Venezuela Rising

2/23/19 By Oscar Valdes. oscarvaldes.net

The push to deliver humanitarian aid to the desperate Venezuelan populace is working.

Nicolas Maduro’s opposition to allowing the aid to go in has stirred protests that have begun to fracture the military. Defections are mounting.

Venezuelan soldiers are being asked to restrain or shoot their countrymen because they are begging for food.

The conditions are given for a mass revolt to follow.

Will the military slaughter the hungry people?

I do not remember another instance in Latin America when there has been such strong solidarity with the turmoil in a sister nation. This is unprecedented.

Mr Guaido, the newly proclaimed president of the country has been bold and put himself in the front lines against the repressive forces of Mr Maduro.

The presidents of Colombia and Chile have joined Mr Guaido, standing shoulder to shoulder on the ground in the border town of Cucuta in Colombia, supporting the humanitarian aid. The British financier Richard Branson has lent his effort by sponsoring concerts in support of the resistance.

Lawmakers in the opposition have joined the people in the fray, lending their guidance to the unrest.

Brazil, on the southeast corner, has given the opposition to Mr Maduro’s regime full support, and the first truck filled with aid to push in broke through its border with Venezuela.

Carnage may still happen, but the military will be digging its own grave because the international pressure is sure to continue to mount.

Obtuse military leaders may choose to not look at the reality of the nation’s worsening tragedy, and still decide to defend a corrupt elite that, in the name of a false socialism chose to enrich itself and ravage a nation. But their days are counted.

There will be no respect in Latin America or elsewhere, for members of an armed force, that using their superior power, intentionally, coldly and brutally, murder their brothers and sisters.

The message is out, a new cohesiveness among betrayed people is gathering force.

In this collective effort, the Trump administration and Senator Rubio deserve credit for helping orchestrate the humanitarian aid and for putting sanctions on the purchase of Venezuelan oil.

Oscar Valdes is a self published author and blogger. Oscarvaldes.net

Humanitarian Aid to Venezuela

2/21/19

Humanitarian Aid to Venezuela

By Oscar Valdes

The crumbling socialist regime in Venezuela is kept alive by the military’s allegiance. And, on Nicolas Maduro’s orders, they are to block any shipment of humanitarian aid for the country’s population, no matter how desperate their need.

For the Venezuelan government, accepting the aid is seen as accepting failure, and in spite of the profound need for it, their pride is greater.

Meanwhile, Venezuelans are continuing to flee to neighboring countries, at great cost to themselves and the receiving countries.

The situation on the ground is complex, but it seems critical that the push to get the humanitarian aid into the country not lead to a military clash with the Venezuelan armed forces. If that were to occur it would shift the focus of the struggle from internal to external and delay the continuing internal degradation that will eventually lead to revolt, driven or aided by a faction of dissident military.

It is tragic that the Venezuelan leadership does not acknowledge their failure and the pain inflicted on the population, but the crisis is also a reminder, that the inefficiency and corruption of previous administrations created the conditions for such regime to rise and govern.

Eventually, the Maduro government will fall, and though external pressures by other nations will be a factor in the process, the greater force to overthrow the Maduro regime must come from within. No matter how great the pain, Venezuelans will endure, and they will live to write their history.

Which Way Will the Military’s Guns Point? The Juan Guaido Effect.

2/6/19

By Oscar Valdes.  Oscarvaldes.net

As head of the Venezuelan National Assembly, on 1/23/19, Juan Guaido made the bold move of stepping into the void and assuming the presidency of the country, a void created when Nicolas Maduro, the previous president, fearing defeat at the polls, chose to grab power instead by pressuring the Supreme Court justices into authorizing a sham election.

But Venezuela and the world would not be fooled.

Three million Venezuelans have left the country, an exodus that represents 10% of the population, an emigration forced by the lack of work, food and medicine.

Abhorred by these events, the great majority of Latin American nations, along with Canada, the United States and leading countries in the European community, have raised their cry of protest and the US has imposed economic sanctions.

What continues to prop up the regime is the guns of the military, a military that has been given a strong hand in running industry, to their enrichment, and which has contributed to wrecking the country’s vital oil production.

Juan Guaido has stepped up while Nicolas Maduro refuses to exit. Which way will the guns of the military point?

It is a day of reckoning for that institution, a moment to look at itself and decide how do they want to make history.

The Venezuelan military institution has a noble past, having played a critical role in supporting democracy before allowing itself to be corrupted.

Will they now not see what is clearly before them, a regime that has fallen because of its own actions?

Will they now not see that the Cuban system, which Nicolas Maduro and Hugo Chavez before him sought to emulate, stands as grand failure of statehood?

Will they now not be moved by the pain and misery that most of their compatriots are now enduring?
Sometimes, for a myriad reasons, institutions lose their way, but there’s always a time to find the way back.

Now is such a time.

Now is the time, for the Venezuelan military to recapture its noble past by taking a stand to help their country find its own way.

Now is the time, for the Venezuelan military to redeem itself, by declaring its independence from Cuba, from Russia, from China, and by supporting the actions of men and women who want nothing for themselves but the freedom and wellbeing of their countrymen.

So rise, noble warriors, rise!

This is your time.

Seize the moment and point the guns towards those who oppose Venezuela’s march to freedom.

Trump and Jamal Khashoggi. What the Affair Reveals.

Please see for yourself the entire statement released by the White House on 11/20.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-donald-j-trump-standing-saudi-arabia/?utm_source=link

Here’s the 5th paragraph,

“Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

There’s no evidence that Jamal Kashoggi was an enemy of the Saudi state. He was a critic of it, a man who wanted to help steer the Saudi leadership away from the repressive practices that stifle voices of dissent, the very forces that killed him. He had been close to the leadership but had felt compelled to speak more openly, which is why he chose to move to our country while simultaneously holding residence in Turkey.

The CIA, after careful review of all the evidence produced by Turkey, where the murder took place, concluded that Mr Khashoggi could not have been assassinated without the knowledge of the crown prince. But Trump has no qualms rebuffing such verdict and instead accepting the king and crown prince’s denials. Did the crown prince have knowledge of the event? “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” says Trump. Hard to believe.

But it sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Indeed, Trump said something eerily similar in Helsinki this last July – after a question from a reporter regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections – immediately following his summit meeting with Putin.

“… my people came to me, Dan Coats (from National Intelligence) came to me and others, they said they think it’s Russia… I have President Putin… he said it’s not Russia. I will say this… I don’t see any reason why it would be… I have confidence in both parties… I have great confidence in my intelligence people… but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

Why should Trump not trust his intelligence agencies?

If Putin and the crown prince deny strongly their wrongdoing, is that supposed to negate the conclusions drawn by teams of seasoned experts in intelligence gathering?

Additionally, Mr Trump has openly stated that he will not listen to the tape produced by Turkey containing the gory sounds of the killing of Mr Khashoggi.

What does that mean?

When Trump chooses to not listen to the tapes of Khashoggi’s murder it is not just him not listening, it is all of us. It is America not listening.

What image do we project to the world when we behave as such?

Can Trump not find the strength to face the facts?

There’s something sordid and venal about Trump’s willingness to excuse the Saudi prince.

That Saudi Arabia has signed up to invest 450 billion in our country, a sizable portion going to the buying of weapons, is not a reason to hide from the truth.

This is not to say that geopolitical considerations should not be weighed in.

Saudi Arabia is a long term ally of ours and as such a counter to Iran’s aggressive influence in the region, but giving the Saudi elite a pass in this heinous act is not compatible with the Saudi people’s aspirations to become a modern state.

Why not, for instance, call for the prince to stand trial for the offense, in the presence of international observers?

Would that be a destabilizing event for Saudi Arabia? Maybe, but it would be an important step toward introducing political accountability in the country and preventing the crime from happening again.

It may well be resented and seen as interfering with their governance, but in the end, likely to invigorate the forces of reason and enlightened civility.

As a sovereign nation, it will be up to the Saudis to do as they wish, but taking a public stand for justice leaves us in a strong position while sending a message to all of our allies.

If we were dependent on Saudi oil, the geopolitical considerations would be quite different. But we are not. Thanks to the spirit of innovation that our nation retains, we have become the largest oil producer in the world. That matters. And so does our moral integrity, for it fuels courage, creativity and vision.

So far, Mr Trump has been unable or unwilling to grasp this essence.

This is not lost in the eyes of the world. Appearing to be beholden to a ruling elite is not only detrimental to our image abroad but also, and more importantly, to the image we have of ourselves.

Either way, America loses.