Handling It Themselves
We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a few but first…Insight Crime reports that in Venezuela, recent seizures of urea, a fertilizer and chemical precursor used in the production of cocaine, show how the country continues to be a source of raw materials for drug production in the region.
Nine tons were recently seized in northeast Venezuela near the Colombian border. Venezuela’s capacity to produce and export urea has established it as a significant supplier of a much-needed substance for cocaine producers, which is scarcely available anywhere else in the region.
“The urea seized in Venezuela is typically intended for cocaine processing It’s not only to meet the needs of cocaine labs in Colombia and abroad but also to supply labs within Venezuela”, a drug-trafficking expert told Insight Crime, requesting anonymity for security reasons.
As we’ve told you before, prior to the onset of Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, the drug business wasn’t all that prevalent in Venezuela. When Hugo Chavez took power he promptly ceased Venezuela’s cooperation with the US- DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) saying Venezuela was capable of handling it themselves.
Almost immediately Venezuela became the primary drug-trafficking distribution hub for the region. Then they progressed to production as well. Now, as we know, they are also a key raw materials supplier. I guess they really are “handling it themselves”.
Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…
Chapter 11/ continued…
…As the days turned into months and the violent clashes mounted, along with the death toll, Maduro called for dialog. He abhorred the violence being perpetrated on the peaceful Venezuelan people by a few extremists. He failed to mention that his guys were the ones with the guns. The opposition didn’t want dialog, they wanted a recall election to oust Maduro, which was a foregone conclusion were free and fair elections to be held.
In 2017 the international community hadn’t caught on to Maduro’s game and some haven’t to this day. When confronted with a threat to his regime he calls for dialog while he represses dissent (you know, the usual, killing, wounding, beating, and jailing) knowing full well that time is on his side. The opposition has shown in the past that given time they will always manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The dialog went on for months, changing venues, mediators, representatives shuffling in and out of meetings, constantly telling any who would listen that progress had been made and they were optimistic about the prospects for the next meeting. The Dominican Republic, Mexico, former Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero, and even the Pope continually parroted the same line.
In the midst of all the upheaval and chaos combined with all the confusion and lack of clarity over dialog on the part of the opposition Maduro saw opportunity. The nullification of the National Assembly by the TSJ (the assembly still existed but any laws passed by them would be ruled unconstitutional) wasn’t enough for Maduro. He called for the creation of a constituent assembly (referred to as the ANC). Snap elections for representatives were called and Maduro, the TSJ, and the Electoral Council all confirmed the legitimacy of creating a parallel assembly despite the fact that, according to the Constitution, written by Chavez by the way, a popular referendum was required. Maduro was skipping that part, proving once again that the TSJ would rule that the Constitution was whatever Maduro said it was. The ANC would consist of representatives from all electoral districts and their primary responsibility would be to rewrite the Constitution although they would be all-powerful and beholden to nobody so they could pass laws etc.
The opposition refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election process for the ANC, as they should have, so the ANC was created of almost exclusively Chavistas. Now you had an assembly controlled by the opposition that was duly elected by the people but couldn’t actually pass laws (although they continued to do so). You also had a parallel assembly controlled by the Chavistas that was fraudulently created so according to the Constitution they were powerless but, Maduro, the TSJ, and the Electoral Council all recognized them as the legitimate law-making body for the country, and besides, they were going to rewrite the Constitution anyway.
The ANC almost immediately passed an “anti-hate law” and established a Commission of Truth, Justice, and Peace to investigate violations of said law. The law and the commission were about as believable as “The People’s Democratic Republic of….”. The UN didn’t recognize the ANC and declared that the Commission of Truth, Justice, and Peace didn’t meet the basic requirements of transparency and impartiality to conduct investigations. Oh, did I forget to mention that the election of ANC representatives was boycotted by 70% of the electorate? Oh yeah…and FYI…years after it was created for the express purpose of rewriting the Constitution, nobody ever talked about rewriting the Constitution.
Summary : While it is evident that Hugo Chavez had Venezuela’s democracy and economy headed for a cliff, it was Nicolas Maduro who stepped on the gas and sent their democracy and economy hurtling into the abyss. Why is it that those who most loudly proclaim they’re protecting “the people” and “democracy” show the most blatant disregard for both?
History is a series of conflicts and tipping points. If you want to find the tipping point for Venezuela’s transition from democracy to dictatorship you need look no further than the day the Chavistas had the key MPs for an opposition super-majority in the National Assembly disqualified. From that point on, an emboldened Maduro, backed by the TSJ, demonstrated blatant disregard for the Constitution and for the well-being of the Venezuelan people. There have been contributing factors here and there but that was the day democracy died in Venezuela.
That will do it for this week’s third world dispatches. We’ll be back Monday with our next installment of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole and more current news. Until then….Have a great weekend everybody!!!
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