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Waiting to pounce on me from my inbox this morning: “Please report that Nicolas Maduro wants to visit Ecuador to seek international support . . . .”

My correspondent alludes to a source within Ecuador’s government: ” . . . the visit will be in April or June . . . .”

Is this really such a good time — a good year even — for travel?

With a country, one cannot simply water the plants, check the faucets, lock the doors and leave, and this is not such a good time for Nicolas Maduro for doing even so little as that.

Reuters reported Tuesday, “A teenager was fatally shot at an anti-government protest in the western city of San Cristobal on Tuesday, state officials said, exacerbating tensions in Venezuela amid an economic crisis and crackdown on the political opposition.”

Kluiver Roa was 14 years old.  His father was reputed to be a member of opposition party Copei.  Although an arrest was made, Reuters reporters found cause to call the crime scene circumstances — what actually happened — “confusing”.

Currency devaluation, plunging oil revenues, shortages — no wonder violence has broken out on the streets.

Connection Red Brown Green

Camouflaged police smashed into the mayor’s office and carried him away . . . Mr Ledezma was on a list of people and foreign powers named by Mr Maduro last week as attempting to bring down his administration.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31545963 – 2/19/2015.


Reuters.  “Russia’s Putin, Venezuela’s Madura discuss oil markets: Interfax.”  January 15, 2015; Pitts, Pietro. “Venezuela’s Asia Tour Backfires as Crude Extends Slump.”  Bloomberg Business, January 16, 2015; Lee, Hailey. “Beijing still funds struggling Venezuela, for now.” CNBC, January 21, 2015.

Reliant on mineral wealth for wealth, the “Red Brown Green” arc of power’s extension into developing South American economies may be suffering from the same malady: the west’s intent to finish off the Soviet Empire.

It has been about 25 years since the Soviet dissolved without also dissolving the “perks” of the Party privileged and all of its direct associates, including associate leadership in distant states.

Is the Party over?

It appears the power mad — political species “Narcissus communist proto-fascist”  — were dependent on climbing oil revenues — the miraculous abundance of “black gold”, and all of it theirs for the taking — for sustaining and growing both the functional and symbolic elements of power within their spheres of control, from state’s military equipage to the payouts in patronage that created the “nomenklatura”, which along today’s neo-feudal path appears to be a “Newest Nobility”, now rapidly deflating while being urged toward productive development investment — including investment in human development — and (gasp!) rule of law.

Financially strangling, the politically dying may be expected to put their people in their own place first, i.e., the privileged may be counted on to make themselves the last to give up privilege.

End Games, New Games

In the Awesome Conversation on Facebook, I often remind that Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe — another old Soviet tentacle — remains in power.  What he has done to Zimbabweans, including the reintroduction of cholera in relation to withholding from a rival funds for water sanitation chemicals, seems of no account: in the “one man, one vote, one time” democratic ways of much of Africa, Mugabe will celebrate turning 91 this Saturday.

Although no less than Vladimir Putin has called Mugabe a dictator (at least once and back in 2009), which is sayin’ somethin’, the point is the worst of national leaders, truly despots, have long demonstrated their possession of the means, wherewithal, and will for remaining in power to the natural end of their lives.

As our “malignant narcissists” appear to reject criticism, eliminate rivals, and cultivate a ceaseless “narcissistic supply“, one must expect politically geological aftershocks — or revanch birth pangs — basically kicking (whether leaving the world or coming into it) from the Fall of the Soviet Union and the latest squeeze on the oxygen supply that is cold hard cash at the wellhead.

Update – February 27, 2015

The regime’s favourite charge to level at hostile politicians is plotting to overthrow the government, often in conspiracy with the United States. But it is the president, Nicolás Maduro, who is staging a coup against the last vestiges of democracy. Venezuelans call it an autogolpe, or “self-coup”.

The Economist.  “Venezuela’s crackdown: A slow-motion coup: The authoritarian regime is becoming a naked dictatorship.  The region must react.”  February 28, 2015 (Print Edition).


BackChannels Library.  “Russian Section.”

BBC.  “Venezuela police raid arrests Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma.”  February 19, 2015.

Dawisha, Karen.  Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?  New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Donkin, Tom.  “Venezuela’s financial crisis – in 90 seconds.”  BBC Latin America & Caribbean, February 12, 2015.

Newsday.  “Big bash for Mugabe’s 91st — A feast of wild animals, he’ll get a lion too.” February 23, 2015.

Newzimbabwe.com.  “Putin rebukes ‘dictator’ Mugabe.  December 11, 2009.

Onslow, Sue.  “Robert Mugabe and Todor Zhivkov”.  Cold War International History Project, e-Dossier No. 35.

Ramirez, Carlos Eduardo.  “Venezuelan teen dies after being shot at anti-Maduro protest.”  Reuters, February 24, 2015.

Romero, Simon and Girish Gupta.  “Amid a slump, a crackdown for Venezuela.”  The New York Times, CNBC reprint, February 23, 2015.

Wikipedia.  Antonio Ledezma.

Wikipedia.  María Corina Machado.

Reference – Red Brown Green

“He is alive, as long as nations are alive and struggle for consolidating independence, justice and kindness. I have no doubt that he will come back, and along with Christ the Saviour, the heir to all saintly and perfect men, and will bring peace, justice and perfection for all.”

Dehghan, Saeed Kamali.  “Ahmadinejad’s claim that Chavez will be resurrected with Jesus ‘went too far'”.  The Guardian, March 7, 2013.

Investigative Project on Terrorism.  “Israel: Iran-Venezuela Axis Traffics in Terror, Uranium.”  May 28, 2009.

Mahjar-Barducci, Anna.  “Bolivia, Venezuela, Supply Uranium to Iran.”  Gatestone Institute, October 6, 2010.

Sofer, Roni.  “Israel: Ties to South America aiding Iran’s nuclear program.”  YNet News, May 25, 2009.

Posted to YouTube 2/11/2015.

Posted to YouTube 5/8/2014.

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