Is US Supporting Oligarch Coup Attempt In Venezuela?

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Venezuela is a country engulfed in myth in the US media.  It is almost impossible to get the truth from corporate media outlets. Indeed, Venezuela may be the most lied about country in the US media.  Sadly, groups that had been previously trusted like Human Rights Watch have joined the anti-Venezuela propaganda campaign and their reports on the country have been rebutted in great detail.  In this current round of misinformation, the presence of propaganda against Venezuela also been evident in the social media.

The misinformation in the United States is because Venezuela is the lynch pin of the movement of Latin America away from US domination.  Further, the oligarch class in Venezuela continues to control much of the media and big business interests.  They are able to have a big influence on the economy, create scarcity of key goods and can impact the value of Venezuelan currency by flooding Venezuela with off-market US dollars.  The oligarchs lost big in recent municipal elections and have lost national elections to Chavez and Maduro repeatedly.  Not only is Venezuela a challenge to US hegemony in the Americas, it is a challenge to big finance capitalism.  It has rejected the corporate-based neoliberal economics that the US is pushing throughout the world to the detriment of most people and the benefit of the wealthy. For all these reasons Venezuela is a top target of the United States and the oligarchs in Venezuela.

The opposition leader, Leopoldo López , has deep roots in the United States where he went to college and graduate school.  He received his masters degree from Harvard and reportedly has had ties to the CIA since undergraduate school (see Maria Paez Victor article below).  He is openly inciting violence, calling for the removal of Maduro and promising violence until he leaves. López is being sought for arrest in Venezuela.  Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened repercussions if he is arrested.  López is an economist who worked in the Venezuelan oil industry.  His father was Secretary of Agriculture in the 1940s and he is the great, great, great grandson of the first president of Venezuela, Cristóbal Mendoza (who served from 1811-12). He was elected mayor of Chacao in 2000 and 2004. In November 2005 López was suspended from future political activity after his term as mayor expired in 2008 over allegations of misuse of funds. López  is calling for a major march on Tuesday and promises to present himself to officials who are seeking his arrest.

President Maduro has expelled three US diplomats. Venezuelan authorities identified the expelled diplomats as Breeann Marie McCusker, Jeffrey Gordon Elsen and Kristofer Lee Clark, all vice consuls.  They were allegedly involved in providing visas and were meeting with college students of the last few months, according to the Venezuelan government. Maduro expelled three other US diplomats on September 30, 2013 because they were working with the right wing oligarchs to undermine the Venezuelan economy.

Below are two articles and a video that provide more information.  A consistently reliable source for information on Venezuela is


Ecnomic Sabotage: Venezuela Under Attack Again

Counterpunch, February 17, 2014

Again, a highly organized attack is being carried out against the democratic and popular government of Venezuela. It has involved monetary manipulations, economic sabotage, international media campaign against the economy despite excellent economic indicators, defaming the state run oil company, and this last week riots on the streets that have left 3 dead and 66 injured.

The tactics are the same that the un-democratic opposition has tried for 15 years ever since the first election of President Hugo Chávez. Such tactics have been used in the so-called Rainbow Revolutions in Eastern Europe, Libya, in Syria, in Egypt and now in Ukraine. The object is to give a semblance of chaos, to provoke the forces of public order, to discredit the government through the compliant international media, to foster civil unrest, even civil war (as it successfully happened in Syria), and ultimately to promote conditions for international intervention and even occupation.

However, Venezuela is not in the Middle nor Near East and its government is a participatory democracy that enjoys a very strong majority, the backing of all key institutions under the rule of law, and the support of its regional neighbors. Furthermore, the population is linked to many organized community groupings, it is not an amorphous mass.

The stakes are high because the country has the largest known oil reserves and these are a stone’s throw from Washington.

The opposition believes that in the absence of Hugo Chávez, Nicolás Maduro, is easy pickings. They greatly underestimate the man whose popularity has soared inside and outside the country.[i]

The attack on Venezuela, aimed to create popular discontent  has had the following features:

Monetary warfare. This started with run on the currency, the manipulation of the black market dollar, obtaining dollars at preferential price from the government under false reasons. Maduro did not hesitate: he regulated prices and changed the monetary exchange rules and 70% approved of his response.[ii]

False scarcity:  A double blow of outrageous overpricing of goods plus artificial food scarcity started just as people were beginning their Christmas shopping. Wealthy merchants proceeded to hoard essential goods: corn flour, sugar, salt, cooking oil, toilet paper, etc. placing them in hidden warehouses or spirited off to Colombia through a well-planned smuggling operation. The military discovered an illegal bridge built for motorcycles that carried the smuggled goods. Thousands of bags of foodstuffs  were discovered simply left rotting on Colombian byways: this was not smuggling for economic reasons, but for political reasons. The Colombian government cooperated with the Venezuelan government to stop this smuggling.

Attack on Venezuela’s petroleum company PDVSA: the international press has been alleging that PDVSA is failing because it is using its profits for social programs instead of re-investing, and that the country is running out of petroleum. Funnily enough they never warn Canada or Saudi Arabia about oil scarcity.  They even state the preposterous notion that Venezuela is importing gasoline from the USA. The fact is that PDVS owns the large oil company CITGO in USA whose refinery often sends back to Venezuela a special liquid used for improving gasoline grade 95. PDVSA is still one of the top 5 oil companies in the world according to the influential Petroleum Intelligence Weekly.[iii]

Campaign to discredit the economy. The international media has been predicting doom and gloom for Venezuela for years! The Venezuelan economy is doing very well. Its oil exports last year amounted to  $94 billons while the imports only reached $59.3 billons – a historically low record. The national reserves are at $22 billons and the economy has a surplus (not a deficit) of 2.9% of GDP. The country has no significantly onerous national or foreign debts.[iv] These are excellent indicators that many countries in Europe would envy, even the USA and Canada.  The multinational bank Wells Fargo has recently declared that Venezuela is one of the emerging economies that is most protected against any possible financial crisis and the Bank of America Merril Lynch has recommended to its investors to buy Venezuelan government bonds.   [v]

Exaggeration of Security risks.  Venezuela has high crime rate, unfortunately, just like most countries in Latin America. The recent death of a young high profile media couple spurred the opposition to exaggerate insecurity. Maduro responded by a widespread Plan for Peace with intense community policing, involving communities and communal councils, dividing the cities in sectors with hotlines and special patrols, the creation of 25 citizens committees for Police Control in total 250 people, new services for victim of crime, involvement of media to curb violent programs. This was highly popular.

There is a section of the opposition that is democratic and law abiding, unfortunately it is the undemocratic elements of opposition that seems to lead. These last few days, these prominent leaders of the undemocratic opposition, parliamentarians Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, were urging violence.  Orchestrated riots, with professional sabateurs, and the manipulation of young men, assassinated 3 people and injured 66.[vi] López –whose link to the CIA goes back to his stay at Kenyon College, Ohio[vii] –  stated publicly that the violence would go on until they “got rid of Maduro”. One of the protestors told the media “We need a dead guy”. Twitter messages abound urging that someone kill Maduro. One Twitter message gave out details of the school of the child of President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, urging that the child be kidnapped.

The Attorney General, who is a woman, was physically attacked her offices ransacked. Police cars burnt, cultural establishment vandalized, the Governor of Tachira’s house was nearly burnt with his family in it.

The opposition’s violence has a been a constant. Last October, Henrique Capriles, the presidential candidate four times a loser, upon losing to Maduro openly called for violent protest saying: “go out into the streets and show your rage.” The result was that 10 people died (one who was a 5 year old indigenous little girl) and 178 injured, 19 popular clinics attacked and set fire to, Cuban doctors having to flee Cuban doctors fleeing for their safety.

The international press does NOT REPORT THE VIOLENCE UNLEASHED BY THE VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION. When it reports these violent events it insinuates that it is the fault of the government.

The result of 15 years of the Bolivarian Revolution is evident in the increasing wellbeing of its population.[viii]  The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has declared Venezuela to be now the least unequal country of the region (GINI Coefficient) having reduced inequality by 54%.[ix]

Poverty levels are at 21% and extreme poverty dropped from 40% to 7.3%. Infant mortality has been reduced from 25/1000 (1990) to 10/1000.  [x] The Chávez government eliminated illiteracy and provided free public education, housing and health services. In just one decade, Venezuela advanced 7 places in the UN Human Development Index.[xi]

Polls show Venezuela has one of the happiest populations in the world.[xii]In all this it has been greatly helped by the solidarity and expert teachers and doctors from Cuba.  Cuba and Venezuela have shown the world what is real solidarity between nations.

The financial crisis that has hit the North these past six years,  has been met with state antagonism against workers and  the general population.  With the excuse of  a supposed need for austerity, public programs are cut and unions undermined. The crisis also affected Venezuela as oil prices dropped. However, the government solidly continued to reduce poverty, increase salaries, trained thousands of workers,  and the country’s Human Development Index continued to rise despite the contraction of the economy. By protecting employment as a basic strategy to counter the crisis, the economy continued to grow at an average that has ranged from 2.5 to 5% GDP.   [xiii]

The real opposition in Venezuela is the USA, its allies and its agents who feed the illegal pipeline of dollars that pour into bogus NGOs and the opposition parties.

Venezuela represents the rejection of neo-liberal economics and corporate capitalism. The corrupt elite- governed Venezuela, darling of corporate capitalism, that had impoverished its own population during 40 years, is no more.

These violent tactics have no hope of succeeding because, unlike 1999, the Venezuelan people are now organized into many groups: the communal councils, the communes, the thousands of health, security, militia, sports, educational, cultural committees. The Bolivarian Revolution has fostered, not a mass of people, but an organized organic population that makes decisions about its living conditions along with its government because Venezuela is now a fully functioning participatory democracy.

The opposition has no popular base – as can be seen by its string of electoral defeats.

It has no support of the military – even governors who form part of the democratic opposition have appeared on TV denouncing these tactics with military staff standing beside them.

They do not have the backing of any South American neighbour, as countries have been quick to avow solidarity with President Maduro and denounce their violence.

Their only card is to hope Venezuela is invaded by US Marines. That would be the beginning of regional warfare.

María Páez Victor is a sociologist, born in Venezuela.


[i] Rafael Rico Ríos, Un pueblo maduro, Rebelión, 09/12/13; Survey by international news outlet NTN24 indicates Nicolás Maduro is the most popular president in Latin America, as well the poll by ICS. YVK Mundial – 01/10/13 –

[ii] AVN, 15 Dec. 2013, Hinterlaces: 70% de los venezolanos apoya la ofensiva económica emprendida por Maduro;

[iii] Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, 09/05/2013

[iv] Mark Weisbrot, How Europe can learn from Latin Amrica’s independence, The Guardian, 21 August 2013; El tan esperado apocalisis en Venezuela es poco probable,—desconsenso-en-washington/el-tan-esperado-apocalipsis–en-venezuela-es-poco.aspx#ixzz2jc5ULbi7

Is Venezuela in Crisis? Ewa Sapiezynska & Hassan Akram, AL JAZEERA, 2 December 2013;

[v] La Guerra económica y las elecciones municipales, Juan Manuel Karg, Rebelión, 2 diciembre 2013

[vi] Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Venezuelan Opposition Leaders Demand More Demonstrations Following Deadly Clashes, VENEZUELANALYSIS, Feb 13th 2014

[vii] Jean-Guy Allard, Para destruir la obra de Chávez, la CIA apuesta por López, el fascista que crió, TWITTER:  @AllardJeanGuy

[viii] Carles Muntaner, Joan Benach, Maria Paez Victor, The Achievements of Hugo Chavez, COUNTERPUNCH, 20 December 2013.


[x] National Institute of Statistics, Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, 27 March 2012; Yolanda Valey, BBC, 4 March 2012

[xi] UN Human Development Index

[xii] Gallup Poll 2012; Happy Planet Sustainable Wellbeing Index, Global Footprint Network, 14 June 2012; New Economic foundation, 24 Oct. 2012; World Happiness Report, University of Columbia, 2012.

[xiii] Jesse Chacón, “La economía nacional en el context de la crisis global del capitalismo” 27 abril 2012, Agencia Venezolana de Noticias”

Anchor Mike Walter of CCTV America sits down with Mark Weisbrot to debunk the myths behind the February 2014 Venezuelan protests.

Venezuela’s Maduro expels 3 US consular officials, alleging conspiracy

RT America
February 17, 2014 10:59

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a national broadcast at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, February 16, 2014.(Reuters / Miraflores Palace)

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a national broadcast at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, February 16, 2014.(Reuters / Miraflores Palace)

After days of protests led by students and opposition forces, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the expulsion of three US consular officials whom he accused of conspiracy and meeting students involved in anti-government protests.

Maduro did not identify the US officials, but pledged that the Venezuelan foreign minister would give more details later.

“It’s a group of US functionaries who are in the universities. We’ve been watching them having meetings in the private universities for two months. They work in visas,” Maduro stated in a nationally televised broadcast.

It’s believed that the expulsion has been provoked by the Obama administration’s support for the Harvard-educated opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whom Maduro accuses of leading a US-backed “fascist” plot to oust the socialist government.

Forty-two-year-old Lopez (who was the mayor of the Chacao Municipality of Caracas from 2000 until 2008) has led the biggest demonstration yet against Maduro’s 10-month-old government, when over 10,000 people poured onto the streets on Wednesday to peacefully protest their growing worries, such as the country’s high murder rate and a record-breaking 56 percent inflation.

An opposition demonstrator confronts riot police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas February 15, 2014. (Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

An opposition demonstrator confronts riot police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas February 15, 2014. (Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

According to Maduro, a US State Department official said in a phone conversation with Venezuela’s ambassador to the Washington-based Organization of American States that arresting Lopez would cause serious negative consequences with international ramifications, AP reported.

These are unacceptable, insolent demands,” Maduro said during a televised address Sunday night. “I don’t take orders from anyone in the world,” he added.

There has been no immediate reaction from Washington, which has denied the accusations that the US has been busy plotting with the opposition against Maduro. The US hasn’t had an ambassador in Caracas since 2010.

Maduro’s government accused Lopez of inciting violence when at the end of opposition protests in the capital a group of students battled with security forces and pro-government militias, leaving three people dead. Shortly after the incidents an arrest warrant was issued against Lopez.

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.(Reuters / Jorge Silva)

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.(Reuters / Jorge Silva)

On Sunday, after Venezuelan security forces raided the homes of the opposition leader and his parents, Lopez posted a message on Twitter, and a three-minute long video.

“Maduro, you’re a coward,” López wrote. “You’re not going to force me or my family to bow down.”

Meanwhile, the raids wrapped up another night of protests during which security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a group of about 500 students who vowed to remain on the streets until all arrested anti-government demonstrators are released, AP reported. More protests took place Sunday, according to authorities 18 people were injured.

López said on the video that he invited his supporters to join him on a march on Tuesday from Venezuela Square towards the Justice Ministry building, which has become a “symbol of repression, torture and lies.” He said he didn’t fear arrest and accused authorities of violating his constitutional right to protest Maduro’s government. “I haven’t committed any crime,” Lopez said. “If there is a decision to legally throw me in jail I’ll submit myself to this persecution,” adding that after Tuesday’s march to the ministry he planned to walk alone to the agency to deliver a petition demanding a full investigation of the government’s role in the deaths.

enezuelan opposition supporter waves a Venezuelan flag during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government at Angel de la Independencia monument in Mexico City, February 16, 2014.(Reuters / Edgard Garrido )

enezuelan opposition supporter waves a Venezuelan flag during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government at Angel de la Independencia monument in Mexico City, February 16, 2014.(Reuters / Edgard Garrido )

In his TV address, Maduro also called for a march by oil workers on Tuesday, beginning at the same central plaza in Caracas where Lopez is planning to rally. He urged Lopez to negotiate his surrender for his own safety, claiming that some sectors of the extreme right-wing want to assassinate opposition leader to provoke a political crisis.

In an effort to hamper anti-government demonstrations, which have been held since Wednesday, Maduro ordered the suspension of subway and bus service in the area where the protests take place in Caracas.

US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement expressing concern about escalating tensions in Venezuela.

“We are particularly alarmed by reports that the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained scores of anti-government protestors and issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. These actions have a chilling effect on citizens’ rights to express their grievances peacefully,” the statement informed on Saturday.

It’s not the first time the socialist leader has expelled American officials from office. Hours before announcing the death of Hugo Chavez in March, Maduro expelled two US diplomats, claiming the United States might have been behind the leader’s cancer. Six months later, on September 30, Maduro said that the top US diplomat in the country, Charge d’Affaires in Venezuela Kelly Keiderling, along with two other American diplomats had 48 hours to leave the country for allegedly helping opponents sabotage the electrical grid.

Sunday’s expulsion is the third by Maduro. Venezuela’s President has repeatedly claimed that the United States is determined to topple him.

  • Jorge

    “Further, the oligarch class in Venezuela continues to control much of the media and big business interests.” – Did you know the government bought two of the most important tv stations in the country? And the one that did not want to sellout was closed down by the government. Right now as protests happen all over the country, literally no tv news stations are reporting what is happening. Protesters depend on social media (Twitter, FB) to report what is going on, and the government has also been trying to block. (This has been notified by Twitter and Venezuelans who are in the country) So by “oligarch class in Vzla” controlling much of the media and big business interests I hope you mean the government and it’s high rank officials. As much as they claim to hate capitalism, they are most of the rich people left in Venezuela.

    “The oligarchs lost big in recent municipal elections and have lost national elections to Chavez and Maduro repeatedly.” – Did you hear about how in the last presidential elections it was demanded to the National Assembly for a recount of the votes due to suspicious activities such as the disappearing of multiple boxes that contained voter’s tickets, some were taken by military members and many voting centers were shut down before everyone had voted in that area. When Maduro “won” presidential elections the first thing he claimed in his winning speech was that he was not afraid of recounting, that he encouraged a recount… this claim was immediately changed to avoiding the recount and pretending he never said that the next day. There was an “official recount” which was only validated only by government officials. Guess what the outcome of the recount was?.

    About Leopoldo: “He is openly inciting violence, calling for the removal of Maduro and
    promising violence until he leaves. López is being sought for arrest in
    Venezuela.” – Except that he isn’t inciting violence. Every time he reaches out to his people he has been announcing that the people must go to the streets to protest in peace, avoiding being taunted by the offending military and other armed groups that are pro-government such as the Tupamaros. He even tells every protester to dress in white as a sign of peace ( You could conclude that he is inciting violence if you check what is broadcasted on TV in Vzla only though, cause you know, like I said previously the media IS controlled by the government and they do some (very) poor editing to send the messages they want to those who limit themselves to watching those news. The reason they want him arrested is because they are afraid of the people being joined by him and they hope to destabilize everyone.

    “López is calling for a major march on Tuesday and promises to present himself to officials who are seeking his arrest.” – Yes, he publicly said it would be a peaceful march, in which he would deliver himself the petitions of the people in paper to a government official. Not to have a violent encounter. He says so himself,

    “Again, a highly organized attack is being carried out against the democratic and popular government of Venezuela.” – I’m sorry. Do we call democratic government a government that owns all tv stations and forbids them from showing the protests that take place and how the authorities violently engage these peaceful marches? People are dying on the streets due to violence but everyone is happy watching soap operas at home I guess. Is it democratic to attempt to block social media? Is it democratic as well when the president declares that the people have no right and need a government issued permit to manifest themselves on the streets? (Maduro says so here, contradicting even Chavez years ago… Is it democratic when those who didn’t vote for the government cannot get a job at a public institution? Or when those who have positions at public jobs are OBLIGATED to go to pro-government marches and dress in a certain way? It is not requested, it is demanded, and your job is at risk if you don’t comply. Please, define democracy for me.

    I would also like to recommend you to try and find other sources for your information. Websites that are pro-government instead of objective and neutral aren’t really a good source.

    As for my sources, I’ve lived most of my life in Venezuela and have experienced these things first hand. Just like my friends and family. When you see everything that is happening there it’s Venezuelans fighting for their rights who are marching and dying. Not Chavistas or Opposition. It’s Venezuelans. Talk all you want about CIA and USA but that’s the least of people’s concerns (And by the way, you forgot to mention the massive influence that Fidel and Raul Castro from Cuba have in the current government). Cause the ones who are fighting for a better country are Venezuelans who care about a better future for their sons and daughters.

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  • Pancho_zc

    Lol who writes this Venezuelan government propaganda? Sounds just like Maduro, it is everyone elses fault but not his. First, you have Iguanas putting the entire country in a black out, tomorrow godzilla will be orchestrating a coup attempt while being mentally controlled by the United States.

  • kevinzeese

    It is written by people who can see reality through the smokescreen of the oligarchs and US Empire.

  • Pancho_zc

    Dam that empire that promotes freedom of speech and individual rights. If only more places were like Venezuela that attack anyone who opposes their views and censors all television stations that dont show what the government wants. Basically anybody that deviates from the master Orwellian 1984 plan is an “evil empire” in your views right?

  • kevinzeese

    You really believe the US Empire does those things? Wow, get over the 5th grade civics class and look at the reality of what the US does around the world. The US is supporting General SiSi in Egypt — as one example among many. Believe me, the list is long.

    And, check your facts on Venezuela. They are opening up the media, not closing it. Adding lots of citizen’s media to the mix so it is not only the corporate mass media.

    You are believing to much US propaganda.

  • Pancho_zc

    US propaganda? I have lived in Venezuela. I visited there 3 months ago too. Have you ever set foot in that country? If they were “opening” up the media then why did they throw out NTN24 just a few days ago? Why are they taking cameras away from people that record the police committing crimes? Why did 60,000 cuban soldiers just get sent over? Check your facts on Venezuela, 1 out of 4 basic goods cant be found, greater than 56% inflation, oil production falling to historically low levels… they cant even find toilet paper!

  • This is some of the most idiotic “reporting” I have come across. Can you even locate Venezuela on a map? Do you not know that all of the TV and Radio stations as well as the vast majority of the Press, as well as all of the basic industry etc. are all in hands of the Venezuelan government? How are the “oligarchs” creating any scarcity when they have had control wrestled away from them? Have you heard of the PDVAL case? How about of Antonini Wilson, ever hear of him? Try to educate yourself before you start to write dribble like this and try to pass it off as “journalism.”

  • Ron

    I wrote a college report on Venezuela in the 60’s, drove to Venezuela in 71, and have followed it ever since. Why do so many people who don’t believe their own government in America decide to believe everything negative coming out of the US media and government about Venezuela?
    The US is the fourth ‘horse’ of the ‘Apocalypse’. The US is the ‘beast with 10 horns (presidents) and ‘seven heads’ (Federal Reserve governors) who have ruled the world since Truman dropped the atomic bomb on Japan.
    Look in the mirror paleface and ‘behold a pale horse’ – we the paleface nation of White guys who rule the world – we the people are the ‘pale horse’ the ‘beast’ rides when it destroys anything and everything else.
    One should characterize the writers attacking Venezuela as willfully ignorant, intentionally stupid and suffering from a grand case of denial.
    The ‘beast’ has the ‘feet of a bear’ to enforce its empire: army, navy, air force, marines.

  • cruisersailor

    I wish that Hugo Chavez was alive and healthy.

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  • Pancho_zc

    Lol dont worry too much about the “reporters” here. They are just as incompetent as the Venezuelan government.

  • Thank you Pancho! Although, I’m embarrassed that in my haste I used the wrong “drivel”

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  • barada

    You sound as innocent about US Reality as a 4th grade schoolboy in love with his teacher. “City On a Hill” myths have obviously superceded critical thought about America for you.
    You can think harder.

  • Eugene Weixel

    The opposition does not flood Venezuela with dollars as you assert. To the contrary there is a scarcity of dollars. one simple reason is thesteep and rapid fall of oil prices, Caused by fracking, hybrid autos, wind and solat power etc,

    Beyond that though there are other factors, for example the virtual give away of imported gasoline. That[s right, imported. Chaves once gave a speech back in December 2006 but he backed off. Mentioned it a”gain in 2011 but he backed off. So old rich and new rich top off their Hummers with free gasoline imported and courtesy of the poor.

    Then there is the currency rate arbitrage that has been going on since Chavez early days in office. Today the government says that 6.3 Bolivares are equal to a dollar. The street says that this is a gross gross exageration and that perhaps 120 Bolivares is a more reasonable esgtimate.

    I am visiting relatives in Venezuela who are struggling. Last week I bought a small two serving carton of apple nectar produced ” in socialism” and costing 30 Bolivares.or almost sixteen dollars.

    Thee 4,889 bolivars per month (US$776 at the official exchange rate of 6.3) minimum wage is the common wage for many workers.

    The Bolivarians I believe are well intentioned but the sysem is infested with people who get access to dollars at 6.3 bolivares courtesy of the government and the poor and import stuff at these way unrealistic low prices only to sell them as though the black market equation is the one to follow. You want to beleive that these are all oppositionis, that is fine.

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