Monday, March 18, 2013

DANGEROUS TIMES FOR VENEZUELA (and by extension the Region)

Acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said something over the week-end that is as dangerous and potentially destabilising as can be imagined. He has claimed that he has evidence of a plot by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency to kill his right wing rival, Enrique Capriles, and trigger a coup before the April 14th Presidential election. He said that the plan was to kill Mr. Capriles and then blame it on Mr. Maduro and his cronies thus destabilising the country.

Now you have only to look at this to see not only how stupid such an action would be for the United States, but how Maduro is really thinking. It would be a very, very stupid thing for the United States to do because Mr. Capriles is the one candidate who has been able to unite Venezuela's fractious opposition. The death of Mr. Capriles would set back Venezuelan opposition unity by several years ... and THAT would not be in the best interests of the United States! And whatever you might want to say or think about the Americans, one thing you cannot say is that they are stupid! They act (as do ALL countries) in what is in their own best interests ... and there is nothing wrong with that! And it canNOT be in America's best interests to destabilise the opposition in Venezuela.

But for Mr. Maduro to say that there is a plot by the Americans to kill Mr. Capriles quite frankly looks more like a very amateurish way of saying that he (Maduro) is planning to do just that and blame it on the Americans when it happens. I didn't hear Mr. Maduro say, for example, that as his Government has uncovered this dastardly plot that the Government was stepping up security for Mr. Maduro. Why not? Wouldn't this happen in a proper democracy? But Venezuela's government is anything but democratic.

This is not the first time that Mr. Maduro has made outrageous claims. He has said that Mr. Chavez's cancer was in fact caused by the Americans who somehow managed to infect him some two years ago. Of course, the world still has not been told exactly what type of cancer killed Mr. Chavez nor has the world got details of the treatment that the late President underwent. Nor do we know how the Americans could so cleverly infect Chavez and kill him so slowly. Assuming (though not accepting) that the Americans could have infected and did infect Chaez with something, wouldn't it have made more sense to have killed Mr. Chavez quickly rather than have it take two long years? But little details like this are irrelevant when you are dealing with such a liar as Maduro obviously is.

Maduro has clearly learned the lesson of Josef Goebbels (Adolf Hitler's Nazi Minister of Propaganda), that the bigger the lie and the more often it is repeated the more people will believe it.

The problem is that he is clearly signalling that he does not care an iota for the truth and neither does he care what he says about anybody or anything. It is also clear that he is a man who will say or do anything to retain power at all costs. I expect him to be declared the winner in next month's election. I do not expect there to be a free and fair election.  I also expect that Venezuela will continue to spiral downwards after the election and become more and more impoverished. The dangers are obvious for the ordinary Venezuelan citizen. The problem is that instability in one of the Region's largest and most powerful countries can cause ripple effects in the neighbourhood ... and T&T is very close to Venezuela!

Maduro is much more dangerous than most people realise. A leader who has to lie and effectively threaten to kill his political opponents in order to stay in power is a leader who ought to be condemned by all right thinking peoples every where. The Venezuelans can't do it. Obviously! But we can!!

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