Showing posts with label Venezuela. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Venezuela. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Will Washington Attempt Another Coup In Venezuela?


If you are not up to par, the Trump admin imposed more sanctions against officials in Maduro's cabinet. This is subsquent to the sanctions introduced against 13 Venezuelan officials in July and previous months. The Obama admin began imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials shortly after Maduro was elected in 2013 and opposition began rioting in the streets, first in 2014, less than a year later, and subsquently in 2015 and 2016. In addition to continuing the sanctions of Obama, Trump has threatened to possibly invade Venezuela, presumably without congressional approval under the specious pretext of promoting freedom and democracy abroad while oddly crushing it at home. However, despite recent developments, hostilities between Washington and Caracas go back to the beginning of the Bolvarian revolution that gave army lieutenant Hugo Chavez a 15 year popular reign. As per usual the media strip everything of its historical context so they can push their talking points that just so happen to align with the Pentagon's agenda. In 2002, the Bush admin supported a coup attempt against Chavez, in which the military arrested Chavez, forced him to resign under duress, and installed the more corporate friendly Pedro Camanoa who immediately abolished the national assembly and supreme court, yet the state department only criticized Chavez for acting undemocratically. At this time, a similar coup plot against Maduro is even more likley with the Venezuelan economy still reeling from all time low global oil prices.

The mainstream media also seems to be setting the stage for a coup de'tat in their narrative which refers to Maduro as a dictator, implicitly blames him for all deaths in Venezuela, accuses him of human rights abuses, and perpetuates the lie that the national constituent assembly gives him unlimited power. Of course, Maduro isn't a dictator. Authoritarian? Yes, but socialism is authoritarian by its very nature. Unfortunately for the MSM, words have definite meanings and you can't just misapply them when it suits your interests. Webster defines dictator as a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force. Maduro was elected by popular vote, and as bad as his policies are he's still not a dictator. Not surprisingly the same people who accuse Maduro of being a dictator also accuse Erdogan and Putin of being a dictator, even though all three are ElECTED officials. Furthermore, rioting, looting, throwing molotov cocktails at police, and blockading roads are not human rights and using police brutality to stop these things are not human rights abuses. The national constituent assembly is also not something new nor does it give Maduro unlimited power. Here again the media have stripped the event of its historical context. Venezula has experienced nine prior constitutional reforms in its brief history; the last one was initiated by Chavez and led to the drafting and adoption of the constitution of the Bolvarian Republic. The national constituent assembly is in charge of drafting a new constitution or amending an existing one and its members are chosen through national elections; it is not Maduro acting unilaterally. The 545 delegates are chosen through a complex electoral system which allocates eight seats to indigenous peoples and divides the rest between different sectors of the economy, municipalities, and rural areas. You can read more about it here

None of this is an endorsement of Maduro. I am no fan of Bolvarian socialism or socialism in general. I find it odd that the liberal media will not mention the real cause of the crisis in Venezuela. It is not a political crisis as the media pretends, but an economic one just as it is in Syria. A lack of democracy and human rights abuses didn't lead to the hyperinflation and commodity shortages that sparked the rioting and looting. In fact, democracy is what created this disaster in the first place. It wasn't until democracy was introduced to Venezula, in the mid 20th century, that its government began nationalizing companies and whole industries cumulating in the nationalization of the petroleum industry in 1976. The real culprit which the media will not name is Venezuela’s undying love for socialism and by socialism I mean the Webster definition of 'governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.' A military invasion will not change that, only a change in national character will. A shift away from class warfare and central planning towards class cooperation and market liberalization is what is needed.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Political Superstitions (part 6): The President Does Not Manage The Economy

Or at least he's not suppose to, unless you live in a country like Venezuela (in which case I would advise you to get the hell out of there). In fact, the constitution delegates very little to the president; Article II section 2 provides a very short summary of powers and duties delegated to the president:

  1. Commander and chief of the Armed Forces when called into service
  2. Power to grant reprieves and pardons for crimes against the U.S. except
    in cases of impeachment
  3. Make treaties with the concurrence of 2/3 of the senate
  4. Appoint Ambassadors, public Ministers, Consuls, and Judges of the supreme Court
    with the consent of the senate
  5. Fill any vacancies in the senate during recess

That's it. The president isn't suppose to be some kind of superhero out to save the world; he's not suppose to create (private sector) jobs, or bring peace to the world, or control gas prices, or help you pay your rent. The president was simply meant to be a constitutional officer who signs bills into law and protects us from foreign and domestic enemies. If Trump had only promised to eradicate ISIS and enforce immigration laws by building a wall on the southern border he would be tops in my books, but like the typical egomaniac he had to promise the moon. He promised to bring back coal mining, bring back manufacturing jobs (which have been on a slight uptick for the past 5 years), and now he wants to bring back apprenticeships. Trump recently signed an executive order to create a White House initiative to expand apprenticeships; the only problem is that it's based on the same fallacious reasoning as his other far fetched promises. It is private companies that generate profits that enable them to expand their businesses and hire more employees or apprentices. Now the president can certainly facilitate this process by cutting red tape and reducing fiscal burdens, but he in no way generates the profits of millions of companies that contribute to economic growth in the aggregate and increase the demand for labor. The president's job, and the function of the federal government as a whole, is to maintain a hospitable environment for the private sector. Trump would have to be omniscient in order to manage the economy. He would have to know the time and circumstances of every transaction, the daily output of every business in primary industry as well as those in secondary industry; he would always need to know final domestic demand, not just in aggregate, but for every consumer and capital good conceivable, including ones that have not been invented yet. He would have to manage thousands of assembly lines, oil wells, retail spaces, mutual funds etc. while also performing the duties assigned to him as president. The truth is that one man doesn't create jobs; millions of market actors pursuing disparate interests create jobs, and to the effect that the president can make this process easier he can be said to be a catalyst for job creation, but he is not creating jobs.