The Long Lent of Venezuela

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The current condition of Venezuela is symbolized by Stefanía Fernández, Miss Universe 2009, in a stunning photograph symbolizing her as her beloved country as it struggles to regain its freedom:

The Vatican says it’s willing to help facilitate talks between Venezuela’s government and its opponents aimed at ending weeks of deadly unrest that have paralyzed much of the country.

President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday said he was willing to sit down with the opposition under the watch of an outside observer. He floated the name of Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who served as the Holy See’s ambassador to Venezuela before being called to Rome last year.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told The Associated Press Friday the Holy See and Parolin were “certainly willing and desirous to do whatever is possible for the good and serenity of the country.” He said Parolin, in particular, “knows and loves” Venezuela. But he added that the Vatican needed to understand the expectations of its intervention and whether it could bring about a “desired outcome.”

Mediation I think would be would be worse than useless in this case.  You have a murderous regime intent on using any means to hold on to power, confronting a fed up populace that has had enough as they have seen their liberties taken away and their economy destroyed:

The masked gunmen emerged from a group of several dozen motorcycle-mounted government loyalists who were attempting to dismantle a barricade in La Isabelica, a working-class district of Valencia that has been a center of unrest since nationwide protests broke out last month.

The barricades’ defenders had been hurling rocks, sticks and other objects at the attackers, who included perhaps a dozen armed men, witnesses told The Associated Press.

Lisandro Barazarte, a photographer with the local newspaper, Notitarde, caught images of several of the men shooting into the crowd while steadying their firearms on their palms.

“They were practiced shooters,” Barazarte said. “More were armed, but didn’t fire.”

When it was over, two La Isabelica men were dead: a 22-year-old student, Jesus Enrique Acosta, and a little league baseball coach, Guillermo Sanchez. Witnesses told the AP the first was shot in the head, the second in the back. They said neither was at the barricades when he was killed.

Similar shootings across Venezuela by gunmen allied with the socialist-led government have claimed at least seven lives and left more than 30 people wounded since the anti-government protests began in mid-February.

President Nicolas Maduro has done nothing to publicly discourage the violence by armed pro-government militants, loosely known as “colectivos,” which are also blamed for scores more cases of beatings and intimidation in multiple cities. That includes a March 19 incursion into the architecture academy at the Central University of Venezuela in the capital in which some 40 masked men and women identifying themselves as government defenders bloodied at least a dozen students.

The Washington Post, to my surprise, is on target in its editorial yesterday:

The chief protagonist of this meltdown is Mr. Maduro, the former bus driver who succeeded Hugo Chávez a year ago and has since proved himself as crude in his political tactics as he is ignorant of economic fundamentals. The president portrays moderate opponents as “fascists,” claims that he is the target of incessant plotting by the CIA and increasingly depends on force — delivered by riot police or organized groups of thugs — to answer popular protests.

The opposition, for its part, is splintering between those who favor a patient strategy of winning over Venezuelans who still support the Chavista movement and militants who hope that building street barricades will somehow trigger the regime’s collapse — or perhaps a military coup. The violent clashes may be driving away citizens who would support a movement that aimed for change by peaceful and democratic means.

The Obama administration, too, has been a non-factor in the Venezuelan crisis, other than as a foil — even though the United States, as a major buyer of Venezuelan oil, has plenty of potential leverage. So it was encouraging to hear the senior State Department official for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, say Thursday that sanctions against the Maduro government could be “a tool” if “there isn’t a possibility of dialogue, if there is no space for the opposition.” (Ms. Jacobson spoke in Spanish.) That might get the attention of the regime’s more rational minds.

Congress is considering legislation that would sanction Venezuelan officials guilty of human rights offenses; that, too, could be useful. It may be that nothing can stop Venezuela’s downward spiral. But it is shameful that its neighbors have not made more of an effort.

If you have any prayers to spare you might wish to say a few for the people of Venezuela as they walk their Via Dolorosa.

More to explorer

Dear Crazy Leader

  News that I missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:   WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a scathing Twitter thread, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took Fox


  1. Obama has no interest in Venezuela. Obumbler has no interest in anything. Maduro (means “hard” in Spanish) wants to be another Castro. Chavez idolized Castro. Cubans, sent by the Castro dictatorship, are all over Venezuela helping the Maduro dictatorship.
    Chavez wanted to foister a “Bolivarian” revolution all over Latin America, politically led by himself and Fidel, with Venezuelan oil money making it happen. Leftists took power in Ecuador (who hid FARC narcoterrorists from Colombia) and in Honduras (since thrown out) and ol’ Evo Morales in Bolivia.
    Chavez’ dream has largely failed.

  2. Another socialist government, whose only method of holding power when their failed form of economy fails, is to resort to totalitarianism and suppression of the people.

    Why people continue to support socialist governments, who promise them heaven and deliver hell, totally evades me. Lying politicians who crave power to enrich themselves are simply tools of the Great Deceiver.

    You in the USA are experiencing this with Obama, the Bumbler and Liar in Chief. When is the revolution going to happen?

  3. Don the Kiwi,

    Obumbler has or had a certain appeal to guilty white leftwingers and certain Latinos (not all of them). Obumbler cobbled together a coalition of groups with certain similar ideologies and got himself elected twice. The people who elected him aren’t smart. Some were educated and some were indoctrinated and some were just plain lazy and wanted the government check.

  4. I suppose it is just another example of American exceptionalism that the Democratic party retains its popularity, whereas, in Europe, the Trotskyite and Maoist parties, like the Socialist Workers in Scotland or, in France, Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), LCR (the Revolutionary Communist League), PG (the “Parti de Gauche”) and the NPA (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste), can only muster a handful of deputies.
    Even the more moderate PC (Parti Communiste), which long retained a certain cachet as the « le parti des 75 000 fusillés » [the party of the 75,000 shot] because of its important role during the Resistance, could obtain only a dozen deputies in the 2012 elections.

  5. “I suppose it is just another example of American exceptionalism that the Democratic party retains its popularity, ”

    Not really. The Republicans control the House and are likely to control the Senate after the November elections. Republicans control more state legislatures than at any time since the 1920’s before 2010 and currently have 29 of the 50 state governors.

  6. By “the Democratic party retains its popularity,” I meant “has not dwindled to the same utter irrelevancy as the Hard Left in the UK and France”
    Figaro quipped, with a degree of hyperbole, that their deputies could meet in a telephone kiosk

  7. In our two party system both of the parties have a hard core of support below which it is well nigh impossible for them to go. This hard core is about 40% each. They each have regions they completely dominate: New England currently for the Democrats and much of the South for the Republicans. The multiplicity of parties known in much of Europe simply does not exist here in the US, at least parties that have a chance of winning a meaningful number of elections.

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