Saturday, February 14, 2015


Poor Venezuela. As if its troubles were not enough, saddled with an incompetent dictator who is (not so) slowly running his country into the ground ... a country that is the richest in Latin America in terms of natural resources ... with inflation presently hovering around the 60 percent mark and set to go higher, while supporting the brutal and bloody dictatorship of the Castros at tremendous cost to the people of Venezuela, and blaming everybody but himself for the economic tragedies that have befallen this lovely country. The Trinidad Guardian reported this week that the Venezuelan Government has devalued the bolivar from Bs.6.12 to the US dollar to Bs170 to the US dollar. Can you imagine that?!? The currency has been devalued overnight more than 25 times!!

So what do you think will happen next? Well, as a devaluation takes between three to six months to "bite" I figure that President Maduro and his cronies are figuring that when this massive devaluation does eventually start to be felt that the demonstrations will start again and this time they will be worse than before. So? What should Maduro & Co. do to keep their stranglehold on power?

Now these guys may not have a clue about economics, nor do they have any idea of how to run a country so that it prospers without democracy, but you have to hand it to them: when it comes to retaining power they have their opposition licked. First of all, they understand well the old Mao Tse Tung's dictum that power comes out of the mouth of a gun. They have cemented their hold on the army by getting rid of any and everybody who might remotely oppose them thus ensuring their control of the guns. Then they have locked up the leader of the opposition, Leopoldo Lopez, so that he can't cause them trouble outside. It doesn't matter that just about everybody from Pope Francis to the President of Spain and everybody else in between (Amnesty International, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Barack Obama, etc.) has called for Leopodo's release (he is popularly known by his first name), Maduro has simply ignored them and gone on his merry way as though he has and had nothing to do with Leopoldo's arrest.

But back to today: Maduro has a huge problem coming down the road to meet him in a very short time. This massive devaluation is going to impoverish the country even more at a time of low oil prices, and inflation will hit triple digits before the year is out. And the idiot (and yes, I will not apologize for calling him that ... if he wants to sue me here in Trinidad for defamation I will happily defend myself in Court. Frankly, I would love to cross-examine him and if he sues he will HAVE to go into the witness box) knows all too well that this time the demonstrations will probably topple him.

So? What to do? Reports in Venezuela's social media (which is now the only reliable source of news in that poor country) are saying that Leopoldo has been taken out of his prison cell and tortured. The fact that this story has been allowed to get out suggests that Maduro & Co. wanted it to get out. They want a confrontation with the opposition now as opposed to a few months down the road. If they can get the opposition mad enough then when the demonstrations will start now and they can the arrest all the leaders and head off the looming coup d'├ętat. If they wait, the chances are that the wives of the soldiers will be so angry with their falling standards of living that they may not be able to count on the support of the army anymore.

Macchievalian? Absolutely! And it doesn't matter whether they have tortured Leopoldo or not. It is enough for the story just to get out ... even though it is highly probable that the story is true. The time to strike is now, not later. It's like we say here in good old T&T: take in front before in front takes you. Ma-burro ... sorry, I mean Maduro ... is obviously doing just that!!

P.S. I forgot to mention that Ma-burro ... sorry, I mean Maduro ... I keep calling him that because he really is a donkey .. has taken to locking up shop owners who have long queues outside their shops where people are lining up to try and buy scarce goods. Now, if you were a shop owner who can't get the necessary foreign exchange to buy scarce goods and you were going to be locked up because you only have a very limited supply, would you stay open or would you shut your business down? And you still think the man is not a donkey?

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