Monday, March 24, 2014

                            DON'T SAY THAT YOU WEREN'T WARNED!!!!

The picture above was taken of an opposition march in Caracas on Friday. As you can see, the streets are jammed with about fifty thousand people. Now, that's a heck of a lot of people!! And when a march like this and of this size takes place in a major metropolis like Caracas you can bet that just about the whole city is effectively shut down. The problem here is that this isn't a 'one-off' thing, but is something that is being repeated every week, several times a week all over Venezuela. Put another way, Venezuela is grinding to a halt ... if it has not already ground to a halt. There are now basic shortages of just about everything ... except, it seems, Cubans and armed thugs who are shooting at persons who are protesting against the Government.

I deliberately put this picture on this post as I know that a lot of people are simply not aware of the depth of unhappiness that exists in Venezuela. The pro-Maduro supporters like to try and paint the opposition as being only the wealthy. In my experience, the wealthy do not demonstrate ... and certainly not in numbers like this!! Look at the picture again!

The situation clearly cannot last much longer. Maduro is pulling out all of the stops and trying his best to prevent the bad news from getting out of the country. In this regard, if truth be told, he has been moderately successful as the major news agencies seem to be steering away from reporting everything that is going on, especially where the reports make Maduro's Government look bad. Certainly, pictures like this are not being broadcast, and, if they are, only once in a while.

But the reality is that things are bad ... very, very bad! The fact is that things like toilet paper and women's sanitary pads (for example) are now in very short supply. Foreign exchange is in even shorter supply  ... and this is for a country that is sitting on one of the largest oil reserves in the world, and press freedom is virtually non-existent. (As an aside, isn't it interesting that all those persons who cry about infringements of press freedom here in T&T appear to be blissfully unaware of what Maduro is doing to their brothers and sisters across the water?)

On Friday Trinidad & Tobago assisted the Maduro regime in keeping a lid on things when it voted to have a debate in the Organisation of American States (OAS) held in private. What had happened was that the President of Panama had appointed a leading Venezuelan politician, Maria Corina Machado, as special ambassador to the OAS for Panama in order to inform the OAS about what was taking place in Venezuela. The representative of the left wing regime of Nicaragua moved a motion that the debate should be held in private ... in other words, away from the prying eyes of the world's press and the public. And, with the support of all those little islands who are benefiting from Chavez's PetroCaribe initiative ... as well as the inexplicable support of Trinidad & Tobago ... the motion to hold the debate in private was passed!! Why? I honestly have no idea. The only reasons that I can come up with are probably libelous. But nothing else makes sense. Certainly, T&T's vote doesn't make any sense to me! It was the WRONG thing to do and I am extremely critical of the Government of my country for this foreign policy mistake.(What could Dookeran have been thinking? But this is not the point of this post. I'll deal with this another time.)

Incidentally, Ms. Machado was detained for several hours when she returned from Washington over the weekend. Why? But in "free" Venezuela these things apparently happen with nobody questioning the authorities.

In the meantime, the average person in Venezuela is seeing his standard of living slipping into a bottomless pit of misery. Everything seems to be breaking down and shortages increase daily. Inflation is now running at almost 60 per cent. Foreign exchange is in such short supply that although the officail rate of exchange is around 11 bolivars to US$1 the black market rate is now around 80 bolivars to US$1 !!!! Can you believe that?!? And this is happening to one of the potentially most wealthy countries in the world!! But this "Bolivarian" (whatever that means ... poor Simon Bolivar. He must be turning in his grave over the hijacking of his name by these people) socialist regime trumpets loudly that they are doing everything for the benefit of the people. And the poor people are benefiting in much the same way as the mobs in ancient Rome benefited from the largesse of the Roman dictators ... bread and circuses!  And nobody says 'boo'. It seems that it is okay to hand out 'bread and circuses' if you are ... well, let's just say 'politically correct'! How you screw up a wealthy country is totally irrelevant!!

One by one, airlines are beginning to refuse to travel to Venezuela. They are reportedly owed a total of more than US$3 billion in unpatrioted airline fees. Maduro has blustered that anyone who pulls out now will not be allowed back. Air Canada has said to heck with that. We can't afford to take a loss here and has cancelled its 3 flights a week. I suppose that is not too great a loss for them. It will be interesting to see what other international carriers do.

Venezuela is falling off the proverbial cliff...  if it hasn't fallen already! This situation cannot last much longer and the Cubans will see to it that however it ends, it will end with a lot of bloodshed. The cowardice of the OAS, the cowardice of the regional Governments and the cowardice of the international press is helping to contribute to a situation where approximately 27 million people (the population of Venezuela) are being repressed ruthlessly.

There is a lot at stake here. Cuba cannot afford to lose Venezuela. If the revolution against Maduro and the Cubans  in Venezuela is successful, the Cuban economy will take another sharp downward turn as the new regime will cut off the supply of free oil that is keeping Cuba going. In other words, Cuba has too much to lose to allow the Venezuelans alone to handle their own affairs. Cuba's control of Venezuela's secret police is now complete. Expect to see a lot of blood flowing ... and soon. Don't say that you weren't warned. And don't hesitate either to point the finger of blame at the Cubans and at Maduro and his band of thugs ... however this ends.


  1. Mr. Montano,
    You are so right. I have just returned from Venexuela and can tell you that things there are getting quite bad. There is going to be a bloodbath soon. Even to leave the country now is difficult. You have to line up in order for your papers and travel documents to be inspected! And they really do check them! What for? I had to check in 3 hours before my flight and then proceed to emigration where it took me more than an hour to get through!! That country is gone to hell!!

  2. Great Blog,,the official price of the U$D is 6.30 BsF ,,Sicad 1 auction is between 10 to 20 BsF, and the new Sicad II that kicked off today was averaging 52 BsF,, the ''dollar parralel'' or black market has dropped 25% to around 65 BsF, this is the first time Venezuelians have to line up for hours to buy basic grocries and plans are in place to issue ration cards in the near future.

  3. Thanks!!!! Keep up the vigilance and stay strong on the reporting of facts!!! Keep up the good hard work!!! I appreciate this!

  4. Robin, nice to see you doing this blog about Venezuela. It will be an avenue for those to keep abreast of the issues in our neighboring country.
    I read the recent article you posted about Machado going to the OAS to speak and the outcome, which I must say was predictable. We wonder why T&T and the rest of the countries would do this. We all know that it is wrong but at the end of the day.. one has to be careful and toe the line so to speak, if they rely on Venezuela for anything, not only oil but anything in general. I would tend to say that people or countries that are self sufficient will be critical of Venezuela as they can afford to do so.. What is happening in that country, there are no words that will convey our love and feelings for the destruction of such a beautiful country.. all the talk and innuendo is not going to help.. action is needed.. but when will it happen? Look at Syria,Lybia,Iraq.. countries in Africa etc...How long did the world wait to help?

  5. Exactly so!! Dont say the truth cause they will get offended and do worse. Same with the Extremists of all kinds!!