Ecuador’s president Raphael Correa will not meet with Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro this month, says a BackChannels source.
The decision, if true, follows on a rapid economic decline in Venezuela involving increasingly visible dictatorship and political repression and a kind of stink that devoted socialist leaders, either in heart or speech, may apparently wish to avoid.
Only three months ago, Maduro visited with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and then in Saudi Arabia with then Crown Prince Salman (twelve days later, the same would become King Salman) to navigate some way between opposition to the west and cooperation with Iran’s opponents in exchange for loans:
“We’re finalizing a financial alliance with important banks from Qatar that will give us sufficient oxygen to help cover the fall in oil prices and give us the resources we need for the national foreign currency budget,” Maduro said, adding that the two nations had also “strengthened the ties of cooperation to open paths for cultural and touristic exchange.”
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11157 – 1/12/2015.
Recent related faux socialist grandstanding by President Correa:
. . . the US “Has ‘double standards’ and sustains good relations with absolute monarchies, without democracy” while Venezuela has to face the usual elites causing interference to see if they can destabilize the government. “When will they understand that Latin America has changed. Here you will find sovereignty, dignity, unity,” he said.
He called Washington’s position “a disgrace” and stressed that “Latin America must speak out in opposition to such arrogance, unilateralism and imperialism.”
Bloomberg Business comments:
Correa, who has long allied himself with Chavez’s socialist ambitions and declared three days of mourning to mark his death, is now deviating from policies that saw him use Ecuador’s oil wealth to finance record spending. Maduro’s refusal to break with the currency controls and gasoline subsidies embraced by Chavez is deepening concern that Venezuela, which gets about 95 percent of its export revenue from oil, will run out of money as soon as this year.
Since late February, Maduro’s course in political repression has been making headlines: Washington Post – “Venezuela and Cuba: Partners in repression”; Yahoo! Maktoob News – “Venezuelan teen dies after being shot at anti-Maduro protest”; Wall Street Journal – “Venezuela Cracks Down on Dissent”; NPR – “Venezuela’s President Sees Only Plots as His Economy Crumbles”, etc.
From the NPR piece:
. . . in blaming the U.S. for nearly all his problems, Maduro is crying wolf, says Xabier Coscojuela, editor of the Caracas newspaper Tal Cual.
“I’ve lost count of the number of alleged plots to overthrow or kill the president,” Coscojuela says. “It’s something like ten over the past two years. But there is no credible evidence in any of these cases.”
The politician as feudal lord, “state capitalist”, or incredibly privileged socialist (or nationalist) has to enjoy the psychological fruit of his own excesses — none of these presidents (for life) live in shacks (or pass time at spinning wheels) — and the results in real politics of a state-enforced magical economics that turns out entirely piratical.
This too comes from NPR:
Simon Nobile, 72, runs the Capri pasta factory in the capital Caracas, which was founded by his Italian-born father in 1940. Capri’s two plants crank out 11 million pounds of pasta per month.
They could produce nearly twice that much. However, Nobile says a government policy designed to help the poor forces him to sell half of his inventory for just five cents a pound.
“There is no incentive because price controls mean that you lose money. So the more you produce, the more money you lose,” he says.
While “inclusion” numbers among the six primary global virtues promoted by this blog, it takes some careful planning to channel much needed cash to the floor of an economy and sustain that traffic across time.
It doesn’t happen by magic.
The process need not dehumanize, humiliate, or subjugate, but it may need to be responsive and responsible to labor involved and the many productive capacities and cultural and environmental boundaries of place.
The drop in oil prices was the deep voice of international capital speaking, which irrupted as if from nowhere and in counterpoint to the rhythms of local and visible Venezuelan politics. When international capital spoke, it dashed all the local plans, because the slow time-frame of the Bolivarian government’s plans for economic diversification and the turtle steps of the Venezuelan opposition’s march towards the upcoming elections suddenly were no longer viable.
http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/11264 – 3/11/2015
Chris Gilbert’s mention of “economic diversification” plays up that will-o’-the-wisp — there is always talk of it, but when one goes to find it, it’s less there than it should be — facing at least several autocratic governments reliant on mineral proceeds for fueling their economies.
In 2012 it looked like the politician’s spectacular career was winding down. Suddenly, he was back on top. People With Money reports on Tuesday (March 17) that Maduro is the highest-paid politician in the world, pulling in an astonishing $96 million between February 2014 and February 2015, a nearly $60 million lead over his closest competition.
Chavez’s family now reportedly owns 17 country estates totaling more than 100,000 acres in the western state of Barinas, as well as assets of $550 million stored in various international bank accounts. Residents in the same region wait as long as three hours for basic provisions at grocery stores.
National Assembly Speaker Diosdado Cabello, a close confidant of Chavez and member of Maduro’s United Socialist Party, has allegedly amassed “a private fortune” through corruption and ties to regional drug traffickers. The Miami Herald reported accusations last week that Cabello received at least $50 million in bribes to overlook lucrative public contracts that were overpriced, according to a recent lawsuit.
Maduro said those who distort events in Venezuela are “on the side of the 1 percent.”
The politics of foreign despots at a glance . . . the reason I find what I do (with simple search terms like “Maduro, wealth”, and a click of the mouse) is because I know the anchors of the image — the image of post-socialist now neo-feudal dictators AKA “malignant narcissists” — have their record in yesterday’s news and the factual data conveyed through it.
A joint new study by three leading Venezuelan universities — Andres Bello Catholic University, Central University of Venezuela, and Simon Bolivar University — shows that 48.4 percent of Venezuelan households were below the poverty line in 2014, up from 45 percent of households in 1998, before late radical leftist President Hugo Chávez took office and benefited from nearly a decade of soaring world oil prices.
Venezuela has some of the world’s largest proven oil deposits as well as huge quantities of coal, iron ore, bauxite and gold.
Yet most Venezuelans live in poverty, many of them in shanty towns, some of which sprawl over the hillsides around the capital, Caracas.
Poverty is no joke: no dignity; no freedom; no growth; no future.
Whether the “unit of analysis” is individual, family, or community makes no difference. The restraints and punishments (for political dissent) suffocate soul and spirit.
To redress grievance and repair requires some accurate — not paranoid — comprehension of involved economic, political, and psychological forces and variables, starting with the character of the leadership in place: as it stands today, the feudal-medieval principle continues to invite to its portals conflict and revolution, the differences between a 12th Century despot, a 19th Century czar, and a 21st Century dictator yielding the same result in economic and social modeling across geopolitical space and time.
However, social — and perhaps liberal, humanist, and socialist — expectations have changed markedly since medieval days, and people become simply more rapidly aware of their own potential — and the potential of where they live as a base for living and producing for themselves and others (at fair rates) — and equally apprised of real cultural, political, and social impediments to achievement, and those same may include a piratical nobility.
“We used to produce rice and we had excellent coffee; now we produce nothing. With the situation here people abandoned the fields,” says Jesús López, in reference to government-seized land that sits idle. “Empty shelves and no one to explain why a rich country has no food. It’s unacceptable,” adds the 90-year-old farmer from San Cristóbal, on the western state of Táchira, bordering Colombia.
The so-called “socialist” scapegoating of the west, the Jews, the capitalists, and so on simply runs into its own true common feudal Orwellian political reality: dens of thieves, after all.
According to this measure, the number of Venezuelans classified as poor shot up in the last year by 1.8 million people. Roughly 6 percent of all Venezuela’s 30 million people became poor in the last year alone. The situation is even direr when one looks at extreme poverty, i.e., the number of people whose income cannot even buy a representative basket of food and drink. In the last year alone, the number of extremely poor Venezuelans rose by 730,000. They now reach close to three million people, or roughly 10 percent of the population.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/06/04/poverty-shoots-up-in-venezuela – 6/4/2015 –i.e., published almost a year ago, and, for sure, things cannot have gotten better.
# # #