We’ll get to our Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a sec but first…Reuters reports that Venezuela President (dictator), Nicolas Maduro, lashed out at the US Treasury Department license barring companies doing business with the Maduro regime from paying cash to his administration.
He played the “That is colonialism!” card and followed up with his customary bluster, “I call sovereign countries and governments in America and the Caribbean to denounce this colonial model. We do not accept it, we will go our own way.” Maduro did not elaborate on any coming actions.
OK, so how long will the Maduro regime continue with the Chevron “no cash to Venezuela” deal? Will they actually do a “no cash to Venezuela” deal with Trinidad & Tobago for natural gas, as the Treasury Department license stipulates in it’s latest sanctions easing effort? Oh, and by the way, how were they compensated for the latest crude oil shipment to Europe? As we keep asking, did Europe cave to the Chavista”s demands for cash after Venezuela halted shipments to Europe for four months? If so, it’s a sanctions violation but we don’t know and nobody’s talking ….still!
Nicolas Maduro’s government continues their practice of systematic Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity, not to mention their total lack of judicial independence and their fraudulent elections (can we throw in journalistic repression?), and yet they expect to be treated as if it’s “business as usual”. We’ll say it again…”This is who they are!”
Then we have Rio Times telling us that a group of investors is pressuring the US government to lift a ban on trading defaulted Venezuela bonds. According to the group, lifting the ban would not help Nicolas Maduro.The debt currently totals $60 billion plus interest and the bonds are valued at under 10 cents on the dollar.
And we have Insight Crime telling us that The Carlos Capa gang has been a dominant force in a strategic region south of Caracas in the state of Miranda, Venezuela for a long time.
In recent years security forces have detained or killed several of his lieutenants but this has only served to consolidate his power within the gang removing challenges to Capa’s control.
One of the main sources of income for the gang is collection of extortion payments from merchants, agricultural and industrial producers, and companies in their territory.They even extort the CLAP (Maduro’s totally fraudulent food program) taking a percentage of the food for resale.
They are also prominent in online scams through Facebook Marketplace where they advertise used vehicles for sale then rob or kidnap the victims. Those who resist pay with their lives.
Homicides against rival gangs, police officers, and civilians are common. Despite the killing of police officers the gang has recruited important police officials as allies. The police director of one municipality and the chief of police operations of another have been arrested for their links to the gang.
Looking forward, it is unlikely Venezuelan authorities will neutralize Carlos Capa’s criminal group due to his important ties to community members and established relationships with police officials. Other than a few PR raid here and there, the existence, and in some cases dominance, of gangs in many areas of Venezuela is simply part of life.
Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…
Chapter 15 continued…
…They were very fearful of the power of government having just sacrificed so much to win their freedom. It was this fear that caused them to implement all the checks and balances contained in our system and still they knew we had the potential to screw it up. There was one thing that could help defend the people from the unforeseen consequences of actions taken by unknown future leaders, an armed populace. They weren’t worried about someone coming and robbing us in our home. They were worried about the government coming and taking our home away from us! I always fall back on one of my favorite quotes of all time regarding the government and it’s not from a founding father but it shows a healthy distrust of centralized government when it becomes too strong. “A government big enough and powerful enough to give you everything you want is big enough and powerful enough to take everything you have.”
One common thread throughout history is there have always been people that manage to get into positions of power that believe two things, the end justifies the means and might makes right. It is not theory but fact. It’s all around us today. Chairman Mao said it and it’s oh so true, “Government power comes from the barrel of a gun”. When you refuse to do what the government wants you to do, regardless of your legal rights, they will send people with guns. What keeps people with guns from doing as they please, wherever they please, to whomever they please? Other people with guns (and remember, I’m not a gun owner..but I’m thinking about it).
In 2012 Hugo Chavez disarmed the Venezuelan people. At the time a lot of the people I spoke with were OK with the idea. I knew a number of Europeans in Venezuela and almost all of them were in favor of it (at the time). They don’t think that now. When it’s suggested “That wouldn’t happen here” or “We wouldn’t do that” be afraid…be very, very afraid. I have to believe that when an FAES death squad goes into the barrio to make an example out of someone that disagrees with the government they might think twice about it if the people in the neighborhood were armed. Call it common sense, self-preservation, or whatever but would you and a few other people with guns go somewhere intent on using them if you knew there were a hundred people there with guns that would shoot back? Probably not.
This discussion could go on and on, as it has in the US for decades. People on both sides of the issue have reports and studies supporting their position. I believe it is a good thing for any populace to have the right to bear arms as a check against uncontrolled government oppression. (Like the Maduro regime committing 1,400 extrajudicial executions per year) While I believe my theories and rationality supporting my position are sound I can’t say I’m 100% sure my stance is the correct one. There is, however, one thing I can say with absolute certainty. I have spoken with many people during my years in Venezuela and every single one of them believes that if the Venezuelan people had the right to keep and bear arms Maduro and his thugs would have been gone years ago and the Venezuelan people would be rebuilding their country not fleeing it.
That wraps up this week’s abbreviated Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment. We’ll continue with more current news tomorrow….
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