten him out on a limb on Venezuela, Bolton’s job is safe, two senior administration officials said, and Trump has told his national security adviser to keep focusing on Venezuela.​

It is not surprising that a president who fetishizes “strength” and looking “tough” is so remarkably weak when dealing with his own officials.

Trump should reverse course on his Venezuela policy, lift the sanctions that he imposed on their oil sector earlier this year, and back off from the aggressive policy that has proven to be such an embarrassing failure. I have no confidence that the president will do any of that, because that means admitting that the original decision to interfere was a mistake. It would also require him to remove the advisers that have given him such horrible advice on this and other issues, and it is already clear that he isn’t going to do that. That means that Bolton will get to run the administration’s foreign policy however he wants and all that Trump will do about it is have White House officials leak to the press that he is annoyed.