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Chavismo
Maduro Militarizes His Rule

Venezuela took another big step towards the precipice over the weekend: After a tumultuous week that saw violent protests and looting checked by the army, President Nicolas Maduro made noises about militarizing his rule further:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced undefined “military exercises” for the embattled nation, just a day after pledging to prolong his government’s special emergency powers.

Speaking in Caracas’s Ibarra Square after a march Saturday by several hundred supporters, Maduro said his opponents are orchestrating foreign military intervention in Venezuela. Exercises by the army and militia groups would prepare “for any scenario,” Maduro said.

“The oligarchy’s plan is to disturb the peace so they can justify foreign intervention in Venezuela,” Maduro said in televised remarks at the rally. “I’m not an extremist for saying this, but they’re extremists for wanting to carry this out.”

These announcements were accompanied by some very pointed threats:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday ordered authorities to seize factories that have stopped production and jail their owners, a day after declaring a state of emergency to combat the country’s economic crisis.

“We must take all measures to recover productive capacity, which is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie,” he told a rally in Caracas.

“Anyone who wants to halt (production) to sabotage the country should get out, and those who do must be handcuffed and sent to the PGV (Venezuelan General Penitentiary),” he said.

Venezuela’s opposition leaders, who make up a majority in the country’s parliament, and have sworn to have Maduro recalled from office, declared Maduro’s latest moves illegal. What they will be able to do about it is far from clear. Much ultimately will depend on the army, which while stocked with Chavista loyalists, can’t help but notice that the country is crumbling under their leader’s watch. The army is as riddled by corruption as any other sector of this deeply compromised country—it is currently languishing at number 158 out of 168 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2015—and if it feels like Maduro is unable to keep things together, it might be tempted to shove him aside.

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  • dwk67

    Sounds like the guano is really hitting the fan for Maduro and his Kleptocracy. How exactly does jailing the most productive citizens stimulate the economy? Surely some corrupt government hack can step right in and get those businesses humming again eh? The eternal question remains; Why does governmental power correlate so strongly and consistently with utter delusion? It seems the voters worldwide are like the proverbial naive and lonely young woman who so easily has her pants charmed off her by the suitor with the best line of B.S.. It makes you wonder if we all would truly be better off by allowing a disinterested, and probably far wiser A.I. to run our governments instead of the con men and women we so often see bluffing their way into the job….

    • Ofer Imanuel

      I think it has to do with them closing the factories, so they will not produce at a loss. The idea is to pressure them by jail to reopen them – lose your money or go to jail.

  • Blackbeard

    Here’s how the NY Times spins recent events in Venezuela:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/world/americas/nicolas-maduro-tightens-hold-on-venezuela-as-us-fears-further-tumult.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FVenezuela&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=collection

    Here’s the money quote:

    “For months, Venezuela has been convulsed by an economic crisis caused by low oil prices, a lack of savings and a drought. Lines for food have become ubiquitous, as have water shortages and blackouts.”

    So the situation is really just bad luck. Not one word in the entire article about socialism or Hugo Chavez. In the heyday of the old USSR they had newspapers like Pravda (Truth) and Izvestia (News) and the old joke was “There is no Pravda in Izvestia and no Izvestia in Pravda. However in the USSR everyone knew it was all propaganda. Here in the US I am afraid there are still people who think what the Times does is journalism.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Heinlein’s quote comes immediately to mind.

      • Blackbeard

        Exactly!

        • Bill_Woods

          And in the Soviet Union, agriculture suffered from seventy straight years of unusually-poor weather.

      • next bubble

        “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded- here and there, now and then- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.This is known as “bad luck.”. “

    • kingschitz

      The clue is always found in the passive voice. Grammar = Socialism off the Hook.

      “It” just happens, that’s all.

  • kingschitz

    Venezuelans….feeling the Bern.

  • next bubble

    Amazing how Venezuela is “Atlas Shrugged” in real life.

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