Category Archive 'Venezuela'
15 Jul 2016

Mount Roraima

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MountRoraima
Mount Roraima, first described by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1596, its 31 km2 (11.96 sq. miles) summit area is bounded on all sides by cliffs rising 400 metres (1,300 ft). The mountain serves as the triple border point of Venezuela (85% of its territory), Guyana (10%) and Brazil (5%).

This tabletop mountain is one of the oldest mountains on Earth, dating back two billion years when the land was lifted high above the ground by tectonic activity. The sides of the mountain are sheer vertical cliffs, with several waterfalls, making it nearly impossible to climb.

25 Apr 2016

Venezuela’s Suicide

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Venezuela1

Joel Hirst looks on as the lights begin to go off in Venezuela. That country has arrived recently at a point resembling the closing chapters of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Tonight there are no lights. Like the New York City of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, the eyes of the country were plucked out to feed the starving beggars in abandoned occupied buildings which were once luxury apartments. They blame the weather – the government does – like the tribal shamans of old who made sacrifices to the gods in the hopes of an intervention. There is no food either; they tell the people to hold on, to raise chickens on the terraces of their once-glamorous apartments. There is no water – and they give lessons on state TV of how to wash with a cup of water. The money is worthless; people now pay with potatoes, if they can find them. Doctors operate using the light of their smart phones; when there is power enough to charge them. Without anesthesia, of course – or antibiotics, like the days before the advent of modern medicine. The phone service has been cut – soon the internet will go and an all-pervading darkness will fall over a feral land.

All it would take is the election of one more radical Progressive democrat like Bernie Sanders and the USA could share in the full Venezuela experience.

28 Feb 2014

Retired Venezuelan General Declined to be Arrested

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Retired General Vivas

The Wall Street Journal reports that a retired general’s resistance to the Chavista regime has defeated efforts to effectuate his arrest and set an example for resistance.

A gun-toting retired Venezuelan general has become a folk hero to the country’s opposition and galvanized a protest movement by defying the government of President Nicolás Maduro, engaging in a Rambo-like standoff with security forces sent by the president to arrest him.

Angel Vivas has been holed up in his home in a hilly Caracas suburb since last weekend, when Mr. Maduro, on live television, ordered his arrest for having backed student protests that have convulsed this oil-rich nation.

When black-clad officers from military intelligence went to the retired Army general’s house Sunday morning, he emerged wearing a flak jacket and armed with a semiautomatic rifle and pistol, warning that the only way he would be taken was in a body bag. Scores of neighbors came out in support of Gen. Vivas and heckled security forces, who eventually backed down.

“I have a right to self-defense,” Gen. Vivas said in an interview inside his bunkerlike home, which is decorated with family pictures and mementos to his 40-year career in the army, including old rifles and swords.

“At no time did I order anyone to commit violence,” he said, after the government said his tweet giving defense advice caused a death. “I was helping unarmed civilians defend themselves….A priest recommends prayer, a doctor recommends medicine, a military man recommends how to defend.”

In the days since, Gen. Vivas has become an inspiration to many of the protesters, who have risen up in past weeks against what they see as an increasingly authoritarian government and an economy savaged by high inflation and scarcity. …

Gen. Vivas’s Twitter account, where he regularly blasts the Maduro government as “illegitimate” and a stooge for Cuba, which has close ties to Caracas, surged to 233,000 on Wednesday from some 50,000 followers on Saturday. His 16-year-old daughter Natalia’s account went to 15,000 followers, from 200, after she posted YouTube videos of the standoff.

“He has the guts that a lot of people lack,” said Anessa Cafferata, a 21-year-old engineering student who takes part in daily protests across the capital. “He’s protecting his home, and we students are protecting the country.”

The short and stocky 57-year-old general symbolizes some of Venezuela’s deep divisions that have only hardened in recent weeks as protesters—largely backed by the middle and upper class—square off against a populist government.

In the upper-middle class enclave where the general lives, there is little affection for the government, blamed for a crumbling economy where ordinary goods are scarce on store shelves.One neighbor complained that he went four months without toilet paper. Another said car batteries were now a favorite target for thieves because Venezuela lacks the dollars to import new car batteries. The local school has been closed for two weeks due to the protests.

Neighbors take turns standing guard outside the general’s home, ready to raise the alarm if the government returns to arrest him. Access to the neighborhood is cut off by barricades manned by protesters, who have piled garbage, old tires and tree branches at main intersections to stop government officers from returning.

“He’s a one-man military rebellion,” said Ivan Monroy, an amateur historian who visited the general’s house this week to deliver a copy of his book.

17 May 2011

Iran Proceeding With Venezuelan Missile Base

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The Paraguaná Peninsula is the little frying pan shaped extension on the west end of the coast directly below Aruba.

Back in December, NYM quoted a Hudson Institute article by the Moroccan-Italian journalist Anna Mahjar-Barducci discussing a report (English translation) from the German newpaper Die Welt which quoted “Western security sources” on Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela signing an agreement with Teheran last October 19th to permit an Iranian missile base on Venezuelan soil.

It was reported in December that construction was intended to commence late in 2011, and the Jerusalem Post repeats a report from last Friday’s Die Welt noting that Iranian engineers have already been on-site.

The location selected for the missile base is at the western edge of Venezuela’s northern coast, as close as possible to American targets.

The Iranian government is moving forward with the construction of rocket launch bases in Venezuela, the German daily Die Welt wrote in its Friday edition.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is Teheran’s most important South American ally.

Iran is building intermediate- range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from a construction firm – Khatam al-Anbia – owned by the Revolutionary Guards visited Paraguaná in February. Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guard’s Air Force, participated in the visit, according to the report. Die Welt cited information from “Western security insiders.”

The rocket bases are to include measures to prevent air attacks on Venezuela as well as commando and control stations.

The Iranian military involvement in the project extends to bunker, barracks and watch tower construction. Twenty-meter deep rocket silos are planned. The cost of the Venezuelan military project is being paid for with Iranian oil revenue. The Iranians paid in cash for the preliminary phase of the project and, the total cost is expected to amount to “dozens of millions” of dollars, Die Welt wrote.

The Paraguaná Peninsula is on the coast of Venezuela and is roughly 120 kilometers from America’s main South American partner, Columbia.

According to Die Welt, the clandestine agreement between Venezuela and Iran would mean the Chavez government would fire rocket at Iran’s enemies should the Islamic Republic face military strikes.

09 Dec 2010

Venezuela to Host Iranian Missiles

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ISNA: Rooholla Vahdati
Shahab 3 missile test launch (photo: ISNA – Rooholla Vahdati)

Anna Mahjar-Barducci, writing for the Hudson Institute, informs us that a replay of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis is right around the corner. This time, it will not be Russia but the crazed mullahs of Iran placing potentially nuclear-armed medium range ballistic missiles within range of US cities.

Iran is planning to place medium-range missiles on Venezuelan soil, based on western information sources, according to an article in the German daily, Die Welt, of November 25, 2010. According to the article, an agreement between the two countries was signed during the last visit o Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Tehran on October19, 2010. The previously undisclosed contract provides for the establishment of a jointly operated military base in Venezuela, and the joint development of ground-to-ground missiles.

At a moment when NATO members found an agreement, in the recent Lisbon summit (19-20 November 2010), to develop a Missile Defence capability to protect NATO’s populations and territories in Europe against ballistic missile attacks from the East (namely, Iran), Iran’s counter-move consists in establishing a strategic base in the South American continent – in the United States’s soft underbelly.

According to Die Welt, Venezuela has agreed to allow Iran to establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers, soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Venezuelan missile officers. In addition, Iran has given permission for the missiles to be used in case of an “emergency”. In return, the agreement states that Venezuela can use these facilities for “national needs” – radically increasing the threat to neighbors like Colombia. The German daily claims that according to the agreement, Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B (285-330 km) and Scud-C (300, 500 and 700 km) will be deployed in the proposed base. It says that Iran also pledged to help Venezuela in rocket technology expertise, including intensive training of officers

Venezuela has also become the country through which Iran intends to bypass UN sanctions. Following a new round of UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic, for example, Russia decided not to sell five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defence systems to Iran. These weapons, along with a number of other weapons, were part of a deal, signed in 2007, worth $800 million. Now that these weapons cannot be delivered to Iran, Russia is looking for new customers; according to the Russian press agency Novosti, it found one: Venezuela. …

If Iran, therefore, cannot get the S-300 missiles directly from Russia, it can still have them through its proxy, Venezuela, and deploy them against its staunchest enemy, the U.S..

But that is not all. According to Reuters, Iran has developed a version of the Russian S-300 missile and will test-fire it soon, as declared by the official news agency IRNA, two months after Moscow cancelled the delivery to comply with United Nations sanctions. Iran, in fact, has its own capabilities for constructing missiles that could carry atomic warheads. According to a study recently released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, Iran is presently aiming to perfect the already existing solid-fuel, medium-range missile that can carry a nuke to hit regional targets, such as Israel. If a missile base can be opened in Venezuela, many US cities will be able to be reached from there even with short-medium range missiles.

The situation that is unfolding in Venezuela has some resemblance to the Cuba crisis of 1962. At that time, Cuba was acting on behalf of the USSR; now Venezuela is acting on behalf of Iran. At present, the geopolitical situation is very different: the world is no longer ruled by two superpowers; new nations, often with questionable leaders and the ambition of acquiring global status, are appearing on the international scene. Their danger to the free world will be greater if the process of nuclear proliferation is not stopped. Among the nations that aspire to become world powers, Iran has certainly the best capabilities of posing a challenge to the West.

Back in the 1962, thanks to the stern stance adopted by the then Kennedy administration, the crisis was defused

Nowadays, however, we do not see the same firmness from the present administration.

Unlike Nikita Krushchev who obviously did not desire a shared nuclear apocalypse, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an arch-fundamentalist Shiite Muslim who believes in, and eagerly awaits, the appearance of the 12th “Hidden” Imam, the Mahdi, who will return suddenly accompanied by Jesus to announce the arrival of the universal conversion of mankind to Islam, and Ahmadinejad has given ample evidence that he believes the time is ripe for the arrival of the Mahdi and believes that he is in a position to hasten his appearance.

The United States in 1962 had decayed to the point of abandoning the Monroe Doctrine, which had previously placed the Americas under US protection against foreign colonization, and President Kennedy got rid of the Russian missiles via a face-saving secret surrender presented publicly as a US foreign policy triumph. The US gave Russia a pledge never to invade Cuba or overthrow the Communist regime 90 miles from Havana, and withdrew US missiles from Turkey.

Today, America is in general far weaker in character, infinitely more pacifistic than in 1962. We have Barack Obama, not WWII Navy veteran John Kennedy, in the White House. What will Obama do or not do? The prospect is depressing.

A nuclear-armed Shahab-3 could arrive from Venezuela to Southern US cities in roughly half an hour from the moment of being launched.

26 Aug 2010

Viva la libertad!

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At the recent Miss Universe Pageant, outgoing 2009 Miss Universe winner, Stefania Fernandez, on her final appearance, defiantly displayed the 7-star, pre-2006 Flag of Venezuela, symbolizing her personal opposition to the socialist dictatorship of Hugo Chavez (who as one of many expressions of his crackpot devotion to the liberal revolutionary Simon Bolivar, whose politics were really the opposite of Chavez’s own, brought about the adoption in 2006 of Bolivar’s proposed 8-star “Flag of Angostura”).

As Francisco de Miranda said: “Muerte a la tiranía. Viva la libertad!” (Death to Tyranny. Long live Freedom!)

Hat tip to IBD via Scott Johnson.

14 Jan 2010

Trans-Atlantic Air Network Linking Terrorists

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A Gulfstream jet detained in Guinea Bissau, found in 2008 to be carrying 600 kilos of cocaine

Reuters is reporting that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is operating an illicit air traffic operation crossing the Atlantic Ocean from West Africa to the Andes, using a fleet of twin-engine turboprops, executive jets and retired Boeing 727s, transporting arms and carrying drugs supplied by FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) for ultimate European distribution.

What is alarming international authorities is the recent addition of several Boeing 727 aircraft, significantly enhancing these outlaw organizations’ transport capabilities.

Alexandre Schmidt, regional representative for West and Central Africa for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, cautioned in Dakar this week that the aviation network has expanded in the past 12 months and now likely includes several Boeing 727 aircraft.

“When you have this high capacity for transporting drugs into West Africa, this means that you have the capacity to transport as well other goods, so it is definitely a threat to security anywhere in the world,” said Schmidt.

The “other goods” officials are most worried about are weapons that militant organizations can smuggle on the jet aircraft. A Boeing 727 can handle up to 10 tons of cargo. …

[Now] militant organizations — including groups like the FARC and al Qaeda — have the “power to move people and material and contraband anywhere around the world with a couple of fuel stops.”

03 Dec 2009

Venezuela Getting Russian Arms Factory

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Soon to be made in Venezuela for export throughout the hemisphere

It’s convenient for Putin and Chavez having Barack Obama in the White House. Not a lot of chance that we’ll be hearing about the Monroe Doctrine from this president.

Reuters:

Russia is building arms plants in Venezuela to produce AK-103 automatic rifles and cartridges and is finalizing contracts to send 53 military helicopters to the Andean nation, Moscow’s envoy to Venezuela said Monday.

Ambassador Vladmir Zaemskiy told a news conference that Russian engineers and Venezuelan construction firms were building the rifle and cartridge plants which, when operational, would employ more than 1,500 workers.

He gave no completion date for the plants under construction in the central state of Aragua.

14 Mar 2009

Russian General: Russian Strategic Bombers Offered Bases in Venezuela & Cuba

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So much for that “reset relations” button that Hillary delivered to the leaders of the Kremlin.

The Russians have an almost 50 year old tradition of testing democrat wimp presidents. John F. Kennedy conspicuously failed that test in 1962 when he abandoned the Monroe Doctrine, and traded US missiles in Turkey and a promise to leave Castro in place for Russian removal of missiles from Cuba and an ersatz public victory.

Now it very well may be Barack Obama’s turn.

Reuters:

A Russian general said on Saturday Venezuela has offered the use of its La Orchila island airfield for Russian strategic bombers on long-range flights.

Russia has been keen to build relations with a rival to the United States in the Western hemisphere in an effort to counter U.S. influence in formerly Communist countries in eastern Europe and central Asia.

“If certain political decisions are taken, it is possible (for Russian bombers to use the base),” Interfax news agency quoted the head of Russian strategic aviation general-major Anatoly Zhikharev as saying.

Zhikharev also said Russian bombers would be prepared to use four or five airfields on Cuba if the political leadership of the two countries allowed the use of Cuban bases.

Two Russian long-range bombers flew to Venezuela last year in a visit designed to show off Moscow’s military strength and build ties with a foe of the United States.

16 Dec 2008

Lower Oil Prices Defund Dictators

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Peter Zeihan, at Stratfor, discussing the impact of the ongoing collapse of oil prices from to a current $40 a barrel from $147 last July.

Happily, the list of losers is headed by the worst outlaws.

Venezuela and Iran top this list by far. Both are led by politicians who have lavished vast amounts of oil income on their populations to secure their respective political positions. But that public approval has come at its own price in terms of economic dislocation (why diversify the economy if strong oil prices bring in loads of cash?), low employment (the energy sector may be capital-intensive, but it certainly is not labor-intensive), and high inflation (high government spending has led to massive consumption and spurred rampant import of foreign goods to satiate that demand).

Of the two states, Venezuela is certainly in the worse position. By some estimates, Venezuela requires oil prices in the vicinity of US$120 a barrel to maintain the social spending to which its population has become accustomed. Iran’s number may be only somewhat lower, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in the process of at least beginning to bow to economic reality. On Dec. 5, he announced massive cuts in subsidy outlays with the intent of reforging the budget based on a price of only US$30 a barrel.

Read the whole thing.

14 Dec 2007

‘El Capitalismo es Malo’

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Reuters reports on the International epidemic of laughter resulting from the embarrassment of one of the Chavez regime’s revolutionaries observed to be a luxury consumer while in the midst of a rant against Capitalism.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Pedro Carreño was momentarily at a loss for words when a journalist interrupted his speech and asked if it was not contradictory to criticize capitalism while wearing Gucci shoes and a tie made by Parisian luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton.

“I don’t, uh … I … of course,” stammered Carreño on Tuesday before regaining his composure. “It’s not contradictory because I would like Venezuela to produce all this so I could buy stuff produced here instead of 95 percent of what we consume being imported.”

0:30 video

03 Dec 2007

Venezuela Rejects Totalitarianism

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And, David Goldstein, at the Huffington Post, responds to the bad news, thusly:

The Bushies have called Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez a dictator and a tyrant… but since when do dictators lose elections? …

Now if only Bush had accepted the will of the people as graciously as Chávez.

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