Comments on: This is not Ukraine: Venezuela will erode, not explode http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/2014/02/28/this-is-not-ukraine-venezuela-will-erode-not-explode/ Fri, 05 Dec 2014 14:27:05 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: jjsulzbach http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/2014/02/28/this-is-not-ukraine-venezuela-will-erode-not-explode/#comment-1095 Mon, 03 Mar 2014 08:19:16 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/?p=1216#comment-1095 Ian Bremmer gets a lot of thing right in this article; particularly his conclusion that, for Maduro, “surviving this battle is very different from winning the war.” That probably encapsulates the situation as it now stands–and pay attention here because what follows is important–so long as the official organs of the Venezuelan government continue to manage the situation for the regime.

There is something important missing from this commentary, which is the presence and role of the so-called “Colectivos” from within Chavismo. These are paramilitary gangs, who usually distinguish themselves in public by the wearing of red t-shirts and their penchant for riding motorcycles in unison. They are lightly-armed, mostly carrying pistols but also possessing automatic weapons, which they are fond of brandishing when they stage what can only be described as the “ceremonial intimidation” of the political opposition in their home neighborhoods, a tactic they have been using for at least the last seven years, following Chavez’s re-election in December, 2006.

Chavez gave the Colectivos the resources they needed when he organized them to function in a manner similar to the Cuban paramilitaries Fidel Castro and his brother Raul have used to curb dissent on their island. And what is so important here is that the Colectivos are the ones responsible for most of the deaths of student protesters, as well as for a significant number of both public and private beatings that have occurred since the protests began.

The questions remain: “How well coordinated and controlled are the Colectivos?” “Will they continue to show the same level of restraint as the official organs of state police power?” (If the word ‘restraint’ can be used to describe a regime engaging in violent repression which stops just short of open murder.) “Will Maduro and Chavismo find themselves completely delegitimized before world opinion as a consequence of uncontrolled and deadly violence meted out by the Colectivos?”

Up to now, the regime in Venezuela has managed to keep the minority in the country who support it, even Bremmer seems to admit it noting the “low 40’s” approval rating of Maduro, together as a unit in the face of the protests. But the Colectivos are not popular anywhere in Venezuela and if they lose restraint the entire situation will change.

The Colectivos are the wild card in the Venezuelan deck.

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By: nixonfan http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/2014/02/28/this-is-not-ukraine-venezuela-will-erode-not-explode/#comment-1094 Sun, 02 Mar 2014 17:25:26 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/?p=1216#comment-1094 V is heading towards hyperinflation, which will make the official exchange rate untenable. V does not have sufficient FX reserves to maintain current imports at the official rate. The CB is exhausting its reserves in an attempt to keep import prices low. At some point, the official exchange rate will have to rise much closer to the parallel rate. That will result in huge price increases. It may also force V to default on its external debt. Right now, the protesters are the middle class, but when prices shoot up, the working class will also revolt. The Bolivarian Socialist Revolution will be bankrupt–as will be Cuba.

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By: Earthtourist http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/2014/02/28/this-is-not-ukraine-venezuela-will-erode-not-explode/#comment-1092 Sun, 02 Mar 2014 12:01:59 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/?p=1216#comment-1092 The ‘Chavista-Cuban’ circus act has been quite effective with it’s multi-pronged strategy.
1. It buy the consciousness of semi-literate, uneducated people at the lower end of social strata by pretending to represent their interests wholeheartedly.
2. It engages in some ‘social policies’ to sponsor and cement that illusion.
3. It takes over the free media or prohibits or threatens them to change their tune.
4. It creates a permanent state of national psychosis based on an illusionary enemy, – ‘the Empire’, the USA.
5. It manipulates EVERYTHING in public life to distort or hide it’s own obvious corrupt and inefficient policies.
6. It either indoctrinates or bribes it’s own military to insure their support.
7. It creates a personality cult around ‘great leader’ Chavez and presents him as a Venezuelan Robin Hood, with Maduro his loyal successor.
8. It buys the consciousnesses of as many poorer Latin & Caribbean countries as possible, using cheap oil and hard cash, in order to support the illusionary notion of ‘strength’ on the world scene.
9. It subverts transparency and it’s own Constitution at will and expediency of the moment.
10. It hands it’s own country over to Cuba and their far more efficient state-thugs to control dissent.
11. Meanwhile, most if not all of the ‘socialist’ √©lite have amassed vast fortunes and imagine they’ll be able to live ‘happily ever after’ once the charade falls and innocent Venezuelans who still believe the ‘red Robin Hood’ fable, are shown the truth.
12. The myth that the US is particularly interested in Venezuelan oil, is exactly that – a myth created by Chavez for his own convenience. Venezuela needs the US far more than the other way around. The US will soon be energy self-sufficient, already export oil and certainly exports the refined gasoline Venezuela needs to keep it’s vehicles moving. This quite apart from essential food produce.
13. The entire ‘Socialism of the XXI Century’ marketing crappo, is nothing but a sick joke for the millions there who will see their life expectancy seriously degraded by lies, manipulation, ineffciency, corruption and not least one of the highest murder rates on the planet.
14. The only thing Chavez and his badoleros have been good at, is the perverse marketing of their lies to their own innocents!

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By: retrovette http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/2014/02/28/this-is-not-ukraine-venezuela-will-erode-not-explode/#comment-1091 Sun, 02 Mar 2014 05:41:23 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/?p=1216#comment-1091 Mind explaining what a “semi-rigged election” is?

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By: CommanderOtto http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/2014/02/28/this-is-not-ukraine-venezuela-will-erode-not-explode/#comment-1090 Sat, 01 Mar 2014 03:37:33 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/?p=1216#comment-1090 Ian Bremmer, this is a very good analysis of the situation of my country (i’m venezuelan). The situation will get much worse and you nailed it when you said he has the support of the military. That was not always the case. Unfortunately, Chavez did a good job of slowly removing anyone who opposed him within the military. In other words, the majority of officers that were known to be anti-chavez were either put in jail (in Los Teques) or forced to retire. Also, after 15 years of new officers being formed with communist ideals, a good deal of the army has formed a career by supporting the chavez government. Finally, it is well known that all of the high ranking officers (generals) are involved in corruption and cannot risk saying anything or else they go to jail because they are dirty. So, many of these chavista officers have no choice either. To make things worse, there have been many reports of Cubans wearing military uniforms, which means the ties to Castro are pretty strong. Maduro inherited this army. As you said, Maduro’s government will continue for some time.

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By: CommanderOtto http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/2014/02/28/this-is-not-ukraine-venezuela-will-erode-not-explode/#comment-1089 Sat, 01 Mar 2014 03:37:06 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/?p=1216#comment-1089 Ian Bremmer, this is a very good analysis of the situation of my country (i’m venezuelan). The situation will get much worse and you nailed it when you said he has the support of the military. That was not always the case. Unfortunately, Chavez did a good job of slowly removing anyone who opposed him within the military. In other words, the majority of officers that were known to be anti-chavez were either put in jail (in Los Teques) or forced to retire. Also, after 15 years of new officers being formed with communist ideals, a good deal of the army has formed a career by supporting the chavez government. Finally, it is well known that all of the high ranking officers (generals) are involved in corruption and cannot risk saying anything or else they go to jail because they are dirty. So, many of these chavista officers have no choice either. To make things worse, there have been many reports of Cubans wearing military uniforms, which means the ties to Castro are pretty strong. As you said, Maduro’s government will continue for some time.

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By: jrpardinas http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/2014/02/28/this-is-not-ukraine-venezuela-will-erode-not-explode/#comment-1088 Sat, 01 Mar 2014 02:46:34 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/ian-bremmer/?p=1216#comment-1088 And however bad things get before they get better…

Don’t expect Venezuelans to hand their country and their resources over to the USA any time soon.

As far as Latin Americans are concerned: Been there, done that. Short of an old-fashioned American armed intervention, those days are gone forever.

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